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Below is a family biography included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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W. J. BROWNELL, boots and shoes, Bloomington; among the leading firms in the boot and shoe line, is that of W. J. Brownell, who is a native of Cooperstown, Otsego Co., N. Y. In 1862, he came West, and engaged in the dry goods business, in Bloomington. This business he followed until 1874, when he sold out, and, in 1875, embarked in the boot and shoe trade, which business he has since successfully operated. His establishment is located at 106 West Washington street. Here he has shown both good taste and judgment in fitting up his store, and in buying goods. The second floor is used for manufacturing and the first as a salesroom, the latter being elegantly furnished with fine carpets, large mirrors and elegant sofas, for the convenience of his lady customers, as his specialty is fine ladies’ goods, of which he has a fine assortment, keeping the very finest make, and latest styles of French kid and prunello goods, as well as a fine assortment of children’s, misses’ and men’s light and heavy wear. He is enjoying a good trade, which is the result of his own energy, industry and good financiering.

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This family biography is one of 1257 biographies included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  View the complete description here: The History of McLean County, Illinois

View additional McLean County, Illinois family biographies here: McLean County, Illinois Biographies

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