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 and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

ANDREW JACKSON WILLEY is the senior member of the firm of A. J. Willey & Son, of Taylorville, dealers in lumber. A native of Ohio, he was born in Ross, Hamilton County, January 31, 1832, and is a son of Horace and Anna (Tate) Willey. His father was a native of Massachusetts, and his mother of Pennsylvania, but in youth they emigrated to Ohio, where their marriage was celebrated. Their remaining days were spent in Hamilton County, where they were highly respected citizens. The father enlisted for the War of 1812, but was never mustered in.

The subject of this sketch spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his parents' home, and remained in the county of his nativity until twenty-six years of age. On attaining his majority he left the parental roof and began earning his own livelihood. On the 31st of December, 1857, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Miller, and

in March, 1858, emigrated Westward with his young wife. With the hope of bettering his financial condition in Illinois, he cast his lot among the early settlers of Christian County, locating eight miles south of Taylorville, on Buckeye Prairie. He had twice visited this county before, and was pleased with its prospects and advantages. With a capital of $2,000 he reached his destination, and invested the same in land, buying a partially improved tract of two hundred acres, at $13 per acre.

For many years thereafter, Mr. Willey was engaged in agricultural pursuits. He remained upon his first farm until 1871, and increased its value to from $35 to $40 per acre. He raised both grain and stock, and made his place one of the best farms in the community. In 1871, he came to Taylorville. He purchased a farm near Willey Station, five miles from the county seat, on the Wabash Road [ed., probably the Wabash Railroad]. That comprised two hundred and forty acres, and he also bought another tract of one hundred and twenty acres. This land he operated successfully for fourteen years, and in addition carried on stock-raising, although he still made his home in the city. In 1884, however, he retired from agricultural pursuits, and in 1887 he opened a lumber-yard in Taylorville, on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad.

In 1875, Mr. Willey was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 5th of May. He was again married, May 23, 1878, his second union being with Cordelia, daughter of George W. Vollentine, one of the early settlers of Bond County, where she was born. They have one son, Horace S., who has been a partner in the lumber business since 1889.

Willey Station was named in honor of an uncle of our subject, Israel Willey, who is now deceased. He gave the site of the town and did much for its upbuilding. He came to Christian County in 1845, and was one of its large land-holders. His death occurred about twenty years ago.

In his political views, Mr. Willey has always been a Republican and ever votes that ticket, although he has never been an office-seeker. For twenty years he has been a member of the Presbyterian Church. In addition to his business in Taylorville, he is also interested in Chicago real estate. He invested about $12,000 in the lumber trade and now does an annual business of $40,000. In addition they have a branch yard at Owaneco. Mr. Willey is a man of good business ability, a his success in life has been achieved as the result of his labor, perseverance and enterprise. His career has been characterized by honorable dealing and he has therefore gained the confidence and esteem of all with whom he has been brought contact.



© Judy Edwards and Genealogy Trails