Alexander County

Biography - William D. Lippitt

CAPTAIN WILLIAM D. LIPPITT. One of the best-known and most widely influential men in this region is Captain William D. Lippitt, who is the treasurer of Alexander county. He represents an exceptionally extensive acquaintance about Cairo through his long connection with river traffic on the big rivers here and through his active citizenship and participation in public affairs. He dates his residence in Cairo from 1875, and through all these years he has been to the front. Like so many strong figures who have made themselves felt in a multitude of communities, he was born in Ohio, the date of his birth having been January 23, 1850, and the place having been the thriving and prominent little city of Zanesville. His father was Arnold Lippitt, a mechanic, who brought the first glass works west of Pittsburgh and engaged in the manufacture of glass at Zanesville, where such works, as well as extensive potteries and like establishments, have thriven ever since. Arnold Lippitt prospered in his enterprise for a number of years but the financial panic of 1857 engulfed him because of inability to realize on outstanding accounts. At this time he was offered considerable land on Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, in settlement of a claim against a debtor, but declined this and thus missed a great opportunity, for Walnut Hills property rose very rapidly in value and today land in that rich and beautiful suburb is very costly.

Taking up the family history of the Lippitts further, Arnold Lippitt was a son of George Lippitt, who came to Ohio from Rhode Island and settled at Coshocton. He was a Methodist minister, and was the father of six children. He died at Coshocton. Arnold, his first son, was a glass manufacturer, and built two glass works at Zanesville. He was married in Muskingum county to Martha, a daughter of William Cheagle, a farmer on the Muskingum river. Among their ten children were: Adelia, who married Charles Gallagher, a Muskingum river captain who came to Cairo before the Civil war, and he and his wife died here; Louisa became the wife of W. D. Terry, who was superintendent of the stage line from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Columbus, Ohio, in pioneer days; Rose married George Lentze and removed to Cairo, where both passed away; Helen was the widow of Captain Reese W. Dugan when she died in Chicago in 1910; Arnold C. was a hoop manufacturer and left a family at his decease, and Captain W. D., the subject of this biography, was the youngest of ten children.

Arnold Lippitt, the father of Captain W. D., removed in 1867 from Zanesville to Jackson, Tennessee, and there engaged in the milling business. He ran a custom mill for making breadstuffs and feed and he passed the remaining years of his life at Jackson. He died in 1887, at the age of eighty-five years at Cairo, Illinois. His wife passed away in 1889, aged eighty-five years. Arnold Lippitt belonged to the old Whig party and then on the organization of the Republican party he joined its ranks.

Captain Lippitt, like many another strong and successful man, started upon his active career with only a moderate amount of education from books. He chose as the field of his first endeavors that of a railroad man, entering upon this work at the age of seventeen years. Manifesting capacity in this direction, he became assistant agent at Jackson, Tennessee, for the old Mississippi Central. He followed railroad work until 1875, when he was induced by his brother-in-law, Captain Reese W. Dugan, superintendent of the Underwriters Company, which was patrolling the rivers as a "snagger," to take service with him. He became clerk of Steamer T. F. Eckert and was connected with it till 1880, when he was appointed assistant postmaster by George W. McKeig, and he served under him for four years and under his successor for three years. He then returned to the river, which had strong attractions for him, and subsequently he spent twenty-one years on the transfer boat at Cairo. He finally left the water in 1908 and engaged in merchandising here. He retired from this field when he entered upon his public duties as assessor and treasurer, to which position he was elected by the Republicans in 1910.

On January 15, 1883, Captain Lippitt was happily married in Cairo to Miss Fannie Pitcher, a daughter of W. F. Pitcher and Minnie Paulison, of Trenton and Hackensack, New Jersey, respectively. Mr. Pitcher came to Illinois in 1873, and Mrs. Lippitt is one of a family of eight children. She was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and she and the Captain have no surviving issue.

Captain Lippitt occupies a prominent place in fraternal orders, being a past master of Masonry and a past eminent commander of the Knights Templar, and he spent many years as Captain of the Host of the Chapter. In church relations he and Mrs. Lippitt are Episcopalians.

Extracted 15 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, Volume 2, pages 907-908.

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