KREIDER, EDMUND CICERO--In the passing of Edmund Cicero Kreider, September 8, 1905, Jacksonville lost a citizen who had contributed largely to its wealth of character and purpose, and who, while conducting a milling business for more than thirty-five years, lent his practical support to the political, mercantile, religious, benevolent and general upbuilding of the town. Mr. Kreider was a doer of deeds and not an idle dreamer; a practical, energetic, capable man of affairs; one who inherited a good name, ambitious tendencies, a sound constitution, and an earnest desire to be of genuine use to his fellowmen. Born in Lancaster, Ohio, February 23, 1835, he was a son of Dr. Michael Zimmerman Kreider, born in Huntingdon, Pa., November 7, 1803, and Cidna (Rees) Kreider, born in Virginia in 1800.
Michael Zimmerman Kreider was descended on his mother's side from Dr. Henry Carpenter, who was born in the Canton of Berne, Switzerland, in 1673, and came to America in 1698, settling in the State of Pennsylvania. Two years later Dr. Carpenter returned to Switzerland, and in 1704 brought his family to share his uncertain fortunes in Pennsylvania. He died in 1749, and the impetus growing out of his successful life resulted in many of his descendants adopting the profession of medicine. The Kreiders were millers in the pioneer days of both Pennsylvania and Ohio, and it was John Kreider who, in 1750, took the first flat-boat down the Susquehannah River to Baltimore, loaded with flour of his own manufacture. Dr. Kreider was a member of the Lower House of the Ohio Legislature in 1832, and from 1833 until 1840 was Clerk of the Court of Fairfield County, his deputy, for a time, being John Sherman, later U. S. Senator and Secretary of State, but who then received $1 per day for his services. Dr. Kreider was a Mason of exalted rank and great influence, and in 1843 served as the first Grand Commander of the Knights Templar of Ohio. He was the Grand Master of Masons of Ohio for three terms (from 1848 to 1850 inclusive), and while on his death bed, in 1855, was elected Eminent Commander of the Lancaster Commandery. In addition to holding an extensive practice, the Doctor was identified with various financial concerns, more especially with the stage lines of Ohio before the advent of the railroads. The natural deduction is that he was a man of great force of character, initiative and personal influence. He had the faculty of reaching out, and on all sides touching and utilizing the opportunities by which he was surrounded.
Owing to the illness of his father, young Edmund Cicero Kreider was recalled from the University of Ohio, at Athens, and at the age of twenty was confronted with the responsibility of settling the paternal estate and managing the stage lines. He was better fitted for the tasks than might at first seem apparent, for he had ever learned more from observation than from books, and, being his father's constant companion, had profited, through the prominence of the older man, by traveling extensively and forming acquaintances throughout the State of Ohio. The estate and stage line business adjusted, in 1857-8 he engaged in banking and real estate at Cedar Rapids, Iowa; but the panic of those years made success impossible, and resulted in his return to Ohio, where, at Logan, he engaged in the milling business, continuing thus from 1865 until 1869. With the thought of making that city his permanent residence, he spent a year in St. Louis, Mo., but in 1870 arrived at Jacksonville, which, though not then a town of great promise, seems to have offered satisfactory milling inducements. From a small beginning the milling enterprise grew apace, until it became a monument to the sagacity and good management of a man with definite aim, and with sufficient patience and perseverance to await the development of his plans. According to the traditions of his family Mr. Kreider should have remained a Jacksonian Democrat, but he had the courage to form his own political opinions, and espouse the cause of Republicanism after the Civil War. His service in that memorable campaign was brief, owing to defective eyesight, although he went out with the "squirrel-hunters," and served for a time on the Sanitary Commission. He was Postmaster of Jacksonville from February, 1898, until his death, and also served as Alderman of the Fourth Ward. The securing of the postoffice appropriation for a new building in Jacksonville was almost entirely due to his efforts, and he won for the city against tremendous odds. For many years he was active in the Jacksonville Merchants' Association. He was prominent in the Masonic order, being a member of the Hospitaler Commandery, Knights Templar, of which he was Eminent Commander in 1877, and Prelate from the early '90s until 1905. In early manhood he joined the Methodist Episcopal denomination, and for many years was a Trustee of Grace Church, of Jacksonville.
The first marriage of Mr. Kreider was solemnized in Ohio, July 20, 1855, with Mary Gates, who was born in Lancaster, Ohio, in 1835, a daughter of James Gates, of that Maine family of Gateses which sent representatives to Marietta, Ohio, about 1796, and who were among the first settlers of the Buckeye State. James Gates engaged in the jewelry business in Lancaster from 1826 until 1864. Mrs. Kreider died in November, 1861, leaving two children--Dr. George Noble Kreider, now of Springfield, Ill., and Miriam Ballard. In Portsmouth, Ohio, January 3, 1866, Mr. Kreider married Mary McDowell, who survives him and who was born in Portsmouth, Ohio. John McDowell, father of Mrs. Kreider, came of an old Virginia family, he being a merchant in Portsmouth at a very early day. Of the second marriage of Mr. Kreider there were six children: Thalia L., John McDowell, Phebe Jefferson, Edmund C. Kreider, Jr., William J., and Mary Rees. The first and the last child died in infancy.
Many qualities of mind and heart contributed to the good will and popularity which brightened the life of Mr. Kreider. His good nature and sympathy seemed inexhaustible, and his quick, clear grasp of a situation, whether of a business nature or the immediate concern of a friend, made him a counselor whose advice was both received and heeded. He had that invaluable gift in business and society of never forgetting a face, and always followed the fortunes of his friends-rejoicing in their successes and grieving at their sorrows. Hovering always over his life was the great spirit of humanity which makes the whole world kin, and during his sojourn in Jacksonville there were few houses of mourning which he did not enter to tender his sympathy or offer practical help. That his deeds were as bread cast upon the waters was apparent at the ceremony which preceded his final disposition, for rarely has the city of his adoption witnessed keener manifestation of grief. The great gathering in Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, September 10, 1905, was swayed by a sense of loneliness and loss. Presiding were Reverends O'Neil, W. F. Short, Wilder, and Musgrove, and at the vault, the Knights Templar, with their imposing regalia-their militant, century-worn belief in the dignity and honor of manhood-invested the occasion with their beautiful and impressive ceremonial. Almost invariably had he been chosen to preside at the festivals of the great brotherhood of Masons, and his wit and adaptability had placed everyone on excellent terms with themselves and the world in general. In his home he had cared for orphaned relative children, and for others not relatives, and a pathetic reflection of this kindliness and generosity to the young was a beautiful floral design sent to grace his mute surroundings by the colored boy who conducted a shoe-shine stand near his residence. Mr. Kreider was of that rare class whose memory lives and works for the same high ends that were unwaveringly pursued by the man himself.