Biography - John Hinton

JOHN HINTON. The public-spirited and enterprising men who take an active part in everything calculated to enhance the interests of their neighborhood, may easily be counted in any community of moderate size, and among those who have thus advanced the interests of Oconee for many years, we are pleased to mention the gentleman whose name appears at the head of this brief life sketch. His business efforts in this community have been various and his experiences broad and fluctuating but his record has been an honorable one and the fact that he paid one hundred cents on the dollar when so deeply embarrassed as to be $60,000 in debt, shows the style of man which we here present.

Our subject who is a member of the firm of Hinton & Roberts, dealing in general merchandise, was born in Fayette County, this State, February 8, 1832. His parents were Lewis and Tabitha (Prater) Hinton, the father being a native of Kentucky and the mother of North Carolina, while the father's father was born in South Carolina.

Lewis Hinton was twice married, his first marital union bringing him four sons and three daughters of whom our subject was the second. The brothers and sisters of John Hinton were as follows: Henry, who resided in this township till his death; Holly, who lives in McDonald County, Mo., and is engaged in farming; Paschal, who works in his brother's store in Oconee; Elizabeth, who was the wife of A. T. Smart of Shelby County, and is now deceased; Priscilla, who married Milton Lowe, and makes her home in Oconee and Polly, wife of C. A. Doyle who resides in Oconee Township.

This prosperous merchant of whom we write, came to Shelby County when he was four years old and has made Oconee Township his home for fifty-five years, he engaged in farming until he was twenty-four years old and commenced mercantile life in this village in 1854, in partnership with Thomas Freeman and S. S. Roberts, which connection continued for a year, when Mr. Freeman withdrew. Mr. Hinton remained with Mr. Roberts until his death when Mr. Freeman again bought an interest in the connection which he afterwards sold out to D. J. Sloan, the firm thus becoming Hinton & Sloan. This partnership existed for some thirteen years and was prosperous, but after that time Mr. Hinton withdrew from mercantile life and the property was divided.

After eight years which he devoted to the handling of real estate, grain, etc., this enterprising business man again embarked m mercantile life, and has continued in that business to the present time in company with Mr. B. F. Roberts, a son of Mr. Hinton's first partner.

Miss Mary E. Whitington was the maiden name of the lady who became the first wife of John Hinton. She was born in 1840, in Oconee Township, and to this union four sons and three daughters were born, of whom Addie, wife of Dr. R. W. Johnston, of Assumption Ill., is the eldest. The oldest son, S. A. D. is married and is engaged in an abstract office at Clay Center, Neb., where he is doing well. Hattie is the wife of K. G. Hall and resides at Orson, Col. George W. is married and was for some time a merchant but is now retired from active business and living at Assumption, Ill. William L. resides in Freeport, this state, where he is engaged in a carriages factory. Sadie and Johnnie are still under the parental roof and enjoying the advantages of education which Mr. Hinton has afforded to all his children.

The subject of our sketch is a large landed proprietor owning about eight hundred acres in Oconee Township, mostly adjoining the village of Oconee, he has been thoroughly identified with the interests of his town and county and has satisfactorily and efficiently filled a number of responsible offices, he has served educational interests as School Trustee of this township, has been Supervisor for eighteen years, Magistrate for four years and Justice of the Peace for eight years. His thorough understanding of business principles and the most fundamental points of the law, together with his disposition to maintain the peace of the community has resulted in his so advising and adjusting cases as to prevent hundreds of his fellow-citizens from rushing into irritating and expensive law suits.

Mr. Hinton became a member of Jackson Lodge No. 52 A. F. & A. M., at Shelbyville, in 1854, but is now non-affliated. He takes an active interest in political affairs and has always been regarded as a leader in the ranks of Democracy of which he has been a lifelong member. He is not a professor of religion, although his preferences are in the direction of the Regular Baptist Church.

This gentleman has been a speculator all his life and his experience has been up and down with a general tendency upward. He has worked for twenty-five cents a day in Oconee Township, and was at one time as we have stated deeply in debt, but came out of that trial as a man of honor should come. His first wife passed from earth August 21, 1881, and his marriage with Miss Mary E. Morgan took place in March, 1887. To this union, one child, Agnes Pauline, was born, who is now the pet and darling of the household, and the joy of her father in his advancing years.

Extracted 26 May 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 524-525.

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