JAMES MORTLAND. Among the many who are cultivating a portion of the soil of Calhoun County successfully, may be mentioned James Mortland, a farmer and horticulturist, near Hardin. He is a native of the Emerald Isle, born in County Tyrone in 1826, and possesses many of the strongest and most worthy characteristics of the Irish race. His parents, John and Mary Mortland, are spoken of at greater length in the sketch of William Mortland, on another page in this Album. Our subject was reared and educated in his native county and resided with his parents there until his removal to America.
After reaching the shores of the New World, Mr. Mortland came West to Illinois and for six years was employed as a flat-boatman on the Illinois River. At that time Louisville and St. Louis were but small towns and many of the now flourishing cities throughout the Mississippi Valley were not even dreamed of. During the years which he spent as a boatman Mr. Mortland hoarded his resources and bought land where he now resides. He settled down to farm life and from year to year has added to the improvements around him, gained a higher standing among agriculturists and a firmer financial footing. He now owns one hundred and sixty acres of Illinois bottom land, well improved in every particular, the buildings that have been erected upon it being above the average. Adjoining this home farm are ninety-six acres on the bank of the river and Mr. Mortland also owns one hundred and sixty acres of bluff land. He pays considerable attention to horticulture and many barrels of fine fruit are hauled from his orchards to the market, he having over twenty acres in orchard.
Mr. Mortland was accompanied to the United States by a wife who had borne the maiden name of Isabel Sproule. She was a native of the same county as himself and during the years of her wedded life aided him as best she could in the upbuilding of his fortune. She died in St. Louis, Mo., in 1853, leaving two children — Thom.is S. and John James, the second of whom is now deceased.
Mr. Mortland subsequently married Margaret Smith, daughter of Henry Smith, and a native of Jersey County, this State. This estimable woman died six years after her marriage, leaving a daughter, Fanny, who is the wife of Asher J. Guthrie, and lives in Platte County, Neb. The present wife of our subject bore the maiden name of Jane Smith, is a native of County Fermanagh, Ireland, and a capable, intelligent woman. Both Mr. and Mrs. Mortland belong to the Presbyterian Church and have high standing in the community by reason of their consistent lives. Mr. Mortland exercises the right of suffrage in behalf of Republican principles and candidates.
Extracted 13 Feb 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 333-334.
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