William Harper, deceased, was a pioneer of Paw Paw Township. He was born in Atgyle, Washington Co., N.Y., June 19, 1815. When 13 years of age he removed with his parents, James and Elizabeth (Black) Harper, to Sterling, Cayuga Co., N.Y. was brought up on a farm and in 1844 emigrated to Illinois, arriving in Paw Paw Township, DeKalb County, in September of that year. He entered 120 acres of Government land on section 14, and subsequently added to it by purchase till he had 720 acres at the time of his death, which occurred July 6, 1881, at the old farm.
Mr. Harper was married in Sterling, N.Y. April 25, 1848, to Sarah Irwin, daughter of John and Jane (Kirk) Irwin. Mrs. Harper was born in the town of Argyle, Washington Co., N.Y., Aug. 16, 1814. Immediately after their marriage they made their home in Paw Paw Township, Ill. There were five children born of their union, four boys and one girl, Mary J., born April 14, 1849; William, Sept 1, 1850, died Jan. 11, 1857; Thomas, born June 28, 1852, married Katie Santee, who died Jan. 27, 1885: he is a resident of Wyoming, Lee Co., Ill; James, born Dec. 2, 1853, married Bertha Patrick, and lives at East Paw Paw; John K., born July 15, 1856, married Mary C. Davis, and lives at the old homestead in Paw Paw Township.
Mr. Harper was a Democrat in early life, but on the formation of the Republican party he joined that organization, and continued to vote that ticket while he lived. He was a member of the United Presbyterian Church of Ross Grove, and was a very liberal contributor toward the building of the church, and subsequently to its support. The estate has been divided among the heirs. His estimable wife survives him and makes her home at the old homestead. She also is a member of the United Presbyterian Church.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of DeKalb County Illinois; Chapman Brothers, 1885, Chicago, IL