Biography of Wilson Conner
Wilson Conner. One of the homes of Iverr Township to which special attention should be directed in this publication is that of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Conner in section 28, near Penfield. Mr. Conner is a man of sterling worth and character, has lived in Champaign County the greater part of his active life, and has won for himself an enviable prominence as a farmer, public spirited citizen and a worker in behalf of every worthy cause.
He was born in Ohio, a son of John and Mary Ellen (Riggleman) Conner, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Virginia. The father died when Wilson was a small child, and a little later the widowed mother brought him to Champaign County, where he spent his boyhood and secured his education in the Kuder School. When he was ten years of age his mother died, leaving him an orphan and he sorely missed her counsel and protecting care.
He has thus made his way against the tide of circumstance from early years and did not have a home of his own until the age of twenty-nine, when he married Miss Alice Mantle. Mrs. Conner is a native of Champaign County, a daughter of Isaac and Mary (Kuder) Mantle. Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Conner moved to Vermilion County, Illinois, and began life on a rented farm. With youth, ambition and energy, the future stretched away in charming prospect, and they wisely improved their advantages and opportunities until they were able to return to Champaign County and buy 101 acres in Kerr Township. Mr. Conner paid $35 an acre for this land and today it is worth $175 an acre. Here his enterprise has proved productive and he and his good wife have the credit for practically making one of Champaign County’s best farms. There were no buildings or other improvements on the land when they bought it, and successive years have witnessed the erection of commodious house and barn, the planting of fruit and shade trees, and the wise conservation and use of the soil. While general farming is the main business carried on, they have a fine orchard, including choice varieties of cherries, peaches and plums and a large amount of berry fruits.
Into their home were born three children, one of whom died in infancy. The surviving daughter is Mary Ellen Gladys Conner. Both her grandmothers had the name Mary. The son is McKinley Solomon, whose first name was for the illustrious President and the second for his uncle, Solomon Mantle. These children attended the Kuder School, Mary graduating from the eighth grade and receiving the honorary diploma for admission to the high school. Besides giving them the usual school advantages Mr. and Mrs. Conner have made musical instruction a feature of their culture. Mary spent several years under the instruction of Mrs. J. Kirkpatrick of Champaign. Both children have developed fine talent for music, McKinley having become a proficient performer on the violin. With his sister to accompany him the Conner home is never at a loss for special concerts and there is seldom a time in the work of the farm when music is neglected. Mr. and Mrs. Conner have wisely endeavored to give their children the benefit of a musical education, and that is a strong cord to bind their children to the home. Undoubtedly one of the great problems of country life might be solved if all parents were as liberal in affording advantages and entertainment to their children as Mr. and Mrs. Conner.
Mr. and Mrs. Conner are members of the United Brethren Church of Penfield and the children are active in the Sunday school. The name bestowed upon the son indicates Mr. Conner’s politics. He has been a steady supporter of the Republican party, and with his wife has endeavored to inculcate thorough American principles in their children. Several years Mr. Conner served as road commissioner. He and his wife have been true home makers in Champaign County and their lives have been a contributing factor to the progress and prosperity of this region.