SENATOR ALBERT E. ISLEY.
In 1908 there took his place in the state senate a young man of the type upon which the state founds its hope of cleaner and better politics, Albert E. Isley, of Newton, who still represents this district in the upper house of the state assembly. He is particularly well fitted by nature and training for the duties of his office and manifests in himself that combination of the theoretical and practical which produces the man who begets fine ideas and knows how to make them realities. He has carried with him to the senate well defined and unfaltering ideas of duty toward his constituents and is in refreshing contrast to the self-seeking politician who has proved the menace of modern society. As a lawyer he has taken rank among the best in the section and has been in active practice since 1897.
Jasper county is particularly to be congratulated upon the number of native born sons it has been able to retain within its boundaries and Senator Isley is one of these. The date of his birth was January 18, 1871. His father, Emanuel F. Isley, was born in Iowa, in 1840. The elder gentleman was born and reared upon a farm and he is still a successful representative of the great basic industry. In his younger years he was a school teacher. He came to Illinois about forty-five years ago and located in Jasper county, upon the very homestead farm which is now his place of residence. He was married about the year 1867 to Vanda Apple, of Indiana, and into their household were born eight children, Senator Isley being the second in order of birth. The father is one of the most loyal of Democrats and he is not unknown to public office, having for instance been county supervisor. Originally he was a member of the Lutheran church, but is now of the Christian congregation. The family is of Pennsylvania Dutch descent and share the staunch and rugged characteristics of that people. The family circle has never been entered by death, father and mother and all the sons and daughters being alive.
The early life of Senator Isley was spent on the parental farm in Jasper county and he enjoys the wholesome experiences and rugged discipline of rural existence, from actual participation becoming familiar with the many secrets of seed-time and harvest. He received his preliminary education in the common schools of the neighborhood and having finished their curriculum he himself assumed the preceptor's chair and for about seven years taught school in Jasper county. His school teaching was interspersed by attending college at Valparaiso, Indiana (now Valparaiso University), and he was graduated from that noted institution in 1896, with the degree of LL. B., his desire to become identified with the legal profession having come to fruition in his early school-teaching days. In 1897 he was admitted to the bar of Illinois and he has been actively engaged in practice since 1898. He was very soon found to be of the right material to which to entrust public responsibilities and in his brief career he has held a number of public offices. The first of these was Democratic member of the board of managers of the state reformatory at Pontiac, the appointment coming under Governor Yates and being of four years' duration. He ultimately resigned and was shortly afterward elected state's attorney of Jasper county, which office he held for four years with general satisfaction to all concerned.
His election to the state senate came about in 1908 and he is still serving in that office. He has by no means been a mere figure-head in the state assembly, his influence, in truth, having been of the best and strongest sort. He was the leader in the anti-Lorimer movement, an agitation which was to stir state and nation, and he made the first speech against that senator. He was a member of the committee to revise county and township organization and the road and bridge laws of the state. He was one of the leaders in general legislation before the senate and was recognized as one of the ablest debaters and parlimentarians of the upper house. His readiness in debate, his mastery of every subject he handles are everywhere remarked, as well as the unfailing courtesy with which he treats friend and foe alike. He has an extraordinary power of marshalling and presenting significant facts so as to bring conviction and is a true lover of his country and its institutions. He has been, indeed, the direct source of a great deal of legislation favorable to the interest of his constituents. He is a Democrat by inheritance and the strongest personal conviction and his word has great weight in party councils.
Senator Isley was married in 1903, to Miss Grace M. Sullender, a native of Newton. One child has been born to them, a son, Leslie L. Both the senator and his wife are interested in the truest manner in the many-sided life of town and county and maintain a hospitable abode. Senator Isley finds pleasure in his fraternal affiliation with the time-honored Masonic order and the Modern Woodmen of America.