The subject has long been recognized as one of Marion county's foremost
business men, holding high rank among the financiers of the community in
which he lives and whose interests he has ever had at heart and which he has
ever striven to promote in whatever laudable manner that presented itself.
The life of Mr. Farthing has been led along high planes and has been true to
every trust that has been reposed in him.
William H. Farthing, the well known banker of Odin, Marion county, Illinois, was born in Odin, February 2, 1869, and not being lured away by the wanderlust that caused so many of his contemporaries to leave the old hearth stone he has preferred to live here. He is the son of George and Susan (Michaels) Farthing, natives of the state of Mississippi, Grandfather Farthing was from Kentucky, having come to Marion county, Illinois, in the fifties and settled in this vicinity where he worked a farm, and where he spent the remainder of his days having died in the seventies. Both he and his wife were Baptists. They were the parents of five children.
The father of our subject was born in Logan county, Kentucky, and received his education in the Blue Grass state. He devoted his life to farming and railroading, and was about sixty years old at the time of his death. He left a widow and six children. The subject's mother is living at the age of fifty-three. Our subject was the second child in order of birth. He received his education in the public schools of Odin, but was obliged to leave school at the age of twelve years, when he commenced clerking in a store in which he continued for ten years, in the meantime developing into an excellent salesman. Being economical, he was enabled at the end of that time to purchase one-half interest in the store from his savings. He continued in this store for another period of ten years, during which time the trade of the firm rapidly increased, customers coming from all parts of the county, because of the reputation of the firm for fairness and courteous treatment had extended to all localities roundabout. Mr. Farthing finally sold his interest in the store. He then handled real estate and other lines for two years with gratifying success. Then he purchased the bank at Odin, which had been started some time previous. Under Mr. Farthing's management it was soon placed on an excellent basis and it was patronized by the local people and by the farmers in that locality, for Mr. Farthing's name gave the bank a sound prestige, for everyone knew that their funds would be entirely safe entrusted to him, owing to his natural ability as a financier and his reputation for honesty in all his business dealings. The bank is still under his management, he being the sole owner. This bank was first opened for business in May 1905.
Our subject was first married on November 15, 1893, to Effie Sugg, a native of Odin. Four children were born to this union, one of whom is living, Ira J. F., whose date of birth occurred August 17, 1898. The subject's first wife was called to her rest April 12, 1901, and Mr. Farthing was again married on September 12, 1906, to Ida A. Kell, of this county, the daughter of James and Martha (McWham) Kell, natives of this county. Joseph McWham is paymaster at the present time in the United States Army. The grandfather, Robert McWham, was a soldier in the Civil war in the One Hundred and Fifty-Third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in which he served about two years and was honorably discharged at the close of the war. Our subject has one child by his last wife, Martha, who was born September 7, 1907.
In his fraternal relations Mr. Farthing is a member of the Masonic Blue lodge, the Chapter, the Knights Templar, also the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Woodmen and Eastern Star. He has passed all the chairs in the Blue lodge and the Odd Fellows. He has been a delegate to the grand lodge of the state of Illinois. Mrs. Farthing is a member of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Farthing is a Democrat in his political relations and has always been interested in his party's welfare, giving his time and influence to the work of his party in the county. He was elected and served in a most creditable manner as City Clerk, Alderman and was also president of the Town Board and is at this writing Treasurer of the city of Odin. He has long been noted throughout the county for his honesty, integrity and fair dealing, and his interest in all movements tending to promote the county's welfare in any manner possible, and as a result of his sterling worth his integrity and his pleasing manner, he is held in high regard by all classes and has hosts of friends.
Extracted 07 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 253-255.