top shadow

Biography - WILSON CONARD

Occupying a leading position among the prominent and influential farmers of Rutland township, LaSalle county, Illinois, is the subject of this sketch, Wilson Conard, Ottawa, being his post-office address.

Wilson Conard is a native of the county in which he lives. He was born in Miller township, October 5, 1863, and is a son of the late David W. Conard. The following reference to his father we clip from a local newspaper:

"One more has been added to the list of pioneers who have passed away. Mr. David W. Conard, who during the last three years has been a resident of Marseilles, died in Ottawa on Monday, April 24, 1899. David Wilson Conard was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, April 7, 1825. At the age of three he accompanied his parents to Licking county, Ohio, where he grew to manhood. At the time this great Mississippi valley region was being rapidly settled, believing he would find here larger opportunities, he started across the country on horseback, and arrived in LaSalle county in May, 1844, and continued a resident of this county until his death. For several years after coming here he taught school in winter and worked at the carpenter trade in summer. In 1848 he bought one hundred acres of prairie land north of Marseilles and thus entered upon the work of farming, in which he was unusually successful. As he prospered he added to his original holding of land, until he became the owner of many hundred acres of real estate. He also became connected with banking interests in Marseilles and other cities, both east and west. A conservative estimate places his property interests at the time of his death at upward of two hundred thousand dollars. He constantly practiced a rigid economy in matters of personal expense. He was a man of untiring energy and possessed of an almost iron constitution. Until within a few years before his death he did not know what it was to have a day of sickness. His judgment in matters of business was excellent. His investments always turned out well. Although his chances for an education in early life were limited, he improved them so well that he was able, as already noted, to do the work of a teacher. Although so entirely occupied in the work of farming, he kept himself informed upon the questions of the day. His political convictions were strong and he was able to give to them very intelligent expression. His views were not those of the mere partisan, but rather those of the patriot. It may be said to his praise that he was honest in his business dealings. No part of his large property was won by treachery or fraud. He was considerate toward those who were under obligation to him, and he is kindly remembered and spoken of in this regard by many of them. Mr. Conard was twice married. On June 10, 1849, he married Barbara DeBolt, who died February 9, 1851, leaving one son, Virgil, who grew to manhood, but died in 1892. March 17, 1853, he married Elizabeth Grove, a cousin of his first wife, and she and three of her six children remain, - Wilson, a farmer of Rutland township; Grant, a lawyer of Ottawa; and Mrs. Samuel Montgomery of Marseilles, Illinois."

Wilson Conard was reared and educated in his native township and remained a member of the home circle until he reached his majority. Following in the footsteps of his father, he is devoting his energies to agricultural pursuits. The first farm he owned he bought at twenty-five dollars per acre. Subsequently selling it for sixty-five dollars an acre, he purchased his present farm of two hundred and forty acres, from his father, D. W. Conard.

Mr. Conard was married when twenty-three years of age to Miss Mary Batchelor, daughter of George and Christina (Morrison) Batchelor, natives of Scotland, where Mrs. Conard was born. They came to America when Mrs. Conard was a child, and she was reared and educated in Iroquois county, Illinois, being a student of Grand Prairie Seminary. Mr. and Mrs. Conard have three children: David Roy, born December 19, 1887; and Laura E. and Anna C, twins, born October 16, 1889.

The Conard family attend worship at the Methodist Episcopal church. Politically Mr. Conard is a Democrat.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 291-293.

Templates in Time