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Biography of Daniel Morrissey

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Daniel Morrissey. In the case of this well known citizen of Champaign success speaks for itself. Perhaps a few men remember the time when Daniel Morrissey was helping run a small weekly paper. That was more than half century ago. He early succumbed to an irresistible impulse to buy land. He bought with unlimited faith in the future of this locality, and his friends say that he also bought with almost unlimited skill and accuracy of judgment. Doubtless he made some mistakes, but they have not interfered with the big results. For the benefit of future generations, if not for the present, it is useful to state that Mr. Morrissey is one of the three largest land owners in Champaign County, and is president of the Morrissey Farm Land Mortgage Company.

He was born in New York State, August 4, 1844, a son of James and Mary (Murphy) Morrissey, both of whom were natives of County Mayo, Ireland. His parents spent the last years of their lives in New York State.

The spirit of independence, which is an Irish characteristic, was coupled in Daniel Morrissey’s equipment with unlimited industry and energy. At the age of fourteen he left home and went to Detroit, Michigan. There he had his first experience in a printing office. Subsequently he worked on the old Chicago Times at Chicago. His work as a printer he gave up to take a position with the Western Union Telegraph Company on construction work. He helped build the line from Mendota, Illinois, to Burlington, Iowa.

A friend of his boyhood days, D. S. Crandall, had in the meantime come to Champaign, Illinois, and was conducting a newspaper known as the Union Weekly. Mr. Morrissey joined him here in 1863. When he arrived in the county his cash assets amounted to $13.75. Mr. Morrissey’s chief success in life is coincident with and a reflection of the development of the magnificent agricultural resources of this part of Illinois. A lover of the country, he was alive to every opportunity to get possession of a piece of land. The progress in his accumulations would, if described in detail, be a quite accurate record of his growing financial asset. Whenever he had any money to spare, and sometimes on credit, he bought land that his judgment urged him to buy. Thus it is that now he is recognized as one of the largest land owners in Champaign County. He pays taxes on something more than three thousand acres in this county alone, while in the Northwest and in other parts of the country he owns between nine thousand and ten thousand acres.

All the while Mr. Morrissey has been a force in good citizenship and in good business at Champaign. He is active in the Citizens Commercial Club and the Chamber of Commerce, is a popular member of the Elks’ Lodge, and he was reared in the Catholic Church. His wife, whose maiden name was Annie Donnelly, died at Champaign, January 20, 1916. Their three children were Daniel C., who is actively associated with his father in business; M. J. Morrissey, who died February 17, 1916; and Fay, also an associate of his father.

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