WILLIAM J. BLAIN. In taking up the personal history of William J. Blain we present to our readers the life record of one who is well known in Menard county, where the greater part of his life has been passed, his attention being given to agricultural pursuits. He has lived in this county for almost a half century and is therefore largely familiar with its history as it has emerged from pioneer conditions to take its place with the leading counties of this great commonwealth. He was born in Montreal, Canada, on the 3d of December, 1857, and is of Irish lineage. His father, William Blain, was born at Warren Point, Ireland, on the 3d of July, 1829, and after his emigration to the new world he was married in Canada to Ann McCrudden, also a native of the Emerald Isle. Removing to Illinois after the birth of their son William they established their home in Menard county, where the father successfully carried on agricultural pursuits throughout his remaining days.
In his youth William J. Blain was trained to farm work, assisting in the labors of the fields as soon as old enough to reach the plow handles. He has seen great changes in the methods of farming, the old crude implements of former days being replaced by splendidly improved machinery and upon his home place are seen many evidences of this progress. He attended the public schools and when not engaged with the duties of the schoolroom assisted in the work of the farm. He continued farming in partnership with his father and brother George R. until the death of his father. He built a new residence for himself in 1901 and he and his family therefore have a modern and attractive home. He operates one hundred and ninety-seven acres of rich land in Menard county, which because of its productiveness and the care and labor he bestows upon it annually returns to him good harvests. He also has one hundred and sixty acres in Arkansas. Diligence and enterprise have always been numbered among his salient characteristics and have been strong factors in his success.
As a companion and helpmate for life's journey Mr. Blain chose Miss Anna Belle McCrudden, and their marriage was celebrated January 17, 1894. The lady is a daughter of Robert and Sarah (Renney) McCrudden, the former a native of Ireland and the latter of Canada. In early manhood her father crossed the Atlantic to the new world and in Canada he followed the trade of shoemaking, which he had learned in his native country. He has made that pursuit his business throughout his entire life together with the sale of shoes, and he has had close and intimate knowledge of the shoe trade, so that he has been enabled by his well directed effort to conduct a successful business. He now makes his home with one of his sons, his wife having departed this life in 1879. In their family were six children: Samuel J., who is now living in Montreal; Matilda, who became the wife of William Bell and died June 21, 1901; Robert J., a resident of Canada; William, who died in infancy; Mrs. Blain; and Georgia M., who resides in Canada and is caring for the children of her deceased sister.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Blain has been born a daughter, Estella G., whose birth occurred May 24, 1895. They have an attractive and pleasant home, where the spirit of hospitality reigns supreme and to them is extended a hearty welcome in many of the best homes of this part of the county. Both Mr. and Mrs. Blain attend the Cumberland Presbyterian church and he gives his political allegiance to the Republican party. He is now serving as a school director and has been a member of the board for the past nine years, acting as its clerk throughout the entire period. He is interested in all that pertains to general progress and improvement here and takes a special pride in what has been accomplished in Menard county, where almost his entire life has been passed and where he has so directed his efforts as to win success and at the same time gain the confidence and good will of all with whom he has been associated.