genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

M. J. CURRAN, one of the leading merchants of Stonington, Christian County, Ill., was born October 29, 1854, in County Mayo, Ireland. He was the fourth in order of birth in a family of nine children, five sons and four daughters, whose parents were Patrick and Hannah (Higgins) Curran. Both parents were natives of the Emerald Isle, but the family removed to England when our subject was only about six months old.

The father followed the life of a farmer, and continued to make his home in England until his death. The eldest son, Edward, died in infancy. Bridget is deceased. Mary is the wife of Timothy Dunn, who follows the trade of carpet-weaving in Philadelphia. Frank is an engineer on a vessel plying the Lakes and running between Buffalo and Chicago. John is an overseer in a large distillery in England. James, the youngest of the family, is also still living in England.

Our subject remained at home with his parents until he was sixteen years of age. He worked in the cotton mills and had a very responsible position for a youth of his years. He was not satisfied, however, but believed he would be afforded greater opportunities by coming to the United States.

He took passage on a steamer, which encountered some very severe storms and consumed twenty-one days in crossing the ocean. A sister had previously located in Thompsonville, Conn., and there Mr. Curran first proceeded to visit her. He soon went to St. Louis, Mo., where he worked for about eight months, a part of the time driving a team and afterward obtaining employment in the car shops.

The next business undertaking of Mr. Curran was in selling dry-goods, starting out from Litchfield, Ill., and traveling by team from point to point. He followed this business for some three years, after which he worked on a farm in this county for three years.

In company with Erastus Murphy, he next engaged in the harness business in Stonington. His partnership with Mr. Murphy lasted about thirteen months, at the expiration of which time he bought out the latter's interest, and has since conducted the business by himself. In 1887, he added farm implements to his stock, commencing on a small scale, but eventually carrying a full line of carriages, buggies and implements.

He is one of the wide-awake business men of the town and is very ambitious. His business has grown to large proportions, and now in addition to his present home, he also owns the building in which his store is situated. He has made a comfortable fortune by his own industry and enterprise, as when he came to the United States he was a poor boy without a dollar.

On the 6th of October, 1887, Mr. Curran led to the marriage altar Miss Sarah Shanks, who was a resident of Stonington. They have one son, Russell Emmet.

Our subject is independent at local elections, but deposits his ballot for Democratic candidates at National elections. When the town of Stonington was incorporated, Mr. Curran was made one of the Trustees. He is a member of the Odd Fellows' society, belonging to Lodge No. 695, of this place, with which he has been connected for a number of years, and which he represented in the Grand Lodge at Springfield, Ill. He also holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. and Mrs. Curran have a large circle of friends and acquaintances, who hold them in the highest respect.



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