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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Mr. Chapman was born February 10, 1856, in Johnson county, Illi-
nois, the son of Daniel C. and Mary Elizabeth (Groves) Chapman, the
former a brother of Hon. P. T. Chapman. The Chapman family is,
in truth, one long established in this country and some of the subject's
ancestors were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. James Clinton Chap-
man was educated in the district school and worked upon the old home-
stead farm until the age of twenty-three years. He then concluded to

Vol. 325


to try town life for a time and became a clerk in a mercantile business in
Vienna, in which capacity he remained for the space of seven years. In
1885, when thoroughly familiar with the business in all its departments,
he, in association with his brothers, Tobias and Pleasant, established a
mercantile business, the firm being known as Chapman Brothers, and,
good fortunes being the result of their fine management and unimpeach-
able business methods, they continued together for a period of twenty
years, or until 1905. In that year Mr. Chapman disposed of his inter-
ests in the concern and removed to his present farm of five hundred and
thirty acres, in whose management he has ever since been successfully
engaged. As previously mentioned, he also owns a half interest with C.
H. Gillespie in the old Oliver farm of four hundred acres north of Vi-
enna. He is an extensive raiser of draft horses and Angus cattle, having
eight head of the latter on one of his farms and sixty-six head on the
other. He has twenty-one head of draft horses at the present time. He
built a handsome and commodious home, which further enhances the
attractiveness and desirability of his property.

For five years Mr. Chapman has been a director of the Pair Associ-
ation and in 1910 he served as president of the Vienna school board,
having on several occasions been a member of the same. He was serving
in 1899 when the Vienna school board authorized the erection of the
new high school building. Prom 1896 to 1902 he was a member of the
State Board of Agriculture of Illinois. At the present time he is vice-
president of the Illinois State Live Stock Breeders' Association. He is
one of the most popular and prominent of lodge men and he is repre-
sented in various orders. His Masonic affiliation is with the Blue Lodge,
the Chapter and he is eligible to the white-plumed helmet of the Knight
Templar. He belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in-
cluding the Encampment, and he is also connected with the Knights of
Pythias and the Eastern Star. He is a member of the Methodist Epis-
copal church and in politics is Republican ; having given his allegiance
to the "Grand Old Party" since his earliest voting days.

On November 28, 1889, Mr. Chapman laid one of the most important
stones in the foundation of his success by his marriage to Eliza Ann
Oliver, daughter of James and Aveline (Smith) Oliver. Her grand-
father Oliver served as county judge for many years in Johnson county.
Aveline Smith is the daughter of Barney Smith, one of the pioneers of
Southern Illinois. They share their happy and hospitable home with
six children, five of whom are sons. They are as follows : Oliver, a grad-
uate of the Vienna high school, class of 1911 ; James, of the class of
1912 ; Robert ; Joseph ; Mary, and George.

THOMAS T. JONES was born on his father's farm in Coles county, Illi-
nois, in the year 1853, and there he was reared and passed the best part
of his life until in recent years he located in Lawrenceville. For many
years a prominent and successful farmer in Coles county, he has been
not less prosperous or prominent in his business in Lawrenceville, where
he has carried on a thriving real estate business for a number of years.
An honest citizen, faithful in every detail to the duties of citizen-
ship and a kind and indulgent husband and father. Mr. Jones has lived
a life in every way worthy of his better self, and is held in the high
esteem of all who come within the sphere of his influence.

Mr. Jones is the son of William R. Jones, a Kentuckian born and
bred, who was ushered into this world on a Kentucky farm in Harrison
county, on the 14th of August, 1808. Half his life was spent on the
farm whereon he was born. In 1831 Mr. Jones came to Illinois on a
tour of inspection, making the entire journey on horseback. In the


same year he returned to his Kentucky home, making his way back to
Coles county, Illinois, in the following year, where he farmed for the
season. In the autumn he returned to Kentucky and remained there
until 1837, when he again turned his face towards Coles county. His
brother had become interested with him by this time, and the two en-
gaged in the stock-raising business, which meant, in those days, more
trading than outright selling. William Jones made fifteen trips on
horseback from Harrison county, Kentucky, to Coles county, Illinois,
and always with the same horse. By 1837 he reached the conclusion
that from the viewpoint of the success of his business the Coles county
location would be preferable to the Kentucky location, and he accord-
ingly moved his family from their Kentucky home to the new place in
Coles county. In 1853 Mr. Jones married Miss Eliza P. Threkeld. In
their new Illinois home they had a vast wooded prairie to themselves,
with not a human habitation in gunshot, but Mr. Jones lived to see the
day when that same barren prairie was a thickly settled region. On
the last day of December, 1856, the young wife and mother passed
away, leaving her husband with two small sons to mourn her untimely
death. The elder of the children was Thomas T. Jones, and he was less
than three years of age at the time. William, Jr., was a mere infant.
Mr. Jones gave to the little ones the best a lonely man might offer and
remained loyal to the memory of their sainted mother until 1862, when
he married Elizabeth Ewing, of Coles county. She became the mother
of one child, Lulu, who is now deceased. For twenty-five years Wil-
liam Jones pursued the quiet, even life of the well-to-do farmer and
built up in Coles county a reputation for general stability and worthi-
ness of character which was well in keeping with the blameless and up-
right life he led. He was a staunch Whig-Republican, and was in his
early days a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, in the days when he
was still giving his attention to rail-splitting in Illinois. Mr. Jones
never had any ambitions to hold office, other than the minor offices of his
township and county, and these he filled when occasion demanded, in
the interests of unselfish citizenship. He was a man of deeds rather
than words, and he made no religious professions, but lived a life of
spotless integrity that surpassed in its purity that of many a man of
more churchly pretensions. His death, which occurred on the sixth day
of April, 1889, proved an inestimable loss to the community and to all
who were privileged to share in his friendship and acquaintance.

Thomas T. Jones, his eldest son, was born on the Coles county farm,
near Mattoon, and the greater part of his life was there spent. During
his motherless childhood his father sent him to the district school near
by the farm, and later gave him a year of training at Lee 's Academy in
the same county. For many years he worked with his father on the
home land, but ultimately purchased a farm of his own. In 1888, seven
months before his father, who had been his life-long companion, passed
away, Thomas Jones married Rosa Clark, the daughter of Parker Clark,
a neighboring farmer. They became the parents of nine children,
namely : Robert W., a clothing merchant of Mattoon ; Stella, the wife
of Ernest Howell, of Marshall ; Carrie, who married L. R. Smith, of
Lawrenceville ; Samuel E., in the laundry business in Lawrenceville ;
Horace, Helen, Dumas W., Lulu and Richard, who are still in the
family home. On May 21, 1902, the wife and mother passed away,
leaving the younger daughters to make a home for their father. Life
in the farm home where the presence of the mother had so bright-
ened and cheered everything became unendurably lonely for all after
her passing, and the family left the old home, moving onto a tract of
land adjoining Lawrenceville, which the father had but recently pur-


chased. This land was shortly incorporated into the city of Lawrence-
ville by Mr. Jones, who platted the farm and began selling it in the
form of city lots, thus gaining his first interest in the real estate busi-
ness. In 1908 he formed a partnership with W. S. Titus, one of the
popular land dealers of the county, and he has since devoted his entire
time to the business of real estate and building. Aside from this, he is
a director and part owner of the Lawrenceville Steam Laundry. Mr.
Jones has given good and true service to the city of Lawrenceville as a
member of the city council, to which he was elected five years ago on the
Improvement ticket, and on which body he has been ever active and en-
thusiastic in all work for the betterment and advancement of the com-
munity during the four years of his service. Mr. Jones is associated
with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and is an appreciative
member of the order.

HON. JOHN ADAM NAUMAN. Very frequently it is found that a suc-
cessful business man is the citizen best qualified for public office in a
community, the management of public affairs requiring the same firm-
ness, foresight and good judgment that are necessary to insure prosperity
in carrying on commercial undertakings of a personal nature. Thus the
people of Valmeyer, Illinois, have undoubtedly done well in selecting as
the president of their village the present incumbent, John Adam Nau-
man. He was born in Jefferson county, Missouri, December 4, 1884,
and is a son of John William and Mary (Arnold) Nauman.

John William Nauman was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, De-
cember 4, 1849, and was about eight years old when he accompanied his
parents to America. They located on a farm in Monroe county, Illi-
nois, and there John William grew to manhood. After his marriage to
Mary Arnold, of Jefferson county, Missouri, he moved to Frederick-
town, Missouri, where he went into the butcher business, subsequently
moving from there to Kimmswick, in the same state, where he acquired
property and continued in the meat business until his death, which oc-
curred November 1, 1904. He was twice married, his first wife dying
in 1889, the mother of seven children. His second marriage was to
Christianna Mann, who was born in Germany, and five children were
born to this union. They were members of the Lutheran church and all
were worthy and respected people.

John A. Nauman obtained his education in the public schools of
Jefferson county. His father was a very practical, sensible man, and as
soon as the son was old enough he had duties to perform in his father's
market and subsequently learned the business in all its details, after
the family moved to Kimmswick. In 1909 he came to Valmeyer, Illi-
nois, where he embarked in the meat business, in which he has continued,
having the leading market in the place. In his business affairs he has
prospered and through his public spirit and personal integrity has be-
come a leading citizen here. Prior to being appointed president of the
village, which honor was accorded him in 1911, he had served as a mem-
ber of the board of aldermen. Politically he is a Republican, as was his
late father.

On August 19, 1907, when in his twenty-fifth year, Mr. Nauman was
united in marriage with Miss Mary Louer, a daughter of Frederick
Louer, and they have one son, Elmer. Mr. and Mrs. Nauman are mem-
bers of the Lutheran church.

WILLIAM H. HOWELL was born in Monongalia county, West Vir-
ginia, on the 4th day of May, 1845. He is the son of George and
Mary Howell. His great-grandfather, Samuel Howell, immigrated




from England to Maryland, and his grandparents, Annie and Laban
Howell, came from Maryland into West Virginia.

William H. Howell 's father, George Howell, was one of seven sons,
good old English stock. His father died when he was only three years
old and his mother married again two years later, which caused Wil-
liam to live with his grandfather Howell until he was sixteen years old.
In March, 1862, he came west to Carbondale, Illinois, and there learned
fine carpentering and soon became a contractor. In 1869 he went to
Kansas and during the boom in that, state he carried on an extensive con-
tracting business.

He afterwards returned to Marion, Illinois, and went into the mer-
cantile business, remaining there eight years. From there he moved
in 1879 to Harrisburg, Illinois, and was a partner of Robert Micks in
the dry goods business for one year. In 1880 he formed a partnership
with Jack Davenport, William Alsopp and E. 0. Roberts, and went
into the coal business under the firm name of the Cliffton Coal Com-
pany, operating a coal mine known as the Cliffton mine, which they
operated very successfully together for two years. At the end of that
time William H. Howell bought out two of his partners, which gave
him 75% of the business. In two years he bought out his remaining
partner and continued in the business alone, in which he was particu-
larly successful. In 1892 he leased his coal mine to Davenport & White
for a term of five years, and upon the termination of their lease he
incorporated a new company known as the Cliffton Coal Company and
sunk a shaft to No. 5 vein of coal, retaining a controlling interest in
the new company and leasing his property to the new company on a
royalty basis. Under the management of Mr. Howell this arrange-
ment was a very profitable one.

In 1905 the Cliffton Coal Company sold out its interests to the
O 'Gara Coal Company at a figure which represented a handsome profit.
Mr. Howell also sold all his coal lands to the O'Gara Coal Company
and retired from the coal business.

Two weeks after selling his coal mine and coal lands Mr. Howell
found himself out of a business. He began to get restless, his time
heretofore having always been employed by his various business inter-
ests, and he began to prospect about for a new business. His atten-
tion became centered upon Vincennes, Indiana, and there he purchased
three acres of land, well nigh the center of the city, with a view to start-
ing a factory to manufacture corrugated paper, single and double faced
board, and manufacturing it into boxes of all sizes for shipping cases,
taking the place of wood.

In June, 1906, this firm was incorporated as the W. H. Howell Man-
ufacturing Company, of Vincennes, Indiana, with a capital stock of
eighty thousand dollars. William H. Howell is president and general
manager and owns a controlling interest in the business. Thus far
the new concern has done business at a profit, and Mr. Howell is firm
in his opinion that the industry has a great future. He manifests a
great deal of pardonable pride in the success it has achieved thus far,
and it is not too much to say that that success is for the most part due to
the splendid management of Mr. Howell as president of the concern and
its general manager. He still retains his beautiful home in Harris-
burg, Illinois, where he lives, going and coming each week from there
to the factory in Vincennes.

On September 15, 1874, Mr. Howell was married to Mary M.
Mitchell, at Grayville, White county, Illinois. She is the daughter of
M. P. and C. W. Mitchell. The father, Mardonius Paterson Mitchell,
was the second son of Sion Hunt and Elizabeth (Cook) Mitchell. He


was born in Williamson county, April 19, 1821. His father, Sion Hunt
Mitchell, was the third son of William and Elizabeth (Hunt) Mitchell,
and he was born in Franklin county, North Carolina, September 13,
1797. He was one of a family of eleven children, and his father was
William Mitchell, son of John Mitchell, who lived at Whitehall, Lin-
coln county, England, and was knighted some time in the eighteenth
century. William Mitchell married Elizabeth N. Hunt, March 3, 1790.
She was born at White Hall, Lincoln county, December 18, 1771. Lord
Hunt, the great-great-grandfather of Mary M. (Mitchell) Howell, was
famous by reason of his leadership in the Hunt rebellion.

One daughter, Lelle Mitchell Howell, was born to Mr. and Mrs.
William H. Howell. She was born at Marion, Illinois, on the 21st of
July, 1878. She married J. M. Pruett at Harrisburg, Illinois, April
25, 1900, and to them one son has been born, John Howell Pruett, born
August 21, 1902. The Pruett family also reside in Harrisburg, Illinois.

William H. Howell is a thirty -second degree Mason and an old school
Presbyterian. He is a past master of Harrisburg Lodge, No. 325, and
is vice president and a member of the directorate of the First National
Bank of Harrisburg. He has achieved a worthy measure of success
because of his exceptional ability to make the most of every business
opportunity, and throughout his life all his dealings have been open
and above board.

As citizens the character of himself and his wife is without blemish,
and sucft men and women cannot fail to advance the best interests of
the communities with which they become identified, and the precept
and example of their lives is one that the present generation would do
well to emulate.

THE PRUETT FAMILY. One of the old and honored families of
Southern Illinois, members of which are well known in the commercial
world, especially as the owners of large coal mining properties, is that
of Pruett, which traces its history back to John Pruett, a native of
Georgia, who was born in 1777. In 1803 he founded the Illinois branch
of the family, settling on the Ohio River at what is now Elizabethtown,
Hardin county, with four or five other families, among them the Mc-
Farlands. Soon thereafter he went to Eagle Creek, in what is now
Saline county, and there spent the remainder of his life, attaining a
ripe old age and becoming a' prominent and highly respected citizen.
His son, Benjamin Pruett, had died some time previous, and both are
buried in the cemetery on the old homestead known as the Pruett
family burying ground. Benjamin Pruett left one son, who was called
John, born at Eagle Creek, September 4, 1826, and he was reared by
his grandfather to the age of eighteen years. At that time he took up
the work of flatboating on the Ohio river and for three years or more
he was thus engaged. He then took up the carpenter trade and after
becoming proficient in the work he devoted his time to that trade in
the southern states for some time as a stage and house carpenter. The
opening of the Civil war brought an end to his labors in that section
of the country, and in 1863 he located in Harrisburg, Illinois, where
he engaged in the undertaking business, at the same time following his
trade as a carpenter and cabinet maker. When he was thirty-five years
old he married one Margaret Christian, born in Christian county, Ken-
tucky, in 1842, and coming to Illinois when a small child. She was
twenty-two years old at the time of her marriage. Six children were
born of their union, three of whom died in infancy, and three sons,
Frank, Albert and Milo, yet survive. They are well known and repre-
sentative citizens of Harrisburg and are heavy property owners, prom-


inent among their possessions in the way of realty being the Pruett
block, a handsome structure used for a store and office building. The
family holdings aggregate a wide acreage of valuable lands, richly un-
derlaid with deep veins of coal. The old homestead of the Pruett fam-
ily, which came into their possesion in 1866, is now occupied by Al-
bert, who was married in Peoria, Illinois, in 1891, to Cora Armstrong.
One daughter, Margaret, has been born to them. Frank married Mar-
garet O'Dwyer, of Vienna, Illinois, in 1900, and Milo married Lelle
Howell, of Harrisburg, on April 25, 1901. She is the daughter of
William H. Howell, of that city. One son, John Howell Pruett, is
the issue of their union.

HON. SIDNEY B. MILLER. A man who both as a public official and as
a prominent citizen has been an important factor in moulding Cairo's
municipal history is Sidney B. Miller, the popular and efficient post-
master of this city, a position which he has held for the last ten years.
Mr. Miller was born in Rowan county, North Carolina, and is a son of
Milford Green and Mary A. (Walton) Miller.

Milford Green Miller was born in the same county in North Caro-
lina, of German descent, and had a brother, Daniel, and a sister, Mrs.
Barbara Mowery, who also came to Alexander county and reared fam-
ilies. Milford G. Miller was twice married, his first wife being a Miss
Cauble, who at her death left him one son, George, now a resident of Dis-
wood, Illinois. Mr. Miller's second marriage was to Mary A. Walton,
who was born in North Carolina, of German and English descent, and
in 1857 they came to Illinois and settled in the rural community of Elco,
Alexander county. Mr. Miller engaged in agricultural pursuits, to
which the remainder of his life was devoted, his death occurring in
1892, when he was seventy-two years of age, while his widow survived
until 1909, and was eighty-four years old at the time of her demise.
They had the following children : Margaret, the wife of Henry Whitta-
ker, died in Alexander county ; Sidney B. ; Clinton Eugene, who lives at
Miller City, Illinois; Susie, who married J. S. McRaven^ of Marion, Illi-
nois; Jesse E., of Cairo, who is serving his fourth term as county clerk
of Alexander county ; and Mary J., who married William Brown, a well-
known citizen of Cairo.

Sidney B. Miller was reared in the vicinity of Elco, was educated
liberally in the public schools, was reared to the work of an agriculturist,
which he followed in youth and part of young manhood, and for a few
terms taught district school. He then joined his brother in the erection
of a flour mill at Elco and operated it for a time, and -was engaged in
the grain and milling business when he yielded to the local clamor for
his candidacy for a public office. He was elected county clerk in 1886
and again in 1890, and in 1894 was elected sheriff for four years. At
the expiration of this term he engaged in the timber business, operated
a sawmill in Alexander county and handled timber extensively. In
1900 Mr. Miller was elected a representative to the Illinois General
Assembly for the fiftieth district, and served one term. His service
in that body gave him an extensive acquaintance with prominent Re-
publicans in the state and the political friendships he made were a
factor in his further interest in political activity. He has been a
member of the Republican county and congressional committee, has
helped organize state conventions and contributed to the success of
many Republican candidates for state and congressional office. He was
appointed postmaster of Cairo by President Roosevelt in 1901 and was
commissioned by him a second time in 1905, President Taft reappointing
him in 1909.- Although a firm Republican and steadfast in his loyalty to


his party, Mr. Miller has never been animated by any controversial
spirit that would antagonize those of opposite political belief. Conse-
quently he has hosts of warm friends and supporters among his political
opponents, whose votes have often been given him when he has been a
candidate. Mr. Miller has never married.

JOHN BBUPP STOUT. The position of an editor is one of great re-
sponsibility, for in spite of this being an age of doubt and of much inde-
pendent thought, and in spite of the commonly heard remark "I believe
nothing I see in the newspapers," people are unconsciously influenced
by what they read. The seed is sown, and there are ten chances to one
that it will grow. An editor, therefore, should be a man of great dis-
crimination, and instead of retiring into a literary shell he should be
out among the people, for he, more than anyone else, should know the
conditions of the people who read his words and he must keep in touch
with the thought of the day, for which his paper should be only a mirror.
John B. Stout comes very near the realization of this ideal. For many
years previous to his entering the field of journalism he was connected
with educational work in one Way or another, and in this work he had
a great opportunity to learn how people really thought and felt. With

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 60 of 98)