One of the younger generation of business men in Clinton county who is doing much towards advancing his community's commercial interests is George Washington Gum, the proprietor of a flourishing mercantile business at Keyesport and a member of a family that has long been identified with the county's activities. The Gum family was founded in this part of the state by the Rev. Isaac Gum, a pioneer circuit rider of the Methodist faith. John R. Gum, the father of George W., was born about four miles from Keyesport, in Bond county, Illinois, November 22, 1851 and during pioneer days carried the mail from Litchfield to Greenville. He was too young to enlist in the Civil war but an elder brother participated in it as a member of an Illinois regiment. He grew to manhood on the old Gum homestead in Bond county, where he has been engaged in agricultural pursuits all of his life, and where he still makes his home. He is a Democrat in politics. Mr. Gum was married to Matilda E. Barth, daughter of Jacob Barth, a native of Germany, and five children were born to this union, namely: E. G., who is rural free delivery mail carrier at Delmore; Clara C., who married E. J. Barcroft; George Washington; Anna Belle, who resides with her father, for whom she is keeping house; and Bert E., who is engaged in teaching school in Keyesport. The mother of these children met death in a runaway accident September 4, 1907.

George Washington Gum spent his youth on his father's farm in Bond county, his early education being secured in the Pleasant Grove district school, from which he was graduated at the age of twenty years. The next term he began teaching school at West Chappell, Fayette county, and after continuing there for two terms he took two summer courses at Valparaiso University, to fit himself for advanced work. After four years spent in teaching the public schools of Keyesport he clerked for one summer in the store of Frank Laws, and on the following November 13th, with his brother-in-law, Mr. Barcroft, he purchased the old Laws stock, and the firm of Gum & Barcroft was formed, an association which continued until May, 1908, when Mr. Gum purchased his partner's interest and has since conducted the business alone. Mr. Gum has a fine stock of first-class goods, and his progressive spirit has led him to adopt many of the ideas of the big city department stores. He keeps fully abreast of the times, constantly replenishing his stock with modern articles and endeavoring to give his customers the best value obtainable for the money. This policy has caused his business to


grow steadily, as he has won the confidence and esteem of his fellow townsmen in the only way that such confidence and esteem can be acquired—a fair price and honest goods to all. His politics are those of the Republican party, but so far his business has claimed all of his attention, and outside of taking a good citizen's interest in public matters he has had little to do with public affairs. He is a popular member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Odd Fellows, and his religious views are those of the Christian church.

On December 24, 1903, while teaching his first term in the Keyesport public schools, Mr. Gum was married in this city to Sadie A. Dill, daughter of Ambrose and Rebecca Dill, of Keyesport, an old and well-known family. Mr. and Mrs. Gum have had no children. She is a member of the Methodist church, and well and popularly known in church circles.

Bio's Index