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Biography of William McEniry

William McEniry, one of the early settlers of the County of Rock Island, was born in Charleville, County Cork, Ireland, a village near the line of County Limerick, on February 15, 1817, where he received his education and where he was engaged in mercantile business two years prior to his departure for America which was in April 1840, having heard much of the United States from an uncle who at that time lived in Albany, New York, he concluded to pay a visit to his uncle, and in company with his eldest sister, departed for America, arriving in New York City on a sailing vessel, steam vessels not being in use. He proceeded up the Hudson River on a steamboat to the City of Albany, and while visiting with his uncle he learned much of the country west of the Hudson River along the Erie Canal which had recently been opened to navigation. He decided to take a trip up the canal to Syracuse, and while there formed the acquaintance of John White, brother of the late Spencer White of Moline, who induced him to take charge of the office of a brick factory he was operating. In the Spring of 1841 John White’s father and mother were desirous of coming to Peoria, Illinois, to make their home with a daughter in that city. John White induced him to take the old couple by team from Syracuse to Peoria, driving across the country. After reaching Peoria the old people desired to send a letter to their son, Spencer White, who was in Moline, and he volunteered to bring the...

Biography of Hon. William McEniry

In considering the prominent legal firms in Rock Island County one’s mind instinctively turns to the firm of McEniry & McEniry, a firm composed of the two brothers, Hon. William McEniry and Matthew J. McEniry, having offices both in Rock Island and Moline. It is the life and character of the former of these two gentlemen that we pro-pose to depict in the sketch that is to follow. The life and character of Matthew J. McEniry will be found elsewhere in this work treated at length. William McEniry was born in Rock Island County, Illinois, May 9, 1860, his parents being William and Elizabeth (Coughlin) McEniry. William McEniry, Sr., who was a farmer, came to Illinois in 1841 and settled in Moline, making his home there until 1852, when he took up his residence on a farm in this county. In 1846 occurred his marriage to Miss Elizabeth Coughlin. To this couple eight children were born, six sons and two daughters. Two of the sons, however, died in infancy. The death of the father occurred February 18, 1874. His widow survived him until May 30, 1907, when she passed away. Both were devout members of the Roman Catholic Church. In a panegyric at the time of Mrs. McEniry’s death one of the Moline daily newspapers spoke of her life as follows: “Mrs. McEniry was identified with the history of Rock Island County. She was the first Catholic woman to reside in what is now the City of Moline, and the first mass of the church ever said in that city, was celebrated in her house by a Davenport priest....

Biography of Matthew J. McEniry

It is said that the legal profession is one of the most difficult in which to achieve success. It is doubtless true that to be a truly successful attorney requires ability of a high order. We have spoken elsewhere in this work of; the success achieved by the legal firm of McEniry & McEniry, and one of the fruits of that success is a renown that is not merely local but that has spread throughout the northwest. In the article mentioned the life and character of one of the members of the firm, William McEniry, was taken up and discussed at length. His strength and ability were depicted. The present article is to be devoted to a discussion of the salient points in the life of the other member of the firm, Matthew J. McEniry, a man, who like his brother, is possessed of brilliant talents and real genius. He was born on a farm, in Zuma Township, this county. The lives and characters of the elder McEnirys, the parents of Matthew J. and William, are recorded at length in the sketch previously spoken of, to which the reader is referred. As a lad Matthew J. McEniry received his early education in the country schools in the neighborhood of his father’s farm. When seventeen years of age he went to an academy at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, where he completed a commercial course. He afterward entered the University of Notre Dame, at Notre Dame, Indiana, where he devoted himself to scientific studies. These he completed in 1887, whereupon he entered the law department of the University of Michigan, at...

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