Biography of Albert W. Wallace
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Albert W. Wallace is president of the First National Bank of Tuscola, one of the leading banking institutions of central Illinois. The First National Bank was organized in November, 1869, with a paid up capital of one hundred and thirteen thousand dollars. Its first president was William P. Cannon (a brother of Congressman J. G. Cannon) and W. H. Lamb was the first cashier. Mr. Cannon remained president until 1872, when he was succeeded by Henry T. Caraway, who remained president up to January 1, 1898, when he was succeeded by Mr. Wallace. Mr. Lamb remained cashier up to July 1, 1898, when he was succeeded by the present cashier, F. H. Hammett. The bank was reorganized in the fall of 1890 and the capital stock reduced to sixty thousand dollars. The directors of this bank arc among the wealthiest men of the County.
A. W. Wallace, who has been connected with the First National Bank for years, is a son of Andrew G. Wallace, whose death occurred in July, 1878. The ancestry of the Wallace family is traced back to Scotland. Andrew G.’s grandfather emigrated from Scotland to Ireland, and from there to America, settling in Pennsylvania near where the three states of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania came together. He had five sons, three of whom moved away from their Pennsylvania home. One of these was William Wallace, the youngest child, who came to Hardin County, Kentucky, and from there removed to Davis County, Indiana, where Andrew G. Wallace was horn March 31, 1824. He was the second child by his father’s second wife, whose maiden name was Vashti Winkler. When two years old his father moved from Davis County to Vermillion County, Indiana, and there settled down as a farmer. After a residence of about ten years, the family, in 1833 or 1834, came to Coles County, and located on Gresey creek, just south of the line which now divides Douglas from Coles County. The country was thinly settled both in Vermilion and Coles counties, where Mr. Wallace’s boyhood was spent, and but scanty advantages were afforded for obtaining anything like a good education. He was compelled to rely mainly on his own resources, but his quick perceptive faculties and industry enabled him to pick up a large amount of information, thus fitting himself for the duties of his after life. In 1841 the family moved north, in what is now Douglas County, and kept the widely known “Wallace stand,” west of Hickory Grove, which received its name from the family. In 1842 his father died. Mr. Wallace was then in his eighteenth year, and the charge of the family fell upon him, his older brother having previously left home. He remained on the homestead and continued to farm until 1854. On November 22, 1845, he married Harriet E. Busby, a native of Ohio, whose family had come to Illinois in 1836. At this time his younger brothers and sisters were grown up and were able to take care of themselves. His mother died in 1848. In 1854 Mr. Wallace removed to Camargo and began business there as a cattle dealer. After a residence of four years there he removed to Tuscola, then just springing into’ existence, the fourth house indeed having been built by Mr. Wallace himself. Here he kept a hotel for about two years. From the inception of the plan of forming a new County out of the north of Coles, Mr. Wallace was deeply interested in it, and he may be said to have been the prime mover in the project. The petition presented to the Legislature during the session of 1858-9, in gaining which the bill was passed organizing the County, was drawn up by Mr. Wallace. He subsequently used all his influence to secure a favorable vote, on the question being submitted to the people of Coles County. In the spring of 1858 he was elected justice of the peace of Tuscola, the first ever elected in the town. In the year of 1859 he was elected first circuit clerk of the County. To this position lie was re-elected in 1860, again in 1864 and again in 1868, thus serving four consecutive terms, per-forming the duties of the office to his own credit and the satisfaction of the people. In June, 1859, he was appointed master in chancery, a position which he still holds. For the last twelve years Mr. Wallace has been extensively engaged in the money loaning and real estate business. He possesses a complete set of abstracts and has every facility for the trans-action of business in that line. Mr. Wallace was one of the pioneers of Tuscola and one of the founders of the town. With one exception he is the oldest resident. He was the first per-son in the town who could sing a religious song, the other inhabitants in some way being deficient in their musical acquirements. Mr. Wallace and his wife, with Mr. Thomas Woody and his wife, organized the Methodist Church of Tuscola, of which he was a faithful and consistent member and for a long period class leader. To his exertions was largely due the building of the present Church edifice.
For twenty-five years in all Mr. Wallace served the people in various capacities-sufficient evidence of his popularity and the confidence reposed in him as an honest and faithful officer. He had ten children, all of whom are living. In his younger days he was a Whig. On the dissolution of that party he became a Republican, and was as steadfast in his adherence to the principles of that party as he was enthusiastic in its support. During the war he was active and liberal in the support of the Union cause, sacrificing both time and money. Few men were more closely associated with the progress of the County, and few were better citizens.