William Heaton is one of the old landmarks of the county. For over half a century he has been an active and successful man of affairs, and at the age of eighty-three is still attending to business. He was born in Greene county, Pennsylvania, July 24, 1817, and is a son of Samuel and Margaret (Rose) Heaton, who were also born in Greene county, Pennsylvania. His grandfather, John Rose, and President McKinley's grandmother were cousins. William Heaton (grandfather) was a native of New Jersey, born September 16, 1764, and fought under Andrew Jackson at the battle of New Orleans. His wife Abigail, was born August 28, 1767. John Rose, his maternal grandfather, was an early settler near Clarksville, Greene county, Pennsylvania, and owned a distillery, and in the words of Mr. Heaton was a great inventor, as he could draw five kinds of liquor out of the same barrel, and neither he nor any of his sons were ever known to be drunk either. He and his five sons were also opposed to drinking; in that early day there were no organization known as the Prohibition party, but principally Democrats and Whigs. William Heaton's father grew quite wealthy for that day, but lost it by going on other people's bonds. He removed to New Washington, Ohio, where he died. His mother died in Greene county.

William Heaton received a moderate education in his younger days and worked hard on the farm. In 1838 he married Mary Hedge, a daughter of Jacob Hedge, of Greene county. Jacob Hedge was a good citizen, a good farmer, but never had opportunities to sit in the state Legislature. William Heaton's wife died in 1886. To them were born seven children. His second and present wife is a most agreeable companion for him in his old age. She is a cousin of his first wife. Mr. Heaton has been a very successful trader and has probably bought and sold more land than any man in the county. For several years he kept a land office at Des Moines, Iowa, and paid twelve thousand dollars out of his own pocket toward the removal of the state capital from Iowa City to Des Moines. He laid the foundation for the Adair County Bank at Greenfield, Iowa, which is now owned and managed by his son, D. D. Heaton. He is now passing the sunset of life near the Pleasant Ridge church, in North Newman township, where he still enjoys life, and appreciates a good story as well as he ever did. While in Iowa he was a political disciple of James B. Weaver and E. H. Gelette, serving as delegate to conventions and in other ways adding strength to the cause. He hopes to live to vote for William J. Bryan this fall. In the neighborhood in which he resides he is something of a political freak, as nearly everybody around him believes most devotedly in an honest dollar and the constitution.

Extracted 09 Jun 2019 by Norma Hass from the Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois, published in 1900, pages 197-198.

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