JAMES McMAHON, one of the self-made men of Downs Township, who by his own exertions has acquired a comfortable home with something laid up for a rainy day, came to this county in 1863, and purchased his present farm, which is located on section 9. It consists of 120 acres of good land, the greater part of which is under cultivation and upon which he has a good farm dwelling, a substantial barn and all necessary outhouses.

Mr. McMahon is a native of Ireland, born in 1833, and was left an orphan while still an infant. He was at once taken into the family of his uncle, John Ryan, and when nine years of age emigrated with him to the United States. They located in St. Louis, Mo., where our subject lived until he was fifteen years old and then set out to "paddle his own canoe." He first proceeded northeastward into Canada, going first to Quebec and thence to Toronto, in the Province of Ontario. He did not, however, remain very long in the Dominion, but started Westward again, proceeding first to Fond du Lac County, Wis., where he worked as he had in Canada, as a laborer on a farm. From Wisconsin he came this State, locating first in Lincoln, Logan County, where he remained six years. He then came to McLean County, was soon afterward married, and engaged as a molder of car wheels in the city of Bloomington, which trade at that time was very profitable. After some years of hard work, during which he managed to lay up a little sum of money, he purchased the land which constitutes his present farm, and since that time has been successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits.

Mr. McMahon was married, in Bloomington, in 1863, to Miss Salinda Allen, a native of Lafayette, Ind., who was born in 1836, and is the daughter of  Thomas Allen, now deceased. The latter was a farmer by occupation. Mrs. McM. lived under the parental roof until her marriage, having come to Illinois in 1863. Of her union with our subject there were born six children, one of whom, Aaron, is deceased. The others, all at home, are Mary, John, Rosa E., James and Thomas. The parents and children are regular attendants and members of the Catholic Church, and our subject, politically, is an uncompromising Democrat. Mr. McMahon has fully proved the maxim that "Perseverance will ensure success." He commenced life a poor boy, without friends or influence, but is now in possession of a good home, and by his honesty and industry has gained the esteem of the worthiest class of citizens.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill.: containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States.  (Chicago:  Chapman Brothers, 1887), 207-8.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards


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