WIDENHAM, WILLIAM, (deceased), father of Dr. J. C. Widenham, of Jacksonville, Ill., was born in Castle Widenham, County Cork, Ireland, January 1, 1809, and came to the United States in 1838. The Widenhams were of English origin, their remote ancestors being adherents of Oliver Cromwell, and from this family William Widenham was descended. In childhood he migrated from Ireland to England, and there received a thorough mental training, becoming especially proficient as a linguist.
In London Mr. Widenham learned the trade of a watch and chronometer maker and, at No. 13 Lombard Street, made instruments of great exactness and accuracy for the British Navy. On arriving in this country, he proceeded direct to Peoria, Ill., and, having abundant means, bought farm land in that vicinity. At a later date, he opened a jewelry store in Peoria, and there spent the remainder of his life, dying in 1883.
Mr. Widenham was united in marriage with Henrietta Benden, a native of Bristol, England, where she was born in 1819. Ten children resulted from this union, one of whom a daughter, was born in London, England, where she died. Of the ten children but three are now living-Elizabeth and William Widenham, of Peoria, Ill., and Dr. J. C. Widenham, a prominent dentist of Jacksonville.