If those who claim that fortune has favored certain individuals above
others will but investigate the cause of success and failure it will be
found that the former is largely due to the improvement of opportunity, the
latter to the neglect of it. Fortunate environments encompass nearly every
man at some stage of his career, but the strong man and the successful man
is he who realizes that proper moment has come, that the present and not the
future holds his opportunity. The man who makes use of the Now and not the
To Be is the one who passes on the highway of life others who started out
ahead of him, and reaches the goal of prosperity in advance of them. It is
this quality that has made William H. Ford a leader in the business world at
Herrin, where he has gained distinctive prestige as a real-estate man and as
a booster of the town.
Dr. Ford was born in Jackson county, Illinois, the date of his nativity being the 10th of March, 1878. He is a son of the late Wiley N. Ford, who passed away in Herrin, May 3, 1909. Jesse Ford, grandfather of the Doctor, was a native of Pennsylvania, whence he came to Southern Illinois as a pioneer settler. He located in Jackson county and for a number of years prior to his demise was a prominent merchant at Carbondale. Jesse Ford was twice married, his first wife hav* ing been a Miss Greathouse. She died, the mother of Wiley N. and William, the former the father of Dr. Ford and the latter a farmer in Williamson county, Illinois. Mr. Ford's second wife was Miss Brandon. They had no children.
Wiley N. Ford was born near Carbondale, Illinois, in 1853, and as a youth he attended the district schools of his native place. After reaching years of maturity he was for a time engaged in farming and stockraising but later became interested in the real-estate business, the scene of his operations in that connection being in Williamson county. He platted and sold the town of Fordville, an incorporated village of some seven hundred inhabitants, the same covering a tract of two hundred acres of land. With the passage of time his interests in the vicinity of Herrin became considerable and he laid off and sold several "out lots" to the city. He bought and sold property of every description and was an aid in the organization of the City National Bank of Herrin, being a member of its board of directors at the time of his death. In politics he was a Democrat and served his party simply as a counselor. He was averse to public office for himself, held aloof from all fraternities and life insurance companies and owned allegiance to no church or creed. He was married, in Jackson county, Illinois, to Miss Amanda Phemister, a daughter of Henry and Margaret (Tygett) Phemister. Mrs. Ford was born in Jackson county, in 1859, and she had three sisters, namely, Mary, who died as the wife of John Borne; Ettie, who is the wife of William Rushing, of Jackson county, Illinois; and Martha, widow of Albert Presson, of Osage, Oklahoma. Mr. and Mrs. Wiley N. Ford became the parents of two children, Dr. William H., of this notice; and Roy Ford, a farmer near Herrin, who married Cora Tilson at Valparaiso, Indiana, while he was a college student in that place.
In the public schools of Jackson county Dr. William H. Ford received his rudimentary educational training and later he supplemented that, discipline by a course of study in the Southern Illinois Normal University, at Carbondale. As a young man he decided upon medicine as his profession and in 1894 was matriculated as a student in the St. Louis Medical College, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1898, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. Immediately after leaving college he came to Herrin, where he was engaged in the active practice of his profession for a number of years. The press of business matters consequent upon the substantial investment of both his father and himself made such demands upon his time, however, that he finally gave up his profession and joined his father in the varied phases of town building and urban development generally. For the past seven years he has been interested in the real-estate business. As a young doctor he became a valued member of the Southern Illinois, the Tri-State and the American Medical Associations and although now out of practice he still keeps in touch with matters pertaining to the advance of medical science and professional doings.
In connection with his real-estate interests at Herrin, Dr. Ford was originally associated with his father, they having laid off the Ford and Stotlar additions to this city. He was also interested in the Fordville enterprise, mentioned above. The Doctor has manifested his faith in Herrin by erecting a substantial business block here and by putting up a number of cottages throughout the residence district. It is probable that through his real-estate dealings he has added more to the city's development and improvement during the few short years he has been a resident of this place than any other man in Herrin. He became a stockholder in the City National Bank at the time of its inception and is a member of the board of directors of both it and the Herrin State & Savings Bank. In politics he is a Democrat and his fraternal affiliations are with the Masons, the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
On January 10, 1900, Dr. Ford married Miss Nora Stotlar, a daughter of Thomas and Louisa (Cox) Stotlar, pioneers of Williamson county. Mrs. Stotlar died in 1900, and her husband died March 8, 1912. Dr. and Mrs. Ford have one daughter, Louane, whose birth occurred October 5, 1908.
Extracted 11 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 3, pages 1143-1144.
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