WILLIAM H. MCMAHAN. Among the citizens of South Otter township none is more deserving of confidence and respect than William H. McMahan. His life is a practical demonstration of the possibilities in Illinois awaiting ambitious young men who have the courage and persistence to apply themselves with the expectation as the years pass, of substantial returns. He was born in Greene county, Illinois, October 5, 1847, a son of Henry and Louisa (Ballard) McMahan, the former of whom was born in Illinois and the latter in Tennessee. He was also a grandson of Robert McMahan, one of the pioneers of this state. The McMahan family was killed by Indians in Madison county, this event being one of the tragic occurrences in the early history of Illinois.
William H. McMahan possessed advantages of preliminary training in the district schools of Greene county and when not busy with his studies assisted in work upon the home farm. In 1863 he became a member of Captain Young's company of the state militia and in 1865, having arrived at the age of eighteen years, he enlisted in Company F, Sixty-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry, continuing with this regiment until the close of the war. After receiving his honorable discharge at Springfield, Illinois, he returned home and in 1866 began farming in Scott county. In 1871 he came to Macoupin county and engaged in farming in, South Palmyra township, where he continued for ten years. He then moved to the place which he has since occupied in South Otter township. He has through life been highly energetic and efficient in his business and, therefore, enjoys the rewards which are the result of wisely applied effort.
On October 23, 1866, Mr. McMahan was married in Scott county to Miss Addie Curtis, a native of the same county and a daughter of James F. and Nancy (Truesdale) Curtis, both of whom were born in Virginia. She is a granddaughter of Salathial Curtis and John Truesdale, both of whom were also born in Virginia. Mr. Truesdale was an early settler of Illinois and assisted against the Indians at the time of the Black Hawk war. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. McMahan, namely: Ira Otis, born March 7, 1868, was married October 9, 1895, to Grace E. Thornburg, and died January 18, 1906, at the age of thirty-seven years, leaving a wife and one son, burton, who since his death have made their home in California with Mrs. McMahon's parents; Lena, who married W. L. Morgan, of South Otter township, and has three children; Anna, who is the wife of H. M. Groves, of Edwardsville, and the mother of two children; Nannie, who married Samuel Hayes, of North Otter township and has two children; Henry A., who lives in St. Louis; Harvey Curtis, of Carlinville; Herman, who married Nellie Lancaster and resides at Nilwood; and Maud, who is the wife of Chester Ohmart, of Girard, and has one child.
Upon reaching the age of maturity Mr. McMahan gave his support to the republican party and has never seen any reason to change his political affiliation. He has served as school director but never in any other public office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business. His religious views are indicated by membership in the Christian Church of which he is a deacon. He was an active member of the Grange and is now identified with Peach Tree Lodge, No. 633, M.W.A., and is an earnest supporter of the principles of this order. As a soldier of the Civil war he is connected with Luke Mayfield Post, No. 516, G.A.R., and is very acceptably filling the office of junior commander of that organization. He is among the youngest of the survivors of the Civil war and his children and descendants may ever regard with pride the part he took in defending a cause which is regarded by all the world as one of the noblest recorded in human history.