WILLIAM H. GRANT. Southern Illinois boasts a goodly number of charming and wide-awake cities, but of the many which he "tried out" Sparta offered more attractions to William H. Grant in the way of a suitable location for a home and profitable business than any of the others. For more than a quarter of a century he has carried on a constantly growing business in that thriving city, and there he has builded a home and there reared to years of young womanhood a family of seven girls who are now variously occupying the positions in life for which they are best fitted.
William H. Grant was born at Richview, Illinois, April 8, 1854, and his childhood was passed at numerous points in the state, frequent change of residence being necessitated by the occupation of the father, Robert H. Grant, widely known throughout Southern Illinois as one of the most capable millwrights in the state. He was born in Scotland in 1822, where he grew up and learned his trade. When a young man he came to America, finding in the rapidly developing country an abundance of work in his particular line. Southern Illinois offered a splendid field for his labors and his life for the major part was spent in that state, although his early residence in America was spent in the East, and he erected mills in Buffalo, New York city and other large cities in the east, while he operated in Chicago, St. Louis and other western cities after locating in Illinois. The career of Robert Grant was a particularly active one, but the constant changing about prevented him from forming any but home ties. He married in early life, his bride being Sarah J. Allen, a native of Vermont. They were the parents of a son and two daughters, viz: William H., of Sparta; Ada, now of Ava, Illinois; and Fannie, who married W. G. Wagner, and is now deceased. In 1870 Mr. Grant died while operating a mill at Ava, Illinois. His wife had died ten years before, and both are now resting in a Sparta cemetery.
William H. Grant's schooling was confined to the public schools of the various towns in which his family resided and a course of study at the Indiana Normal University at Valparaiso. His first position was in the store of George W. Walters, a well known merchant of Rockwood, Illinois, where he served in the capacity of a clerk; later he engaged with P. N. HoIm at Evansville in a similar position. He lived quietly and frugally, ambitious to become sufficiently endowed with this world's goods that he might venture into the business world on his own responsibility, and it was but a few years until he was able to invest in a small stock of drugs in Evansville as a result of his savings. That village first saw him as a business man of Randolph county, and from then to the present day he has forged steadily ahead, enlarging, reaching out, upbuilding and generally carrying out the policies of a progressive, ambitious and capable man of business. In the spring of 1884 Mr. Grant moved to Sparta, where he was known well and favorably from his early youth, and entered into business there, for a time renting
a store building. The demands of the business soon made it the part of wisdom to build for himself, and he erected a store near the Broadway Hotel, in which place he carried on the business for a number of years. Then, following the trend of the business activities of Sparta, he purchased what is known as the old Stamm property and moved into it, improving and enlarging to meet his requirements. It was then that he decided on a building site for his home, and he purchased twenty acres adjacent to the city limits and there he erected a comfortable, commodious and modern residence. In addition to the two properties above mentioned, Mr. Grant is a holder of many fine and valuable titles in real estate. His business profits and revenues from other sources have been for the most part invested in and about Sparta, where he has an enviable standing as a property owner and successful business man. Mr. Grant is a Republican, and while he maintained a city residence he acted as a member of the council, where he gave praiseworthy service in assisting to regulate the affairs of the city.
While Mr. Grant was yet a resident of Evansville, Illinois, in November, 1882, he married Miss Elizabeth Wehrheim, a daughter of John Wehrheim, prominent in Evansville as a merchant, miller and farmer, and a man of German birth. Mr. and Mrs. Grant became the parents of a beautiful family of seven daughters, named below in the respective order of their birth: Mary A. finished the Sparta schools, graduated from Knox College, Illinois, with the degree of B. S., was a student in the University of Chicago for a time, and is now a member of the teaching staff of the St. Louis public schools. Fannie E., also a graduate of the Sparta high school, was later graduated from the Syracuse (N. Y.) University with the degree of A. B. She is now the wife of Henry Russell, of New York city. Nellie A. is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Oratory; she spent one year as teacher of elocution and expression in the University of Alabama and another year in the Wausan, Wisconsin, high school in a like capacity. On March 9, 1912, she became the wife of Louis Withers Evans of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Florence, after completing a full course in the Sparta schools, was duly graduated from the Washington University, St. Louis, taking the A. B. degree, and is now engaged in newspaper work as a special contributor to the society columns of a St. Louis paper. In December, 1911, she was elected head of the department of physical culture and hygiene for women at Washington University, having taken her degree at the latter institution in June previously. During her four years at Washington University Miss Grant specialized in gymnasium work and hygiene, and took the highest honors in those branches ever granted to any student. She is the first student of the institution who ever received an appointment as head of a department, and the only instructor who had not taught elsewhere before coming to Washington University, The members of the faculty consider her appointment an especially high honor to her, as well as to her alma mater. Ethel is now a student at the University of Schwedt-on-theOder in Germany, pursuing the study of music and the languages. Wilma is at present a student in the Sparta high school and Louise is yet an attendant at the grade schools of that city.