JOHN TALLON, an industrious and enterprising farmer and stock-raiser of Mt. Hope Township, is what may properly
be called a self-made man. He commenced life at the foot of the ladder, and by the exercise of his own native energy
and perseverance has climbed up to a good position among his fellowmen. The worldly goods of which he is possessed
have been accumulated by the work of his hands and the sweat of his brow, and the confidence and esteem in which
he is held by his fellow-citizens are the result of hi straightforward business transactions and upright course
The subject of this history is a native of Westmorelandshire, England, and was born Aug. 17, 1833, his parents being Thomas and Rebecca (Jackson) Tallon. The father was a blacksmith, of substantial English ancestry and parentage, and followed his trade all his life in his native England, spending his last days in Lancashire. The subject of our sketch was but two years old when his parents removed to Lancashire, where they lived for ten years, and then returned to Westmoreland, where their son grew to manhood. At an early age he commenced working with his father in the blacksmith-shop, where he remained for three years, and subsequently engaged in agricultural pursuits. When he was sixteen years old he received $30 per year for his services, and a few years later his wages were raised to $100 a year and board.
Not being satisfied with his condition or prospects in his own country, Mr. Tallon resolved to seek the New World. In the meantime he had been married, and in April, 1855, accompanied by his wife, he set sail from Liverpool and landed at New Orleans on the 18th of May. They proceeded directly up the river to Pekin, Ill., reaching there two months from the day they sailed from Liverpool. Upon arriving here he found himself possessed of $9 in cash. He had an uncle living in Pekin, who kindly employed him to plow corn two or three days so that he might replenish his slender exchequer, and he subsequently procured a job in a brickyard at the munificent wages of seventy-five cents a day and board. He was thus occupied until August of that year, and then engaged in harvesting. From this time until 1856, our subject worked industriously at whatever his hands could find to do, and in the spring of that year rented a farm in Tazewell County, which he occupied and cultivated until the fall of 1870. He then came to Mt. Hope Township, purchased eighty acres of land on section 16, and has been a resident here since that time. He has been uniformly successful in his agricultural pursuits and business transactions, and subsequently added to his first purchase until he is now the possessor of 360 acres of some of the finest land in McLean County. It is all enclosed and improved, a portion of it being devoted to pasture and grass. His stock-raising operations have yielded him a handsome income, and he exhibits some of the finest animals to be found in this section of the Prairie State. In 1885 he revisited his native England and while there, in partnership with one of his neighbors, purchased four English draft stallions at a great price. They are magnificent animals, models of symmetry and beauty. Mr. T., understanding fully the care of such animals, will doubtless utilize them in producing some of the finest stock along the Mississippi Valley. He is a good judge of horses, and takes genuine pride in his skill as a breeder. One of the horses, named "What's Wanted," he keeps at his home farm; he is a magnificent black animal with a white stripe in face, and weighs 1,900 pounds.
The marriage of John Tallon and Miss Agnes Ellwood occurred on the 10th of March, 1855. Mrs. T. is also of English birth and parentage, her native place being Lancashire, near the early home of Mr. T. Of this union there have been born ten children, the record of whom is as follows: Mary E. became the wife of Andrew Lucas, and lives in Piatt County, Ill.; Christina R. married Charles Dillion, and lives in Nebraska; Agnes J. is deceased; Charles W. is a resident of Mt. Hope Township; Lillie J. became the wife of William Tyson, and lives in Mills County, Iowa; Margaret A. married Elmer Ethel, of Mt. Hope Township; Cora Idella, Ida L. and Abigail S. are at home with their parents; Georgiana is deceased.
Mr. Tallon is Democratic in politics, and takes an intelligent interest in local and general matters. He is well read and informed, and is the encourager and supporter of every project calculated to promote the welfare of his county and community.
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), 485. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.