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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



PROF. L. C. DOUGHERTY, Principal of the Preparatory Department of Wesleyan University [ed., Illinois Wesleyan University], and youngest child of John and Elizabeth (Waltower) Dougherty, was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., Aug. 27, 1847. The mother of the subject of our sketch died while he was an infant and his father when the lad was seven years old. A few weeks after this sad event the boy was taken by his oldest brother, Joseph, to Ohio, and the next year the two brothers went overland in a one-horse wagon to Warren County, Ill., where they arrived in June, 1855. In the autumn of the same year young Dougherty voluntarily cast his lot among strangers in a strange land, cheerfully doing all a stout rustic lad might, such as dropping and covering corn, pulling weeds, collecting bundles for the "shockers" and later, harrowing with oxen, plowing, binding, cutting up corn and the usual work of the farm, receiving in return for such services a minimum amount of kindness, schooling, clothes and food.

The Professor still remembers the primitive log school-house in Indiana County, Pa., where he first attended school and learned to read and write, having for a text-book only McGuffy's Speller [ed., McGuffey Speller]. In addition to this term the boy went to school at various times until 1861, but the aggregate time spent at school amounted to a few months only, so when he enlisted in the army his knowledge was limited to a slight acquaintance with mental arithmetic and the ability to fairly read and write. In 1860 he became a man to the degree that he made a formal contract to work one year for $40, and two months' schooling. He did a man's work, bought his own books and clothing, a literary work for $4, and when the year closed had a balance of $8 on hand.

When Ft. Sumter was fired upon, young Dougherty resolved if possible to assist in the preservation of the Union. A military company was organized in the neighboring village of Young America, now Kirkwood, Warren County, which he joined, no questions being asked as to age, though it appeared that his friends put it down at nineteen years. On July 17, 1861, the company was mustered into the U. S. service and became known as Co. B, 59th Ill. Vol. Inf. The young volunteer was, at this date, thirteen years and eleven months old. Private Dougherty performed all the duties of a soldier in the ranks acceptably, and was soon selected for posts of unusual responsibility, and was one for whom both officers and comrades had words of praise only. He marched with his regiment 10,000 miles, and participated in nineteen regular engagements beside many skirmishes. He took part in the more prominent battles of Perryville, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge and all the battles of the Atlanta campaign, during which he was for sixty days under fire, either of artillery or musketry, and lastly Nashville. On the first day of this struggle he, with a comrade, took eight prisoners, including a Captain, in one squad. At night he found that a blanket which he carried had seventeen bullet holes in it. The sole of one of his shoes also was partially torn off by a minie ball. In a charge upon the rebel works on Overton Hill [ed., Franklin-Nashville Campaign] on the second day of the battle he was wounded twice, when within two rods of the enemy. On Jan. 12, 1863, at Whiteside, Tenn., he re-enlisted as a veteran, being one of thirty-two in a company which contained, all told, during the war 159. Veteran Dougherty was promoted Corporal and bearer of the regimental banner, in which capacity he was mustered out at New Braunfels, Tex., Dec. 8, 1865.

Mr. Dougherty remained in Texas nine months afterward, studying the situation, with a view to making that State his future home. On a ranch in the hills some thirty miles from San Antonio he took a position as shepherd, where he remained nine months. Afterward rejecting several business offers he, with a companion, turned his face toward the North, and after a horseback ride of more than 1,200 miles, found himself again in Warren County, Ill. In the spring of 1866 Mr. Dougherty entered Monmouth Academy [ed., Monmouth College], taking his place, through the grace of the Principal, in the lowest class. He completed the two years' course in twelve months and afterward for several years taught school, worked on a farm and clerked in a general store. His leisure time, however, was given to his books, and in the winter of 1871 he entered the Illinois Normal University, where he spent over three years and graduated in 1876, fourth in rank in a class of twenty-eight. During this time he took Latin as an extra study, and in the meantime taught school seven and one-half months in the Barr School, in Warren County; was one year at Rutland, LaSalle County, as Principal, and one year as Principal of the schools at Ironton, Mo.

After graduating, Mr. Dougherty became Principal of Lacon schools, Marshall County. He remained there two years, when he became Principal of the Minonk schools in Woodford County, which position he held seven years, and was unanimously elected for the eighth year, but resigned to accept the position which he now holds.

Prof. Dougherty was married at Lacon, Aug. 5, 1879, to Miss Olive E., daughter of the late William Trench, for many years editor-in-chief of the Peoria Democrat, and later editor and proprietor of the Illinois Statesman, published at Lacon. Of this union one child has been born, Ethel Lucretia, aged six years. Mrs. Dougherty on her mother's side is descended from Peregrino White, the first white child born in New England.

Mr. Dougherty was converted at the age of ten years, and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which both he and his wife are valued members. Mr. D. was chorister and Mrs. D. organist of the churches at Lacon and Minonk, and our subject is now Precentor at the First Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics he has always been a Republican, is an advocate of prohibition, and a member of the G. A. R. and also of the Masonic fraternity. He was without doubt the youngest soldier who became a veteran, or who served during the War. He is essentially a self-made man and never possessed a dollar that he did not earn. He occupies a pleasant residence with his family at No. 915 North West street, where they enjoy the society of the cultured people of the community, and are surrounded by all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.

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), 418. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards


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