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Biography of William W. Earnest

William W. Earnest. Firmly entrenched in the American heart is the public school system, which, while not perfect perhaps, is continually being improved, largely as the result of the efforts of conscientious, intellectual leaders. The city of Champaign in its superintendent of schools has a well qualified, constructive man, a graduate of the University of Illinois and a thorough teacher as well as executive. He is William W. Earnest, who has occupied this responsible office for the past nine years. William W. Earnest was born in Mississippi, October 1, 1863, one of a family of three children born to his parents, who were John W. and Julia J. (Woolley) Earnest. Both parents were natives of Illinois, the father born in Sangamon and the mother in Greene County. Both are now deceased, the death of the father occurring in 1902. He was one of the Argonauts who, in 1850, went to California in search of gold, of which he found enough to pay for his time, and he had many interesting experiences and adventures. From California he returned to Illinois, but afterward went to Mississippi and was engaged in managing sawmills there at the outbreak of the war between the states and found it impossible to escape from a situation embarrassing to a northern man until the opening of the Mississippi and Yazoo mines in the spring of 1864. Later on he followed the peaceful pursuits of agriculture in Macoupin County, Illinois. William W. Earnest attended the public schools of Greenfield, and after completing the high school course and a college course in the Valparaiso University he was engaged for...

Biography of Edward P. Ray

Edward P. Ray. Fortunate is the man who finds his work in the world early in life and concentrates all his energies upon discharging his duties and responsibilities with credit and efficiency. One of this fortunate class was Edward P. Ray of Arkansas City. His father and grandfather before him were in the produce business, established one of the early concerns of that kind in Southern Michigan, and the old house is still flourishing and doing a large business at Coldwater, Michigan, today. Edward P. Ray grew up in that business atmosphere and after breaking home ties and family associations he readily found places of responsibility with other concerns. In the course of his career he came out to Kansas, and for a number of years was manager of the A. S. Kininmonth Company, a produce concern whose activities are practically state wide in Kansas. Mr. Ray was born at Coldwater, Michigan, December 1, 1875, and came of old American Colonial stock. His paternal ancestors settled in New York in the early days. His grandfather, Henry Ray, was born at Oaks Corners in Ontario County, New York, in 1823. For a number of years he was a grocer at Phelps, New York, and organized the produce business which his son, E. F. Ray, still conducts. Henry Ray died at Coldwater, Michigan, in 1885. He came to voting age when the whigs were still a powerful organization, and from that party affiliation he gravitated into the ranks of the republicans. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and at one time served as a member of the New...

Biography of Samuel C. Varner

Samuel C. Varner, a retired banker and merchant at Moran, is a veteran of the Civil war, and was one of the earliest business men to locate in Moran. His paternal ancestors came out of Germany and were colonial settlers in Pennsylvania. Samuel C. Varner was born in Pennsylvania at Monongahcla on December 10, 1845. His grandfather, John Varner, was born in the eastern part of that state at Lancaster, was a cabinet maker by trade, was a soldier in the War of 1812, and spent most of his years at Monongahela City and at Pittsburg. He married Elizabeth McKnight, of Maysville, Kentucky. She died at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. John McKnight Varner, father of Samuel C., was born at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, March 26, 1817. He spent his early life at Pittsburg, was married at Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, and then lived for a number of years at Monongahela City. In early life he was a glass blower by trade, subsequently became a merchant, and in March, 1857, he came west and located at Canton in Fulton County, Illinois. After coming to Illinois he followed the trade of painter. In 1867 he went to Bushnell, Illinois, and that city was his home the rest of his life. However, he died while on a visit to Moran, Kansas, in October, 1895. He was laid to rest at his old home in Bushnell. Though quite an old man at the time he did a gallant service as a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war. He enlisted in 1862 in the One Hundred and Third Illinois Infantry and was in service three years,...

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