WILLIAM A. HUTCHISON, who is prominent among the business interests of Waverly, is, with his partners, Messrs. Flemming & Sons, conducting a prosperous trade in hardware and drugs, and has been established here since 1859. His family is numbered among the pioneers of 1830, at which time James Hutchison, the father, with his wife and one child, William A., settled on a tract of land near Waverly, when there was very little indication of a town.
The ancestors of our subject went by the name of Hudson, and were first represented in this country by five brothers, who emigrated from England and settled in Virginia and adjoining States. One of their descendants, Joseph Hudson, the grandfather of our subject, was born near Richmond, Va., but at an early day removed to Kentucky, and laid out the town of Hudsonville, in Breckenridge County. It is not known positively just how the name came to be changed, but was evidently done after the birth of grandfather Hudson, who in time answered to the name of Hutchison, to which his descendants afterward clung. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and died at the advanced age of one hundred and two years.
John Hutchison, a son of the above, and the grandfather of our subject, was born in Breckenridge County, Ky., where he followed farming, and married Miss Susan Heinemann, of Germany ancestry. They lived in Kentucky until 1830, then accompanied their son James, the father of our subject, to Illinois, and settled in this county. The grandfather after a time started to visit his old home in the Blue Grass State, and died on the way there, in Jasper County, Ill., at the age of about seventy years. His wife died in Waverly, this county, when sixty years old. They were the parents of five children.
James Hutchison was born in Breckenridge County, Ky., in 1808, and was married, in Indiana, to Miss Elethia Campbell. This lady was born in North Carolina, and in 1830 they came to Illinois, and settled upon a claim of Government land near Waverly. This the father afterward sold, and entered eighty acres near by, which he improved and lived upon a number of years. About 1837 he moved into the village, and built a carding mill and grist mill. He possessed considerable mechanical genius, had learned the tailor's trade, and was also a millwright. He operated these mills until 1851, in which year the cholera epidemic visited this region, and he fell a victim to the terrible disease.
The father of our subject was an earnest Christian man, and for many years officiated as a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was kind and benevolent, both in his public and private life, gave liberally to those in need, and was successful in business, accumulating a comfortable property. His first wife, the mother of our subject, died about 1840, leaving seven children, five of whom lived to mature years, and of whom William A., our subject, was the eldest. His brother John is a resident of Waverly; Joseph makes his home in Augusta, Ark.; Margaret became the wife of Dr. McVey, and died in Macoupin County, this State; Mary is the wife of C.F. Meacham, of Waverly.
The second wife of James Hutchison was Miss Margaret Westfall, and they became the parents of three children: David, a resident of Jacksonville; Samuel and Melinda, of Waverly. William A., our subject, was born in Little Orleans, Southern Indiana, on the White River, Aug. 2, 1828, and was two years old when the family came to this county. Here he has since lived, and has thus witnessed the changes which have passed over the face of the country, and the transformation of the raw prairie to cultivated farms and prosperous villages. He was taught to make himself useful at an early age, and assisted his father in the mills until leaving home to become a clerk in Waverly, where he remained two years. At the expiration of this time he associated himself in partnership with William Rhodes, and under the firm name of Rhodes & Hutchison they carried on a general store until the death of the father. The firm then disposed of their stock of merchandise, and confined their attention to the mills. One of these was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt, and eighteen months later the other was burned, causing additional heavy loss, and leaving Mr. Hutchison without property and in debt.
Making the best of circumstances Mr. Hutchison, now without capital, resumed the occupation of a clerk, and in due time rebuilt his mill, operated it for a time, then sold out, and purchased an interest in the store where he had been clerking. With this he has since been connected. Prosperity has attended him during these later years, and he is now in the enjoyment of a lucrative patronage. He is at present associated with Messrs. Robert Fleming &Sons, the firm name being Hutchison, Fleming & Sons.
Mr. Hutchison was married, in 1852, to Miss Julia Church, who was born in Greene County, this State, and is the daughter of Levi and Esther (Kellogg) Church. This union resulted in the birth of four children, one of whom died in infancy, and one at the age of thirteen years. The survivors are Edwin and Hattie. Mr. Hutchison, politically, gives his uniform support to the Republican party, and with the exception of serving as City Treasurer has had but very little to do with public affairs. In religious matters he belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which he gives a liberal support, and is considered one of its chief pillars. Socially, he is identified with the Masonic fraternity and the I.O.O.F. He is regarded as a man of the strictest integrity, and his credit is always A 1. At one time he dealt considerably in grain, and was associated with other leading citizens in the building of the elevator at Waverly.