Jackson County

Biography - LEWIS B. PULLEY

The scope of a man's usefulness is to be determined by his own metewand; his success in connection with the practical duties and responsibilities of life is determined by his intrinsic powers and the application of the same. Popular appreciation of the value of a man’s labors is given with no equivocal verdict. The pertinence of these statements is clearly shown in the career of Lewis B. Pulley, who is one of the well known and highly esteemed citizens of his native county and whose hold upon popular confidence and esteem in the same is evidenced by the fact that he is the only county official of Williamson county who has to his credit and distinction three successive elections to office. He is circuit clerk of Williamson county and is now nearing the close of his third term in this important position, his administration of the affairs of which has been marked by carefulness, fidelity and distinctive executive ability.

Mr. Pulley was born on a farm in East Marion township formerly Crab Orchard precinct, Williamson county, Illinois, seven miles east of Marion, the judicial center of the county, and the date of his nativity was September 8, 1856. He is a son of Washington and Eliza (Owen) Pulley, the former of whom was born in Lunenburg county, Virginia, in 1818, and the latter of whom was born in the state of Tennessee. Washington Pulley was a son of William Pulley, who came from the Old Dominion state in an early day and numbered himself among the pioneer settlers of Williamson county, Illinois, where he secured a tract of government land and reclaimed a farm. Here both he and his wife passed the remainder of their lives and their names merit enduring place on the roster of the sterling pioneers of this section of the state. William Pulley died several years prior to the inception of the Civil war, and the remains of both him and his wife were laid to rest near their old home in East Marion township.

Washington Pulley was a child at the time of the family removal from Virginia to Illinois and was reared to manhood in Williamson county, where he had his full quota of experience in connection with the trials and hardships of the pioneer epoch. His educational advantages were necessarily limited, owing to the exigencies of time and place, but he became a man of strong character and well extended mental ken. He secured from the public domain a tract of land and with the passing of years succeeded in bringing his farm, which was not a large one, into such productiveness as to yield adequate returns and provide for the wants of himself and his family, the old homestead farm being now owned by his son Lewis B., whose name initiates this review. His sterling attributes of character ever commanded to him the high regard of his fellow men and he was one of the well known and popular citizens of East Marion township until his death, which occurred in the year 1880. In politics he was originally a Whig, but upon the organization of the Republican party he allied himself therewith. He was a great admirer and strong supporter of President Lincoln, and though it was not permitted him to serve as a soldier in the Civil war he did all in his power to further the cause of the Union during that climacteric period of the nation's history. Both he and his wife were devout and consistent members of the Christian church. The devoted wife and mother survived her husband by nearly a quarter of a century and was summoned to eternal rest in 1904, at the venerable age of eighty-two years. Her father, William Owen, came from Tennessee to Illinois in an early day and settled in Williamson county, which continued to be his home until his death.

Washington and Eliza (Owen) Pulley became the parents of eight children, concerning whom the following brief data are given as a consistent portion of this sketch: Mary is the wife of William L. Hern, of Carbondale, this state; John T. died in Williamson county, leaving a family; Eliza is the wife of Thomas Davis, of Marion, Williamson county, where J. M., the next in order of birth, also resides; Amanda is the wife of James Hearn, of Marion; Lewis B. is the immediate subject of this review; Miss Susan likewise maintains her home in Marion; and Eldridge S. is a prosperous farmer near the old homestead.

Lewis B. Pulley passed his childhood and youth under the sturdy and invigorating discipline of the farm on which he was born, and his early educational discipline was secured in the, district schools. His higher academic training was secured in the Southern Illinois Normal University, and as his sphere of manual activities was curtailed through an accident which necessitated the amputation of his left arm, when he was nineteen years of age, he early formulated plans for entering a vocation in which this physical handicap would not figure. Alert and appreciative as a student, he prepared himself for the work of the pedagogic profession, and in this important field of endeavor he gained success and popularity of no uncertain order, as he brought to bear ambition, energy, self-control and a well disciplined mind. He began teaching in the district schools soon after attaining to his legal majority and with this phase of educational work he continued to be successfully identified for a period of fourteen years, the greater part of his service having been in the country schools.

During these years of earnest and effective endeavor Mr. Pulley had firmly entrenched himself in the confidence and esteem of the people of his native county, and in 1900 he first appeared as an aspirant for public office. He sought nomination as the Republican candidate for circuit clerk and in the nominating convention defeated two strong competitors.

He was elected to the office in November of that year and upon the expiration of his regular terra of four years this effectiveness and acceptability of his services were most emphatically shown in his nomination without opposition and by his election by a most gratifying majority. At the next election, that of 1908, candidates for the office seemed to spring up all over the county, like soldiers from the dragon-teeth sowed by Cadmus, and notwithstanding the spirited opposition thus brought to bear Mr. Pulley was decisively victorious in both the nominating convention and the ensuing election, in which latter, as already stated, he had the distinction of being the first county officer of Williamson county to be elected for a third successive term. Under these conditions further words to mark the efficiency of his administration and the popular verdict passed upon the same are not demanded. In politics Mr. Pulley has ever been arrayed as a stalwart in the camp of the Republican party and he is well fortified in his convictions and opinions as to matters of public policy. As a broad-minded and loyal citizen he takes especially deep interest in all that touches the material and social welfare of his home city and native county, and he has resided in Marion since 1900, when he was first elected to his present office. He and his family are members of the Christian church and are active in the support of the various departments of its work.

On the 14th of October, 1886, in the neighborhood in which he was reared, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Pulley to Miss Annie L. Tidwell, one of the eight children born to Dr. John F. and Martha J. (0’Neal) Tidwell, who came from Tennessee and established their "home in Williamson county in the pioneer days. In conclusion of this review is entered brief record concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Pulley: Lula B. is the wife of Leslie O. Caplinger, and both are deputies in the office of her father; Walter L., who was graduated in the department of pharmacy of the Northwestern University, is engaged in the drug business at Chicago; Guy L. likewise is a druggist by profession and is identified with this line of enterprise at Murphysboro, Jackson county; and Leamon T. remains at the parental home. Mr. Pulley is a member of the Elks fraternity, affiliating with Marion lodge, No. 800.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 2, page 999.

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