Jackson County

Biography - Hugh Lauder

HUGH LAUDER. Prominent in business circles, recognized as a man of force and ability in public life and well qualified for the administrative duties of official positions, a welcome addition and an ornament to every social gathering, and universally commended for his uprightness and integrity in all the relations of life, Hugh Lauder, of Carbondale, has his standing in the community based on stable and enduring ground secured by merit, which he has amply demonstrated during his residence of thirty-one years in the city.

He is a native of Ohio, the great state which rivals and almost equals "the Mother of States and of Statesmen" in the number of presidents she has given to the Union, and was born in Trumbull county on July 15, 1840. His parents were. John and Eliza (Jackson) Lauder, natives of Pennsylvania. The father was an industrious and skillful blacksmith, and passed the greater part of his life working at his forge. But he was a man of very moderate estate in worldly wealth, and was able to give his son nothing beyond a common country school education, and a limited one at that.

But the son was game and accepted his portion with cheerfulness and gratification that it was as good as it was. He began the battle of life for himself at the age of fifteen by driving cattle from Trumbull county, Ohio, to Chester county, Pennsylvania, which he continued for six years, making two trips each way every year. When he reached the age of twenty-one he contracted with a butcher to drive a meat wagon to the mining towns in his native state and Pennsylvania, and after performing this arduous, trying and sometimes dangerous work for a time with great fidelity and good business sense, he became the purchasing agent for his employer, buying cattle, sheep and hogs in large numbers.

In 1861 he enlisted in the Union army, in Company C, Nineteenth Ohio Infantry, for the period of four months, his regiment being a part of the 75,000 troops asked for by President Lincoln in his first call for volunteers. He took part in the battle of Rich Mountain, Virginia, and soon afterward the term of his enlistment expired. He then arranged to join the Second Ohio Cavalry as its commanding officer, but was prevented from carrying out his intention by illness. When his health was restored he engaged in buying live stock on his own account, and his operations in this kind of merchandising lasted until 1877, without interruption by other business.

In that year he started a mercantile enterprise of a different character at New Bedford, Pennsylvania, which he conducted for seven years, but during that period also kept on dealing in live stock on the same scale as before. In 1880 he located in Carbondale, and here he saw fine opportunities for carrying on a profitable business of a different kind from any in which he had hitherto been engaged. He bought timber land in Williamson, Jackson and Alexander counties and manufactured lumber. The land cost him from two to twenty dollars an acre, and in every case he found the timber worth considerably more than the purchase price of the land.

For twenty-five years he ran his mills, always farming the land he denuded of its timber, and throughout that time also kept on dealing in live stock, feeding numbers of cattle, sheep and hogs for the markets every year. His business in all departments was extensive, the lumber industry being of such magnitude that at one time he was obliged to build his own tramways a distance of six miles in order to get his timber out response to the demands on his resources. He is not now so largely and variously engaged in business, but he still owns farms and superintends their cultivation and improvement.

Notwithstanding the great extent and exacting nature of his several lines of business, Mr. Lauder has found time and always had the disposition to take an active part in the affairs of the city and county of his home, and contribute his share of impulse, direction and material aid to all worthy projects designed to promote their progress and improvement. He served two terms as alderman from his ward in Carbondale and two as mayor of the city, winning the approval of the people by his course in each of these offices. He is now one of the trustees of the Southern Illinois Normal University by appointment of Governor Deneen, and secretary of the board by the choice of its other members.

His political faith is pledged and his campaign services are given ardently to the Republican party, to which he adheres from conviction, as he has never been eager for official station or the cares and responsibilities of public life. The offices he has held before and the one he is holding now all came to him without his seeking them, and because he was deemed capable of filling them with benefit to the interests over which they gave him supervision, and it was well known that he would fill them with credit to himself.

Mr. Lauder was married in Trumbull county, Ohio, in February, 1862, to Miss Harriet Nelson, a daughter of W. S. and Temperance Nelson, of that county, where the father was prominently engaged in dairying on a large scale. Mr. Lauder has long been a member of the Presbyterian church, and is now an elder in the congregation to which he belongs, and one of its most faithful and appreciated workers and supporters.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 567-568.

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