WILLIAM MOAK

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 433-434

WILLIAM MOAK, one of the progressive and public-spirited citizens of Bremen Township, now residing on section 29, where he successfully follows farming, claims New York as the State of his nativity. He was born at New Scotland, Albany County, in the year 1833, and is the fourth in the family of six children whose parents were Robert and Maria (McMillan) Moak. They too were natives of the Empire State. The father spent his entire life on the homestead in Albany County where he was born, and followed agricultural pursuits. His death occurred at the very advanced age of ninety-two years, and he retained his vitalities and powers until the last. He was never sick a day in his life and died while at work. His wife was called to the home beyond when about sixty-five years of age. Their children were James N., who now occupies the old homestead farm in New York; Harriet, wife of Jasper Whitbeck, of Coeymans, N. Y.; John, who died at the age of thirty-five; Joseph, who also died at the age of thirty-five; and Henry, who departed this life at the age of sixteen years.

The Moak family is of Scotch descent and was founded in America during early Colonial days. The paternal grandfather of our subject, Joseph Moak, was born in New York, and in early life removed to Albany County, where he lived until called to the home beyond. During the Revolutionary service he entered the Colonial army and served with the rank of Colonel, proving a valiant and faithful officer. He died while at the breakfast table, at the age of seventy-two years.

No event of special importance occurred during the boyhood and youth of William Moak, who early became familiar with all the duties of farm life, and remained on the old homestead until nineteen years of age. He then started out in life for himself, going to Utica, where he remained for three years. The succeeding year of his life was passed in Michigan, after which he returned to Utica, and in 1854 he was there united in marriage with Miss Hannah S. Ramsdell, daughter of Harry and Lorena (Sweet) Ramsdell, of Utica, N. Y. Harry Ramsdell's father was one of the first settlers of Utica. One sister of Mrs. Moak, Helen M. (Mrs. R. Benton), resides in Chicago, and one brother, Henry S. Ramsdell, resides at Harvey, Ill.

Mr. and Mrs. Moak began their domestic life in Utica, where for about three years our subject was engaged in business as a dealer in pumps. In 1862, he came to Illinois and took up his residence in Bremen Township, Cook County, where he has since made his home. He first purchased a farm of one hundred and fifty acres, and with characteristic energy began its cultivation and development. For twenty-seven years he engaged in the dairy business. He was a pioneer in that enterprise, and was the second man to ship milk on the Rock Island Railroad. He has also engaged to some extent in breeding fine horses.

Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Moak, two sons and a daughter: Charlie, who is now engaged in the real-estate business at Fern-wood, a suburb of Chicago; Willie, an attorney at law of Chicago; and Minnie L., wife of Dr. G. W. Bishop, of Tinley Park. In 1883, Mr. Moak built his present home, one of the finest residences in this region. In great contrast with this is the old log cabin which was built by the first settler of this land and yet stands upon the farm. It was used as a hotel and postoffice when the city of Chicago contained only two houses. In politics, Mr. Moak has always been a Democrat and is an earnest worker in the party. His support is ever given to worthy enterprises calculated to upbuild and benefit the locality, and he is numbered among the leading citizens of the community.

— Submitted by Sherri Hessick on November 18, 2001

DISCLAIMER:  The submitter is not related to the subject of this biography nor is she related to anyone mentioned in the biography.