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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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I. MERCHANT, City Engineer, Bloomington; son of Daniel P. and Ann E. (Cary) Merchant; was born in Morris Co., N. J., Feb. 13, 1837, where he obtained a good education, including a knowledge of civil engineering, and early in life entered upon that profession with the North Missouri Railroad Company, where he continued for a time; thence to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was engaged upon the Cuyahoga River, and from 1857 to 1861, upon the Rockford & Rock Island Railroad in charge of construction. During the late war, he enlisted with the 28th I. V. I.; went out as Orderly Sergeant, and, after the battle of Fort Donelson, was promoted to Second Lieutenant, which position he held until after the battle of Pittsburg Landing, when he was promoted to First Lieutenant; at the battle of Hatchie, he received a wound which disabled him from further duty, although he remained with the army until September, 1863; he then returned to Illinois, locating in Springfield, where he was elected County Surveyor, and served two years; after this, he was employed on the survey of what is known as the “Sullivant Lands” of Ford and Livingston Co.’s, Ill.; he came to Bloomington in 1868, since which time he has served either as City Engineer or City Surveyor; having diligently applied himself to his profession for many years, he has justly won the name of being very able in his profession, and being social and genial, has won the respect and high esteem of all who know him. He married Miss Mary, daughter of Francis Arenz, of Cass Co., Feb. 14, 1860; they have one child— Ella K.

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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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