Alexander County

Biography - Edmund J. Hodges

EDMUND J. HODGES. One of the well known and most prosperous farmers of Alexander county is Edmund J. Hodges, recognized as being foremost in the ranks of the heavy landowners of the state. He is also prominently identified with the saw mill and grist mill business in Tamms, his home town, and is a man of considerable importance in local political circles. He represents the third generation of his family who have added their quota to the growth and up-building of Southern Illinois, and who have achieved a pleasurable degree of success in their lifetime.

Born December 22, 1859, at Thebes, Illinois, Edmund J. Hodges is the son of John Hodges and the grandson of Edmund J. Hodges. The first home of the family in Illinois was established at Jonesboro, Union county, by Edmund J. Hodges and his family, who came there from middle Tennessee. In Jonesboro the elder Hodges engaged in farming and the son John established a hattery, following that line of business until he was crowded out of the industry by the big manufacturers. From that he went into merchandising, locating in Thebes many years previous to the Civil war, and he carried on a successful business for years in that town. He was one of the prominent and well-known Democrats of Alexander county, and before the war was a member of the lower house of the general assembly. He made a lasting impression during his term of service as the servant of the people and a man of purpose. He numbered among his personal friends Abraham Lincoln, and after the secession of the southern state he became a devotee of the Republican party, after having spent the best years of his life in the Democratic faith. So strong was his sentiment in the cause of the Union that he was able to turn his back upon the party for whom he had labored for so many years and give his allegiance henceforward to the party which upheld the Union. Born in 1812, John Hodges died in 1867, at the age of fifty-five years. In early life he married Miss Margaret Hunsaker, a daughter of George Hunsaker, who came to Southern Illinois from Kentucky. Mrs. Hodges died near Hodges Park, the station on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad named in honor of Judge Alexander Hodges, a brother of John Hodges. Eight children were born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Hodges. They are: John Hodges, deceased, who was sheriff in his county and recognized as one of the prominent citizens of Cairo; Mary, who married Thomas Wilson and lives in Cairo; Elizabeth became the wife of T. Jefferson Craig and later died at Hodges Park; Jane married Alexander Burke and passed away in the same town; Margaret is now Mrs. 0. G. Vincent, of Hodges Park; Annie, who became the wife of James Fitzgerald, and George, a merchant, both reside in that place; Edmund, Jr., the youngest of the family resides at Tamms.

The life of the average country boy fell to the lot of Edmund J. Hodges and he attended the rural schools as a care free boy. "When he reached his majority he became engaged in merchandising, in company with his brother George of Hodges Park. After ten years the firm was dissolved and he continued business in that place on his own responsibility, remaining there for five years. He then abandoned commercial life and gave his attention to the real estate business in Cairo, removing his family to that city, but after five years of life in that business he came to Tamms, where he engaged in the lumber business, and his interests have expanded steadily with the passing of the years until he is now one of the well-to-do men of his section. He acquired a goodly acreage of fertile farm lands, and he has realized a pleasing degree of success as a grain producer. His domain of sixteen hundred acres maintains a considerable tenantry and adds very materially to the prosperity of the village to which he is attached. His grist mill comprises an industry chiefly of the manufacture of feed, and was but recently established, and both his mill plants are shippers to markets beyond the confines of his county. Mr. Hodges was reared in a Democratic influence and espoused the cause of that party, but in later years he has been active in the interests of the Republican party. He has aided party work as a delegate 'to state conventions, as well as county meetings, and is the township committeeman and a member of the county central committee. Mr. Hodges is a member of the Modern Brotherhood of America, the Eagles and the Hoo Hoos.

On January 16, 1886, Mr. Hodges married Miss Amanda Powless, a daughter of Henry and Jane (Miller) Powless, old settlers of Union county. Three children were born to them. Edmund J. married Miss Gertrude Lutz, and is employed as a traveling salesman for the Harris Saddlery Company of Cairo. Two daughters, Winifred and Mildred, are the companions of their father in the home at Tamms, the mother and wife having passed away on March 17, 1907.

Extracted 06 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, Volume 3, pages 1485-1486.

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