My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  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.

* * * *

JOHN CLEARY. The simple record of an honorable life is the best monument that can be reared to any citizen, and we shall therefore not attempt to enlarge upon the history of the gentleman above named, who is a large land-owner in Perry County, Mo., and at the same time fills the position of Government Contractor in Chester. He is of Irish birth, having been born in County Limerick, December 25, 1840, and is the son of James and Johanna Cleary. The parents were poor people in their native land, and wishing to better their condition financially, emigrated to the United States in 1849, landing in New York City. From that place they soon removed to Syracuse, the same state, where they made their home for six years, and at the end of that time came to Chester, where the elder Mr. Cleary engaged in gardening and farming on a small scale. He departed this life in Chester in 1868, and his good wife died two years later.

John Cleary was the eldest of a large family, of whom only three are living at the present time. While residing at Syracuse, N. Y., he attended school, but after the removal of the family to Chester, his father being in limited circumstances, he was compelled to aid him in the support of the family, and thus his education was neglected. He made the best of his spare moments, however, and by reading good books and being a close observer he gained a fair knowledge of men and things.

When attaining his majority, Mr. Cleary embarked in farming pursuits upon rented land. He continued to remain under the parental roof, however, for five years longer, and then establishing a home of his own was married, January 2, 1867, to Miss Jane, daughter of James and Margaret Supple. After his marriage Mr. Cleary commenced to work in the mill of H. C. Cole & Co., with whom he remained for some years, and then began farming again on his own account, renting property for eight years. During that period he was very successful, and at the expiration of the eight years removed with his family to Chester and began contracting, his first work being on the streets in the city. Proving himself worthy of the confidence placed in him by his fellow-townsmen, he rapidly grew in favor and was soon enabled to take Government contracts, sometimes having in his employ as many as two hundred men.

Mr. Cleary, after saving a goodly sum of money, purchased a quarter-section in Perry County, Mo. To this he has added from time to time as his circumstances would permit, until at the present time he is the proprietor of a vast estate of thirteen hundred acres, nearly all of which is under the best improvements. He gives his personal attention to the cultivation of three hundred acres of his estate and rents the balance to good advantage. He still, however, carries on his business as Government contractor, in which branch of work he has been engaged since 1876. He always furnishes the timber and supplies for his contracts, which at times have required as many as ninety-four teams.

To our subject and his estimable wife have been born five children, who bear the respective names of Mary, John, William, Edward and Charles Cleveland. Mr. Cleary has his farm stocked with all kinds of blooded animals, which he ships to the St. Louis and Chicago markets. In the midst of his extensive personal interests he ever finds time to bear an active part in the affairs of the neighborhood, and in fact, in all movements which contribute to the general welfare of the county. He is a most genial man, strictly honorable in all his dealings, and therefore he is highly regarded by all with whom he comes in contact. With his family he is occupying a handsome brick residence, located in the midst of beautiful grounds, where he entertains a host of friends. In politics he votes the Democratic ticket.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

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

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.