No history of Marion county could be consistent with itself were there
failure to make specific mention of the honored pioneer family of which the
subject of this sketch is a worthy scion, and no better or more significant
evidence as to the long identification of the name with the annals of this
section of the state can be offered than implied in the simple statement
that the record of this interesting and representative family has been one
of highest honor for a period of sixty-five years to the time of this
writing. The subject has passed his entire life in Marion county, and has
ably upheld the high prestige of the honored name which he bears. He is one
of the prominent and influential representatives of the legal and industrial
world of the county, and it is with much satisfaction that we offer in this
work a review of his genealogical and personal history.
Judge John S. Stonecipher, like scores of our best citizens in every line of endeavor, was born on a farm, the old homestead being located about ten miles southeast of Salem, his birth occurring on July 7, 1868. His father was Samuel Stonecipher, a Tennesseean who came to Marion county, Illinois, about 1843, having successfully followed agricultural pursuits and became a man of considerable influence in his community. He here erected a primitive dwelling, which was the family domicile for a number of years. The tales of the pioneer days have been often told, and it is needless to here recapitulate the same, for privations, vicissitudes and strenuous labors of the early settlers have been so recorded as to make special mention superfluous, though it is well in such connection to refer to those who lived and labored so earnestly in laying the foundation for the opulent prosperity which marks this favored section of the state at the present time. Samuel Stonecipher was called from his earthly labors in 1898, while living on a farm in Haines township, two and one-half miles east of old Foxville. The mother of our subject was Susan (Ross) Stonecipher, also a native of Tennessee who passed to her rest when Judge Stonecipher was one and one-half years old. Eight children were born to the union of Samuel and Susan Stonecipher, four of whom are living in 1908. These are, besides the subject of this sketch, Alexander, a farmer in Haines township, Marion county; Joseph C., a farmer in southeastern Kansas; M. C., a Presbyterian minister at Troy Grove, Illinois. Samuel Stonecipher, father of the subject, was three times married. His first wife was a Miss Henderson; the second a Miss Ross, mother of the subject; and the third was Mary Chance, who died three months after her husband's death.
Grandfather Stonecipher reached almost the unprecedented age of one hundred and ten years. He was reared in Knox county, Tennessee.
Judge Stonecipher was reared on the parental farm, and after attending the country schools he entered Ewing College in Franklin county, Illinois, where he made a brilliant record for both scholarship and deportment, taking a two-year general course. He then attended the Southern Illinois Normal School for two years, and began teaching school, which he continued for three successful terms, but believing that his true life work lay in another channel he began reading law with Judge John B. Kagy, of Salem. After reading law for one year he attended the Valparaiso University, law department, for one year, in which he made rapid progress. He was admitted to the bar at Salem in 1891 and began practice soon afterward. His success was instantaneous, and his friends were not mistaken in their prediction that the future held many honors in store for him. He was early in life singled out for political preferment and served as Deputy Sheriff from 1889 to 1890, while reading law. He has ably served two terms as City Attorney of Salem, and was Master in Chancery for four years, from 1896 to 1900, having first been appointed by Judge Burroughs, and later by Judge Dwight. In 1906 our subject had attained such general popularity in the legal world that he was elected Judge of Marion county on the Democratic ticket in which capacity he is still serving in 1908, with entire satisfaction to his constituents and all concerned. He was chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee at the time of his election to the judgeship. He was selected as alternate to the Democratic national convention held in St. Louis in 1904. Having become so well known in the political arena of his native community the judge will doubtless be honored by many other offices of public trust by his party in the future.
Judge Stonecipher has been equally successful in industrial affairs, being something of a wizard in organizing, promoting and carrying to successful issues various lines of business, and it is due to his clear brain, well-grounded judgment and indomitable energy that many of Marion county's successful industrial institutions owe their existence. At present he is vice-president of the Salem State Bank, president of the Salem Box Company, the leading manufacturing enterprise of Salem; he is also trustee of the Sandoval Coal and Mining Company, now bankrupt, a large and important trusteeship. He is also a stockholder in the Salem National Bank and a director of the Salem Building and Loan Association. He was chairman of the building committee that built the new Methodist Episcopal church in Salem, one of the finest in Illinois, and it was largely due to his energy and keen business sagacity that this handsome structure, which will ever be a monument to his memory as well as a pride and splendid advertisement to the city of Salem, assumed definite form.
Fraternally Judge Stonecipher is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen. He has occupied the chairs in the Odd Fellows, and his daily life would indicate that he believes in carrying out the noble precepts advocated by these praise-worthy orders.
Judge Stonecipher's domestic life dates from August 17, 1904, when he was happily married to Amy Bachman, the refined and cultured daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Bachman, the latter the well-known and influential president of the Salem National Bank. Mrs. Stonecipher received a good education, having applied herself diligently to her educational work and the success of her worthy life companion is due in no small measure to the encouragement and sympathy of this most estimable woman, who presides over her model and harmonious household with grace and dignity.
Two bright and interesting children have blessed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stonecipher with cheer and sunshine. They are: Frank G., born July 8, 1905, and Maude Louise, born July 24, 1907.
Judge Stonecipher has been very successful in both his business and political life. He is regarded as a man of exceptional soundness of judgment, and when his name is connected with any business institution the public knows that the same is sound and does not hesitate to place its funds at his disposal, whether it be in a banking institution or manufacturing enterprise.
Extracted 03 Nov 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 165-167.