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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



WILLIAM H. DOOLEY, a prosperous and progressive farmer of Empire Township, is one of its most intelligent citizens, an extensive reader, well educated and well informed, and a gentleman who has materially assisted in the advancement and prosperity of this section. He is a native of Clark County, Ky., and was born Aug. 15, 1834. His father, William Dooley, a native of the same county and State, was born March 1, 1804, and his grandfather, Obadiah Dooley, of Virginia, removed from the Old Dominion to Clark County, Ky., soon after his marriage, and was among the pioneer settlers of that region. He cleared a farm from the wilderness and made it his home until his death, at an advanced age, in about 1844.

The father of our subject was reared in his native county, and after his marriage purchased a tract of timber land ten miles from Winchester, the county seat. He there cleared a farm and lived until 1851, then disposed of his possessions in the Blue Grass country and started with his family, consisting of his wife and twelve children, on an overland journey to Illinois. They began their journey on the 11th of November, their outfit consisting of twelve horses and four wagons, with a carriage, and arrived in Bloomington in just one month from the day they started. There William Dooley, Sr., rented a house for a short time, then purchased the Rogers farm in Old Town Township. This he occupied until 1858, being successful in his business and agricultural operations, and then abandoning the active labors of life, removed to Bloomington, whence he removed to a farm in Padua Township, where he spent his last days, dying on the 7th of June, 1869.

The mother of our subject before her marriage was Miss Minerva Morris, a native of the same county and State as her husband. She was born in 1810, being the daughter of Samuel Morris, of Virginia, whence he removed to Clark County, Ky., at an early day, where he cleared a farm and occupied it until his death in 1859. Mrs. Minerva Dooley departed this life in Bloomington, in August, 1884.

William H. Dooley was the fifth child of his parents' family, and was a youth of seventeen years when his parents removed from Kentucky to Illinois and located in this county. He had obtained a good education in the subscription schools of his native State and afterward assisted his father in carrying on the farm until his marriage. He then settled on a small tract of land which had been given him by his father, and after occupying it one season sold it and purchased sixty acres adjacent, where he lived one year, then sold again and purchased 120 acres. This he also sold, after occupying it one season, and after a short residence in Bloomington, rented for one year a farm in Normal Township, then purchased eighty acres in Old Town Township.

After several more changes of location he selected his present site, which he removed to on the 1st of May, 1876. This farm contains 1,185 acres, all improved, much of it being devoted to pasture, and the shapely and substantial set of frame buildings is unexcelled in this section. His cattle are graded Durhams, and among them are to be found some of the finest animals in the county. Everything about the premises denotes the supervision of an intelligent and enterprising man, who is keeping full pace with the progress and improvement of the day.

The marriage of William H. Dooley and Miss Eliza Naggle took place at the home of the bride's parents in Old Town Township, on the 12th of October, 1854. Mrs. Dooley was born in Darke County, Ohio, May 7, 1835. Her father, Samuel Naggle, and her mother, formerly Miss Mary (Slechty) Naggle, were natives of Pennsylvania, whence they came to McLean County in 1850, settling first in Bloomington Township, and later in Old Town Township, where the mother died in 1871. The father died in Vermilion County in 1880. Mr. and Mrs. Dooley became the parents of eleven children, seven of whom are living -- Lillie May, Milton H., George E., Damaris, Obadiah M., Hattie and Lida B.

Mr. and Mrs. D. are members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and our subject in politics is an uncompromising Democrat. He cast his first presidential vote for James Buchanan, and since that time has uniformly voted in support of the principles of his party. He has filled various offices of trust in Old Town Township; has been Collector of Taxes, and served on the Board of Supervisors several terms in Empire Township, being also a member of the School Board. To such men as Mr. Dooley is McLean County indebted for its prosperous and prominent position as one of the wealthiest and most progressive counties of the State.

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), 267. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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