Biography - William Costley

MAJOR WILLIAM COSTLEY was one of the early pioneers of Greene county, and settled south of the Macoupin creek, where for many years he pursued the quiet life of a farmer. He was a native of the state of Kentucky, born on the 15th of October, 1801, and was the third child of a family of six sons and six daughters of William and Margarette Costley. Mrs. Costley's maiden name was Margarette Hunter. She was descended from a large family of that name in central Kentucky, and of English parentage. Mr. Costley came, in company with Robert Means, to the present limits of Greene county, where his death took place about the year 1820.

The death of his father occurring when quite young, it will be seen that the subject of our sketch was thus, before attaining to the age of manhood, thrown on his own resources; and what would conduce to make it still worse, his future was laid in a sparsely settled country, yet the young pioneer, to use a backwoods expression, "pitched in" to shift and do the best he could for himself. His facilities for education were at that period very limited, and what he obtained was mostly picked up in Missouri, where his parents had previously resided. He came to this county with his father in the latter part of 1819, and about 1823 was married to Miss Elizabeth Mathis, daughter of Absalom and Hester Mathis, also Kentuckians, though they came quite early to this county, settling first, however, in what now constitutes Sangamon county. Mrs. Costley was born in Tennessee November 11, 1809. They had a family of fifteen children, ten boys and five girls; all those living are married. It is said that Major Costly kept the first public house between Carrollton and Alton, on the state road, the profits from which, at times, enabled him to add a few more acres to his farm. During that period, when the militia of the several states where in the habit of mistering, Wm. Costley was elected a major, hence the title he afterwards bore. As a farmer he was successful. He entered, in Montgomery county, ten eighties of land, which he divided among his children. His death occurred at his residence January 31, 1869, but his widow is yet living, and residing at the old homestead.

Extracted 07 Sep 2018 by Norma Hass from Atlas Map of Greene County Illinois, 1873, page 46.

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