JOHN G. HARDY. A prominent figure in connection with financial and other business activities of Southern Illinois and a citizen whose influence has been cast in support of progressive measures along both civic and material lines, John G. Hardy is known as one of the representative citizens of Murphysboro, the judicial center of Jackson county, and has done much to foster its progress and prosperity. He is president of the City National Bank, one of the solid and popular financial institutions of this section of the state and one of which specific mention is made on other pages of this work, so that further data concerning the same are not demanded in the present article.
John G. Hardy was born in Vienna, Johnson county, Illinois, on the 16th of April, 1859, and is a son of William B. and Malinda (Willis) Hardy, natives of Kentucky. William B. Hardy established his home in Johnson county, Illinois, in the pioneer days and became one of the prosperous farmers of this state, where he was known as a man of ability and sterling integrity and where he gained independence and definite prosperity through his well directed efforts. Both he and his wife passed the closing years of their lives in Jackson county, and passed to eternal rest secure in the high regard of all who knew them. Both were zealous members of the Methodfst Episcopal church, South, and in politics the father gave his support to thc cause of the Democratic party. Of the four children two sons and one daughter are now living.
He whose name initiates this review has been a resident of Jackson county from his childhood days and here he was reared under the sturdy discipline of the farm, in whose work he early began to lend his aid. He was afforded the advantages of the public schools and the Southern Illinois Normal University, at Carbondale. He forthwith put his scholastic attainments to practical test and utilization and for four years was engaged in teaching in the district schools. He proved successful and, popular as an exponent of the pedagogic profession,
but soon sought other fields of endeavor. In 1884 he was appointed deputy county clerk of Jackson county, and he continued to be identified with this important department of the county government until 1892, when, upon the organization of the same, he assumed the position of cashier of the City National Bank, in the organizing of which, as successor of the Bank of Murphysboro, he had been instrumental. In this position Mr. Hardy proved a most discriminating and able executive, and the estimate placed upon his services was shown by his election to the office of president of the institution, on the 1st of May, 1899. As chief executive he has followed the same progressive and duly conservative policies which he had furthered during his services as cashier, and the upbuilding of the large and substantial business of this bank has been in large measure due to his efforts. He is a thorough and careful business man and his personal popularity, which is of unequivocal order, has its basis in the inflexible integrity of purpose manifested by him in all the relations of life and to his kindly and considerate attitude in his association with his fellow men. He is a man of broad views and well fortified opinions, is essentially loyal and public-spirited as a citizen, and takes a vital interest in all that touches the welfare of his home city and county. In addition to giving scrupulous attention to the affairs of the bank Mr. Hardy has given his influence and capitalistic support to various other enterprises of important order. He is treasurer of the Murphysboro Telephone Company and also of the Ohio and Mississippi Valley Telephone Company; is secretary and treasurer of the Murphysboro Electric Railway, Heat, Light & Power Company; and is a director of the Jackson County Building & Loan Association, besides which he is the owner of much valuable real estate in Jackson county. In politics Mr. Hardy accords staunch allegiance to the Democratic party, but he has not had ambition to enter the turbulent stream of so-called practical politics. Aside from his service in the office of county clerk his only active association with public office has been as a member of the Murphysboro board of education, of which he was a director for a long period and at one time president, his interest in educational affairs being of most earnest order. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, in their home city and are zealous in the various departments of its work. He has served for a numbers of years as a member of its official board and is still in tenure of this position. Mr. Hardy is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, in which he is a member of the local lodge and chapter; is prominently identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he is a past grand and which he has represented in the Grand Lodge of the state, besides which he holds membership in the adjunct organization, the Daughters of Rebekah. In the time-honored Masonic fraternity he is identified also with the Order of the Eastern Star, and as a member of the Knights of Pythias he also holds membership in the woman's auxiliary of the same.
On the 6th of January, 1886, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hardy to Miss Neal, who was born at Murphysboro, Illinois, and who is a daughter of the late Henry B. Neal, an honored resident of Murphysboro at the time of his death. Concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Hardy the following brief record is entered in conclusion of this review: Ruth is the wife of Harry C. Wilson, of Jonesboro, Union county; Nell remains at the parental home; John G., Jr., is a student in High school; Carl N. and Robert H. are attending the public schools of their home city; and Mary E. and Esther both remain at
home. The family is prominent and popular in connection with the social affairs of the community and the pleasant home is known for its gracious hospitality.