Biography - WILLIAM STONE CHERRY
A representative citizen of Streator is he of whom this sketch is penned, for twenty-five years a resident and leading business man of this thriving town. In all local affairs he has taken an active part and genuine interest, patriotically upholding every effort to make this one of the most desirable places for a home or business location, and invariably using his influence on the side of the right and progress.
Though he is a native of the Emerald Isle, his birth having occurred in the town of Monahan, July 9, 1837, Mr. Cherry has little recollection of the country, as he was brought to the United States by his parents at the age of three years, and was reared under American institutions. For some time the family resided in Philadelphia, whence they went to West Virginia. Young Cherry received as good an education as his parents could afford, for, owing to the poor schools of the young state mentioned, he attended private and select schools, where tuition was required.
In 1856 Mr. Cherry went with his older brother to Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in anthracite coal mining, there laying the foundation of his knowledge that has guided him in his subsequent career.
When the civil war broke out the young man went to Philadelphia, where he offered his services in the United States Navy, and became an engineer upon one of the government ships. He had many very interesting experiences during the seven years he was in the navy, and for about three years sailed along the South American coast, being stationed off Buenos Ayres for a long time. In 1869. when lie retired from the government employ, he returned to the Quaker city, where, in company with Tryon Rickert & Company, he engaged in the manufacture of white lead and paint, at Wilmington, Delaware.
In 1871 Mr. Cherry came to Streator and entered the employ of the Chicago, Wilmington and Vermillion Coal Company as mine superintendent, and later was made general mine superintendent, having charge of all the mines operated by the company; and during the long years which have since elapsed he has faithfully and efficiently performed the responsible duties which have devolved upon him. The company to whose interests he has devoted his mature years does a very extensive business, and owns valuable mines in various states.
In June, 1872, Mr. Cherry married Miss Mary D. Godfrey, a daughter of Charles Godfrey, of Philadelphia. They have three children: Henrietta; Walter G. (who is studying law under the auspices of the firm of Reeves & Boys, of Streator); and Robert Hawthorne. The home of the family is a very pleasant one, situated upon one of the finest residence streets in the town.
Politically Mr. Cherry is a stanch Republican, and was the president of the board of city fathers for one year. On the board of education he has served as a member and as its president, besides being a trustee. The cause of education finds in him a true and tried friend, and much has been accomplished in the perfecting of our fine school system under his advisement. For a period he was a stockholder in the Streator National Bank, and from time to time he has invested in local industries and institutions, thus manifesting his patriotism in a practical manner. Fraternally he is a Mason of high standing, his membership being in Streator Lodge, No. 607, F. & A. M.; Streator Chapter, No. 168, R. A. M.; and Ottawa Commandery, No. 10, K. T. Moreover he is identified with the Loyal Legion of America.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 85-86.