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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



WlLLIAM J. BALDRIDGE, a prosperous farmer of White Oak Township, is located on section 23, where he has a comfortable homestead, and is surrounded by all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life. He is a native of the Buckeye State, having been born in Adams County, Ohio, Oct. 13, 1839. His parents were William and Margaret (Kane) Baldridge, natives of Ohio and Pennsylvania. The father was born in 1805, and is still living. He came to Illinois in 1852, and purchased 120 acres of land in White Oak Township, upon which he remained until 1858, and then retired from active labor and took up his residence in the village of Oak Grove. His wife, the mother of our subject, was born in 1806, and died at the home of her husband in White Oak Township, in August, 1867.

The parental family of our subject consisted of six children, the record of whom is as follows: Mary became the wife of William Ramsey, and makes her home with her children. Mr. Ramsey being deceased; Samuel married Miss Kirkpatrick; Martha is now Mrs. A. Hart; James W. married Miss Martha Johnson; William J., of this sketch, was the fifth child; George T. married Miss Hattie Ewins, now deceased; his second wife was Miss Amanda Leach.

The subject of this history was reared by his parents, and remained under the home roof until he had attained his majority, he was married Nov. 21, 1867, to Miss Caroline Wright, who was born in Ohio, Feb. 6, 1848. Mrs. B. is the daughter of Samuel and Mary (Balas) Wright, both natives of Ohio, where the father died Nov. 13, 1876. The mother still survives, and is now living at Chenoa, this county. The household circle was completed by the birth of eleven children, as follows: Mary J. was the eldest; Nancy died when sixteen years of age; Samuel A. died in 1867, aged thirty-five years; William H. and Albert S. are residents of Mound City, Kan., the latter being Mayor; Sarah C., the twin sister of Albert, is living at Chenoa, this county; Elizabeth A. died when a small child; John B. is living in Kansas; Martha died in infancy; Caroline is Mrs. Baldridge; James A. died when two years of age.

William J. Baldridge came to Illinois in the spring of 1852, being a lad of thirteen years. He received a fair education in the district schools, and was reared to habits of industry and principles of honor. He commenced early in life to lay his plans for the future, and was willing to work for his possessions. He is now the owner of 240 acres of fine land, and is an extensive breeder of fine horses, turning his attention mostly to Norman and Clydesdale stock. His stables include four fine Morgan roadsters, which are models of endurance and speed. As a stock-breeder he has gained an enviable reputation in this vicinity, and has exercised admirable judgment in the management and care of valuable animals.

Mr. Baldridge has been prominent in the affairs of the county since attaining to years of manhood. He was elected Supervisor on the Republican ticket, in 1879, and has served the county in that capacity six terms. He has been Chairman of the committee on education, and has been the encourager and supporter of every measure to advance the prosperity and intelligence of the people of this section. He has held all the minor offices of White Oak Township, and is highly esteemed in the councils of his townsmen, for his cool and temperate judgment and the general fund of information which assists him in determining questions of importance. In religions matters he has been no less active than in civil affairs. He was reared in the Presbyterian Church, but is now connected with the Methodist, holding the offices of Trustee, Steward and Superintendent of the Sunday -School.

During the progress of the late war Mr. Baldridge enlisted as a Union soldier in the 94th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, as a private, and participated in several general engagements. He was in the Western and Southern armies, and takes pride in the knowledge that he was never beaten in a race with the rebels, never under arrest, never in the hospital and never wounded in battle. After serving three years he received his honorable discharge, in 1865.

Mr. and Mrs. Baldridge became the parents of nine children, namely: Clarence Myrtie, who died at the age of twelve years; Lucia, lola, Mary Mabel, William C., Estella, who died in infancy; Margaret; Edith who died in infancy and John Carl. In politics Mr. Baldridge is Republican.

[SOURCE: 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). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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