William J. Solomon is a representative of one of Macoupin county's very earliest pioneer families, his people having located here in 1825 - the fourth family to settle in the county. He was born in North Palmyra township on the 3d of December, 1845, a son of Jesse J. and Nancy (Hollingsworth) Solomon.
The Solomons are of Welsh and English extraction. The first members of the family to locate in America settled in Maryland and North Carolina during the colonial period. They were ever loyal citizens, true to the principles of the colonists, the great grandfather having fought in the Revolution under General Marion. On one occasion while he was away fighting for independence the Tories visited his home on a tour of pillage. His wife, recognizing the futility of resistance, quietly permitted them to confiscate whatsoever they desired until they started to take some valuable yarn. Realizing this could be of no possible use to them she quickly and most rightfully resented their conduct and immediately began to defend her property and rights as a citizen, and with the aid of a poker, quietly seized from before the open fire, succeeded in driving off the marauders.
Louis Solomon, the grandfather of our subject, was born in North Carolina in 1870, and there he was reared and educated. In 1798 he married Sarah Bowden, a daughter of John Bowden. She was a representative of a well known family, her father having been a prominent and affluent citizen of Franklin county. In 1811 they removed with their family from North Carolina to Logan county, Kentucky, where they resided for ten years. At the expiration of that period they went to Muhlenberg county, that state, and there Jesse J. Solomon, the father of our subject, was born on the 17th of February, 1823. Louis Solomon was an agriculturist, but meeting with reverses through the failure of a bank, was forced to make a fresh start in business life, and, deciding that he preferred to do this in a new country, he came to Illinois in the fall of 1826. He hired a one-horse cart for ten dollars and in this vehicle the mother and three younger children rode, while the other members of the family, twelve in all, walked from their home in Kentucky to Illinois. That winter they lived in a sod house and in the spring of 1827 came to Macoupin county, where Mr. Solomon engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death. He passed away in August, 1849, having survived his wife about six months, her demise occurring in February of the same year. Both were about seventy years old at the time of their deaths. Mr. Solomon had met with success in his agricultural pursuits and acquired many acres of land. He was a justice of the peace of Macoupin county, having received his commission from the government.
Jesse J. Solomon, was only a child of three years when his parents came to Illinois, was reared and educated in Macoupin county. His schooling was very limited and of a most indifferent kind, owing to the inadequate provision made for education in the county during pioneer days. He was trained in the care of the fields and the stock from his earliest boyhood, and when old enough to begin life for himself entered eighty acres of government land, adding to his holdings at different times as he was able until he had acquired two hundred and eighty seven acres. He passed away on the 8th of January, 1863, at the age of thirty-nine years. In his religious views he was a Baptist and a democrat in politics. He was a man of rare principle and fine character, highly esteemed for his many sterling qualities. One of his brothers, Judge Louis Solomon, was quite prominent in political affairs during the early days of the county. He was originally a democrat, but later transferred his allegiance to the greenback party. In addition to having filled various minor offices of the township and county he was elected to the state legislature and was at one time a state senator.
William J. Solomon obtained his education in the common schools prior to the age of nine years, at which time he laid aside his text-books and began to assist with the work of the farm. When he was twenty-one years of age he began farming for himself on his father's land, engaging in general farming and the feeding of cattle and hogs. Twenty-five years ago he located on his present place, which at that time contained but fifty acres of land. As his circumstances enabled him he extended the boundaries of his farm until it now embraces one hundred and twenty acres. He was at one time one of the most extensive feeders in the county, shipping large consignments of cattle and hogs to the St. Louis markets. His efforts were most substantially rewarded and, although he is still living on his homestead, he has retired from the active work of the fields, having rented his land.
On the 28th of January, 1869, his plans for a home of his own had their culmination in his marriage to Miss Louisa Isabel Hulse, a daughter of William and Hannah (Cox) Hulse, natives of Tennessee. Mrs. Solomon was born in Washington county, Tennessee, and by her marriage became the mother of four children: George W., who acquired his early education in the common schools of this county, after which he attended the normal at Bushnell, and was graduated from the State Normal at Bloomington in 1906. He is now teaching at Gillespie, Illinois. He married Miss Elsie Iona Land and has one child, Jessie Dale. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masonic order, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America, holding membership in all of these organizations at Palmyra. Abraham C. lived at home up to the time of his death. William A. attended the public schools and later entered the Marion Sims Dental School, remaining there one year, and then became a student at the Barnes Dental College in St. Louis, where he was graduated in May, 1905. He is married and now engages in the practice of his profession at Modesto, Illinois. The Masonic fraternity at Palmyra also holds his membership. Elizabeth V., the only daughter, died in 1891 at the age of seven years.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Solomon affiliate with the Christian church of Palmyra, in the faith of which they reared their family. He also belongs to the Court of Honor and the Masonic fraternity, being a member of Palmyra Lodge, No. 463, A.F. & A.M., while his political allegiance he accords the democratic party. He has served as collector of his township and for six years he was commissioner. He is a man who, despite the demands of his private interests, always finds time to discharge his public duties, fully recognizing his responsibility as a citizen.