William Henry Perrin.

History of Jefferson County, Illinois online

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being taken as an apprentice to Harvey &
Hay, house and sign painters. He was bound
to this firm for a term of three 3-ears, and
faithfull}' served it out, not losing a day, and
even remained one month longer tlian his
allotted time to benefit himself He then bor-
rowed $25, which enabled him to buy a small
stock of brushes, paints, etc., for the purpose of
opening a business of his own. He worked in
this way diligently for ten years, from the first
getting all the work he could do; in fact,
very soon began to hire assistants and widen
his business, and soon was enabled to take con-
tracts, and rapidly rose to the position of chief
workman and contractor in the eity, until he
secured the work of painting the public buihl-
ings, and often had a hundred men in his
employ. In this time, his untiring industry
was rewarded with a net profit of $75,000,
when he closed up his business and turned his
face westward and came to Illinois, arriving in
Mt. Vernon, his present home, October 20,
1861. On his arrival here he completed his
arrangements to study law, and immediately
entered the office of Tanner & Casey. He was
admitted to the bar subsequently, and after
being engaged to defend two cases, and after
having painted his own sign, which he never
hung up, he became dissatisfied with his pro-
fession and gave it up, determined to engage in
a more active business that would be more
adapted to his ambitious life. He engaged in
mercantile pursuits in Mt. Vernon, which he
continued for five years, and from its com-
mencement began erecting some of the most
substantial buildings — business houses, mills,
residences and manufacturing establishments,
which now stand as a monument to his memory,
showing how much he has done to beautify and
improve the city. Among these edifices might



38



BIOGRAPHICAL :



be mentioned the large mill of Hobbs & Sons,
and the Continental Hotel, which was built at a
cost of 130,000. Daring the war, he also car-
ried on mercantile establishments in Cairo and
McLeausboro, and was also engaged in farming
and conducted a large tanner}'. In the twenty
j'ears' sta_v in this county, he has bought several
thousand acres of wild land, and, after making-
all modern improvements, would sell again,
and it might be said to his honor that in this
way he has undoubtedly done more to improve
Jefferson County than any other one man. He
now owns 000 acres of land, one of the model
farms of the county, which is located within
one mile from the limits of Mt. Vernon. At
the time when the St. Louis & Southeastern
Railroad was talked of intersecting this por-
tion of Southern Illinois, he became one of the
most active workers toward the enterprise
a nd besides using his money freely, he made
many enthusiastic speeches at points between
St. Louis and Shawneetown, which at once
caused the people to wake up to the impor-
tance of sucli an enLerprise, and he was suc-
cessful in his object. He has also been en-
gaged extensively in the lumber and saw-mill
business, and during the last ten years he has
furnished different Western railroad companies
with timbers and ties. During the summer
months of 1882, he furnished over 2,000 car-
loads of ties and timbers for railroad compa-
nies ; being well experienced in this line of busi-
ness, he has made it a financial success. For
all he has been engaged so extensively in busi-
ness, he has found time to serve his people in
several different positions of trust. He was
Trustee of Jit. Vernon for a number of years
a member of the Board of Supervisors; Super-
intendent of the County Almshouse, and the
manner in which this institution was con-
ducted under his management brought to him
great credit ; Mayor of the city for four con-
secutive terms, and, in 1882, was elected to his
present office, to the General Assembly. He



has been President of different associations, one
of which was the Jefferson County Fair Asso-
ciation. He is now an active member of the
orders, L 0. 0. F., K. of H. and K. & L. of H.
He is a liberal contributor to all charitable
enterprises, and has donated largely to the
building of man}' of the churches of the
county. He was married, on the 18th of No-
vember, 1852, to Miss Susan S. Bogan (see
history of John S. Bogan). This union has
been blessed with eleven children, of whom the
following are now living : Mrs. Anna (Frank)
Patton, born July 25, 1857; George L., born
June 19, 1859; John G., born April 9, 1862;
Mary Nellie, born June 7, 1865; Daisy, born
March 3, 1874, and Elbert Leo, born December
15, 1877. In politics, he has been a consistent
Democrat, yet he has never forfeited the respect
nor confidence of even his most earnest politi-
cal adversaries. His broad and just benevo-
lence and liberal charity have shed their bless-
ings upon his fellow-man, his prudent foresight
and active, liberal business transactions have
immeasurably benefitted the county, and his
whole life work has helped mankind in that
great human contest where fate is on one side
and fortune on the other. He has won the
goal, and the " well done thou faithful servant "
is stained with no shadow of a dishonored life,
is blistered with no tear of widow or orphan.
An inactive or uneventful life may easily drift
with the current and attract neither attention
nor temptation, and to sa}' of it when it is over
that it was steered successfuUj' between Sc^ylla
and Char3'bdis, is but a commonplace that is
idle and means but little, but when we look
back over a great and active life, one that has
stood in the foreground, breasting life's rudest
storms and attracting the attention of the most
cunning tempter, and 3-et has never fallen,
never faltered, but has gone onward and up-
ward, carrying the feeble, sustaining the weary
and faint-hearted, feeding the hungry, clothing
the naked, aud winning life's chiefest victories.



MOUNT VERNOX CITY AND TOWNSHIP.



39



We have a picture — a biosrrapliical sketch, so
to speak, worth}* the study and contemplation
of the youths of the country, where they may
read the most valnalilc lesson of their lives.
Such we esteem the story of the Hon. (Jeorge
H. Varnell's life, and we give it to the world,
only too briefly, as a most valuable paragraph
in the history of Jefferson County.

G. F. M. WARD, clothier and gents' fur-
nisher, Mount Vernon. The successful man
is he who chooses his life-work with ref-
erence to his native ability and tastes. The
men who fail in their calling are not men with-
out ability ; often they are men of brilliant
genius, but they are the\- who have turned the
current of their life force into a wrong channel.
Mr. Ward is a successful business man. His
success has followed his work naturally as ef-
fect follows cause. His early tastes inclined
him toward a mercantile life. He cherished
this feeling till it became inwrought in the
very fiber of his being, so that when he began
active life he had little to decide ; the atmos-
phere of mercantile life has become his native
element. Our subject was born in Harrington,
Litchfield Co., Conn., on October 11, 1854, and
is a son of Henry and Lucy A. (Todd) Ward.
The father is a native of Waterbury, Conn.,
and is a farmer Ijy occupation. In 1858, he
came to Illinois, and first settled near Carbon-
dale. He is at present living near Duquoin-
The mother was a native of Connecticut, and
is still living. To her have been born six chil-
dren, viz.: Elmira (deceased), Julius H., Will-
iam D. (both in business in Duquoin, 111.).
George T. M., John N. (deceased), and Samuel
(a merchant in Carbondale). The education of
our subject was received principally in the
schools of Carbondale. When young, he lent
an assisting hand on his father's farm. On
April 7, 1874, he commenced clerking for M.
Goldman, at Carbondale. He remained with
this gentleman until May 10, 1875, and then
formed a partnership with John Hayden, and



put in operation the Carbondale Marble Works.
In August, 1S75, he, however, sold out his in-
terest in that concern and came to Duquoin,
where he clerked for Joseph Solomon, until his
arrival in Mount Vernon, on August 1, 1879.
In this city he formed a partnership with his
employer, and opened a clothing house under
the firm name of Ward & Solomo^i. This firm
continued in operation until January 1, 1883,
when the firm dissolved by mutual agreement,
and since then our subject has carried on the
business alone, and at present has in stock one
of the most complete assortments of gents' fur-
nishing goods in the city. In Duquoin, 111.,
on June 2, 1880, Mr. Ward was married to
Miss Sarah E. Pope. This ladj' was born July
31, 1857, in Franklin County, 111., and is a
daughter of Dr. B. F. Pope, of Duquoin. Two
children have blessed this union — Todd P., born
February 16, 1881, and Leota, born September
4, 1882. Mrs. Ward is a member of the Chris-
tian Church of Duquoin. Mr. Ward is a mem-
ber of Marion Lodge, No. 13, I. 0. 0. F., and
Jefferson Encampment, No. 91. He at present
represents the Third Ward in the Mount Ver-
non Common Council. In politics, he is a
Democrat.

JOEL F. WATSON, capitalist. Mount Ver-
non, was born in Pendleton County, Ky., on
the 26th of JIarch, 1821. His father, John W.
Watson, was a native of Maryland, born in
1771. He was removed by his parents to Vir-
ginia when a small bo}', and was there reared.
He studieil medicine, and was a graduate of
the Jefferson Medical College. He married in
Virginia, and, in 1811, removed to Bourbon
County, Ky., and soon after to Pendleton
County of the same State. After about ten
j'ears, he turned his face Westward and came
to Illinois, arriving in Mount Vernon in Novem-
ber, 1821. His journey was made overland,
with a two-horse wagon, which carried his
family and all of his earthly possessions. He
settled on a farm known as Mulbcrrv Hill, and



40



BIOGRAPHICAL :



the following year (1822) bought land one-half
mile north of Mount Vernon, on the Vaudalia
road, where he remained and managed his
farm, in connection with the duties of his pro-
fession, until he died, which sad event occurred
June 3, 1845. He was the first physician of the
county, and his ride extended over a great por-
tion of this part of the State. He often made
rides of fifty and one hundred miles, on horse-
back, in one day. In 1828, he was called on
a professional visit to Williamson County, and,
from the long ride, his horse became exhausted
and died on his arrival at his journey's end, and
he was obliged to borrow a horse to get back
to his home. He was of Welsh descent, a
Democrat politically, and a man of unswerving
honesty and integrity. His wife, Frances (Pace)
Watson, was born in Virginia in 1785, and died
in this county on the 3d of March, 1845. She
was the mother of nine children, of whom Joel
F. Watson, our subject, is the only surviving
child. He was brought to the county by his
parents when an infant, and was here reared
on his father's farm. His education was lim-
ited to the subscription schools of that early
day. supplemented by one term in the Mount
Vernon Academy. In 1842, he engaged in
teaching in the common schools of Franklin
County, and, in 1843, was elected to the office
of County Clerk of Jefferson County, and held
the office for fourteen consecutive years. In
1849, in conjunction with his official duties, he
engaged in merchandising in Mount Vernon
on a small scale, as his capital at that time was
small ; he was engaged in this business most
of the time until 1876, when he retired from
active business. He is the owner of large tracts
of land, and, at the present day, is undoubtedly
the wealthiest man of the county. He com-
menced life a poor bo^', and now, in the latter
years of his life, he is surrounded with those
comforts, and enjoys those pleasures that are
ever the result of honest^-, industry and econ-
omy. .He was married, on the 2d of January,



1849, to Sarah M. Taylor, a native of Pike
County, 111. She died in March, 1859, leaving
four children as the result of their union. Of
these, Walter, Howard and Albert are now
living, and all enterprising young men. In De-
cember, 1860, he married Mrs. Sarah E. Page.
He and wife are connected with the Methodist
Episcopal Church. He is a member of the or-
der of A., F. & A. M., and a Democrat in poli-
tics.

S. H. WATSON, dealer in agricultural im-
plements. Mount Vernon. From one of the
oldest families in this county the gentleman
whose name heads this sketch is descended.
He was born here November 5, 1838, and is a
son of John H. and Elizabeth M. (Rankin)
Watson. The grandfather of our subject. Dr.
John W. Watson, was born in Maryland in
1791, and was removed to Virginia at an early
day by his parents ; he was educated in that
State, then read for a physician, graduated from
the Jefferson Medical College, and practiced
medicine the rest of his life. About 1803, he
married Frances Pace, and to them the father
of our subject was born in 1805. In 1811, the
grandfather with his family moved to Bourbon
County, Ky., but soon after moved to Pendle-
ton County, same State, where the famil}' lived
until 1821, when he started to Jefferson Coun-
ty, 111. His journey was made overland in a
two-horse wagon, which contained his family
and all of his earthly possessions ; they camped
out nights, and experienced great fear from the
wild animals. Arriving in this county, the
Doctor first settled on a farm on what is called
the " Mulberry Hill," where he resided one year
and then removed to a farm on the Vaudalia
road, one and one-half miles from Mt. Vernon.
Here he resided for a number of years, aud, in
connection with the management of his farm,
be followed his profession. He was the first
physician in the county, and was kept very
busy, his practice extending over this as well
as adjoining counties, and he was obliged to



MOUNT VERNON CITY AND TOWNSHIP.



41



make on horseback a trip of from 50 to 100
miles long. On June 3, 1845, he departed this
life, and left an example worthy of imitation
by the coming generation. He was of Welsh
descent, and was a man of unswerving honesty
and integrity. The father of our subject grew
up to manhood in this count}% receiving his ed-
ucation in the subscription schools. In 1827,
he was married to Elizabeth M. Rankin. In
his 3'outh, he learned the trade of a carpenter
and made that his occupation tiirough life. He
served as Justice of the Peace in this county
for twenty-four j-ears in succession, and also
served one term as County Treasurer. He was
an upright member of the M. E. Church, and
was one of the pillars of the organization in
Mt. Vernon, having been one of the organizers
of the church. In politics, he was a Democrat,
as his father had been before him. He died
September 26, 1860, and was buried by the
Masonic fraternity, of which he was a member.
The mother of our subject was a native of Ten-
nessee, and to her were born nine children, of
whom seven are now living. Our subject was
educated partially in Mt. Vernon, and at the
age of ten he went to St. Louis, and there
clerked until he was eighteen ; he then came to
Tamaroa, III., and there clerked until 1860, and
then came to Mt. Vernon. Here he clerked
until the summer of 1861, when he enlisted in
the Fortieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Com-
pany G. Entering as private, he served first
as Quartermaster Sergeant ; then, on April li
1862, was elected Second Lieutenant, and was
next promoted to First Lieutenant. On Janu-
ary 26, 1863, and while serving in that capacity
he was detailed to act as Aid on the staff of the
General commanding. On March 5, 1864, he
was promoted to the Captainc}', and afterward
was appointed Inspector of the brigade, which
position he held until the close of tlie war.
He participated in many thrilling scenes and
famous battles, among which were the battles
of Shiloh, capture of Vicksburg, Knoxville,



Mission Ridge, Jackson (Miss.), Atlanta cam-
paign, and Sherman's march to the sea. After
the war, he returned to Mt. Vernon, where he
engaged in the drug business for a short time,
and then embarked in the clothing business.
He followed that for about a year and a half
and then went to Ashley, Washington County,
where he resided about eleven years. In that
place, his principal business was dealing in
stock, also running an agricultural implement
store. In 1879, he returned to Mt. Vernon,
and opened an implement store here. This he
still carries on, having on hand besides a full
stock of farm machinery, wagons, buggies,
pianos and organs. Mr. Watson was married
in Mt. Vernon, on October 1, 1860, to Anna A.
Goetschius. This lady is a native of Massa-
chusetts, and a daughter of Isaac D. and Eliz-
abeth (Tucker) Goetschius, who were natives of
New York. The result of this union was Fred
P., born July 22. 1805, and Harry W., born
December 16, 1867. Mr. and Mrs. Watson are
both members of the M. E. Church. Subject is
a member of the A., F. & A. M. fraternity of
Mt. Vernon. In politics, he is a Republican,
and is at present Chairman of the Republican
County Central Committee.

WALTER WATSON, M. D., Mt. Vernon,
was born on the 14th of May, 1851, in
Mt. Vernon, 111., and is the oldest of three chil-
dren born to Joel F. and Sarah M. (Taylor)
Watson. He was educated in the High Schools
of Mt. Vernon, supplemented by a four years'
course in the McKendrce College, Lebanon,
111., graduating from that institution with hon-
ors in June, 1872. Returning home, he imme-
diately began reading medicine in the office of
Dr. W. Duff Green, of Mt, Vernon, 111., and in
September of the same year entered Ohio Med-
ical College at Cincinnati, and graduated from
that institution with the degree of M. D. in
March, 1875. At this time ho was successful
in winning a prize of $50, which was ofl'ered
for the one most successful in the examination



42



BIOGRAPHICAL:



in ophthalmology. After his examination, he
entered a competitive examination for the po-
sition of resident pli3-sidan of the Gootl Samar-
itan Hospital of Cincinnati. Being successful,
he entered upon the practice of his profession
in that position and continued the same for
one year. In 1876, he was elected to fill the
chair of Demonstrator of Anatomy in the col-
lege where he graduated. In 1877, on account
of the failing health of his father and the im-
portance of being with him to attend to his
business, he resigned his position and returned
home to Mt. Vernon, where he has since re-
mained engaged in the practice of his profes-
sion. During 1877-78, he was practicing in
partnership with Dr. Green, but since that time
he has practiced by himself. He was married
in September, 188U, to Miss Nettie Margaret
Johnson, of Champaign, III, and a daughter of
George W. and Margaret G. (Lawder) Johnson.
This union has been blessed with one child,
Margaret. Dr. Watson is a Democrat in poli-
tics, a member of the A. P. & A. M. and K. of
H., and is State Medical Examiner for the
latter.

ALBERT WATSON, lawyer, Mt. Vernon,
is the youngest of a family of three sons born
to Joel F. and Sarah M. (Taylor) Watson,
whose historj- appears elsewhere in this work.
He was born in Mt. Vernon, Jefferson Co., 111.,
on the 15th of April, 1857. He attended the
schools of Mt. Vernon and the McKendree Col-
lege at Lebanon, 111., graduating from the lat-
ter place with honors in 1876. He then began
teaching school and continued the same for
two years, when he began reading law under
the perceptorship of C. H. Patton, Esq., and
passed his examination in July, 1880, receiving
his admittance to tiie bar in September of the
same year. Since then he has been engaged
in the practice of his chosen profession, in part-
nership with Mr. C. H. Patton. He was mar-
ried in Mt. Vernon on the 12th of August, 1880,
to Miss Mary E. Way, a native of Washington



County, 111., and a daughter of Newton E. and
Lizzie H. (Heaton) Way, both natives of Ohio,
the former deceased and the latter resides in Mt.
Vernon. They have been blessed with one
child, Marena.

T. E. WESTCOTT, dry goods merchant, Mt.
Vernon. One of the most prominent dr}- goods
merchants of Mt. Vei-non is the gentleman
whose name heads this sketch. Mr. Westcott
is a native of this county, being born here
March 4, 1846, and is a son of James and Teli-
hat (Downer) Westcott. Tiie grandfather of our
subject, David Westcott, was a native of New
Jersey, and came West when a young man and
settled in Ohio. There he married Margaret S-
Willis, who was a native of Maryland. To them
the father of our subject was born, June 12,

1826. In 1888, the grandparents came to this
county, and settled in the south part of it.
There the father grew to manhood and married
Telitha Downer, who was born August 22,

1827, in Vermont. The result of this union
was seven children, four of whom are now liv-
ing, viz.: Thomas E., Sarah M. (wife of a Mr.
Dare), James and George. The father is at
present following the trade of a carpenter. In
his life he has held many responsible oflSces,
among which are that of Sheriff, Treasurer,
Assessor, and Commissioner of Highways. In
politics, he has been a life-long Democrat. The
common schools of Jefferson Count}- afforded
our subject his means of education, and when
not in school when a youth he would assist his
father in running the old homestead. He com-
menced life for himself as a clerk in Ashley,
and remained in that town twelve years, and
finally he came to Mt. Vernon, and in this city
he clerked for two years, and then in company
with his uncle, W. B. Westcott, he opened a
general store. At present, he carries a com-
plete stock of drj' goods, groceries, and boots
and shoes. In McLeansboro, 111., Mr. Westcott
was wedded to Miss Nannie Shoemaker. This
lady was born April 1, 1847, and is a daughter



MOUNT VERNON CITY AND TOWNSHIP.



43



of Joshua and Artiiuissa (Maukling) Shoe-
maker. This marriage has resulted in six chil-
dren, viz.: Freddie L., Bertram E., Robert L.,
\V^alter, Clarence and Tliomas E. Mrs. West-
cott is a member of the Mt. Vernon M. E.
Church. Jlr. Wcstcott is a member of the A.,
F. & A. M. fraternity and in politics is a Dem-
ocrat.

W. N. WHITE, State's Attornej-, Mt. Vernon.
It is an encouraging phase of our present age
that the prizes of honest work and vigorous
energy' are open to all, and that the 3'oung man
ma}' win the highest emoluments equall}' with
the man of long and varied experience. Mr.
White, thongii but a young man, has risen to a
high rank in his profession, and sustains a rep-
utation worthy only of the truest ability. He
was born on tlie 17th of October, 185(5, near
Mt. Vernon, in Jetl'erson Count\', 111. His ear-
ly life was passed on a farm . but, unlike many
whose boyhood is thus spent, he so economized
his time and improved his opportunities as to
gain a knowledge of a wide range of studies.
He began the study of law in 1876, with Green
& Carpenter, of Mt. Vernon, and was admitted
to the bar in February, 1879, having passed his
examination before the Appellate Court. He
immediatelj' engaged in the practice of his pro-
fession, and has continued the same with
marked success. In November, 1880, he was
elected to the office of State's Attorney, and is
now filling the same office with tiic approval
and satisfaction of all. In Mt. Vernon, May
26, 1881, he married Miss Laura Casey, daugh-
ter of Samuel K. and Anna L. Case}', both de-
ceased. Mr. Wliite is an active member of the
orders I. 0. 0. F. and •' Iron Hall," and a Dem-
ocrat in politics.

ROBERT A. D. WILBANKS, Clerk of Ap-
pellate Court, Mt. Vernon, was born in Jeffer-
son County, III, June 23, 1846. His grand-
father, Daniel Wilbanks, was a native of North
Carolina, and emigrated from South Carolina
to Illinois in about 1820, and settled on Tur-



key Hill in St. Clair County. Being a practical
survcj'or, he was employed to survc}" lands iu
that county. In 1824, on account of being af-
flicted with malarial chills in St. Clair County,
he removed with his ftimily to Jeti'erson Coun-
ty, 111., and settled in Moore's Prairie Town-
ship, Our subject's father, R. A. D. Wilbanks,
was born iu South Carolina in 1805, and was
there reared and educated. He came to Illi-
nois with his parents, and while residing in St.
Clair County was employed to carry the mail
from Belleville to Metropolis, making the trip
on horseback. Soon after coming to Jefl'erson
County, he engaged in agricultural pursuits,
and after the death of his father purchased



Online LibraryWilliam Henry PerrinHistory of Jefferson County, Illinois → online text (page 59 of 76)