CHARLES HIBBERT METCALF.
Charles Hibbert Metcalf, one of the public-spirited citizens of Girard, was for many years actively identified with the commercial interests of the town, but is now living retired. A native of Illinois, he was born in Greene county on the 12th of October, 1855, and is a son of James D. and Brunette (Mason) Metcalf, both natives of Kentucky, as were also his grandfathers, William Metcalf and Dr. George B. Mason. In 1856 James D. Metcalf brought his wife and family to Macoupin county and located in Girard, where he first engaged in the drug partnership with Mr. Savage for a time and subsequently with Mr. Bellamy. On disposing of his interest in the grocery store he turned his attention to the lumber business as a member of the firm of Andrews, Macknett & Metcalf, but his last years were devoted to banking, conducting what was then known as the Girard Bank, but now the State Bank of Girard. His demise occurred in 1887.
Charles Hibbert Metcalf obtained his preliminary education in the public schools of Girard, after the completion of which he attended Eureka College. In 1874 he began his business career as an assistant in his father's store, in which he bought a third interest three years later. Dr. B. F. Clark was associated with his father at that time, but in 1886 Charles Hibbert Metcalf bought his interest also, becoming two-thirds owner. Subsequent to the death of his father, which occurred the following year, he withdrew from commercial enterprises, disposing of his stock to George B. Hobson, since which time he has lived retired.
On the 11th of January, 1877, Mr. Metcalf was united in marriage to Miss Mary Bellamy, of Girard, a daughter of B. R. and Elizabeth (Bailey) Bellamy, the father a native of Kentucky and the mother of Pennsylvania. three children have been born of this union, as follows: Edith B., who is now the wife of Dr. W. W. Van Wormer and has become the mother of two children, Charles Metcalf and Mary Elizabeth; Laura B., who married S. P. Kramer of Kansas City; and Essie B., the youngest member of the family.
The family were reared in the faith of the Christian church, of which Mr. Metcalf has been a member for thirty years. he takes an active and helpful interest in the work of the organization and is now serving as deacon, in addition to which he is also acting as collector of the official board. Politically he is a republican and has always prominently participated in all municipal affairs. He was at one time a member of the township central committee and from 1902 to 1907 president of the school board. In 1907 he was elected mayor of Girard, which office he held for four years. During that time it was voted to close the saloons, for despite the fact that the town had had from six to eight saloons, for twenty-three years it was heavily in debt. Although this cut off quite a percentage of the income, five miles of cement sidewalk were laid, the property owners paying for everything but the street and alley crossings. The city bought the electric light plant, which was not giving very efficient service, installed two new boilers and did considerable wiring, while many minor improvements were made. A fire engine costing twenty-five hundred dollars was also purchased and the fire department was greatly improved thereby. Notwithstanding the large expenditure of money and the reduced income when Mr. Metcalf retired from the office, the city had paid up all of the old indebtedness as well as for the improvements and the interest on the electric light bond, and he turned over to his successor twenty-two hundred dollars. This fact clearly demonstrates what it is possible to do in any municipality when the funds are handled conscientiously and judiciously. Fraternally Mr. Metcalf is a member of Girard Lodge, No. 171, A.F. & A.M., and was one of the original members of Hiawatha Lodge, K.P., in which he filled all the chairs and was also a representative to the grand lodge of the state. He is held in high regard in Girard, where he has a host of warm friends, the majority of whom have known him from boyhood.