HON. W. L. MOUNTS, one of the most prominent public men of Macoupin County, whose portrait accompanies this sketch, is a member of the legal profession and has been a lifelong resident of Carlinville. He was born August 31, 1862 and is a son of Leander W. and Elizabeth (Davis) Mounts.
Mr. Mounts is descended from French Huguenot stock. His great-grandfather, William Mounts, who was a native of Virginia, removed to Warren County, Ohio, as early as 1792. There Watson Mounts, our subject's grandfather, was born, being the first white child born in that county. Leander W. Mounts was born in Warren County, Ohio, November 30, 1829, and came to Illinois in 1856, locating at Fayette, Greene County. He removed to Carlinville, Macoupin County, in 1857, following his trade as a carpenter there for some years, but having earned a competency retired in early life. His death occurred February 8, 1900; he was survived by his widow who lived in Carlinville until her death, January 13, 1904. Leander W. Mounts was untied in marriage with Elizabeth Davis, who was born in Grayson County, Kentucky, February 1, 1825, and to this union were born the following children: Emma, who died at the age of 14 years; Flora G., wife of A. H. Bell of Carlinville; Nannie, who died at the age of 14 months; W. L., the subject of this biography; and Walter S., who died in 1896, aged 27 years. Mrs. Mounts was a member of the Methodist Church for many years. Mr. Mounts was a Christian in every sense of the word but was a member of no church organization. Politically he was a stanch Democrat.
W. L. Mounts, the fourth child born to his parents, received a preliminary educational training in the public schools, after which he attended Blackburn University, from which he was graduated in 1881. He taught school from the time of his graduation until 1884, then read law for two years with the firm of Anderson & Bell of Carlinville, and on August 25, 1885, was admitted to the bar. He engaged actively in practice for some years and numbered many of the leading citizens and business firms of the community among his clients. He was frequently elected by the Democratic party to positions of public trust, serving from 1886 to 1887 as city treasurer. he served efficiently in the capacity of city attorney and in 1890 was elected mayor of Carlinville by the largest majority ever given a candidate for that office, also being the youngest executive the city has ever had. He was elected to the General Assembly of Illinois in the fall of 1892, was renominated by acclamation and elected in 1894, and in 1896 was nominated and elected State Senator. In 1898 he received the unanimous instruction of the Macoupin County delegation for member of Congress, and lost the nomination by only one vote. In 1900 his name was again placed in nomination for member of Congress, and it was only after the hardest fight ever made in a convention in this district that he was defeated. There were 2,555 ballots taken, and the session lasted for two weeks. In 1898 he was selected as member at large of the State Democratic Central Committee, and on its organization was elected secretary, in which capacity he now serves. He was also chairman of the State committee on speakers during the campaign of 1900, with headquarters in Chicago. He was appointed by Governor Yates as one of the Democratic members of the St. Louis World's Fair Commission to represent the State of Illinois. He has always been enthusiastic in his support of Democratic principles, and is a power in his party.
On June 18, 1884, Mr. Mounts was untied in marriage with Effie M. Anderson, a daughter of C. H. C. Anderson of Carlinville, and they have three children: Bruce H., Marion E., and William W. Mrs. Mounts is a member of the Methodist Church, and he is a liberal supporter of various churches and enterprises. He is a member of Mount Nebo Lodge, No. 76, A.F. & A.M.; Carlinville Chapter, R.A.M.; St. Omar Commandery, K. T., K. of P.; and the Lodge No. 654, B.P.O.E., of Litchfield, Illinois.
Mr. Mounts has been practically retired from the practice of law since 1890, and has devoted his attention to looking after his extensive and varied business interests. He is interested in the banking house of C. H. C. Anderson, has extensive farming interests, and is president of the Carlinville Gas & Electric Light Company. He is a most enterprising and public spirited citizen, and has lent his hearty support to all measures calculated to benefit and develop the city.