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

. (page 53 of 98)
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 53 of 98)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

cleared his brain and assisted him in comprehending cube root and the
complexities of English grammar. His elementary education was re-
ceived in the common schools, and when he outgrew these he was sent
to Palestine Academy. He later attended Union Christian College,
Merom, Indiana. He lived at home on the farm until he was twenty-
two yers of age, but at seventeen had started out in life as a school
teacher. He taught school for several years and in November, 1865,
was elected county superintendent of schools. He filled this position for
four years, at the same time reading law in the office of C. C. Fletcher.
He then gave up his school teaching and matriculated at the University
of Michigan, in the law department. He left the University in 1870,
and was admitted to the bar by the Illinois state supreme court in June,
1870. In 1878 he was admitted to practice in the United States supreme
court. As soon as he was entitled to practice he settled in Robinson,
Illinois, and opened an office. From that time up to the present he has
been in practice in this city. Mr. Parker first practiced alone, but. after
eleven years he formed a partnership with J. C. Olwin. This association
lasted for two years, and then he formed a second partnership with J. B.
Crowley. Judge Crowley was appointed special treasury agent in
charge of the United States fisheries in Alaska in 1893, and during his
absence on this duty Mr. H. S. Bogard became a member of the firm.
He subsequently became attorney for the Illinois Central Railroad Com-
pany, and is general attorney for other corporations.

In politics Mr. Parker is a Democrat, and for twelve years he has
been a member of the Crawford county central committee. His term of
service as a member of the state central committee lasted four years. He
has done good work in both of these committees, and the Democratic-
party count him one of their most valuable men. In 1908 he had the
honor of being sent as a delegate to the national convention in Denver
when William Jennings Bryan received his third nomination for presi-
dent. Mr. Parker is a member of the Elks, of the Modern Woodmen of
America, of the Modern Americans, and of the Tribe of Ben Hur. His
wife is a member of the Presbyterian church.

Mr. Parker has been a very successful dealer in real estate and this
business has always held a great fascination for him. For some time
he published the Real Estate Exchange, a journal devoted to the needs
of those who bought and sold property of any kind. He is also much
interested in the oil business and a large share of his fortune is invested
in oil lands or in the stock of oil companies. He is a member of the E.
Lindsay Oil Company, the J. B. Crowley Oil Company, the George N.
Parker Oil Company, the McKean Oil Company and several others. He
is also president of the Robinson Oil Company, which carried on ex-
tensive operations in Indiana. He is interested in other lines of busi-
ness as well, being secretary of the Robinson Pipe Tong Company, and is
president of the Meyers Motor Company. His training as a lawyer has
given him the ability to think rapidly and to act quickly, and in his
business experience he has found this a large factor in his success.

On the 5th of May, 1870, Mr. Parker was married to Julia Alice
Crowley, the daughter of Samuel B. and Elizabeth Crowley. Mr. and
Mrs. Parker are enthusiastic lovers of flowers and have one of the largest
collections in Crawford county.

WILLIAM H. HILL. The Murphysboro Paving Brick Company, a
large industry situated at Murphysboro, Illinois, is one of the concerns


which have in late years made the industrial interests of Jackson county
become a potent factor in the business world, and have assisted in build-
ing up and developing this part of the country in a manner that could
have been accomplished, perhaps, in no other way. The agitation for
good streets, probably fostered by the advent of the automobile, has
caused even the smallest and poorest of towns and villages to make im-
provements in the way of street paving, and as the center of a com-
munity that is the home of progressive, wideawake citizens, Murphys-
boro offers all the advantages that could be found for a business carry-
ing on operations in Southern Illinois.

This company was organized March 31, 1909, with a capital of one
hundred thousand dollars, which has been increased to one hundred and
thirty thousand dollars, and the present officers are William H. Hill,
of East St. Louis, president ; H. D. Sexton, of East St. Louis, vice-pres-
ident; and H. H. Jenkins, of Murphysboro, secretary and treasurer.
Owning a fifty-acre tract of land, the company uses about twenty-five
acres, giving employment to one hundred and twenty-five persons. In
1911 the output, which had formerly been but six millions yearly-, had
increased to eleven millions, this enormous increase being due to the
fact that an innovation was made in the manner of manufacture, which
not only has been a success financially, but produces a better grade of
brick. Both large and small brick are manufactured, and the output
of 1911 would pave twenty miles of street. In addition to furnishing
nearly all the paving brick for the southern Illinois towns, the company
ships to Memphis, St. Louis and Chicago and to other points in the

William H. Hill, the president of this thriving industry, and one
of East St. Louis, representative business men, is a native Illinoisan, hav-
ing been born in the village of Summerfield, June 4, 1867. He received
his education in the public schools, Poster Academy at St. Louis, and in
a business college at Poughkeepsie, New York, and after some business
training succeeded his father, who was a building supply dealer. Mr.
Hill continued in that enterprise until 1909, and also carried on general
contracting at East St. Louis. In addition to being president of the
paving brick company, he acts in the same capacity for the Queen City
Quarry Company, of East St. Louis, which is located at Alton, Illinois,
and a director of the Southern Illinois National Bank and the Southern
Illinois Trust Company, both of East St. Louis.

On November 5, 1890, Mr. Hill was united in marriage with Miss
Jennie Thomas, of East St. Louis, and two children have been born to
this union, namely : Gertrude E. and Ruth Jeanette. Mr. Hill is a con-
sistent member of the Methodist church, while fraternally he is con-
nected with the Masons, in which he has attained the thirty-second de-
gree and belongs to the Shrine, Knights Templar and Commandery, and
with the Elks and the Knights of Pythias. Mr. Hill is an excellent
organizer, and his talents in this line have not been confined to his own
interests, as he has always been a leader in movements for the better-
ment of civic conditions. Although he has been in business in Mur-
physboro for only two years, he has attained a secure position in the
esteem of the citizens of that community, and the character of the en-
terprises with which his name has been connected has shown that this
confidence is well merited.

WILLIAM E. TEAINOE. One of the most prominent, promising and
highly respected young citizens of Jasper county is William E. Trainor,
who was born here and who is one of those particularly excellent native
sons whom the county is so well pleased to claim as its own. He has iden-


tified himself with all movements which seem likely to contribute to the
advantage of the community and is a leader in all worthy enterprises.
Mr. Trainor was born in St. Marie township, Jasper county, January
15, 1876. His father, William Trainor, was a native of Pittsburg, Penn-
sylvania, the date of his nativity being May 4, 1836. He became a citi-
zen of Illinois and was engaged here in agricultural pursuits during his
active career. He was a youth fifteen years of age when his parents
came to this state from the Keystone state. In 1864 he was married to
Rebecca Bowen, of Lawrence county, Illinois, and seven children were
born to them, William, the immediate subject of this review, being the
youngest in order of birth. The elder gentleman removed to Newton
with his family in 1880 and went into the office of the sheriff. He was
subsequently elected to that office and remained continually in some
public capacity until his demise in 1898, being a member of times elected
to the offices of sheriff and treasurer. He was a tried and true Democrat
and he will long be remembered as a man who lived in accordance with
the Golden Rule. He was reared a Catholic, but eventually affiliated
with the Baptist church. His widow, a much respected lady, survives
and makes her home in this place. William Trainor, Sr., was a soldier in
the great conflict between the states, becoming second lieutenant in Com-
pany B, of the One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Illinois Infantry. He was
one of the leading members of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The earliest years of William Trainor, the son, were passed on his
father's farm, but when he was about five years old the family came into
Newton. He received his education in the Newton public schools and
was graduated from the high school in the class of 1894. Upon leaving
school he went into the treasurer's office, under his father, who was then
the incumbent of the office. When his father was succeeded by John H.
Isley as treasurer he was made deputy treasurer and he held the same
office with the two succeeding treasurers, Taylor Randolph and John W.
Hamilton. It is safe to say that no one is more familiar with financial
affairs in Jasper county than Mr. Trainor, who was identified with them
for so many years and in so many administrations. In 1908, in recog-
nition of his ability and fitness for public trust, he was elected by the
Democratic party to the office of circuit clerk and still holds the office,
his services having been of such character as to redound to his credit
and to the honor and profit of his constituents.

On November 14, 1906, Mr. Trainor became a recruit to the Bene-
dicts by his marriage to Mayme E. McCullough, of Newton, daughter of
Nicholas McCullough, and they now share their delightful home with a
small daughter, Emma Katherine. Mr. Trainor belongs to the Presby-
terian church, but his wife and daughter are Catholics. His only fra-
ternal order is the Ben Hur lodge. He stands as one of the most public
spirited citizens of the township, ever ready to aid in all things that tend
towardthe public weal, and with such citizens as he the prosperity of any
community may be well assured as a certainty.

JOHN ROBERT CROSS. An eminent member of the legal profession of
Southern Illinois, whose connection with a number of important cases
of litigation has brought out his legal talents and his knowledge of law
and jurisprudence, is John Robert Cross, of McLeansboro, ex-mayor of
this city and a man who for many years has held positions of honor and
trust within the gift of his fellow-townsmen. Mr. Cross belongs to a
family that has been connected with the history of Hamilton county for
more than seventy years, and was born on a farm not far from McLeans-
boro, December 15, 1859, a son of Pleasant Marion and Sarah A. (Wil-
liams) Cross.


Pleasant Cross, the grandfather of John Robert Cross, was born in
1799, near Ellijay, Gilmer county, Georgia, and came to Hamilton
county, Illinois, in 1839. He was a mechanic by occupation and also
owned a farm, which he hired others to operate for him, his shop being
situated about six miles west of McLeansboro. He was a Democrat in
his political views, and religiously was connected with the Methodist
church, his wife being a Presbyterian. Mr. Cross was married in Ten-
nessee, to Elmira Stacy, and they were the parents of twelve children,
as follows : Angelina, who married Alfred Cams and lived in Gallatin
county; Lucinda, who married William Whipple and resided 'in Hamil-
ton county; Matilda, who married Thomas Babbington, and moved to
Nevada; John C., who married Nancy Burton and resided in Hamil-
ton county, Christopher C., who died young; Elizabeth, who married
Asa Cross and lived in Hamilton county ; Sarah, who became the wife of
Charles Epperson, now deceased, and then married Jacob Stelle,
and now lives in McLeansboro ; Pleasant Marion ; Elmira, who became
the wife of J. W. Goins, of Hamilton county ; Nancy, who married Mas-
ton Williams and now lives in Mt. Vernon, Illinois ; Lury Ann, who mar-
ried John Davis and resides near McLeansboro; and Mary Jane, who
married Elijah Goins and lives in Hamilton county.

Pleasant Marion Cross was born January 8, 1833, in Tennessee, and
came to Hamilton county, Illinois, in 1841, the remainder of his life be-
ing spent in agricultural pursuits on the old Cross homestead, which
was situated about six miles northwest of McLeansboro, where he died
March 4, 1891. He was a Mason and a Democrat, and with his wife at-
tended the Missionary Baptist church at Middle Creek, Illinois. On Au-
gust 26, 1856, Mr. Cross was married in Hamilton county to Sarah A.
Williams, who was born March 20, 1835, in Tennessee, and came to Ham-
ilton county in 1837 with her parents, Wiley and Mahala (Bond) Wil-
liams. Mrs. Cross died June 24, 1903, in Hamilton county, having been
the mother of four children, as follows: Pleasant Walter, who married
Nancy Jones Clore and now is engaged in farming in Hamilton county ;
Gilbert Wiley, also a farmer of Hamilton county, who married Eliza-
beth J. Gates, daughter of J. A. and Sarah Gates ; John Robert, of Mc-
Leansboro; and Elza Marion, who married Mary Tennyson and lives in
this county.

John Robert Cross attended the common schools in the vicinity of
his father's farm, on which he worked until he was twenty-one years of
age, and also spent one year in teaching school. He was married May
29, 1881, in Hamilton county, to Emma Ellis, who was born February
9, 1863, in Shelby county, Indiana, daughter of Lewis and Olive (Bas-
sett) Ellis, and to this union there have been born four children : Iva M.,
born January 20, 1882, married Isaac Hardesty, of McLeansboro, and
has two children, Helma and Walter Wade ; Inez M., born June 1, 1884,
who married Joseph F. Reeder; and Nona, born April 13, 1888, and
John E., born July 20, 1900, who live with their parents.

After his marriage Mr. Cross continued to farm until 1889, when he
moved to McLeansboro and purchased a residence. On November 4,
1889, he began to read law with Judge T. B. Stelle, and on June 27,
1892, he was admitted to the bar. He practiced in partnership with
Judge Stelle until 1905, when on account of ill health he was obliged to
give up his activities and retire. On June 1, 1907, having recovered his
health, he entered into a partnership with David J. Underwood, this
association continuing until April 1, 1911, when the firm was mutually
dissolved, and since that time Mr. Cross has practiced alone. He has
been very prominent in Democratic politics, serving as city attorney for
four terms and as mayor of McLeansboro from 1909 to 1911. Frater-


nally he is connected with the Odd Fellows and the Woodmen, and is a
consistent member of the Missionary Baptist church, in the faith of
which he was reared. Mr. Cross has proven his ability as a lawyer in a
number of notable cases. Of a sound, logical mind, he is also possessed
of the gift of oratory, being an effective and convincing speaker. In his
handsome residence in McLeansboro he has one of the finest and most
complete law libraries to be found in Hamilton county, and in addition
to valuable city property he is the owner of several tracts of excellent
farming land near McLeansboro. The family is very well known in this
part of the state, where its members have achieved prominence in every
walk of life, and Mr. and Mrs. Cross are popular with all who know
them, especially in church circles, where they have been active workers.

WILLIAM S. TITUS. One of the moving spirits of the town of Law-
renceville is William S. Titus. There is scarcely an industry in which
he has not had a share in some way, either as promoter, stockholder, or
as the man who was instrumental in persuading them to locate in Law-
renceville. A great part of his energy has been given to making Law-
renceville a modern and prosperous city. He was twice elected mayor,
and during these terms the campaign of publicity that he inaugurated
brought some of the largest and most important industries that the city
now owns knocking at her doors. The successful man of to-day is either
fawned on by parasites or looked at rather askance by respectable peo-
ple who have not been able to win any very large portion of this world's
goods. In the case of Mr. Titus, however, the parasites know flattery
is useless, and his methods are so open and above-board that he has the
trust of all people, be they successes or failures.

William S. Titus was born at Mount Carmel, Illinois, on the 24th
of July, 1868. His father was Daniel B. Titus, who was a native of
Canada, having been born at Burmosh, Nova Scotia, in -1826. When
Daniel Titus was only a small boy he was taken to Toronto to live,
and there he grew up. He was educated in the public schools, and when
the time came to choose a profession he selected engineering, so in ad-
dition to his earlier schooling he had a course in engineering. He came
to Illinois a widower with one child, Ruah, and with the engineering
crew of the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad, as it was then called. The
line is now part of the Big Four and the New York Central System.

Mount Carmel was very attractive to the young engineer and he
decided to locate in the town. He built a furniture factory and soon
had a flourishing business established. For many years the operation
of this plant was his occupation, but one night it was destroyed by
fire, and since his health had been failing for some time he did not re-
build, feeling that the strain and responsibility of this business was
too great. During the later years of his life he went into the insurance
business and was very successful. He followed this line of work until
his death*; which took place in 1901, on the 2nd of March.

Daniel Titus married Judith Harvey, of Mount Carmel. Five chil-
dren were born to Mr. and Mrs. Titus, of whom William Titus was the
third child. Mrs. Titus lived until March, 1911, and was able to en-
ter into and sympathize with her son in his successes. Mr. Titus was
an enthusiastic Democrat, but he never cared to hold office. He and
his wife were both members of the Methodist Episcopal church and
he was a member of the Odd Fellows.

The boyhood of William Titus was spent in Mount Carmel and his
elementary education was received in the public schools of the town.
All during his school life he was eager to enter the business world, and
as soon as he was released from the school room for his vacation he im-


mediately entered on his business career as a clerk in different stores.
Thus while he was yet a school boy he began to acquire a reputation,
for keenness and business ability. During the four years of Cleveland's
first administration he served as deputy postmaster. He then came to
Lawrenceville and entered the Bank of Lawrenceville. This bank was
later organized as the National Bank and subsequently became known as
the First National Bank. Mr. Titus was first the assistant cashier and
then was elected cashier. He held this place for nineteen years, re-
signing four years ago to go into the real estate business. After one
year in which he conducted the business alone he went into partnership
with Thomas T. Jones. The main part of this business is operated on
the plan of the building and loan associations. The company builds
houses and then sells them on monthly payments. This method is not
only profitable to the firm, but it enables men to own their homes where
it would be otherwise impossible.

Mr. Titus is a director of the First National Bank and also of the
Citizens Banking Company. He is a stockholder in the Farmer's Bank
and is vice-president of a private bank known as the ' ' Bank of Birds. ' '
It will be seen from his connection with these various institutions that
his financial abilities are of a high order, and that they have speedily
been recognized by his associates in the world of finance. He is one of
the stockholders in the Citizens Telephone Company, and is a heavy
stockholder in the Lawrenceville Laundry Company. One of his chief
interests is located outside of the state of Illinois. This is the Adrian
Gas and Oil Company, which is located at Adrian, Texas. He is pres-
ident of this company, which struck salt in large proportions on their
property a few years ago, and soon expect to begin operations for
mining this mineral.

Mr. Titus is a Democrat, and has served two terms as city treasurer.
He was first elected as mayor on the non-license platform, and his sec-
ond term was won on the street paving platform. It will be seen from
these platforms that Mr. Titus stood for the progressive element, and
that he was determined that Lawrenceville should be the equal of any
town of her size in the land. His enthusiasm and insistence on the
practicability of the measures he wished passed fairly forced the coun-
cil to vote as he desired. During his administration the street lights,
sewers and paved streets came into being; the water mains were ex-
tended and the city hall was built; the area of the city limits was ex-
tended, and many manufacturing concerns were induced to locate here.
Among these were the Indian Refining Company, which is capitalized
at a million dollars; the Central Refining Company, which operates a
half a million dollar plant ; the American Asphalt and Rubber Company,
with a large plant. In fact this was the Golden Age for Lawrenceville,
and Mr. Titus was the power that made all this possible.

To an active man like Mr. Titus the very practical ways in which
the fraternal orders live up to their principles, and the large amount
of good which they accomplish in an unostentatious manner, would
naturally have a strong appeal. This is seen to be the case in the num-
ber of orders of which he is a member. He is a Mason, belongs to the
Knights of Pythias, to the Elks, the Modern Woodmen of America, and
to the Yeomen of America.

Mr. Titus was married on the 28th of September, 1890, to Adda E.
Musgrave, of Lawrenceville, a daughter of Joseph and Amanda Mus-

CECIL WALKER. Among the many talented attorneys at law in South-
ern Illinois few surpass the members of the bar now in active practice in


Jasper county, among whom Cecil Walker, city attorney, is one of the
leaders, although in years still to be accounted one of the younger gen-
eration. He has a fine legal mind and has proved successful in much im-
portant litigation. In affairs political he plays a leading role, and from
his earliest voting days has given hand and heart to the men and meas-
ures of the Democratic party.

Cecil Walker is a native son of Newton, a fact of which Newton is
justly proud. The date of his nativity was September 11, 1875. His
father, Alfred N. Walker, was born near Mt. Meridian, Indiana, Febru-
ary 12, 1849. This gentleman was a well known representative of the
Fourth Estate and for a long period conducted the Newton Press, or as
it was at that time known, the Newton Weekly Press, a paper of Demo-
cratic sentiment and the official organ of the county. He edited this sheet
for eighteen years, and his able and logical editorials did much to in-
fluence public opinion. In 1881 he sold out to the present owners. He
was also engaged in the ice and dairy business, and when his health de-
clined he went into the business of stock raising. His stock farm was
the scene of most intelligent endeavors in this line, his specialty being
Jersey cattle and his was the first venture in thoroughbred cattle rais-
ing in the county. He set the pace and it is not to be gainsaid that his
precedent was the chief factor in bringing about the present general
excellence in stock in the county. The death of this valued and worthy
citizen occurred May 8, 1893, but his influence will not soon be lost or his
memory obliterated. The maiden name of the subject's mother was
Ella A. Gibson, and she is a cousin of Judge Gibson. They became the
parents of three children, two of whom, Edith C. and Kenneth, are de-
ceased, Mr. Walker being the only survivor. The mother survives and

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 53 of 98)