ROBERT RILEY is a splendid example of the thrifty and successful farmer, and one who exhibits his good sense by engaging in diversified farming. He owns a good farm of eighty acres, located on section 28, township 15, range 11, and is also the owner of two other small and well-improved farms.
Mr. Riley has lived on the farm upon which he now resides for twenty-four years. He has made a large number of improvements, which compare favorably with those of his neighbors. He came to Morgan County in the fall of 1860, and has been a resident of the United States since 1859. He lived about one year in Scott County. He is a native of Lancastershire, England, and was born on Dec. 2, 1834. His father, Joseph Riley, lived and died in England, where he was born of good English stock. He was a laborer all his life, and died in his native shire when his son, Robert, was a small boy. He was the father of ten children. The maiden name of his wife was Helen Fisher. The names of the children are: Thomas, Nicholas, John, Joseph, Robert, Mary, Elizabeth, Helen, Ruth, and Ann, the two latter being the only daughters living. Mrs. Riley died when she was about eighty years of age, her death occurring in England, in 1869. She and her husband were both members of the English Church, and were active in religious matters.
Robert Riley, of whom we write, is the only surviving son of the family. His sisters are both living in England, and married. He was reared at home with his mother until he was fourteen years of age, and she being a widow with a large family, he was thrown upon his own resources, and later became a coachman for an English gentleman by the name of W.E. Windows, a position he occupied for six years. Seeing no chance in England to better his condition, he concluded to seek his fortune in the New World, and so, on May 11, 1859, he boarded the "City of Baltimore," of the Inman line, at Liverpool, and on May 24th, he stepped ashore at New York City, in a free land, where aristocracy and caste are unknown, and no man is entitled to be called a gentleman unless his actions deserve it. He went from New York to Canada, and stayed four months in Oxford County, but noy being satisfied with Canada, he came to Illinois, locating for one year in Scott County, whence he came to Morgan County. He was married in this township on Jan. 31, 1865, to Miss Mary A. Richardson, a native of Morgan county, and who was born in June, 1837. She is the oldest daughter of Vincent Richardson, whose biography appears in the Album. Mrs. Riley was reared at home, and was blessed with the manifold advantages that attach to having careful and prudent parents. She is the mother of six children: Sarah E., wife of Albert Scott, lives in this township on a farm; John W., married Lizzie Wilson, and is also farming here; George A.; Vincent R., Mary R., and Lizzie A. are at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Riley are consistent members of the Methodist Church, and politically, Mr. R. is a sound Republican, and has held township offices. He has always been found faithful to any trust confided in him, and when the roll of good men of Morgan County is made up, Mr. Riley will appear as one of the best.