CORNWELL, William D.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 210-211
William D. CORNWELL, County Treasurer of Boone County [IL], was born in Brantford [now in Brant County], Ontario, Canada, 27 Mar 1833. His father, Gabriel D. CORNWELL, was, it is thought, born in [New] York State, and was an infant when his parents moved to Canada. He was there reared and married, and continued to make that his home until 1845, and then, in company with his wife and eight children, came to IL. They started from their home in Canada with six teams, and drove to St. Joseph [County], MI, where they embarked on a steamer and crossed Lake Michigan to Chicago. Then with their teams they came to Belvidere [Boone County, IL], at a time when the country was very sparsely settled, and Belvidere was but a small village on the north side of the [Kishwaukee] river. Mr. CORNWELL secured a tract of land in what is now Caledonia Township [Boone County, IL], erected a good frame house and at once began the improvement of a farm. He resided on that place until the decease of his wife, when he made his home with a daughter in LeRoy Township [Boone County, IL; formerly called Beaver Township], until his decease on 07 Feb 1885.
Our subject's mother bore the maiden name of Margaret DAY; she was born in Canada and died on the home farm in 1877, having become the mother of eight children. William D. was 12 years of age when he came to the Prairie State [IL] with his parents, and has witnessed almost the entire growth and development of this section. He assisted on the home farm until 15 years of age, and then served an apprenticeship of three years at the mason's trade. In 1857 he located on a farm which he still owns in Caledonia Township, hiring the work done on his estate and continuing to work at his trade until 1867. In that year he went to Caledonia and engaged in the lumbering business. Four years later  Mr. CORNWELL went to CO, and for four years worked at his trade [p 211] in Pueblo and Denver. Returning to Boone County, IL, he resided on the farm, the operation of which he superintended, and worked at his trade until 1890, since which time he has been a resident of Belvidere.
The lady to whom our subject wa married in 1857 was Miss Catherine, daughter of William CHAPPEL, who was born in England, and on coming to America, located in Genesee County, NY, where he resided for many years, and where Mrs. CORNWELL was born. In 1856 her father came to IL and located in Caledonia Township [Boone County]. The maiden name of his wife was Mary A. GETTEN, also a native of England.
Mr. and Mrs. CORNWELL have reared a family of one child, Adella, who was born 01 Dec 1859, married 25 Dec 1879, Walter BRUNER, and departed this life 14 Apr 1881, leaving one child, William Howard. They have an adopted daughter, Jennie, who is the wife of James PRESTON, of Walworth County, WI, and the other of two children, Ruel and Ralph.
Our subject is a Republican in politics, and in 1890 was elected to his present responsible position of Treasurer of Boone County. With his wife, he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and personally is a very genial gentleman, having a host of warm friends in Boone County.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.