Clay county figures as one of the
most attractive, progressive and prosperous divisions of the southern part
of Illinois, justly claiming a high order of citizenship and a spirit of
enterprise which is certain to conserve consecutive development and marked
advancement in the material upbuilding of this section. The county has been
and is signally favored in the class of men who have controlled its affairs
in official capacity, and in this connection the subject of this review
demands representation, as he is serving the locality faithfully and well in
a position of distinct trust and responsibility, being the Representative in
the State Legislature, having been elected to the Lower House in the fall of
1908, among the youngest members of that body; but while the youngest, he is
far from the least important. On the contrary he is an active, vigilant and
potent factor in that honored body. He has achieved a brilliant record at
the bar, while yet a young man, and to such as he the future augurs much in
the way of success and honor.
Harvey D. McCollum was born in Louisville. Clay county, Illinois, March 13, 1879, and he early decided to try his fortune with his own people, rather than seek uncertain fortune in other fields, as so many of his early companions have done. He is the son of James C. McCollum, also a native of Clay county, now residing in Louisville, retired, being one of the founders of the Farmers' and Merchants' Bank of Louisville, and who is now one of its directors. James C. McCollum, grandfather of the subject, was a native of Kentucky, and the subject's great-
grandfather, Alexander McCollum, was one of the six men killed at the battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, this battle having been fought in 1815, and his name is mentioned in President Roosevelt's history of naval battles. Members of the McCollum family were among the early settlers of Clay county and they have been prominently identified with its history ever since the pioneer days, having always taken a leading part in the development of the community in every way. Robert McCollum, uncle of the subject of this sketch, has lived in this county for a period of seventy-five years, is one of the oldest living pioneers of the county.
The mother of the subject, a woman of many beautiful attributes, was known in her maidenhood as Fanny Long, a daughter of Darling Long, an old settler of Clay county. She is still living. To Mr. and Mrs. J. C. McCollum four children were born, our subject being the only survivor.
Our subject was reared in Louisville where he attended the high school from which he graduated, having gained a good common school education, for he was ambitious and applied himself in a very careful manner to his studies, outstripping many of the less ardent plodders. Not being satisfied with what learning he had acquired up to this point, he attended the University of Illinois, taking the literary and law courses, in which institution he remained for six years, graduating in 1901, after making a splendid record for scholarship.
After completing his course in the university, Mr. McCollum returned home and at once began the practice of law, his success being instantaneous. He at once attracted the attention of the political leaders of the county, and he was the nominee of the Democratic party for County Judge in 1902, and while he headed his ticket, was defeated; however, the splendid race he made gave proof of his high standing with the people of Clay county and forecasted future victories. He formed a law partnership that year with A. M. Rose, which continued until Mr. Rose was elected to the circuit bench.
Mr. McCollum was appointed Master in Chancery for two terms, serving with much credit and satisfaction from 1904 until 1908. He is at this writing practicing law with John W. Thomason, having formed a partnership, which still exists, in January, 1907. It is generally regarded as one of the strongest law firms in this or adjoining counties, and their office is always a busy place, their many clients coming from all over the district. As already stated, our subject made a successful race for the Legislature during the last election (1908), which event caused general satisfaction throughout the county, not only from friends, but members of other parties, for everyone recognized Mr. McCollum's ability and fidelity to duty, therefore they know their interests will be carefully guarded by him.
Mr. McCollum is unmarried. In his fraternal relations he is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks No. 926, at Olney, the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Woodmen, and Masonic Order at Louisville.
Mr. McCollum is not a man who courts publicity, yet it must be a pleasure to him, as is quite natural, to know how well he stands with his fellow citizens throughout this district. The public is seldom mistaken in its estimation of a man, and had Mr. McCollum not been most worthy he could not have gained the high position he now holds in public and social life. Having long maintained the same without any abatement of his popularity, his standing in the county is perhaps now in excess of what it has ever been. He has by his own persistent and praiseworthy efforts, won for himself a name whose luster the future years shall only augment.
Extracted 10 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 87-89.