WILLIAM L. CONNER. - William L. Conner, who is engaged in the insurance business in Springfield, was born in this city January 22, 1863, his parents being Thomas L. and Sarah J. (Reid) Conner. The father was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, September 1, 1835, and the mother's birth occurred in Sangamon County, Illinois. Rev. William Conner, the paternal grandfather, was likewise a native of Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, and was of Scotch-Irish lineage. Becoming a minister of the United Presbyterian church he devoted his entire life to that holy calling and his influence was of no restricted order. His son, Thomas L. Conner, learned the trade of cabinet-making in Pittsburgh and afterward came to the west in the ‘50s, settling in St. Louis, Missouri, where he followed his trade for about five years. On the expiration of that period he came to Springfield to assist in the work on the governor's mansion. Owing to his knowledge of cabinet-making he took an active part in the inside work and in making chairs and other furniture for the mansion. He afterward worked at his trade for several years. In 18?2 he was elected assessor of Springfield and at intervals held that position, which he was filling at the time of his death, on the 17th of April, 1900. It was in Springfield on the 19th of April, 1859, that he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah J. Reid, who was born in this county October 27, 1843, a daughter of Samuel H. and Elizabeth (Davis) Reid, who are mentioned elsewhere in this volume. Four children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Conner: Samuel R., who was born July 23, 1860, and died September 2, 1861; William L.; Margaret Elizabeth Reid, who was born May 17, 1867, and resides with her mother; and Bessie M., who was born September 15, 1874, and is the wife of Frederick Miles Smith, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
William L. Conner pursued his early education in the public schools of Springfield and afterward attended Knox College at Galesburg. Subsequently he returned to his native city and became interested in the insurance business. In 1892 he entered the employ of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Springfield, Illinois, and remained until 1899, when he was promoted to the position of ticket agent at St. Louis, Missouri, where he remained until 1900, when he returned to Springfield and again became connected with the insurance business, with which he has since been identified. He is now agent for the Traveler's Life and Accident Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, with office at his residence, and he does a large insurance business. At the time of his father's death he was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of assessor and the succeeding year he was elected to that position for a term of one year. Like his father he has taken a very active interest in politics and following in his political footsteps has ever been a stanch Republican. He keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day and has done much to promote the interests of his party in Sangamon county. In 1903 he was strongly urged by his friends to become a candidate for the mayoralty, but refused the honor.
Fraternally Mr. Conner is connected with the Knights of Pythias, being a charter member of Navarre lodge, No. 142, of Springfield. He is also a charter member of the Elks lodge and like the other members of the family he belongs to the Second Presbyterian Church and takes a deep, active and helpful interest in its work. He and his mother reside at No. 418 South Walnut street, where they own a nice home and they are representatives of one of the prominent families of the city.