Thomas J. Early. The Early family has been identified with Champaign County for over a half a century. The name is one around which many interests center. They have been industrious and capable farmers, good home makers and upright and honorable citizens in all the relations of life.
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One of the younger members of the family is Mr. Thomas J. Early, who is now active manager and farmer of the old homestead in Champaign Township. He was born in Colfax Township of this county December 19, 1882, a son of John W. and Bridget (Lyman) Early. His mother was a member of the well known Lyman family of Champaign County. John W. Early, who was born in Ohio, came to Champaign County in 1861, lived for a time in the city of Champaign, and subsequently bought a farm of 160 acres in section 19 of Champaign Township. For upwards of half a century he gave diligent attention to its cultivation and improvement and he died there October 28, 1911. His wife passed away May 4, 1909. They had a large family of thirteen children, Thomas being the oldest. The others are: Mary A., at home; Margaret, wife of James Mooney, of North Dakota; Julia F., wife of Bernard Flaharty, of Bismarck, Illinois; John P., of Rankin, Illinois; William S., whose home is at Bondville in this county; Peter, of North Dakota; Catherine, who died in August, 1916; Walter, still at home; Ignatius, of Gerald, Illinois; Lucinda, a teacher at Ivesdale, this county; Arthur at home; Marcella B., attending the Longwood Academy in Chicago.
Thomas J. Early grew up on the farm where he still resides, attended the public schools, and is now renting the farm from the other heirs and is devoting it to the general crops and to the live stock industry. His father was a member of the school board in this district for twenty years. Mr. Early is affiliated with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Catholic Knights of America, and his church affiliation is with the Holy Cross Catholic Church of Champaign.