Biography - R. S. WORCESTER

R. S. Worcester has been and is distinctively a man of affairs in White Hall and one who has wielded a wide influence. He has figured prominently in financial circles here throughout his business career and is now cashier of the White Hall National Bank. His father, Judge Linus E. Worcester, left the impress of his individuality for good upon the public life of Greene county, aiding in the promotion of its material, moral and political interests. A native of New England, he acquired his early education in the common schools of Vermont and supplemented his preliminary mental training by study in the Chester Academy of that state. After putting aside his text-books he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits and followed farming in New England until twenty-three years of age, when he resolved to seek a home in the west and in 1836 came to Greene county, Illinois. Here he followed teaching for three years and later accepted a clerkship in a dry goods store, thus gaining his first mercantile experience. Two years later he became a partner of Chester Swallow in the establishment and conducted a general mercantile enterprise, but Mr. Swallow lived for only a year after this business relationship was established and at his death the business was closed out. Subsequently Judge Worcester formed a partnership with Simeon Brothers and with them engaged in general merchandising for ten years. He was afterward a druggist of White Hall for four years and for five years was engaged in the manufacture of farm implements. On the expiration of that period he turned his attention to the lumber trade, in which he continued for three years. In all of his business transactions he manifested keen discernment, marked enterprise and strong executive ability and after carefully considering his plans was resolute in their execution, carrying forward his work to successful completion.

Judge Worcester was influential in political circles and in early manhood espoused the cause of the democracy. A strong mentality and marked individuality combined with devotion to the general good well fitted him for leadership in public affairs and made his opinions a force in molding public thought and action. In 1843 he was elected justice of the peace, which position he filled for five years and in November, 1843, he was commissioned postmaster of White Hall and again in 1845 and by further appointments was continued in that office for twelve consecutive years. On the 16th of November, 1853, he was elected county judge for a term of six years and in the meantime he had taken an active and helpful part in forming the organic law of the state, having been a member of the constitutional convention in 1847. While upon the bench he rendered opinions which were strictly fair and impartial and which won for him the confidence as well as respect of the entire community. From 1859 until 1867 he served as a state trustee of the deaf and dumb asylum. In 1856 he was elected a member of the state senate of Illinois, serving until 1860, and while a member of the upper house he was appointed notary public. Ever fearless in defense of his honest convictions and unfaltering in his support of what he believed to be right, he was one of the fixe democrats of the senate who dared to ratify Lincoln's emancipation proclamation. After his retirement from the legislature he was again elected county judge, being chosen to the position in 1863 and for a term of nine years continued upon the bench. In 1876 he was chosen a delegate to the democratic national convention in St. Louis, which nominated Samuel J. Tilden. Thus for many years he was a recognized leader in democratic circles in Illinois and his course was so honorable and straightforward that he commanded the respect of even his political opponents.

Judge Worcester was three times married. It was in February, 1856, that he wedded Luthera Ladd, a native of Vermont, who became the mother of R. S. Worcester of this review. Judge Worcester was a member of no church or secret organization and was known to be a free-thinker. To do good was his religion and many who knew him testify to his charitable spirit, his many kind deeds and his generous assistance to those in need. Honorable in conduct, fearless in action, stainless in reputation, his public career covered a long period and over the record of his official service there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil.

R. S. Worcester, whose name forms the caption of this review, having completed his education, entered upon his business career at the age of eighteen years in connection with the White Hall Bank Association. He was afterward for a time assistant cashier in the People's Bank and upon the organization of the White Hall National Bank on the 1st of January, 1904, he became its cashier, in which capacity he is now serving. This institution has already made for itself a reputation that places it with the strong financial concerns of the county. Its officers are G. S. Vosseller, president; S. N. Griswold, vice president; and R. S. Worcester, cashier, while its directors and stockholders are numbered among the most prominent and substantial business men of the county.

In 1890 was celebrated the marriage of R. S. Worcester and Miss Minnie Rickard, and unto them has been born a daughter, Helen, now twelve years of age. Like his illustrious father. Mr. Worcester holds membership with no church and he is a member of only one fraternal organization, the Knights of Pythias. In political thought and action he has always been independent, carrying out his honest views without fear or favor. In business he has achieved success through honorable effort, untiring industry and capable management, and in private life he has gained that warm personal regard which arises from true nobility of character, deference for the opinion of others, kindliness and geniality.

Extracted 2021 Aug 01 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Greene County, Illinois, by Ed Miner, published in 1905, pages 266-267.

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