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.
WILLIAM A. NEWELL. The business interests of Pana are well represented by the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. He is one of the leading grocers, having established himself in business in this line some twelve years since. By his earnest desire to please his customers and fair dealings he has won the confidence and good-will of all, and has secured a liberal share of the public patronage.

Mr. Newell is a Canadian by birth. He was born in Peterboro, Ontario, March 30, 1857, and is one of twelve children whose parents were Alfred and Harriet (Ryan) Newell. The paternal grandfather, John Newell, spent his entire life in England, his native land. He was long a soldier, continuing in the service for twenty-seven years. His death occurred at the age of eighty-seven. The maternal grandfather, Thomas Ryan, was a native of Ireland, an inn-keeper of that country. He was called to his final rest at the age of fifty.

The father of our subject was born and reared in England, and throughout the greater part of his life devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits, which he followed many years in Canada and
Michigan. He came to the United States in 1857, and made his home in Michigan until 1878, when he came to Pana, where he lived retired until his death, which occurred January 3, 1886, at the age of seventy-two years. His wife survived him a few years and passed away on Christmas Day, 1890, also at the age of seventy-two. They were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and their lives were in harmony with their profession.

Of their five sons and seven daughters, Ann Jane is now the wife of Robert Bennett, of Marshall, Mich.; Maggie is the wife of James C. Essick, of Chicago; Julia is the wife of John Murdock, of Ft. Worth, Tex; Bessie is the wife of James Limer, of Rosamond, Ill.; Eva is the widow of Preston W. Smith, of Chicago; Robert is living in Rosamond; and William A. and Thomas C. complete the family.

William A. Newell, whose name heads this record, was still in his infancy when his parents left Canada. He was reared on his father's farm, and acquired his education in the schools of Kalamazoo, Mich. He may truly be called a self-made man, for at the age of fourteen he began to earn his own livelihood and has since been dependent upon his own resources. In 1880, he came to Pana, where he has since made his home, and embarked in the bakery business, which he conducted for a year, and then opened a grocery store, which he has successfully carried on continuously since.

An important event in the life of Mr. Newell occurred October 31, 1883, when was celebrated his marriage with Miss Arabella Higgins, daughter of L. D. and Cordelia (McDaniels) Higgins, of Pana. Four children have been born unto them, a son and three daughters: Cordelia, June, Creighton and Pearl. The family has a pleasant home, and the parents are prominent people in the community. Mr. Newell is a member of the Tonti fraternity [ed., Order of Tonti], and in politics is a supporter of Republican principles, but has never been an aspirant for public office, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business interests, in which he has met with prosperity. Working his way upward from an humble beginning, he has now reached a place among the substantial citizens of the community.


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