Kenneth D. Horrall, the well-known hardware merchant of Olney, Illinois,
which business he established in 1856, and which he has conducted
continuously ever since in a most successful manner, his business having
steadily grown from a modest beginning until now it is one of large
proportions. He carries a stock of about fifteen thousand dollars, often
reaching twenty thousand dollars, his store room being twenty by one hundred
and sixty-five feet, and two floors, and one hundred feet on three floors.
In 1866 he erected his present brick block. His is the oldest business in
Olney, and the oldest hardware business in Richland county. His business is
known all over the county, and his customers come from all sections of this
Kenneth D. Horrall was born near Washington, Daviess county, Indiana, June 9, 1838, the son of John and Rebecca (Johnson) Horrall, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Illinois. They were among the early settlers of this section of the state, being sterling pioneers and people of force of character. The father of the subject served in the wars under General Harrison and took part in the battle of Tippecanoe. He devoted his life to farming and died in Daviess county, Indiana, at the age of fifty-two years. His wife survived him for several years and passed to rest while living in Richland county, Illinois, at the advanced age of eighty-five years. Our subject was the youngest of seven children, only two of whom are living at this writing.
Mr. Horrall was reared in his native state and was educated in the country schools, where he applied himself in such a manner as to gain an education despite lack of opportunities. When he was fourteen years old he came to Olney and entered the hardware store of John Banks in order to learn the tinner's trade, at which he worked successfully for about fifteen years. In 1856 he began business for himself in a small way, having a stock of about three hundred dollars. He built up his business to its present proportions by years of hard work and close application to business, and by his fair treatment of customers.
In politics our subject is a Republican, but he has never been active in his party's affairs. However, he served very faithfully for two years as a member of the City Council. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, having held about all the offices in the same and he has been one of the main pillars of this church.
Mr. Horrall's domestic relations began in 1858 when he was married to Sarah J. Baird, a native of Olney, Illinois, and the daughter of Asa and Lucy (Tanner) Baird, natives of Vermont, who were among the pioneers of Richland county, where they spent their active and useful lives, and where they died. Asa Baird was a contractor and he built a large part of the national road to Vincennes. At one time he was one of the officials of the county. His death occurred in 1849. His wife was a relative of ex-Governor Tanner.
The subject and his wife are the parents of seven children, namely: Adelbert, George Lewis. Charles Asa, Carrie, deceased; Edward Eugene. Walter Lewis and Henry Cliff. Adelbert, Charles and Walter assist their father in the management of his large store. Adelbert is bookkeeper, having graduated in a business college in Buffalo, New York. George is a tinner by trade and he manages a farm two miles north of Olney, which is owned by himself and father. It is a valuable farm, well improved and highly cultivated. Charles also learned the tinner's trade and also telegraphy. Edward is a druggist and owns and operates a drug store at Decatur, Illinois. Henry Cliff is engaged in the hardware business at Bridgeport. Illinois. These children have all received good educations and are well established in life.
No man in Richland county is better or more favorably known than Mr. Horrall. Because of his public spirit, his honesty in all his dealings with his fellow men, his generous and kindly nature, he has won and retained a host of warm personal friends throughout this locality.
Extracted 26 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 202-204.