Biography - Thomas N. Karraker

THOMAS N. KARRAKER was born three miles east of the town of Dongola, on February 18, 1875. He is the son of Nathan Karraker, who also was born in the same community, December 26, 1826, and died December 24, 1897. at the advanced age of seventy-one years.

The Karraker family was established in Union county, Illinois, by Daniel Karraker, father of Nathan Karraker, and the grandfather of Thomas N., the subject of this sketch. Daniel Karraker and his son Nathan lived quietly and modestly, devoting their time and energies to the careful operating of their farm, and manifesting no particular ambition beyond the desire to attain a fair degree of prosperity and to live blamelessly in the eyes of the community. They were men of much stability of character, of a religious temperament and were known as exemplary citizens, contributing always to the welfare of their home town as their circumstances would permit them.

Nathan K., the son, married in Union county in 1854, taking for his bride Sarah J. Knight, who was born in 1834 and who still survives her husband, he having passed away in the year 1897. They were the parents of a goodly family of ten children, those who yet live being: J. F., J. A. and J. W. Karraker, all of whom are pursuing near Dongola the vocation in which they were reared; Emma, who is the wife of John L. Cope, and Laura, who is the wife of Alonzo Keller, also farming near Dongola; F. M. Karraker, who has for many years been the representative of the Illinois Central Railroad Company at Dongola; and Thomas N. Karraker, first named in this review and the subject thereof, and who is the youngest of the family.

The education of the household of Nathan Karraker was quite as liberal as his opportunities and the times would justify, and all of the family received such educational advantages as was consistent with their station. Thomas N. Karraker did his advanced school work in the Dongola High school and in the Southern Illinois Normal University at Carbondale, Illinois. He lacked but three months of finishing his course in the Normal University when his ambition to get into business life overshadowed his desire to complete his education, and he accordingly entered upon a course of business instruction and training in a Jacksonville, Illinois, Business College, taking his diploma in 1895.

In the interim he had taught a successful term of school in what was then known as the Karraker District, where he had attended school as a care-free, bare-foot boy, and when his business course was completed he accepted a position as clerk and bookkeeper in the bank of Jonesboro. It was in the year 1904 that he came to Mounds, Illinois, as assistant cashier for the Bank of Beechwood, and when, in 1906, it was converted by charter into the institution now known as the First State Bank of Mounds Thomas N. Karraker was made assistant cashier and in 1907 was made cashier. Dr. Boswell was elected president and Judge Wall, vice-president.

The career of Thomas Karraker has been purely a business one. Believing a division of energy was but little better than wasted, he never allowed himself to become affiliated in any manner with politics or other outside matters which might by any chance be calculated to conflict with his duties as cashier or detract from the dignity and conservatism of the institution with which he is connected, and where he has acquitted himself so creditably.

His life was not strewn with roses nor his success attained on flowery beds of ease. He started in his chosen line of business as a bank clerk on a salary barely meeting the necessary expenses of life, but with that characteristic determination kept on pursuing until a goodly portion of success was won.

Mr. Karraker is a member of Cairo Chapter, number 71. On April 3, 1904, he was married to Miss Elsie Dillow, a daughter of D. J. Dillow, a merchant of Dongola, and Mr. Karraker suffered irremediable loss in the death of his wife, September 21, 1909. Their marriage was without issue.

Extracted 16 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 992-993.

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