Transcribed by: Ellen Booth.Page 308
GEORGE W. HATCH, figuring prominently in the business circles of Greenview, his business activity contributing to the general prosperity as well as his individual success, is now secretary and general manager of the Greenview Coal & Mining Company, as superintendent and manager of the Middletown Coal Company at Middletown, Illinois, and is the senior member of the firm of Hatch, Jones & Bergen, general merchants of Greenview. A native son of Menard county, he was born a mile and a half north of the city in which he yet makes his home, on the 15th of October 1861, his parents being George W. and Amanda M. (Martin) Hatch. His paternal grandfather, who was a sea captain, followed the sea for many years and was at length lost at sea.
George W. Hatch, Sr., the father of our subject, was a native of New Jersey and was twice married, his first wife being Mary Brewer. Their wedding was celebrated March 10, 1846, and to them were born three sons, namely: William N, a resident of Oakland, Pottawattamie county, Iowa, where he is engaged in farming and stock-raising and owns over five hundred acres of land; John B., who died September 5, 1869; and Thomas N., who died August 23, 1858. The mother of these children died March 30, 1855, and the father was married August 25, 1855, to Amanda M. Martin, who was born in Illinois, September 3, 1833, and was a daughter of John and Highland (Ferguson) Martin. Her parents were both natives of Kentucky and at an early day removed from that state to Illinois, settling at Baker's Prairie, where the father carried on farming and stock-raising. The mother and four of her children died within two weeks. One daughter, Mrs. Alexander Rhoades, is still living, her home being at Springerton, Illinois. By his second marriage George W. Hatch, Sr., had five children, our subject being the only son. The daughters were Margaret A., who was born June 26, 1856, and married C. H. Denton, of Athens, Illinois; Mary H., who was born October 1, 1857, and is now the wife of J.R. Arnold, of Greenview; Emma J., who was born November 26, 1859, and died August 30, 1877; and Laura E., who was born April 4, 1863, and died April 30, 1879.
In early boyhood days George W. Hatch, Sr. came to Menard county and in his youth he worked by the month as a farm hand. He afterward entered land from the government and devoted his energies to its cultivation and improvement until 1868, when he retired from agricultural life and removed to Greenview, entering the firm of Hatch & Arnheim, general merchants. He also conducted a lumber yard and milling business and he erected many of the first houses of the city. His business interests thus extended to many lines and proved beneficial to the community by advancing the commercial and industrial prosperity which is the basis of all progress and substantial upbuilding. In 1873 he sold his varied business interests, save his mill, which he conducted until his death. He passed away May 25th, 1874, at the age of forty-seven years and nine months. His widow long survived him and her death resulted from a fall on the 17th of August, 1903, when she was seventy-one years of age.
George W. Hatch was a public school student in Greenview and in 1880 he entered The Northern Indiana Normal College at Valparaiso, Indiana, leaving that institution on the day that James A. Garfield was nominated for the presidency. He then returned to Menard county and in June, 1880, he engaged in the livery business, but after nine months he sold out and took a three months' trip to west, visiting Denver and Leadville, Colorado. On the expiration of that period he retraced his steps eastward as far as Iowa and on the 3rd of July, 1881, he returned to Menard county. About that time he assisted in the organization of the first coal company formed here and in November of the same year he embarked in the furniture and undertaking business, which he carried on for about three years. On the 23rd of December, 1884, however, he removed to a farm and was successfully and continuously engaged in agricultural pursuits for six years, or until November, 1891, when he returned to Greenview. Here he began handling horses and in 1892 he became actively associated with commercial interests as a dealer in hardware and implements under the firm style of Hatch & Propst. A man of resourceful business ability, readily recognizing and improving opportunity, he has been associated with many lines of endeavor that have proved of practical value and benefit to the city and at the same time have advanced his individual prosperity. He built the first opera house of Greenview at a cost of eight thousand dollars, but the building was afterward destroyed by fire. He has been identified with the development of the coal interests of this part of the state and in 1886 he became a stockholder in the Menard Coal Company, of Greenview, Illinois, of which he is now the secretary and manager. In 1893 he sold his interest in the hardware store to his partner and became an insurance and real estate agent.
For a time Mr. Hatch put aside his more active business duties in order to perform public service, for which he had been chosen by the votes of his fellow townsmen. In 1894 he was elected sheriff of Menard county upon the Republican ticket, although this is a strong Democratic county, receiving a majority of one hundred and forty-nine. Later he was nominated for the office of county clerk, was defeated by one hundred and twenty-six votes. In 1900 he was a candidate before the Republican convention for the nomination for representative. After retiring from the office of county sheriff he took charge of the business of the coal company and he entered the firm of Hatch, Elkie & Reed, on the 8th March, 1892. After a year, however, this partnership was dissolved and Mr. Hatch became the senior member of the present mercantile firm of Hatch, Jones & Bergen. He is a man of keen business discernment and unfaltering enterprise and carries forward to successful completion whenever he undertakes. Moreover, his business methods have been such as never seek nor require disguise and he has made for himself an honorable name in trade circles.
On the 12th of October, 1882, Mr. Hatch was married to Miss Eleanor Frances Reed, a daughter of W. W. P. Reed, and they have three children: Claude Wallace, who was born November 9, 1883, is now married and is in charge of his father's interests in the store; Forest Leslie, born January 19, 1889, and Mildred, born January 15, 1891, are at home with their parents. The wife and children are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church and Mr. Hatch holds membership in the Christian church. He has pleasant fraternal relations, being a valued representative of Clinton Lodge, No 189, A. F. & A. M., of Petersburg; Loyalty lodge No. 183, K. P., and the Modern Woodman camp. His name is a synonym for activity, industry and integrity in business life and he stands to-day as one of the successful and respected men of Menard county.