The subject of this sketch is one of those men who have met with success
along the line of his chosen calling and he is today one of the prosperous
and respected merchants of Salem, Marion county, where he conducts a modern
and attractive store, having built up an extensive and lucrative business by
reason of his peculiar adaptability for this line of work, his honesty of
business principles and his courteous and kind treatment of customers whom
he numbers by the scores.
G. A. Idleman was born in Marion county, Ohio, in 1844, the son of Jacob J. Idleman, a native of Virginia, who moved with his parents to Ohio when he was a small boy. He devoted his life principally to agricultural pursuits, but he also devoted much time and labor along a higher plane of action, that of Methodist minister, becoming known as an able expounder of the Gospel and a man of good deeds wherever he went. He engaged in ministerial work for forty years, having worked hard on his farm during the week and preached on Sunday, and to show that he was an extraordinarily sincere men and desirous to do good for the sake of being true to the higher life as outlined by the lowly Nazarene, he never accepted a cent for his ministrial labors in all those forty years, merely preaching for the love of the work and the good he could do, which was an incalculable amount. He was called to his reward by the Good Shepherd whom he had so faithfully followed, in 1887, while living on his farm in Marion county, Illinois, where he moved in 1865, settling two miles south of Salem where he resided the remainder of his life.
The grandfather of the subject was Jacob Idleman, also a native of Virginia, and also a farmer who was known as a man of integrity and many sterling qualities. He reached the advanced age of eighty years, dying in Marion county, Ohio, where he had removed in an early day when the country was wild and unsettled. The subject's mother was Hannah Jones, whose people came from Pennsylvania. Her people lived to be very old, her mother having reached the remarkable age of ninety years. The subject's mother, a woman of gracious personal qualities, is still living in 1908, on the old farm homestead south of Salem at the still more remarkable age of ninety-four years.
Ten children constituted the family of the parents of our subject, four having died in infancy and two having passed away after reaching maturity. Those living are: G. A., our subject, Samantha, the widow of E. W. Thompson, of Columbus, Ohio; Mrs. Callie M. Kell, the widow of William Kell, living in Salem; Mrs. Belle Sipes, who lives on a farm near Omega, Illinois.
G. A. Idleman, our subject, spent his boyhood days in Marion county, Ohio, where he received a common school education and where he remained until he was twenty years old, having assisted with the farm work while going to school. He came to Salem, Illinois, in 1865 with his parents, and has continued to make this his home. He farmed until he was thirty years old, thereby getting a good start in life. Since that time he has been engaged from time to time in various lines of business. He has been in the mercantile business here for a period of twenty-five years, most of the time in business for himself, but part of the time he was associated in business with others. He has been engaged in the grocery business for the past eight years, since 1900, and which he still conducts, having built up an excellent and lucrative trade as the result of courteous treatment to customers and his expert knowledge of the mercantile business, having always made this line of work pay, not only yielding him a comfortable living, but enabling him to gradually increase his business and at the same time lay up an ample competency for his old age. His customers are not confined to Salem and vicinity, but he is well known throughout Marion county, having always given his customers entire satisfaction as to the quality of goods he handles and to price, consequently he seldom loses a customer. Mr. Idleman built his present store building on First South Street, which is one of the neatest and most substantial stores in Salem.
Mr. Idleman was united in marriage in 1870 to Mattie Clark, the representative of one of Salem's well-known families. To this union one child has been born, Mrs. Lydia M. Hubbs, of Chicago. The subject was married again May 14, 1902, to Agnes Ray, the daughter of Riley Rose. She was born and reared in Salem. They have no children. Their home is a commodious and nicely furnished one in the most desirable residence district of Salem, and is frequently the gathering place for numerous friends of the family.
Our subject has served his community in a most efficient and commendable manner as assessor of Salem township, having been the first Republican assessor ever elected in this township. In his fraternal relations he belongs to the Red Men, of Odin, Illinois. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Our subject has ever taken an active interest in the welfare of the community and gives an earnest support to every movement for the public welfare. A man of fine personal traits, he is highly regarded by all who know him, and he is counted one of Salem's most progressive and worthy businessmen.
Extracted 09 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 93-95.