Biography - Francis Tully

FRANCIS TULLY, one of Montgomery County's most prominent citizens and wealthiest farmers and stock-raisers, was born in County Cavan, Province of Ulster, Ireland, May 3, 1840. He is a son of Owen Tully and grandson of Francis Tully, the latter at one time a wealthy farmer and land-holder of the beautiful Isle of Erin, but who lost all his property during the famine in that land. Young Francis had the advantages of a fair education up to the age of fifteen years, at which time the reverses with which his family met made it necessary for him to seek some employment. America seemed to offer a promising field to a young man of push and energy, and in order to better his financial condition, he crossed the Atlantic to America in 1864, and almost immediately made his way to Illinois. He was fortunate enough to secure employment with Mr. Penington, the great grain dealer and land-owner of Bunker Hill, but two years later he left that place and came to Nokomis, where he worked on one of Mr. Penington's farms.
In 1869, Mr. Tully rented this farm and began to depend on his own judgment for the means of livelihood. So ably did he manage and so earnestly did he labor, that in 1872 he purchased the two hundred acres where he now lives, for which he was compelled to go in debt about $600. He then bent all his energies to paying off this obligation and it was not many years before it was entirely liquidated and he was free to improve his fine property. He had the good judgment to realize that stock-raising was a profitable employment and has devoted many years to this branch of agriculture, with the result that much of his fortune has been made in this way, He made it a point to raise a good grade of animals, and as a consequence always found a ready sale for them at high prices. His farm is well adapted for the purposes to which it is devoted, having all modern conveniences, and his example in this respect has served as an impulse to others to follow him. It is perhaps unnecessary to add that he is recognized as a man of energy, progressive spirit, and clear perception, and he stands high in the estimation of those who know him.
In addition to his two farms in this county, Mr. Tully has landed interests in Kansas, which are now being managed by his brother John, he giving but little attention to them. Notwithstanding the fact that he came to this county a few years ago a poor man, he has met with wonderful success in all that he has undertaken, as he fully deserved to do, for he has given strict attention to his business and has never infringed or encroached upon the rights of others. His parents came to this country in 1872, but the father died the year of their arrival, and his mother then kept house for him (as he has never married) until her death, which occurred on the 3d of January, 1892, at the age of seventy-six years. Mr. Tully was devoted to his mother and her loss was a great blow to him. She was a woman who possessed many noble attributes of heart and head, was kind, sympathetic and sincere, was a devoted member of the Catholic Church and for many years "kept the faith."
Our subject has two brothers: Philip, who is a farmer in Nokomis Township, and John, who married Sarah Dougherty and follows agricultural pursuits in Witt Township. The sisters are: Mary, wife of P. S. O'Donnell, of Audubon Township; Rosa, Mrs. Gust Dois, who lives in Nokomis; Maggie (deceased), formerly the wife of Martin McLain, of Nokomis Township; Bridget, Mrs. George Bingham, who resides in Ottawa County, Kan.; Bessie, wife of Patrick Costelloe, of Edina, Mo.; and Ann, who married George Wentz, now deceased.
Mr. Tully has ever been a warm Democrat, has held many local offices and for twelve successive years was a member of the County Board of Highway Commissioners, acting as its Treasurer for a number of years. In 1890, his party brought him to the front for Sheriff of the county, but owing to a combination in the western part of the county he was defeated. In 1892, he was again tendered the nomination but refused to accept it, although heartily appreciating the kindly motives that prompted his friends to thus honor him. He is a whole-souled, warm-hearted and impulsive Irish-American, and has a host of warm friends.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 414-417.

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