Obituary (I have the clipping, but newspaper unknown)
Thomas Jefferson McWane was born at Massie’s Mill, Nelson county, Virginia on the 17th of January, 1838. At the time of his death, December 18, 1930, he had reached the venerable age of 92 years, 11 months and 1 day.
He was of Scotch-Irish descent, one of seven children, the son of James and Permelia Ryan McWane, his parents and grandparents having come from the British Isles to colonize Virginia.
The early years of his long and interesting life were spent in the mountain region of Virginia, where his father and brothers cleared and improved a farm. He could relate many thrilling stories of his early memories of pioneer conditions.
When Mr. McWane was about 18 years of age his father took the family to Wytheville, Virginia, where he ran a water power flour mill and where the 18 year old son learned the milling trade.
Soon Mr. McWane followed the urge to move westward and settled in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he spent five successful years as a miller. In this useful occupation he served during the Civil War, providing much needed food for the people who lived there in the disputed territory between the warring states. He ran his mill in the midst of many vivid scenes of the war, among the historic siege of Knoxville.
It was in Knoxville that he became acquainted with Miss Malinda Bandy, who became his wife May 1, 1861.
In 1864 they moved to Versailles, Illinois where Mr. McWane was again engaged in milling, purchasing a mill, which he ran successfully for over forty years, part of which time he was associated with his brother-in-law the late George I. Fields. The mill was a landmark of Versailles until it burned in the year 1909.
Mr. McWane was saddened by the death of his wife, June 20, 1903. They were the parents of five daughters and four sons, two of whom, Franklin and Homer, preceded him in death.
The surviving children are Mrs. Annabell Peters, Mrs. Minnie Stewart, Mrs. Hattie Greenwell, and Leonard G. McWane, all of Versailles; Mrs. Nell Cox of Bloomington and Mrs. Laura Williams, and William E. McWane of Los Angeles, California.
He was married June 9, 1910 to Mrs. Sallie Harper of Versailles, who died June 16, 1911.
Mr. McWane’s life has been greatly enriched by the constant association of his beloved sister, Mrs. Ellen Fields who survives him. She was a close companion of his childhood days and followed shortly with her husband to Versailles, where she has lived in a home almost adjoining his own.
They have grown old together and until his last illness, have been privileged to meet almost daily and live over old memories together.
Mr. McWane is survived also by 16 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. His familiar figure and his quiet and courteous friendliness will be missed by old and young.
Mr. McWane early affiliated himself with the local Methodist church in 1871, and has always been actively interested in its progress, serving in many ways to help forward its growth. He was chairman of the board of trustees at the time the present building was erected, and also when the church was remodeled. His service for many years on the school board and the town board have proven his life interest in community affairs. He has also been a member of the Masonic Lodge for sixty-three years.
He was always industrious, kind and gentlemanly, a true Christian and a loving father. His loss is deeply felt by all who knew him.
The funeral was held at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 21, at the M.E. church in charge of Rev. H.F. Cusic. Music was furnished by a quartette composed of Mrs. J.C. Casteen, Mrs. C.H. Burgesser, F.R. Vendeventer and G.S. Thornberry. The pall bearers were Ed Curran, E.E. Perry, M.X. Lidgard, Will Poll, Charles Pool and A.A. Thoroman. The Masonic Lodge attended in a body and held services at the grave.
Submitted by: Pam Haithcock