GEORGE F. M. WARD, DR. TODD P. WARD AND HENRY B. P. WARD.
Three of Mount Vernon's most valuable citizens are George F. M. Ward and his sons, Dr. Todd P. Ward and Henry B. P. Ward. The father has been an important factor in the growth and commercial uphuilding of the city of Mount Vernon, while his sons are among the most promising citizens who have ever located in this county. Mr. Ward, Sr., began his career as a merchant in a very modest manner, and has reached his present prosperous condition by degrees. Endowed with a natural instinct for business affairs, and as a young man receiving excellent training through his clerkships in. various stores, he has through industry and a close attention to all the details of his business attained a high pinnacle of success. In addition to his business interests he has devoted considerable time to doing what he could toward the betterment of the
civic life of Mount Vernon, having served the city in many and varied capacities. The force and strength of character which Mr. Ward has shown in all of his dealings is also in evidence in the character of his sons, who have the spirit that will not accept defeat and the courage necessary in their fight against the gods of sickness. and death.
George F. M. Ward was born on the 11th of October, 1854 at Harwinton in Litchfield, Connecticut. He was the son of Henry Ward, who was born in Connecticut, his father being Henry Ward and his mother Phoebe (Woodin) Ward. Henry Ward married Lucy Adeline Todd and they came west when George was four tears old. They settled in Illinois in 1858, their first farm being located in Williamson county. Later they moved to a farm near Carbondale, and here the children grew up. The farm, which was at that time some distance from the center of the city, is now within the city limits. Mr. Ward died in 1900, on the 13th of March, and his wife passed away in 1889. They were the parents of six children, five of whom were born in Connecticut, and of this number only two are living: Elmina, died in Williamson county; Julius Henry is living in DuQuoin; William Dwight died in 1910; G. F. M.; John Nelson died at the age of twelve in Williamson county; and Samuel Whittamore, who was born in Illinois and died in 1904.
The first education that Mr. Ward received was in the public schools of Williamson county, later receiving that splendid course of training that is given by the grammar and high schools of Carbondale. When he was eighteen he was so anxious to stop school and go to work that he was given permission to do so. He therefore entered the clothing store of M. Goldman at Carbondale, where he remained for two years. In 1875 he went to DuQuoin and entered the employ of J. Solomon, where he stayed three years. During all this time he was reaping a rich harvest of experience, and at the same time was saving his pennies. The result was that in 1879 he was able to come to Mount Vernon and open a clothing and furnishing store of his own, under the firm name of Ward and Solomon. Under the management of Mr. Ward this business grew and thrived, and in 1881 the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Ward became the sole owner. He conducted the business alone until the 16th of January, 1909, when he organized a corporation company, under the name of the Mammoth Shoe, Clothing and Dry Goods Company. The main object of this organization was to interest his employes in the concern by giving them a share in the business. The plan has certainly been successful, for no where will one find a more loyal set of employcs, nor receive better service. Mr. Ward is the president and general manager, W. T. Forsyth is the first vice president, Isaac Vermillian, the second vice president, H. B. P. Ward is secretary and treasurer, and the company, which is virtually a close corporation, is capitalized at $30,000. Mr. Ward uses the most modern methods and has the most up-to-date facilities for doing business. His store is run on the departmental plan, and he employcs regularly from twenty to thirty men and women. He carries a well selected stock, valued at $75,000, and the building itself is a large three-story structure, the dimensions of each floor being one hundred by fifty-six feet. In addition to this first child of his brain, Mr. Ward has other interests in the commercial world. He is a director of the Mount Vernon Car Manufacturing Company and is president of the Mammoth Shoe and Clothing Company of Sullivan, Illinois. The latter organization was established by Mr. Ward in 1907 and is under the able management of J. H. Smith, who has been in the employ of Mr. Ward as a clerk for twenty years. The stock of goods which is carried is valued
at $15,000, and the company is capitalized at $10,000. Mr. Ward is also a heavy stockholder and was one of the first founders of The Mt. Vernon Building and Loan Association, for many years being its president and now a director. This is one of the largest institutions of its kind in Southern Illinois.
Mr. Ward is a strong believer in the effectiveness of the various fraternal organizations, believing that they are of great benefit not only to those who are directly associated with them but that through their indirect influence they are of benefit to mankind in general. He is a member of the Marion Lodge No. 13, of the Odd Fellows, having originally joined Hope Lodge in DuQuoin. He is a charter member of the Jefferson Lodge, No. 21, of the Knights of Pythias and is a Modern Woodman, belonging to camp No. 1919. He is a charter member of both the Iuka Tribe of Red Men, No. 151, and of the Mount Vernon Chapter of Elks, being in addition a life member of the latter society.
On the 2nd of June, 1880, Mr. Ward was married to Elizabeth Pope, the daughter of Dr. B. F. and Emmeline Pope, of DuQuoin, Illinois, who are representative members of an old Southern Illinois family. Mr. and Mrs. Ward have reared three children. Dr. Todd Pope Ward, who is the father of two children: Elizabeth Letitia, and G. F. M. Jr., Leota, who married Grant T. Harm, and has one little girl, Helene Elizabeth; and Henry Ben Pope, who is secretary and treasurer of the Mammoth Company, and has charge of the dry goods department.
Politically Mr. Ward has always been a staunch Democrat, and his influence in political affairs has always been on the side of good government. In 1885 he served as city alderman, and in every crisis stood for what would be most advantageous to the people. Remembering this and other numerous services that Mr. Ward had meanwhile performed in their behalf, his fellow citizens elected him mayor for two terms, extending from April, 1899, to April, 1903. He has added two additions and two sub-divisions to the city, and has acted as president of the board of education. He is responsible for the beautiful and quiet peace in which the dead of Mount Vernon repose, for he was instrumental in laying out Oakwood cemetery and has long served as president of the Cemetery Association.
Dr. Todd P. Ward was born in Mount Vernon, on the 16th of February, 1881, the son of G. F. M. Ward, of whom a short account has been given in the preceding paragraphs. Dr. Ward was educated in Mount Vernon, attending both the grammar and high schools. He then went to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he pursued a classical and medical course for three years. He entered the above mentioned university in 1898, and in the fall of 1901 he went to Philadelphia, where he entered the Jefferson Medical College. In the spring of 1903 he received his degree from this institution, and immediately began to practice in Mount Vernon. In 1906 his practice had become large enough to warrant his going into partnership, so he and Dr. Earl Green became associates. This partnership has been a very successful one, and Dr. Ward is widely recognized as a skillful practitioner. He is deeply interested in the scientific side of his profession, and is a close observer of all that is taking place in the laboratories of the men who are working in bacteriology and the related sciences in every part of this vast country, for Dr. Ward believes that the doctor of the future will have less and less use for drugs and more and more for preventive measures.
Dr. Ward, like his father, is prominent in the fraternal world. He
is a Mason, being a member of the blue lodge, the chapter and the commandery of Mount Vernon. He is also an Elk, affiliating with the Mount Vernon lodge No. 819, and is at present district deputy grand exalted ruler of the order, having seventeen lodges in Southern Illinois under his jurisdiction, his territory extending from Jerseyville southward. He is a member of the County Medical Association, of the Southern Illinois Medical Association, of the Illinois State Medical Association and of the American Medical Association. In 1909 he became connected with the National Association for. the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis and is an active member of this society, which is doing so much towards stamping out the great “White Plague.”
In September, 1906, Dr. Ward was married to Virginia Griffin Watkins, of Owenshoro, Kentucky, a daughter of H. C. Watkins. Dr. and Mrs. Ward have two children, Elizabeth Letitia, who is three and a half years old, and G. F. M. Ward, Jr., who was born on the 29th of June, 1911.
H. B. P. Ward, the second son of G. F. M. Ward, was born in Mount Vernon, Illinois, June 21, 1885. He received his preparatory education in the Mount Vernon schools, later attending the University of Illinois at Champaign during the years 1903 to 1907 from which institution he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. On leaving college he went to work in his father's business and in 1909 was taken into the firm as secretary and treasurer, also having charge of the dry goods and ladies ready-to-wear department. Mr. Ward is also a member of the incorporated firm, The Mammoth Shoe and Clothing Co. of Sullivan, Illinois, being vice president of the company. Mr. Ward is a member of the blue lodge and chapter in the Masonic order and is also a member of the Elks.
The benefit that accrues to a community in having among its members a wide-awake progressive citizen is never quite realized until after it is too late, and then on taking a retrospective view of his life, they discover how great has been his influence, without considering what he has actually accomplished. Let the people of Mount Vernon be alive to the fact that they have men who would be a great loss to the town were their places to become vacant, for both Mr. Ward and his sons take the optimistic view that times are constantly changing for the better, and consequently that it is wise to keep abreast of them, and to disseminate the modern spirit, which is progress.