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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



WILLIAM M. BRIGHT, importer and breeder of French draft horses, is also extensively engaged in the culture of small fruits, and is the occupant of a fine homestead in Normal, from which he dispenses a generous hospitality, and enjoys the association and friendship of the cultured people of this locality. Mr. Bright is a native of Lincoln County, Ky., and was born Oct. 23, 1835, his parents being John and Elizabeth (Morrison) Bright, natives of the same State, where they spent their entire lives and were finally laid peacefully away for their final rest. The parental family of our subject included nine children, all of whom reached mature years, and seven are still living.

The subject of this history was next to the youngest of his parents' family, and was reared to farming pursuits. After pursuing his primary studies in the common schools, he entered the academy at Stanford, Ky., and after completing a course in 1857, accompanied his brother-in-law, James Givens, to Illinois. The two together purchased section 2 of Normal Township, in this county, which they retained possession of until 1865. In the meantime young Bright had returned to his native State and remained there until 1861, when he came back to McLean County, which has since been his home. In the spring of 1866 he removed within the city limits of Normal, where he owns 100 acres on three sides of the Soldier's Orphans' Home, besides forty acres outside of the city. Until 1882 he gave his principal attention to the growing of small fruits, then, through the influence of his nephew, R. G. Bright, he imported four French draft mares, and has since devoted a large portion of his time to the breeding of horses. Before this, however, he had raised a number of Kentucky saddle horses, and already attained quite a reputation in this line.

The subject of this sketch was married near Danville, Ky., in 1864, to Miss Mary E. Bruce, who was born near that city on the 2d of November, 1842, and was the daughter of Henry and Mary E. (Pope) Bruce. Of this union there were born seven children, of whom one son died at the age of five years, and six are now living. They were named respectively, John H., James G., Mary E., Bruce, Fannie M. and Reuben G.

[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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