|Clare County Library||
|Donated Material: Biographies|
LILLIS, William M. Born, Davenport, Iowa, USA.
Source: Downer, Harry E. History of Davenport and Scott County Vol. II. S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago
William M. Lillis, who throughout the period of his connection with business affairs of Davenport has been a representative of commercial interests, is now secretary of the Halligan Coffee Company, an enterprise of large and growing proportions which owes its success in no small degree to the business discernment, energy and acumen of Mr. Lillis.
William M. Lillis is one of Davenport's native sons. His father, John Lillis, was born in county Clare, Ireland, June 10, 1834, and in 1845 came to America with his father, Martin Lillis, who in that year emigrated with his family to Canada. There he remained for several years, during which period John Lillis was a pupil in the Canadian schools. In 1850 the family home was established in Scott county, Martin Lillis settling on a farm at Long Grove upon the Wapsipinicon river. He became not only a diligent and industrious farmer but also a highly respected citizen. He was a man of strong character, who fearlessly advocated whatever he believed to be right, while in his business affairs his activity was such that he contributed to general prosperity as well as to individual success. He died in 1888.
His son, John Lillis, determined to follow merchandising and established
a grocery and dry-goods store in Davenport. As the years passed he won
prosperity, carefully directing his business affairs and closely studying
the needs of his patrons. He was a man of unswerving honesty, whose
success was never won at the cost of another's advancement and wherever
known he was esteemed and respected. In politics an ardent democrat,
he was one of the small but enthusiastic band that kept the party alive
during the troublous period of the Civil war. He was in fact recognized
as one of the leaders of the democracy in Davenport and was called to
several local offices, serving as city clerk for two terms and also
as alderman. He was a devoted churchman yet was not aggressive in his
religious views, according to others the right of personal opinion which
he reserved for himself. He died in January, 1896. His wife, who in
her maidenhood was Bridget P. Grace, was a native of Kilkenny, Ireland,
and in her girlhood days came to the United States with her parents.
Her mother died in Buffalo, New York, while the family were en route
to their destination in the middle west. Her father, James Grace, settled
in Rock Island, Illinois, and his daughter Bridget was reared in the
Mississippi valley. She became a devoted wife and mother and spared
no effort in preparing her children for places of usefulness in society.
She died in 1892. Unto Mr. and Mrs. John Lillis there were born four
children, William M., being the eldest and the only son. His three sisters
are: Mary, who is now the wife of Thomas F. Halligan; Genevieve, the
wife of Joseph F. Volz; and Mattie, the wife of M. J. Kinnally.
Iowa Emigrant Biographies