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Richmond & Arnold
Chicago, Illinois

Page 545


Hon. William T. Conlee, one of the well known men and successful farmers of South Otter township, Macoupin County, and the owner of a fine farm of 160 acres in section 27, is a representative of one of the old pioneer families of this part of Illinois. He was born in Morgan County, Illinois, September 24, 1849, and is a son of Whitfield and Luvina (Antle) Conlee.

George Conlee, the grandfather of William T. Conlee, came to Illinois in 1816 from Marion County, Kentucky, locating in Madison County, where he died. Whitfield Conlee, his son, was born in Kentucky, accompanied his father to Illinois, and came to Carlinville when about 21 years of age, but shortly after returned to Morgan County, later settling at Roodhouse, Greene County, where he owned property and where he died at the age of 81 years. His wife had died in Morgan County, aged 40 years, leaving these children: James, Anderson, Harrison, Mary Jane (Buchanan), Rexa (Wright), William T. and Luvina (Spainhower).

William T. Conlee was the sixth member of his parents' family. He assisted his father on the farm and later in the operation of a flouring mill, in the meantime securing his education in the district schools. At the age of 19 years he started out for himself and secured farm work through Morgan County, continuing to work by the month until he was 23 years old and then purchasing property of his own. He bought his present farm of 160 acres in 1885, and owns other land in South Otter township, amounting in all to some 360 acres. He is not only one of the most substantial men of the township, but he is also one of the leading politicians of the county, having served three terms in the Legislature, as the choice of the Democratic party, and was a member of the Board of County Supervisors for nine years.

Mr. Conlee married Minerva Jane Alford, who is a daughter of the late William Alford, who came from Tennessee to Illinois and located at Palmyra. He died in 1892, aged 75 years, at the home of our subject. Five children were born to this union: Oliver, engaged in teaching school at Hickory Point, who married Della Jenkins, daughter of William Jenkins, a prominent farmer of North Otter township, Macoupin County, and has one daughter - Marie; Ida, who married Walter Johnson, a farmer of South Otter township, Macoupin County, and has two children - Mary and Edna; Florence, who married David Anderson of Shaw's Point township; Alva, now engaged in teaching in Brushy Mound township, Macoupin County; and Lulu, who lives at home. Mr. Conlee gave all his children educational advantages and he has an unusually intelligent and interesting family.

In politics Mr. Conlee has always been a stanch supporter of Democratic principles. From a young man entirely dependent upon his own resources, he has risen to be one of the capitalists of his township and one of the prominent men of affairs of his locality. He has gained a strong position in public esteem and is considered a representative citizen.

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