Thomas J. McDermott, who owns and operates three hundred and twenty acres of rich and productive land on section 16, Mona township, was born in Peoria county, Illinois, October 18, 1858, his parents being James and Mary (Slaven) McDermott, who were both natives of Ireland. They emigrated to America in the early '40s, locating in Peoria county, Illinois, when the city of that name was only a very small river town, and there the father followed farming for many years, being closely connected with the pioneer development of that part of the state. Unto Mr. and Mrs. James McDermott were born eight children, as follows: Mary J., the wife of Peter Burns, of Peoria county; Henry who resides in Cullom, Livingston county, Illinois; James, who makes his home in Chicago; Thomas J., of this review; Carolina, who became the wife of Thomas Foulton and resides in Cullom; Susanna, who is the wife of James Carl, of Peoria county; and Stephen and Matthew, both of whom make their home in Peoria county.
Thomas J. McDermott acquired his education in the common schools and remained with his father on the home farm until he had attained his majority, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. On leaving the parental roof he took up his abode on a rented farm near Piper City and operated the place for one year. On the expiration of that period he came to Mona township, where he again operated a rented farm for two years and then purchased eighty acres of land on section 16, where he now resides. As the years passed he brought the land under a high state of cultivation and added many modern improvements to the farm, having also extended the boundaries of his place until it now comprises three hundred and twenty acres of fine farming land. He is widely known as one of the representative and enterprising agriculturists of the county and in addition to the work of general farming he makes a specialty of raising full blooded Hereford cattle, both branches of his business returning to him a gratifying annual income.
In 1881 Mr. McDermott was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Mullaly, a daughter of James and Margaret Mullaly, both natives of Ireland, who crossed the Atlantic to America at an early day. They became the parents of ten children, as follows: John; James; William, deceased; Mary Jane, deceased; Frank; Mrs. McDermott; Anna, who makes her home in New Jersey; Charles; Thomas; and Ella. Unto Mr. and Mrs. McDermott have also been born ten children: Thomas E., deceased; Margaret, the wife of Albert Hartquest, of Chatsworth, Illinois; James E., at home; Mary E., deceased; Susanna, Charles E., Carrie M., Jane E., Thomas W., and Orville M.
Both Mr. and Mrs. McDermott are communicants of the Catholic church and in his political views our subject is a democrat. He has never sought or desired office, however, preferring to give his undivided attention to his business affairs, in which he has met with a large measure of prosperity. He has been identified with the agricultural development of this state from his earliest youth, for he aided in the cultivation of his father's farm in Peoria county and for more than a quarter of a century has carried on farming on his own account in Ford county, having seen the district transformed from a wild, uncultivated region into one of the richest agricultural states of the Union. Moreover, the success which has come to him is due entirely to his own well directed labor and enterprise, for he started out in life empty-handed and has steadily worked his way upward until he is now numbered among the substantial citizens of the county.

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 352-353.

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