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Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company

Page 832

DRENNAN, WILLIAM N. An honorable record is a suitable subject for gratification, and a man does well to call to mind those facts in his history to which his posterity may look with pride. One who has begun life with no means and by his industry and perseverance, with no aid except that given by a frugal and affectionate wife, has attained a handsome competency and provided for his children the advantages which every father should aim to give them, may well feel pride in his record. Such a man is William M. Drennan, who resides on section 21, North Otter Township.

The late Joseph Drennan, the father of our subject, was born in Kentucky, in 1814, and his wife, Elizabeth Withrow, was born in Sangamon County, this State, in 1823. In that county was their early married home, but in 1849 they removed to Macoupin County, and settled in what is now North Otter Township. There they made their home for some years, but in 1860 the mother was taken away from her happy household by the hand of death, while the father died in 1872.

This estimable couple had seven children, of whom our worthy subject is the eldest. His native home was in Sangamon County, this State, where he was born November 4, 1842, and he was thus some seven years old when his parents removed to North Otter Township, where he received his education and his thorough and systematic training upon the farm. Before he had reached his majority the War of the Rebellion had broken out, and though only a boy he felt that he must help the cause of the Union and defend the honor of the old flag, and with the consent of his loyal and self sacrificing parents he left his home and joined the army.

Our young hero enlisted August 14, 1862, in Company B, One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, his term of service extending over three years. The following conflicts were the most important in which he took part: Jackson, (Miss.); Nashville, Tenn.; Brandon, Miss.; Guntown and Tupelo. He did brave duty in all his army experiences and was mustered out of the service at Springfield, Ill., and returned to his old home in North Otter Township, which has with this exception, been his home since 1849.

Mr. Drennan has throughout life followed agricultural pursuits and upon his fine farm of two hundred and forty valuable acres he has erected as comfortable and convenient a set of farm buildings as can be found within many miles. He was married in North Otter Township, April 24, 1866, to Miss M. L. Johnston, one of the daughters of Isaac B. and Elizabeth (Berry) Johnston. This worthy couple were born in Muhlenberg County, Ky., but did not meet until they were living in Macoupin County, where Mr. Johnston made Miss Berry his second wife. They were married in Illinois and settled in North Palmyra Township, until their removal in 1851, to North Otter Township, where the father died April 20, 1856. The mother survived him some thirty-one years and died in Edgar, Neb., in 1887. By this marriage Mr. Johnston had six children, of whom Mrs. Drennan is the second in order of birth. She was born in North Palmyra Township, March 20, 1845.

Three bright and sprightly children came to bless the home of Mr. and Mrs. Drennan, and they bear the names of William O., Elizabeth E. and Cora E. In the spring of 1890 Mr. Drennan was elected Supervisor of North Otter Township, and has been Treasurer of the Board of Highway Commissioners for several years and for twelve years has been a member of this board. He is prominent in educational movements and while upon the Board of School Directors was efficient in maintaining a high standard for the school. He has ever taken an active part in political movements and is often chosen as a delegate to the County Conventions of the Democratic party, and during the summer of 1888 he was a delegate from Macoupin County, to the State Democratic Convention, which was held at Springfield, and which nominated Gen. John M. Palmer for Governor. Mrs. Drennan has carefully trained her children, not only in the practical duties of life but also in religious matters, and she is united with them in the communion of the Methodist Church.

The boyhood of our subject was one that was full of struggles, for his parents, like many at that ear day, were very poor. When a boy of seventeen years he was thrown upon his own resources, and up to the time when he enlisted in the army he had been working upon a farm for wages. The winter previous to his enlistment he worked for his board and attended school, and the first winter after his return from the army he again worked for his board. In the spring of 1866 he rented of Mathew Withrow a farm in North Otter Township, and two years later bought ten acres of brush land in the same township. Here he lived for a year, after which he built a cabin, and as he had come into possession of a small tract of land he removed his cabin to that spot where his beautiful home now stands. As fast as he was able he added to his little estate by purchase until now he owns a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres, upon which he has first-class improvements and a pleasant, attractive and convenient home. The beautiful surroundings of this home and the spirit of hospitality and true friendliness which pervades its moral atmosphere makes it a favorite resort for the neighbors, who so highly esteem this gentleman for his good qualities and who honor him for his past record of early devotion to his country. Mr. Drennan has in his possession the first gun that came into Sangamon County. It was carried by his grandfather.

1891 Index
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