Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]
The life of William Dornan presents a conspicuous example of the power of induatry to overcome obstacles. He
was born in Columbiana Co., Ohio, March 30, 1820, his father, a native of Pennsylvania, having moved from that
State to Ohio a short time previous to William's birth. The subject of our sketch was afflicted with the loss of
his mother at an early age, her death occurring iu 1830, and soon after William drifted from the parental roof
and became, as soon as possible, independent of other aid than that afforded by his own hands. His father's death
occurred in Indiana in 1845 or '46.
In the fall of 1847, William was married to Miss Nancy McClarg, a former resident of his native town, her parents
having removed to Ohio from Pennsylvania in the fall of 1844. Mr. Dornan visited Michigan on a prospecting tour
previously, but did not remove his family thither until 1851. He then located on section 20 in Ganges township,
clearing up the farm of eighty acres first purchased, and, selling that, bought one hundred and sixty acres on
sections 20 and 29, which he still owns, and where he lived until within a short time, now living on section 7,
having recently purchased a fruit farm of thirty-seven acres, a sketch of which can be seen upon another page.
Mr. Doenan was severely afflicted by the loss of his wife in 1870, who left a family of six boys and two girls,
all of whom are, with the exception of the youngest, still living. He was a second time married, to Mrs. Simpson,
Nov. 23, 1873, who was a native of Pennsylvania, her maiden name being Mary Jane Rihedaffar; she came to Michigan
with her first husband in 1858.
Mr. Dornan is an advocate of the principles of the Greenback party, being formerly a Democrat, though but little
interested in political matters, being wholly absorbed in his farming and business interests, although spared much
of the responsibility of the farm managemeut by the ability and judgment of his sons, who have been remarkably
successful in all the departments of agriculture to which their attention has been directed, his crop of wheat
last year of thirty acres averaging over forty bushels per acre, some going as high as fifty-five.
In common with many of the pioneers of the State, Mr. Dornsn's advantages for education were limited, and he has
experienced many of the privations of pioneer life, but the inherent quality of self-reliance he possesses in an
eminent degree has enabled him to overcome every obstacle; and, although he has had his share of bad luck, among
which was the loss of nearly everything by fire some fifteen years ago, and by which he was compelled to begin
again almost at the bottom round of the ladder, yet he is now comparatively independent.
In religious convictions he is in fellowship with the Methodist Church, of which he is a member.
History of Allegan and Berry Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Their Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.