HENRY GLEASON is one of Illinois' native sons, progressive and enterprising and manifesting in his business career the elements that lead to success. He is accounted one of the substantial farmers of township 19, where he has now lived for thirty-nine years. He was born near Alton, Illinois, August 25, 1854, and is a son of Patrick and Mary (Smith) Gleason. The father, who was born in County Clare, Ireland, in 1818, died January 1, 1903, at the age of eighty-four years. He had come to America about fifty-five years ago and carried on farming in New York and later removed to the west, settling first upon a farm near Alton. Forty years ago he came to Menard county and for almost three decades remained upon what became known as the old Gleason homestead. He then removed to Lincoln, Illinois, where he continued to reside until his demise. His widow still occupies the home there. They were married February 17, 1848, in Lansingburg, New York, Mr. Gleason being then twenty-six years of age, while his wife was twenty-eight years of age. Their living children are: Thomas, who resides in Pekin, Illinois; Henry, of this review; and Mrs. James Coady, of Middletown, Illinois. One son, Michael, was killed about twelve years ago in an accident in the old Frorer shaft at Lincoln and his funeral was held May 3, 1892, at St. Joseph's church, Father Mulgrew officiating, and the interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery. Mrs. Bridget Ryan, another member of the family, died August 30, 1903, while Miss Mary Gleason died April 13, 1903.
Henry Gleason was brought by his parents to Menard county and reared upon the old home farm here. He is indebted to the public school system of the state for the educational privileges which he enjoyed and which fitted him for life's practical duties. He lived with his parents until twenty-two years of age and gained intimate knowledge of farm work during that time. He then began farming on his own account, renting a tract of land adjoining the old home place. Here he has since lived and he now owns ninety-seven acres of land which is well improved. He carries on general farming and stock raising and he has a fine home which he erected. In the rear of this stand large and commodious outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock. The home is surrounded by fine shade trees and there are also many other trees which he has planted. Everything about the place is neat and attractive in appearance and indicates the careful supervision of an enterprising owner.
On the 21st of December, 1876, Mr. Gleason was married to Eliza J. Wark. Her father, Stephen Wark, was born in Ireland, July 12, 1825, and was fifteen years of age when he came to the United States, establishing his home in Indiana. He was married July 30, 1840, to Patsey J. Knowles and at an early day they came to Menard county, where Mr. Wark entered land from the government, securing two hundred and forty acres, which he improved and made his farm up to the time of his death. When the Civil war was in progress, however, he put aside all business and personal considerations in order to aid his country and enlisted for three years' service in the Union army. At the end of that time he was honorably discharged, but he returned home with impaired health and never recovered his former strength. He was active in support of all measures for the general good and for three years he served on the school board as a director. His political allegiance was given to the Democracy. His death occurred February 9, 1872, and his wife passed away on the 23d of March, 1883. They were the parents of the following children, who are now living: Lucilla E., who resides upon the old home farm; Joseph, of Menard county; Jesse K., also on the home farm; Marion, who is now living in Barton county, Missouri; Mrs. Gleason; and Mrs. Emily O. Perry, of Oklahoma.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Gleason has been blessed with two children: Ida. E., who was born September 19, 1877, and is now the wife of Michael Dorgan; and Rosa M., who was born June 16, 1892. Mr. and Mrs. Gleason have a wide acquaintance in Menard county, where they have so long resided, and their many sterling traits of character have made them popular with a large circle of friends.