Council Hill Township has no more enterprising citizen than he with whose name we introduce this sketch. Through the exercise of industry and good judgment he has accumulated a competence, being the owner of a fine farm. He is now practically retired from active labor and spends most of his time amidst the comforts of a pleasant home on section 25, where he has 147 1/2 acres of land with good buildings, fruit and shade trees, live-stock, and all the appliances of the modern country estate. As a farmer and miner he has been more than ordinarily successful, while as a member of the community his course has been such as to gain him the highest regard of his fellow citizens. His was the first brick residence in this Township, and erected in 1848. He cleared his farm of the forest; and its condition to-day is the result of years of labor and the outlay of considerable hard cash.
There settled along the northern line of this county during the period of its early history numbers of "Cornishmen," who brought with them across the Atlantic those sturdy and reliable elements which were so necessary in the successful development of a new region. Among them was the subject of this sketch who was born in Crowan Parish, Cornwall Co., England, Oct. 8, 1816, and reared among its mining regions. His father, Alexander Panluna, Sr., was a native of the same county; and married Miss Mary Richards, who was born and reared not far from the home of her husband. The paternal grandfather, also named Alexander, was likewise a miner, although he owned and operated a small farm. He, as well as the father of our subject, spent his entire life in his native England. On the maternal side grandfather John Richards was a man of considerable note in his community and the overseer of a mine. He also farmed considerably, and died in England.
The father of our subject followed mining all his life and died in England, in 1838, when forty-five years old. The mother survived the husband, dying also in her native County in 1870, at the advanced age of eighty years. They were the parents of eight children, of whom our subject was the eldest. Catherine, Mary, Grace, Elizabeth, and James are deceased. Richard is a resident of California; John remains in his native England. The educational advantages given to Alexander were extremely limited, and he began working in the mines when a lad of nine years. At the age of nineteen he performed a man's labor. When twenty-five years of age he decided upon a change in his condition; and there seemed nothing better than to emigrate to America. He accordingly left Falmouth on the 20th of July, 1841, embarking on the sailing vessel "England" which after a four weeks' voyage landed him safely in New York City.
From the metropolis Mr. Panluna made his way to Danville, Pa., and resumed coal-mining until the spring of 1842. He then came by boat to Galena and went up to Hazel Green, Wis., where he engaged in prospecting; and was thus occupied until 1847. His next removal was to the land which constitutes his present homestead where he had secured 147 1/2 acres. Upon it there were no improvements; and much of the land was covered with timber. He hired a man to do the work of clearing while he continued mining in the Council Hill diggings; and followed this until 1881. He then abandoned the mine for the farm. Later he purchased additional land and has now in all 147 1/2 acres. Subsequently he became considerably interested in stock-raising.
Miss Lavinia Haskins became the wife of our subject, February, 1846, the wedding taking place at the bride's home in Galena. This lady was also a native of Cornwall County, England. She became the mother of seven children, and departed this life at her home in Council Hill Township, Feb. 28, 1884. Their sons and daughters were named respectively, John, Mary, Latitia (deceased), Richard, Catherine, Sherman J., and Mary E. who died when about six weeks old. John is farming in Council Hill Township; Mary is the wife of Thomas Harris, also a farmer of this Township; Richard is married and carrying on farming at Hampton, Iowa; Catherine, is the wife of Samuel Roberts, a farmer of Council Hill Township; Sherman J. assists in the operation of the homestead. Mr. Panluna is a stanch Republican, politically, and has served on the Grand and Petit Juries. In religious matters he belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is a Trustee and one of the chief pillars.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL