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Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers


EDWARD GRIFFITH MINER, a native of the State of Vermont, was born Jan. 21, 1809, and is the youngest of a family of six children. His father, William Miner, was a seafaring man a greater portion of his life, but spent his latter years on land. His grandfather, Clement Miner, was a soldier in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary struggle and held the rank of Lieutenant. His commission is now held as a valued heir-loom by the subject of this sketch, being issued and signed by Gov. Trumbull, the famous Governor of Connecticut, July 3, 1776. E. G. Miner's purpose and aspiration in life after attending school several terms in his native place, was to become a blacksmith. This, however, was found to be too heavy for his weak physical constitution, and abandoned, after a brief trial. He then went into a woolen factory and worked at that business for some years.

In the fall of 1832, he accepted an opportunity with some emigrants, to drive a team from the village, where he was located in Vermont, through to Scott county. Here he readily procured employment as a clerk and, as such sold goods until his employer went down in a financial crash, thus compelling a cessation of business. After doing business of the same nature as that in which he was before employed, for some time, he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, thereby acquiring considerable money.

All old settlers of Illinois will readily recall the financial revulsion of 1857. It was in this year that the subject of this sketch organized and put into operation the banking house of E. G. Miner & Co., a financial concern, which through being able to successfully stem the adverse tide of that period, gained quite a wide reputation for solidity, prudence, and shrewd management. In 1865, this banking property with all its franchises passed by purchase into the hands of the then newly organized First National Bank of Winchester. The subsequent failure of this concern, marked an unpleasant era in the history of Winchester's commerce and is well remembered by many with feelings of regret bordering on anger. Upon the failure of this bank Mr. Miner again entered banking, putting into life at once, the now popular house of Miner, Frost & Hubbard - from which he retired to private life Jan. 1, 1886.

In glancing over this hasty retrospect of the outlines of a busy life we discover, that like too many Americans who make life a success, Mr. Miner remained at the front too long. Why a man should devote nineteen-twentieths of a life - all too short - to the acquirement of a fortune and reserve to himself the paltry fraction which is left for the enjoyment thereof, cannot be very satisfactorily explained to the reasoning mind. This idea has often been responded to with the assertion that a man enjoys the acquisition of wealth. This is true. A man may be somewhat gratified in the pursuit of wealth from day to day, that is, his avarice may be appeased; his ambition to outstrip his competitors gratified with success, but enjoyment has a different and a better meaning. The most charitable, and probably the most correct, cause to be assigned for such a long continued and persistent chase after riches, by many even unto death's door, is that of industrious habit. The man so habituates himself to industry that idleness becomes irksome and work appears to him the only medium of enjoyment.

This habit of business industry is almost daily seen in Mr. Miner, though he has succeeded far better than many others in divorcing himself from the tyrant "business." He may be seen almost daily walking from his elegant suburban home to the old banking house of Miner, Frost & Hubbard, where, surrounded by the familiar scenes of a past busy life, he reads the daily papers, or discusses current events with his old patrons and friends.

Mr. Miner was a member of the State Legislature of the sessions of 1846-8, and one of the Trustees of the Insane Hospital at Jacksonville for twelve years, having been first appointed thereto by Gov. Bissell. He was married at Edwardsville, Ill., April 19, 1834 to Miss Sophronia Alden, daughter of the Rev. John Alden of the Baptist Church, of Ashfield, Ind., and a direct descendant from John Alden, who did Miles Standish's courting for him, in the old Plymouth days. To this marriage six children have been born, as follows: James, Henry, Anna, Lucy A., John Howard, and Mary Ellen. The eldest is a practicing physician at Winchester; Henry is a farmer; Anna is the wife of Charles B. Hubbard, a banker at Winchester; Lucy A. died in August, 1887, aged about forty-six years; John H., born May 24, 1844, while a member of the 33d Illinois Infantry, was killed by bushwhackers in Arkansas, Sept. 14, 1862, and Mary E., born Aug. 19, 1847, died Aug. 28, 1848.

Mr. Miner is now sitting in the twilight of a well-spent life, calmly and contentedly, knowing that he has done the best he could, and with that record he looks forward without fear of the future.

1889 Index
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