Biography - WILLIAM P. REES
Situated upon the southern bank of the Illinois river, at Ottawa, is the pleasant, modern home of William P. Rees, who is one of the esteemed citizens of LaSalle county, his residence here dating from 1852. His beautiful home commands a fine view of Ottawa and the surrounding country, and he takes great pride in keeping everything about the house and grounds in excellent condition.
The Rees family originated in Wales, our subject's great-grandfather being a native of that country. The grandfather, Jonathan Rees, was born in Ohio, whence he removed to Kentucky, and in that state Albert G., the father of William P. Rees, was born, in 1801. He grew to manhood there and a number of years after his marriage to Caroline Helm, a native of the same state, he removed to Illinois. At first he dwelt in Ottawa township, on a farm, later locating on a homestead, which he purchased, in Grand Rapids township. This tract, comprising three hundred and twenty acres, was wild prairie land at the time that he became its owner, and he was obliged to break the ground and expend much energy in placing it under cultivation. In the course of time he had a splendid farm, on which were substantial buildings, fences and other improvements. He took an active part in the affairs of his community, and enjoyed the love and respect of his neighbors and associates. He was summoned to the silent land in 1881, having survived his wife only two years. Three of their children are living, two sons and a daughter.
William P. Rees, whose birth occurred upon a farm in Mason county, Kentucky, January 21, 1831, spent his youth in that state, and then gained a common-school education. In November, 1851, he came to Illinois, to investigate some of the possibilities and prospects of the state, and being pleased with LaSalle county decided to make his future home here. His parents and the rest of the family came here in the following spring, and he continued to live with them until his marriage, March 26, 1856. After that event he settled on a homestead in Grand Rapids township, and carried on general farming and stock-raising. He remained on this farm for many years, and gradually increased its value by care and cultivation. The place, comprising two hundred acres, is still owned by him, and he now rents it to responsible tenants. In 1875 he retired from active life, and since that time has made his home in Ottawa.
Mr. Rees has been twice married, his first wife having been Miss Sarah Ann Robinson, a daughter of Ephraim and Christiann Robinson. This marriage took place in 1856, and six children were born to them, five of whom died in infancy. The one surviving is Minnie E., now the wife of William I. Mohr, of Ottawa, and she is the mother of three interesting children, Mrs. Rees passed to her reward November 6, 1893, and on the 17th of September, 1896, Mr. Rees married Miss Martha Ann Newburn, a daughter of William and Leah (Harley) Newburn. They had one child, Ruth M., born May 17, 1899.
For a number of years Mr. Rees has been a member of the First Presbyterian church of Ottawa, and at present he is serving in the capacity of an elder in the congregation. In his political views he is a Democrat, and takes an active interest in the welfare of the community, state and county in which his lot is cast.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 337-338.