McFILLEN, JAMES C. , was born two miles west of Literberry, near Arcadia, Morgan County, Ill., October 18, 1849, a son of James and Mary (Patton-Henderson) McFillen. The former was a native of Ireland, where he was born June 24, 1801, and the latter of Morgan County. James C. McFillen was one of a family of six children, namely: Lizzie, widow of Charles Durfey, who lives in Chicago; James C.; Belle, wife of Jeremiah Cox, who resides near Jacksonville, Ill.; Sarah L., wife of William E. Murray, of Literberry, Ill., who is in the implement business; Amanda, wife of J. W. Henderson, of Jacksonville; and Theresa, wife of J. R. Watt, of Jacksonville. The father came to the United States when a young man, and began working as a day laborer. He located in Morgan County during the '30s, and was among the earliest settlers of the county. He first worked in the Israel & Taggart distillery near Jacksonville, and afterward moved to the farm where his son James was born. There he lived until his death, in January, 1883. He was a member of the Catholic Church. He was thrice married, to his first union two children being born, namely: Bernard and Michael, deceased. His second wife was a Miss Haynes, who bore him one child, Mary A., wife of William Henderson, of Menard County, Ill. His third wife, previous to her marriage to him, was the widow of Ira Henderson, her maiden name being Mary Patton. Her father was David Patton, one of the early settlers of Morgan County.
James C. McFillen attended the district schools in boyhood, and remained at home until he was seventeen years old, when he began working by the month. This he continued to do for a few years, and then rented land until 1884, when he bought his father's old farm of 100 acres, which was also his own birthplace. There he remained five years, and then purchased his wife's home place of 112 acres, where her father died, and where Mr. McFillen now carries on general farming with successful results.
On February 17, 1876, Mr. McFillen was united in marriage with Alice K. Murray, daughter of James Murray, a sketch of whose life appears elsewhere in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. McFillen have had four children, but one of whom is living, namely: Elsie Edna, wife of George A. Dunlap, of Sangamon county, Ill., who has one child, James A. Of the three deceased children, Murray died at the age of eighteen months; Mabel I. passed away when four and a half months old; and Lela B. was eight years and four months of age at the time of her death. She had, however, been baptized, was an active worker in the Sunday-school and Epworth League Society, and was an exceptionally bright child. In 1897 Mr. McFillen moved to Jacksonville to educate his daughter, Elsie, in the Woman's Department of Illinois College, from which she was graduated with the class of 1901.
In politics, Mr. McFillen is a Democrat. For eight years he served as District Commissioner and on November 7, 1905, was elected County Commissioner for a term of three years. Fraternally, he is affiliated with Jacksonville Lodge Nov. 4, I.O.O.F. He is a man of high character, and is respected by all who know him. Mr. and Mrs. McFillen are both members of the Methodist Church.