is the able and conspicuous representative of the commercial phase of activity in Marion. His establishment is the mecca for all who want satisfactory dry goods and ready made garments, and “Harts” has been known as an up-to-date and progressive store for a number of years.
The Hart family, of which this popular merchant is a member, was founded by J. Hart, who was born in the town of Bochum, Prussia, in 1818. He was the son of a large and successful stock raiser of Bochum, near Ebersfeld, but he longed for the freedom and the unknown scenes of that United States, of which he had heard so many fascinating tales. He left his Fatherland in 1839, and upon landing in this country made his way to Missouri, where he began the foundation of his fortune, as have so many others of his race, as a peddler with a pack strapped on his back. These traveling merchants were quite common at this time and in some places met with hostility and harsh treatment from those prejudiced against his race. Persecutions were directed against him because once when utterly wearied by the weight of the heavy burden upon his back, he dared to lean against the fence of some Gentile. It would have fared badly with him had he not had a letter of introduction to Judge Martin, of Lincoln county, who came to his aid and took him into his home, and, lending his sympathy and personal interest put an end to the intolerant attitude of those arrayed against him. At first he was only allowed to ply his trade on sufferance, but after a time the poor and industrious young commercial adventurer won the friendly co-operation of his fellow citizens. This was all due to the championship of Judge Martin, and from that time the Judge and the young Hebrew were fast friends.
When by careful management and strict economy Mr. Hart had saved enough money he established himself in the mercantile business in Troy, Missouri. He prospered as a merchant and as fast as the money rolled in he invested it in other lines of business. In this way he acquired considerable landed property and became a successful farmer by proxy. The farmers all knew him as a good man with whom to dispose of their produce, so they brought him their grain and stock, upon which he made a considerable profit in the St. Louis markets. His mercantile house, meanwhile, became one of the chief ones of the county and his estate was reckoned one of the largest in Troy. He must not be thought of as a mere money maker, for his personal popularity became so well known that he was appointed by President Lincoln as an officer to aid in the establishment of order in Lincoln county during the period of the Civil war. In this sort of provost marshal position Mr. Hart's reputation as a careful administrator of justice waxed strong. In politics he was at first a Democrat, but during the campaign of 1896, when his party inserted
the “free silver” plank in their platform, he changed his allegiance and espoused the cause of Republicanism, to which he ever after remained loyal.
Joseph Hart married, in Lincoln county, Missouri, Miss Temperance Stuart, a daughter of Robert Stuart, who had come into this region from Kentucky. The death of his wife occurred in 1873, and for his second wife Mr. Hart married Rose Steiner. The children of his first marriage are: Adolph, of Worthington, Minnesota; Hermaun and Jacob, members of the mercantile firm of J. Hart Sons; Chester, Illinois; and Samuel, of Marion, The three sons of his second marriage are: Louis J., who is with the Federal Mercantile Company, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma; Isaac O., who is with the Globe Shoe and Clothing Company, of St. Louis; and Dr, E. R., whose dental offices are in the Third National Bank Building in St. Louis.
Samuel Hart, the second youngest son of his mother, was born in Troy, Missouri, on the 18th of August, 1869. His literary education was gained in the public schools of his home town, and his business training was had through actual experience as a clerk in his father's store, the most practical and useful training that can fall to the lot of a future merchant. When he was ready to engage in an independent venture he established himself in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, and conducted a general dry goods business there for six years. Deciding that Marion, Illinois, offered him better chances for investment, he came to the city and since then has spent almost a decade in active business here. In 1903 he bought the stock of Mrs. Shannon Holland and has since given its management the benefit of his years of training and mercantile experience.
On the 24th of January, 1894, Samuel Hart and Miss Anna Graves were marned in Montgomery City, Missouri. She is a daughter of Dr. J. F. Graves, who had migrated from Virginia many years ago. Mrs. Hart was born in Montgomery City, on the 29th of November, 1872, and she and Mr. Hart are the parents of two children, Fannie Temperance and Eugene Graves. In political matters Mr. Hart is a Republican, but is contented to limit his activities to casting the ballot. He is an interested member of the local Masonic chapter, and is a member of the Blue Lodge. He is also a member of the Elks Club. Being a strong advocate of the organization of retail merchants everywhere, he is an enthusiastic member of the Retail Merchants Association of Illinois.
Although the life of Samuel Hart does not show the indomitable resolution to overcome all odds, or the patience to endure whatever was inflicted, as was found in the life of his father, yet these qualities are evidently latent in him or he could never have reached the important position that he holds today. His keen sense and his thorough knowledge of his business have won him the admiration of his business acquaintances, both friends and foes. On the other hand, his many fine qualities of mind and heart have caused to be gathered about him numberless friends.