Jackson County

Biography - Clain Crain

CLAIN CRAIN. A man of varied and extensive interests, successful alike in business and public life, Clain Grain, of Fordyce, Illinois, is one of the leading capitalists of Jackson county, and a man whose influence has been felt in all movements tending to advance his section. He belongs to one of the old and honored families of Southern Illinois, and was born in Ora township, Jackson county, Illinois, February 17, 1870, a son of George and Catherine (Arnold) Grain.

Friend Grain, the grandfather of Clain, was born in Georgia, and when a lad of twelve or fourteen years came to Southern Illinois with his parents, Joel Grain and his wife, who were one of the earliest couples to locate in Perry county. Here Joel Grain reared a family, overcame the hardships and privations usual to pioneer life, and became a successful agriculturist, following that occupation throughout his career. Friend Grain grew to manhood in this locality, and was here married to Miss Elizabeth House, by whom he had five sons, of whom George was the second. Elizabeth House was born in 1816, in North Carolina, and came to Illinois in 1828 with her parents, John and Sarah House, the family locating on the east side of Four Mile Prairie, becoming the first settlers of that section, which was just inside of Perry county. There the family of five sons and two daughters was reared, of whom Elizabeth was the third child, and she was sixteen years of age when she married Friend Grain.

When George Grain was thirteen days old, the day the volunteers left for the Mexican war, June 23, 1846, he was taken from the farm on which he had been born, and which stood on the line between Perry and Jackson counties, to a property near Vergennes, a farm situated about six miles northwest of the village, and there he grew to manhood. Purchasing a farm adjoining that of his father, he was married in 1866, to Catherine Arnold, daughter of George and Sarah Arnold, eight children being born to this union: Friend, Clain, Mrs. Lura Schempff, Riley, Reuben, Mrs. Oma Rosch, Fred and Harry. Mr. and Mrs. Grain lived on the farm until 1883, at which time the Illinois Central Railroad was built through Vergennes to the town of Grub, and at the latter place Mr. Grain began buying wheat and timber and operating a general store. He remained at that point until 1892, at which time he returned to Vergennes and went into the piling and lumber business, and he is now the owner of a large lumber yard. For some years Mr. Grain was also engaged in the wholesale liquor business at Pinckneyville, and on first coming to Vergennes was engaged in business with his son, Clain, but for the greater part of the time he has carried on business alone and has been identified with the lumber interests. More than any other one man, perhaps, Mr. Grain has developed the resources of Vergennes where he is highly esteemed by his fellow townsmen. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Odd Fellows, in which he is popular, but he has not identified himself with any other social organizations, and has kept out of politics.

Clain Grain spent his early life on the farm in Ora township, and his education was secured in the public schools of that district. In 1890 he came to Vergennes, where he engaged in a general merchandise business, but in 1896 sold his interests and moved to Johnson City, where he became identified with lumber. In 1897 he returned to Vergennes, where he again entered business, but in 1903 went to Sea Rock and for two years was engaged on a "timber job." At the time the Iron Mountain Railroad was put through. Mr. Grain recognized the fact that this locality would have a future as a commercial center, and purchased a number of building lots on the present site of Fordyce, to which city he moved in 1905, entering the general merchandise business. The year of 1907 was an unfortunate one for him, for, while his business had assumed large proportions and was progressing rapidly, he was both burglarized and burned out. His stock was replenished, however, and his store rebuilt, and he now has one of the finest business enterprises to be found in this section. On first coming to Fordyce Mr. Grain also engaged in the lumber business, which has steadily grown to the present time, and for three years he has operated the electric light plant here. Since the time when he built the first store and the first residence here, Mr. Grain has engaged in the real estate business, and he now owns considerable property and has done much to build up and develop the interests of Fordyce. His political belief is that of the Republican party, in the ranks of which he is an active worker, and he has served as chairman of the village board, trustee of the village, and president of the school board of the township for several years. He has brought to his public service the same enthusiasm and wealth of progressive ideas that have made him so successful in his business ventures.

Mr. Grain was married in 1890 to Miss Jane Pyatt, of Pyatt Station, Perry county, and four children have been born to this union, namely: Oscar, Ozie, Jessie and Burl. Mr. Grain is a popular member of the Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America.

Extracted 15 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 977-979.

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