Biography of Patrick Brennon

Patrick Brennon was for many years identified with the community of Ogden as a stanch and reliable merchant, a citizen who was never negligent of his responsibilities and duties, and altogether completed a well rounded life of activity and service.

A native of Dublin, Ireland, where he was born in 1844, he came to America at the age of fourteen. He had limited advantages in his youth, and by sheer force of will and determination gained a substantial position in the world. He lived in New York State for a time and then came west and located in Vermilion County, Illinois. He went from that county into the ranks of the Union army and three years after his honorable discharge in 1868 he laid the foundation of his own home by his marriage to Miss Cornelia Terrell.

Mrs. Brennon, who is still living at the old home in Ogden, was born at Georgetown, Illinois, and grew up and married there. Her parents were William and Artemesia (Douglas) Terrell, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Kentucky. Artemesia Douglas’ family was related to that which gave Illinois and the nation the great figure of Stephen A. Douglas.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Brennon came to Ogden, which was then a small hamlet consisting only of a post office and a general store. Mr. Brennon taught school for several years here and also in the Fairmount School. The young people bought a home at Ogden and, possessing youth, industry and energy; they were not long in establishing themselves permanently. For some time Mr. Brennon was passenger agent for the I. B. & W. Railroad, and at the same time extended his activities to the buying and shipping of grain. He did that on a commission basis, but in course of time his success enabled him to branch out as a buyer for J. W. Leney. He had splendid native business ability. His first independent effort was the establishment of a grocery store at Ogden, and as his trade increased he added other departments until he supplied all the general merchandise required by that community. Merchandising was the business, to which he gave all his later years,

He was very young when he responded to the call of patriotism and enlisted with other boys from Vermilion County at Georgetown in Company C of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Illinois Infantry. He took part in a number of notable engagements, and for three years followed the flag as a gallant soldier. After his discharge and in later years his sympathies were always with his army comrades, and it gave him the keenest pleasure to gather with them at reunions. He continued to attend those assemblages of the old soldiers as long as his health and strength permitted.

Mr. and Mrs. Brennon were the parents of two children, a son and daughter, William and Wintress. The name of the daughter was selected by her father. Realizing the advantages of a good education, Mr. and Mrs. Brennon supplied their children with the best facilities of the home schools and of outside institutions. William took his preparatory work in the Methodist Academy at Danville, a branch of the Illinois Wesleyan College, and afterwards completed the regular course of the Wesleyan University at Bloomington, where he graduated in law. He made a splendid record as a student and for a time after his graduation was associated with Judge Benjamin in his office at Bloomington. Later he joined Mr. J. B. Mann, one of the prominent attorneys of Danville, and Mr. Mann desired that the young man should accompany him to Chicago. At that time young Brennon realized that his father needed him to assist in the local business, and an arrangement was made whereby the son assumed many of the responsibilities connected with the conduct of the store at Ogden and entered a partnership with his father. William Brennon married Miss Mary Louise Whitzell, of St. Joseph village. Four children have been born to them, Jessica, Virginia Terrell, named for her grandmother, Mary Elizabeth and Dorothea Patricia. These constitute a fine group of young people, the joy and comfort of Mrs. Brennon.

The daughter Wintress Brennon after finishing the course of the public schools at Ogden entered the famous St. Mary of the Woods school near Terre Haute, Indiana, and then for six years was a student of the University of Illinois. She graduated in the literary and art department in 1914 and in 1917 completed the course of the Library School. She is a thoroughly trained and graduate librarian and has recently accepted the post of branch librarian at Gary, Indiana, where her duties began September 1, 1917.

In the fullness of years and in the fullness of accomplishment as a business man and citizen Patrick Brennon passed away August 19, 1913. He was long regarded as one of the most reliable business men of Champaign County, and possessed many other excellent traits of character, so that his memory is secure. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Brennon has continued to live in the old homestead at Ogden, with her daughter as her chief companion. The Brennon family have long been identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church at Ogden. In politics the late Patrick Brennon was a Republican and was affiliated with the Masonic Order, the Order of Palm and Shell, and was an honorary member of the Eastern Star, in which Mrs. Brennon is an active member. Long before his death Mr. Brennon was made happy in the realization that his son would continue the business, and today that fine old establishment is continued at Ogden under the capable management of William Brennon.


Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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