HON. HENRY M. KASSERMAN.
Perhaps at no time in the history of the United States have both people and communities been so awake as at the present to the necessity of progress and reform, and this sentiment has grown so universally that it is reflected in the choice made of all public officials. Thus it has fortunately come to pass that the choice of the public for men to fill high office, in the majority of cases, results in the election of individuals who have personal standing, unblemished character and also the ability not only to initiate reforms where needed, but also the courage to push them forward to acceptance. Such a man in every particular is Hon. Henry M. Kasserman, county judge of Jasper county, Illinois, a prominent member of the bar at Newton and for two years mayor of that city.
Henry M. Kasserman was born January 4, 1864, in Monroe county, Ohio, and is a son of Stephen and Annie (Tomi) Kasserman. Stephen Kasserman was born in Switzerland, August 16, 1829, and was a son of Stephen Kasserman, who brought his family to America and died in Ohio in 1891, at the age of ninety-two years. Stephen Kasserman, the second, grew to manhood in southeastern Ohio and followed farming and also steamboating on the Ohio river. In 1864 he moved to Richland county, Illinois, where he followed farming for a time but later became a general contractor at Olney, Illinois. He was married in Ohio to Annie Tomi, who died in 1895, having survived her husband for two years. They were the parents of nine children.
Prior to his fifteen birthday Henry M. Kasserman attended the public schools at Olney and then accompanied his parents to Jasper county, where the family resided for several years and then he returned to Olney, where he attended the high school, after which he taught school in Jasper and St. Clair counties. Having made choice of the law, he entered McKendree College, at Lebanon, where he was graduated with his degree of LL. B. in 1891, and in the same year he was admitted to the bar. In 1892 .he opened his law office at Mt. Vernon and entered upon practice In February, 1893, owing to delicate health in a member of his family, Mr. Kasserman made a change of residence, at that time coming to Newton. With the exception of a period of eighteen months spent in the South he has been a continuous resident of Newton ever since and has been a useful and representative citizen, active in business and professional life and prominently identified with Democratic politics.
In January, 1894, Judge Kasserman was appointed county judge by the late Governor Altgeld ,and later was elected to the bench for the full term of four years. At the close of this period he partially retired from politics and for some time gave his entire attention to his law practice and to his large real estate interests, since 1901, when for one year he
was a member of the Fithian Land Company, having handled extensive tracts of land in different counties in Southern Illinois. In the spring of 1905, however, Judge Kasserman was recalled to public life and he was elected mayor of Newton, with a handsome majority. It required courage to face the problems of municipal governing at that time. The city was practically in a bankrupt condition, it had no public utilities and but indifferent sidewalks. A dilapidated and totally inadequate system of water works had once been installed and to the improvement of this utility the new mayor first devoted his efforts, and during his two years of incumbency succeeded in satisfactorily extending the water mains and greatly improving the system. The same might be said of the electric light plant and other needed improvements. Without authorizing undue taxation or unnecessarily burdening the people, he brought about much better conditions and paved the way for still further improvements. During his first year as mayor he secured the construction of three miles of concrete sidewalks. After a satisfactory administration of this office for two years Mayor Kasserman found the strain on his health too heavy and resigned and afterward spent some months recuperating on his large farm in Arkansas. In 1909 he was elected city attorney of Newton, and in the fall of 1910 was elected county judge, when he resigned his former office. Judge Kasserman seems particularly well qualified for the bench, seldom having had an appeal made from his judgment and possessing the confidence of the public in his integrity. He is a citizen in whom Newton takes justifiable pride.
In 1889 Judge Kasserman was married to Miss Lizzie Doty, of Willow Hill, Illinois, and they have six children, namely: Frederick, who is teaching school in Jasper county; Don Henry, who is a member of the ,class of 1912 of the Newton high school; Lulu B., who is also a high school student; and Rush A., John J. and James S. Judge Kasserman and family attend the Baptist church. He belongs to the Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America.