Although not brought up as a farmer, having been a manufacturer and tradesman in his early life, Thomas Bielby carries on successfully the large farm of four hundred acres which he owns on section 32, Western Mound Township. He is of English birth and parentage, having been born in Yorkshire, England, August 14, 1818, where he remained until manhood. In his early youth he learned the trade of a boot and shoemaker, serving as an apprentice from the time he was thirteen years old until he became of age. This is why English goods are so superior to those made in America, the manufacturers learn their trades thoroughly and do not presume to think themselves fitted to carry on a business unless they have been trained for it.
Mr. Bielby followed his trade of shoemaker until he came to America, in 1850. Previous to his coming to this country he was married and brought his wife hither with him. He first located in New York State, remaining there for two years, engaging for a time in his trade. He, however, gave up his trade and took up that of butchering, following it for about two years. He then came to Illinois and settled on the section where he at present resides.
Since coming to Macoupin County our subject has followed the calling of a farmer, but in connection with his agricultural work he has been the proprietor of a flouring-mill and also a saw-mill at Chesterfield. He has erected a good set of buildings upon his farm and has made great improvements thereon. He engages in general farming and the little domain is so productive in so many branches as to be almost independent of the outside world.
Mr. Bielby’s marriage took place in Yorkshire, England, June 5, 1841. His wife bore the maiden name of Eliza Towse, and is a sister of the Hon. W. A. Towse in Polk Township. Mrs. Bielby was born in the place where she was married, September 12, 1820. The union of Mr. Bielby and his wife has never been blessed with children, but they have been parents in every sense to several little ones who would otherwise not have known the tender love and care belonging to a real home. This worthy couple celebrated their golden wedding June 5, 1891, when about one hundred neighbors and friends participated in the anniversary.
Our subject has taken an active interest in political affairs and is a Republican in belief and practice. In religious and educational affairs he has taken a real interest and is a generous supporter of Gospel work. Our subject’s experience in America has not been wholly without drawbacks. In the spring of 1880, in April, a cyclone visited the portion of the country in which he resides and did much damage. His house was unroofed as was the barn, and nearly all the trees in his orchard were uprooted and blown away. Our subject and his wife were away from home at the time and on their return found that their place was damaged to the extent of about $3,000.
Source: Chapman bros. Portrait and biographical record of Macoupin county, Illinois. Chicago: Biographical publishing company, 1891.