DONOVAN, MICHAEL. - Among those whom Sangamon County considers her best and most reliable citizens, are those who were born in Ireland. The sons of Erin have always been noted for their brilliancy of mind and their quickness to grasp offered opportunities, and develop into loyal, devoted citizens of their adopted country. Many of them were brought up to farm life in their native land and instinctively turn towards that occupation upon arrival here, continuing it with marked success. One of these representative Irishmen is Michael Donovan, residing on his fine forty-acre farm on Section 29, Springfield Township. He was born in County Cork, Ireland, June 20, 1842, being a son of Jeremiah and Catherine (Crawley) Donovan, both natives of Cork, Ireland. They were farming people, who never came to America, but passed their lives in Ireland, where they died. There were seven children in their family, five sons and two daughters. A brother of Mr. Donovan is residing in Boston, Mass., being connected with one of the largest banking institutions of that city.
Reared and educated in County Cork, Michael Donovan worked on his father's farm, but was not contented there, so in 1864 he came to America, sailing from Queenstown. Landing in New York, he came direct to Springfield, arriving when the city was plunged into deepest mourning, for upon that day Abraham Lincoln was laid to his last rest. The first employment of Mr. Donovan was secured in a brick yard, and he continued there for four years, then commenced to farm and has been thus engaged ever since. About 1895 he bought his present farm of forty acres, which he has developed into a very valuable property. On it he carries on general farming and takes a pride in his crops.
The marriage of Mr. Donovan occurred in Springfield, April 20, 1868, to Mary McCarthy, born in Whitinsville, Mass., September 23, 1857. Her parents, natives of Ireland, came to Boston at an early day, later moving to Whitinsville but a couple of years later came to Sangamon County, where the father began farming. He was accidentally killed by a horse about forty-two years ago, but his widow survived until 1892. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy, all of whom survive. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Donovan, and three sons and one daughter survive: John lives in Springfield, where he is engaged in business; Michael is also a resident of that city, and Dennis and Mary reside at home. There is one grandchild in the family, Mary Donovan, the pet of her grandfather.
Since boyhood Mr. Donovan has been a consistent member of the Roman Catholic Church and is now connected with St. Joseph's Church, of Springfield. The Democratic party has his support, but he has no desire to come before the public for office, preferring to exert his influence as a private citizen. A hard working man, Mr. Donovan saved his money until able to purchase his farm. From time to time he has made improvements upon it, and as it represents the result of many years of endeavor, he is naturally proud of it. Not only has he made his way in the world, and accumulated something for himself and his wife in their old age, but he has reared a fine family, of which he has a right to be proud. His sons are splendid young men and his daughter is charming. Mrs. Donovan has been her husband's able assistant during the years they have lived together and he frankly confesses that he owes much to her. She is an excellent housekeeper, and welcomes the guest who enters their door with true Irish hospitality, which is the most cordial and hearty in the world. The entire family have many friends in the township and are highly respected where ever known.