Source: History Of Macoupin County, Illinois With Illustrations Descriptive Of It's Scenery, And Biographical Sketches Of Some Of Its Prominent Men And Pioneers; Philadelphia, PA: Brink, McDonough & Co.; 1879; p. 137.
Among the many prominent foreign-born citizens, and leading farmers of Macoupin county, stands the name of Robert Whiteley. He was born in Yorkshire, England, on the river Ouse, fifteen miles from the city of York, in August, 1819. The Whiteleys are an old family in England. The homestead has been in their name for over five hundred years, and still continues in their name. Robert Whiteley, his father, was twice married. The mother of Robert died while he was quite young. By the first marriage there were two children, and by the last three. Ann, the sister of Robert, is married to William Thompson, and is a resident of Marysville, California. Robert is the oldest son. In 1844 he came to America, and landed in New Orleans, and came up the river to St. Louis, and from there to Alton, and then to Chesterfield, where he stopped with Captain Gelder. He stayed with the captain from spring until the following fall, when he hired to Mr. Rocklington, with whom he remained for two years, receiving one hundred dollars per year. After this he went to New Orleans, and spent the winter in draying. During the hot summer months he came north, and worked upon a farm, returning in the fall to New Orleans. He continued thus for seven years. He found the draying business in New Orleans very lucrative. In 1852 he went to work upon his farm that he had purchased the year before. He put in a crop that year, and in the spring of 1853 he was united in marriage to Miss Adelaide Morris. She was a native of Macoupin county. Ten children were born to them, three of whom are now living. His wife died December, 1869. The place he purchased in 1851 originally contained two hundred and sixty-five acres, to which he has added two hundred more, making in all over four hundred acres of as fine improved land as there is in Macoupin county. He also raises stock, and has been very successful in his dealings in that direction. He was raised in the Presbyterian faith. He is a republican in politics. In the community where he has long resided none are more respected than Robert Whiteley. He is a large-hearted, free-handed English gentleman, whose acquaintance it is a genuine pleasure to make, as the writer of this article can testify.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Macoupin County, Illinois; Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company, 1891; pp. 245-246.
There is no estimating the force of a quiet life of patient continuance in well doing, of unswerving fidelity to the duties of the hour. As with beautiful flowers hidden behind stone walls, the very air scatters far and near the fragrance of an upright life. If the character is good it refreshes as the dew and makes the memory blessed for years after mother earth claims all that is mortal. Every beautiful virtue shines out in the life and decks with royal purple the robe of humility. The influence of a pure character is as potent in the office, the shop or factory as it is in the quiet of home or amid the worship of the sanctuary. The friends of Mr. Whiteley recognize the nobility of his nature and hold him in high esteem.
One of our English-born fathers who had brought to this country the sterling qualities of the English yeomanry, Mr. Whiteley has made a success of agriculture in the Prairie State. He resides on section 9, Bird Township, and represents that township on the County Board of Supervisors. He was born near York, Yorkshire, England, in August, 1819, and in his native place grew to man's estate. In 1844 he came to America, making the voyage in a sailing vessel and landing in New Orleans on March 17 of that year. He proceeded directly to South Palmyra Township, this county, and here established his home. But that dire affliction of the Mississippi Valley, fever and ague, soon attacked him and to benefit his health he spent in New Orleans the first seven years of his residence in America. In New Orleans he followed draying.
Mr. Whiteley returned to Macoupin County each spring with but one exception, when, in the year 1849, he passed the summer season at the old home in England. In 1851 he purchased a portion of the farm where he now lives, and in the following spring made it his permanent home. He was reared on a farm in England, and agriculture has been his chief occupation through life. He now owns over seven hundred acres, which he has gained by adding little by little to the two hundred and ten which he purchased in 1851. He has erected upon his farm a complete set of farm buildings, which are worthy the admiration of the passerby.
Having by arduous exertions gained a competency for his declining years Mr. Whiteley now rents his farm and lives a retired life. He was married in Western Mound Township, to Mrs. Adeline Morris, a native of that township, who died in December, 1869. She was a mother of ten children, three of whom are now living, namely: Mary A.; Sarah O., Mrs. James McAliney; and Robert. The children whom they lost died when quite young.
Mr. Whiteley has been Highway Commissioner for nine years, has served as School Director for sometime, and was elected Supervisor of Bird Township in the spring of 1890. He has ever taken an active interest in political affairs, and is a broad-minded and intelligent man. His earlier affiliations were with the Whig party, but later he became a Republican. His early religious training at home was in the Church of England, and he is here identified with the Episcopal Church. This public-spirited and representative citizen is a man of genial disposition, and his neighbors rejoice in his prosperity.
The attention of our readers is invited to the lithographic portrait of Mr. Whiteley with appears in connection with this brief personal notice.
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