JOHN MORTLAND is one of the honest, energetic men who are doing much to develop the resources of Calhoun County by their connection with its agricultural and horticultural affairs. He owns a fine tract of land in Hardin Precinct, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres, one hundred and thirty of which is covered with fine, thrifty fruit-bearing trees. This immense orchard is the source of a satisfactory income and its care and oversight affords Mr. Mortland great pleasure as well. He spends a part of each year on the farm and during the balance resides in St. Louis, Mo., where he has maintained a home for many years.
Mr. Mortland is a native of County Tyrone, Ireland, born in 1827, and is the second son of John and Mary Mortland, whose history is noted in the sketch of William Mortland, on another page in this volume. He was reared and educated in his native county and continued to make that his home until 1844. He then set sail from Liverpool, landing at Philadelphia in the early summer after a voyage of six weeks. Going into the country he found employment on a farm and after working by the month until fall he came to this State, traveling to Pittsburg on a canal, thence on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to St Louis, Mo., and by Illinois River to Jersey County. During the winter he was engaged in chopping wood and in the spring with his brothers, Thomas and Chittick, bought a flatboat and began carrying freight down the rivers to St. Louis. At that time the city named was but a small town and used no coal whatever, all its fuel being supplied from the forests of the surrounding country.
The second year each of the brothers bought a boat and operated on his own account. When the war broke out our subject engaged in the ice business and in 1863 bought a steamer and entered the service of the Government, transporting supplies and troops up and down the various rivers. He was thus engaged until the close of the war, when he continued the ice business in St. Louis for a few years. Some time before he had purchased land in this county and he finally settled upon it. He did not dispose of his St. Louis home, however and as before stated spends a part of his time there.
Mr. Mortland has been twice married, first in 1863 to Miss Margaret Rogers, a native of Michigan, who died in St. Louis September 5, 1874. Two years after her demise Mr. Mortland led to the hymeneal altar Miss Elizabeth Porter, a native of County Tyrone, Ireland, and daughter of Rev. John Porter, a Presbyterian minister. The second marriage of our subject has been blest by the birth of six children, named respectively: John P., Herbert E., Ernest Albert, Andy Thomas, Mabel and Mary.
As a citizen, Mr. Mortland is law-abiding and straightforward; as a business man, honorable and energetic and as a neighbor and friend, true-hearted and benevolent. He is thoroughly loyal to the country of his adoption and firmly believes that the principles of the Republican party are best calculated to advance its interests. During the Civil War he was early found in a company of home guards. He and his wife belong to the Presbyterian Church.
Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 559-560
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