He of whom this sketch is written is a representative of one of the
honored pioneer families of Marion county, Illinois, where he has passed
practically his entire life, and he is one of the successful and prominent
citizens of Cartter, where he is the leading merchant, being well known to
the people of that vicinity as a man of clean business principles and public
spirited, having attained prosperity through his own well directed efforts.
William Wham was born in this county in 1853, the son of William Wham, a native of Tennessee, who came to Illinois when a young boy and settled in Marion county where he developed a good farm and always made a comfortable living. He was a charter member of the Masonic lodge, No. 130, at Salem. He became well known and influential. He passed to his rest in 1893. The mother of the subject was Louisa Anna Rainey, a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, who came to Illinois, when eleven years old. She was a woman of many praiseworthy traits. She died some six years prior to her husband's demise.
Eight children were born to the parents of the subject, four of whom are living in 1908. They are named in order of their birth as follows: Margaret is the widow of James Mount, of Kell, Illinois; Martha I., living at Cartter, is the widow of William K. Storment; H. B. owns a farm near Cartter, Illinois; William, our subject, who spent his boyhood on a farm near Cartter, working during the summer months, and attending the country schools the balance of the year. His early life was spent in farming, trading and dealing in stock, of which he made a success. After abandoning this he went into the mercantile business in 1895 at Cartter, Illinois, and has been thus engaged since that time, having built up an excellent trade by reason of his courteous treatment of customers and his natural ability. His store is known throughout thin locality as the place where the best goods in the market can be obtained at reasonable prices, and his trade has constantly grown from year to year. Mr. Wham has prospered by reason of his well-directed energy, and he has become the owner of the Park Hotel at Salem, the leading hostelry of that city, and he is also a director of the Salem National Bank. He also has a large interest in the Robinson oil fields in Crawford county. He was chairman of the building committee for the new building for the Salem National Bank, which was erected in 1908. He also has valuable farmlands. All this our subject has attained by reason of his own unaided efforts, and every dollar he possesses was obtained in an honest manner.
Mr. Wham was united in. marriage in 1874 to Emma C. Adams, the refined and accomplished daughter of James Adams, of near Salem. Her father is a well-known farmer. One child, born to the subject and wife, died in infancy. Mrs. Wham is postmistress at Cartter, which position she has creditably filled for the past fourteen years having been appointed by Grover Cleveland and reappointed by every President since. She is a woman of rare executive ability as well as many pleasing traits which renders her popular with all classes. Mrs. Wham's mother, Mrs. Paulina Adams is living at Springfield, Illinois. The father of the subject's wife is deceased. They were both natives of Virginia and scions of well-known old southern families. Mr. Wham's grandfather was also named William Wham. He was a native of Ireland, and a man of sterling qualities.
Our subject is a member of the Masonic Blue Lodge, Chapter at Salem, and the Commandery at Centralia. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mr. and Mrs. Wham are members of the Christian church at Cartter, being liberal subscribers to the same. Mr. Wham was Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Marion county, having been elected as an independent and was a good official, having ably disposed of the duties of this important trust in a manner that reflected much credit upon his ability.
Extracted 03 Nov 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 265-267.