Biography - ROBERT L. RICH

The gentleman whose name stands at the head of this paragraph is one of the successful men of Union county. He is by primary vocation a farmer and by admirable example has done much to advance and promulgate scientific agriculture. His small but valuable farm of fifty-five acres has been utilized to marvelous advantage and there is admiration and respect for a man who can raise six hundred and thirty bushels of corn on nine acres, which Mr. Rich succeeded in doing in 1911. He also manages his father's farm of two hundred acres. However, he does not limit his energies to agriculture, and since 1899 has engaged in the commission and brokerage business in Cobden.

Robert L. Rich was born October 30, 1864, on a farm a mile and a half from Cobden. He is the son of John M. Rich, who was born in 1828, in Alabama, and the grandson of Thomas J. Rich, a native of North Carolina. The Rich family came originally from England and are of Puritan stock, three Rich brothers having been of the brave and pious little company who crossed the Atlantic in the Mayflower and landed on bleak Plymouth Rock in 1620. Mr. Rich is thus a Pilgrim son and one of the oldest and most honored stock in America. One of these brothers went south, one to the northwest.

The father of the subject married Annie Uffendale, who was born in England and came to America with her parents, the father's name being Michael Uffendale. He subsequently found his way to Anna, Illinois, and there engaged in mercantile business until his death. John M. came with his father and the rest of the family from his native state in 1832, as a little lad, the journey being made by ox team. They located on government land in Union county and were of that fine pioneer stock which laid the foundations of Southern Illinois' present prosperity. Thomas, the subject's grandfather, fought in the Black Hawk war and lived until 1869, having in his lifetime witnessed other American wars. He departed this life in the old house which he had built on his pioneer farm. Mr. Rich's father and mother are both living at advanced age, serene and respected in the pleasant sunset of life. They make their home on the original homestead, which still remains in the family. This consists now of two hundred acres, and the old gentleman still cultivates several acres in fruit and vegetables. He has been a prosperous farmer and has reared the following family of eight children: Thomas J., deceased; William C., residing at Anna; Michael M., a farmer located near Cobden; George D., also located near Cobden and a farmer; Delia, now Mrs. Randleman, of Alto Pass; Annie M. (Cox), living in Tennessee; Robert L.; and Carrie (Parks), who makes her home at Anna.

Robert L. Rich was educated in the Public schools and subsequently matriculated at Champaign University. He engaged in farming for a time and in 1882 removed to Alto Pass, where he clerked for several years in a store owned by his father and brother-in-law. This establishment was the property of John M. Rich for a decade. In 1889 the subject removed to his father's farm and conducted its affairs until 1894, in which year he was appointed postmaster of Cobden, and he served faithfully and efficiently for four years and four months under the Cleveland administration. In the years 1898 and 1899 he traveled for the commission company of C. P. Love & Company of Chicago, and since the year last mentioned he has engaged in the commission and brokerage business on his own account. He also manages his farm and that of his father, the acreage under his cultivation being utilized as follows: Apples, thirty acres; asparagus, twenty acres; rhubarb, twenty acres; tomatoes, eight acres; melons, five acres; fifty acres in corn and the remainder in pasture and hay land.

Mr. Rich was married in November, 1888, at Alto Pass, to Emma B. Abernathie, daughter of William C. and Mary Abernathie, of Alto Pass, the father a prominent farmer. The demise of this admirable lady occurred May 18, 1909, at the age of forty-two years, and her only child, a son, Raymond Lee, died at six months of age.

Fraternally Mr. Rich belongs to the Knights of Pythias at Cobden and he is a member of the Congregational church, to whose tenets his Pilgrim origin predisposes him. He is a Democrat in politics and is influential in party councils. He is serving at the present time as precinct committeeman.

Extracted 13 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 3, pages 1109-1110.

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