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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, 
Page 1185 - 1188

Submitted by Robert W. Loman 

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