The subject of this sketch wears the proud title of one of the "boys in
blue", a title that anyone might justly be proud to bear, for such privilege
does not come to many men in a country, and we of the aftermath are glad to
respect those of this class, but this is not the only reason why the subject
of this sketch is entitled to representation in a work of this nature,
having been a man of industry, honesty and influence during his long life in
William A. Hartley was born in Jefferson county, Grand Prairie township, February 25, 1841, the son of Hugh Hartley, who was born in 1805, and who married Nancy Huckleberry. The former was a native of Virginia and the latter of Indiana. William Hartley, the subject's grandfather, a shoemaker by trade, was a native of Virginia, having been born and grew up in Monongahela county. In 1816 he came to Clark county, Indiana, and later moving to Charlestown, Indiana, where he died in 1844. Then Hugh Hartley, the subject's father, came to Jefferson county in 1839. He was married in Indiana. He purchased two hundred acres of wild land in Grand Prairie township. He improved the place and lived there until his death in 1871. His wife died in 1896, at the advanced age of eighty-eight years.
In early life he devoted his time to shoemaking. He was in Chicago when city lots were selling for five and ten dollars each. He served during the Black Hawk war of 1832 in Arkansas, where he remained until the close of hostilities. He was a great reader and debater. He was an active Democrat, although he never held office. He was a member of the Methodist church, and was well known and highly respected by all who knew him. Nine children were born to the parents of the subject as follows: John W., who was in the Mexican war during the 'second year of the war for one year. He was in Company H, Fourteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the second year of the Civil war, having been lieutenant in General Palmer's regiment, having served two years when he lost his voice and was compelled to resign. He was the first City Marshal of Decatur, Illinois, and lived there the rest of his life. He was also the first man to run a bakery in that city. He died there in 1901. The second child was named Mary Ann and is deceased; James R. is living in Grand Prairie township, Jefferson county, Illinois. He was formerly a teacher and painter by trade. He was in Company F, One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, having served over one year. Martha J., who died in November, 1904, remained single and lived at home. Alfred died in infancy; Hugh, the sixth child, learned the bricklayer's trade. He made a trip overland by Pike's Peak to California and was there two years. After he returned he went to Louisiana. He was in the Confederate army, and died three months before the close of the war, having been buried at Richmond, Virginia. William A., our subject, was the seventh child in order of birth; Clara, who became the wife of Rev. J. C. Baldridge, a Methodist minister, is deceased. He lives in Chicago. Andrew J. lives at Irvington,' Illinois, and is a stock dealer and engaged in farming.
The subject was educated in the home schools. After he left school, Mr. Hartley was one of the brave sons of the North, who offered his services in suppressing the rebellion, having enlisted August 18, 1861, in Company C, Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, at Centralia as a private. He was sent to Bird's Point, Missouri, remaining there until February 5, 1862, where he was drilled. He then went to Fort Henry, Tennessee, remaining there four days, when he marched to Fort Donelson and was in the battle there, the regiment he was in losing six hundred men out of seven hundred and fifty in killed, wounded and prisoners. He was at Fort Donelson until the middle of March, 1862, when he went to Shiloh, and was in that battle. He was wounded April 6, 1862; he was shot through the right shoulder and was sent to a hospital in Tennessee. He ran off from there and went back to his regiment and the captain ordered him back to the hospital. He was later sent home, where he remained until in August, 1862, when he went back to his regiment, remaining until November 20th, following when he was discharged at Cairo, Illinois, after which he returned home. His health was poor and in the spring of 1863 he went to Memphis, Tennessee, where he clerked in a wholesale house, where he remained until the following October, when he returned home and began teaching school at Grand Prairie township, Jefferson county, devoting the following thirty years to teaching in that county, and the following ten years to teaching in Marion county, mostly in Centralia township, having taught fourteen terms in one district. He became well known as an able instructor and his services were in great demand. In 1889 he moved to Walnut Hill, Illinois, where he taught in the winter and .worked in a store during the summer months, having worked five years for D. B. Kell.
Our subject was united in marriage April 27, 1865, to Rebecca J. Boggs, a native of North Carolina, the daughter of Joseph B. and Mary (Wyant) Boggs, both natives of North Carolina. Mr. Boggs came to Marion county, Illinois, and settled in Raccoon township in 1858. Both he and his wife are now deceased.
One son has been born to the subject and wife, namely: George, who was born March 16, 1866. He was educated in the home schools, and is in the Sentinel office at Centralia, Illinois. He married Flora Pierson; they have one son, William A.
Mr. Hartley has been Supervisor for fourteen years and in the spring of 1908 he was re-elected for two years. He was clerk of the town of Grand Prairie, and was Justice of the Peace at Walnut Hill for six years. He has always been an active worker in the Republican ranks. In his fraternal relations he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at Walnut Hill, having joined the lodge there in 1882. He has held all the offices and attended the Grand Lodge. He is also a member of the American Home Circle, also belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic No. 600 at Walnut Hill, of which post he is now adjutant, having held all the offices in this post. The subject and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, having been identified with the same for the past forty years. Mr. Hartley has been industrious and success has attended his efforts, and he has become widely known.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 575-577.