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Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879

Page 211

THOMAS W. MCBRIDE was born in Montgomery county, Tennessee, May 27, 1822. John McBride, his father, was a native of the same state. James McBride, his great-grandfather, was one of the first white men that emigrated from Virginia to that state. This was as early as 1754. The ancestry of the McBrides were Scotch on the paternal side. The family emigrated to America at a period long before the revolutionary struggle took place. They come of a patriotic and country-loving stock. They furnished from their family hardy and gallant soldiers for nearly every war that has taken place in this country. Two of the McBrides, brothers of the great-grandfather of the subject of the present sketch, fell at the bloody battle of Braddock's defeat in the old French and Indian war. They also furnished from their family soldiers for the war of Independence and the war of 1812; William McBride was in the battle of New Orleans; Andrew McBride was one of the hardy and gallant pioneer soldiers who fought for the independence of Texas against Mexico. There were five brothers and six sisters of the family that lived in Patrick county, Virginia. John McBride married Mary Handlin. She was of Irish descent, on the paternal side, and on the maternal, Welsh. John McBride removed from Virginia to Tennessee propr to its admission into the Union. The family of McBrides were to some extent the pioneers of three States, namely, Virginia, Tennessee and Illinois. The subject of our sketch spent his boyhood days at work upon the farm in his native state, and attending the schools during the winter months. As is well known, the schools of the country in the days of his youth were not be compared for excellence and thorough training in the elementary branches of education with the schools of the present day. When he reached his sixteenth year, he concluded to come to Illinois. He came to Greene county in April, 1838. The first work he did was on a farm, for Joel Hubbard. In the fall of 1838 he went to school, and in 1839 he worked for Mr. Rives, with whom he remained until until the summer of 1841. During the winter seasons in this time he attended school. In the winter of 1841 and 1842 he attended school at Barr's Store, in Macoupin county, and in the spring of 1842 went to work for Benjamin Sanders, and worked for him for five months, after which he went to Mr. Rives', and put in a crop of wheat for himself. In the fall of the same year he commenced teaching school, and taught for two years and two months, in Barr's township. On the 19th of September, 1844, he was united in marriage to Margery Wiggins. She is a native of Kentucky. The Wiggins family are of English ancestry. They came to the state in 1825. In 1845 he rented a piece of land and moved on to it. He worked hard and saved enough money to enter eighty acres of land in the east part of Barr's township. He continued a renter for two years. In the meantime he traded the eighty acres for another eighty that was partially improved. It had a cabin on it into which he removed his family. He gave one hundred and fifty dollars in money as difference between the land. He remained on that piece of land until 1854 when he removed to Carlinville. He rented his place, with a view of going into the lumber business. He remained in Carlinville until January, 1855, when he removed to Girard, where he bought an interest in the first flouring mill that was erected in that place. He remained in the milling business until June, 1856, when he retired and engaged in the grain business, in which he continued until 1858. It proving unprofitable, he retired from it. He remained in Girard until March, 1860, when he removed to section 1 in Nilwood township, where he had purchased 160 acres of land, and here he has remained ever since. He has added to his original purchase until he now owns twelve hundred acres. His business has been and is yet, farming, stock raising and buying and selling stock, in all of which he has been successful. Here is another evidence of what a boy of pluck and energy can do. He started out in life when at the tender age of sixteen years, and when he landed in this state had but half-a-dollar. He was without friends here, with no education, and had his way to make in the world. His education was mainly received here. He worked evenings and mornings to pay for his board, and went to school during the day. He struggled along and succeeded in getting a good education. He saved his money, and in time placed himself high and dry upon the rock of financial prosperity. In 1860 the accumulations of previous years of labor and savings were, from speculations and shrinkage in values, swept away from him; but energy, industry and perseverance restored it again. In politics he was a warm and ardent democrat. He cast his first vote for James K. Polk, in 1844, and has been a staunch supporter of the party ever since. He is not a partisan in the strict sense of the word, nor does he take an unusually active part in elections, only to help his friends. The names of his children are - James C., eldest son, married to Miss Mattie Wheeler; Aveline, wife of F. L. Starkey, attorney-at-law in Taylorville, Illinois; John, married to Miss Fanny Harrington; Emma Jane, wife of E. S. Terry, now a resident of Evansville, Indiana; Alice, George, Nona, Minnie, and Sophronia yet are beneath the parental roof. Mr. McBride is a member of the ancient and honorable order of A.F. & A.M., and has been since 1852. This in brief is an outline of the history of one of Nilwood's most influential citizens. His reputation among his neighbors and friends is that of an honest and upright citizen.

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