Biography - Frank Helm

FRANK HELM, a native-born son of Johnson County and business manager of the mercantile establishment of Gunn Bros. at New Grantsburg, has a well-sustained reputation for promptness, forethought and business acumen, as well as for strict integrity in conducting the interests entrusted to his care.
Our subject was born on the farm on which his father first settled after coming here, November 20, 1850, the date of his birth. He is a son of Moses W. Helm, who was born in Virginia and was a son of James Helm. The latter moved to Tennessee in the early years of the settlement of that State, and carried on his occupation as a farmer on its soil, he and his wife spending their remaining days there. The father of our subject was but a boy when his parents took up their residence in middle Tennessee, and he grew to manhood on a farm in that section. He was fairly well educated for the time, and while a resident of Tennessee filled some offices of public trust. He was married in that State to Rebecca Fisher, a native of North Carolina, whence her parents went to Tennessee, where her mother died. Her father's death occurred in this county.
In 1849 Mr. Helm came to Illinois with his wife and eight children in an ox wagon. He bought eighty acres of timber land from the Government, near what is now Ganntown, in Grantsburg Township. As his land was heavily wooded, he rented some other land for a while, until he could clear sufficient space for a building spot and garden. After he had erected a log house on his own territory he and his family commenced their pioneer life without money, but by cheerful sacrifice, close economy and incessant industry, they managed to get along comfortably, and at the time of his death, in October, 1854, he had greatly improved his farm, having felled the timber and burnt it to get it out of the way, there being no mills for the manufacture of lumber, or market for it. His diligence helped to promote the growth of the county, and he is held in remembrance as one of its worthy pioneers, whose death was untimely. His widow removed to Ganntown after the sale of the farm, some years after his demise, and there she breathed her last at a venerable age in October, 1887. She was the mother of nine children: Caroline, a resident of Ganntown; James G., a farmer at Samoth; Sarah, widow of Mark Bynum, and a resident of this county; Nancy, wife of Jasper Cross; Mary A., who died in this county in 1854, and was buried in the cemetery at Ganntown; Rebecca, widow of Samuel Cole, and a resident of Kentucky; Margaret, who died in this county and was buried in the Ganntown Cemetery; Jacob, Justice of the Peace at Ganntown; and Frank.
Frank, of whom we write, is the youngest child of the family, and was but three years old when his father died. At a tender age he was set to work to help his brothers care for the family, and did his share in its support. He attended school whenever he could, and so improved his opportunities for learning that he was lilted to teach. He only taught one term, however, having charge of a school in this county. He remained at home until 1885, and then, desiring a broader held of business life, he obtained a situation in the store of F. M. Helm at Ganntown. He quickly gained a clear insight into business matters and an experience that has been valuable to him in the more responsible position of manager of the store of Gann Bros. at New Grantsburg, to which he was called in March, 1892. He is thoroughly competent, having a comprehensive knowledge of mercantile affairs, and looks closely after the interests of his employers, who place implicit confidence in his ability to promote the growth of the trade.
Our subject was married September 21, 1892, and he and his bride have fitted up a home that is attractive, not only in its appointments, but in the gracious hospitality of its host and hostess. Mrs. Helm is a native of Clay County, where her father is engaged as a farmer and merchant.

Extracted 23 Apr 2016 from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 197-198.

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