William Sullivan has been a life long resident of Champaign County and has figured in business affairs as a printer, newspaper man, and in later years in the real estate and insurance business. He has one of the principal offices for the handling of real estate and insurance at Champaign.
Mr. Sullivan was born at Urbana Illinois, February 12, 1862, a son of John and Ellen (McCann) Sullivan. Both parents were natives of Ireland, the father born in County Cork and the mother in County Limerick. John Sullivan came to America about 1855, and in 1857 located at Urbana. Subsequently he removed to Champaign and built a tavern across the street from where the Illinois Central depot stands. This tavern was known as the Travelers Home. In many ways it had historic associations with the life of the times. The principal work outside of farming then going on in this district of Illinois was railroading. The Travelers Home became headquarters for the newcomers in this section of Illinois, and John Sullivan’s acquaintance with officials of the railroad enabled him to secure first employment for a large number of these newcomers, many of whose families still remain in and about Champaign to this day. The other class of patronage upon which the Travelers Home relied for its prosperity was entertaining the emigrants then traveling across the country seeking new homes in the West. Most of these travelers came and went in wagons, and the wagon yard and stables were important adjuncts of the old hostelry at Champaign. John Sullivan was still proprietor of this hotel at the time of his death, January 16, 1871. He was survived by his widow, whose death occurred January 27, 1905. Of their five children, William Sullivan is the only one now living. Two daughters, Anna and Elizabeth, and one son, James, died before their father, and Nellie afterward. She was the wife of George Boys and left two children, Lila and Nellie.
Besides the public schools of Champaign William Sullivan had the advantages of two years at St. Viator’s College “at Bourbonnais, Kankakee County. He attended this school after his father’s death. He was only nine years of age when his father died, and after returning home from college he began learning the printer’s trade with the old Times Printing Company. Later he was with the Champaign Gazette. In 1893, during the World’s Fair year, Mr. Sullivan went to Chicago and was engaged in the tea and coffee business. The next year he returned to Champaign and resumed his connection with the Times in the printing department, and for ten years was reporter and city editor of that paper. He finally gave up the newspaper game to enter the real estate and insurance business, and he has been active in that line since 1904.
For many years Mr. Sullivan was affiliated with the Democratic party and took an active part in politics. During recent years he has been independent as to politics. For five years he served as secretary of the chamber of commerce, and has’ always taken his part in movements for the general good of the community. He is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of Pythias and the Court of Honor. On March 18, 1891, he married Miss Frances M. Trenchard, a native of Piatt County, Illinois. Six children have been born to their union: William J., now actively associated with his father in business; Walter, deceased; Edna, at home; twins who died at birth; and Arthur T., also at home.