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Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia 1879

Page 102

The subject of the following sketch was born in Liberty, Bedford county, Virginia, on the 27th of October, 1803. He was the eldest child in the family, and removed with his parents when about four years of age to Knoxville, Tennessee, and after remaining there bur a short time, removed to Lexington, Kentucky. His father here commenced the practice of medicine, for which he had been educated and trained in Virginia. he soon after removed to Harrodsburg in Kentucky, where he remained until his death. William A., attained his elementary education at the New London, Academy in Virginia. After studying medicine with his father, he entered the medical college at Lexington, Kentucky, and took a course of lectures. In 1829 he was united in marriage to Miss Ellen Clark, who was a native of Kentucky. Both he and his wife disapproved of the system of slavery, and determined to leave the state. They emigrated to Illinois in 1830, and settled in Edwardsville, Madison county. He afterwards removed to Alton, where he remained a short time. There he practiced his profession, but subsequently abandoned it, and engaged in farming. In 1835 he removed to Carlinville, where in 1845 he engaged in general merchandising, in which he continued for some years. He also soon after his arrival here began to invest in real estate. He foresaw what few others did, that in a few years the great body of land and open prairie that was then lying in an uncultivated and unoccupied state would be valuable by reason of the tide of emigration pouring in from the east, all of whom were seeking homes in the great west. He entered large tracts, and in a few years he and others saw the wisdom of his investments. As soon as his lands came into the market, he would sell at an advance, and re-invest in cheap lands again. He is a man of rare good sense, and of more than ordinary financial ability, as his wealth and large landed possessions would indicate. He is a great reader, and is possessed of considerable literary and intellectual ability. He is exceedingly liberal with his wealth, and his private charities are numerous. He has made liberal donations to several institutions of learning and religious organizations.

In religion Dr. Robertson is a firm believer in the teachings of Christianity, although not now a member of any particular church organization. In politics he was formerly a member of the old line whig party; but since the disorganization of that political organization, he has voted for measures that in his judgement were for the best interests of the country. Mr. Robertson's wife, Ellen, died a short time after his arrival in Carlinville. She died without issue. On the 18th of October, 1844, he married Nancy H., daughter of Rev. Charles Holliday. She was born in Kentucky, November 14th, 1821. There have been five children born to Dr. W. A. and Nancy H. Robertson, that are living. Their names are Elizabeth, wife of A. W. Edwards (she has four children); Ellen C., wife of John Mayo Palmer (three children have been born to the latter, William, Charles and Anna Robertson); Charles and Anna are yet at home.

Dr. Robertson retired from active business life in 1851, since which time he has lived a quite and retired life.

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