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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



W. H. BOIES, deceased, one of the most prominent and influential citizens of Gridley, was largely engaged as a grain and stock dealer, and by his enterprise and activity, for many years assisted greatly in the prosperity of the business interests of this section. Mr. Boies was a native of Livingston County, N. Y., born in the town of Moscow, Jan. 22, 1833. He was the son of James C. and Caroline (Severence) Boies, natives respectively of Canada and Vermont. After marriage the parents of our subject settled in Livingston County, N. Y., and there the mother died, in about 1835. James Boies then came to Illinois and made his home in Gridley, this county, until his death, which occurred in January, 1886. There were only two children Wilber H. and George. The latter was formerly a conductor on the T. P. & W. R. R. for twenty-one years, but is now engaged in the real-estate business in Kansas City.

W. H. Boies received a good common-school education and remained a resident of his native county until 1856, five years of that time being employed as clerk in a store. In the year named, he came to Illinois, and made his home in El Paso for about six years, where he was engaged in the purchase and sale of grain. From there he went to Watseka, where he was connected with the freight office for a short time, and in the spring of 1862 came to Gridley and took charge of the station of the T. P. & W. R. R. as their agent, a position which he occupied fourteen years; in the meantime he was also engaged in the buying and shipping of grain. After retiring from the employ of this road he devoted his entire attention to his grain and stock operations, to which he added that of farming. He purchased a tract of land which he successfully operated, and at the time of his death was the owner of 400 acres in Gridley Township. The elevator there, which has a capacity of about 30,000 bushels, was projected and built by him, in addition to a warehouse with a capacity of 80,000.

Wilber H. Boies was united in marriage with Miss Mary A. Taylor, in Perry, Wyoming Co., N. Y., Nov. 18, 1857. Mrs. B. was born in Wyoming County, Sept. 12, 1837, and by her union with our subject became the mother of four children—George V., Nettie W., Charles C. and Wilber H., Jr.

In 1884, Mr. Boies, who had been in partnership with R. Beese, purchased the interest of his partner and afterward carried on his business alone. He was a member of the Republican party, greatly interested in the success of the temperance movement, and served as a member of the Village Board for several years. Socially he was connected with El Paso Lodge, No. 246, A. F. & A. M., also belonged to Coeur de Leon Commandery at El Paso, and the Royal Arch Chapter.

[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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