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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - William Harvey

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887


WILLIAM HARVEY, one of the earliest settlers of Champaign County, is widely and favorably known as one of the most valuable residents of this section, to whose development and growth he has materially contributed during the period of forty-eight years in which he has lived here. He first settled in the embryo village of Urbana, where he engaged as a contractor and builder. Afterward he purchased a farm of 250 acres, part of which, in 1870, he laid off as an addition to Urbana, the lots being readily taken up by those desirous of establishing a permanent home in that locality. This was called the harvey addition, and now forms an important part of the city.

Mr. Harvey was born in Bucks County, Pa., Aug. 23, 1814. His parents were Job and Mary (FIX) HARVEY, who were also natives of the Keystone State, descending on the father's side from English ancestry, and on the mothers' from the German. Job Harvey, in 1818, when our subject was a small boy of four years of age, emigrated to Stark County, Ohio, and engaged in farming. Thence in 1839 he came to Illinois, settling near the Sangamon River on the western line of Champaign County. There the mother died in 1862 and the father followed four years later. During the period of his residence in Pennsylvania Job Harvey served as a soldier for a short time in the War of 1812. The parental household included eleven children, of whom five are now living, namely, Mary, William, Samuel, Moses and John S.

William Harvey was reared on the farm with his brothers and sisters, and received a limited education in the pioneer school. He remained a member of the family household until twenty-one years of age, and afterward served an apprenticeship of three years at the cabinet-maker's trade. In the meantime he pursued his studies as opportunity permitted, and taught school two winters after learning his trade. The present possessions of our subject are the result of his own industry, economy and good judgment. He had no resources to begin with aside from his resolute will and industrious hands, but he seldom speaks of the difficulties which he encountered while forming a substantial basis for the property he now possesses and enjoys.

In 1869 he erected the substantial brick dwelling on his farm in Urbana Township, and the following year built the house which he occupies in the village. Both his farms and village property are well cared for, the buildings kept in good repair, and everything about them denoting the wisdom and forethought of their proprietor. Mr. Harvey has served as Justice of the peace, Street Commissioner, City Marshal of Urbana and Deputy Sheriff of the county. He has represented his ward in the City Council for a period of six years. He was at one time owner of the carding-mill at Urbana, and has been interested in many of the enterprises leading to the advancement of its industrial interests. He is a stanch Democrat politically, and upholds the principles of his party by his vote and influence as opportunity affords.

The marriage of William Harvey and Miss Harriett HUTCHINSON took place in Stark County, Ohio, in 1837. Mrs. H. is the daughter of Alexander and Martha (CURRY) HUTCHINSON, natives of Ireland. Her father came to America early in life, and located in Lancaster County, Pa. Of the children of the parental household, eleven in number, only Mrs. Harvey survives. By her union with our subject she has become the mother of the following three children: Athalia became the wife of H. H. HARRIS, and has three children-William R., John H. and Charles H. Emily, Mrs. JOHNSON, of Urbana, has two children-William and Teddie; Jane, Mrs. HOFFMAN, has three children-Robert, Myrta and Frank.

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