Honored and respected by all, there is no man in Ottawa who occupies a more enviable position in commercial and financial circles than William H. Hull, not alone on account of the brilliant success he has achieved but also on account of the honorable, straightforward business policy he has followed. He possesses untiring energy, is quick of perception, forms his plans readily and is determined in their execution; and his close application to business and his excellent management have brought to him the high degree of prosperity which he to-day enjoys. He is now the president of the Ottawa Gas & Electric Light Company, and at different times has been connected with the various enterprises which have promoted not only his individual success but have also contributed to the general prosperity by promoting commercial activity. He is one of the pioneer business men of the city, having been prominently connected with its interests since 1855.
He was born in Oneida county, New York, on the 11th of October, 18__, and is descended from good old Revolutionary stock, his ancestry having always been noted for patriotism. His paternal grandfather, Josiah Hull, was one of the heroes who fought for the independence of our nation; while Horace Hull, the father of our subject, was a gallant soldier in the war of 1812. The former was a native of Durham, Connecticut, and spent the days of his childhood and youth there. He married Mehitable Walker and for many years they were residents of Oneida county. New York, where their last days were spent. Both reached an advanced age, and after the grandfather's death his widow was granted a pension in recognition of his valuable service in the war for independence.
Horace Hull was born and reared in Oneida county, New York, and about 1835 removed to Oswego county, that state, where he carried on agricultural pursuits. He was a man of great industry, enterprise and of unquestioned honesty, and commanded the respect of all who knew him. He married Sabrina Lamphere, and to them were born five children; but two died early in life. The others are W. H., of this record; Mary, wife of Frank B. Stearns, who formerly resided in Ottawa but is now a prominent and influential citizen of Ottawa Beach, Michigan; and George, of this city. The father died in the Empire state, at the age of seventy-four years, after which the mother came to Ottawa to make her home with her son, W. H. Hull. She was a faithful wife and tender mother, and her many excellencies of character endeared her to all with whom she was brought in contact. She died at the very advanced age of ninety-four years.
W. H. Hull, of this writing, was a child of only three years at the time of the removal of his parents to Oswego county, New York, where he was reared to manhood upon his father's farm; and a splendid physical development came to him through his labors in field and meadow-, combined with the out-door sports in which country boys usually engage. Nor was his mental training neglected during this period; for he attended the public schools of that locality and later pursued an academic course, so that he was well prepared to cope with the responsible and practical duties of life.
After laying aside his text-books he engaged in teaching in Oswego county, New York, for three years, and then came to Ottawa, in 1855. His interests have been closely allied with those of his adopted city. For two years he was employed as a bookkeeper and then began business on his own account as a dry-goods merchant, in partnership with a Mr. Thorson. Later he carried on operations in that line alone and enjoyed a liberal patronage, owing to his earnest desire to please the public, his uniform courtesy, willingness to oblige and his well known reliability. His ability is by no means confined to one line of endeavor, and in the successful management and control of various enterprises he has largely promoted the prosperity of the community. He was one of the promoters and officers of the glass-works of Ottawa, aided in the organization of the company which established the clay works, and later was largely instrumental in the formation of the Gas and Electric Light Company, of which he was president. To his careful management, sagacity and honesty is due in a large measure the success which has attended the enterprise.
In Oswego county. New York, when twenty-four years of age, Mr. Hull w-as united in marriage with Miss Charlotte Kendall, a lady of intelligenceand culture who has been a worthy helpmeet to him in the many years of their married life. They have two children: Fanny, wife of C. A. Caton, a member of the Illinois Milling Company, of Ottawa; and Horace, a well known attorney and court stenographer of Ottawa; he is a graduate of the Chicago Law School and has attained considerable prestige in his profession.
In his political views Mr. Hull is a Republican, and he has served as a member of the city council for eight or nine years, during which time he.has advocated many measures for the further development and improvement of his native city. He is a valued member of the order of Knights of Pythias, and in all life's relations commands the respect and confidence of those with whom he is brought in contact. In manner he is frank and genial, ever courteous and approachable. He stands for the best type of American manhood, believing in the dignity of honest toil and the nobility of an upright life.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 52-54.