Young Irish blood is having a powerful influence in the municipalities of the west. This is true no less of the small cities than the large ones. At the head of the municipal government of LaSalle is a man of thirty-two, who has been prominently connected with it since he was twenty-two years of age. This man is certainly young for one of his prominence and experience. Both lines of his family descent have been Irish of the purest blood.
William F. McNamara was born on a farm in LaSalle county, Illinois, March 16, 1867, a son of Michael J. and Bridget (Burke) McNamara. Michael J. McNamara was a son of Martin McNamara, and was born at Schenectady, New York, and came with his father to LaSalle county in 1847. The family located first at LaSalle, and later on a farm some distance from that town, w4iere Martin McNamara died. The parents of Bridget Burke settled in the county about 1847 also. After their marriage Michael and Bridget (Burke) McNamara located on a farm in LaSalle county, and lived upon it until 1884, when they removed to LaSalle, where Mr. McNamara embarked in the grocery trade, in which he has since continued with success.
When his parents came to LaSalle William F. McNamara, future mayor of the city, was seventeen years old. He had spent his life thus far since his childhood in helping his father about the farm work and attending the public schools. After the family took up their residence in LaSalle he was for several years a student at the parochial school of the Brothers of St. Patrick at LaSalle. At twenty-one he became a clerk in a clothing store, and was thus employed for eight years.
Mr. McNamara's political experience began in 1889, when, as a Democrat, he was elected alderman, and by successive re-elections he filled that office until 1897, when he was elected mayor, which office he still holds, and which he has filled with a zeal and ability that have made him popular with all classes of citizens.
Mr. McNamara is a Roman Catholic, and is a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters, the Royal Arcanum, the Court of Honor, the Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen of America, and is always prominently identified with every movement having for its object the enhancement of the welfare of the people of LaSalle and LaSalle county.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 242-243.