Putnam County


general merchant and farmer of Hennepin, Illinois, and having a branch store at Spring Valley, Bureau county, is a well known citizen, who, from extreme poverty, has acquired wealth by industry, economy and close attention to business. He is a native of County Kerry, Ireland, born March 17, 1831. In the fall of 1850, when but nineteen years of age, he came to the United States and after working a short time near Chicago came to Hennepin, arriving here December 9, 1850. He was en route south, but stopping over night at the hotel in Hennepin secured work from the landlord, first receiving eight dollars per month, which was later increased to ten dollars, then thirteen dollars, and finally fifteen dollars, and has here since continued to reside. After working two years and three months for John Waugh, the landlord, he engaged with Minehan, Simpson & Company, a firm of lumber and grain dealers. He worked in the yards, warehouse and office. The firm did a very large business in grain, shipping the same to St. Louis and Chicago.

Mr. Dore had a friend in St. Louis, a grain dealer, who often came to Hennepin, and finally an arrangement was made by which he bought and shipped grain for this friend. After working for some years in this way his friend, Thomas Ryan, who was also a wholesale grocer, proposed that he should go into the grocery business. Furnishing him a stock on long time he commenced business, which gradually increased; and in time became very profitable. He also bought grain and hogs, which he shipped to this friend, partially in payment for goods. His business increasing, in a few years he was enabled to pay cash for such goods as he purchased. Had it not been for the accommodations furnished him to commence business he would not in all probability be the prosperous man that he is to-day. It must not be considered, however, that the profits were always on the right side of the ledger. At one time he lost heavily in the sinking of a steamer on which he had seven thousand bushels of potatoes, which were then worth seventy-five cents per bushel. This was a total loss, as he had no insurance on the same. About five years ago, in company with a nephew, he started a store at Spring Valley, in which he lost three thousand dollars. He then put his son, Michael Dore, in charge of the business, and it has since been a success.

As soon as he was enabled to do so, ^Ir. Dore invested means in Iowa land, buying at three dollars and a half per acre, and later, in 1867, paying as high as ten dollars per acre. As his means increased he began purchasing land in Putnam county, and in other places. He now owns a farm of four hundred acres south of Hennepin, one hundred and sixty acres a mile and a half north, and five miles north an entire section. He has one farm of four hundred and eighteen acres in Granville township, one of two hundred and eight acres and one of eighty acres in Florida, making a total of nineteen hundred and six acres. In Colorado he has two sections of land, one-half section in Nebraska, one-half section in South Dakota and three hundred and fifty acres in Hancock county, Iowa. His farms in Putnam county he gives his personal attention to, and usually feeds about one hundred head of cattle and a good many horses. For some years he has bred a good many Norman horses, and has at the present time a fine stallion, which cost him three thousand dollars. He is also interested in race horses and has fed some good ones that have made the circuits. In cattle he has bred the Hereford, which have given the best satisfaction.

In 1856 Mr. Dore married Miss Margaret Rooney, of Hennepin, and to them have been born six children, John, who now conducts the store at Hennepin; James, who, after graduating at Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, came home and died at the age of nineteen; William, who died in infancy; Thomas, who lives at home and assists his brother John in the store; Michael, who manages the store at Spring Valley, and Cora Ellen, now the wife of James G. Fay, manager of the Toluca Mercantile Co., of Toluca, Illinois.

Politically Mr. Dore is a democrat on national questions, but in all local elections votes for those he considers the best men, regardless of politics. For himself, he has never aspired to any office.

Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois  published in 1896, page 125.

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