Alexander County

Biography - Charles Patier

CHARLES O. PATIER, wholesale and retail merchant, Cairo. The subject of this sketch is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born January 1, 1839. He is of French descent, his father having emigrated to this country in 1820, and located at Easton, Penn., where Charles O. was born. He was educated in the public schools until twelve years of age, when he was sent to Williamsport, Penn., to learn the mercantile business with Adam Follmer, then a leading merchant of that place, and while a resident there, took a course of instruction in the Commercial College of that city. At an early age, he became noted for his great energy and success as a salesman, to which he seemed peculiarly adapted. At the age of eighteen, he came West, and stopped at Freeport, Ill., where he was employed as salesman for William Allen, and soon established for himself a reputation for ability and efficiency equaled by few men of his age. He had always been a strong Republican, in all the political issues of the time, and immediately upon the breaking-out of the late civil war, he went to St. Louis, and there aided in raising a company of volunteers, and joined the Sixth Missouri Regiment, under the first call of President Lincoln for troops. He was mustered into the United States service as First Lieutenant of Company D, of the Sixth, and took part in the march to Southeastern Missouri after the Confederate Gen. Price. Afterward he was appointed Provost Marshal of Jefferson City, in which capacity he remained about two years, and became noted for his patriotism and the able manner in which he discharged the duties of this office. After this, he again joined his command; took part in the siege and capture of Vicksburg, and the battles following; participated in Sherman's march to the sea; was seriously wounded in the right breast, at Goldsboro, N. C. After which he was sent to David's Island, New York Harbor, to be cured, and after four months was again with his command, which was then on duty at Little Rock, Ark., and there remained until the close of the war. He was promoted to the rank of Captain, and mustered out with his regiment in June, 1865, having served his country faithfully and nobly — not from a taste for the profession of arms, or for official position, but from a strict sense of duty. He settled in Cairo in 1866, and was engaged as salesman, by William H. Purcell, whose stock of merchandise at the time consisted of a remnant of sutler's goods, not exceeding $1,000 in value, but under the stimulus of Mr. Patier's activity, the business rapidly increased, and the house assumed the style of the "New York Store." In 1868, he bought a half interest in the firm, which continued to prosper and grow in favor with the public. In March, 1872, Mr. Patier bought the remaining interest of the firm and became sole proprietor, and taking into partnership with him Mr. William Wolf, the former book-keeper of the house. The new firm now entered upon a career which, for success and rapidity of growth, has had but few equals, and still fewer superiors in the annals of commerce. They commenced business in a small frame house, with a small stock of miscellaneous goods, valued at $5,000, while today they have a stock embracing every variety of articles needed in the economy of home, person or farm. From the little hampered room in which they commenced business, they have enlarged and expanded their trade, until in 1875 their present magnificent brick and iron store was erected. It is 175 feet deep and seventy feet front, three stories high, every floor of which is packed with goods. The house began with two salesmen, the proprietors; and now they employ a full force of clerks, with several salesmen on the road. A quarter of a century ago, Mr. Patier was an obscure clerk, in an interior town in Pennsylvania. Through his own efforts, firm business integrity, and tireless industry, he has risen to the proud distinction of a leading merchant and capitalist of Illinois. He has achieved this success fairly and honorably, and truth, candor and inflexible uprightness have characterized all of his transactions. Mr. Patier was married on the 27th of November, 1874, to Miss Mary Toomy, of Chicago. They have two children — a son and a daughter.

Extracted 31 Mar 2017 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V, pages 35-36.


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