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Benjamin F. Irish

IRISH, Benjamin F. — Qualified in youth for the professions of medicine and agriculture, Benjamin F. Irish has known nearly a half century of increasing prosperity in the latter capacity, and at the present time is one of the largest and most resourceful producers in McDonough County, Ill. Mr. Irish presents many claims in favor of moderate and wholesome living, for, notwithstanding the fact that he has passed his seventy-third year, he still is active in his chosen calling, investing it with the skill, good judgment and ripe wisdom which comes of the ability to profit by one's observations and experiences. While Michigan still was a Territory, Mr. Irish was born there in what now is Oakland County, July 10, 1833. He is a son of Dr. Thomas and Issamena (Ellenwood) Irish, the former born in New York and the latter in New Hampshire. His father practiced medicine in Michigan for many years, making his home for a part of that time in Ann Arbor, where his son supplemented his earlier educational training with Latin and anatomy at Ann Arbor College. Receiving his license to practice medicine, the young man came to McDonough County in 1853, settling in Fandon, which then was called Middletown, where he practiced medicine for three years. In 1854 he invested his earnings in 120 acres of land in Lamoine Township, and to this he since has added until at the present time he owns 560 acres in McDonough County. In 1879 he located on his present farm, and in 1886 built the large and comfortable residence which the family now occupies. Mr. Irish also owns 400 acres of land in Kansas, 100 acres in Missouri and several pieces of valuable property in Stronghurst, Henderson County.

On April 17, 1856, Mr. Irish was united in marriage to Mary White, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Hicks) White, who then were living in Tennessee Township. Mrs. Irish died in 1873, the mother of the following named children: Thomas, a farmer living near Deer Park, Wash., who married (first) Mary Miller, and later his present wife, and who has eight children; Frank Stanley, living half a mile west of his father, who married Lizzie Connor, and who has five children; Alva, the deceased wife of Thomas Miller, a farmer in Carroll County, Mo., and who left four children; Hugh, editor of the "Times," who married Nellie Walker, and lives in Williamsfield, Knox County, Ill., with his wife and one child; Ralph, living near Lewiston, Idaho, who married Minnie Udell; Phila, deceased wife of Franklin Miller, also deceased, and who left two children, Ralph and Charles; and two children who died in infancy. March 17, 1878, Mr. Irish married Mary Hicks, of McDonough County, and of this union there have been born seven children: Eben N., who married Laura Harris, and now owns and operates the farm near Blandinsville, upon which his wife was born and reared, and where was born the only child in the family; John W., a farmer of Hire Township, who married Anna Bryant, of Logan County, Ill., and has two children; Charles H., married to Myrtle Smith, of Hancock County, and occupying a farm near Blandinsville; Rial C, living with his father; Darius H., deceased; Grover L., living at home; and Minnie, also on the home farm.

Mr. Irish has been a stanch supporter of Democratic politics for many years, and has been one of the most efficient and popular officials in the township, serving as Collector, Assessor, Road Commissioner and Supervisor, holding the latter office eight years, during three years of which he was President of the Board. Mr. Irish represents the men of fine and honorable character who have lent their business sagacity and public spiritedness to the upbuilding of McDonough County, and who, the success which has attended their efforts, have proved one of its financial, moral and intellectual bulwarks.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 919-920, extracted 11 May 2019 by Norma Hass.

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