GEORGE L. GAHM.
The Johnston City State Bank, one of the most solid and substantial financial institutions in Southern Illinois, has been fortunate in securing for its officers men of wide and varied experience in the banking business, whose integrity and probity have never been questioned, and in whom the people of the community repose the utmost confidence. In this connection may be mentioned George L. Gahm, cashier of this bank, who has spent practically all of his business career in the same line in this section. Mr. Gahm is a product of Jackson county, Ohio, and was born November 25, 1877, a son of Henry J. and Anna Mary (Motz) Gahm.
The grandfather of George L. Gahm, Jacob Gahm, was born on the river Rhine, at Keisterlauten, Germany, in 1810, and was there married to a Miss Geip, who died during the forties, having been the mother of these children: Jacob, who is a farmer in Jackson county, Ohio; John, who died in that county as a farmer and left a family; Phoebe, who married Henry Baker and resides in Saline county, Illinois; and Henry J., the father of George L. Gahm. Jacob Gahm came to the United States and settled in Jackson county, Ohio, was married three times here and died in 1883, having been engaged in agricultural pursuits. Henry J. Gahm was born in Jackson county, Ohio, in 1848, and grew up absolutely without mental training in school, being able neither to read nor write when he reached manhood. It is a strange commentary upon fair Ohio, for universal education is one thing for which that state stands. However, conditions sometimes control in opposition to constant temptations to the god of learning, and Henry J. Gahm's school was the school of hard work. His task lay frequently in the wood, where, with axe or grubbing hoe, he dealt the forest its death blows and helped to bring under cultivation the soil which was the support of the old folks at home. When he went out into the world, observation taught him many things of value, and it is not surprising to know that he was able successfully to cope with his fellows and literally to carve a place for himself among the modest tradesmen of his community. Coming to Saline county in 1882, he settled on a farm near Galatia, being engaged in agriculture until 1890, when he moved to Ridgeway, there entering the merchandise business and later purchasing a livery and engaging in dealing in horses. He has continued to reside there to the present time and is respected and esteemed by all who know him as a man who has been the architect of his own fortunes. Mr. Gahm married Anna Mary Motz, daughter of John Motz, from Katzweiler, Germany, another Rhine city, and these children have been born to this union: John Jacob, assistant cashier of the Johnson City State Bank and married to Millie Stricklin; Frank K., who is traveling for I. Gains & Company, of Evansville, Indiana; George L.; and Callie, who married C. C. Shewmaker, of Ridgway, Illinois.
George L. Gahm was educated in the district schools in Ridgway and in Fairfield, Illinois. He finished no prescribed course and can be said to have had only a good common-school education. He began his
business career as a humble employeof the Gallatin County Bank at Ridgway, and was both a clerk and bookkeeper under the direction of D. K. Widemann, and acquired a splendid foundation for a commercial life during the four years he was in the bank. Leaving that institution, Mr. Gahm spent a year as merchant's clerk in Eldorado, Illinois, with C. P. Burentt & Sons, but then returned to banking and took charge of the bank at Thompsonville, Illinois, the affairs of which he continued to conduct for three years. On February 2, 1905, Mr. Gahm came to Johnson City and accepted the cashiership of the reorganized bank of which the Johnson City State Bank is the successor, and has contributed very materially to the development of a strong financial institution here. The president of this bank, Peter Wastier, is one of the most capable business men of this section, and there are other stock-holders who have amply demonstrated their financial ability.
The Gahms have ever comported themselves as unassuming citizens, have allied themselves with Democracy for governmental reasons, have not desired political preferment, and by training are connected with the Lutheran church. George L. Gahm is an Elk of Marion Lodge, No. 800, and he and his father are Chapter Masons, while Jacob and Frank have only the master degrees. All of the members of this old family are well and favorably known here, and in whatever walk of life they have been placed have distinguished themselves by their strict integrity and industry.
On June 22, 1898, George L. Gahm was married to Miss Anna D. Combs, daughter of Dr. G. W. and Hannah (Hemphill) Combs, whose other children were: Professor Fuller Combs, a teacher in the city schools of Spokane, Washington; Samuel, who is engaged in farming near Ridgway, Illinois; George E., of the same address; Agnes, who married J. H. Campbell and resides at Greenup, Illinois; and Miss Ella. Mr. and Mrs. Gahm have an interesting daughter, Mary Elizabeth, who was born in 1904.