William Michael Shannon

William Michael Shannon (1883-1971) was born June 30, 1883, near Sweetwater, Menard County, Illinois. William's mother, Martha McKinney, married Michael Shannon in January 1880 after a previous marriage to Archibald Stevens in 1877. Children: Edward (1881), William (1883), Laura (1885), and James (1887), were born to them before Michael disappeared and was declared dead in 1888. Martha McKinney Shannon married John Hamilton in August 1889 and had Steve (1890) and Mary Elizabeth (1892) while still living near Sweetwater. Martha moved to Saidora, Mason County, about 1894 before the birth of Carrie (1895). Ed and Michael Shannon were "farmed out" to work as hired hands before they were in their teens. Martha married her fourth husband, Daniel Goble in 1899, after the birth of Pearl (1898) and her divorce from John Hamilton.

When he was about eleven, Will was sent to a place on the Sangamon River near Andrew, Illinois, to work as a laborer cutting poles to serve as mine props. He almost died from "egue", a type of malaria, from working in the mosquito filled river bottoms. Will found out that his brother Ed was at Tice, in Menard County, and ran away to find him. He lived near Tice with the Baum families as a farm laborer. At age seventeen, Will was listed as a boarder at the home of Henry Baum.

Will met Bessie Hardwick while he was working at a farm near Indian Point, Illinois. They were married in May 15, 1907. He is listed as William M. "Shanon" of "near Tice" on their marriage certificate. When their daughter, Martha Pylena, was born in February 1908, the couple lived in a log home near the Rock Creek Church off Rt. 97, between Petersburg and Springfield. In 1910, they lived next to the Elisha C. Raikes family in the Tallula Precinct, Menard County. Twins, Herbert Clellen and Doris Helen were born in 1912, on a farm owned by Albert Kincaid five miles northeast of Athens. In the fall of 1917, they moved to the Damascus School area, west of Athens, to work for Mr. A. R. Terry. Will, Bessie, their three children, and Bessie's grandmother, Martha Helm Raikes, still lived in that same home, in January 1920, but moved back to Indian Point to work for Edward Green King in 1922 (a lawyer and States Attorney for Menard County). The family moved to Athens in February 1924 and lived on North Main. Bessie and Will lived in several other houses in Athens, but eventually moved in 1945 to a home on South Adams where they lived the remainder of their lives. While living in Athens, Will worked as a coal miner until he retired due to health problems. He died December 1, 1971, and is buried in Hall Cemetery in Athens, Illinois.

Submitted by Barbara Shannon Cox

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