EDWARD MUSSELMAN, although he is now retired from active life, still exerts considerable influence on the business affairs of DuQuoin, for during his long career as a merchant and mine operator he had many opportunities to show his sagacity and wisdom, consequently his word
is one that bears weight. He was one of the first to see the possibilities in the coal fields in this vicinity, and was one of the original exploiters of the "Little Gem." Although not caring for the emoluments of political power, he is deeply concerned in anything that effects the public welfare of the people of DuQuoin, and favors any reform that would benefit the conditions of his city.
Edward Musselman was born on the 4th of October, 1853, in Ross county, Ohio. He came of a long line of millers, all of whom had operated the old pioneer mill in Ross county. The first of the name to settle in the above locality was the great-grandfather, Michael Musselman, who leaving his home in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, went out to the Ohio frontier and established the first grist mill in Ross county, at a time when the settlers round about came for miles to have their corn ground and to have a bit of gossip with the miller. The grist mill in those days was the social center for the neighborhood. The son of the original old Pennsylvania Dutchman, Michael by name, was only a youth when his father left the Keystone state, and as soon as he was old enough he started in the milling business, erecting a mill on the north fork of Paint Creek, where he lived for many years. He marched south with many of his friends and neighbors and was a soldier among some of the most stirring scenes of the Mexican war, and what part he took in politics was as a Whig. He lived to see the Civil war brought to a successful termination and died in 1868, at the venerable age of eighty. His wife was Rebecca Downs, and she was the mother of seven children: Henry, who moved to Edgar county, Illinois, and passed his life there; John, the father of Edward; William, who lived in Ross county all of his life; Myra, who married C. D. B. Webster, and is living now in Athens, Ohio; Albert, who died at the old home near the original mill in Ross county; Levi came to Illinois soon after the Civil war and lived in DuQuoin for several years, later moving to California, where he died, while his sister Betty died in Ross county without having married.
John Musselman was born in Ross county, Ohio, on the 12th of March, 1831. He grew up in his father's mill and learned the trade under his tutelage. He followed milling for many years in the vicinity where he was reared, then he decided to go west, so sold his plant and moved to Minneapolis, Kansas. There he bought a farm and operated it for several years, till heeding the pleas of his children he gave up the active life and, selling his farm, spent the remainder of his life with his children. He was first married to Angeline Hanson, a daughter of Henry Hanson, of Ross county, Ohio, and by this marriage five children were born; Edward; Charles, of Leon, Iowa; Minnie, of Lawrence, Kansas; Chauncey, of Williamsport, Indiana; and Zoe, who married Eugene Sankey and lives in Lawrence, Kansas. For his second wife Mr. Musselman married Martha Gibson, who died leaving one daughter, Ina, who became the wife of H. B. Browning, of Linwood, Kansas. Mr. Musselman died in Fayetteville, Arkansas, January 17, 1909.
Edward Musselman learned as much as the country school teachers were able to teach him, but to tell the truth he was more interested in his father's mill than he was in his books, so when his uncle Levi suggested that he join him in Illinois, he eagerly fell in with the suggestion and came to DuQuoin, in July, 1876. Following the traditions of his family, he engaged in the milling trade, as an employe of the Red Star Milling Company. He remained in this trade for ten years and then abandoning it he went into the grocery business with S. B. Eaton. He was highly successful, and this business laid the foundations for
his future prosperity. While a merchant he saw an opportunity to go into coal mining, and with a few others formed a party to develop the "Jupiter," which was one of the earliest paying properties in this vicinity. He was later associated with Mr. Eaton in the development and operation of "Jupiter No. 2." In 1903 he disposed of his interest in this property, and also sold out his share in the general merchandise business, retiring from active business, except when he sees a chance to make a good real estate deal. On these occasions he often catches the younger real estate dealers napping, and all who happen to be "in" on the deal have a good laugh at their discomfiture. Although he may not be in the business world in person, his mind is surely there.
He had not cared for political office, and although he was reared as a Republican and held his allegiance to that party until 1881, he has from that time been a member of the Prohibition party, and has given that party a loyal support.
Mr. Musselman was married in DuQuoin, on the 19th of May, 1881, to Mary Elizabeth Eaton, a sister of his partner, S. B. Eaton. Mr. and Mrs. Musselman have no children. They are members of the Methodist church, in which church Mr. Musselman has served in various capacities, having been district steward and also having held a trusteeship of the congregation. Mr. Musselman believed most firmly in the tenets of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, and has had an active part in the affairs of this order. He has occupied all the chairs of the Blue Lodge, has been an official of the Chapter and has sat in the Grand Lodge on several occasions. His home on the corner of Washington Boulevard and Franklin street is a beautiful and commodious one, and the hospitality dispensed from it is always a delight to the many friends who make this home a center of their gatherings.