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JEFFERSON COUNTY ILLINOIS
BIOGRAPHIES

Louis G. Pavey



One of Mount Vernon's citizens of whom she speaks with great pride 
is Louis G. Pavey, not only on account of the things he has 
accomplished, but also because of the clean, straightforward way in 
which he has always conducted his business affairs, his achievements 
having been accomplished not by clever trickery in which the means 
was the justification of the ends, or by the juggling with finances, 
but by honest business methods, and by his marked capacity for making 
wise investments. He is now cashier of the Ham National Bank of Mount 
Vernon, and his associations with other financial institutions, as a 
member of their directorates or as one of their officers, are numerous. 
Not only is he interested in financial affairs but he is also connected 
with the commercial world through his interest in one of the leading 
dry goods firms in Mount Vernon. He has labored under the disadvantage 
of having a reputation already made for him and which he was expected 
to sustain, for his father was one of the most prominent men in the 
state of Illinois, and from the brilliancy of mind that all of his 
children seemed to inherit, and which Louis early showed, the whole 
community would have been greatly surprised and disappointed had he 
not met with success. 

The father of Louis G. Pavey was Charles W. Pavey, who was born on 
the 14th of November, 1835, in Highland county, Ohio. He was the son 
of Samuel Pavey and Lucinda Taylor, the latter of whom was a relative 
of Zachary Taylor, one time president of the United States. Charles W. 
Pavey migrated to Southern Illinois in the 'fifties, and went into 
business in Mt. Vernon as a merchant, on the corner now occupied by 
the Odd Fellows building. He conducted this general merchandise business 
for a number of years and then, when he could no longer resist the wave 
of patriotism that was sweeping over the country, he enlisted in the 
Union army, his commission giving him the rank of second lieutenant of 
Company I, of the Eightieth Illinois Regiment. This was the beginning 
of long years of a glorious service, in which the agonizing nights and 
days that he spent as a prisoner and the terrible experiences which he 
had as an active soldier counted as nothing when he thought that it was 
all for the glory of the Stars and Stripes and the uniting of a divided 
country. He was wounded by a shell at the battle of Sand Mountain, as a 
participant in General Strait's famous raid, and was picked up by the 
cavalry of General Forrest and sent to the much dreaded Libby prison 
at Richmond. He underwent the horrors of this pestilent hole for twenty-
three months, part of this time as an occupant of a death cell, not 
knowing at what moment he would be called upon to sacrifice his life 
for his country. One of the many strange incidents that happened to him 
during his life in the army happened at this time. When he had enlisted 
in the army his little sister, to whom he was devoted, gave him a small 
testament, which he carried with him wherever he went, whether for a 
quiet nap in his tent or for a desperate charge against the enemy. 
Consequently it was with him in old Libby. As the time drew near when 
he knew he was to be executed he could not bear to think of the little 
volume that was so sacred to him falling into careless hands, so he 
wrote a message upon the fly-leaf designating its disposal and asking 
that it should be sent to his family. On the last night of his life, 
as he thought, the day set for his execution being the morrow, he 
slipped the testament through the bars of the little window in his 
cell, praying that it would fall into friendly hands. The execution 
did not take place and soon afterwards he was taken from the prison 
upon the evacuation of Richmond, but he was not yet a free man. To 
return to the testament, years afterward while attending a National 
Encampment he met Sergeant Sumner of the Twenty-seventh Michigan 
Regiment, who told him that the highly prized volume had fallen into 
his possession and was one of the treasures of his daughter. Through 
Sergeant Sumner's influence General Pavey was once again put in 
possession of the battered little book, dog-eared and minus one 
corner which had been gnawed off by the prison rats, but the most 
valuable book in the world to its owner. It was returned to him on 
the 24th of May, 1900, almost thirty-five years from the time he had 
last seen it. When the siege forced the Confederates to evacuate Richmond 
our young prisoner was removed to Dalton, Georgia, and at last he was 
exchanged. While he languished in his small, narrow death cell the 
horror of his condition was increased by the sight of the men outside 
his tiny window working on the coffin intended for him. After his exchange 
he returned to the army, and reported to General Rousseau for duty. 
The General assigned him to a position upon his own staff, and there he 
remained until the close of the war. After the surrender he returned 
home and engaged in the general merchandise business, following this 
occupation for twenty years after the war, until 1885. To a man who had 
witnessed such stirring scenes it was at first a relief to settle down 
to the quiet life of a small town merchant. But after the novelty, had 
worn off General Pavey began to look with longing eyes towards an active 
public life. Consequently it was very willingly that he accepted the 
office of collector of internal revenues for the Cairo district, to 
which post he was appointed by President Arthur. He held this position 
for three years, until President Cleveland took up the reins of office. 
In 1888 he was elected state auditor of public accounts, serving for 
four years. In 1892 he was renominated, but was defeated with the entire 
state ticket, his name leading the ticket. In 1897 he was appointed by 
President McKinley, who was one of his very close friends, as an 
examiner in the department of justice at Washington. This position he 
held until 1908, when his health began to show the hard strain of his 
long years of active service, and he resigned to return home. One of 
the greatest interests in the life of General Pavey was in the various 
associations of the Veterans of the Civil war. It was one of his great 
pleasures to meet his old comrades and talk over the days they 
had fought side by side. Not content with his loyalty, he served his 
old associates in many executive positions. He was inevitably a member 
of the Grand Army of the Republic post, and for twelve years he was 
president of the Illinois State Prisoners of War Associations. The 
highest honor that came to him in this line was one that he held at 
the time of his death, namely, commander of the Southern Illinois 
Soldiers and Sailors Reunion Association. This is the largest reunion 
association in the United States, and the enthusiasm which was shown 
at their yearly meetings was due in no small measure to the influence 
of their presiding officer. During General Pavey's term as auditor he 
had the additional responsibility of being a member of the Examining 
Board of the commission governing the United States Mint at Philadelphia. 
His title of general came to him through his appointment by Governor 
Cullom of Illinois as brigadier general of the State Militia. General 
Pavey married Isabella Frances Pace, a daughter of Joel Pace, Jr., one 
of the first settlers in Jefferson county. She comes of a line of 
soldiers, for her father was in the war of 1812 and her grandfather, 
Joel Pace, fought through the American Revolution. 

Mrs. Pavey is still living in Mount Vernon, at the old Pace homestead, 
which formerly embraced fifty acres, now within the city limits. The 
children of this marriage numbered five. Eugene M. is living at Aurora, 
Illinois, holding the position of Illinois superintendent of agencies 
for the Federal Life Insurance Company of Chicago. Louis G. is second 
in age. Neil P. is in San Francisco, as representative of the Army and 
Navy Supply Company of New York. He was captain of the local militia 
and during the Spanish-American war served in Cuba. After the evacuation 
he enlisted in the Thirtieth Provisional Regiment, being mustered in 
at Jefferson Barracks as a lieutenant. He served in the Philippines and 
was made commissary of his regiment. Soon afterwards he was appointed 
chief commissary on the staff of Major General Bates. He later had an 
opportunity to go to Japan as a military instructor, but preferred to 
return home. He has traveled extensively, particularly in the Central 
America and South American States, and has shown himself to be his 
father's own son. Mabel S. is the eldest daughter and lives at home 
with her mother. Alice is the wife of John B. Emerson of St. Louis, 
he being manager of the Robert W. Hunt and Company, a firm of civil 
engineers and contractors. The well beloved father of this family died 
at Mount Vernon on the 15th of May, 1910. Louis G. Pavey was born on 
the 19th of October, 1868, at Mount Vernon, Illinois. He received his 
education in the public schools and in the high schools of his home 
town, and then attended the University of Illinois. He left his books 
to assist his father in making his canvass for state auditor, acting 
as his secretary. On the election of his father to the above position 
he was appointed warrant clerk, his duties being to audit the warrants 
and checks drawn upon the state treasury. At the close of his service 
in the auditor's office he went to Rockford, Illinois, where he was 
employed by the Emerson-Talcott Company, a large manufacturing concern. 
In association with the Emersons he went from Rockford to St. Paul, 
where they purchased a large creamery plant, operating it for one 
year. Mr. Pavey sold out in 1896 and came to Chicago, to enter the 
Illinois Trust and Savings Bank. He remained here till June, 1899, 
the experience which he gained being invaluable, then he came to 
Mount Vernon and accepted the position of cashier of the Ham National 
Bank. This institution is the oldest bank in the county, having been 
organized under the name of Carlin, Cross and Company, in 1869. It was 
soon reorganized as the Mount Vernon National Bank, with Noah Johnston 
as president and C. D. Ham as cashier. In this guise it existed for 
seven or eight years and then was conducted as a private bank until 
1897 by C. D. Ham and Company, Jerry Taylor being president and C. D. 
Ham, cashier. At this time it was rechartered and reorganized as the 
Ham National Bank, having as president C. D. Ham, and as cashier, 
Rufus Grant. About 1903 Mr. Grant retired as cashier and Mr. Pavey 
was elected to succeed him. Mr. C. D. Ham died in 1899 and Albert 
Watson was made his successor. The present officers of the bank are: 
Albert Watson, president; S. B. Ham, vice president; Louis G. Pavey, 
cashier; C. R. Keller and J. W. Gibson, assistant cashiers. 

The bank was first capitalized at fifty thousand dollars, which was 
increased in 1905 to one hundred thousand dollars. The institution 
has a surplus of fifty thousand dollars. Mr. Pavey is a director 
of the following banks: The First National Bank of Sesser; The 
Farmer's Bank of Waltonville; The Ina Bank of Ina, Illinois; Bank 
of Bonnie, Bonnie, Illinois; The Security Bank of Opdyke, Illinois; 
The Peoples Bank of Bluford, Illinois; The Farmer's and Merchants 
Bank of Dix, Illinois; The Bank of Divide, at Divide. Illinois. 
He is also president of the People's Bank of Bluford, Illinois. 
and is a member of the firm of Hobbs and Pavey Dry Goods Company 
of Mount Vernon. This long array of responsible positions which 
Mr. Pavey holds speak for themselves. There is no need to call 
attention to his financial ability or his personal integrity. 
General Pavey was a member and trustee of the First Methodist 
church of Mount Vernon, also being one of the trustees. His son 
has followed closely in his father's steps, being likewise a member 
and steward in the same church. The father was interested in the 
fraternal organizations to the extent of being an Odd Fellow, but 
the son has no fraternal affiliations. Louis G. Pavey was married 
in November, 1901, to Martha Ham, daughter of C. D. Ham, with whom 
he was so closely associated in a business way.



Source: History of Southern Illinois George Washington Smith, 
M. A. VOLUME I - III ILLUSTRATED 
THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY CHICAGO AND NEW YORK 1912
Page 1185 - 1188

Submitted by Robert W. Loman 



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