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Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Page 699


Age has seemed no bar to a successful career in the case of Henry Ross Etter, owner and publisher of the Weekly Transcript, who was born in South Palmyra, Macoupin county, on the 17th of July, 1882. He is of German extraction on the paternal side, his great-grandfather, Henry Etter, having been a native of the fatherland, where he engaged in farming for a tie. He came to Virginia in 1783, and later located in Tennessee, where he married Miss Eliza Parks, a native of Anderson county, that state. In 1826 he came to Illinois, locating in Green county, near Carrollton, where he entered land at one dollar and a quarter per acre. Thereon he erected a log cabin, which remained his home for about a decade. the year 1836 witnessed his arrival in Macoupin county. He settled in Western Mound township where he erected a good dwelling in which he resided until the time of his death in 1853. He was numbered among the early settlers of this county. His son, Henry Etter, Jr., was born in Anderson county, Tennessee, May 14, 1820, and was but five years of age when brought to Illinois by his parents. He was reared amid pioneer conditions and remained with his parents until his marriage. He was a hatter by trade, but purchasing land from the government he located upon it and made his home in a log cabin for a number of years. This was prior to the introduction of the railroad into this territory and he was compelled to drive to Alton to obtain provisions and market his produce. He continued his residence in Macoupin county until his death, covering a period of sixty years. Miss Estereen Elizabeth Davidson, a daughter of Ellis Davidson, became his wife and both of them were natives of Kentucky. The father was a son of Rev. John Davidson, a Baptist minister of Greene county, Illinois, who also engaged in farming for a time. His son, Ellis Davidson, was reared in the state of his nativity but passed his last years in Christian county, Illinois. Mrs. Estereen Etter, the grandmother of Henry Ross Etter, was a very skilled spinner and wove all the cloth for the family use. By her married to Henry Etter, Jr., she became the mother of four children, as follows: George, who married Miss Mary C. McCoy; James, the father of our subject; Smith, who wedded Miss Julia R. Range; and Elijah, who married Miss Kate Hulse.

James Etter, father of Henry Ross Etter, was born in South Palmyra township, Macoupin county, on the 21st of July, 1848, and in the district schools of this county acquired his education. He remained on the home farm until after his marriage, when he took up his abode on one of his father's farms. He was a well known figure in political circles of this county, giving stalwart support to the democratic party, and for a number of years served as constable, road commissioner, township clerk and collector and assessor of the township. He was married, on the 30th of October, 1873, to Miss Julia F. Richie, also a native of this county and a daughter of Eli W. Richie. Unto this union were born six children.

Henry Ross Etter, whose name introduces this sketch, was the fourth of his family in order of birth, and in the common schools of Palmyra, acquired a preparatory training, passing through consecutive grades until graduation from the high school. He also had the advantage of study at Drake University, at Des Moines, and made the best possible use of his opportunities for mental training. His first step in the business world was as a teacher, being engaged in that profession for four years and then, at the expiration of that period, he turned his attention to the printing and newspaper business. In 1903 he became employed as editor and manager of the Weekly Transcript at Palmyra, and his time was thus occupied until the 1st of March, 1909, when he purchased that paper of which he has since been the owner and publisher. It is a well known fact that the progressive journal has much to do with shaping thought and action and the editor who closely studies the signs of the times may stand in a position of leadership in relation to many public affairs and projects. This Mr. Etter has fully realized, and in the publication of his paper has introduced such a policy as is making the Transcript a potent force in the community for improvement and advancement along various lines.

On the 18th of May, 1905, Mr. Etter was united in marriage to Miss Laura G. Thompson, a daughter of Samuel Thompson, deceased, who during his active lifetime followed the occupation of farming. Unto this union have been born two children, Florence Evelyn and Lorton Dale.

The religious belief of Mr. Etter is that of the Christian Church, while fraternally he is identified with the Odd Fellows Lodge, No. 348, of Palmyra, of which he is serving as district deputy. In his political views Mr. Etter has been a lifelong democrat and has taken an active and helpful interest in the party work, serving as clerk of South Palmyra township. He stands at all times for that which is progressive in citizenship, never permitting a feeling of partisanship to affect the just policy of his paper nor the loyal performance of public duties. In all relations of life he has been found reliable and trustworthy, and although numbered among the younger business men of his locality, has already won an enviable place for himself among the influential and representative citizens of North Palmyra township.

1911 Index
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