FRED W. RICHART. The life and development of every community is dependent upon the resourceful energy of its leading men who, through their various enterprises, not only open up natural advantages, but bring into the locality outside capital and an influx of population. The Interurban Electric Company, of Carterville, is a corporation that has very materially developed the city and its contiguous territory, and its progress and present prosperity is largely due to the efforts of its president, Fred W. Richart. Mr. Richart was born near Carterville, February 21, 1867, his father, Hugh M. Richart, being a farmer and pioneer of Williamson county.
Hugh M. Richart came to Illinois from Columbiana county, Pennsylvania, in 1840, as a boy of thirteen years, and grew up and was educated in Williamson county. He became lieutenant of the Eighty-first Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil war,
serving at the assault of Vicksburg, where he was wounded four times within an hour. He was hit by a buckshot, a cannon ball and two musket balls, yet he lived to do further service in the army and to take part in civic affairs at home during a long life. He was a man of strong Republican convictions, took an active interest in public affairs and served as constable and county commissioner. For nearly a quarter of a century he was a member of the Presbyterian church and an elder therein from the time of its organization, and he was a faithful and popular comrade of the G. A. R. His death occurred near Carterville, in 1905, when seventy-eight years of age. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Rebecca Harrison, was a native of Ohio and a relative of the late Benjamin Harrison, and she died in 1902, when seventy-two years of age. They had two children: Frederick William; and Bertha, who died when six years of age.
Fred W. Richart was a country schoolboy in Williamson county while growing up, and then attended the Southern Illinois Normal University at Carbondale. He eventually took the engineering course in the Illinois University, graduating in 1891. For the first ten years in his work as a mechanical engineer he remained in the mining region of Williamson county, varying his profession and entering the domain of mining and electrical engineering as the occasion demanded. In 1900 he associated himself with Messrs. Ingraham and Bollinger and built the light plant at Herrin, named the Herrin Light and Power Company, which they operated until 1910, when it was sold to a corporation which absorbed the Hope Electric Company at Carterville, the new firm style being the Interurban Electric Company. Mr. Richart was elected president of the new concern and established himself at Carterville, the headquarters of the company.
In August, 1903, Mr. Richart was married in Williamson county to Miss Lizzie Watson. Her father, James Watson, was born in Scotland and passed his life as a miner and farmer. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Richart: Ralph, Christina Rebecca and Hugh M. Like his father, Mr. Richart is a stanch Republican, but he has not sought nor cared for office. Fraternally he is connected with the Modern Woodmen. He is one of the board of deacons of the Presbyterian church, is interested in all the auxiliaries thereto, and has encouraged the work of the Sunday school and represented his congregation in Presbytery.