Biography - William D. Lyerly

WILLIAM D. LYERLY. The present efficient state's attorney, William D. Lyerly, of Jonesboro, has, during the thirteen years that he has been practicing before the Union county bar, proven himself one of the bright legal lights of Southern Illinois and a man of much more than ordinary administrative and executive ability. An able and untiring official, he has ever been faithful in his discharge of the duties of his high position and relentless in his prosecution of those who have disregarded the laws of the state, but a high sense of justice has tempered his actions always, and he has ever been ready to assist those whose misfortune it has been to have become the victims of circumstance. Mr. Lyerly is a native of Union county, Illinois, and was born April 28, 1872, a son of John and Melvina M. Lyerly, farming people of Union county who are now living retired in Jonesboro.

William D. Lyerly attended the district schools, and graduated from the Union Academy, Anna, in 1892. During the next six years he was engaged in teaching school in Union county, and during this time prosecuted his law studies. Eventually he entered the law offices of Judge Crawford, in Jonesboro, and he was admitted to the bar in 1898, at which time he began practice. In 1908 Mr. Lyerly was elected state's attorney, having served very acceptably in the office of city attorney from 1898 to 1903, and as president of the board of education from 1905 to 1909, and during the fall of 1910 he was the candidate of the Democratic party for Congress, but met with defeat. Several of his cases have gone to the Supreme Court, where Mr. Lyerly's contentions have been upheld. He has identified himself with various business enterprises of a large nature and is now a director of the Union County Milling Company and president of the Jonesboro Plank Road Company. Mr. Lyerly is a man of whom it can be said he has chosen well. He possesses the courage of his convictions and has been fearless in championing what he believes to be just and right. He has the gift of oratory, which has been admirably displayed in a number of important cases, and his thorough knowledge of law and jurisprudence has made him an almost invincible opponent.

In 1901, Mr. Lyerly was married to Miss Ethel Nusbaum, who was born at Jonesboro, October 27, 1879, daughter of the Rev. D. S. Nusbaum, Baptist pastor at Jonesboro. Mrs. Lyerly was for several years engaged in teaching in the public schools of this place. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Lyerly: Martiei and Edna, aged eight and seven years respectively. The family is connected with the Baptist church, in which both Mr. Lyerly and his wife are very active, he now being a member of the board of trustees and for seven years superintendent of the Sunday school. Fraternally he is connected with Blue Lodge No. Ill, Jonesboro, and Chapter No. 45, Anna, of Masonry; Lodge No. 241, of the Odd Fellows; the Modern Woodmen and the Order of the Eastern Star, No. 163, in all of which he has been through the chairs, while Mrs. Lyerly is a member of the last-named order. The family is widely known in this section, and both Mr. and Mrs. Lyerly enjoy the respect and esteem of an exceptionally large circle of friends.

Extracted 16 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 729-730.

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