WILLIAM J. HART, a prominent farmer of Honey Point township, Macoupin County, owning a fine farm of 160 acres, situated in section 29, was born August 31, 1832, in Morgan County, Illinois, and is a son of Capt. Washington and Mary (McDonald) Hart.
Capt. Washington Hart, so called on account of his rank in the Illinois State militia, was born at Nashville, Tennessee, and was the sixth son of David Hart, the other sons bearing the names of: Solomon, David, Charles, Anderson, Nathan, Daniel and Caleb. Of this family all came to Illinois except one who remained in Tennessee and one who settled in Missouri. The Hart brothers settled on the prairie near Jacksonville, giving the name of Hart's Prairie to that locality. There Washington Hart was reared and in the younger days was a drover and stock dealer, later becoming a merchant at Hornsby where he built the first house, locating there in our subject's childhood. He was a man of considerable prominence in politics and was widely known on account of his connection with the militia. His death took place in 1865, at the age of 54 years. In religious connection he was a member and liberal supporter of the Christian Church. He married Mary McDonald, who was born at Nashville, Tennessee, a daughter of John McDonald, and they became the parents of four children, namely: William J.; John, who is in a real estate business at Lincoln, Nebraska; and Mahala and Martha, both of whom died young.
William J. Hart attended the local schools during boyhood, and has resided in Macoupin County since he was six years of age. His vocation has always been farming and the raising of stock, and he is one who has met with much success. He has made a leading feature the raising of high grade cattle and stock, favoring Poland-China and Chester White swine, on several occasions having animals of the latter breed that weighed 800 pounds. Formerly Mr. Hart raised much wheat but has entirely given up wheat growing, raising now more corn and oats than other products. He is comfortably and conveniently located and well situated to enjoy all the blessings which attend the independent life of the Illinois farmer.
On September 30, 1851, Mr. Hart was married to Sarah J. Mitchell, who was born November 16, 1831, in Kentucky, and is a daughter of Elisha and Elizabeth (Coffee) Mitchell, both of whom were natives of the Blue Grass State. Five children were born to this union, namely: Mahlon E., who at death left a widow and two children, - Bessie and Ora; Sylvester, a resident of Honey Point township, who has eight children, - Samuel, Sylvester, Verne, Orvil, Vergie, Icy, Myrtie and Ross; Walter C., also a resident of Honey Point township, who has six children, - Larkin, Myrtle, Gertrude, Hattie, Washington and Daisy; William W., a resident of Hilyard township, who has one son, Edward; and Ida J., who resides at home. Mr. Hart has also one great-grandchild, little Sybil Hart, daughter of Larkin Hart.
In politics Mr. Hart, like his ancestors, has always supported the Democratic party, but has never accepted any public office except that he served as a member of the School Board for 12 years. Both he and his wife have been consistent members of the Baptist Church for more than 50 years. They are well known all through Honey Point township and are among its most respected residents.