ALLEN F. CALVIN.
It is fitting that in these biographical memoirs of the men of Southern Illinois the name of Allen F. Calvin, of Newton, Illinois, should have a place, for he has by his enterprise and his progressive methods contributed in a very material way to the industrial and commercial advancement not only of Newton, but also of the surrounding section. He is a splendid example of that typically American product the self-made man, for he was not born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but to the contrary has had to battle with life from his boyhood. He has had an honorable and successful business career, and has been a dominant factor in some of the most important enterprises in Newton. As a business man his ability is undoubted, and particularly is this true in the field of finance.
Allen F. Calvin was born in White county, Illinois, on the 15th of June, 1865. He is a son of Thomas Calvin, who, although the earlier years of his life were devoted to farming, later 'became a railroad man and was connected with this industry at the time of his death. In 1863 he was
married to Mary C. Hanks, and four children were born to him and his wife. Of these Allen F. Calvin was the next to the eldest. Two of the children died in infancy, leaving Allen and his brother Frank, who at present resides in the city of Indianapolis. Thomas Calvin died in December, 1908, having been preceded by his wife, who died in March, 1897.
Shortly after the birth of Allen F. Calvin his parents removed to Flora, Illinois, and here the boy grew up. The family while not poor were only in comfortable circumstances, and since an education was something of a luxury in those times young Allen did not have many years in the school room. Three winters, that was all, but he made the most of his time and obtained as much benefit as a boy nowadays would from double the time. To use his own picturesque phrase, he is a graduate of that school known as experience, and many of his early disappointments he has found to be valuable assets in after life. He remained in the town of Flora until 1881, and then at the age of sixteen determined to go to Newton and find work.
He therefore came to Newton, and secured employment as a clerk in a clothing store, following this line of work until February, 1895, when he formed a partnership with E. W. Hersh in the investment business. The firm, which was known as Hersh and Calvin, existed until 1901, and they built up a very lucrative business. Between 1895 and 1901 they purchased the Bank of Newton, a private banking house. This they conducted in connection with their investment, and their patronage grew so large that they finally determined to nationalize the institution. In 1901, therefore, the Bank of Newton, became the First National Bank of Newton, Illinois. When this was done they closed out the investment business in order to have more time to give to the new enterprise. Mr. Calvin is vice president of the First National Bank of Newton, Illinois, and is also one of the owners of the Bank of Commerce, a private banking house, located at Wheeler, Illinois. In 1905 Mr. Calvin again went into the investment business, operating independently. He deals mainly with first mortgage loans, and much of his time is spent in looking after his large real estate holdings and in caring for his banking interests.
Mr. Calvin was married in April, 1888, to Miss Eva Shup, a daughter of George H. and Elsie C. Shup, of Newton. Mr. and Mrs. Calvin have no children, but they have the love of the little folks far and near. It is safe to trust a child's intuition, so it will cause no surprise that Mr. and Mrs. Calvin should have a very large circle of friends, who respect them for the strength and fineness of their characters, and love them for the charm of their personalities. Both Mr. Calvin and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Politically Mr. Calvin is a Republican, but his interest in politics is only that of an intelligent voter and he has no desire for political honors. His fraternal affiliations are with the Masons and the Knights of Pythias. He is also a member of the Commercial Club, taking an active part in the work of this organization, and he has done as much to put Newton on the map of Illinois as has any one man in his city.