Alexander County

Biography - Phil C. Barclay

A well-known figure in the insurance field, Phil C. Barclay, of Cairo, is the manager for Southern Illinois of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, and is the successor of the old firm of P. W. Barclay & Son, which was originated by the senior Barclay in 1892 and conducted actively by him until his death, in 1907. The Barclay family identified itself with Cairo in 1868, when P. W. and J. S. Barclay, his brother, engaged in the drug business as wholesalers and retailers, and they continued therein until J. S. moved to Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, and continued the same business alone until his death, in 1901.

P. W. Barclay entered the insurance business late in life. His whole business career had been given to merchandising, but he entered his new field with the same zeal that had characterized his mercantile efforts, and he made his agency a productive factor for this pioneer among life insurance companies. In 1897 his son entered into partnership with him, and ten years later became the successor of his worthy father. By nativity, this branch of the Barclay family were Kentuckians, with a Virginia ancestry. P. W. Barclay was born at Russellville, Kentucky, in 1832, and was a son of Hugh Barclay, who moved to that state as a young man, established himself in a tanyard, and continued that industry while in vigorous life. He married Miss Lou Ann Hall, and both died at Russellville, having been the parents of nine children. The minority of P. W. Barclay was spent about his father's tanyard and in gaining a fair education, and even as a young man he became interested in drug work, making it an important part of his life work. He was married to Miss Mary P. Crews, daughter of Rev. Hooper Crews, of Chicago, but originally of Kentucky, a Methodist minister who spent more than half a century in the pulpit. Mrs. Barclay passed away in 1896. To Mr. and Mrs. P. W. Barclay were born the following children: Phil C.; Hugh, who died at Tucson, Arizona, after spending some years in the government service in Porto Rico; and Mrs. J. A. Naugle, of Cairo, whose husband was prominent in railroad circles of Old Mexico for more than thirty years.

Phil C. Barclay was educated in the schools of Cairo, and after completing his education entered business with his father, in which he has continued to the present time. He is a native of Chicago, and he was married at Versailles, Kentucky, in September, 1881, to Miss Fannie Hinkle, a Cairo lady, daughter of Jesse Hinkle, a native of Kentucky who lived for many years in Cairo, and later went to Porterville, California, where Mr. Hinkle died. Mrs. Barclay's only brother, Robert, died in Cairo in 1910.

Mr. Barclay is a Master Mason and a member of the Elks Lodge of Cairo, and his father was one of the prominent Masons of Illinois, being past grand commander of the Knights Templar, past grand high priest of the chapter, and a thirty-third degree Mason. Phil C. Barclay is a member of the Cairo Commercial Club and is secretary of the Cairo Board of Trade. He is serving his second term as one of the election commissioners of Cairo, has been three years a member of the board of education, and is serving his second term as a member of the Public Library board of directors. He is a popular member of the Alexander Club, the popular social men's club of the city.

Extracted from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, Volume 2, pages 626-627.

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