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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  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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MICHAEL SHEA. This gentleman, who is of Irish birth, has been a resident of Randolph County since 1850 and has contributed to the development of township 5, range 9, and the attainment of its present high standing among the agricultural districts of the state. In his efforts to secure a good home he has been successful, having accomplished his purpose by strict attention to business and thorough responsibility in every undertaking. He owns and occupies a good estate of seventy-four acres, located three and one-half miles northeast of Prairie du Rocher. The entire work of clearing and improving the property has been done by himself. The house, barn and other buildings are substantial, conveniently located and sufficiently adequate for their various purposes.

Born in County Kilkenny, Ireland, October 10, 1826, our subject is the son of Richard and Johanna (Murphy) Shea, also natives of the Emerald Isle, where they lived and died. Michael had three brothers and one sister, and he was the eldest-born. He was reared and educated in his native land, supplementing the knowledge gained in the common schools by a two years’ course at the national school, and when coming to America, in his twenty-fourth year, had fitted himself to occupy a position as book-keeper.

When landing in the New World, Mr. Shea made his way to Illinois, and in this county embarked in farm work. At the expiration of four years, having saved a sufficient sum of money to enable him to do so, he purchased seventy-four acres of school land, and at the same time sent enough money to Ireland to pay the passage of two brothers who were coming to America. He cleared his land at odd times, and deserves a great deal of credit for its present finely improved condition.

In February, 1854, Mr. Shea married Miss Mary, daughter of John and Catherine (Conner) Aharn, natives of Ireland. Mrs. Shea was likewise a native of Ireland, and became the mother of a family of ten children, viz.: Julia, now the wife of William Mudd; Margaret, John, Cacilla, Henry, Sarah, Eliza, Anna, Rose and Willie. In religious views our subject and his family are Catholics, and in politics he is a prominent Democrat. He is well known and respected throughout the county, as his industrious and upright life merits.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

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

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