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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a farmer, and raised a family of eight children. His wife was Nancy
Pinkstaff, who was a daughter of John Pinkstaff. Her father had set-
tled in this section about 1818, and Mrs. Lackey was a fine type of the
frontier woman, courageous, resourceful, strong in body and mind.
James Lackey, the third of her children, is the father of George W.

James Lackey was born on the 14th of October, 1842. in Lawrence
county. He also grew up in the Russellville settlement, following in the
steps of his fathers and becoming a farmer. He was married in 1862

Vol. Ill 23


to Susan Seitzinger, who was a daughter of Leonard Seitzinger. The
latter was a native of Pennsylvania, who had come to Illinois during
the early sixties. He was a blacksmith by trade, but very naturally be-
came a farmer when he came to the frontier country. Mr. and Mrs.
Lackey had three children, of whom George W. was the eldest. The
two daughters both married farmers. Priscilla is the widow of N. E.
Parker, and Mary is the wife of William W. Zehner. Mrs. Lackey died
in 1872 and Mr. Lackey married again. His second wife was Eliza
Highsmith, of Crawford county. Five boys and one girl were born of
this union, and the parents are now living on the farm where Mr.
Lackey has spent his life, three miles west of Russellville. Mr. Lackey
is a Democrat in politics, and has held various township offices. His re-
ligious affiliations are with the Baptist church.

The boyhood days of George W. Lackey were spent on the farm of
his father in Russell township, where he lived a happy, wholesome exist-
ence, going to school in the old log school house and helping on the farm
when he was not in school. He attended this country school until he was
eighteen, and then he went to the Danville Normal School, at Danville,
Illinois. He remained there for two years, and then the money gave out,
and he was forced to stop. He turned to teaching as a means of earning
the necessary funds, and then returned to school. He attended the Dan-
ville (Ind.) school, and took courses in the academic, law and commercial
departments. He finally graduated from the classical course in 1890
with the degree df Bachelor of Arts, in addition taking the degree of
Bachelor of Science. Before he was graduated he had had much experi-
ence as a teacher, and had held executive positions, being principal of the
schools in Lawrenceville for a year.

In 1890 he was elected county superintendent of schools of Lawrence
county, and served in this position for four years. Mr. Lackey's po-
sition in educational matters was that of a progressive. He established
the state course of study in schools. He raised the standard, both of
the teaching and in the courses offered, at the same time advancing the
salaries of the teachers. An innovation for which he was laughed at at
the first was the introduction of music into the schools, but how popular
it has become. For one year he was occupied as United States postal
service inspector. During all this time, busy as he was, he was diligently
studying law, and in January, 1897, he was admitted to the bar.

He began the practice of his profession in Lawrenceville, and in
1900 recognition of his ability came to him in his election as state 's at-
torney. Since the end of his four years' term in this office he has been
conducting a general law practice in Lawrenceville and is one of the most
popular lawyers in this section of the country. During his term as
state's attorney he set before himself the task of ridding the county
of the "blind tigers" with which the district was infested. He was suc-
cessful in this by no means easy job, and this triumph will redound to
his glory for years to come. On the 12th of February, 1912, Mr. Lackey
was appointed master in chancery.

In the business world Mr. Lackey is well known for his good com-
mon sense and the facility with which he is able to grasp the salient
points of a question. He is director and vice-president of the Farmer's
State Bank. He is director of the Lawrence County Lumber Company,
and is a stockholder of the Shaw Oil Company. He for many years
argued and pleaded for establishment of a township school, and after
a long time he saw his wish realized. He is now president of the town-
ship high school board. He is a strong supporter of higher education,
and urges a college course on every one who can possibly take one. In
reply to the famous speech of the late Mr. Crane against colleges, Mr.




Lackey says, "You can't put a thousand dollar education on a ten cent
boy and make a man of him."

Mr. Lackey is a Democrat in his political beliefs, and has been
active in behalf of the party. He has served on the county committee,
and has been a delegate to the judicial, congressional and state conven-
tions. He is a member of the Christian church, as are likewise his wife
and his two eldest children. For fifteen years Mr. Lackey has been
superintendent of the Sunday-school. His chief pleasure is in being
with children, and keeping in touch with their ever growing minds. In
all educational circles his influence is felt, and it is always one of in-
spiration. He is a firm believer in the principles of brotherhood as ex-
emplified in the fraternal orders, and is a member of the Masons, the
Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of

Mr. Lackey was married on the 1st of April, 1891, to Theresa White-
nack, a daughter of Abraham and Caroline Whitenack, of Hendricks
county, Indiana. They have four children : Rush, Kate, Alice and
George A.

NICHOLAS SAUER. Of the late Nicholas Sauer, who died at his home
in Evansville, Illinois, on the 21st of October, 1908, it may well be said
that he coveted success but scorned to gain it except through industry
and honest means. He acquired wealth without fraud or recourse to
equivocal agencies, and the results of his life are full of inspiration and
incentive. Mr. Sauer was a native son of Southern Illinois and a scion
of one of its most honored pioneer families. Here he passed his entire
life and here he attained to distinctive prominence and influence as a
citizen of progressive ideas and marked public spirit. He was the prime
factor in the development and upbuilding of one of the most important
industrial enterprises of the county; he was one of the founders and
president of the Bank of Evansville ; his was the positive and dynamic
force which secured to Evansville its railroad facilities; it was through
his untiring efforts that the river at Evansville was bridged and his life
was guided and governed by those exalted principles of integrity and
honor that ever beget objective confidence and esteem. He did much to
foster the civic and material advancement of his home town and county,
and no shadow rests on any portion of his career, now that he has been
called from the scenes and labors of this mortal life. His success, and
it was pronounced, was principally gained through his connection with
the milling industry, and the extensive business enterprise which he thus
developed is still continued by his sons. He was a man of broad mental
ken, marked circumspection and mature judgment. He placed true
valuations on men and affairs; and his character was the positive ex-
pression of a strong, resolute and noble nature. His death left a void
in the business and civic activities of his native county and in its history
his name merits a place of enduring honor. From the foregoing state-
ments it may well be seen that there is all of consistency in according in
this volume a tribute to the memory of this honored and valued citizen.

Nicholas Sauer was born on the old homestead farm of his father,
near Redbud. Monroe county, Illinois, on the 21st of March, 1841, and was
a son of Philip Sauer, who was born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany. Philip
Sauer was reared and educated in his native land and as a young man
he immigrated to America, which he looked upon as a land of better op-
portunities for the gaining of independence and prosperity through in-
dividual effort. He landed in the city of New Orleans and thence made
the voyage up the Mississippi river to St. Louis. He finally secured a
tract of land in Monroe county, Illinois, the same being located near the


present city of Redbud, and he reclaimed the same into a productive farm,
to the work and management of which he continued to give his attention
until after the close of the Civil war. He then joined his eldest son,
Nicholas, subject of this memoir, in the purchase of the mill property in
Evansville, but after a brief active association with the enterprise he
retired from active business. He passed the residue of his earnest and
worthy life on his farm, where he died in 1891, at the age of eighty-six
years. His devoted wife was summoned to the life eternal in 1878, at
the age of fifty-six years, both having been consistent members of the
Evangelical church. Of their children Nicholas was the first born ; Wil-
liam is one of the proprietors of the Evansville flouring mills, in the oper-
ation of which he was long associated with his elder brother ; Philip is a
resident of Redbud, this county; Mary became the wife of John Ritter
and her death occurred at Redbud ; Catherine is the wife of August Steh-
fest, of Hecker, Monroe county ; Elizabeth is the wife of George Homrig-
hausen, and they reside in Redbud; and Sophia is the wife of Prank
Homrighausen of Redbud.

Nicholas Sauer was reared to the sturdy discipline of the farm which
was the place of his nativity, and after availing himself of the advantages
of the common schools of the locality and period he pursued higher
academic studies in a well ordered institution in the city of St. Louis. As
a young man he put his scholastic attainments to practical test by teach-
ing two terms of country school, but pedagogy made no special appeal to
him and he soon found a more productive field of endeavor. He en-
gaged in the general merchandise business at Mascoutah, St. Clair county,
in 1865, but in the following year he discerned a better opportunity in
connection with the milling business at Evansville. Here, prior to the
Civil war, John Wehrheim had erected and placed in operation a flour
mill, equipped with the old-time stone buhrs, which were still utilized
at the time when Nicholas Sauer became associated with his father in the
purchase of the property, in 1866. The new firm inaugurated operations
under the title of N. & P. Sauer, which was retained until 1868, when
William Sauer succeeded his father and the firm name of N. & W. Sauer
was adopted. It was incorporated as The Sauer Milling Com-
pany in 1899, with a capital of $60,000. As has already been noted,
the younger of the two brothers, William, is still interested in this old
established and important industrial enterprise.

When the mill came into the possession of N. & P. Sauer its daily out-
put did not exceed one hundred barrels, and it was conducted purely as
a -merchant mill. Under the new ownership the plant was forthwith
enlarged and otherwise improved, and the same progressive policy has
been continued during the long intervening years, with the result that
the equipment and facilities of the plant have been kept up to the best
standard. This was among the first mills in the state to adopt the new
roller-process and to install the best modern machinery of this order.
The Sauer Company was also one of the first in the state to utilize the
improved Corliss engine, one of these engines having been installed within
a short time after they were put on the market.

In 1904 the fine plant of the company was destroyed by fire, which
started in the cooper shop and compassed the complete obliteration of
the principal industrial plant of Evansville. Undaunted by this mis-
fortune, the owners -of the property promptly began the erection of the
present fine plant, the building being substantially constructed of brick
and being four stories in height. The most approved modern mechanical
equipment was installed, with all improved accessories, including an in-
dividual electric-lighting plant and steel bins for the reception and stor-
age of grain. These bins have a capacity of one hundred and fifty thou-


sand bushels, and the output of the mill now averages seven hundred
barrels of flour a day, the superior quality of the products constituting
the basis on which has been built the large and prosperous business of
the concern, the high reputation of which is its best commercial asset.
In connection with the various departments of the enterprise employ-
ment is given to a corps of thirty-five men.

The excellent success attending the operation of the Evansville mill
inspired Nicholas Sauer and his sons to expand their sphere of operations
in this line of industry. At Cherryvale, Montgomery county, Kansas, a
point accessible to the hard-wheat district of that extensive wheat belt,
Nicholas Sauer purchased and remodeled a milling plant, and the same
has since been operated under the original title of The N. Sauer Milling
Company, the while the success of the enterprise has been on a parity
with that at Evansville. Nicholas Sauer continued as the executive head
of the company until his death. Realizing the imperative demand for
banking facilities at Evansvile, he effected, in 1894, the organization of
the Bank of Evansville, and under his supervision the same was conducted
along conservative lines, with the result that it soon became known as
one of the substantial financial institutions of this section of the state.
This bank, of which he continued president until his demise, is a private
institution, with a capital of twelve thousand dollars and with individual
financial reinforcement behind it to the amount of nearly four hundred
thousand dollars.

Mr. Sauer was distinctively a man of initiative and constructive abil-
ity, a man of action. What he believed should be accomplished, in-
dividually or in a generic way, he promptly began to work for. The in-
dustrial and commercial advancement of Evansville was handicaped by
the lack of transportation facilities. A railroad was an imperative need
and none had greater cause to realize this than Mr. Sauer. Vigorously
and with marked discrimination he planned and labored to bring about
the desired improvement. From the time he conceived the idea until
the realization of the same was effected in a practical way there was a
lapse of about fifteen years, years marked by insistent agitation and
determined promotive work on his part. He was a member of the com-
mittee representing Evansville in the raising of the necessary cash bonus
and the securing of the right of way for the present Illinois Southern
Railroad, and in addition to his earnest labors he contributed liberally
to the fund required to gain the desired end.

All that touched the material and social welfare of his native county
was a matter of definite interest to Mr. Sauer, and, in an unostentatious
way, he was ever ready to lend his influence and co-operation in support
of measures and enterprises projected for the general good of the com-
munity. A man of broad views and well fortified opinions, he was a
staunch supporter of the cause of popular education and served for
twenty-one years as a valued member of the Evansville board of educa-
tion. Others fully realized his eligibility for public office, but he had
naught of ambition along this course, as was shown by his positive declin-
ation to become his party 's candidate for nomination as representative of
his district in the state senate. He was unswerving in his allegance to the
Republican party and, from personal experience, knew the value and
expediency of the protective tariff policy of the party.

In the social phase of his life Mr. Sauer was an interesting man, with
democratic and genial personality. His mind was matured by well di-
rected reading and by the lessons gained in the school of experience, so
that he was able to draw upon a large fund of information, the while
his conversational powers were liberally developed. His interests, aside
from business, centered in his home, the relations of which were of ideal


order, and to those nearest and dearest to him his passing away was the
greatest possible loss and bereavement, besides which the entire com-
munity manifested the same attitude, appreciative of his sterling char-
acter and of his usefulness as a citizen. With strong religious convic-
tion and an abiding faith, Mr. Sauer was a devout member of the German
Evangelical church, as are also his wife and children, and he was liberal
in the support of the various departments of church work. He was also
a Mason and a firm believer in its teachings and precepts.

The fine family residence erected by Mr. Sauer is a substantial brick
structure standing on an eminence above the mill, and the grounds have
been beautified with shade trees, shrubbery and beautiful lawns, the
entire appearance of the place signifying peace and prosperity. This
home has long been known for its gracious and unostentatious hospitality
and has found a most pleasing chatelaine in the person of Mrs. Sauer,
a devoted wife and helpmeet.

On the 22d of July, 1866, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Sauer
to Miss Elizabeth Gerlach, who was born in Virginia and reared in
Monroe county, Illinois, and whose parents, early settlers of this state,
were natives of Hesse-Cassel, Germany. In conclusion of this memoir
is entered record concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Sauer, but it
should be stated prior to giving such data that the death of Mr. Sauer
was the result of an accident. He fell through a trap door that had been
left open at night on a porch of his home, and in falling to the cellar
beneath he received internal injuries which resulted in his death three
days later, on the 21st of October, 1908, as has previously been noted in
this context.

John, the eldest of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Sauer, was educated
in Europe as a mining engineer, and for six years after his return to
America he followed the work of his profession in Colorado. He is now
manager of the milling business of the N. Sauer Milling Company at
Cherryvale, Kansas. He married Miss Leonora Wolff, of New Haven,
Missouri. Miss Magdalena E. Sauer remains with her widowed mother
in the beautiful home in Evansville. Philip E. the next in order of birth,
is more definitely mentioned in the appending paragraph. Dr. William
E. was graduated in the St. Louis Medical College, after which he com-
pleted post graduate courses in leading universities in Berlin and Vienna,
and he is now engaged in the practice of his profession in the city of St.
Louis, as a specialist in the diseases of the ear, nose and throat, besides
which he is a lecturer in the medical department of Washington Univer-
sity, in that city. He wedded Miss Irene Borders of Sparta, Illinois, and
they have one son, William Nicholas. George N., the youngest of the
children, is one of the active factors in the Sauer Milling Company, and
concerning him more specific mention is made in the closing paragraph
of this memoir.

Philip E. Sauer was born at Evansville, on the llth of January, 1873,
and after duly availing himself of the advantages of the public schools
of his native town he prosecuted higher academic studies in the Southern
Illinois Normal University and in Shurtleff College. He gained his
early business experience in connection with the milling business con-
ducted by his father and uncle and has been actively identified with this
enterprise during the intervening years. After the death of his father he
became president of the company, which has brought to him much of the
responsibility of administering the practical and executive affairs of
the business. He is also vice-president of the Bank of Evansville and is
a man of great public spirit and civic progressiveness. On the 18th of
September, 1907, he married Miss Alice Harmon, of Chester, Illinois, and
they have a winsome little daughter, Elizabeth.


George N. Sauer, who is secretary and treasurer of the Sauer Milling
Company, was born in Evansville, on the 10th of February, 1879, and as
a citizen and business man he is well upholding the prestige of the honored
name which he bears. He completed his educational discipline in Shurt-
leff College and after the death of his father he was elected president of
the Bank of Evansville, in which position he has since given effective ad-
ministration of the business of this institution as chief executive. He is
a bachelor. Both he and his brother Philip E. are unwavering in their
allegiance to the cause of the Republican party and both are affiliated with
Kaskaskia Lodge, No. 86, Free & Accepted Masons, the headquarters of
which were changed from Ellis Grove to Evansville. At the time of its
organization, as the first Masonic lodge in Illinois, this body was located
at Kaskaskia, which was then the capital of the territory.

HON. HENRY M. KASSEEMAN. Perhaps at no time in the history of
the United States have both people and communities been so awake as at
the present to the necessity of progress and reform, and this sentiment
has grown so universally that it is reflected in the choice made of all
public officials. Thus it has fortunately come to pass that the choice
of the public for men to fill high office, in the majority of cases, re-
sults in the election of individuals who have personal standing, un-
blemished character and also the ability not only to initiate reforms
where needed, but also the courage to push them forward to acceptance.
Such a man in every particular is Hon. Henry M. Kasserman, county
judge of Jasper county, Illinois, a prominent member of the bar at New-
ton and for two years mayor of that city.

Henry M. Kasserman was born January 4, 1864, in Monroe county,
Ohio, and is a son of Stephen and Annie (Tomi) Kasserman. Stephen
Kasserman was born in Switzerland, August 16, 1829, and was a son of
Stephen Kasserman, who brought his family to America and died in
Ohio in 1891, at the age of ninety-two years. Stephen Kasserman, the
second, grew to manhood in southeastern Ohio and followed farming and
also steamboating on the Ohio river. In 1864 he moved to Richland
county, Illinois, where he followed farming for a time but later became
a general contractor at Olney, Illinois. He was married in Ohio to
Annie Tomi, who died in 1895, having survived her husband for two
years. They were the parents of nine children.

Prior to his fifteen birthday Henry M. Kasserman attended the
public schools at Olney and then accompanied his parents to Jasper
county, where the family resided for several years and then he returned
to Olney, where he attended the high school, after which he taught school
in Jasper and St. Clair counties. Having made choice of the law, he
entered McKendree College, at Lebanon, where he was graduated with
his degree of LL. B. in 1891, and in the same year he was admitted to
the bar. In 1892 he opened his law office at Mt. Vernon and entered
upon practice. In February, 1893, owing to delicate health in a member
of his family, Mr. Kasserman made a change of residence, at that time
coming to Newton. With the exception of a period of eighteen months
spent in the South he has been a continuous resident of Newton ever
since and has been a useful and representative citizen, active in business
and professional life and prominently identified with Democratic

In January, 1894, Judge Kasserman was appointed county judge by
the late Governor Altgeld ,and later was elected to the bench for the full
term of four years. At the close of this period he partially retired from
politics and for some time gave his entire attention to his law practice
and to his large real estate interests, since 1901, when for one year he


was a member of the Fithian Land Company, having handled extensive
tracts of land in different counties in Southern Illinois. In the spring
of 1905, however, Judge Kasserman was recalled to public life and he
was elected mayor of Newton, with a handsome majority. It required
courage to face the problems of municipal governing at that time. The
city was practically in a bankrupt condition, it had no public utilities
and but indifferent sidewalks. A dilapidated and totally inadequate sys-

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 55 of 98)