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Biography - WILLIAM TRUMAN

For almost half a century William Truman and wife were honored citizens of Mendota township, LaSalle county. They literally saw the "wilderness bloom as the rose," and aided materially to this result by their own well-directed industry. Their numerous friends will peruse the history of their well-spent lives with interest, and great credit and praise is certainly due this estimable couple for the heroic manner in which they met and overcame the obstacles which confronted them at the time of their early settlement here.

The paternal grandfather of our subject bore the same Christian name. He was born in England, and died there when over three-score and ten years of age. In his early manhood he was pressed into the government service, at London, and was held on board of a man-of-war for some time. By trade he was a carpenter, and followed that vocation chiefly as a means of livelihood. He reared three children, one of whom was Robert, the father of William Truman, of this sketch. He learned the trades of carpenter and wheelwright in his youth, and in 1852 he removed to the United States. Locating in LaSalle county, he resided here for almost two-score years, working at this trade for some time. He died at the home of his son, Robert, in Daykin, Nebraska, in 1896, when in his eighty-fifth year. His wife, Elizabeth, departed this life June 21, 1884, aged seventy-four years. She was one of the four children of John Robison, a native of England and a miller and baker by trade. He lived to be over seventy years of age, dying in his native land. Mr. Truman was an Episcopalian in religious faith, while his wife was identified with the Baptist denomination at the time of her death. Three sons and three daughters were born to them, namely: William, John R., of Denver; Robert, of Daykin, Nebraska; Jane, wife of A. C. Johnston, of Denver, Colorado; Eliza, wife of David Reece, of Denver; and Lizzie, deceased, formerly the wife of William McBoyle.

William Truman was born in Lincolnshire, England, April 16, 1833, and received a limited education in the public schools. When he was a mere child he began learning the bakers and confectioners' trade and subsequently devoted his time to this calling for many years, meeting with financial success. After coming to the United States in 1852 with his newly wedded wife he located in LaSalle, whence they removed to Mendota in 1855. In this place they established a bakery and confectionery shop, and carried it on prosperously for a period of twelve years. They were the pioneers in this line of business here and enjoyed a large and remunerative patronage. After the civil war Mr. Truman and John Mundie entered into partnership and bought, sold and shipped cattle and hogs for the next ten years, one year's business alone amounting to one hundred and eighty thousand dollars.

In 1866 Mr. Truman rented the homestead where his widow now resides. The place then comprised five hundred acres, and, after renting it for ten years, he purchased three hundred acres of the tract, which he greatly improved. Forty acres of the original three hundred acres he sold for three hundred dollars an acre, and in its stead he bought a two-hundred and forty-acre farm adjoining it on the northeastern corner. In addition to this he owns residence and business property in Mendota. For many years he made a specialty of breeding and raising shorthorn cattle, and sheep of an excellent grade, and upon his farm line stock was always to be found.

Politically Mr. Truman was a Republican, and for ten years he served as a supervisor of his home township. For eleven months during the civil war he was on scout duty, under the command of Provost Marshal Wanless, of Denver, and his enlistment was under Colonel Shivington, who was a Methodist minister in times of peace. Once, while on duty, Mr. Truman captured five men, and upon other occasions he distinguished himself for his daring and efficiency. Fraternally he was a Mason, belonging to the Mendota lodge and chapter, and to the council, and to Bethany Commandery, No. 28, K. T.

On the 20th of April, 1852, Mr. Truman and Mary Taylor were united in marriage in England. Her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth (Taylor) Taylor, were faithful members of the Methodist church. They died in England, their native country, the father in 1847, at the age of fifty-two years, and the mother in 1881, when in her eighty-fifth year. Only three of their ten children now survive, namely: Mary; Elizabeth, wife of William Clawson, of Welbourn, England; and James, who for over thirty-one years has been a citizen of Mendota.

Four sons and three daughters were born to our subject and wife. Louisa, who is unmarried; Adeline Elizabeth, who died when young; William S., who died when four years of age; Charles Robert and another child, who died in infancy; William R., an enterprising farmer of this township, who married Bertha Blanche Boslough, and has two children, - Greta Marie and Theora Tryllis; and Mary E., who is the wife of R. N. Crawford, the president of the Mendota National bank, and their children are Louise and Robert N., Jr. Mr. and Mrs. William Truman became members of the Methodist church early in life, Mr. Truman lived a life of perseverance, energy and earnest purpose, succeeded in business life, secured for himself an excellent reputation as a citizen, and passed away in death leaving to his family and friends a full assurance of his abiding faith in the Christian religion. His death occurred July 11, 1899.

Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 213-215.

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