A well-managed and up-to-date mercantile establishment is one of the most valuable institutions a community can possess and contributes in marked degree to its prosperity and standing and also to the pleasure and convenience of living. One of the most successful and enterprising of the mercantile businesses of Edwards county is that of which Chester Arthur McClure is proprietor and manager. He is following in the footsteps of his honored father, who from 1883 until his death in 1905 operated a ' general mercantile store in this place. The subject is of pioneer stock in this section and may point to an ancestral record distinguished for its patriotism and good citizenship, and in these qualities he shares, being a veteran of the Spanish-American Avar and a young man whose hand is extended toward all public-spirited measures.

Mr. McClure was born at Dexter, in Effingham county, September 19, 1885, the son of G. W. McClure. The grandfather was a native of Maryland and of Scotch-English descent. However, he early left his native heath and came to the west, and his son, the subject's father, was born within the boundaries of Edwards county. The first of the McClures in Illinois was among the forty-niners, making the trip overland to California in that year, but soon returning and devoting his energies to Illinois agriculture, finding far greater peace and happiness in the tilling of the soil than in the quest of gold. When the Civil war cloud broke, plunging the nation into sorrow and devastation, he enlisted and served under the flag of the cause he believed to be just as a member of an Illinois regiment.

The subject's father, after his marriage, removed to Dexter, Effingham county, and there started a general mercantile business, which was destined to meet with the best of fortunes and which he operated in Dexter for three and a half years, until 1883. He then removed his business to Bone Gap, in whose future he had all of confidence, and this business he operated until his demise, its growth being continual and substantial. This fine citizen was Republican in politics. Fraternally he was an Odd Fellow and a Mason. He was active in church work and served in the affairs of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he was a member as steward, trustee and class leader. In 1880 he married Susan J. Walser, daughter of James Walser, a pioneer of Edwards county, she having been reared on a country estate about a mile and a half east of West Salem. Three children were born to their union, Chester A., a child who died in infancy and Flossie A., wife of George W. Porter, of Bone Gap.

Mr. McClure of this review received his first introduction to Minerva in the public schools of Bone Gap and Effingham and had his higher training in the Southern Collegiate Institute. Subsequently he completed a business course in the Austin Business College at Effingham in 1900. Previous to that he served in the Spanish-American war, being mustered into the service on June 28, 1898, as a member of Company G, Ninth Illinois Volunteer Regiment. He was on detached duty at brigade headquarters under Brigadier General Douglas and Brigadier General Kribben, being stationed at Jacksonville, Savannah and Havana, Cuba. He was mustered out May 20. 1899, with the rank of mounted orderly.

Upon the return of peace Mr. McClure came back to his home town, and after the business course at Effingham, mentioned previously, he went to Detroit and engaged in the machinist's trade, working at the Bayer plant of the Chicago Pneumatic Tube Company. He was subsequently employed by various automobile companies, the Packard Company, etc., and was also in the employ of the Burroughs Adding Machine Company. He resided for a considerable period in Detroit, from August, 1901, to September 14, 1905. Upon the demise of his father Mr. McClure took charge of the business of that gentleman and he has shown the same good judgment and honorable and effective business methods displayed by the elder gentleman. The stock carried at the present time is an excellent one and exceeds $6,000.

Mr. McClure is a prominent lodge man and finds pleasure and profit in fraternal association with his fellows. He belongs to the Masonic lodge, No. 866, at West Salem; Monitor Lodge, No. 235, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at Bone Gap; the Modern Woodmen of America, No. 648, of whose counsel he is a member; Ben Hur and the Rebekahs. In religious faith he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

On June 13, 1909, Mr. McClure was happily married at Mt. Carmel, the lady of his choice being Claribel J. Inskeep, daughter of Dr. J. E. Inskeep. They have one daughter, Catherine Wilbur, born May 26, 1910. They are among the most popular and highly regarded of the young people of the community and maintain a pleasant and hospitable home.

Extracted 11 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 3, pages 1669-1670.

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