JOHN DAVID O'DONNELL who is one of the prominent farmers and stockmen of Macoupin county, his home being on section 11, Honey Point township, is a native of Illinois and was born in Jersey county, February 4, 1869. He is a son of Thomas and Maria (Moore) O'Donnell, the former of whom was born in Ireland and the latter in Jersey county, Illinois. The father came to America with his parents in 1851, when he was seven years of age, the family first taking up their residence at Hannibal, Missouri. Later they located in Jersey county and the grandfather became the owner of a good farm in that county. Thomas O'Donnell continued in Jersey county until 1876 and then came with his family to Macoupin county and purchased a farm on section 11, Honey Point township. He was successful in his labors and gained a high standing as a substantial and progressive member of the community. In 1910 he sold one hundred and sixty acres to T. T. Lackey and moved to Barnett, where he is now living with his daughter Grace. Mrs. O'Donnell is deceased, having passed away in 1902. There were nine children in the family of Mr. and Mrs. O'Donnell: Mary, the wife of Robert Plain, a farmer of Shaws Point township; John David, of this review; Lydia, who resides at Atwater and is the widow of William H. Banning; James, a hotel keeper of Guymon, Oklahoma; Thomas, deceased; Jerry, a ranchman of Hansford, Texas; Grace, the wife of Clyde W. Dunn, a painter of Barnett; Peter, who died in infancy; and Katie, who married Walter Otis Norvell, a rural delivery mail carrier of Barnett.
Mr. O'Donnell of this sketch attended district school No. 100 of Honey Point township and later was a student for one year in a college at Bushnell. He assisted his father upon the home farm until after arriving at maturity and was then married, continuing for twelve years longer to cultivate land belonging to his father. Six years ago he moved to the farm where he has since resided. For ten years past he has engaged in the stock business and is one of the largest stockmen of Honey Point township, making a specialty of buying and selling cattle, hogs and sheep. He also feeds stock extensively and makes use of all the grain and hay he raises upon his farm for this purpose. He ships sixty or seventy cars of stock yearly, St. Louis being his principal market, although he occasionally sends a carload to Chicago.
On the 29th of November, 1894, Mr. O'Donnell was married to Miss Sadie Harlan, a daughter of G. B. and Sarah E. (Cowden) Harlan. The mother was born near Greenfield, Illinois, and the father in Barren county, Kentucky. He is of English-Irish descent, his ancestors on the paternal side having come to America from England. In 1840, at the age of ten years, he arrived with his parents in Macoupin county and the family located at Carlinville. His father, Rev. L. L. Harlan, was a Methodist preacher and became a noted circuit rider of this region. G. B. Harlan was married to Sarah E. Cowden when he was nineteen years of age and engaged in farming in Chesterville township. A few years later he purchased a general store at Kemper, Jersey county, which he conducted for a number of years, subsequently moving to Chesterfield where he followed the same line of business until his death, August 18, 1884. At the time of the Civil war he enlisted in the Union army at Alton but was obliged to retire from active service on account of Ill health. The mother of Mrs. O'Donnell died at Chesterfield, December 9, 1904. There were eleven children in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Harlan; Emma, who is the wife of Charles Lyon, a farmer of Kemper, Jersey county; William, Walter and Elizabeth, all of whom died in infancy; Mary, who married William Kemper, a painter of St. Louis; Fannie, the wife of Charles Sanders, who is engaged in the poultry business at Medora, Illinois; Alice, who became the wife of Charles Barton, a brick manufacturer of Greenfield, Illinois; Frank M., a telegraph operator of Chestnut, Montana; Susan, who married Theodore Davis, a farmer of Barnett; Sadie, now Mrs. John D. O'Donnell; and Georgie, who married Charles Howey, a railway switchman of Beardstown, Illinois. There are four children in the family of Mr. and Mrs. O'Donnell, namely: Frank K., who was born May 29, 1895; Thelma Claire, born September 8, 1897; Dorothy Jane, born June 10, 1900; and Florence Louise, born December 17, 1905.
In politics Mr. O'Donnell adheres to the democratic party and as a patriotic citizen he takes an active interest in public affairs. He is now serving in his sixth year as a member of the school board of Honey Point township and for two years was township collector, also serving for seven years as treasurer of the township. He is not connected with any religious denomination but his wife and his daughter Thelma are consistent members of the Christian church of Barnett. Fraternally he is identified with the lodge of Modern Woodmen of America at Barnett and is now filling the office of venerable counselor of that organization. He also holds membership in the Mutual Protective League of Barnett and Litchfield Lodge No. 654, B.P.O.E., his father having also been a member of the Elks. He is a man of unusual energy and perseverance and generally succeeds in any undertaking to which he gives his attention. He is careful and considerate in his management of affairs and is respected not only for his business ability but for his generous social qualities.