Just Where was William Penn Born?
Over the course of four days Edmund O'Connell, a local attorney, and the Pantagraph engaged in an argument as to where William Penn, the Quaker, was born. The Pantagraph had published a paragraph stating that Penn was an Englishman. Mr. OConnell, a proud Irishman, corrected them and stated the place of Penn's birth was in Macroom, Ireland citing to a book at the Withers Library that stated Penn left for America from his father's home in Macroom, Ireland. Information on the internet confirms that Penn left for America from MacRoom, his father's home, but Penn Sr. did not receive the
Macroom Castle from the government until 1660 when he retired as an Admiral from the British Navy. Penn was born in 1644 in London and only lived in Ireland a short time.
Mr. O'Connell's parents, Richard and Margaret, came from Ireland. They were farmers. In 1850 they had a farm in Constable NY of 150 acres. In 1870 they had a farm near Malone NY (where Edmund when to college) of over 2000 acres. The family was obviously very successful in farming. Edmund left New York in 1871 and moved to Bloomington. He taught school in Logan County and studied law. He passed the bar in 1874 and practiced law for 68 years. He was McLean County's prosecuting attorney from 1885 to 1893 and a state representative from 1892 to 1896. He was active in establishing the Fairview Sanitarium in Normal, which was a tuberculosis sanitarium. Mr. O'Connell died at the age of 94