The portly form of Joseph E. Tully is but a natural indication in one
respect of his largeness. He is large in mind as well as body and his
business interests are appreciated not alone in Xenia and Clay county, but
also through all that section of the state of Illinois. His standing in the
community is of the highest and as one of Xenia's leading citizens and as
president of the Orchard City Bank, he has established for himself the
reputation of a man of business talents of the highest order. He is a
citizen in whom the most implicit confidence may be placed without fear of
betrayal and one in whose composition the elements of honesty is not
Joseph E. Tully was born in Marion county, Illinois, on the 3ist of December, 1849; his father was also a native of Marion county, and a farmer, who moved to Clay county about the year 1855, where he lived until his death which happened about 1903. His grandfather was Mark Tully, who was well known in the life of Marion county at one time. The family originally came from Virginia, and Grandfather Tully was at one time a farmer, and later a hotel-keeper in Salem.
Joseph E. Tully's father served with distinction in the Civil war, being a soldier in the Forty-eighth Illinois Infantry. His mother's own name was Sarah Ellston, who belonged to a family of English extraction. She was herself reared in Marion county, her death occurring about 1902. To his parents six children were born, five of whom are now living, viz: Joseph E., the subject of our sketch; Mrs. Ida Kribs; Miss Aggie Tully; Mrs. Rose Maxey, and Mrs. Lou Gaugher.
The Tully family came when the subject of our sketch was but six years old to Clay county, where they settled. Joseph received an education in the local common schools and showed aptitude and ability whenever he cared to study. When not quite fourteen years old, about the time of the Civil war, his youthful patriotism asserted itself and he joined the One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Illinois Volunteers and later affiliated with the One Hundred and Fifty- fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, his term of military service extending over a period of sixteen months. At the conclusion of the war he went into the grocery business in Xenia and later branched out extensively in the mercantile line. He has now been in business in Xenia for forty years and he is looked upon as one of the most important and influential figures in its business life as well as a substantial and prosperous citizen.
In 1870, on the 10th of October, his marriage with Fanny Paine, who was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, took place. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph E. Tully's married life proved a very happy one, and three children have been born to them. The sons, James M. Tully and W. P. Tully, are now grown to manhood and are of great assistance to their father, both being associated with him in his constantly growing business. Their only daughter is now Mrs. Lois Holstlaw, of luka, Illinois.
In politics Joseph E. Tully is a consistent and loyal Republican. He has never aspired much to make a name in local political affairs, contenting himself to attend to the business interests which he has been so successful in guiding. However, he was honored with the postmastership of Xenia for the twelve years immediately following the Civil war and while that position was entrusted to him he fulfilled the duties of office to the entire satisfaction of the people of the community, whose willing servant while a public officeholder he ever proved himself to be.
His keen business insight and intuition in the industrial world was not allowed to go without recognition, and he has been installed as president of the Orchard City Bank, which is a stable and conservative institution and the business of which is carried out in harmony with the best methods of the banking world of today. Joseph Tully has given time and attention to the affairs of the institution and his advice and counsel have been responsible for tiding it over obstacles in the past. He is also the owner of an up-to-date dairy, equipped with all the modem dairy appliances, which is a pleasure to inspect. He has also found time in his busy life to superintend extensive farming interests and his success along agricultural lines has admirably compared with his success in other endeavors.
Joseph Tully and his wife are of much importance in the social life of Clay county where their genial and winning qualities have made them much sought after. He is a member of the Baptist church and they have not been behind in helping onward the good work of religious progress in the township.
He is active in fraternal and club life where his genial appearance is generally heralded by the good humor and cheerfulness which he seems to have a trick of imparting to all who come in contact with him. He is a popular and prominent member of the Masonic Fraternity and is one of the most widely known Grand Army of the Republic men in the vicinity.
Extracted 21 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 439-441.