Calhoun County

1891 Biography - William Mortland

HON. WILLIAM MORTLAND, is one of the most enterprising and honorable business men of Calhoun County, and a citizen who has done much to advance the interests of the people in local affairs and in public life. His home is in the county seat where he has been engaged in mercantile pursuits for a number of years. His store is well-fitted, supplied with a full line of well-selected goods, such as are suited to the wants of the people, and is conducted according to the best business principles.

Mr. Mortland is of Irish birth, but of remote Scotch ancestry. His grandfather, Thomas Mortland, spent his entire life in the Emerald Isle where he was engaged in farming. John Mortland, the father of our subject, was reared to agricultural pursuits and pursued the same until about four years before his death. In 1848 he left his native land and with his wife and seven of his ten children turned his face toward America. The family set sail from Londonderry on the "Gypsy" in the month of April and landed at New Orleans after a voyage of eight weeks and three days. They went directly to St. Louis, Mo., made that city their home, three months and then came to Hardin. In a short time they were located on a farm six miles south, which Mr. Mortland had purchased and continued to operate during his active life. He breathed his last in Hardin, July 28, 1881 having removed to the city a short time before.

John Mortland was three times married. His first wife, the mother of our subject, bore the maiden name of Mary Lammy. Like her husband she was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, and there she breathed her last. The second wife of Mr. Mortland was Margaret Simson, who came to America with him and died in Calhoun County. His third was Mrs. Mary Brannam. The first marriage resulted in the birth of nine children — Thomas L., John, James, Chittick, William, Jane, Nancy, Mary and Sally. All were reared to years of maturity, but Chittick and Mary are now deceased. The second marriage was blest by the birth of one daughter — Margaret.

Our subject was born on the ancestral farm in County Tyrone, Ireland, September 28, 1828. He was educated in the public schools and as soon as his strength would permit began to assist his father in the cultivation of the farm. He was twenty years of age when he accompanied the other members of the family to America and he continued to reside under his father's roof until he was married. Previous to that time he bought a farm near the homestead and at the time of his marriage he purchased the well-known Haper farm in Hardin Township and made it his home. This land is still, in his possession and is a valuable piece of property. A particularly noticeable feature upon it, is an orchard of sixty acres, one of the finest in the entire Prairie State. In 1878 Mr. Mortland gave up active participation in farm work and became a merchant and has since given his time and attention to commercial affairs, except when serving in a public capacity.

Since the war Mr. Mortland has been identified with the Democratic party. He has been a member of the Village Board, except one year when he refused to serve, since he lived in town, and was President several terms. In 1872 he was elected County Judge and served on the Bench five years. In 1880 he was elected to the Legislature and during the regular session of 1881-82 earnestly endeavored to advance the interests of his constituents by a calm consideration and just judgment regarding the measures brought before the Assembly. He has done efficient work for his party in Congressional and district conventions as well as at the polls. He belongs to Calhoun Lodge, No. 792, A. F. &, A. M. Both himself and wife belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church and have high standing among its members. In 1869 the Hon. Mr. Mortland visited the old home in Ireland, being absent some four months.

Our subject established his own household April 4, 1856, when he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Smith. This lady was born in Jersey County to Levi and Mary Smith, received careful home training and developed a most excellent character. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Mortland consists of five children: Mary, is now the wife of Henry Fisher, their home being in Hardin; Sarah married Dr. Marion and lives in Guthrie, Oklahoma; Rosa married Dr. H. W. Springer, of Quincy; John married Ellen Linkogle and occupies the home farm; William is one of the proprietors of the Business College in Leavenworth, Kan.

Extracted 16 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 596-597


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