Robert Sproul, who is remembered as one of the most prosperous and successful farmers of West Galena Township, departed this life at his homestead on section 10, Sept. 20, 1878. He was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, about 1800 , and came of pure Irish ancestry. His father, William Sproul, was an extensive farmer, and spent his entire life upon his native soil, being cut down in his prime. The mother, Mrs. Jane (Bell) Sproul, later emigrated to America with her family, and died at Mineral Point, Wis., after arriving at an advanced age. The subject of this sketch spent the first thirty years of life in his native county, then came to America and located first in Philadelphia, Pa., where he operated as a merchant and was married to his first wife, Miss Hanna Bonner. This lady was foreign-born and reared in Ireland, and came with her husband from Philadelphia to the West; they located on a claim in West Galena Township, where she afterward died. They settled here as early as 1837. The wife only lived a few months after coming West, dying that same year and leaving one daughter, Mary J., who is now the wife of Joseph Hoburgh. They are residents of Portland, Oregon, where Mr. Hoburgh officiates as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Sproul contracted a second marriage in Galena, Aug. 20, 1839, with Miss Mary Kirkpatrick, who was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, Nov. 23, 1819. Her father, John Kirkpatrick, was born of Scotch parents, and possibly was himself a native of the Land of Thistle. He was, however, reared in County Tyrone, Ireland, where his marriage took place. After his marriage John Kirkpatrick followed the trade of carpenter, and the profession of architect and builder, but died when his daughter, Mrs. Sproul, was only three years of age. The family were all Protestants- Methodists and Presbyterians. After the death of her husband Mrs. Kirkpatrick emigrated to America and was married in Canada to Redmund Gillis. Later, leaving the Dominion, they came to Illinois, locating on a farm in the Northern part of the State, where the death of Mr. Gillis took place. In Canada their residence had been in Montreal, where Mr. Gillis was an Inspector for the Royal East India Tea Company. He also was a native of Ireland, and in religion a Catholic. The mother of Mrs. Sproul in due time came to Galena and made her home with her daughter until her death, which occurred when she was about sixty years of age. Mrs. Sproul acquired an excellent education and came to Galena with her parents in August, 1838. She has since made her home here, and has witnessed the remarkable growth of this section of the country with the warmest interest. Her brother, James, went to California, and it is believed died there. Of her marriage with our subject there were born eight children, four of whom died when young, namely; Henrietta, George A., William H., and an infant unnamed. The survivors are recorded as follows: Andrew R. is owner of eighty acres of the old homestead and is still unmarried; Anna E. is the wife of Nathaniel Wilson, and they live in Sidney, Iowa, retired from active labor; John J. married Miss Mary Quigley, and owns a part of the homestead; they have eight children. Samuel W. is unmarried and owner of eighty acres of the home farm; he is the Collector of Rawlins Township.
Robert Sproul, in 1850, during the time of the great California gold excitement, went overland with his brother, Andrew. He remained West for three years and then returned home. He evidently had great love for the Golden Coast, for we find him returning there after a visit home of only four months. He staid there two years longer, when he returned and made his home here.
Mr. Sproul, after coming to America, identified himself with the Methodist Church, although reared as a Presbyterian. Politically, he was a strong supporter of Republican principles. His wife also joined the Methodist Church. She is a very bright and intelligent woman-one who by her sterling worth of character has drawn around her many friends. The portrait of this respected citizen, which is given on an adjoining page, will be gladly received by the many friends he made in this county.
"Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Davies County, Illinois" 1889