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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



SIMON CAVANAUGH, a leading farmer of Cheneys Grove Township, owns and occupies a fine homestead on section 32. He has been a resident of this county since 1856, and is a representative of the warm-hearted Irish nationality, so many of whom have emigrated to this county and assisted in its development and colonization. The birthplace of our subject was in Wicklow County, Ireland [ed., County Wicklow, Ireland], where he first opened his eyes to the light on the 9th of September, 1836.

His parents were Thomas and Mary (Ryan) Cavanaugh, both of whom are now deceased. They left their native land in 1848, and after a safe ocean voyage landed at New Orleans, whence they at once proceeded to Greene County, Ohio, where they took up their residence and spent the remainder of their lives. Thomas Cavanaugh engaged in agricultural pursuits, and the parental household was completed by the birth of seven children, six of whom are now living, namely, Mary, Bridget, John, Simon, Annie and William. Andrew was killed by the fall of a tree, in Ohio, when twenty-three years of age.

The subject of this history remained with his parents until twenty-one years old, receiving a common-school education and assisting his parents in the duties around the farm. Soon after attaining his majority he was united in marriage with Miss Julia Stansbury, on the 10th of September, 1857. Mrs. Cavanaugh was born in Tennessee in 1836, her parents being Isaac and Ruth (Lacey) Stansbury. They removed to Kansas, where the father died in 1877; the mother is still living. Our subject and his wife are the parents of ten children, of whom the record is as follows: Mollie became the wife of N. McCarty, and lives in Piatt County, Ill.; William H. married Miss Mary McCoy, and they are residents of Nebraska; Annie became the wife of William McCoy; Ida, Rosa, Harry and Maude are at home with their parents. Three died in infancy.

When Mr. Cavanaugh first came to this county he was employed as a farm laborer two years. He had been trained to habits of industry and economy, and at the end of this time found himself with sufficient means to purchase eighty acres of land. This he cultivated, improved, and added to, so that he now has a fine farm of 120 acres under an advanced state of cultivation. The residence is a substantial and shapely building. He has a good barn and all other buildings necessary for the successful prosecution of agriculture, the shelter of stock and the storage of grain. Everything about the premises is kept in good repair and denotes the enterprise of its proprietor. He has been upright and methodical in his business transactions, and by this course has secured the esteem and confidence of his fellow-townsmen, who have from time to time honored him with the various township offices, including that of School Director.

Politically Mr. Cavanaugh is a stanch Republican, and he and his family are members and regular attendants of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Socially he belongs to the Masonic fraternity, being a member of Saybrook Lodge No. 468, in which he has held the office of Junior and Senior Deacon for some years. He is a great admirer of the principles of the fraternity, which he upholds with honest zeal.

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), 471. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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