OLIVER JACOB PAGE
is the editor and proprietor of the Marion Daily Leader, the first Republican paper in Williamson county to survive the animosities and antagonisms of the strenuous days after the Civil war and one of the leading county journals of Southern Illinois. Mr. Page has been identified with this paper for a decade, and came into possession of it from its founder, J. P. Copeland, who conducted it as a weekly paper, and converted it into a daily in 1908. It was established as a Republican organ and it has continued as such through all the crises of newspaper annals and the flag of party has never been lowered or dipped in financial defeat.
Mr. Page came to Marion from Metropolis, Illinois, where he was for three and a half years editor of the Journal-Republican, following his retirement from a long service as a public-school man. He served Metropolis as superintendent of schools for three years, served its high school as principal previously and came to that position from the faculty of Eureka College where he was a professor for one year. He began his graded school work with the principalship of the Hudsonville high school and did his very first work as a teacher in the country schools.
Recurring to his birth, Mr. Page was born in Richland county, Illinois, August 2, 1867, and grew up in Crawford county, on the banks of the Wabash. His father was Jacob Page, born in Quebec, Canada, in 1823, and died at Danville, Illinois, in 1868. He was a millwright by occupation, was of French lineage, and married, in Lawrence county, Illinois, Miss Caroline Long, a daughter of William Long, of Pennsylvania German stock. She still resides in Crawford county, Illinois, and is now Mrs. Wright, aged seventy-eight years.
Oliver J. Page was his father's only child and he grew up under the
benign influence of his mother. He became acquainted with rural environment during the period of youth and it impressed him indelibly and has served him well through the serious years of his life. Teaching offered him the best opportunity, considering his situation and his inclinations, and lie made it the stepping-stone to another and broader educational fieldójournalism. He was drawn into politics when he entered the newspaper profession and was elected to the Forty-first general assembly from Massac county in 1898. He entered the lower house of the state's legislative body as a Republican and his committee assignments were congenial. He was chairman of the committee on federal relations and was the author of the resolution to condemn the old Lincoln monument, which passed both houses and was signed by the governor. He was made chairman of the special committee to investigate the monument and report its findings. The committee report recommended an appropriation for a new monument and he introduced a bill appropriating one hundred thousand dollars to that end. Immediately upon the passage of the bill work was begun and the new structure marking the resting-place of the martyred president was dedicated.
During the session Mr. Page introduced a resolution instructing Senator W. E. Mason, then strongly antagonistic to the administration of President McKinley upon the questions involved in settling the status of the Philippines, to vote for the ratification of the peace treaty with Spain, which ratification the senator had publicly declared he would oppose. The resolution passed both houses within an hour, was officially signed and was forwarded to the obstreperous senator within forty-eight hours and its contents gave him a change of heart.
Of the thirteen joint resolutions passed by the general assembly, Mr. Page wrote and introduced three and of the one hundred and five bills that became laws he wrote and introduced the same number. He manifested an active interest in legislation pertaining to public education and in a bill relating to contracts for public printing, which was passed as a result of his labor, several thousand dollars were saved for the commonwealth. The latter was prepared by the secretary of state and was managed in the house by Mr. Page. His apparent interest in all legislation pertaining to the welfare of the state and his ability to present his side of any controversy before the assembly gained to him high rank among the members of that body.
In 1900 Mr. Page was the Republican candidate for the office of clerk of the southern district of the supreme court of the state, a district comprising thirty-four counties, and he was the first and only Republican ever elected to that office. He succeeded Jacob Chance and was the efficient incumbent of the office two years. He competed for the Republican nomination to Congress in 1906, but lost, and was nominated for presidential elector in 1908, when he met with the other electors at Springfield and cast a silk ballot for William H. Taft for president and another for James S. Sherman for vice-president.
Mr. Page was married at Hudsonville, Illinois, May S. 1891, to Miss Linnie B. Seeders, a daughter of William Seeders, of the Seeders family of Crawford county, Indiana. The children of this union are: L. Paul, who finished the Marion high school course at sixteen, was a proof-reader in the state printing office at eighteen and is now secretary to the state printer of Illinois; O. Heber is a senior in the Marion high school, being president of his class and he is active on the Daily Leader; and Charles Bourke is a pupil in the public schools of Marion.
In a fraternal way Mr. Page is affiliated with the time-honored Masonic order, being a Master Mason; and he is likewise connected with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Pythias, the
Tribe of Ben Hur, and the Modern Woodmen of America, being state lecturer of the latter organization. His religious faith is in harmony with the tenets of the Christian church, of which he and his family are devout members. Mr. Page has contributed a great deal to the general welfare of Marion and of Southern Illinois through the medium of his paper and as a public man the good accomplished by him is of no mean order. He is everywhere honored and esteemed for his sterling integrity of character and for his fair and straightforward dealings.