Success in any of the pursuits of life usually challenges the admiration of the world. It matters not whether in the profession of law, medicine or literature, or in the theological domain, in the military or civil life, or mercantile pursuits, it is the one distinguishing and distinctive characteristic of all business transactions. In the financial world alone the late Robert Mick in his sphere of labor and activity distinguished himself as an active, energetic business man, and demonstrated the fact that to a man of merit belongs the full measure of success and worldly prosperity.
Robert Mick was born in 1819, in Saline Mines, Gallatin county, Illinois, a son of Charles and Susan (Simmons) Mick, the former born in 1772 in Maryland, of German ancestry, and the latter in 1789 in Wilmington, North Carolina. They were married in Wilson county, Tennessee, from whence in 1815 they came to Gallatin county, Illinois, where Charles Mick entered one hundred and sixty acres of land for his son Robert, the only other child born to him and his wife, Margaret, being now the wife of James C. Ward, of Texas. Charles Mick died in Gallatin county in 1856, while his wife passed away two years previous to that time, and both were there buried.
Robert Mick remained at home with his parents until he was twenty-four years of age, and in 1844 was married to Martha Jane Strickland, who was born in Saline county. From the time of his marriage until 1851 he was engaged in shipping goods down to New Orleans via the river, in the latter year forming a partnership with Dr, John W. Mitchell, a connection that continued until 1862. They were first engaged in the mercantile business, and came as merchants to Harrisburg in 1856, where in 1860 and 1861 they were the contractors of the original courthouse, the stone tablets from which, bearing the date and the names of the contractors, being now in the possession of John H. Nyberg. Mr. Mick and Dr. Mitchell were the largest dealers in merchandise at this point and handled almost everything, including tobacco, in which they did an especially large business. Mr. Mick continued in the mercantile line until 1887, in which year he sold his stock for $15,000. In 1876 he became the organizer of the Saline County Bank, with a capital of $24,000, which he controlled until the organization of the First National Bank of Harrisburg, Illinois, March 23, 1889, at which time he became president of the new concern, and held that office until his death, October 10, 1893. This large concern, which has a capital of $60,000, and assets of $329,500, is one of the most solid and substantial banking institutions of Southern Illinois, and does business with the largest concerns in the state. Mr. Mick also owned the controlling interest in the Harrisburg Woolen Mill, and had 3,000 acres of land in this county, 1,000 of which were under cultivation.
In 1868 Mr. Mick's first wife died, and during the year 1869 he was
married to Mrs. Hardenia Nyberg, nee Spencer, who was born in Gallatin county, Illinois, in 1836. Charles Nyberg, a native of Sweden, came to the United States in 1853 and in 1855, with his brother Axel, opened a general store in Harrisburg, of which he was a proprietor until his death in 1860. His brother then sold out and the next year entered the Union army, volunteering in the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, and later being promoted to lieutenant and then captain of the Fifteenth Kentucky Cavalry. After completing two years service he returned to Harrisburg, where he was a merchant until 1906, and since that year has been living in St. Louis, Missouri, with his children. Mr. and Mrs. Nyberg were married in 1856, and one son was born to this union: John H. Mr. and Mrs. Mick had no children of their own, but reared Mr. Mick's two nieces, of whom Katherine became the mother of Charles and Harry Taylor; and Alice Strickland married Laban J. Dollands and moved to Florida.
Mrs. Mick has kept her husband's interest in the bank, and with her son, John H. Nyberg, erected the new bank at a cost of $20,000, Mr. Nyberg being a director and stockholder in the bank, and having his business office in the building. This is one of the handsomest structures in Harrisburg, and does credit to the bank and the community, as it would to any bank or community. Mr. Mick formerly had a store on the corner, with the bank next door and the hotel up stairs, but had for some years intended to make improvements. The present Saline Hotel was erected by Mrs. Mick, and she also owns considerable land in the county, which, under the supervision of Mr. Nyberg, has been divided into farms.
Mr. Mick was first a Whig and later a Republican, but outside of taking a stanch interest in the success of his party he did not engage actively in public matters, preferring to give his time and attention to his varied and extensive business interests. He was one of the early Masons of Illinois, belonging to the first local lodge, and had been a Baptist since about 1870. The church of this denomination was organized here in 1868, and in 1885 Mr. Mick erected a structure costing $10,000, which was replaced in 1911 by a new stone building costing about $30,000, to the fund for which Mrs. Mick was a liberal contributor. Mr. Mick's open honesty and practical methods showed him to be an able business man, and, being the architect of his own fortune, he was in sympathy with every young man who embarked in business, showing it on all proper occasions by lending a helping hand to those in need of good advice or financial assistance. He was known as a public benefactor who had the welfare of his fellow men at heart. Such men as he make the foundations of our commonwealth, cement the solidity of our institutions and are the men to whom the state of Illinois points with pride during their lives, and for whom she deeply mourns after death.