Biography - George W. Voris

GEORGE W. VORIS is the name of the pioneer business man of Stewardson who operates upon so broad a plane as to have made his place of residence more known in commercial circles than any other man in the community. He is the leading citizen of the place, and his home is the center of the social life of the community, his talented and charming wife presides over the domestic realm with a pleasing hospitality and great grace and dignity. While our subject's commercial obligations are so large as to consume much of his lime and attention, home with its charming mistress and bright family of children holds the first place in his heart.

The original of our sketch devotes himself to dealing in grain, hay and farm machinery. In February of 1874 he built his office for the purchase of grain. This was the first building the present town boasted. The railroad had been completed a short time previous to the location of our subject. At that time he was a member of the firm of Gould & Voris, and continued in this business relation until 1889, when Mr. Gould withdrew and the firm became G. W. Voris & Co.

When he of whom we write first began business in Stewardson, it was for the purchase of grain. Our subject was station agent for the railroad at that time, in which capacity he continued for about three years. At the end of that time he gave his whole attention to his private business, and in connection with the grain business dealt in live stock. He next added agricultural implements, and later, in 1881, began dealing in hay. He now owns a hay barn that is over one hundred feet square.

Our subject was born in Bath, Summit County, Ohio, November 11, 1850, and is the son of Peter and Julia (Coe) Voris, natives of Reading, Pa., and Connecticut. The family removed, in 1857, to Illinois, and settled in Mattoon, where the father engaged in gardening. While a resident of Ohio our subject's father held a prominent position in the county, being a surveyor, and for a term was Associate Judge with Hon. Benjamin Wade. He was an honorable, upright man in business dealings, but not a successful financier. He passed away from this life in 1881, his wife having preceded him by a number of years. They were the parents of thirteen children, of whom our subject was the youngest.

Mr. Voris' mother having died when he was but a small boy, at the age of seven years he went to Taylor County, Iowa, and lived with a sister, after which he spent three years in Nodaway County, Mo. He then returned to Illinois and worked as a farm hand in Knox County, his advent into the State being in 1866. Up to this time he had enjoyed but few educational advantages, but as he came in contact with the world he felt the need of an education, and being studiously inclined by nature, he made up the deficiency in his early education as much as possible by outside study and reading. After returning to Illinois he went to Fulton, N. Y., where for two years he attended Falley Seminary. At the end of the second year he was obliged to give up his school because of ill health. On his return to Illinois he entered a store at Windsor as a clerk, in which capacitv he served until coming to Stewardson.

In 1875 Mr. Voris was married to Margaret M. Pfluger, a daughter of William and Sophia M. Pfluger. The lady was born near Elgin, Ill., in June, 1855. Their married life has been very happy, and six children have come to gladden their hearts and home. One of these was taken away in infancy. The five who are still living are Mabel, Ralph, Frank, Maud and Helen.

Politically, Mr. Voris affiliates with the Republican party, using his vote and influence for the advantage of that party. In local matters, however, he does not adhere to party lines, believing that the best man and he who is best fitted for the position involved is the one who should be awarded local favors. He has served as President of the Village Board, and has also been a Justice of the Peace for some time. Our subject has made his combat with the world single-handed, but this fact has not, as is very frequently the case, hardened his heart to the needs and weaknesses of others. Many there are not only in his own town, but wherever he has chanced to be, who will ever have reason to be grateful for his generosity, sympathy and good will.

G. W. Voris & Co. do business at the following named places: Lerna, Trilla, Kingman, Fancher, Herrick, Herborn and Stewardson. At these stations the firm buy grain or hay, or both. Our subject also owns about eleven hundred acres of land, partly under a high degree of cultivation. The success which the original of our sketch has attained cannot but be encouraging to the young men of limited means and education, but whose ambition knows no bounds. He has demonstrated that by persistent effort and determination a man can make of himself what he will.

Extracted 17 Dec 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 567-568.

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