Biography - William Galeener

WILLIAM E. GALEENER, who resides on his farm in Tunnel Hill Township, has an admirably planned arid well-stocked nursery at Vienna, and is well patronized by the people of the village and counter. He is a native of Warren County, Ohio, born October 30, 1841, and is of the early pioneer stock of that State. His father, the late S. B. Galeener, was also a native of Ohio, and was there reared to the life of a farmer, In 1857 he came with his family to Illinois, and first engaged in farming in Edgar County, whence he removed to Union County in 1866. While there he devoted himself to general farming and to raising small fruit. In 1876 he came to Johnson County to settle, taking up his residence in Tunnel Hill, and still continued to till the soil; he also made brooms in the winter time when he could do nothing else. He was a hard worker from boyhood, and his industry was well rewarded by the comforts with which he was enabled to surround his old age. His death occurred in 1887, and the last sad rites for the dead were solemnized in Odd Fellows' Cemetery, Vienna, where he was laid to rest. His venerable wife survives him, and makes her home with our subject. She is a native of Clermont County, Ohio, and bore the maiden name of Nancy Malsbary. She has been the mother of twelve children: Missouri Jane, who died in Warren County, Ohio; William Elwood; Samuel, who died in Ohio in 1849, during the prevalence of the cholera epidemic; Rachel, who also fell a victim to the cholera in that year at Montgomery, Ohio; Mary Emeline, wife of Elwood Finley, a fruit grower at Cobden, Union County; three children, two being twins, who died in infancy; Herbert Francis, a resident of Tunnel Hill, whose occupation is that of railway bridge carpenter; Percy Hosbrooks, station agent at Harrisburgh; Nancy Alice, wife of Abraham Flick, a farmer at St. Francisville; and Stephen Clifton, railway agent at Eldorado.
William Elwood Galeener, of whom this sketch is written, is the second child of the family in order of birth. His early life was passed much as that of other farmers' boys, with plenty of hard work to strengthen his muscles when he was not improving his mind in the district school, which he attended until he was fifteen years old. He continued to live with his parents until he was twenty-four years old, although he had begun to work for himself when he attained his majority. He came to Vienna in November, 1869, with the little money that he had accumulated, which was not, however, enough for his purpose — to start in the nursery business — so that he had to begin life here in debt. But he was not lacking in enterprise, and his resolution to do his best under all circumstances, together with his capacity for sustained and intelligent labor, was a guarantee of his future success. In 1876 he bought a farm of sixty acres in Tunnel Hill Township, and removing his nursery to it, he farmed and attended to his nursery, and in the busy years that followed conducted his affairs profitably. He placed his land under a thorough system of cultivation, planted a large quantity of fruit of different sorts, and made many excellent improvements, including the erection of a neat and comfortably arranged residence. He still continues to live on his farm, but in 1890 he again established his nursery at Vienna, deeming this village a more desirable field for carrying on his business. He is thoroughly conversant with everything pertaining to horticulture, particularly to that branch of it to which he is devoted, and has a finely equipped nursery, and is constantly adding to his stock, which is always of the choicest, and is well selected with regard to the requirements of his customers and adaptation to the soil. He is strictly honest in his dealings, never misrepresenting anything, and those with whom he trades have every confidence in him as a straightforward, trustworthy business man, and in his judgment in everything pertaining to his line of business.
February 8, 1872, Mr. Galeener was united in marriage to Miss India, daughter of Capt. William Perkins, and a native of Johnson County. Seven children were born of their pleasant married life: Claude, who is a student at a school at Fairfield; Amy, at home; Freddie, who died at the age of two years; John Halbert; George Edwin; William Kenneth and Mabel. The four last-named are also at home, and all the children are being well educated and trained to useful lives.
We should be doing but scant justice to our subject did we omit to mention his patriotic services as a soldier when our country stood in need of help of the bravest and best of her citizens to save it from dishonor and disunion. He was but nineteen years of age when he enlisted in the Fifty-fourth Indiana Infantry in June, 1862, for a period of three months. He returned home at the end of that time with a well-earned record for efficiency and fidelity to duty under the most trying conditions. In 1864, nothing daunted by his former experiences, he again enlisted, becoming a member of the One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Illinois Infantry, and saw some hard service at the front. While with his regiment at the Red River during his first enlistment, he had the misfortune to be captured by the enemy, but he was subsequently paroled.

Extracted 23 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 235-239.

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