WILLIAM P. COCKRELL was born in Jefferson County, Ky., being the son of Jesse and Nancy (Davis) Cockrell. The Cockrell family is one of special note, and a full account of this highly honored family will be found given at length in the sketch of David D. Cockrell, whose sketch appears elsewhere in our Album.
Our subject commenced work in his father's shop while quite young and continued to work there until he reached his nineteenth year. At that age he moved to Hickman, Ky., where he engaged in the butchering business up to the breaking out of the war, at which time he went to New Madrid, Mo. Political excitement was very great and our subject was at one time taken prisoner and kept in confinement for a period of two years. When released from imprisonment, he came to Calhoun County, and at that time was entirely without means to establish a business of his own. He was therefore compelled to accept whatever presented itself in the shape of work, but being possessed of undaunted energy and excellent judgment he was in a short time able to purchase a tract of land. The ground was covered with timber and as he had bought the property on time he was compelled to work very faithfully to succeed at all. He turned the timber to good account and finally paid for his land and had enough money for business purposes. This same land is included in his present estate, and for several years he has been quite extensively engaged in buying and shipping livestock, apples, etc.. St. Louis being the principal market for the livestock, and the apples, etc. being shipped to various points. He buys apples on the trees, or at the landing.
Our subject was first married January, 1858, to Miss Olive Elizabeth Millron who died November 14, 1884. Of this union were born two children: John and Martha. After the loss of his wife our subject was married to Miss Mary Ann Fiedler, on the 24th of December, 1885. She was born in Calhoun County and is a daughter of Henry Fiedler. She is a member of St. Mathew's Lutheran Church at Brussels. Her father was born in Germany and numbered among the early pioneers of Gilead Township, where he owns a valuable farm and continues to reside. Our subject's second marriage has been blessed with two children: Robert and Annie Maria.
Mr. Cockrell belongs to the class of active, wide-awake business men, who in advancing their own interests advance those of the community in which they reside, and has been largely instrumental in bringing about the wonderful growth of Richwoods Precinct through the past few years. In politics he is a Democrat and always takes an active part at the polls.
Extracted 23 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 668-669
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