J. CYRIL BEGG.
Thus far in his life the career of J. Cyril Begg has been one of abounding interest, filled with experiences which do not make up a part of the existence of the average man. He has traveled widely, in a capacity calculated to permit him to see a side of life with which few of us are familiar, and after fifteen years of roving has settled down in Mount Vernon as vice-president and general manager of the Collins Produce Company, organized and incorporated on March 1, 1907, as a direct result of his efforts. It is one of the largest concerns of its kind in the country, and under the able management of its vice-president and manager is making steady and persistent strides in conservative advancement.
J. Cyril Begg was born October 7, 1875, in Canada. He is the son of Victor Begg, also a native of Canada and still residing at Moose Creek, Ontario, .where his father, James Begg, the grandfather of J. Cyril Begg, settled when he immigrated from Dundee, Scotland, as a young man. Victor Begg married Martha Blair, the daughter of Joseph Blair, a native of Drogheda, Ireland, who immigrated to Canada when a young man, and they were the parents of eight children, two of whom are deceased. Those living are Wilbert, a farmer near the old homestead in Canada; J. Cyril, of Mount Vernon; Walter, in New York City; Melvin, on the old homestead; Laura, married and living in Canada; Nellie, who is at home. Cevilla and Mary are deceased.
J. Cyril Begg was reared on the farm home at Moose Creek, Ontario. His schooling was, for the most part, given him in the Cornwall high school. After leaving school he clerked in a country store in a small town in Ontario, and in 1892 he left there and went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was in the employ of his uncle in a store for the space of a year. In 1893 he went to Chicago, attracted by the great World's Fair then being carried on in that city, and he followed various occupations there for several months. In the latter part of that year he went to New York, where he was variously employed for some time, after which he took a position on a stock farm at Oradell, New Jersey. From there he went to Spark Hill, New York, .where he was employed in a similar capacity, and on his next move he went to Liverpool, England, with a load of trotting horses for his employer, who was engaged in the horse business, handling, training and trotting horses, with headquarters in New York City. A few years later he was sent to Vienna, Austria, in
charge of eighteen head of trotting horses valued at $38,000. He lived in Vienna for sixteen months and on his return trip to America made a tour of Germany, Ireland and Scotland, arriving in Philadelphia in 1898, with the intention of enlisting in the United States army. His application was refused, however, and he accordingly went to Bellemead, New Jersey, where he was again employed in the horse business. Some little time after that he gave up his connection with that line of work and opened a restaurant in Guttenberg, New Jersey, continuing with that business until 1901, when he removed to New York and again had charge of two stables, which sheltered the most famous trotting and pacing horses known to the world at that time, which was at the opening of the New York speedway. Later he became engaged with the West Washington Poultry Market, remaining with that firm for one year, after which he went into business for himself as a live poultry dealer in New York City. He was soon crowded out of that business by a combination of interests, and he went on the road as a buyer of poultry for the firm of Charles Collins Company of New York City. His territory was wide in its scope, covering a stretch from New York to Arkansas. In Southern Illinois he was deeply impressed by the everywhere visible opportunities for opening a business similar to that in which he was then engaged, and returning to New York City he succeeded in interesting sufficient capital to float the enterprise for which his keen mind had already laid plans, and on March 1, 1907, the Collins Produce Company was incorporated with a capital stock of twenty thousand dollars. The concern is officered thus: President, E. V. Dwyer; vice-president and general manager, J. Cyril Begg; secretary and treasurer, A. G. Dwyer. The firm has grown apace since its inception, and now has six branch houses in Southern Illinois and Indiana, they being located severally at Mount Vernon, Cypress, Centralia, Vincennes, Flora and Olney. The volume of business done by this young concern is phenomenal, in 1911 aggregating over $551,000. The main office is in New York City, and the firm ships live poultry to points extending from Portland, Maine, to Tampa, Florida.
In addition to his business interests Mr. Begg has come to be recognized as a man of many splendid qualities. His citizenship is of an unusually high order, and he is particularly active in any work or movement intended for the betterment of the general welfare. He is a member of the Presbyterian church of Mount Vernon, and active in all departments of its work, serving as one of the board of deacons of that church. He is also and has been for three years past the president of the One Hundred Men's Bible Class, which he was instrumental in organizing. He is prominent in fraternal circles, being a member of Mount Vernon lodge, No. 31, A. F. & A. M.; H. W. Hubbard Chapter, No. 160, Royal Arch Masons; Patton Commandery, No. 69, Knights Templar; and is the worthy patron of Mount Vernon Chapter,. No. 233, Order of Eastern Star, as well as being a member of Marion lodge, No. 13, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
On October 24, 1900, Mr. Begg was married in New York City to Miss Anna Dickson, a native of Manchester, England.
Mr. Begg is an author of well known ability, and among other popular productions he has written:
We read about the “Nutmeg State” and the State of the Red-men 's home, The “Granite State,” the ''Creole State” and the State where the gophers roam,
They tell about the “Golden State” and the State of William Penn. But give me old Missouri, with her Hen-Hen-Hen.