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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was destined to meet with the best of fortunes and which he operated
in Dexter for three and a half years, until 1883. He then removed his
business to Bone Gap, in whose future he had all of confidence, and
this business he operated until his demise, its growth being continual
and substantial. This fine citizen was Republican in politics. Fra-
ternally he was an Odd Fellow and a Mason. He was active in church
work and served in the affairs of the Methodist Episcopal church, of
which he was a member as steward, trustee and class leader. In 1880
he married Susan J. Walser, daughter of James Walser, a pioneer of
Edwards county, she having been reared on a country estate about a
mile and a half east of West Salem. Three children were born to their
union, Chester A., a child who died in infancy and Flossie A., wife
of George W. Porter, of Bone Gap.

Mr. McClure of this review received his first introduction to Min-
erva in the public schools of Bone Gap and Effingham and had his
higher training in the Southern Collegiate Institute. Subsequently he
completed a business course in the Austin Business College at Effing-
ham in 1900. Previous to that he served in the Spanish-American war,
being mustered into the service on June 28, 1898, as a member of Com-
pany G, Ninth Illinois Volunteer Regiment. He was on detached duty
at brigade headquarters under Brigadier General Douglas and Briga-
dier General Kribben, being stationed at Jacksonville, Savannah and
Havana, Cuba. He was mustered out May 20. 1899, with the rank of
mounted orderly.

Upon the return of peace Mr. McClure came back to his home town,


and after the business course at Effingham, mentioned previously, he
went to Detroit and engaged in the machinist's trade, working at the
Bayer plant of the Chicago Pneumatic Tube Company. He was sub-
sequently employed by various automobile companies, the Packard
Company, etc., and was also in the employ of the Burroughs Adding
Machine Company. He resided for a considerable period in Detroit,
from August, 1901, to September 14, 1905. Upon the demise of his
father Mr. McClure took charge of the business of that gentleman and
he has shown the same good judgment and honorable and effective busi-
ness methods displayed by the elder gentleman. The stock carried at
the present time is an excellent one and exceeds $6,000.

Mr. McClure is a prominent lodge man and finds pleasure and profit
in fraternal association with his fellows. He belongs to the Masonic
lodge, No. 866, at West Salem; Monitor Lodge, No. 235, Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, at Bone Gap ; the Modern Woodmen of America,
No. 648, of whose counsel he is a member ; Ben Hur and the Rebekahs.
In religious faith he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

On June 13, 1909, Mr. McClure was happily married at Mt. Carmel,
the lady of his choice being Claribel J. Inskeep, daughter of Dr. J. E.
Inskeep. They have one daughter, Catherine Wilbur, born May 26,
1910. They are among the most popular and highly regarded of the
young people of the community and maintain a pleasant and hos-
pitable home.

HON. DOUGLAS W. HELM. Metropolis possesses a citizen of more
than state-wide fame, in whose achievements the city, Massac county
and the fifty-first senatorial district feel a possessive pleasure, for Hon.
Douglas W. Helm, to whom reference is made, has represented all these
civic divisions and is as proud of them as they are of him. Senator
Helm is a member of the law firm of Courtney and Helm at Metropolis,
and is for the third term representing the fifty-first senatorial district
in the general assembly of Illinois as its member of the upper house.
Senator Helm represents the counties of Massac, Pope, Johnson, Saline
and Hamilton, succeeding ex-Congressman Chapman in the state sen-
ate. He entered upon his legislative duties as a member of the forty-
third general assembly and was appointed on the judiciary committee,
being also made chairman of the committee on judicial department and
practice! He was also made a member of the appropriations committee
and at the historic "Lorimer" session of the legislature he was made
chairman of the committee authorized to investigate the election of
William Lorimer, of Chicago, to the United States senate. This bore
his name, being called the "Helm Committee." Senator Helm was
a participant in the initial fight for a primary election law for the
state. He stood out for a law that would not fall before the scrutiny of
the supreme court, and supported the best measure that could be had
at the various sessions at which the subject was considered.

The Senator's public life began almost as soon as he had finished
his classical and legal education. He entered politics as a Republican
in his home town and was elected city attorney of Metropolis. In 1888
he was elected state's attorney of Massac county and was twice re-
elected, filling the office for three full terms. He was appointed by
Governor John R. Tanner as trustee for the Southern Illinois Normal,
being the first graduate of that school to receive such distinction. Gov-
ernor Yates subsequently selected him as a member of the Illinois Com-
mission of Claims, and he resigned from the Normal board. He had not


completed his term on the Commission when elected to the State Senate,
and resigned for the purpose of accepting the latter honor. His trained
mind, keen sense of perception and indomitable will have served him
in the successive steps of his public positions, and he is known as a
champion of the right who never fears a foe or admits defeat, but
adroitly turns the latter into victory. No public servant of any com-
munity stands higher among his constituents than does Senator Helm
among the people of Southern Illinois. He has served them long and
well, honestly and faithfully, and they honor him accordingly.

The Senator is a native of Johnson county. He was born July 23,
1860, and went from the public schools to the Southern Illinois Nor-
mal University at Carbondale. He graduated from the Wesleyan Law
School at Bloomington in 1883. He took the bar examination the fol-
lowing year at Mt. Vernon and entered upon practice with his present
partner, under whom he had read law. Senator Helm is a son of
Robert A. Helm, who gave his life to the service of his country while
a member of Smith's battery of light artillery, attached to the Sixth
Illinois Cavalry. The father was born in Tennessee, a son of Thomas
Helm, who came to Illinois when his son was a youth, and who died
on a farm in Johnson county. His father, the great-grandfather of
Senator Helm, was Thomas Helm, a soldier of the Revolution, who was
killed in the battle of Guilford Court House. He was a Virginia
soldier and his family eventually followed the trend of immigration
to Tennessee, whence his son later brought his own family to Illinois.
Thomas Helm, Jr., was married to a Miss Cowden, whose father was
killed in a cavalry charge during the War of the Revolution, so the
traditions of the relationship through many branches are coupled with
the memories of the heroic dead whose love of country was greater
than their love of life. The issue of the Helm-Cowden union consisted
of four children, who are now all dead. They were : Robert A., Thomas,
Leroy and Elizabeth, the latter of whom became the wife of Lee
Walker. Robert A. Helm married Mary J. Rice, a daughter of Thomas
Rice, who came originally from North Carolina, where his father was
proprietor of an old time inn. Senator Helm is the only surviving
issue of his parents. His mother died in 1908, at the age of seventy.

On April 13, 1884, Senator Helm married in Johnson county, Illi-
nois, Miss Mary Howell, a daughter of Henry C. Howell, who was a
volunteer soldier in the Union army during the Civil war. Mr. Howell
was himself married in Johnson county, his wife being Margaret John-
son, a grand-daughter of one of the very earliest settlers of that county.
Mrs. Helm was born in Johnson county in 1863, and the children from
her marriage with the Senator are Roy R., Lloyd L., Herbert and
Verna May. The children have made splendid records as students.
Roy Helm graduated from the University of Illinois with the degree
of LL. D. and from the law department of the University of Chicago,
where he made a record as a brilliant and deep student. He is en-
gaged in the practice of law in Metropolis, his wife having formerly
been Miss Mabel Moore, and a member of his graduating class at the
State University. Lloyd Helm will finish his course in the University
of Illinois in 1912, with the degree ol A. B. Herbert will graduate
from the Metropolis high school in 1912, and his sister is still pursuing
her studies.

DR. HERMAN L. SCHAEFER succeeded his father in the practice of
medicine in West Salem in 1891, and in the years that have elapsed


has most creditably carried on the reputation of that worthy gentle-
man. Born in West Salem, Edwards county, on January 20, 1869,
Dr. Schaefer is the son of Dr. Herman M. and Albertine (Hedrick)
Schaefer. The father was a native of Germany, born in that country
in 1820. He immigrated to America in 1848, previous to which he had
served in the Franco-Prussian war in the capacity of army surgeon.
When he located in West Salem, then a mere village with the sur-
rounding country but thinly settled, he began the practice of his pro-
fession, which he continued throughout the remainder of his life, his
death occurring in 1892, at West Salem. His wife was a daughter of
George Hedrick, a native of North Carolina, who was an early pioneer
of Edwards county. She was born near West Salem in 1833, and she
passed away in 1898. Thirteen children were born to Dr. and Mrs.
Herman Scnaefer, of whom seven are still living. The names of the
children are: George, Paul, Louisa, all three deceased; Mrs. Anna
Brown; Mrs. Lucy Dollahon; Mrs. Clara Rominger; Mrs. Lora Clod-
f etted ; Henry, deceased ; Mrs. Emily Lilkis ; Alice ; Herman ; Ellen,
deceased ; and Charles, also deceased.

Dr. Schaefer was educated in the common schools of West Salem,
and then entered the Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois,
in 1888, and was graduated from its medical department in 1891. He
commenced the practice of his profession in the same year, and upon
his father's demise in 1892 continued in the practice already estab-
lished by him. In addition thereto he has drawn to himself a clientele
that is representative of the best in West Salem, and he has in every
way demonstrated his fitness to carry on the work of his father. He
is local surgeon for the Illinois Central Railroad.

Dr. Schaefer is a member of the County, State and American Medi-
cal Associations, and is a close and careful student of all that tends
to advance him in his profession. He is a Republican in his political
faith, and is a member of the Moravian church. In a fraternal way
he affiliates wilh the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the Modern Wood-

Dr. Schaefer has been twice married. In 1894 he was married to
Miss Hattie Hallbeck, a daughter of P. J. Hallbeck. She died in 1897.
His second marriage took place in 1907, when he married Inez Seibert,
a daughter of Daniel Seibert, of West Salem.

JOHN M. LANSDEN, of Cairo, Illinois, was born in Sangamon county,
February 12, 1836. His parents, Scotch-Irish people, were Rev. Abner
Wayne Lansden and Mary Miller Lansden, the former born in Iredell
county, North Carolina, October 1, 1794, and the latter in Roane coun-
ty, Tennessee, February 12, 1809. Her name was Mary M. Gallaher.
They were married at her father's home in Roane county, January
29, 1829, but resided in Wilson county, Tennessee, until 1835, when
they came to Sangamon county. She died there September 3, 1842,
in the thirty-fourth year of her age. Twelve years after her death
he married Sarah L. Lowrance, of Jerseyville. They removed to Sa-
line county, Missouri, in 1869, where his two daughters had recently
gone. He died there September 8, 1875, in the eighty-first year of his

John M. Lansden worked on his father's farm fifteen miles south-
west of Springfield, and attended the village and district schools, and
afterward prepared for college at Virginia, Cass county, Illinois, and
in September, 1858, entered the freshman class of Cumberland Uni-



versity, Lebanon, Tennessee. He carried along the first year the work
also of the sophomore year, and at the end of the second year entered
the junior class in the regular classical course. Prom thence he stood
third in mathematics and second in all other studies. Owing to the
disturbed condition of the country following the election of Mr. Lin-
coln to the presidency, he left Lebanon in January, 1861, five months
before the time for graduation, and entered the senior class of Illinois
College at Jacksonville, and there graduated in June of that year. He
taught school for two or three years, and then entered the law school
at Albany, New York, where he graduated in the latter part of May,
1865. He obtained his license in that state and upon it he obtained
license in Illinois and began the practice of the law in the same year.

He became a resident of Cairo in 1866, and from that time up to
the present he has continued in the practice of his profession without
interruption. He has taken almost no part in politics, although usually
acting with the Democratic party. Besides practicing in the state and
federal courts of his own state, he has for almost twenty-five years
practiced in the state and federal courts of Kentucky and, now and
then, elsewhere. He was admitted to the United States supreme court
at Washington in 1896. He was elected city attorney in 1870, and
mayor in 1871 and 1872. He has been a member of the following law
firms during the many years of his practice : Olney, McKeaig & Lans-
den, O'Melveny & Lansden, Linegar & Lansden, Mulkey, Linegar &
Lansden, Lansden & Leek, and now of the firm of Lansden & Lansden,
the junior member of which is his son, David S. Lansden. Recently .
he wrote a history of the City of Cairo, which was published by R. R.
Donnelley & Sons Company, of Chicago, in 1910.

In 1867 he married Effie Wyeth Smith, of Jacksonville, a daughter
of David A. Smith, a well known and distinguished lawyer of central
Illinois. She died January 31, 1907. He and his family have always
been identified with the Presbyterian church, as were their ancestors.
His father was a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian church for
fifty years. Two of his father's brothers were ministers of the same
church, and three of his mother's brothers wiere ministers of the Pres-
byterian church. One of them, the Rev. James Gallaher, was chaplain
to the house of representatives at Washington some sixty years ago,
and the author, also, of three or four interesting books.

JESSE E. MILLER. A public official of Southern Illinois who through
faithful and efficient discharge of his duties has won the confidence
and esteem of the people of his community is Jesse E. Miller, who is
now serving his fifth term as clerk of Alexander county. Mr. Miller,
who is a well-known farmer and lumberman of Cairo, is a native of
Alexander county, having been born near Elco, January 6, 1861, a son
of Milford Green and Mary A. (Walton) Miller. His grandfather,
who was of German parentage, had two other children to come to
Illinois and rear families, Daniel and Mrs. Barbara Mowery.

Milford Green Miller was born in 1820 in Rowan county, North
Carolina, and was there married (first) to a Miss Cauble, who died,
leaving him one son, George, now a resident of Diswood, Illinois. He
married (second) Mary A. Walton, who was of German and English
descent, and they began their married lives on a North Carolina plan-
tation, but in 1857 came to Illinois and settled in the rural community


of Elco. There Mr. Miller spent the remainder of his life in agricul-
tural pursuits, and in bringing up his children to sturdy man and
womanhood, and fitting them, by education and otherwise to take hon-
orable positions in life. He died in 1892 at the age of seventy -two
years, his widow surviving until 1909 and being eighty-four years old
at the time of her death. Their children were as follows : Margaret,
who became the wife of Henry Whitaker and died in Alexander county ;
Sidney B., postmaster of Cairo; Clinton Eugene, residing in Miller
City, Illinois; Susie I., who married J. S. McRaven, of Marion, Illi-
nois; Jesse E. ; and Mary J., who married William Brown, of Cairo.

While coming through the years of his minority Jesse E. Miller
attended the country schools and the Southern Illinois Normal Uni-
versity at Carbondale. He followed his inclination to teach school and
engaged in the work in 1879, continuing therein for nine years. Hav-
ing thus added materially to his intellectual equipment and acquired
a little capital, he engaged in the merchandise business at Elco, and
was appointed postmaster of the town. In 1898, when a vacancy oc-
curred, he was appointed county clerk, and at the succeeding four elec-
tions he was returned to the office by comfortable majorities. In his
political affiliations, Mr. Miller is a Republican, as was his father, ex-
ercised his prerogative as a party man from early manhood, mixed with
adherents of the faith at political gatherings, and served as a dele-
gate to conventions and as a member of his county political com-
mittee. Although many years have been devoted to official life, he
has ever maintained a personal interest in the management of his farms,
and for some years has been a dealer in timber and railroad ties, also
handling the product of various local lumber mills.

Mr. Miller was married near Elco, Illinois, September 1, 1889, to
Miss Fluanna Short, daughter of Francis A. and Fluanna (Sowers)
Short, whose other children were: Henrietta, the wife of Clinton E.
Miller, of Miller City ; Ida, who is deceased ; Eli A., of Pulaski county,
Illinois; and George W., residing at Elmodena, California. Mr. and
Mrs. Miller have had the following children: Blanche F., a graduate
of the Cairo high school; Jesse S., who died June 10, 1908, at the age
of thirteen years; and Frank M., Edward E. and Dorothy R. With
his family Mr. Miller attends the Methodist church, of which he is
a member and trustee and in the support of which he has been liberal.

BENNETT JAMES. Since his removal to Waterloo in 1897 Bennett
James has deservedly been recognized as one of the most valued and
representative of its citizens. He is engaged in the real estate, fire in-
surance and grain business and has made a success of the combined
industries. Mr. James has had a varied experience in business, having
been a farmer, school-teacher, merchant, postmaster and levee com-
missioner, and even this list does not represent a complete enumera-
tion of his previous fields of activity.

Bennett James was born in Mitchie precinct, Monroe county, March
10, 1853, and is not only the son of one of the pioneers of this part of
the state but the descendant of a family whose founding in America
antedates the Revolutionary war. The family is of Welsh origin and
its first American settlers located in Maryland. The subject's great-
grandfather, Joseph Austin James, was born in Maryland and there
married, and subsequently immigrated to Kentucky. There he resided
with his family for a space and then came to Illinois, making his home
in the vicinity of Chalfin Bridge. After a year or two he removed to
Missouri, settling at Florissant, in St. Louis county, and he died some
years later in Perry county, Missouri. Of the eight children born to


him and his brave pioneer helpmeet, James A. James, the grandfather
of him whose name heads this review, was the youngest, his birth oc-
curring in Kentucky in 1794.

James A. James was educated in the college at Beardstown, Ken-
tucky. He chose as his vocation that of a farmer, and soon rose above
the status of the mediocre citizen, being active in public affairs for
many years. He was a colonel in the Black Hawk war, was a member
of the state constitutional convention of 1848 and served for four years
in the senate of his state. He married Susan O'Hara, and they be-
came the parents of ten children, Austin James, the father of Bennett,
being the second born.

Austin James was born in Monroe county, near the Randolph coun-
ty line, December 30, 1823. He received the earlier part of his edu-
cation at Harrisonville, whence his family had moved ; later he was
entered at St. Mary's College in Perry county, Missouri, and ulti-
mately became a student in the University of Missouri. After finish-
ing his education he assisted his father on his farm, and for a short
time, beginning with 1846, was identified with mining industries in
central Iowa. In 1847 he returned to Harrisonville and enlisted in a
company organized for service in the Mexican war and continued en-
gaged in warfare almost until the termination of that conflict. Upon
the return of peace he exchanged, like so many of the young citizens,
the musket for the ploughshare, the vicinity of Harrisonville being
the scene of his agricultural work. In 1849, at Mitchie (at that time
called "Hardscrabble") he bought a farm on the Mississippi river,
and the old homestead and three hundred and fifty acres of the orig-
inal tract of nine hundred acres remains in the family to the present
day. He was married on April 14, 1852, to Caroline E. Walker, for-
merly of Monroe county, but at that time residing at Dubuque, Iowa.
He died on November 18, 1892, and is survived by his wife, who is
still strong and active at the age of seventy-nine years, and resides in
Waterloo with her daughters, next door to the family of her son Ben-
nett, where both families have resided for the past fifteen years. Mrs.
James is one of the few representatives yet living of the old fashioned
active, industrious housewife of fifty years ago and is descended from
one of the oldest and best families connected with early settlement of
Southern Illinois. Her brother, Thomas Walker, was editor of one of
the early newspapers of Belleville, where Mrs. James lived for many
years, when it was a small village compared to what it now is. Six
children were born of this union, as follows: Bennett, William, Mary,
Frank, Thomas and Carrie. Frank and Thomas are deceased. Wil-
liam (whose wife is a niece of Colonel William R. Morrison, deceased)
is a physician of large practice at Chester and division surgeon of the
Iron Mountain and Cotton Belt Railways. Mary is the primary teacher
in the Waterloo high school and Carrie is a stenographer for the Estey
Piano Company of St. Louis. Austin James was a loyal Democrat in
politics and for several years served as justice of the peace. In 1864
he was elected to the state legislature and in 1872 his record in, the state
assembly was approved by re-election. He served as postmaster at
Mitchie from 1857 until 1891, when, advanced in years, he removed to
Harrisonville, and there he died a year later, lamented by hosts of
friends and former associates who knew him as a good and able man,
and one whose judgment was to be relied upon at any and all times.
The early life of Bennett James was passed on a farm and his edu-
cation was secured in the public schools and in the Christian Brothers
College at St. Louis. At about the age of twenty-one he left college
and himself became a pedagogue, teaching school in his old home town,


Mitchie. In 1876-7 he went to California, and there for some time
acted in the capacity of deputy sheriff to his uncle, Bennett James,
whose namesake he is, and who held the office of sheriff there. The
following year he came back to Mitchie and again became an instructor,
teaching school in that locality until 1882. From that year dates his
mercantile experiences on any extended scale, although he had already
become somewhat acquainted with mercantile life before going to Cali-
fornia, and conducted a store at Lilly's Landing, a mile south of
Mitchie, under the firm name of T. & B. James. He had charge of
the river boat landing known as James' Landing, and ran his store
very successfully from 1882 to 1887, handling grain at his landing,
and from 1891 to 1897 conducted the local post office in connection with
the store, succeeding his father as postmaster. In 1897 he left Mitchie

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 91 of 98)