THORNLEY, HUGO (deceased), was born in Yorkshire, England, August 18, 1831, the sixth child of Ralph and Hannah (Scholes) Thornley, who had a family of nine children. With his wife and six children Ralph Thornley sailed for America in the spring of 1840, landing at New Orleans, and reaching Beardstown, Cass County, Ill., on July 4th. About five weeks thereafter he bought 80 acres of land in Township 16, Range 11, Morgan County. With the exception of a small clearing, where corn had been grown, the tract was timber land, and had no improvements other than a hewn log hut. Deer and wild game were abundant, which Mr. Thornley was accustomed to shoot near his door. After clearing the land of stumps around the cabin, he added one room to it, and in 1858 built the present residence - his farm then consisting of 440 acres, on which place he resided until his death, on February 13, 1867.
Mr. Thornley attended the subscription school in the log school house now known as Mt. Vernon, in the winter, and worked during the summer, on the farm, during his boyhood driving an ox-team several days for a neighbor, for which he received twenty-five cents per day. He assisted his father in farming until the latter's death; then, until 1883, conducted the farm jointly with his brother Samuel. They had purchased the property in 1872, and in the year named (1883) Hugo bought his brother's interest. Samuel continued to live with Hugo and family until his death, March 26, 1901, when he bequeathed his estate to Hugo's children.
On March 27, 1855, Hugo Thornley was united in marriage with Mary Williamson Emmerson, who was born near Hebron, Morgan County, Ill., October 30, 1837, the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Mushem) Emmerson, who, in 1834, had come to this country from near Scarborough, England, with his wife's parents, Thomas and Mary Williamson Emmerson. They bought and settled on a large tract of land, about nine miles northeast of Jacksonville, Ill., near what is now known as Sinclair, and where, for a short time, they all lived together. Then Thomas bought another tract of land, a few miles north of the first, where he built a house, grist mill (afterward named Everly Mills), and other buildings of note, and where the parents resided until death.
In 1850 Richard Emmerson, with his family, removed to Beardstown, and died soon after, leaving the wife and five children, who, except Mary (Emmerson) Thornley, all reside either in the city or its neighborhood.
Mr. and Mrs. Thornley became the parents of nine children, namely: James Emmerson, unmarried, who is a farmer living near Ashland, Ill.; Hannah Elizabeth, unmarried, who lives with her brother, James E.; Anna May, who died in 1901; William Franklin, who died in 1865; Emma Lu, who died in 1867; Mary Eleanor, who lives with her mother; Edwin Howard, a farmer near Ashland, Ill., who married Elsie Rawlings, and has one child, Mildred; Samuel Walker and Carl Spencer, who also reside on the homestead.
The father of this family died December 13, 1898. He was one of the most prominent farmers and extensive and successful stock-raisers in Morgan County. At the time of his death, Hugo Thornley was the owner of 680 acres of land in Morgan County and 153 acres in Cass County, besides considerable stock and other personal property. He had served as School Director for a number of years. In politics, Mr. Thornley was a stanch Democrat, active in behalf of his party's success, but not a politician. Fraternally, he was a member of Arenzville Lodge, I.O.O.F. Religiously, he belonged to no church, but contributed liberally to religious and charitable work. A man of high character and strict integrity, he enjoyed the confidence and respect of all who made his acquaintance.