Jackson County

Biography - Andrew Rendleman

REV. ANDREW J. RENDLEMAN. A successful and influential factor in connection with educational affairs in his native state and at the present time the incumbent of the office of superintendent of the public schools of Jackson county, Andrew Jackson Rendleman is a scion of one of the sterling pioneer families of Illinois and here, in addition to his specially effective work in the educational field, he has served with marked zeal and earnestness in the ministry of the Free Baptist church, in which he is a regularly ordained clergyman. He is one of the honored and popular citizens of Murphysboro, the judicial center and metropolis of Jackson county, and is well known throughout southern Illinois, where he has a wide circle of loyal and valued friends. The influence of Mr. Rendleman has been potent and benignant in all the relations of life, and his work has been in the furtherance of those things which make for the higher ideals of human existence.

Andrew J. Rendleman was born on a farm in Williamson county, Illinois, on the 3d of March, 1867, and is a son of Harris and Elizabeth (Knight) Rendleman, who continued to reside in this state until their death, the father having devoted virtually his entire active career to agricultural pursuits and having been a man whose inflexible integrity and generous attributes of character gained and retained to him the unqualified confidence and esteem of his fellow men. He whose name initiates this review passed his boyhood days amid the scenes and under the invigorating discipline of the home farm and his early educational advantages were those afforded in the district and graded schools of his native county. In preparing himself for the profession in which he has gained such distinctive prestige and success he attended the Southern Illinois Normal University, at Carbondale. Mr. Rendleman initiated his pedagogic labors when twenty years of age, and his first experience as a teacher was gained in the district schools of his native county, after which he continued his successful work in Perry and Jackson counties. He organized the graded school at Willisville, Perry county, of which he was the first principal, and later became principal of the schools at Campbell Hill. Thereafter he was principal of the East Side school in Murphysboro for four years; he next served as principal of the East Side school at DuQuoin, Perry county, after which he returned to Jackson county.

In the fall of 1910 Mr. Rendleman was elected to his present important office, in which his administration has amply justified the popular choice. In his election to the position of superintendent of schools for Jackson county he was the nominee on the Democratic ticket and overcame an adverse majority of fully one thousand votes,-a fact which offers emphatic testimony to his popularity in the county and the public appreciation of his scholastic and executive ability. Since assuming the duties of his office he has accomplished most admirable results in the systematizing and unifying of the work of the public schools in his jurisdiction, and has done much to raise their standard still higher. Mr. Rendleman is a valued member of the Southern Illinois Teachers' Association and also the Illinois State Teachers Association, in the deliberations and work of both of which he has taken a deep interest and active part. At the last (1911) state teachers' meeting he was appointed a member of a committee of five to draft a bill for state uniformity of text-books to be presented to the next legislature for enactment.

A man of fine intellectuality and perfervid earnestness as a worker in behalf of his fellow men, Mr. Rendleman has been a most zealous and valued factor in the ministry of the Free Baptist church, in which he was ordained in the year 1895. As a public speaker he is forceful and convincing and draws upon the rich resources of a well disciplined mind. In the ministry, on- the educational platform and as a speaker before the various fraternal orders with which he is affiliated he has gained a high reputation and his services are much in demand along these various lines. In the general work of his church he has served as a member of the missionary board and other important subsidiary boards and committees, besides which he has been a frequent delegate to the general conferences of the church. In politics he is admirably fortified in his convictions and gives a staunch allegiance to the Democratic party. In the Masonic fraternity he has served as chaplain of his lodge; in the Knights of Pythias he has held the office of primate; and in the Modern Woodmen of America he served one year as consul of the camp at Marion, Williamson county, and three years as the incumbent of the same office in the camp at Murphysboro. He is a frequent speaker before the organizations of the Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen of America and has represented the same in the state conventions in Illinois. He is also affiliated with the Tribe of Ben Hur.

On the 28th of April, 1887, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Rendleman to Miss Margaret Monroe, who was born in Jackson county, this state, a representative of one of the sterling pioneer families of southern Illinois. She was a resident of Jackson county at the time of her marriage, and she has been a devoted wife and true helpmeet, and an earnest worker in the church,-a popular factor in refined social activities and a loving and ambitious mother. Mrs. Rendleman is a daughter of George W. and Sarah J. (Willis) Monroe, who are now both deceased. Mr. Monroe was born in the state of Tennessee, whence he came to Illinois when a young man. He became one of the representative agriculturists and influential citizens of Jackson county, and did well his part in the furtherance of civic and industrial progress. It was his to render valiant service as a soldier of the Union in the Civil war. He enlisted in Company K, Fourteenth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, and the history of this gallant command virtually constitutes the record of his long and meritorious career as a soldier of the republic whose integrity he assisted in preserving. His service continued during practically the entire period of the war and he was with Sherman on the ever memorable march from Atlanta to the sea and thence northward through the Carolinas, while it was also his distinction to participate in the Grand Review of the victorious troops in the city of Washington. He escaped serious wounds during the four years of service but was captured by the enemy and confined for some time in Andersonville prison. He was mustered out in the city of Springfield, capital of Illinois, and duly received his honorable discharge. His continued interest in his old comrades was shown in later years by his retaining membership in the Grand Army of the Republic.

Mr. and Mrs. Rendleman became the parents of five children, all of whom are living except William Bert, who died in 1898, at the age of nine years. Lillian May, who is a successful and popular teacher in the public schools of Jackson county and who is well upholding the prestige of the family name as a representative of the pedagogic profession, was afforded excellent educational advantages, including a course in the Southern Illinois Normal University. Homer Lee, eldest of the three surviving sons, completed the curriculum of the high school in Murphysboro and is now employed as salesman in a mercantile establishment in this city. Charles Edgar is a member of the class of 1913 in the Murphysboro high school; and Andrew Jackson, Jr., is a student in the public schools.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 598-600.

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