A native of Haines township, Marion county, and having spent the sixty
years of his life there, naturally the subject of this sketch is known to
every man, woman and child in that section of the state. Mr. Wham has been
very much in the public eye, in various capacities, having on more than one
occasion been closely identified with the affairs of the township in an
official way, and it may not be amiss to state, in this connection, that his
constituents never had cause to regret the fact of having conferred upon him
their suffrages. He is known as a devoutly religious man.
Mr. Wham was born in Haines township March 25, 1848, being the offspring of William and Louisa (Rainey) Wham, the former a native of Tennessee, while the latter was born in Kentucky. The grandfather of the subject was a native of Ireland, and came to America shortly after the Revolutionary war, settling in South Carolina on a farm. Later he went to Tennessee, where he died, and the father and grandmother of Mr. Wham moved to Marion county, settling in Haines township, where later the former was married. The couple entered a farm of prairie and timber land in Haines township that was purchased from the government. He broke the land and built upon it what was then considered a very commodious dwelling. He was a very progressive man, and did much to develop the region. After improving his own land he did much work for his neighbors in the way of breaking the sod, using an ox team, and to him was also due the construction of many good roads. He was a Whig and later a Republican. His wife died in 1883, and he survived her ten years. He was born in 1817, and his helpmate in 1818. They were both devout members of the Presbyterian church for many years, but in later years became members of the Methodist denomination. There were born to the couple eight children, namely: Margaret Ann, widow of James M. Mount; Martha, widow of William K. Storment, living at Cartter, Illinois; Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of John R. Morrison; Minerva, deceased, was the wife of Thomas J. Holt; Jerusha, deceased, was the wife of Mathew M. Gaston; H. B., our subject; Mathew R., deceased, and William R., living at Cartter, Illinois.
The early life of the subject was spent on a farm in Haines township. He attended the common schools and later the high school at Centralia, Illinois. In 1871 he married Nancy Jane Stonecipher, daughter of Joshua and Nancy A. (Hall) Stonecipher, both being natives of Tennessee and early settlers of Marion county. The subject and his wife had ten children, viz.: Prof. George D., a teacher of pedagogy in the State Normal School at Carbondale, who married Edith Page, of Olney, Illinois, and who is the father of one child, John Page Wham; Nellie. Eunice, wife of T. E. Maulding, East St. Louis, has one child, Howard B.; Phoebe, wife of E. P. Gaston, Centralia, Illinois, has one child, Helen, Edgar B., a successful merchant of Cartter, Illinois, married Anna Blair; Frederick, senior in law department of the University of Illinois at Champaign, Illinois; Charles, in school at Champaign, taking a literary course; Florence, at home; Benjamin in school at Carbondale, normal course; William J., died in infancy; infant, unnamed, deceased.
Joshua Stonecipher and wife, parents of Mrs. Wham, had fourteen children and they are all dead but five, Hiram, Phoebe, Mary, Curtis and Mrs. Wham. The Stone cipher family is very highly respected in Marion county. William Wham, grandfather of the subject, was the father of eight children, Joseph, John, Benjamin, William, Isabella, Ann, Jane and Elizabeth. Mathew Rainey, the maternal grandfather of the subject, also had eight children, all of whom are dead. They were: Louisa Ann, Jerusia, Jane, Sarah, Patsey, William, Robert and Samuel.
The subject has one of the most attractive farms in Haines township. He has constructed a spacious dwelling and ample barns. He has been a stock raiser for many years, and handles the very best grade of horses, mules, cattle and sheep. Although he is a very busy man Mr. Wham has a great love for literature, and spends much time among his books. The subject began teaching school in 1867, and spent altogether twenty-five years as a pedagogue. He was a successful instructor and did much for the cause of education in Marion county, and particularly Haines township. He early became an enthusiastic champion of the State Normal School located at Carbondale, and it is a matter of record that Marion county stands first in the state outside of the county in which the school is located in the number of students attending that institution. It is also a fact, of which Mr. Wham may feel justly proud, that Haines township, where he taught for so many years, has furnished more students for the State Normal than any other township in Marion county. He is a Republican and has been Supervisor of Haines township twice, Town Clerk one term, besides serving as Assessor. As an evidence of his popularity it may be stated that Haines township is Democratic normally, but Mr. Wham received an unusually large plurality. He has rarely been defeated for public office, but when he ran for County Treasurer in 906 he was defeated by forty-two votes. Mr. Wham has been a Sunday school teacher and superintendent for a number of years, and has taken a great interest in church work.
Extracted 03 Nov 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 325-327.