H. K. POWELL
has held the office of county clerk for forty-one years, a period longer than any other clerk in the state of Illinois, and it is safe to say that there are few, if any, incumbents of this important office in all the length and breadth of the United States who have exceeded his record. From the first Mr. Powell proved wonderfully faithful and efficient, his eye being single to the good of the people and the best performance of the duties of the office with which they had entrusted him. Jasper county is indeed to be congratulated for a discernment as to its best interests which has led it to keep in office men loyal to the best interests of the county, and of ability and inpeccability. He is a man of well-deserved popularity and no one is better known in this locality. Among Mr. Powell 's distinctions are the facts that he is a native son of the county, the son of one of the staunch pioneers of this section, and one of the gallant boys in blue who marched forth willing to risk life and limb in the cause of the Union, whose integrity they placed above personal safety.
The life record of Mr. Powell began November 12, 1848, on a farm in Crooked Creek township, in Jasper county. His father, John Powell, was born in Madison county, Ohio, in 1823, and when a young man removed from the Buckeye state to the newly opening Illinois. He located in Jasper county, where he farmed and engaged in stock buying, driving cattle in herds to Chicago from this part of the country. He married Francis A. McComas, a native daughter of Jasper county, and into their household were born five children, Mr. Powell being the eldest of the number. The father journeyed on to the “Undiscovered Country,” December 24, 1857, and the demise of his cherished and devoted wife occurred February 20, 1901. The subject's father was Democratic in his political faith and during his active years played a leading role in the many-sided life of the community in which his home was located.
Although Mr. Powell of this review was born on a farm, he did not long maintain his residence amid these rural surroundings, for when he was three years of age his parents removed to Newton. In its public schools he received his education and while yet a lad entered upon his career as a wage-earner. In those early years he worked at various occupations—on a farm, in a printing office and for three years he fulfilled one of his youthful dreams by driving the stage from Newton to Olney. Part of the time he clerked in the store, and in whatever position he found himself he proved useful to his employers. While yet a school boy the long gathering Civil war cloud broke in all its fury and as soon as he would be accepted, at the age of sixteen, he enlisted, becoming a member of Company I, of the One Hundred and Forty-third Illinois Regiment and serving for a few months. He then returned to Newton, and it was after that that he worked in a printing office. Upon the attainment of his majority in 1869 he entered upon his public career,being elected assessor of Wade township, and at the completion of the assessment the then county clerk engaged this useful and competent young man as deputy under County Clerk Robert Leach. He held that office until 1873, and then as the logical successor of Mr. Leach he became county clerk himself. Ever since that time, without exception, at every election he has been returned to the office and thus has completed fortyone years in office, the record, as before stated, for the commonwealth of Illinois. He is a Democrat of sound and honest conviction and he has ever proved ready to do anything in his power for the success of his
party. He is genial and cordial in his bearing, easily approached and attracts friends as the magnet does the needle, while those for whom he forms an attachment may be as certain of his unfaltering friendship as that the orb of day will appear each morning in his daily round.
Mr. Powell was happily married January 11, 1870, Dolly Thompson, of Newton, becoming his wife. Six children have been born to their union, five of whom are living: Julia, now Mrs. Evans, resides in Jasper county; Robert L. holds the office of deputy county clerk and is a competent young man; Hattie makes her home in Newton; Thomas W. is a citizen of Chicago; and Boyce is still in the schools of Newton. Mrs. Powell is a valued member of the Methodist Episcopal church and the subject is member of Jacob E. Reed Post, No. 550, Grand Army of the Republic, with the comrades of other days renewing the sad but stirring events of our greatest national crisis.