DOYING, GEORGE E., (deceased), former editor and proprietor of the "Illinois Courier", Jacksonville, was born in Little Warwick, Province of Quebec, Canada, January 22, 1839, the son of Daniel and Ann (Kelley) Doying, and died in Jacksonville, Ill., July 20, 1904. He was one of a family of thirteen children, but one of whom, Charles E. Doying, of Nashua, N. H., survives. After securing a meager education in the common schools of his native province, at the age of thirteen years he left home and began a self-supporting career by working upon farms and railroads. At the age of eighteen he entered a printing office in Pennsylvania as an apprentice. Four years later, in 1861, he enlisted in Company B, Sixth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and served continuously for three years in the Union cause, when he received an honorable discharge. At the close of the war he went to Washington, D. C., where he entered the Government Printing Office as an employee. While thus engaged he occupied rooms in the Surratt residence, and was thereby enabled to witness many of the scenes in the drama of which the assassination of President Lincoln was the culmination.
In 1866 Mr. Doying removed to Illinois, locating at Carlyle, where he entered the employ of Zophar Case, editor and proprietor of the "Constitution and Union," of which, in partnership with Hardin Case, a few years later, he became proprietor. The two partners conducted the paper until 1876, when Mr. Doying sold his interest to Mr. Case, removed to Jacksonville and purchased a third interest in the "Weekly and Tri-Weekly Courier," which was then conducted by T. D. Price & Company. On July 18, 1882, Mr. Doying formed a partnership with William H. Hinrichsen, under the name of Doying & Hinrichsen, who continued the publication of the two papers until 1885, in the meantime - in March, 1883 - establishing the "Daily Courier". In 1885 the firm was reorganized under the name of Doying, Hinrichsen & Case, by the admission of Warren Case into the partnership, and in addition to conducting the "Daily and Weekly Courier", the firm purchased the "Quincy (Ill.) Daily Herald." Mr. Doying remained in Jacksonville and conducted the "Courier," while his partners removed to Quincy and conducted the "Herald". In 1890 the latter paper was sold, and in 1892 the partnership was dissolved, Mr. Doying becoming sole proprietor of the "Courier," which he continued to control until his death. Under his management the "Illinois Courier" became the leading Democratic newspaper of Morgan County, and, outside of Chicago, one of the most influential papers of the State.
Though devoting the best of his energy to the development of his newspaper, Mr. Doying did not neglect other local interests tending to advance the material and social welfare of the community in which he lived. For many years he was actively and prominently identified with the Independent Order of Mutual Aid, of which he was elected Grand President in 1890 and reelected in 1891, serving two terms of one year each. In 1902 he was again elected to the office for a term of two years, and reelected in 1904 for a similar period, holding the office at the time of his death. He also occupied the post of editor of the "I. O. M. A. Herald", the official organ of the order, and was identified with several other secret and fraternal organizations. In Masonry he was a member of Jacksonville Lodge, No. 570, A. F. & A. M., and of Hospitaler Commandery, No. 31, K. T. He was likewise active in the work of the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, the Knights of Honor and Knights of Khorassen. In the lodge of the Independent Order of Red Men, which was instituted in Jacksonville several years ago, he served as the first Grand Sachem. The only public office he ever held was during the Altgeld administration, when from 1892 to 1896 he served as Treasurer of the State School for the Blind. Mr. Doying's interest in the higher type of local institutions is also illustrated by his identification with the Public Library Board, to which he devoted much of his time during the period when the Carnegie Library building was in process of construction. In the earlier days, when the library had no such substantial and attractive home, he was as profoundly interested in its welfare, and did everything in his power to popularize it and keep its standard high. As a member of the Jacksonville Park Commission he rendered material assistance in the work of beautifying the city's public grounds. He also served at tone time as President of the Jacksonville Business Men's Association, and in this capacity used his best endeavor to advance the industrial and commercial interests of the city.
On December 2, 1869, Mr. Doying was united in marriage with Hattie Norris, of Carlyle, Ill., a daughter of Daniel and Harriet (Thornton) Norris, and they had the following named children born to them: William D., business manager of the "Illinois Courier"; Mary A., wife of Ernest H. Olds, of Chicago; Emma N., living at home; George E., Jr., editor of the "Illinois Courier"; Elizabeth A., wife of Frank P. Vickery, of Jacksonville; Nellie C.; and Charles F., an employee in the office of the "Illinois Courier".
By those who were favored with an intimate acquaintance with Mr. Doying he was most highly esteemed for those traits of character which always endear a man to his fellows. He was recognized by all as a man possessed of an abundant public spirit, and unselfish motives in everything he undertook for the ultimate benefit of the community. Thought of self was always his last consideration. He zealously labored for the advancement of the material welfare of Jacksonville and Morgan County from all view points - commercial, industrial, educational and social. A humanitarian instinct, which is all too rare in these days, marked the progress of his life, and he was never called upon in vain for assistance in the promotion of well-considered efforts for the amelioration of the condition of the Needy. There lie scattered throughout Jacksonville numerous monuments to his enterprise and public spirit, the most noticeable of which are the street improvements which he so earnestly advocated and labored to secure. In his death the community suffered a loss that was deeply deplored.