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The Past And Present Of Mercer County-Bassett 1915, Vol. 2

John Mack is one of the most extensive landowners of Greene township, holding title to eight hundred acres, which he operates with success. His early life was spent on the other side of the Atlantic, for he was a native of Ireland, born in County Clare May 4, 1847. He was left fatherless at a very early age and was only five years old when brought to America by his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Conway. For two years they resided in Pennsylvania, where his mother was located two years before their arrival in this country. From that state the family came west and the mother spent the next two years in Rock Island, Illinois, while our subject and his grandmother located in Preemption township, Mercer county. Here they were joined by Mrs. Mack who purchased forty acres of raw land in that township. This tract was improved by her sons, John, Dan, and Tom, who grubbed out the brush and, after burning it, broke the sod and planted the crops. A small house was erected upon the place and in it the family resided for some time. The mother died at the home of our subject in Greene township.

For a number of years John Mack and his brother Dan made a business of breaking prairie, starting with ox teams and later adopting horses for that purpose. In connection with this our subject also operated rented land for some time and subsequently he and his brother purchased forty acres, which they improved and cultivated. Additional land was bought from time to time until the farm comprised two hundred and forty acres in Preemption township. John Mack farmed there until 1880, when he bought one hundred and twenty acres on Section 17 Greene township where he now makes his home. Prosperity has attended his efforts and he is today the owner of eight hundred acres of excellent farm land. He has remodeled his dwelling, built a barn and has adequate shelter for both grain and stock. His home is situated on the road from Aledo to Viola and the excellent location enhances its value. He has made a thorough study of the raising of stock and annually fattens for market from two to four carloads of cattle and hogs. He makes a specialty of shorthorn cattle and Poland-China hogs, as he considers them best adapted to his purpose. He has also been connected with the financial development of the community as a founder, director, and vice-president of the Viola State Bank.

In Rock Island County, Illinois, on the 17th of February 1873, Mr. Mack united in marriage with Miss Mary L. Kelleher, who was born in Holly Springs, Marshall county, Mississippi, May 5, 1855 of Irish parentage. She died of an accident in Greene township on the 18th of March 1883, and Mr. Mack was again married in Guthrie county, Iowa, June 5, 1893, his second wife being Miss Anna McManus, a daughter of Thomas McManus. She is a native of County Monaghan, Ireland and came to America with her parents in 1864. By the first union there were three sons, namely: James I. who is assisting in the operation of his father's land; John M. who is married and is also on the home farm; and Thomas E., who is in partnership with his father in the conduct of his farming and stock raising interests. A daughter Mary died at birth November 25, 1876.

Mr. and Mrs. Mack hold membership in the Catholic church of Viola, and by his ballot he supports the men and measures of the democratic party, having been elected on that ticket to several local offices. His life has been one of industry and usefulness and his success is but the just reward of honorable and well directed effort. Such a life never fails to command respect and Mr. Mack enjoys the unqualified esteem of all who know him.
(History of Mercer County, Illinois Volume II
Past and Present of Mercer County, Isaac Newton Bassett)

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