Cover: Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties
1891 Portrait and Biographical Record:
William S. Shirey


WILLIAM S. SHIREY. Our subject belongs to that class of people that have formed the brawn and sinew of the social and business life in America. A farmer himself, residing on a beautiful tract of land on section 36, of Lovington Township, Moultrie County, his father was a mechanic and manufacturer, and such were his resources, the quickness of perception of his keen mind and shrewd look, that had he been placed on a desert island he could have built up a small village for himself, with all the accessories necessary to civilized and refined life. Our subject's father was the late Samuel Shirey, who was born in Franklin County, Pa., April 26, 1806. His mother, Miss Barbara Ann Shade in her maiden days, was born in Pennsylvania, April 24, 1808.

Samuel Shirey was a wagonmaker by trade and this business he followed throughout his early life, afterward being engaged in farming. The first part of their married life was passed in Greencastle, Pa. Thence they removed to Maryland, and then returned to Pennsylvania, where they continued to live until the spring of 1861, when they determined, for the sake of their growing sons, to remove to a State where there was a broader field and better chances for young men. They came to Moultrie County and settled in Lovington Township, where the father died June 20, 1870. The mother survived for some years, her decease taking place April 2, 1889. They had a family of ten children of whom our subject was the ninth in order of birth.

William Shirey was born in Greencastle, Cumberland County, Pa., January 26, 1846. He came to the Prairie State with his parents in the spring of 1861, and continued under his parental roof until be became of age and was ready to take upon himself the responsibilities of a home. He was married in Macon County, April 5, 1866, to Miss Mary C. Coe, a daughter of John and Rachael (Kaylor) Coe. The father passed away in Macon County, this State. The mother died in Lovington Township at the residence of her son William. Mrs. Mary C. Shirey was born in Ross County, Ohio. After the wedding the young couple settled first in Macon County, where they continued to live until the spring of 1869, when Mr. Shirey came to Moultrie County and settled in Lovington Township, where he has since been a resident.

It is not every man who has concentration of purpose and patience enough to be a farmer. While there are always any number of details about a farm to be worked out, the principal work of planting and waiting for the outcome, is one of weary patience that is frequently tried to the uttermost by the thousand and one drawbacks that are inevitable to agriculture--drouth, flood, rust, grasshoppers, early or late frosts, are only a beginning of the trials that one might mention, that a farmer must endure patiently and uncomplainingly, and for which no one is to blame. He of whom we write has placed excellent improvements on his farm and is the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of good land, well located, watered and drained. The latest improvements in agricultural implements are in use upon the place, and every acre is made to produce to the uttermost. He is engaged in general farming. Their home is an ideal one in point of comfort and attractiveness from a domestic point of view; not hung with the richest tapestries, boasting no paintings by great masters, it is yet the abiding-place of content, and a pleasant assurance that each member of the family is the recipient of the affection and loving confidence of the others. Mr. and Mrs. Shirey are the parents of four living children, whose names are John Alpha, Willis B., Myrtle M. and Gracie Alice. Other little ones have come to the parents as buds of promise, but drooped and withered in their infancy and were gathered up by the Divine hand, and now shed the sweetness of their spirits in a higher world.

Mrs. Shirey is an amiable and womanly woman, a discreet and wise mother, who studies the interests of her children, not from an envious or vainly ambitious standpoint, but seeking to help them to be men and women whose principles of right and honor shall be so high and perfect and whose intellects shall be so developed, that they will be honorable additions to whatever phase of life they may be placed.

He of whom we write has held many of the township offices, in local political life. He has been elected Highway Commissioner, in the smaller places an important office, that is not always so conscientiously attended to as it should be, but conscientiously attended to as it should be, but Mr. Shirey's constituents have no reason to complain of him in this respect, for he fully realizes that the public highways are the veins and arteries through which flow the wealth of the nation. He has also held the position of Treasurer of Lovington Township, and that even more important post, that of School Director. This is, indeed, an almost sacred office, for the selection of our teachers and the government of school affairs is one which should be given the most minute attention and wisest judgment. In his political relations he is a member of the Republican party and the tenets and doctrines of that body are to him vital, by both association and inherited opinions. Mrs. Shirey is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, while her husband is liberal in his religious belief. Socially he is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also fraternizes with both Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias.

The indomitable spirit that our subject inherits from his father is apparent in all his dealings. While living in Maryland, Samuel Shirey met with a severe loss by the burning of his wagon shop, and also his blacksmith shop, which was connected with the first-named. In this catastrophe he lost nearly all he had, but was undismayed and manfully set about retrieving his position.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 321/322

Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb