William W. Burns, deceased, who for some years was numbered among the energetic and successful farmers of Ford county, was born in Adams county, Ohio, on the 16th of May, 1818, his parents being James and Mary Burns. His father owned a farm in the Buckeye state and while spending his boyhood days under the parental roof there the son attended the public schools, acquiring a fair English education. When not busy with his text-books he assisted his father in the farm work and received practical training in all the duties of the fields.
William W. Burns was married in 1838 to Miss Margaret McClellan, also a native of Adams county, Ohio, and unto them were born three children. The wife and mother died in 1856, and in 1859 Mr. Burns wedded Miss L. A. Wallace, a daughter of John and Mary Wallace, of Adams county, Ohio. There is one child living by the first marriage, Mrs. S. J. Fitz Henry. There is also a daughter by the second union, Margaret, now the wife of John Swearingen, by whom she has six children.
In 1874 Mr. Burns came to Ford comity and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, while subsequently he bought an additional tract of one hundred and twenty acres adjoining his first farm. He paid forty dollars for this property, which is today worth two hundred dollars per acre, owing to the cultivation and improvements he placed upon it and also to the natural rise in value and owing to the rapid settlement of this part of the state. Mr. Burns built the house which is now the old homestead and with no tools save a saw and hammer but he possessed considerable mechanical ingenuity and the work was very satisfactory when completed.
Mr. Burns gave his political allegiance to the democratic party and served as school director. He contributed to the building of the United Brethren and other churches in Gibson City, and was a public-spirited man, well liked and highly esteemed. In his business affairs he was energetic and progressive and was one of the first to improve his land by tiling. Mrs. Burns still survives her husband and a sister lives with her. Both are members of the First Presbyterian church of Gibson City. She is well known in the county and the family history justly deserves a place in this volume.

Extracted 17 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 798-801.

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