Marshall County

MONIER, William

William MONIER is a highly successful and prosperous farmer, residing on section 6, Steuben township, Marshall county, who, commencing life a poor boy, by industry and economy has accumulated a competency, and if need be could banish all care and live at ease the remainder of his days. He was born on the Isle of Man, May 1, 1834, and when fifteen years of age came with his parents to America, when they settled upon a farm twenty miles west of Peoria, in Peoria county. His father, William MONIER, Sr., was a native of the Isle of Man, but of French descent, his great-great grandfather being a native of France. He was a miller by trade, but in later years followed farming. He married Jane QUAILE and their family consisted of five sons and three daughters: John, who died in Saratoga township in June, 1890, at the age of sixty-two years; William or subject; Thomas, a farmer of Whitefield township: James, a farmer of Emerson, Nebraska; Charles, engaged in farming in Hopkins, Missouri; Catherine, who married John NEAL, both now being deceased, the former dying in Peoria county, and the latter in Marshall county, leaving one child, named for his father, but who died at the age of twenty-four years; Anna, the second daughter, who died at the age of eighteen; and Margaret, who married Patrick COLLINS, and died in February, 1895.

On locating in Peoria county William MONIER, Sr., purchased eighty acres of land and immediately commenced its improvement. His two elder sons, John and William, hired out to other parties, and saving their money, purchased an eighty-acre tract of partially improved land, on which was a small house. This house was the family home until the spring of 1857, when they sold out, moved to Saratoga township, Marshall county, and all worked together for one year. On this farm the parents continued to reside until death called them home, the mother dying in May, 1884, and the father November 4, of the same year, both having passed their three-score years. Their son, John, also died on that farm.

The subject of this sketch remained at home until he was twenty-five years of age, when he bought eighty acres of land near that of his brother John, in Saratoga township, and commenced farming for himself. In due time he purchased forty acres adjoining, and still later added another forty acres, giving him a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres. As he expresses it, this was all literally dug out of the soil; in other words, it was the result of almost ceaseless toil and the accumulation of some years.

Having now a good farm with a bright future before him, a helpmeet was the next thought, and on the 25th of December, 1860, Mr. MONIER was united in marriage with Miss Willmina DORAN, a daughter of James and Rebecca (MAXWELL) DORAN, of La Prairie township. Her parents were from St. John, New Brunswick, where she was born July 5, 1841. They settled in La Prairie township, Marshall county, in 1850, and here remained until 1885, when they removed to Chase, Rice county, Kansas, where the father died in October, 1893. The mother still makes her home in that place. One son, Robert DORAN, yet resides in La Prairie township. To Mr. and Mrs. MONIER seven children have been born – Charles, Edward, Anna, Alice, Thomas, John and Halsey. The eldest son, Charles, married Miss Mina SMITH, and they have three children, Charles Leland, Wallace and Robert. The second son married Miss Clara CASEY.

On the farm in Saratoga township Mr. and Mrs. MONIER commenced their married life, and there remained until 1868, when he sold out and purchased their present place of residence in Steuben township, to which they at once removed. The farm originally comprised three hundred and twenty-seven acres and was bought of Jacob FISHER, the old pork packer of Lacon. It was known as the Oak Glade farm, certainly an appropriate name for it. Since coming into possession of its present owner, extensive improvements have been made, including the erection of a large and fine dwelling, together with barns and outhouses. To his original purchase, Mr. MONIER has added from time to time until his home farm now consists of five hundred and ninety-two acres, all of which is under cultivation. In addition to this, he has owned three farms of one hundred and sixty acres each in La Prairie township, one-quarter section of which he has lately given his son Charles, and a half section in Milo township, Bureau county, Illinois, six miles southeast of Bradford, on which his son Edward now lives, one quarter having been lately deeded to him.

William MONIER has made a success in life, brought about by choosing a calling for which he felt himself adapted, and attending strictly and closely to his own affairs. He has toiled early and late, in summer’s heat and winter’s storm, in season and out of season, and the result is shown in his fine farms, well tilled fields, sleek cattle and fine horses. He believes in the best stock of all kinds, and usually feeds and ships about five carloads of cattle per year, besides other stock. For several years he has engaged in breeding Norman horses, and has kept a fine imported stallion of that breed. He has been very successful in this line, and is a good judge of horseflesh. Shorthorn cattle has also been a favorite with him, and in his herd are generally found some fine specimens of that breed. In the Wyoming fair he has been interested since its inception, and has done much to make it a success. Annually he exhibits some of his stock, and usually he is successful in winning some of the best prizes.

Politically Mr. MONIER is a republican, his republicanism dating back to the organization of the party, his first presidential vote being cast for the immortal Lincoln, in 1860. He usually attends party conventions, votes the ticket, but does not desire official position. A man of peace, he has never in his life had a lawsuit.

Extracted April 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.

It has been said that "biography is the only true history" and the truth of this assertion is verified in the life records of such men as William MONIER men who make the history of their respective communities by reason of the extent and prominence of their business interests and their activity in promoting the welfare and prosperity of the counties in which they live. William MONIER is certainly deserving of mention on the pages of this volume, as he is one of the most prominent and prosperous agriculturists of Marshall county and one of its most extensive land owners, his possessions aggregating fourteen hundred acres. He is, moreover, entitled to praise by reason of the fact that all that he possesses has been acquired through his own labors and his life record demonstrates that success is ambition's answer.

A native of the Isle of Man, Mr. MONIER was born May 1, 1834, his father being William MONIER, Sr. The family is of French descent, the great-great-grandfather of our subject having been a native of France. William MONIER, Sr., was born on the Isle of Man in 1800 and was a miller by trade but in his later years devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits. In 1850 he crossed the Atlantic to the new world with his family and settled upon a farm twenty miles west of Peoria. He started out in business life empty-handed but he and his family all worked together and soon accumulated quite a little fortune. He crossed the water on a sailing vessel called the Acma Aglasgo and were twenty-one days on the voyage. It, however, required a longer time for them to come from New York to Peoria, Illinois, than it did to cross the ocean. They made the journey all the way by water, going from New York city to Albany by steamer, thence by way of the Erie canal to Buffalo, from Buffalo around the lakes to Chicago and then by canal to La Salle county and by way of the river to Peoria. They located at Brimfield, Illinois, where they remained for six years and then removed to Saratoga township, Marshall county, in 1857, settling at a place called Camp Grove. The wife and mother bore the maiden name of Jane QUAILE and their family numbered five sons and three daughters: John, who died in Saratoga township in June, 1890, at the age of sixty-two years; Catherine, who became the wife John NEIL, and died in Marshall county, while Mr. NEIL passed away in Peoria county, leaving one child who was named for his father and who died at the age of twenty-four years; Anna, who died in 1851 at the age of eighteen years; Margaret, who married Patrick COLLINS and died in February, 1895; Thomas, living in Henry, Illinois; James, formerly a resident of Emerson, Nebraska, but now in South Dakota; and Charles, living in Bosworth, Carroll county, Missouri. Upon the farm in Saratoga township the parents continued to reside until they departed this life, the mother passing away in May, 1884, while the father died on the 4th of November of the same year, both being more than ninety years of age. Their son John also died on that farm.

William MONIER, of this review, was a youth of fifteen years when he accompanied his parents to America and after the family home was established in Peoria county he and his brother John began working as farm hands in that locality and, saving their money, purchased an eighty-acre tract of partially improved land on which was a small house. It was that house that was the family home until the spring of 1857, when they came to Marshall county, settling in Saratoga township, where all worked together for a year. William MONIER, Jr., remained at home until he was twenty-eight years of age, when he started out in life on his own account, purchasing eighty acres of land near that of his brother John in Saratoga township. From time to time he has added to his possessions until he now owns about fourteen hundred acres of land, of which three hundred and twenty acres lies in Bureau county about two and a half miles from Broadmoor. His success has been the result of almost ceaseless toil and the accumulation of many years. In addition to his farm lands he has about forty head of highbred Norman Percheron horses and he also owns a fourth interest in a full-blood Percheron stallion. He likewise has a fine herd of shorthorn cattle and is today one of the most prominent farmers and stock raisers of Marshall county. He has made extensive improvements upon his farm, including the erection of a beautiful and commodious residence, together with all necessary outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock. His land is richly cultivated and his life has certainly been a successful one, owing to his close application and his unremitting diligence. He has won many prizes on his exhibits of stock at the Wyoming fair, in which he has been interested from its inception.

Mr. MONIER was married on the 25th of December, 1860, to Miss Wilmina DORAN, who was born at Frederickton Junction, New Brunswick, July 5, 1841. Her father, James DORAN, was a native of Dublin, Ireland, and moved from the Emerald Isle to the Isle of Man, after which he crossed the Atlantic to Canada and thence came to Illinois in 1850. At one time he was the owner of four hundred and eighty acres of land, which he divided among his children. In politics he was a stalwart republican. His birth occurred in 1813 and he passed away in 1893 at the age of eighty years. His wife bore the maiden name of Rebecca MAXWELL and was born in County Tyrone, Ireland. Their marriage was celebrated at Frederickton Junction. After living for some years in Illinois they removed to Chase, Rice county, Kansas, where the death of the father occurred and the mother still makes her home there.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. DORAN were born the following named: Mary Jane, now living in Irwin county, Iowa; John, who died in Nodaway county, Missouri; Edward, a resident of Topeka, Kansas; William, of Oklahoma; Margaret, of Nodaway county, Missouri; Thomas, who is living in Isabelle, Barton county, Kansas; Andrew, who was a member of Company E, Eighty-sixth Illinois Infantry, and died from a wound at Chattanooga, Tennessee; Robert, a twin brother of Andrew, now a resident of Henry, Illinois; and Phebe, who is living in Stafford county, Kansas.

Mrs. MONIER came to Illinois with her parents in 1850 when a little maiden of nine summers, the family home being established in Marshall county. They made the journey from Chicago by canal to La Salle and thence to Lacon by way of the river. After a short time, however, they removed from Lacon to the farm which is now owned by Mr. MONIER on section 6, Steuben township. Unto Mr. and Mrs. MONIER have been born seven children: Charles, who married Mina SMITH and has three children; Edward, who wedded Clara Casey; Anna Alice, Thomas, John and Halsey, all at home.

In his political affiliation Mr. MONIER is a stalwart republican, having given his support to the party since casting his ballot for Lincoln in 1860. He has been road commissioner for three years and school director for thirty years, serving at the present time. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist church and are most highly esteemed people. He has lived at peace with all men and in his business life has never taken advantage of the necessities of a fellowman in any business transaction but has placed his dependence upon the safe and substantial qualities of untiring labor and careful management. It has been through his judicious investment and his unceasing toil that he has won a most gratifying measure of success and become one of the large land owners of the county.

Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.

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