Biography - GEORGE W. RICH

Union county is rich in her well-to-do farmers. The best citizenship, the sturdiest characters, the most dependable men, are, in part at least, to be found among those men who have lived close to the soil and by close attention to the duty nearest to hand have amassed comfortable fortunes and incidentally linked themselves indissolubly with the life and history of their city and county. Prominent among men of that type is George W. Rich, a resident of Cobden since his birth, and well and favorably known in Union county all the days of his life thus far.

George W. Rich is the son of William Carroll Rich, who was born November 18, 1819, in Alabama. He came to Illinois in 1832 with his father's family, and he is distinguished today as the oldest living resident of Union county. In 1843 William C. Rich married and settled on the farm on which he now lives. During the years of his activity he accumulated a tract of land containing several thousand acres, which he has but lately deeded to his heirs. He is also known to be the oldest bank president in Illinois, being the president of the First National Bank of Cobden since its organization. In 1843 Mr. Rich married Millie C. Guthrie, the daughter of Anslon Guthrie, a native of Tennessee, where she was born in 1823. The Guthrie family came to Illinois in about 1829, and have been residents of the state since then. Mr. and Mrs. Rich were the parents of a family of twelve children, named below as follows: Mrs. Samantha Tripp, deceased; Mrs. Kate McMahon; Matilda, twice married, her first husband having been W. C. Monroe, of Anna, deceased, and her second husband is John Halterman, an official in the Anna (Illinois) Hospital; Lafayette married Miss Anna Lingle; Mrs. Eliza Condon; Mrs. Maria Hilton; Amalphous, died September 8, 1893, at the age of thirty-five years; William; Lou, still in the home of the family; Lizzie, a successful teacher for twenty years; George W., of Cobden; and one that died in infancy.

George W. Rich was born in Cobden, Union county, Illinois, on May 8, 1867. His education was in advance of that of the average country youth, his public school training being supplemented by a course in the Anna Academy, in which he spent three years devoted to close and careful study. In 1889 he began teaching school, to which he gave five years in all. He was thus employed from 1889 to 1893, when he discontinued the work and later, in 1900, he again taught for one year. In 1893, Mr. Rich was elected village marshal of Cobden, and so well did he carry out the duties of his position that he was retained in that office for a period of eighteen years. In 1884 he engaged in the commission and brokerage business, which he carried on until 1909. At that time he eliminated the brokerage feature of the business, but is still engaged in the buying and selling of country produce. With an eye single to the future, and realizing the intrinsic value of the lands lying in the vicinity of Cobden, Mr. Rich has gradually acquired a goodly acreage thereabouts. He has four hundred and twenty acres of fertile land in the neighborhoods of Wolfe Lake, twelve miles west of Cobden, and near to Cobden he has a particularly valuable tract of eighty acres. Fifteen acres of this he has planted to peaches, and the remainder of the land is devoted to apples and the small fruits. Mr. Rich has no political inclinations whatever. He is well content to leave the engineering of the political machinery to others, and beyond the immediate demands of good citizenship gives no attention to affairs of that nature. He is interested in but one fraternal society, that being the Masonic order, of which he is a member of Lodge No. 466, at Cobden.

On June 22, 1894, Mr. Rich married Mary E. Hardin, daughter of L. T. and Elizabeth (Farrell) Hardin, natives of Tennessee, who became residents of Union county in 1836. Mr. and Mrs. Rich are the parents of four children, one living, A Paul, and three others deceased, namely, Ryde, Louis and Margaret.

Extracted 13 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 3, pages 1129-1130.

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