W. MONTJOY DORSEY, a retired farmer residing in Bunker Hill, deserves representation in this volume from the fact that he is one of the leading citizens of the county and also because he is a representative of one of the honored pioneer families. His father, Elias Dorsey, was born in Maryland as were also his grandparents, Edward Dorsey, father of Elias, died when the son was quite young and the mother afterward removed to Kentucky, where she became the wife of John Williamson. She made her home in Jefferson County, that State until her death. Elias Dorsey, when quite young accompanied his widowed mother to Kentucky, settling upon a farm, where he made his home until after Mrs. Dorsey's second marriage, when at the age of seventeen years he enlisted in the War of 1812, under col. Richard Booker, serving throughout the struggle. He with his regiment marched to New Orleans but arrived at that place just after Gen. Jackson had come off conqueror in the "tearless battle". When the war was over he returned with his Colonel to Shelby County, Ky., and married the daughter of his commanding officer, Mrs. Martha R. Booker, who was born and reared in that county. Her parents were both natives of Virginia, whence in an early day, the emigrated to Kentucky, where they spent the remainder of their lives. The Colonel was a brave man who faithfully served his country well.
After their marriage Elias Dorsey and his wife took up their residence on a farm in Jefferson County, Ky., but the lady died about 1835. Her husband was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Sally Williamson, a native of Baltimore, Md., and the widow of Commodore Williamson, of the United States Navy. Mr. Dorsey also survived his second wife and in 1866 came to Illinois, making his home with his daughter, Mrs. Edward Winchester, of Bunker Hill, until his death, which occurred March 2, 1872, at the age of seventy-six years. He was a hard working man and by his industry and perseverance became quite wealthy, owning at one time several thousand acres of land, the greater part of which he bequeathed to his children before his death. His honesty and integrity was proverbial and the greatest confidence was manifested in Mr. Dorsey by all who knew him. His life is a grand example of what can be accomplished through honest industry, perseverance and good management. He was outspoken in defense of the right; neither fear nor favor could keep him silent. He was devoted to his country and its cause and on one occasion when being asked why he did not accept a Government contract offered him he replied in his usual emphatic manner that if he should do so and act honestly as a patriot the profits would be too small for the trouble and he did not intend to defraud his country. This speech serves as an index to his whole life. In politics he was a Jackson Democrat. He was identified with no religious organization but believed in doing right for right's sake. One of nature's noblemen, no death in the community has been more sincerely mourned.
W. Montjoy Dorsey, whose name heads this sketch, was born on the old homestead in Jefferson County, Ky., October 11, 1823, and is the sixth in the family of thirteen children, numbering nine sons and four daughters, all of whom grew to mature years, while eleven were married and six are yet living. Our subject was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads and attained his majority in his native county. He was yet a single man when he came to Bunker Hill, and married Miss Henrietta C. Green, who was born in Sing Sing, Westchester County, N.Y., August 4, 1828. Her parents, Capt. Stephen and Letitia (Quick) Green, were also natives of Westchester County and belonged to families of good standing in the Empire State. Samuel Green, the father of the Captain, was a relative of Gen. Green, of Revolutionary fame and the family was connected with the Society of Friends. The Quick family is of French origin. Samuel Green and his wife both lived to a very advanced age, the former being quite old at the time of his death and the latter was in her ninety-ninth year. They died in the county of their nativity, where they had lived during the Revolutionary War, and their old home is still standing. The families on both sides are very aristocratic in the true meaning of the word, their members being people of pure character and temperate habits, many of whom attained to positions of distinction. Stephen Green was one of a large family and in Westchester County, N.Y., was reared to manhood upon a farm. He followed the sea for many years and arose to the rank of Captain of a coasting vessel plying around the Atlantic Coast. On account of ill-health he was at length forced to abandon that pursuit and in 1836 emigrated with his family to Illinois, settling at what is now Shipman, but then not a building stood upon the site of the town. Capt. Green's home was one of the first white settlements made in that section and all around him stretched miles of unbroken prairie. He entered his land from the Government, began to make improvements and developed a good farm upon which he made his home until his death, which occurred March 10, 1854. The county lost one of its best citizens who was revered for his uprightness and his sterling worth. He took no active part in public life and though often solicited by the Whig party to become a candidate for positions of honor and trust, he always declined, preferring to devote his entire attention to his business interests and the enjoyment of his home life. The death of his wife occurred in Shipman a few years prior to his decease, she being fifty-four years of age when called to her final rest.
Unto Captain and Mrs. Green were born thirteen children, of whom seven, three sons and four daughters are yet living, the eldest being eighty-four years of age. The family possess an unusual amount of vitality and are noted for longevity. Mrs. Dorsey was carefully reared by her worthy parents and is a refined and accomplished lady, possessed of many virtues and fine womanly qualities. She retains all the aristocratic characteristics of her people and like them is reserved and justly proud of her family record. By her marriage five children have been born but only two are now living. Lucy, the elder, si the wife of Joseph S. Hayes, a resident farmer of Dorchester Township; and Howell M., who wedded Christina Stookey, resides in Gillespie, being also a farmer by occupation. The children now deceased are Robert Hornsby, William Booker and Frances Cordelia. Mr. Dorsey, his wife and daughters are members of the Episcopal Church and in politics he is a staunch Democrat.
Our subject is one of the large landowners in Macoupin County, his possessions aggregating more than one thousand acres. He has won the greater part of his fortune since coming to this county in 1847. He first settled in Gillespie Township, living for a time with his brother and then removed to his own lands, which were entirely destitute of improvement when he became the owner. He was an enterprising and successful farmer and as his financial resources were increased he judiciously increased the amount of his acreage. He continued to reside on his farm in Gillespie Township until March, 1867, when he removed to Bunker Hill, where he has since made his home. There is little of the land of which he is now proprietor but what is under cultivation, lying in Dorchester, Staunton and Gillespie Townships, the most being in Gillespie Township, about two miles from the village of that name. Few men are more widely known than Mr. Dorsey and none more favorably so. His long residence in this community, covering a period of forty-four years, numbers him among the early settlers.