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Sumner H. McMillan

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

SUMNER H. MCMILLAN, who is now serving the people as County Clerk of Henderson County, is a native of the said county, his birth having occurred in South Henderson Precinct, on the 13th day of June, 1862. The family is of Scotch-Irish lineage, the second generation back having emigrated to this country from the North of Ireland in an early day. The father, William L. McMillan, was a native of South Carolina, but moved to this county in 1837, at the age of three years, and here he has since continued to reside. On the 1st day of April, 1857, he was united in marriage with Miss Susan Small, daughter of James Small, who had emigrated from Ohio to this county in the early '50s. By their union were born nine children, four sons and five daughters, who, in the order of their births, are as follows: Carrie D., wife of Frank Graham, a farmer of Biggsville Township; Jennie F., wife of John Weir, a machinist residing at Stronghurst; Sumner H., the subject of this sketch; Mary E., who died in 1868, at the age of four years; Charles W. and James S., who are engaged in agricultural pursuits in Biggsville Township; Zettie J., wife of Oscar Sanderson, also a farmer of Biggsville Township; Jessie May, who died in 1874, in infancy; and Herbert I., the youngest of the family, who yet resides at home with the parents.

Sumner Horace, the subject of this sketch, was reared at home upon his father's farm, and being the eldest of the sons, was inured to much hard and patient labor from early boyhood. His education was acquired mainly in the district school, well known in that locality as Coloma, one of the best country schools of the county. Having finished the common-school branches and being desirous of a business education, in the fall of 1883 he entered Elliot's Business College, at Burlington, Iowa, where he took a six-months course in the business training of this well-known institution. Having finished his education and being anxious to begin business on his own account, he now began prospecting for an opening somewhere. Always having a desire for newspaper and literary work, he soon found an opportunity for a beginning in this direction. In the spring of 1886, in partnership with C. W. Brelsford, they began the publication of the Gladstone News, which was, in June of the same year, removed to Biggsville, they continuing its publication under the name of the Biggsville News. But after a year spent in this work, journalism in a small country town, and in a county already overstocked with newspapers, having demonstrated itself non-remunerative in a financial way, and his health having failed, he sold out his interests here and went back to the country home. In a couple of mouths thereafter, viz., in April, 1887, he went west for his health and a visit with relatives, and while at Lyons, Rice County, Kan., was employed for a time in the revenue department of the County Clerk's office at that place. Returning to Illinois in July of that year, he again remained at home until the following spring, when he was elected Clerk and Treasurer of the Commissioners of Highways of Road District No. 2, of his county, which office he held until in the fall of 1890, when he was elected County Clerk of Henderson County, for a term of four years. On January 24, 1889, he was appointed by Hon. J. O. Anderson, a member of the Legislature from this, the Twenty-fourth Senatorial District, to a Committee Clerkship in the Thirty-sixth General Assembly of Illinois, where he served the Legislature of that session in this capacity, having charge of four of the important committees of the house, viz.: "Penal and Reformatory Institutions," "Miscellaneous Subjects," "Drainage," and Visiting Committee on "Penal and Reformatory Institutions." At the close of the session, on May 30, he came home with many pleasant recollections of the time thus spent at the State capital.

Mr. McMillan is a Republican in politics, casting his first vote for James G. Blaine, in 1884, and, while not a fierce partisan, is always ready to defend the principles and advocate the doctrines fearlessly which he believes. In religion, he holds an active membership in the United Presbyterian Church of South Henderson, which was " the church of his fathers," and of whose confession of faith and rules of church government and practice he is a warm supporter, as being the ''church of his choice." Quiet and unassuming in manner, he considers friendship the first consideration of life; and honesty, sobriety and industry the fulfilling purposes for which man was created. The best interests of the community ever receive his hearty support, and all worthy enterprises are sure of his co-operation.