William Parnell Squires, clerk of the police and fire commission of San Jose, was born in Peoria, Illinois, on the 30th of November, 1844, his parents being Thomas and Mary Jane (Parnell) Squires. The father was a native of England and a representative of an old family of that country. He came to the United States with his father in 1836, settling first in Ohio, whence he afterward removed to Illinois, establishing his home near Peoria. He was a farmer by occupation and resided in Peoria county until 1876, when he went to Nebraska, where his wife died. In 1882 he made his way to Oregon, where he engaged in farming in connection with his son George. His death occurred in the Sunset state in 1886. His wife, who was born in Irelan, was a relative of Charles Stewart Parnell, the noted Irish leader and patriot. With her parents she came to the United States, the family home being established in Ohio, where she gave her hand in marriage to Mr. Squires. Their family consisted of four sons and one daughter, but two of the sons and the daughter died in infancy. George, the eldest, is now a resident farmer of Oregon.

William Parnell Squires pursued his early education in the public schools of Whiteside county, Illinois. In the summer months he worked upon the farm and in the winter seasons gave his attention to the mastery of the branches of English learning. At the age of seventeen years in response to his country's call for aid and prompted by a spirit of patriotism, he enlisted in defense of the Union and was assigned to Company C, Seventy-fifth Illinois Infantry. He served first under General Buell in the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, where the regiment lost about one-third of its number. Later he was under the command of General Rosecrans and fought in the battle of Stone River in December, 1862, where out of nine hundred men only one hundred and ninety-one were left. He was also at later dates under the command of General Howard and General Grant, the latter being the leader of the forces at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. With his regiment he also took part in the Atlanta campaign under General Sherman, and on the 2d of September, 1864, while making a charge at Lovejoy Station he was wounded in the heel. This injury caused the amputation of his foot and after four amputations he lost his leg. He received an honorable discharge on the 6th of March, 1865, and at once returned to his home.

In 1866 Mr. Squires pursued a business course in Eastman's College at Chicago and later accepted a position in connection with the Illinois Solderis' College, at Fulton, Illinois. In 1867 he left that and was appointed deputy county recorder of Whiteside county, Illinois, and in 1868-9 he served as deputy county treasurer. During the two succeeding years he was enrolling clerk in the Illinois legislature and in 1872 he was elected clerk of the circuit court of Whiteside county for a term of four years. In the fall of 1876 Mr. Squires went to Nebraska, where he turned his attention to farming, following that pursuit for a number of years. In 1889, however, he again entered public life, acting as assistant doorkeeper in Congress. In the fall of 1890 he came to California, settling in San Jose, and was appointed deputy assessor under L. A. Spitzer, continuing to fill that position until 1903, when he was elected secretary of the police and fire commission, in which capacity he is now serving.

In 1868 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Squires and Miss Emma Francis, a native of England and a daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Francis, who became early settlers of Yonkers, New York. Mrs. Squires engaged in teaching in the public schools of Whiteside county, Illinois, prior to her marriage. To this union have been born five children: William F., who is serving as paymaster clerk on the Monadnock in the United States navy; Charles H., who is a graduate of Stanford University and is now in the government service as a member of the bureau of public lands in Manila; Paul, who is now a druggist of San Francisco and who for three years served on the United States battleship Oregon, acting as hospital steward at Santiago, in the Spanish-American war; Emma, who is a milliner at Monmouth, Oregon; and Raymond, the youngest, who is living at home. Mr. Squires belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and to John A. Dix Post No. 42, G. A. R. His political support has ever been given to the Republican party, and he takes an active interest in its welfare, growth and success. He belongs to the California Construction League, an organization for the reclamation of the arid lands of the state. Almost his entire life has been devoted to public service, and no trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed in the slightest degree. He is as loyal to his country in the days of peace as when he followed the nation's starry banner on the battlefields of the south, and he has made for himself a most creditable career as a soldier and as an official.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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