Jackson County

Biography - Albert Will

ALBERT J. WILL. Of the many industries centered in and around Herrin that of the manufacture of soft drinks contributes in a small degree to the support of the army of labor and in a large degree to the pleasure of that same army. The father of this business in Herrin and its present head is Albert J. Will. He is a busy man of affairs, yet he has time from his daily work to represent his neighbors in the aldermanic counsel, and stands a ready champion of any progressive measure.

Mr. Will was born on the 14th of November, 1874, in Jackson county, Illinois. After receiving a thorough education in the district schools he turned to farming, which pursuit engaged him during his minority. This was the natural course for him to pursue, since his father, D. R. Will, of Ava, Illinois, born in Jackson county in 1847 and having spent his youth in the country, early became a farmer and has devoted his life to the cultivation of the soil and the improvement of his various crops. The father of this worthy man was Frank Will, who migrated to this section from Pennsylvania when the country was yet a wilderness. This sturdy old pioneer and his wife raised a large family of children, now scattered widely over the United States. The eldest of these, D. R., is the father of the manufacturer. The other children are Freeman, a farmer of Jackson county; Cordelia, who married Hardy Gill and has since died; Kate, who died as the wife of Thomas Holt; Emma, Mrs. Phillip Fager, now living in Murphysboro; the twins, Ervin and Ollie, the.former residing in St. Louis, while the latter is the wife of Frank Friedline and lives in the state of Washington; Berdie is the widow of James Redd, and now makes her home at De Soto, Illinois; Jane married J. Childers and lives in Texas; Nora is Mrs. Jo Schroeder, living in Murphysboro; and Julia is the wife of Samuel Partington, of the same city. At the age of sixty-five the august founder of this family passed away, his home at the time being three miles north-east of Murphysboro.

D. R. Will married Miss Jeanette Elliot, and their children are: Ollie, the wife of Reuben Kinley, living in Los Angeles, California; Fred, who has remained near home as a farmer in Jackson county; Frank, living in Los Angeles with his sister; and Albert J. The latter was only a baby of two years when his mother died, but he was fortunate in that his father married for his second wife Josie Elliot, a cousin of his first wife. Three sons were born of this marriage, Homer, an engineer on the Mobile and Ohio, running out of Murphysboro; Howard, of Aurora; and Ross now living in Chicago.

Albert J. Will on attaining his majority gave up the quiet farm life and entered the manufacturing business at Murphysboro, Illinois, as a member of the Murphysboro Bottling Company. This business has proved a very lucrative one, and although he left Murphysboro in 1905 and established the Herrin Bottling Company, he still remains a member of the former concern. The growth of his business in Herrin, necessitated the erection of a concrete building for the housing of the factory, its capacity being two hundred cases per day.

Mr. Will takes a deep interest in politics and is now serving his third term as alderman from the First ward. He is in the forefront of a movement to establish a system of water works, thinking thereby to lessen disease as well as to make the lives of his fellow townsmen more comfortable. Also believing that the burden of town improvements should be partitioned justly, he has favored the special assessment policy for the laying of concrete walks.

The first wife of Albert J. Will was Sophia Sundmacher, whom he married in Murphysboro, Illinois, on the 1st of July, 1902. She only lived a few years, dying on August 17, 1906, and leaving a baby daughter, Jeanette J. Mr. Will married his second wife, Mary Steinle, on October 11, 1907. She was of German parentage, her father being John Steinle, of Minnesota. Christina, John Albert, and Ervin Ross are the children born of this union.

Mr. Will is by inheritance a member of the Republican party, and by choice gives it his warm interest and hearty support. In religious matters the family are Lutheran, and are prominent in the work of this church.

The courage to go ahead into untried fields, as was shown by his giving the comparatively sure success that would have been his had he stayed on the farm for the risk involved in starting a new business, has continued to evince itself in Mr. Will's dealings with men, for he will not swerve from his ideals of justice and fair dealing. It is this trait which has been one of the principal factors in placing him where he now stands, high in the respect of the community.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 587-588.

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