Biography - Robert W. Alsbrook

ROBERT W. ALSBROOK. The milling interests of Johnson county form one of this section's most important industries, and the cities of New Burnside and Vienna, lying in the center of a great grain district, have become leading shipping points. The firm of Alsbrook Brothers, proprietors of the Farmers Mill and Elevator Company, the leading milling concern of Johnson county, has been built up by Robert W. and Arthur B. Alsbrook, who have become prominent factors in the business world of Johnson county, and the junior member of the company, Robert W. Alsbrook, of New Burnside, is the subject of this review. Mr. Alsbrook was born October 30, 1872, at Marion, Illinois, and is a son of Stephen Wesley and Sarah (Blankenship) Alsbrook, and a grandson of a native of Wales, who immigrated to the United States at the age of twenty-one years, settled first in Pennsylvania, and later moved to Tennessee, where he was engaged in farming until his death.

Stephen Wesley Alsbrook was born in Robertson county, Tennessee, and was reared to agricultural pursuits, coming to Southern Illinois in 1859, when he was thirteen years of age. He located at Marion, Illinois, and was first engaged in farming, but later established himself in the drug business, in which he continued until his death, in 1872. He married Sarah Blankenship, daughter of Isom Blankenship, of Williamson county, and they had two sons, Arthur B. and Robert W.

Robert W. Alsbrook was not born until about six months after the death of his father, and his education was secured in the schools of Marion and New Burnside, and in Creal Springs College, which he attended for two years. In 1888 he became railroad telegraph operator for the St. Louis and Paducah Railroad, which is now a part of the Illinois Central system, and in 1889 went to Paducah, where he was station agent and telegraph operator. In 1894 he entered the service of the N. C. & St. L. R. R., and until 1895 was city passenger agent at Memphis, but in that year took a trip to California and worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad for two years and as bookkeeper on the Leland Stanford ranch for one year. He returned to New Burnside in 1898 and became a member of the Alsbrook Store Company, where he continued until 1909, and in 1910, with his brother, bought the flouring mill at New Burnside, establishing the firm of Alsbrook Brothers. In March, 1911, they purchased the elevator and mill at Vienna, and the capital invested in this enterprise exceeds sixteen thousand dollars. The capacity of the New Burnside mill is sixty barrels per day, and the elevator at Vienna has a storage capacity of thirty thousand bushels, and eight men are employed. In 1911 a new elevator was erected at New Burnside, with a capacity of ten thousand bushels, and the mill is doing such a thriving business that it is necessary to keep it running night and day. In the accomplishment of their work the brothers have very little time, and today even they are harder workers than any of their employes, and their success in business is largely attributed to the close personal attention they have always given every detail in their business, they never allowing goods to be misrepresented in any manner. As a business man Mr. Alsbrook is recognized as possessing the utmost ability, push and energy, and as a citizen none stand any better.

Mr. Alsbrook is a member of the A. F. & A. M. and the Odd Fellows. He and his mother, with whom he resides at New Burnside, are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and have been prominent in its work.

Extracted 16 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 793-794.

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