Jackson County
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Biography - W. H. Hull

W. H. HULL has been prominently identified with the interests of Murphysboro for many years. He is now engaged in general merchandising. He was for some time editor of the Daily Era, but is now chief of the fire department. He is also at the head of the Murphysboro telephone system, which has lately been organized, but will soon be in active operation. He is enterprising and industrious and carries forward to a successful completion whatever he undertakes. His career as a merchant will undoubtedly be a prosperous one.

Mr. Hull was born in Morristown, N. J., November 28, 1848. His grandfather, Samuel P. Hull, was a newspaper man of western New York. About 1826, he established a paper in Morristown, N. J., which he edited until 1853. He then sold out and removed to Jersey City, where he made his home while publishing a paper in New York City. His death occurred in 1855. The family is of English descent.

John A. Hull, father of our subject, was born in New York, and was also a journalist. At the time of the gold excitement in California, he went to that state and established a newspaper. Later he returned, but again crossed the plains in 1852. In 1855 he went to Chicago, and thence to Springfield, where he carried on newspaper work. During the Presidential campaign of 1856, he edited a paper in De Soto, and then removed to Carbondale, where he established the Carbondale Times. After a short period he sold out, spent a few months in Cairo, and then edited a paper in Evansville, Ind. Subsequently he again engaged in the newspaper business in Carbondale. In 1862 he aided in raising the Eighty-flrst Illinois Regiment, and joined Company K as a private, but at length was discharged on account of physical disability.

Becoming a reporter for the New York Herald, John A. Hull was sent to Mexico at the time of the trouble concerning Prince Maximilian, but as he was a prominent Mason he was forced to leave that country, but continued with the Herald for some years longer. He afterward edited a paper at Coldwater, Mich., and later in Healdsburg, Cal. In 1881, he came to Murphysboro and made his home with our subject. He died at Creal Springs in 1889, at the age of sixty-seven. He was a Douglas Democrat, a member of the Episcopal Church, and a very prominent and influential citizen, who through his journalistic work did much in molding public opinion. He married Eliza Bache, who was born near Morristown, N. J., and was of Irish descent. She died in Springfield, Ill. In the family were three children, but Mrs. W. S. Murphy died in 1867, and Andrew J. in 1887.

Our subject, the only survivor, went to Carbondale at the age of seven, attended the high school, and from an early age worked in a printing office. It seemed but natural as his father and grandfather had been newspapermen that he should follow in the same line. He made his first venture in 1870, establishing a newspaper in Cairo, the Cairo Sun, but after six months he sold out and spent some time traveling in the east. He visited Washington, Philadelphia and New York. He afterward joined his father in the publication of the Coldwater Enterprise, of Coldwater, Mich., where he continued two years. After a visit to the Rocky Mountains we find him in the Government printing office in Washington. In 1879 he came to Murphysboro from St. Louis, and began working in the Era office, which he afterward purchased in company with G. J. Burr. His partner died, and in 1881 Mr. Hull purchased the business, continuing as sole proprietor until January, 1892. In May, 1891, he established the Daily Era, and soon the paper had a good circulation.

In 1892 Mr. Hull turned his attention to merchandising, and as a member of the firm of Kent & Hull carried on business until October 25, 1893, when he bought out his partner, W. C. Kent. He carries a stock of dry goods and groceries, having a fine double store on Walnut Street. In the summer of 1893 he also established the telephone company. He aided in the organization of the Jackson County Homestead and Loan Association, of which he has always been a Director, and he has also been a Director of the Southern Illinois Building and Loan Association since its formation.

In October, 1879, Mr. Hull wedded Ella M. Stearns, a native of Jackson County, and a daughter of Z. K. Stearns, an early settler of this community. They have a daughter, Jennie M. By his first marriage, Mr. Hull had a son, Charles L., who is now cashier for a street rail way company of Chicago.

In 1876, the fire department of Murphysboro was organized and a hand engine purchased. Later, through the instrumentality of Mr. Hull, a steam fire engine was secured. He has been Chief of the department since 1888, and was formerly its Secretary. Mr. Hull is Captain of Jackson Camp No. 113, S. V. In politics, he is a stalwart Republican, was a member of the Central Committee, and has been its Secretary for some years. He was formerly an active member of the State Newspaper Association and the Southern Illinois Newspaper Association. He was a ready writer, an able journalist, and his work in that direction will prove of immense benefit to him in his mercantile experience.

Extracted 28 Aug 2019 by Norma Hass from 1894 Biographical Review of Jackson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 590-591.


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