Jerry Hickey, the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of valuable farming land on section 7, Lyman township, was born in Ireland in November, 1839, a son of John and Mary (Welsh) Hickey, who emigrated to America in 1854. The family first located in Massachusetts, where the father worked as a laborer for four years, on the expiration of which period he removed to Bloomington, McLean county, Illinois, where he was also employed as a laborer for eight years. He then rented a farm in McLean county, which he successfully operated up to the time of his demise in 1887, his wife having passed away in 1885. Unto Mr. and Mrs. John Hickey were born nine children, namely: Johanna, the widow of Luke Dalton, who makes her home in McLean county, Illinois; David, deceased; Jerry, of this review; James, living in Champaign county, Illinois; Margaret, who is the widow of William Ryan and resides in Chicago; Ellen, deceased; Katherine, the wife of Patrick Murphy, of McLean county, Illinois; Michael, deceased; and Mary, who departed this life in Ireland.
Jerry Hickey never had the advantage of school training but has nevertheless acquired a practical education through experience, reading and observation. He remained under the parental roof, assisting his father in his farming operations, until he was thirty-six years of age, when he rented a farm and was successfully engaged in its operation for ten years. On the expiration of that period he bought a tract of land of eighty acres in McLean county, upon which he made his home until 1895. In that year he sold his original purchase and bought one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 7, Lyman township, where he has since resided, having brought the fields under a high state of cultivation and development. Although he has almost reached the psalmist's allotted span of three score years and ten he is still actively engaged in the work of his farm and, by reason of the success which he has achieved, is numbered among the prosperous and enterprising agriculturists of Ford county.
In 1879 Mr. Hickey was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Donavan, a native of Ireland, in which country her parents passed away. She was one of a family of seven children and made the voyage to the new world when but twelve years of age. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hickey have been born eleven children, as follows: John J. and Thomas D., both at home; Margaret E., who is a dressmaker residing in Bloomington; Mary G., now teaching school in McLean county; Julia E., also at home; Josie F., who is a school teacher of Ford county; Alice G. and Rachel A., who are also under the parental roof; and three who are deceased.
In his political views Mr. Hickey is a democrat, while both he and his wife are communicants of the Catholic church at Roberts, Illinois. For almost a third of a century he has been identified with agricultural interests in this part of the state and has not only witnessed a most wonderful transformation but has largely aided in the labors which have transformed the wild tract into a splendid commonwealth. He has gained the warm esteem of all with whom he has come in contact because of his upright and honorable life and also by reason of the straightforward methods he has ever followed in his business career.

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 854-857.

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