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An able lawyer, a successful financier, and a man recognized as a state leader in Illinois Democracy, is Elmore W. Hurst, of Rock Island, one of the senior members of the legal firm of Jackson, Hurst & Stafford.
Mr. Hurst was born December 6, 1851, in Rock Island, which city has ever since been his home. His parents were William and Anna (Hurlock) Hurst, both natives of the State of Delaware. The father, who was of English descent, came to Rock Island in 1837, and here he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. Coming to Rock Island when what is now a city, was but a mere handful of people gathered together in a little village, he saw the town gradually increase in size and importance as new business enterprises were added from time to time, and in that growth and progress he, himself, was prominently identified. Both the elder Mr. and Mrs. Hurst were among the early members of the First Methodist Church of Rock Island, and were unswerving and untiring in their loyalty and devotion to the church of their choice. To this couple were born five children, three of whom are still living: Miss Mary Hurst, Mrs. Julia Stafford, and Elmore W. Hurst, the subject of this review.
After completing a course of study in the public schools of Rock Island, Elmore W. Hurst decided upon a business career, beginning as bookkeeper, and later being promoted to the position of assistant cashier in the Rock Island National Bank. His connection with that institution continued for eight years. Mr. Hurst had for some considerable time cherished an ambition to become a lawyer, and at the end of his eight years of service in the banking house in which he was employed, he had formed a definite determination to fit himself for membership in the legal profession. With that end in view he took up the study of law in the office of the Hon. W. H. Gest, who was then a practicing attorney in Rock Island, and in 1883 Mr. Hurst was admitted to the bar. Immediately upon his admission as an attorney he began the practice of his profession. A man of great natural ability and of close application his rise in the profession has been a steady one, and today both he, himself, and the firm of which he is a member, are recognized as leaders at the Rock Island County Bar. In 1891 Mr. Hurst formed a partnership with the Hon. William Jackson, the style of the firm being Jackson & Hurst. This partnership continued until 1902 when the firm was enlarged by the admission into it of Mr. Hurst’s two nephews, John T. and Elmore H. Stafford. This firm’s offices in the Masonic Temple are the most commodious and well arranged in the city, the volume of their business requiring the employment of several assistants.
On May 29, 1873, occurred the marriage of Mr. Hurst and Miss Harriet M. Field. For years Mr. and Mrs. Hurst made their home on the corner of Nineteenth Street and Sixth Avenue in Rock Island, but in 1906 Mr. Hurst purchased the old Buford residence at the head of Eighteenth Street, a large and handsome edifice built in the old Southern style of architecture. This he has thoroughly remodeled and modernized, and there he now resides.
He is a large owner of farm lands in the north and west and has extensive holdings in business realty in Rock Island, also being interested as a stock holder in several banks, both in Rock Island and in western cities. Mr. Hurst is a man of business sagacity and financial acumen, and the modest fortune which he has accumulated is an honest one, the result of prudent and careful investment in real estate that has increased greatly in value and which now yields handsome re-turns.
As has been stated, Mr. Hurst is a prominent Democrat. He was elected on that ticket to the Illinois Legislature in 1888 and 1900. His name has been several times mentioned as a possible candidate for Governor of Illinois upon the Democratic ticket, and it is certain that he could have received the honor of a nomination to that office at the hands of his party had he so desired.
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He is a member of the First Methodist Church, the church of his parents, where, for several years, he filled the office of one of the trustees. Fraternally, he is identified with the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
During the years 1905 and 1906 Mr. Hurst was elected president of the Rock Island County Bar Association, his successor in that office being Hon. Chas. J. Searle, the present incumbent.
A man of strong personality, Mr. Hurst commands the admiration and respect, not only of his fellow members of the bar, but of the body of Rock Island’s citizenship. He is honorable, upright and conscientious in his dealings, and always absolutely fair and sincere. He is a man who believes in the future of his native city and he has proved that his belief is a sincere one by investing many thousands of dollars in Rock Island real- estate, and by improving property that he owns. Such men are invaluable to any city in which they exert their ability and expend large sums of money in its improvement.