1838 – 1846
William Reddick was born in County Down, Ireland, October 31, 1812. In 1816 his father, James, brought the family to America, settling first in New Jersey and later in Ohio.
In 1825, at the age of fourteen, William was apprenticed to a glass blower in Wheeling, West Virginia, at a wage of $4 per month. In 1830 he moved to Brownsville, Pennsylvania, where he continued work in the glass industry and married Eliza Jane Collins.
The Reddicks moved to Washington, D.C., in 1832 and, while working as a glass blower, William took advantage of educational opportunities by attending night school. During this time, Reddick managed to save $1,000 which was considered to be quite a substantial sum of money.
In the spring of 1835, Reddick and his wife moved west and settled on a farm in Bruce Township, LaSalle County, lilinois. In 1838 he was elected county sheriff and moved to Ottawa, the county seat. Although reluctant to become sheriff, he agreed to serve the citizens and was elected for four consecutive terms 1836-1846 He was also named county collector at a later date.
In 1846 Reddick was elected to the Illinois Senate for a six year term. His campaign for U.S Representative from the Third District in 1852 was unsuccesful as was a second attempt in 1854. However, in 1870 he did return to the state senate for two years.
Well-known in the business community, Reddick operated a general store in Ottawa from 1854 to 1873. He was a member of a company chartered to build a hotel in Ottawa, president of the Illinois Bridge Company and one of the founders of the Ottawa Glass Works. His fortune, however, was amassed in real estate. Owning several large farms in several townships, Reddick’s fortune was estimated to be $300,000 in 1877.
Aside from business and political ventures, Reddick was a philanthropist. Education was very important to him. He served on a committee which laid the foundation for the University of Illinois; he was instrumental in organizing a free public school system in Ottawa; and he willed his home to the City of Ottawa for use as a public library.
Reddick’s wife died July 5, 1883, and he followed her two years later on March 8, 1885. The Reddicks had one adopted daughter, Elizabeth Burrier Funk Reddick, who died February 22, 1887.
Article furnished by the LaSalle County Genealogy Guild