William McIlwrath bio from Livingston County History.
History of Livingston County
from The History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri. 1886
(Dealer in Books, Stationery, etc.; Chillicothe).
Mr. McIlwrath, who is one of the important factors in the business growth and prosperity of Chillicothe, is justly entitled to more than a passing notice in this volume. Since his identification with this city as a business man no one has been more active and enterprising or has done more in his line to increase and extend the trade and influence at the place. His stock is among the largest in the State, outside of the large cities, and the patronage drawn to him results from liberal and polite treatment, only less than from an opportunity to secure even returns for money paid. He is not a native of this country, having been born in Belfast, Ireland, June 10, 1834, the third son and seventh child of eight children born to Samuel McIlwrath and wife, whose name before her marriage was Miss Ann Gray. William as he grew up in the county of his birth familiarized himself with the trade of baker and confectioner, but in 1856 a determination to avail himself of the opportunities which he believed could be obtained by young men of determination on this side of the Atlantic led him to emigrate to the United States and for the first. eighteen months he passed his time in various places. Finally he settled in Fulton, Callaway county, Mo, and in 1862 enlisted from there in Col. Guitar's 9th cavalry, M. S. M., remaining in service until mustered out in April, 1865. From December, 1862, until August, 1862, he was provost marshal at Paris, Monroe county. From September, 1863, until August following he held the same position at Chillicothe and proved a very efficient officer, previous to that having held the position of first lieutenant in Co. D. His career as a soldier is but a type of his career as a business man. After the close of the war Mr. McIlwrath came to Chillicothe and in April, 1865, engaged in the grocery trade, which was continued up to his appointment as postmaster in November, 1866. Owing to a change in politics in the administration he was relieved in 1869, and then opened out his present establishment, and it is no more than the truth to say that no better business man is to be found in North Missouri or one more attentive to his business. Public-spirited and contributing liberally to whatever is a benefit to the city or county, he has gained a wide acquaintance. He is among the best informed individuals on general subjects in the county and by close study and unlimited reading has become very familiar with all reputable authors and especially is he well posted on ancient and modern history. His knowledge of his adopted country may well put to shame many whose opportunities for gaining the same information have been more favorable. Politically Mr. McIlwrath is a Democrat, and he does as much if not more than any to advance the interests of that party in this community, contributing liberally of his time and money to accomplish satisfactory results.