WILLIAM F. SPILLER. As business man and lawyer, as citizen and head of a family, William F. Spiller has shown himself worthy of a prominent place in this record of those who may justly be called the makers of Southern Illinois. His success has been achieved not only through native ability of a high order but through constant persistance and untiring industry, qualities which others have marked in him through his long career in the county. Most of what he has gotten since his father's death, while a member of the Union army in the second year of the Civil war, has been acquired through his own efforts, so that all honor is due to him who has won alone so honorable a place in the general esteem. He was born in Franklin county, Illinois, on the 27th of February, 1858, the son of Perian B. and Nancy Catherine (Osteen) Spiller. His mother was born in Franklin county, in the year 1839, and his father was born in Wilson county, Illinois, in 1834. His father was a farmer, who responded to President Lincoln's call for troops and enlisting in Company A, One Hundred and Tenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, was stricken with fever in 1862 and died of the illness. John Spiller, the paternal grandfather of William F., was either born or came to Williamson county, Illinois, when a mere boy, there settling upon a farm and spending his entire life in the pursuit of agriculture.
The maternal grandfather of William F. Spiller, William Osteen, came to Franklin county, Illinois, in 1819, one of the very first men to choose this vicinity as a permanent place for settlement. He became widely known throughout the region as a farmer, a circuit Christian preacher and as a doctor, in all three of which callings he achieved a high name throughout Franklin county. It is interesting to note that at the time Mr. Osteen first settled in the county his nearest neighbor lived in a house five miles distant from his own; the forests were dense and uncleared; roads were old creek beds or rather narrow trails; Indians were more frequently to be met with than white men; and he was obliged to make the journey hither to the far west, as it then seemed, in an awkward ox-cart, drawn by a single oxen. A far cry, indeed, those times from our present era of coast to coast limited trains, seventy millions of population and high specialization. Mr. Osteen passed to his eternal reward in 1880, one of the most mourned men of his day.
William F. Spiller, the immediate subject of this brief personal record, received his early education in the common schools of the county, later taking two terms of instruction at the old Frankfort Academy, later finishing his education at the normal college in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he was a student for five terms. Before going to Valparaiso Mr. Spiller taught two terms of public school in order to save expenses and enable him to get further normal training, and upon his graduation he went to Columbus, Kansas, for one year and there studied law, later returning to his native state and for six terms continued to teach in the public schools, At the end of that time he moved to Benton, Illinois, and was made deputy county clerk, an office which he continued to hold with honor to himself and satisfaction to the community until 1884, when he left that office to become circuit clerk. In 1888 he began the practice of his profession and made a start of what has since proved to be a worthy and successful career
at the bar. In 1892 he was elected to the office of state's attorney, served one term, and then returned to private practice. Politically Mr. Spiller has always accorded his allegiance to the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Cleveland, and has stood high in the local councils of the Democratic party.
On the 25th of February, 1883, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Spiller to Miss Ella Harrison, daughter of Captain Isham Harrison, one of the pioneer settlers of Franklin county. Mr. Harrison was a captain in the Union army during the Civil war, achieving during his four years' service a name that was known from one end of the country to the other. To the union of William and Ella Spiller were born two children. Laura Pearl Spiller has graduated from the Carbondale Normal College and has since become a stenographer in her father's office. Her sister Clara remains at home. The whole family are members of the Christian church, and leaders in the good works that it has fostered. Fraternally Mr. Spiller is a Chapter Mason. He has a large and flourishing practice that carries him into all the courts, and he has acquired more than a local reputation for the conduct of difficult cases. His business of recent years has grown to such proportions that he has been obliged to take in a partner, and since 1910 C. H. Miller has been associated with him in his undertakings.