LaSalle County Sheriff William R. Milligan

1862 – 1864
1882 – 1886

William R. Milligan, one of the most prominent of the older citizens of Ottawa and La Salle county, came to this city from Fayette county, Pennsylvania, in March, 1854. He was accompanied by his wife, Margaret (Hiller) Milligan and two children.
Mr. Milligan was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, August 4, 1821, and was educated in the public schools and Jefferson College, of that state, in which institution he was a schoolmate of James G. Blaine. His father, William Milligan, was professor of elocution in Jefferson College. At the age of eighteen young Milligan began teaching school in Pennsylvania, continuing as trainer of young minds until he came West.

Arriving in this city Mr. Milligan accepted a clerical position in the office of Circuit Clerk Philo Lindley. Subsequently he invested in a farm near where the city of Streator now stands. Disposing of this property, in a few years he returned to Ottawa, where he engaged in teaching school for some time, being principal of the fifth ward school. While thus engaged he took up the study of law with Gray, Avery & Bushnell.

In 1862 the voters of La Salle county called Mr. Milligan to the office of Sheriff, a position which he held to the entire satisfaction of the public for two years. Upon his retirement from this office he moved to the farm he had purchased in Bruce township, conducting the same successfully for several years. Selling this place, he purchased two coal farms, upon the disposal of which he bought and improved a fine farm on Covel Creek, in Grand Rapids township.

In 1882 Mr. Milligan was again elected Sheriff, receiving a majority of 2,320 votes on the Democratic ticket. He served until 1886.

Mr. Milligan was married July 31, 1845, to Margaret Hiller.

Mr. and Mrs. Milligan were the parents of four children: Mary Catherine, born in Green county, Pennsylvania, died at the age of two years; William L., lives in Ottawa; Isabelle, also a native of Green county, Pennsylvania, whose death occurred in this city, March 2, 1910, and Thomas, who was born in Illinois and died in infancy.

Mr. Milligan died October 30, 1892.  Mrs. Milligan passed away April 13, 1897. She was buried by the side of her husband in the Ottawa Avenue cemetery.

Article furnished by the LaSalle County Genealogy Guild