E. W. HERSH.
Among those men who have contributed much towards the upbuilding and general advancement of the town of Newton, E. W. Hersh takes prominent and undisputed rank. First as the owner of the Bank of Newton, in connection with Mr. A. F. Calvin, and later, on its reorganization, as president of the First National Bank and its heaviest stock holder, he has been prominent in financial circles for a number of years, and he has not withheld his energies and assistance when any movement for the betterment of the civic welfare of the community was under consideration.
E. W. Hersh was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, January 10, 1866. His father, John Hersh, was born in Licking county, Ohio, in 1843. He was a practicing physician in Defiance, Ohio, in the early '70s, being a graduate of a Cincinnati Medical College, and was active in the profes
sion until the time of his death, which occurred in 1901. He married Nancy Dowd, a native of Ohio, and of their seven children E. W. Hersh is the fourth in order of birth. Dr. Hersh was a Republican in his political affiliations, and he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
The early life of E. W. Hersh was spent in Ohio. He attended the public schools, graduated from the high school of his town, following which he entered Chautauqua University in New York, taking a collegiate course and graduating therefrom in 1882 with high honors. When Mr. Hersh first came to Illinois he entered the office of Gibson & Johnson attorneys, as a stenographer, filling that position creditably. He did not neglect any chance opportunities, and in his spare moments he read law until in 90 he was admitted to the bar. He practiced until 1896 in Newton, and at that time he bought the Newton Bank, then a private institution, an assumed complete charge of it. In 1907 the bank was nationalized, becoming the First National Bank of Newton, with a capital of $50,000, and a surplus of $15,000, Mr. Hersh being the heaviest stockholder, and the president of the bank as well. In addition to his interest in the bank, which is the largest in the county, its stockholders being all local men and built up entirely by local efforts, Mr. Hersh is the owner of a considerable amount of real estate, including dwellings and business houses in Newton, and is generally conceded to be one of the wealthiest of that town.
Mr. Hersh was captain of Company B, Fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the Spanish-American war, serving from May 20, 1898, to March, 1899, when he was compelled to resign on account of his health. He was in command of his company during the Chicago riots of 1894 and the Carterville Mine riots in 1899 and 1900.
In addition to his other labors in behalf of his county Mr. Hersh has been an important factor in arousing the people of his section to the splendid possibilities of Southern Illinois as an apple growing country. He made a careful study of the apple situation as it existed in Illinois then, and arrived at the conclusion that the rapidly decreasing annual production could be brought up to a figure never before realized. He went to Colorado, and to Oregon, the “land of the big, red apple,” and he made careful study of the ways and means of the apple grower of the west. Returning to Illinois, he proved the validity of his contention by personally superintending the care of an apple orchard for four years, producing phenomenal crops as a result of the close and careful study he had given the matter. He has demonstrated to the people of his vicinity that apples are a paying crop in Illinois, and a new interest is being displayed in that industry.
In 1891 Mr. Hersh married Miss Flora E. Shup, the youngest daughter of George H. Shup. They have been the parents of two children: Gordon, born March 4, 1895, and died in October, 1901, and Marjorie. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and Mr. Hersh is a member of the Masonic lodge and the nights of Pythias, as well as being a prominent member of the Newton Commercial Club.