Probably one of the best known men in journalistic circles of northern
Illinois is Edward A. Nattinger, of Ottawa, now connected with the
Republican-Times of that flourishing city. He has occupied numerous
important public positions of trust and honor and stands high in political
and fraternal organizations. His ability and direction of affairs entrusted
to him, and his worth and integrity, have won for him the friendship of all
who have been associated with him in any manner.
Born June 20, 1846, a son of J. G. Nattinger, who for many years was a leading merchant of Ottawa, the subject of this sketch claims this as his native town. In his boyhood he obtained a liberal education in the public and private schools of the place; but the excitement occasioned by the opening years of the great civil war interrupted his studies, and in the fall of 1862 he ran away and enlisted as a bugler at Peoria, Illinois. Ere long he was promoted to the ranks and he served faithfully and gallantly until the close of the great conflict, being but nineteen years of age when he was granted an honorable discharge, August 5, 1865. The boy soldier's record is one well worthy of many who were twice his years in age; and, summed up in the briefest form, it may be stated thus: Participated in twelve battles of the war; was in numberless skirmishes; went on the long and exciting chase after John Morgan, who was at last captured near the Ohio-Pennsylvania line; went on the several daring cavalry raids in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and finally was made a prisoner on the Stoneman raid in Georgia, and suffered the horrors of the rebel prisons of Andersonville and Macon, Georgia, and Charleston and Florence, South Carolina.
Resuming the paths of peace, young Nattinger went to Chicago and pursued a course in Bryant & Stratton's Business College and for some time was employed as a clerk in the Ottawa post office and in dry-goods and grocery houses. Then he began to learn the printer's trade, in the office of the Ottawa Republican, finishing in the Lyons (Iowa) Mirror office. By degrees he worked up, taking various positions, including those of reporter and advertising solicitor, and started three Illinois journals — the Buda Enterprise, the Bradford Chronicle and the Wyoming Blade — running the whole number for three months himself. For six years he was the city editor of the Joliet Republican, Sun and Record; and in June, 1877, in partnership with Mr. Fletcher, he started the Ottawa Daily Times, the first daily established in this county of the ten now published. A few months later Mr. Fletcher retired from the business, and at the end of another year the weekly edition of the paper was established also. In 1890 the Times and the Republican were consolidated, F. M. Sapp, the editor of the Times, becoming the senior partner of the new organization. Needless to say, the Republican-Times is recognized as one of the representative papers not only of this county but also of the great state of Illinois, and the high standard which it always has maintained is steadily winning for itself friends among the most intelligent citizens.
An influential factor in the Republican party of this section, Mr. Nattinger has been the secretary of the Young Men's Republican Club of Joliet, and has occupied like positions in the Will county and LaSalle county central committees of his party, and has been the president of the Young Men's Republican Club of Ottawa, and chairman of the town committee. From 1890 to 1894 he was the postmaster of this place, serving under President Harrison's administration.
Mr. Nattinger is a past commander of Seth C. Earl Post, No. 156, G. A. R.: is the chief of the staff of the department of Illinois, and aide-de-camp to the commander-in-chief; is the president of the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry Regimental Association; a member of the committees having in charge the Illinois Soldiers' Home, the Illinois Soldiers' Orphans' Home and the Illinois Soldiers' Widows' Home. In the Masonic order he is identified with Occidental Lodge, No. 40, A. F. & A. M., and Shabbona Chapter, No. 37, R. A. M.; and of Mary E. Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star; and he is also associated with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of Honor and the Ottawa Boat Club.
Extracted 13 May 2019 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 594-595.