Marion County


Few names in Marion county are as widely known and as highly honored as the one which appears at the head of this review. For many years as a farmer, banker and prominent business man, D. W. Holstlaw has ranked and also occupies a conspicuous place in business and state. On both sides of his family Mr. Holstlaw springs from sturdy antecedents and he has every reason to be proud of his forbears. His father, Daniel S. Holstlaw, was a stock dealer and farmer, being a native of Kentucky and widely known and highly esteemed citizen. He became a resident of this county about 1830, settling in Stevenson township, where in due time he accumulated a large and valuable estate and achieved much more than local reputation as breeder and dealer in live stock, besides attaining an honorable standing as a public spirited citizen and enterprising man of affairs. Daniel S. Hoistlaw did much to promote the material progress of the section of country in which he lived, and was equally interested in the social and moral advancement of the community, doing all within his power to benefit his neighbors and fellow citizens, and leaving to them the memory of a useful life and an honorable name when called from the scenes of his labors and triumphs on the fifth day of December, 1905. The maiden name of Mrs. Daniel Holstlaw was Ruth Wade Middleton. She was born in Tennessee and is still living on the old family homestead in Stevenson township, where, surrounded by relatives and friends, she is passing the evening of a well spent life with nothing in the future to fear or in the past to regret. The family of this estimable couple consisted of eleven children, all of whom are living. A more extended mention of this family will be found upon another page of this volume.

Daniel W. Holstlaw was born February 5, 1849, at the family home in Stevenson township, and there spent the years of his childhood and youth, learning at an early age the lessons of industry, economy and self-reliance, which had much to do in forming a well rounded character and fitting him for the subsequent duties of life. When old enough to be of service he helped with the labors of the field and in due time became a valuable assistant to his father in the latter's live stock interests and other business, proving faithful to his various duties and worthy of the trust reposed in his integrity and 'honor. Meanwhile as opportunities permitted he attended the common schools of the neighborhood, but by reason of his services being required at home his education was somewhat limited. In after years, however, he made up very largely for this deficiency by a wide range of reading and careful observation, but more especially by his relations with his fellow men in various business capacities, thus becoming the possessor of a fund of valuable practical knowledge, which could not have been obtained from schools or colleges.

Mr. Holstlaw spent his minority under the parental roof, in the cultivation of the farm and otherwise looking after his parents, but in the year 1870 he severed his home ties to accept a clerkship in a mercantile house in the town of luka. After serving in the capacity of clerk until becoming an efficient salesman and acquiring a knowledge of the business he formed a partnership with James W. Humphries, and during the two years ensuing the firm conducted a thriving trade and forged rapidly to the front, among the leading merchants of the town. At the expiration of the period noted Mr. Holstlaw purchased his partner's interest and adding very materially to the stock, soon built up a large and lucrative patronage, and it was not long until he became one of the most successful business men of the county, a reputation he sustained during the thirty odd years which he devoted to mercantile life. Meantime he saw a favorable opening at Iuka for the banking business, and in compliance with the suggestions of many of his fellow townsmen and others as well as consulting his own inclinations, he finally established a bank in his store, which soon formed a valuable adjunct to the business interests of the town and surrounding country. After conducting the two lines of business jointly until 1907, he disposed of his mercantile interests, and since that time has devoted his entire attention to banking, establishing in luka the Holstlaw Bank, which is now one of the most successful and popular institutions of the kind, not only in Marion county, but in the southern part of the state. The growth of the bank in public favor has more than met the high expectations of Mr. Holstlaw and others interested in its success, the patronage, which takes a wide range, being liberal, but all that could reasonably be desired, and the solidity of the institution beyond the shadow of a doubt.

As the executive head and practical manager of the bank, Mr. Holstlaw exemplifies the sound judgment, wise discretion and rare foresight which have ever characterized his business dealing, while his familiarity with financial matters enables him to conduct the institution in the broad though wisely conservative spirit which bespeaks its continuous growth and solidity. The bank building is an elegant modern structure, erected especially adapted for the purpose and amply equipped with all the appliances necessary to the successful prosecution of the business, the safe, furniture and other fixtures being of the latest and most approved patterns and calculated to satisfy the taste of the most critical and exacting. Mr. Holstlaw is also a stockholder and director of the Salem National Bank and also the bank at St. Peter.

In addition to his long and eminently successful career in business, Mr. Holstlaw has for many years been one of the leading politicians of Marion county, his activity in political circles, however, being by no means confined to local affairs, but state wide in its influence. He is firm and unchanging in his allegiance to Democratic principles and mid all vicissitudes in which the party has been subject during the last two decades, he has never wavered in his loyalty, nor when necessary hesitated to make sacrifices for its success. Judicious in counsel and an untiring worker, he has been a standard bearer in a number of campaigns and it was not until recently that he consented to serve his party in a public capacity, although frequently importuned and solicited by his many friends to accept the offices for which by native training he is eminently fitted. In the year 1908 he was elected to the upper house of the General Assembly, and although but fairly entering upon his official duties he has already made his influence felt among his brother Senators, and bids fair to render his constituency and the state valuable service and earn an honorable record among the distinguished legislators of the commonwealth.

On January 3, 1875, Mr. Holstlaw and Clara R. Stevenson were united in the holy bonds of wedlock, a union blessed with two children, the older a son, Herschel D., and the younger a daughter, who answers to the name of Florence E.

Herschel D. Holstlaw, whose birth occurred on December 20, 1875, was educated in the home schools and Bryant & Stratton's Commercial College, and since beginning life for himself has been associated with his father, being at this time cashier of the Holstlaw Bank and a man of fine business ability. He was married October 3, 1900, to Louise Tully, of Xenia, Illinois, whose parents, Joseph E. and Fannie (Paine) Tully, still live in that town, the father being a banker and merchant, and one of the oldest of three children. Mrs. Holstlaw is the oldest of three children born to these parents, her two brothers, Joseph M. and William Paine Tully, being residents of Xenia, and associated with their father in merchandising and banking. Florence E., the subject's second child, married Albert E. Kelly, of North Vernon, Indiana, but now a resident of Iuka, Illinois, where he is engaged in the mercantile trade at the old Holstlaw stand.

Mr. Holstlaw's activity in business together with his superior methods and honorable dealing has resulted greatly to his financial advantage and he is now one of the wealthy and reliable men of Marion county, being in independent circumstances, with more than a sufficiency of this world's goods to render his future free from care and anxiety. Additional to his mercantile, banking and other interests at Iuka, he owns several valuable farms in various parts of the county and is also quite extensively interested in live stock, being one of the largest breeders and raisers of fine cattle in this part of the state, these and his other holdings indicating the energy and capacity of a mind peculiarly endowed for large and important enterprises.

Clara R. Stevenson, who became the wife of Hon. D. W. Holstlaw, as stated in a preceding paragraph, is a native of Stevenson township and a daughter of Hon. Samuel E. Stevenson, in whose honor the township was named. Mr. Stevenson was born in Ohio August 9, 1819, and his wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Kagy, was also a native of Ohio. The Stevensons were among the pioneer settlers of Fairfield county, Ohio, and it was there that Samuel E. spent his youth, beginning to earn his own living at the early age of six years. Later he received eight dollars per month for his services as a farm laborer, and by industry and strict economy succeeded in saving in four years the sum of one hundred dollars, his expenses for clothing during that time amounting to only forty dollars. Going on horseback to Illinois, he invested his savings in cattle, which he drove to Ohio and sold at a liberal profit, the venture proving so successful that he decided to continue the business. During the several years following he made a number of trips to and from Illinois , buying cattle and disposing of them at handsome figures, and in this way laid the foundation of what subsequently became an ample fortune. After his marriage to Miss Kagy, which took place in Marion county, Illinois, in 1848, he located in what is now Stevenson township, where he entered a large tract of land and engaged in farming and stock raising, devoting especial attention to the breeding of cattle, in which lie met with the most gratifying success. Later he became interested in public affairs and in due time rose to a position of considerable influence among his fellow citizens, who in recognition of valuable political services elected him in 1866 to the lower house of the Legislature.

Mr. Stevenson was one of the leading Democrats of his day in Marion county and achieved a wide reputation throughout the state as an able and adroit politician. He filled worthily a number of positions of honor and trust, won the esteem of the people irrespective of party alignment and became one of the most popular men of his time in Southern Illinois. In connection with farming and stock raising he held large interests in the Sandoval coal mines and was also a heavy stockholder in the Salem National Bank and appeared to succeed in all of the enterprises to which he devoted his attention. He not only gave his children the best educational advantages the country afforded, but also provided liberally for their material welfare by giving each a good start when they left home to begin life for themselves. He was long a sincere member of the Baptist church, as was also his wife, and spared no pains in instructing his children in the truths of religion and the necessity of moral conduct as the only basis of a true and successful life. Mrs. Stevenson died in 1876 and her husband in the year 1899, the loss of both being greatly deplored and profoundly mourned by their many friends in Marion and other counties of Southern Illinois.

The children of Samuel E. and Elizabeth Stevenson, nine in number, were as follows: Clara B., wife of Hon. D. W. Holstlaw; Marion T., a farmer and stock dealer of Marion county: Joanna, widow of the late Aaron Warner, of Stevenson township, where she now resides: Edgar, for some years one of the leading teachers of Marion county and a young man of noble aims and high ideals, who departed this life November, 1878, in the prime of his physical and mental powers. He began school work at the age of eighteen, soon attained an honorable standing as an educator, and at the time of his death was considered one of the finest and most accomplished instructors in this part of the state. Homer R., the fifth in order of birth, married Clara Humphries and devotes his attention to farming, in which his success has been very gratifying. Van C, who married Ella Brunton, lives on the old family homestead and is also a successful tiller of the soil; Frank M., the seventh of the family, was graduated from Illinois College in 1886, and the year following was killed by lightning. He, too, was a young man of intelligence and culture and his untimely death terminated what promised to be a useful and honorable career. Anna, who married Frank Boynton, of Salem, is deceased, and Maggie, the youngest of the family, is the wife of W. E. Irvin, and lives in Salem.

Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 590-594.

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