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Edward V. More. Of the families of Champaign County whose industry and activities of life have contributed materially to the prosperity and upbuilding of the community one of the most highly respected is that which bears the name of More, and which has a worthy representative in Edward V. More of Rantoul. Mr. More, who is engaged in the fire insurance business at this time and whose energies have taken him into other fields of endeavor during a long and uniformly successful career, was born in St. Joseph County, Michigan, and is a son of James R. and Louisa M. (Lee) More, natives of the county of Delaware, New York. The paternal grandfather was Henry More, a native of the Empire State.
The More family is of sound and honorable English stock, but traces its ancestors back for a number of generations in this country, where its members have been conspicuous in numerous lines of human effort. One of the prominent family connections was Colonel James Fry, the following facts regarding whom have been taken from the archives of the State of Massachusetts: In a list of the men chosen for the expedition against Crown Point, April 15, 1756, agreeable to the order of his Excellency William Shirley, Esq., was Colonel James Fry of Andover, who was engaged April 19, 1775. It was reported in the Provincial Congress, May 20, 1775, that commissions be issued to officers of Colonel Fry’s regiment, and that Colonel Fry receive orders to make a disposition of his forces about Boston, dividing the army into three divisions, consisting of two brigades each, and forming a brigade in General Putnam’s division. Colonel Fry was also among the minute men who marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775, from Andover to Cambridge. Colonel Fry was born at Andover, Massachusetts, in 1710; died January 8, 1776; married, November 20, 1734, Elizabeth Osgood. Their daughter, Joanna Fry, born in 1737, died 1767, married Thomas Farrington. Their son, March Farrington, had a daughter, Betsey Ann, who married Henry More, Jr., and their son was James R. More.
James R. More was born at Delhi, New York, May 17, 1829, and was married October 26, 1852, to Louisa M. Lee, their children being: Edward V.; Ella Lee, who married John A. Pillars, had two children, Charles Adrian and Antoinette; Charles A. Pillars married Harriett Estes, and their daughter, Dorothy Lee, married William J. Taylor; Henry; Anna Helen, who is now Mrs. Tubbs; Bessie F., who died in infancy; Fred; and Nellie Lee, now Mrs. Parr. James R. More in his vocations alternated between farming and school teaching and writing fire insurance. He was for many years an educator in Michigan and also followed that occupation after his migration to Illinois, where, in 1859 and 1860, at Rantoul, he taught school. He died March 28, 1916, after an honorable life, respected and esteemed by the community. Mrs. More, a loving parent, faithful wife and affectionate and loyal friend, “whom none knew her but to love her, none named her but to praise,” entered into rest December 23, 1912.
Edward V., More was still a child when brought from his native place of Florence, St. Joseph County, Michigan, to Rantoul, Illinois. Here his father commenced teaching, and Edward V., a child of three years, was a privileged character in the schoolroom, where he would add to the amusement of the pupils by bringing his blocks and saying his letters. He was extraordinarily bright and progressive in his studies and in a few years could “spell down” the entire school, which he frequently did, thereby giving much pleasure to his parents, as well as to his aunt, Pauline More, who was also a teacher in the Rantoul school at that time. When he became a student in the Rantoul High School an event occurred that brought out the strong traits of character in the boy which, in later years, have been forcibly manifested in his various activities. At the time mentioned, the weather having become suddenly excessively hot, the students in the graduating class held a council and decided that the teacher should dismiss the school and accordingly called upon him with a demand that he do so. When he finally stated that he could not graduate the class unless they took another four weeks of study and the final examination, they deliberately took their books and walked out of school. Not so with young More, however, although his fellow pupils tried their utmost to win him to their way of thinking. He had just as strong ideas on the subject as they did and lived up to his determination to stay with his studies, and for four weeks longer pluckily remained at his desk, eventually passing his examination with credit. His teacher gave him his examination questions on slips of paper and he was required to answer them on the blackboard, which extended all around the room. He secured 100 in geography, 100 in history, 98 in grammar, and proportionately good marks in his other studies.
After his graduation Mr. More obtained employment with his uncle, J. A. Benedict, who conducted a general merchandise store and who proved a stanch and loyal friend, assisting and encouraging the youth and showing him numerous kindnesses that caused him to ever feel the greatest gratitude in after years. He remained with his uncle for ten years, or until the elder man’s death, when he went into the United States Railway Mail Service on the Illinois Central between Chicago and Centralia, being thus employed for three years. Later he held a position in the great department store of Marshall Field & Company at Chicago, and subsequently in the office of the Santa Fe Railroad at Streator, Illinois, following which he went to Auburn, New York, and established himself in business as the proprietor of a photographic studio. Returning to Rantoul in 1892, Mr. More embarked in the fire insurance business with his father, a field in which he has met with a satisfying measure of success, being the representative of several old-time companies and having built up an excellent business at Rantoul and throughout Champaign County. He is well known in business circles, where he has established a reputation for fidelity and integrity.
Mr. More has always been public spirited and interested in those things which promote the well being of a community. As proof of the confidence of the public in his judgment and ability, it may be stated that he filled the office of village clerk in a most satisfying manner for thirteen years, and for several years was also police magistrate. Politically he had always been a Republican until 1912, when, tinder the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, the great Progressive party movement was inaugurated, and Mr. More gave his support to the new organization. Fraternally he is affiliated with the local lodge of the Masonic order, of which he is a past master. His religious affiliation is with the Episcopal Church.
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The More family has contributed in liberal manner to the history of Champaign County, possessing those admirable and sterling traits of character ever found in those whose deeds in life have helped brighten the way for others. The family has also given to the world some strong and talented characters, among them the noted sculptor, Charles Adrian Pillars, a nephew of Edward V. More, who is the only one ever having the honor of placing a marble statue in the Hall of Fame in the Capitol at Washington, District of Columbia, that of Dr. John W. Gorrie, M. D., which stands next to that of Frances E. Willard. The latter was chosen by the State of Illinois, and the former by the State of Florida. Gorrie was the inventor of artificial ice before the Civil War, and his invention was considered of such great value in alleviating the suffering of the thousands of victims of yellow fever that the State of Florida chose him as its representative, and Mr. Pillars was commissioned to make the statue.
Edward V. More is the owner of a pleasant home at Rantoul, where he has the esteem of the community not only as a man who has led an honorable and useful life, but as the representative of a family the characteristics of which have stood for straightforward dealing and honorable conduct in all of life’s avenues of endeavor.