Although James McBride had a cash capital of but eight hundred and fifty dollars when he arrived in Illinois, he is today one of the largest taxpayers in Brenton township and his prosperous career should serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others, showing what may be accomplished through business enterprise, unfaltering perseverance and strong determination for upon those qualities he has builded his success.
A native of Ireland, Mr. McBride was born January 12, 1842, his parents being Robert and Ruth (Kirker) McBride. They came to America in 1844 and first located in Belmont county, Ohio, upon a farm. The father died in 1861 and the mother in 1858. In their family were seven children, of whom five are now living, as follows: Gilbert K., who resides in this county; John B., living in Paw Paw, Illinois; R. A., whose home is in La Salle county, this state; N. A., of New York city; and James, of this review.
James McBride was but two years of age when brought by his parents to America and upon the home farm in Ohio he was reared, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He enlisted for service in the Civil war in 1862, when a young man of twenty years, and served for three years in defense of the Union, participating in all of the experiences of camp life. He marched with Sherman to the sea and participated in many important battles. After the war he returned to Ohio and in the fall of 1865 came to LaSalle county, Illinois, where he lived for three years, afterward removing to Livingston county, this state. Having carefully saved his earnings in the meantime, he now made an investment in property, purchasing eighty acres, which he cultivated and improved, bringing his farm into a high state of fertility.
In 1869 Mr. McBride was married to Miss Clarilda Strank, who was born in Ohio and was one of two children. Following their marriage they began their domestic life upon their farm in Livingston county, where they remained for ten years. Mr. McBride then traded his property for two hundred and forty acres of land on section 31, Brenton township, Ford county, whereon he resided until 1892. From time to time he added more land and when he retired and removed to Piper City he was the owner of eight hundred and ninety acres, all in the panhandle of the county. Since this he has sold three hundred and twenty acres and he still owns five hundred and seventy acres. He has always made a specialty of buying, raising, feeding and selling stock, and his business transactions of this character have returned him a good profit. The farming interests are valuable and bring to him an excellent financial return annually. In all of his business investments he has shown good judgment and is today a prosperous citizen as the result of well directed industry.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. McBride was blessed with four children: Celestia May, now the wife of H. M. Hawthorne, living on a farm in this county; Sarah A., who is the widow of William Davis and is now acting as her father's housekeeper; and Jesse W. and Orville F., both deceased. Mrs. Davis has one son, Henry James Davis, who is now attending the Piper City high school. Mrs. McBride died in 1890, leaving her husband and three children to mourn her death, while many friends also deplored her loss for she displayed many sterling traits of character that endeared her to those with whom she came in contact. In September, 1894, Mr. McBride married Elizabeth Woods, a native of Belmont county, Ohio.
Mr. McBride was a democrat until 1896, when he voted for William McKinley, since which time he has deposited his ballot in support of republican principles. He has held several township offices and has served as school director for twenty years, the cause of education finding in him a stalwart champion. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, holding membership in the lodge at Piper City, and to St. Paul Commandery, K. T., at Fairbury, Illinois. He is in hearty sympathy with the principles and tenets of the craft, which is based upon mutual kindliness and brotherly love. He attends and supports the Presbyterian church and is interested in all that pertains to the welfare and upbuilding of the town and county. He is now president of the Piper City Fair and Driving Association and is one of the best known residents of Ford county, having made a creditable record as a business man and citizen. He has prospered, not because of any assistance which he received at the outset of his career or from any influence that has been exerted in his behalf, but because he has labored diligently and untiringly, recognizing the fact that earnest effort is the basis of all business advancement.

Extracted 19 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 1, pages 368-370.

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