M. R. MULVEHILL , a contractor of Springfield, whose business activity, especially in the line of boat-building, has made him known far beyond the boundaries of this city, is a native son of Springfield, born on the 10th of December, 1867. His parents, Cornelius and Margaret (Dillon) Mulvehill, were natives of Ireland and the father was a member of the British Army, serving for eleven years. He was married in 1848 to Miss Margaret Dillon, and the following year they crossed the Atlantic, landing at New Orleans, whence they proceeded up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to Cincinnati, where they arrived in the spring of 1850. Mr. Mulvehill was engaged in business there until 1864, when he removed with his family to Springfield, Illinois, and for twenty-eight years he was in the employ of the Ridgelys in the Springfield gas house, acting as stationary engineer. He then retired, resting throughout his remaining days in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former labor. He began work as a water tender in Cincinnati, afterward became a fireman and then stationary engineer. Mr. Mulvehill was a well educated man, who pursued a college course in Dublin University, and by extensive travel over this country he gained broad knowledge of America, the land and her people. In the early '50s he engaged in teaching the Indians in Cincinnati. He was a man of good physique, being six feet and a half inch in height and weighing one hundred and eighty pounds. In politics he was a stanch Democrat, being recognized as one of the standard bearers of his party. He held membership in St. Joseph's Catholic church of Springfield. Unto him and his wife were born fourteen children and the eldest daughter was born on the Emerald Isle. Five of the number are now living: Bridget, wife of Joseph Lawrence Hunter, of Oregon; Thomas, of Springfield, who married, but his wife and only child are now deceased; M. R.; James, a coal miner of Springfield, who is married and has one child, and Catherine, wife of Frederick Ford, of Springfield, by whom she has several children. The father died in November, 1902, in his ninetieth year, but the mother is still living.
M. R. Mulvehill was educated in the public schools of Springfield and when twelve years of age he began working in a grocery store, where he remained two years. He was afterward employed in a coal shaft through four winters and in the spring of 1885 he was apprenticed to learn the carpenter's trade, at which he worked until the fall of 1901, with G. L. Barrick, of whose contracts he had charge as general foreman when little more than a boy. Since the fall of 1901 he has engaged in contracting on his own account and has erected several of the substantial buildings of the city and county. While working for Mr. Barrick he built several large government boats, including the one that took the premium at the Paris exposition, known as the Iowa, superintending the wood work until its completion. He spent one winter in Cairo, Illinois, working on the boats, the Epsilon and Zeta, and he has been identified with the remodeling of the old Lincoln home in Springfield. He is a competent workman himself and therefore is well qualified to direct the labors of those who serve under him, and he now has a good patronage of a desirable character.
Mr. Mulvehill was married in Springfield, January 9, 1895, to Emma J. Bailey, who was born in Sangamon county, a daughter of Daniel and Barbara Jane (Lanson) Bailey, who came to the county in the '30s. Her father was a son of Thomas Bailey, who died in 1830 in eastern Tennessee, where was the family home. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Melvina Moore, was a native of Virginia and died in 1862. Daniel Bailey was born in Hawkins county, Tennessee, September 7, 1824, in a log house among the mountains, where he spent his childhood days. His education was very limited, for he was left fatherless at the age of six years and was reared by an uncle, Wesley Ball, with whom he remained until he was eighteen years of age. He was then married and engaged in general farming. His wife was born in what was known as the "new purchase" in Tennessee, September 28, 1823, was left an orphan when quite young and was reared in the family of an old Baptist preacher. Her father died from a spear wound received in the war of 1812.
In 1849 Mr. Bailey went by boat down the Tennessee river to Chattanooga, thence to Nashville by team and then again by boat as far as Keokuk, Iowa. Arriving in Sangamon county he spent a year on Round Prairie, removing then to Clear Lake township. He bought a small farm in 1858 and cultivated it until July 25, 1862, when he enlisted in the One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, becoming second lieutenant. Shortly afterward he was made first lieutenant and for forty-seven days was before Vicksburg and also engaged in the siege of Jackson. He was in the battles of Guntown and Tupelo and led his command through Arkansas and Missouri in the chase after Price. He was in the thickest of the fight at Nashville and Mobile, and though he was quite ill part of the time, he would never go to a hospital, but reported daily for duty. At Vicksburg he was mustered out in July, 1865, and was discharged at Camp Butler. Of the eleven children born unto Mr. and Mrs. Bailey the following are yet living: Mrs. Bashaw, of Rochester township; Mrs. Uriah King, of the town of Rochester; Mrs. S. B. Coe, of Rochester township; Mrs. Mulvehill, and Charles Bailey, who married Minnie Hammon and has a son, Albert.
Mr. and Mrs. Mulvehill have two children: Zeta, born October 2, 1897, was named for the boat the construction of which was superintended by her father, and because she was given this name she has received a number of pretty china cups and two silver ones. Paul Bailey, the son, was born July 9, 1901.
In politics Mr. Mulvehill is an earnest Democrat and was a delegate to the "sixteen to one" convention. He served as judge of election in his ward the first time the Australian ballot system was used. He is a member of Sangamon Lodge, No. 6, I. O. O. F. and the encampment, and has held a number of offices therein. He is also connected with the Maccabees, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Royal Neighbors, and was on the reception committee of the grand lodge in 1901. He is also a member of the Carpenters Union, the Grand Army of the Republic and John R. Tanner circle. His wife belongs to the Maccabees and Royal Neighbors, and both are well known in Springfield and Sangamon county, where their circle of friends is continually being augmented as the circle of their acquaintance increases.