THOMAS F. HOOPES,
banker, financier and the leading business men of Sumner, was born in Lawrence county, Illinois, on the 4th of May, 1857. He is the son of Caleb and Margaret (Dennison) Hoopes. Caleb Hoopes was a native of the state of Pennsylvania, born in Westchester, that state, on June 11, 1827. He came to Illinois in 1851 and became interested in farming, in connection with which he ran a tannery, which trade he had learned while he was a resident of Indiana, between 1834 and 1851. He was a veteran of both the Mexican and Civil wars. In the Mexican war he served in the Third Indiana under General Lew Wallace; and in the Civil war he was a member of Company I of the One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois. He held the rank of sergeant during the
latter named war. When peace was once more restored after the Civil war Mr. Hoopes returned to his home in Lawrence county, there becoming engaged in the mercantile business at Sumner. In 1867 he was appointed postmaster of Sumner, and he retained that office during twenty-one consecutive years. He was supervisor of his township for several terms, and was the first mayor of Sumner under city organization. He was a strong Republican in his political affiliations and was always active and foremost in the political affairs of the county. In December, 1852, he married Miss Margaret Dennison, of Lawrence county, a daughter of William Dennison. He was one of the oldest settlers of Lawrence county, settling here in 1818, and witnessing the steady growth of the county and state through half a century of years, well spent in useful endeavor in the upbuilding of the country. Eight children were born to Caleb and Margaret Hoopes. Mr. Hoopes was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, as was his wife. He was a charter member of the Sumner church and a member of the board of trustees throughout his life time. He was a Mason of the Knight Templar degree and was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Thomas F. Hoopes was the third child born to his parents in a goodly family of eight. As a boy he lived as the average son of a farmer until he was six years of age, at which time the family home became centered in Sumner. He was educated in the public schools, after which he completed a business course in the Terre Haute Commercial College. His first position was that of assistant postmaster continuing for about four years, after which he was bookkeeper for the May Mercantile Company for three years. In 1879 he went into the mercantile business on his own responsibility, one year later forming a partnership with his brother-in-law, the firm being known as Echenrode & Hoopes. In 1892 Mr. Echenrode retired from the firm and it became Hoopes & Barnes. Mr. Hoopes bought the interest of his partner, Mr. Barnes, in 1901, and thereafter conducted the business for himself until 1905, when he sold out to Mr. Barnes. In 1909 he with others organized the Farmers & Merchants State Bank, Mr. Hoopes holding the office of president of the institution, and under his conservative and able management the bank is prospering in a manner highly creditable to him and its board of directors, and altogether consistent with their methods of operation. Mr. Hoopes is secretary of the Citizens Oil Company and is in other ways extensively concerned in the oil business of the district. He was one of the company who drilled the first oil well in Lawrence county, and much of the progress made in this industry in recent years has been due to his activities in the work. A staunch Republican, Mr. Hoopes has always given generous and hearty support to the cause of that party, but is exceedingly averse to office-holding for himself, and has consistently withheld himself from that phase of political life. He is a member of the city council, on which body he has done good work for Sumner.
On May 16, 1883, Mr. Hoopes was united in marriage with Cornelia F. Leeper, daughter of Rev. John Leeper, of Sumner, one of tlie pioneer Methodist Episcopal clergymen of the southern part of the state. Three sons were born of this union: Thomas W., a student of law at Bloomington, Illinois; Robert V., a student in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, New York; and John C., who died in youth. The wife and mother died in December 7, 1909, while on a visit at the home of her father at Nashville, Illinois.
Mr. Hoopes is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and is also a member of the board of trustees of that body. He is a Mason of the thirty-second degree, holding membership in the Knights Templar and in the Consistory of Chicago.