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Below is a family biography included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM HEMSTREET, retired farmer; P.O. Towanda; one of the old settlers of McLean Co.; born in Scoharie Co., N. Y., Nov. 15, 1807, where he obtained a common-school education by walking a distance of four miles to and from school; he was brought up to farm labor until 15 years of age, when he was apprenticed to learn the blacksmith trade, which business he followed some three years in his native town, after which he removed to Syracuse and engaged in the same business a few years, when he engaged as partner in the carriage and general blacksmith business until 1855, when he emigrated West and located in La Salle Co., Ill., until 1861, when he came to McLean Co. and settled in Blue Mound Township, where he purchased 170 acres of land which at that time was perfectly wild, and which he brought from its wild prairie condition to its present high state of cultivation by his own hard labor. In 1875, Mr. Hemstreet sold his farm and retired from active labor, and purchased his present residence in Towanda, where he has since lived. Mr. and Mrs. Hemstreet are regular attendants of the churches, having been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church for a period of half a century. His marriage with Sophia Parker was celebrated in New York March 10, 1832; she was born in Wallingford, Conn., Sept. 22, 1808; they were the parents of four children — Elmira H. (now Mrs. Samuel Gardner, living in Chicago), William F., George W. (lost his life while defending his country at Jackson, Miss., in the summer of 1863; he was commissioned as First Lieutenant of Co. G, 53d I. V. I., which position he held until his death; his widow and one daughter are now living in Pontiac); James S., now a blacksmith and carriage maker at Delavan, Tazewell Co., Ill.

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This family biography is one of 1257 biographies included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  View the complete description here: The History of McLean County, Illinois

View additional McLean County, Illinois family biographies here: McLean County, Illinois Biographies

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