L. JASPER HESS, president of the Anna National Bank, and of the W. W. Stokes Company, at Anna, Illinois, is an excellent example of the successful business citizens of Southern Illinois whose early training has been secured in the agricultural line, and whose education along the lines of the strict discipline of the farm has formed the foundation upon which their subsequent success has been built. Mr. Hess is a native of Union county, Illinois, and was born on a farm four miles southeast of Anna, in 1849. His education was secured in the common district schools of his neighborhood, and he held membership in the first free school in this locality. Combined with the farming operations to which he devoted himself, Mr. Hess spent the winter months as a teacher for eight or ten years, thus augmenting his income, and when he was twenty-eight years of age he was able to leave the Mississippi Bottoms and purchase a tract of 160 acres of good land one and one-half miles east of Anna. There he settled down to cultivate a property, engaging in both farming and stock raising, and developed a property that compared favorably with any of its size in this part of the county. He was elected sheriff of Union county in 1902, and in 1904 he came to Anna, sold his farm, and continued to act as sheriff until 1906, when his term expired. He spent fifteen months in California, and on his return became president of the W. W. Stokes Company, a large agricultural implement business, the affairs of which he has handled very successfully to the present time, also acting as president of the Anna National Bank, one of the solid and substantial financial institutions of this section.
Mr. Hess has been a prominent Mason for some years and now holds membership in Lodge No. 520 and R. A. Chapter No. 45. He is
a trustee of the Presbyterian church, in the work of which he has been very active, and is also a member of the board of trustees of the Union Academy. A Democrat in politics, he served as a member of the county board from 1889 to 1895, and for twelve years prior to coming to Anna acted as township treasurer. To his official positions Mr. Hess has brought the same conscientious regard as to duty, and the same principles of honesty and integrity that have characterized and made successful his business activities. He is strong in his ideas of right and wrong and fearless in defending his opinions and principles, although he is not bigoted and is ever ready to recognize and respect the rights of others. Those whose affairs have been placed in his charge have the utmost faith and confidence in his ability to handle them satisfactorily, and any enterprises with which his name is connected it is safe to feel will be conducted along legitimate lines. Mr. Hess has been a member of the official board of the District Fair of Anna for some years, and identifies himself with all movements calculated to make for progress. Very fond of travel, Mr. Hess has proved an exceptionally interesting writer for the papers on the customs of the various countries to which he has gone, and this was especially demonstrated in 1900, when he attended the Paris Exposition, and during his trip visited all the prominent points in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, France, England and Ireland.
In 1907, Mr. Hess was married to Mrs. Eliza (Hess) LeRoy. She has a son, Dr. Emory LeRoy, born to her first marriage. Dr. LeRoy was born June 4, 1885, and first attended Union Academy for six years, graduating therefrom in 1903. He then spent two years in McKendree College, Lebanon, Illinois, at the end of which time he entered Northwestern University, Chicago, from which he was graduated with the degree of M. D., in 1909. He spent one year in St. Vincent's Hospital, Toledo, Ohio, and on August 18, 1910, sailed for Vienna, and studied also in Berlin, Germany. He is now in Chicago, engaged in research work