The gentleman whose name forms the caption of this biographical review is
now recognized as one of the leading organizers, promoters and all around
businessmen and representative citizens of Marion county, Illinois, where he
was born in what is now Stevenson township, May 14, 1852. John W. Larimer's
father was Smith Larimer, a native of Ohio who came to Marion county, this
state, about 1846. He devoted his life very largely to agricultural
pursuits. He was elected Treasurer and Assessor of Marion county, serving
twelve years with great satisfaction to his constituents. He moved to Salem
in 1858. He was a loyal Democrat and was elected to office on this ticket.
The offices of Treasurer and Assessor were conducted as one at that time.
Smith Larimer died in Salem in 1887, at the age of seventy-six years, after
a useful and very active life. Robert Larimer, grandfather of the subject,
was a native of Ireland who emigrated to America when a boy, devoting his
life to the farm. He lived to be an old man.
The mother of the subject was known in maidenhood as Sarah Brown, a native of Ohio, who traced her lineage to Scotland. She was a woman of fine traits of character and she passed to her rest in 1861, when the subject of this sketch was nine years old. Mr. and Mrs. Smith Larimer were the parents of eight children, six of whom are living, namely: Andrew Jackson, who was first lieutenant of Company H, One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, which was mustered largely in Marion county, and this brave young officer met his death in the great battle of Atlanta, July 22, 1864; Wilson S. was a member of the same company, having gone through the war, dying in the spring of 1888; Mrs. Sarah M. Hite, of St. Louis; Mrs. Nancy J. Moore, of Salem, Illinois; W. F., of Denver, Colorado; John W., our subject; Ann E. Irvin, also living in Denver; and Mrs. Kagy, wife of L. M. Kagy, president of the Salem State Bank.
John W. Larimer, our subject, was born on the farm, and when six years old moved with his parents to Salem where he attended school and when fourteen years old went into the court house with J. O. Chance, who was engaged in the abstract business and who afterward became Clerk of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Our subject began learning the abstract business at this early age, and in 1870 he was appointed Deputy County Clerk for one year under J. O. Chance, who was then Clerk. Shortly afterward Mr. Chance and Mr. Larimer formed a partnership in the abstract and real estate business, which partnership continued for about four years, when Mr. Chance was elected Clerk of the Supreme Court, then Mr. Larimer continued the business himself up to the present time, becoming known as one of the ablest, most accurate and reliable abstracters in this part of the state and his office is always a busy place.
Our subject was married May 6, 1871, to Rosa Andrews, daughter of Seth S. Andrews, now deceased, formerly a representative citizen of Salem. Three bright and interesting children have been born to the subject and wife as follows: Dwight W., who is associated with his father in the abstract business; Sarah Louise and Kathryn.
Mr. Larimer has ever taken an active part in politics and as a result of his innate ability and his loyalty to his party's principles he has been chosen to positions of public trust by his fellow voters, having been elected Town Clerk in 1877. He has also been City Clerk, and he represented the old third ward as Alderman, also was honored by one term as Mayor. He served as a member of the Board of Education for four years, and in 1896 he was a member of the State Board of Equalization, serving four years. This was an elective office and Mr. Larimer carried Marion county by over one thousand votes, which speaks for his popularity in his home county. He received ten more votes than William J. Bryan. He was Secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of the Salem Building and Loan Association, having organized this association of which he has been secretary for twenty-five years in 1908, or ever since its organization. Our subject is also president of the Business Men's Association, and president of the Marion County Agricultural Board. Thus we see that our subject has the confidence and good will of the public who have entrusted him with these various positions of honor and trust, and that he has conscientiously and ably discharged his duties at all times goes without saying, in fact, no man in the county is more popular than Mr. Larimer, who is regarded as one of the county's most valuable men and one of its foremost citizens.
His business interests have been varied; he is one of the stockholders in the Salem State Bank. He is a prominent Mason, having been through all the offices in both the lodge and the chapter, being a Thirty-second degree member. He is also a member of the Knights Templar. Both Mr. and Mrs. Larimer are members of the Presbyterian church. They reside at Walnut and Church streets in a beautiful modern home which they own.
Extracted 10 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 281-283.