George Washington Smith.

A history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.3) online

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Mrs. Pemberton, at Forsythe, Montana; and Marion S., the subject of


this sketch. By his second wife, who was Eliza E. Taylor, of Hamilton
county, Silas A. Whitley had five children, three of whom are living,
namely: Ed. S., George P. and Serel, all of Eldorado. The mother
of this family is still living and is a resident of Eldorado.

Marion S. Whitley while in his 'teens was engaged in the sawmill
business with his father. From sawmilling, in 1880, he turned to
teaching school and studying law. As a teacher he began on a salary
of $32.50 a month, and with this small amount paved his way to the
bar. Mornings and evenings and vacation times were spent with
his law books, his instructor a portion of the time being John J. Parish,
of Harrisburg. He taught in Gallatin, Hamilton, White and Saline
counties, the last two years of his career as teacher being spent at
Galatia, where, in 1888, he was admitted to the bar. He began the
practice of law at Galatia, and remained there until 1892, when, as
indicated in the opening paragraph of this sketch, he was elected to
the office which brought him to Harrisburg. He prosecuted the only
man who was ever hung in Saline county. Mr. Whitley 's abilities and
high standards soon brought him into prominence as a lawyer. Dur-
ing the past ten years he has been identified with the trial of almost
every important case in the county, and for five years he has served as
attorney for all the various large coal companies in the county. In
the famous contested election case, Choisser vs. York, involving the
question of validity of a judge of elections, initials being stamped with
rubber stamp on back of ballot before it is placed in box instead of
initials in own hand, an important precedent was established for Illi-
nois by the supreme court, where it was taken on appeal from deci-
sion of Judge Philbrick, of Champaign. Every contention of Mr.
Whitley that genuine initials were necessary to establish identity of
the ballot was sustained.

Mr. Whitley 's political affiliations have always been with the Re-
publican party. While a resident of Galatia he served as president of
the village board, and one term filled the office of mayor of Harrisburg.
In 1900 he was presidential elector for his district, and cast one of
the votes which elected McKinley. He was at one time a candidate for
nomination for circuit judge, but was defeated.

Fraternally Mr. Whitley is a Royal Arch Mason, and in his chap-
ter has filled the chair of high priest. Religiously he is identified with
the Christian Scientists.

In 1886, at Golconda, Illinois, Marion S. Whitley and Miss Alice
Thomas, of that place, were united in marriage, and to them have been
given three children, namely: Clifford W., a dentist of Harrisburg;
Yutha, wife of Carl W. Peterson; and Hannah, a high school student.

ABNER PALMER WOODWORTH. Crawford county, perhaps, owes
more of its financial and industrial growth to the life and influence of
the late Abner Palmer Woodworth than to any other one individual.
He was an important factor in the life of Robinson from 1850 up to
the time of his death, and contributed largely toward its advancement
during those years.

Mr. Woodworth was born in Palestine, Illinois, on June 20, 1829,
and was a son of John Spencer and Elizabeth (Greer) Woodworth.
The father was born on a farm near Albany, New York, on Decem-
ber 29, 1775. The mother was a native of South Carolina, born there
in 1779, and they were united in marriage in Lawrence county, Illi-
nois, where he died in 1850, his widow surviving him for several years.
John Spencer Woodworth came to Kentucky in 1812. It was about
then that he began to hear about the land lying along the Wabash


river, and the reports were so attractive that he, with about twenty
others, came to Illinois to investigate the condition. Well pleased with
the prospect, they returned to Kentucky and when the Illinois land
was opened up in 1814 the party came back and settled. This party
comprised a pioneer group of settlers of Crawford county and they
lived there in primitive fashion, log cabins being the prevailing style
in architecture. Indians were constantly to be seen on the prairies
and wild animals abounded. Mr. Woodworth eventually bought land
near the present site of Palestine, on which he lived until the time
of his death. He was a man of no little prominence in Crawford
county and throughout the state in its early days. He was the second
sheriff of the county. At that time Crawford county included Chi-
cago, which was Mr. Woodworth 's apple market, freighting his produce
to Chicago by team. He was a prosperous farmer, owning at one
time one thousand acres of land, a large portion of which he cleared
and brought into a high state of cultivation. The family is one of
old Colonial stock, Roswell Woodworth, the grandfather of Abner P.
Woodworth, having served in the Revolutionary war, as did also his
maternal grandfather. On both sides of the house, prominent men
were to be found who played important parts in the early days of
our country.

Abner Palmer Woodworth was educated at Hanover College, In-
diana. He was well trained in the science of farming on his father's
place, to which he gave close attention in his school days. After two
years of college training the young man took a position as clerk in a
store, and in 1852 he was so well advanced that he was able to buy a
half interest in the business of C. B. Lagow & Company in Robinson,
and until 1863 the business of the store was conducted under the firm
name of Woodworth & Lagow. In those days theirs was the only store
in Robinson, then a straggling village of one hundred inhabitants per-
haps. In 1863 they sold the stock to the firm of Braden & Dorothy
and in the same year Mr. Woodworth engaged in the mercantile busi-
ness alone, continuing until 1868, at which time he launched a small
banking enterprise in connection with his mercantile business, with the
firm name of Woodworth Brothers & Company. This was later changed
to the Robinson Bank, the change occurring in 1875, and in 1896 was
reorganized and incorporated as the First National Bank of Robin-
son, with A. P. Woodworth as president, a position which he held at
the time of his death. In 1875 Mr. Woodworth gave over his mercan-
tile interests entirely, thereafter devoting himself without reserve to
the banking business until the reorganization of the bank in 1896.

In addition to his many other enterprises, Mr. Woodworth assisted
in the organization of the Paris & Danville Railroad, now known as
the "Big Pour," and was the founder of the Woodworth Hotel. On
reaching his majority he cast his first vote with the Whig party and
later helped to organize the Republican party in Crawford county. He
always was active in political matters, but never was prevailed upon
to hold public office. He was a member of the Presbyterian church
and was a trustee of that body for many years.

On August 18, 1868, Mr. Woodworth was united in marriage with
Ellen King at Binghamton, New York. She was a daughter of An-
drew King, and was born in Lexington, Kentucky, but later removed to
Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lived until her marriage. Mr. King was
a member of the firm of King, Corwin & Company, wholesale dry-
goods merchants, and in later life removed to Leavenworth, Kansas,
where he passed away. No children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wood-


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REV. KASPEB SCHAUERTE. The honored and popular pastor of St.
Andrew's church in the city of Murphysboro, Jackson county, is one
of the representative members of the Catholic clergy in this diocese,
and in his local field of endeavor he has accomplished most beneficent
work, both along spiritual and temporal lines. He has built up one
of the important parishes of this section of the state, is known as a
man of high intellectual attainments and as one whose life is conse-
crated to the high calling to which he is devoting his abilities and

Father Schauerte was born in the fine old province of Westphalia,
Germany, and is a scion of one of the old and honored families of that
part of the great empire. The date of his nativity was March 7, 1862,
and he is a son of William and Regina (Matzhauser) Schauerte, who
passed their entire lives in the fatherland. Their seven children, four
sons and three daughters, are now living, the subject of this review
being the first born. William Schauerte was a tailor by trade, but
the major part of his active career was one of close identification with
the great fundamental industry of agriculture. Both he and his wife
were most devout and consistent communicants of the Catholic church,
in whose faith their children were carefully reared.

He whose name initiates this article was afforded the advantages of
the excellent schools of his native land and in 1880, when about eigh-
teen years of age, he severed the gracious ties which bound him to home
and fatherland and came to America. He located at East St. Louis,
Illinois, and in the meanwhile began the work of preparing himself
for the priesthood of the great mother church of Christendom. He at-
tended Teutopolis College, a Catholic school in Effingham county, Illi-
nois, and thereafter completed his philosophical and theological studies
in St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in which institution
he was graduated as a member of the class of 1887. He was ordained
to the priesthood on the 24th of June, 1887, by Archbishop Heiss, and
on the 26th of the following month he was appointed substitute to Rev.
F. Bergmann, who was then pastor of St. Andrew's church, Murphys-
boro. Here he has since remained, his assignment to the full pastor-
ate of this parish having occurred in the same year which marked his
assuming connection with the parish. The church has been signally
prospered in both spiritual and material activities under his earnest
and effective regime, and the parish now has a representation of two
hundred and seventy-five families. Under the administration of Father
Schauerte has been erected the beautiful church, fine parish school
building, the parish home, as well as the hospital and convent which
form important adjuncts to the parochial work. Under his direction
were also erected the Catholic churches at Carterville and Ava, and he
was the dominating force in vitalizing the affairs of these parishes, in
which he continues to maintain the deepest interest, notwithstanding
the many and exacting demands of his home parish, in the work of which
he has a valued coadjutor in the person of Rev. Fred Witte.

Father Schauerte is a man of broad and liberal views and marked
public spirit. His genial personality has gained to him the high re-
gard of all who know him, and he has the affection and sympathetic
co-operation of the members of his parish. He takes an active part in
the affairs of the diocese of Belleville, of which his parish is a part,
and is chairman of the diocesan board of education as well as of the
board of building commissioners. His interest in the educational work
of his church has been of the most insistent and benignant type and he
is a member of the national educational association of the Catholic
church in America. His interest in all that touches the material and


civic welfare of his home city is deep and active, and is measurably
signified by his membership in the Murphysboro Commercial Associa-

HON. WILLIS DUFF PIERCY. Prominent among Jefferson county's
most gifted and notable citizens is Hon. Willis Duff Piercy, author,
orator, scholar, editor of the Daily and Weekly News of Mt. Vernon,
representative from the Forty-sixth district to the Illinois state legis-
lature, and Southern Illinois representative of the Charles E. Merrill
Company of New York City, publishers of school and college text
books. Mr. Piercy is widely and favorably known as a gentleman of
high character, as well as unusual attainments, and his influence in the
community has been marked and salutary.

The birth of Mr. Piercy occurred April 28, 1874, in Hamilton
county, Illinois, his father being Dr. Sherwood Piercy, a native of Jef-
ferson county and a son of Anderson Piercy of North Carolina, who
came as one of the pioneers to Jefferson county and helped pave the
way for subsequent civilization. Dr. Piercy practiced medicine in Ham-
ilton county and then in Jefferson county, the period of his career as a
practitioner covering thirty-four years of signal usefulness. He died
March 21, 1906, at the age of sixty-nine. He was always actively inter-
ested in Democratic politics ; was a life-long Mason and a member of the
Methodist Episcopal church. He married Mary Mangrum, who survives
and makes her home with her son, the subject of this review, and with
her daughters. These worthy people reared a family of five children
to maturity, namely : Mrs. M. N. Corn, Carlinville, Illinois ; Mrs. J. C.
Jones, of Birch Tree, Missouri ; the subject ; Mrs. Clarence E. Danner,
of Jefferson county; and Mrs. (Dr.) R. R. Smith, of Mt. Vernon.

Mr. Piercy received his early education in the common schools of
his native county and then entered Ewing College, where he pursued
his studies from 1891 to 1892. Some years later he matriculated in
McKendree College, at Lebanon, Illinois, where he was a student from
1896 to 1901, in the latter year receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
He and his wife went through college together, after they were married,
Mr. Piercy saving the money for their education from his salary as
country teacher. Mrs. Piercy received her degree of Bachelor of Arts
in the year following that of her husband (1902). Mr. Piercy had pre-
viously been engaged in educational work, his first work as an instructor
being in the common schools of Jefferson county (three years), and one
year in the Mt. Vernon high school. In the fall of 1901 he went to
Greenville, Illinois, as superintendent of the city schools and served in
that capacity until the spring of 1903. In the ensuing fall he entered
Harvard University, and in the spring of 190-4 was granted the degree of
Master of Arts from that institution in the department of English. Pre-
viously, while teaching school in Jefferson county, he had read law and
had passed the bar examinations, being admitted to the bar in 1895.
He served as private secretary to Congressman M. D. Poster of the
Twenty-third district of Illinois, from March 4, 1907, to March 4. 1909,
and resided in Washington, D. C., during the winter of 1907-08. His
connection with the Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company, of New
York City, had dated from a time several years previous and he had
represented this concern for some three years. In 1908, upon his re-
turn from the national capital, he again became associated with the
Merrill Company and still retains his connection with it in the capacity
of representative for Southern Illinois.

The fact that Mr. Piercy had gained the confidence and admiration
of the community in which he is best known is by no means difficult of


explanation, and nothing could have been more appropriate than his
election, in the fall of 1910, as representative from the Forty-sixth dis-
trict to the lower house of the state assembly. He is now serving his
first term and has given "a taste of his quality," which has abundantly
proved the wisdom of his constituents and which makes subsequent
political preferment a logical outcome. He was by no means a figure-
head at. Springfield in one of the most important sessions of the assem-
bly, matching swords with Lee 'Neil Browne in the arena of debate, to
the discomfiture of that politician. He was instrumental in killing
Browne's "Libel Bill," working strenuously and speaking effectively
against a measure which he believed pernicious in the extreme. In fact,
he was credited by the St. Louis Republic and several other journals
as having himself dealt the death blow to the bill. His address against
the bill was published throughout the United States and made for him
more than a state-wide reputation in a day. In April, 1912, the Dem-
ocrats of the Forty-sixth senatorial district, comprising the counties of
Jefferson, Wayne. Richland and Jasper, nominated Mr. Piercy as their
candidate for state senator, without opposition.

He became connected with the Daily News as editor in January,
1910, and is a creditable representative of the Fourth Estate. This
sheet is owned and published by a stock company, Dr. Walter Watson
being president and J. J. Baker, secretary, treasurer and general man-
ager. It was established in 1871 as a weekly and in 1891 a daily edition
was inaugurated, the circulation being at the present time 2,800. It
is the official Democratic organ of Jefferson county and is an effective
one, and it is the only Democratic paper in the county. The daily
paper is an eight page, six column sheet, and the weekly is the same
size. It is not only remarkably newsy, but stands an enlightened
moulder of public opinion, its editorials being uniformly well conceived.

Mr. Piercy was married April 3, 1895, to Miss Eulalia Whitson, of
Jefferson county, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. B. Whitson and their
charming and cultured home is shared by a daughter, Helen Whitson,
aged eight years.

Mr. Piercy is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of
Elks and with the Knights of Pythias. It is as an orator and platform
speaker, perhaps, that Mr. Piercy is best known, and has been "nick-
named" "the Silver-tongued Orator of Egypt." He is the author of a
number of publications, such as "Death and Its Sorrow," published
by the Neale Publishing Company, (N. Y., 1908); "Great Inventions
and Discoveries," intended as supplementary reading or library book
for school children, and published by the Charles E. Merrill Company
of New York. For the past five years he has been a member of the Mt.
Vernon township high school board of education and he has served as a
member of the city public library board. In whatever capacity he has
served his fellow men it has been with credit to himself and honor and
profit to the people.

MARION N. DRONE. In naming those who have been identified with the
business and financial interests of Gallatin county, mention should be
made of Marion N. Drone, cashier of the First National Bank of Ridg-
way, and a native of that place, who has devoted his active business
career to banking and enjoys the confidence and esteem of his fellow
townsmen. Mr. Drone was born in Ridgway, December 9, 1885, and
is a son of Alexander and Mary E. (Vilter) Drone, and a grandson
of Joseph Drone. The latter came to Illinois from Ohio and settled
two miles south of Ridgway, where he spent his life in agricultural


Alexander Drone was born in Ohio, and as a young man started out
on his own account by purchasing cheap land in this county. At first
he met with a number of minor disappointments, and soon it seemed
that he would fail disastrously, as within the space of a year his wife
died and he lost his house and barn by fire. However, he made a fresh
start, remaining single for seven years, and during that time had re-
covered his losses and started himself on the highroad to success. For
many years he was engaged in farming and stockraising at the edge of
the village of Ridgway, where he owned 1,200 acres of land, and his
fine roadsters and jacks were exhibited at a number of fairs, where they
took numerous prizes. In 1909 he was one of the organizers of the
First National Bank, which was capitalized at $25,000, a new building
erected for it and it now has $50,000 deposits and a surplus of $2.100.
For the past eight years Mr. Drone has resided in Evansville, and now
holds an official position with the Henneberger Ice and Cold Storage
Company of Princeton, Indiana, and Mt. Carmel, Illinois. A self-
made man in all that the word implies, Mr. Drone rose to his high posi-
tion through his own ability, and his success in life should serve as an
example to the aspiring youth of today and to show that a man may
attain a comfortable competency and secure the esteem of his fellows
through his own industry and integrity, and not through inherited ad-
vantages. He was very fond of out-of-door sports, and was never so
happy as when off on an outing with his rod or gun. In political mat-
ters Mr. Drone was a Democrat, but he was never an office seeker, while
in his religious views he was a life long member of St. Joseph's Catho-
lic church. Of his children, six still survive, namely: Marion N., Lu-
cretia, Vincent P., Leonard, Madeline and Philip Alexander.

Marion N. Drone received his education in the public schools and
Jasper College, Jasper, Indiana, from which he was graduated in 1904,
at that time becoming bookkeeper of the Commercial Bank of Evans-
ville. Subsequently he held a like position with the Mercantile National
Bank, and rose to the position of receiving teller, but at the time of
the organization of the First National Bank of Ridgway, in 1909, he
came here as cashier of this institution, a position which he has held
to the present time. Mr. Drone inherits his father's ability as a finan-
cier and business man, and his pleasant personality has made him many
friends among the bank's depositors, as it also has among his business
associates. Also, like his father, he has been fond of out-of-door exer-
cises, and is an expert at the game of tennis.

On July 14 ,1908, Mr. Drone was united in marriage with Miss Etta
Mary Zipp, of Evansville. They are members of St. Joseph's Catholic
church, and Mr. Drone is a member of the Knights of Columbus and is
financial secretary of the local lodge.

WALKER W. MCCREERY. A name that looms up large in the history
of Franklin county and Benton is that of Mr. Walker W. McCreery,
whose activities and interests entitle him to a place in the forefront of
the list of leading citizens of this part of the state. Mr. McCreery was
born on October 10, 1858, becoming one of the fourth generation of
his family in this state, the first member of which, John McCreery,
migrated to Southern Illinois in 1787. He was a man of sturdy cour-
age to thus push his way to the frontier beyond civilization, and his
young wife who accompanied him must have possessed the same qual-
ity in large degree. It is stated that when the young couple journeyed
from their Kentucky home to become the first white settlers in Gallatin
county, now Saline county, they had but one horse to ride and they
took turns in mounting it, and accomplishing the long, dangerous trip


by slow stages, albeit with final success. Indians were their only neigh-
bors for a time, but they proved to be friendly and the hardy young set-
tler and his wife were never molested by them in any way. He became
a trader and a farmer and accumulated a large fortune for that day.
His was the distinction also of being the first Squire in the county of
which he was the first settler.

Next in line came Alexander McCreery, son of John, who came to
Illinois with his father; the third generation was headed by J. W. Mc-
Creery, son of Alexander, born January 10, 1821, who in turn became
the father Walker W. McCreery, of this sketch. J. W. McCreery
married Mary E. Pace, who was born in 1824, the daughter of Joel
Pace, an early settler of Jefferson county, who built the first brick house
in that section and was one of the most prominent citizens there. He
filled the office of clerk of court for a number of years and was also
circuit clerk at one time. Mr. McCreery was an agriculturist and lived
on and cultivated the same farm all his life. He was a man who took
a leading part in public affairs and was widely known, having been a
member of the county board of supervisors for many years and post-
master at Cave Post Office for forty years and until that office was
abandoned. He was of Republican political faith. His business affairs
were carefully conducted and at the time of his death, on January 7,
1892, he was well fixed financially. His wife survived him many years
and died in 1903. Mr. and Mrs. McCreery were both devout members
of the Methodist Episcopal church, were people of high moral princi-
ples and their passing was mourned by a large circle of friends who
held them in the highest respect and esteem.

Walker W. McCreery received his education in the common schools

Online LibraryGeorge Washington SmithA history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.3) → online text (page 31 of 98)