One of the most notable examples of the self-made man to be found in Johnson county is William E. George, of Cache township, who, losing his father at a tender age and being compelled to be content with but scanty educational advantages in order that he might contribute to the support of his mother's family, learned the lessons of thrift and industry so well that he has risen to a place among the leading agriculturists of his section. Mr. George was born December 13, 1862, on a farm in Knox county, Illinois, and is a son of Isaac and Elizabeth Ann (Whitman) George.

Isaac George was born in Pennsylvania, of German extraction, and lived for a short time in Knox county, Illinois. In 1864 he took his family to Muscatine county, Iowa, where he met death by drowning in 1867. He and his wife, who was born November 7, 1836, in Baltimore, Maryland, had five sons: Plummer, who died at the age of sixteen years; Charles, who is engaged in farming; William B.; Whitfield, who died in infancy; and John W., an agriculturist of Kentucky. Mrs. George later married for her second husband L. A. Walker, and they had two daughters, namely: Josie, who died at the age of nineteen years; and Mrs. Jennie Miller. In 1868 the family moved to northwestern Missouri, near Lexington, but in 1872 returned to Illinois, settling on a rented farm in Union county, where they resided until 1882, and then coming to Johnson county, the sons in the meantime working on rented farms. In 1886 William B. George was married and purchased forty acres in Cache township, and Charles E., in 1891, purchased forty acres. William E. George has prospered exceedingly, and his success has been entirely the result of his own labors. When he began farming on his own account he did not have a dollar, and went into debt to the extent of two hundred dollars for his first forty acres, which he soon had developed to such an extent that the land was worth eight hundred dollars. Soon thereafter he purchased forty acres of railroad land for two hundred dollars, and his third forty acres cost him one thousand dollars, but he is now the owner of five hundred and fifty acres, valued at about fourteen thousand dollars, three hundred and fifty acres being under cultivation. Like many of his fellow-agriculturists in this part of the county, he devotes a great deal of attention to breeding live stock, and his annual shipment of animals includes twenty mules and horses, twelve head of cattle, fifty sheep and from fifty to one hundred hogs. As a man who has benefited his community by assisting in developing its resources, and as a citizen who has always been ready to assist in movements calculated to be of benefit to his section, Mr. George is respected and esteemed by his fellow townsmen, who acknowledge him to be a good, practical farmer and an excellent judge of live-stock. He is progressive in all matters, and believes in the use of the most modern machinery and methods. He belongs to the Masonic order as a member of Belknap Lodge and Vienna Chapter, in both of which he is extremely popular, as he is with the members of the Modern Woodmen of America, with which he is also connected. With his family he attends the Methodist Episcopal church, and has been active in its work.

Mr. George was married in 1886 to Miss Sarah Ellen Littleton, daughter of Thomas Littleton, a native of North Carolina, of English descent, who migrated to Tennessee and then to Illinois, and who died November 27, 1898. Mr. and Mrs. George have had eleven children, of whom nine are living, as follows: Raleigh, who is married and has three children, Ernest, Chelis and Madge; William T., who is also married; and Walter E., Clyde, DeWitt, Curtis, Homer, Fred and Ray, all of whom live on the farm with their parents.

Extracted 07 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George Washington Smith, published in 1912, volume 3, pages 1200-1201.

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