Clay County

Biography - Harvey F. Pixley

The able and popular president of the First National Bank of Flora, Illinois, is most consistently accorded recognition in a work of the province assigned to the one at hand, since it has to do with the representative citizens of Clay county, of which number he unquestionably is a worthy member and has long played well his part in the development of the interests of this locality.

Harvey F. Pixley was born in Ingraham, Clay county, November 25, 1869, the son of Osman Pixley, who was a native of New York, having settled in Edwards county in 1852. The subject's father was a merchant and for many years was the president of the First National Bank of Flora. He was a prominent man in this community, and was Representative in the Legislature in 1871 and 1872, representing this district, having been elected on the Republican ticket. He was for many years a leading and influential citizen here. He was postmaster of Ingraham for the long period of forty years. He received a request from Postmaster General Wanamaker for his photo to be used at the Chicago World's Fair. He was the fourth oldest postmaster in point of service in the United States. After an active and useful life he was called to his rest April 7, 1903. Asa Pixley, the subject's grandfather, was a native of Vermont, but he removed to Western New York and finally settled near West Salem, Edwards county, Illinois, about 1830, being among the pioneers. He was born March 26, 1805, and died February 9, 1883. The Pixley family is of Puritan stock. The mother of the subject was Frances Wood, a native of near Allendale, Wabash county, this state, where she was born June 29, 1832. She was a woman of beautiful attributes, and she passed to her rest May 16, 1907. Nine children were born to the parents of our subject, Harvey F. being the seventh in order of birth. Four girls and one boy are deceased. Dewitt C. is living in Orange, California, a prominent business man of that place, is married and has five children; Arthur H., who lives in Chicago, is a member of the Board of Trade and is associated with Ware & Leland. The subject's mother was a member of a large family, consisting of nine children. Her father was Spencer Wood, who was born near New Haven, Vermont, February 14, 1788, and died December 5, 1846. Her mother was Matilda Flower, who was born in Hardinsburg, Kentucky, March 19, 1791, and died March 12, 1855, the mother being the last surviving member of the family. Mr. Pixley's father's mother was Amanda Ingraham. The township of Pixley was named after Mr. Pixley's father, and the town of Ingraham was named after Mr. Pixley's grandmother, who was born February 22, 1806, and died September 26, 1844. Her parents are buried in Ingraham cemetery. Philo Ingraham, her father, was born June 28, 1768, and died April 21, 1842. Her mother was Arvilla Barney, born September 12, 1782, and died September 19, 1854. They are supposed to be the first white people buried in Clay county.

Harvey F. Pixley, our subject, spent his life up to 1899 in Ingraham. After receiving a common school education there he attended Eureka College, in which institution he spent two years, making an excellent record. Then he began work in his father's store, having remained there for twelve years, assisting to build up an excellent trade. In August 1899, he came to Flora and began work in the First National Bank, becoming its cashier January 1, 1900, serving four years. He was then elected vice president of the institution, serving four years in this capacity, and was made president of the bank at the January 1909, meeting of the board of directors. He has done much to increase the prestige of this bank and place it on a solid foundation so that it is today recognized as one of the soundest in Southern Illinois.

Mr. Pixley is treasurer of the Breese-Trenton Mining Company, which operates three coal mines at Breese, Beckemeyer and Trenton. He is also treasurer of the Ebner Ice & Cold Storage Company, operating four plants, one at Vincennes, Seymour and Washington, Indiana, and one at Flora, Illinois. He is also a director and large stockholder in both the above named companies. Mr. Pixley also has an interest in the Flora Canning Company, and is also a stockholder and one of the organizers of the Flora Telephone Company; also interested as a stockholder in two wholesale houses in St. Louis. He was one of the executors of the late Gen. Lewis B. Parsons, of Flora, having left an estate of one hundred thousand dollars with a will.

Mr. Pixley was married on October 22, 1891, to Callie Cisel, daughter of John Cisel, of Allendale, Wabash county, Illinois. She was born on the adjoining farm to where Mr. Pixley's mother was reared. To this union one son has been born, December 10, 1892. He is a bright lad and is attending the Western Military Academy at Upper Alton, Illinois.

In his fraternal relations our subject is a member of the Blue Lodge, No. 204, Free and Accepted Masons, and Royal Arch Chapter No. 154. He is a member of the Order of Eastern Star, as is also Mrs. Pixley. They are members of the Christian church, the subject being a member of the official board. He was also a member of the building committee that erected the new church, a splendid edifice that would be a credit to a much larger city. Mr. Pixley is one of the trustees of the Carnegie library of which he is treasurer. He has been trustee of the same since it was built and he was a member of the building committee. He was at one time president of the school board. He is now a member and one of the directors of the Flora Mutual Building, Loan and Homestead Association. In politics he is a Republican.

Something of the subject's ability as a financier may be gained from the statement that when he became associated with the First National Bank there was a surplus of only twelve thousand dollars; it is now twenty-five thousand. The undivided profits were less than one thousand dollars. They are now over sixteen thousand. The dividends are now five per cent, payable semiannually.

Mr. and Mrs. Pixley have one of the finest homes in the county, modern, and is presided over with rare dignity by Mrs. Pixley, who is a woman of refinement.

Mr. Pixley has always taken a great interest in the advancement and prosperity of Clay county and endorses every movement, which he believes will prove a benefit to humanity. He is a sociable gentleman and is held in the highest regard by all who know him. His achievements represent the result of honest endeavor along lines where mature judgment has opened the way. He possesses a weight of character, a native sagacity, a discriminating judgment and a fidelity of purpose that command the respect, if not the approval, of all with whom he is associated. He takes first rank among the prominent men of this locality and is a leader in financial, business, educational, social and civic affairs.

Extracted 27 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay & Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 229-231.

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