"William Booth, Noted Citizen, Dies at Home

"William Booth passed away November 23, 1927, at 7:30 a.m., at his home, 121 West Cherry street, aged 78 years. His recent illness had extended over a period of four or five weeks. About one week ago he was obliged to remain at home. Previously he had visited his office almost every day and transacted each business as came before him. During the late days of his illness he contracted pneumonia and his weakened system was not able to overcome this complaint. At the time of his death his wife, Mrs. Jessie Parker Booth, and his only surviving sister, Miss Melda Booth, and some immediate friends were with him.

"He was born in Cedarville, Ohio, April 24, 1849. His grandfather, Caleb Booth, was a native of Virginia, and served as an American soldier in the war of 1812. His father was John Booth, who came here with his family and settled near Waynesville, Illinois, where he died in 1890. His mother died in 1907, at the age of 84 years. She was a member of the Society of Friends or Quakers.

"From the age of 2 years William Booth had made his home in Dewitt county, Illinois, being brought here by his parents in 1850. His youthful days were spent upon the old home farm near Waynesville and it was at that town that the public schools afforded him his educational privileges. Later he engaged in teaching in order to defray the expenses of his college course. Ambitious to enjoy the advantages of an advanced education he entered the Illinois Wesleyan University at Bloomington, for which he was graduated in 1879. In the winter of that year he opened an office in Clinton, were he has remained, and at the time of his death he was the oldest member of the Dewitt County Bar association. The fact that he has never changed his place of residence is an indication of the success which he was here enjoying. It is also an indication that he loved his old associates and had establishes a friendship among his neighbors and acquaintances which he was adverse of separating himself. He never lost an opportunity to visit the scene of his boyhood days at Waynesville and enjoyed recounting the many experiences in a adversity and in success which fell to his lot during his boyhood days.

"In 1880 he was elected State's Attorney and filled that office for 12 years, having been re-elected to this office twice - his re-election being proof of his ability and faithfulness. As a lawyer, he was resourceful, never being surprised by the unexpected attack of an adversary, for his preparation of cases always thorough and exhaustive and qualified him to meet any possible turn of a case that might arise. He was fair and honest to a fault in every case in which he appeared before any court in the State of Illinois. He was fair and honest not only to his own client, but to the client of the opposing counsel in whatever case he might appear. When a prospective client appeared before him for counsel he never failed, if there was an opportunity, for a settlement to ask them to get together and settle this matter out of court, knowing that would save expense and at the same time would have the advantage of bringing about a friendship which would extend over future years.
He also served a long period of years as Master in Chancery, having been appointed to this responsible position by former Judge Cochran. He performed the duties of this office with ability.

"At the age of 15 he was mustered in as a member of the 145th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1864. It is said that when his company was to be mustered in at Springfield, Illinois, being of small stature, he asked a full grown man to step forward and take his place. At the conclusion of the ceremony he took his place in the ranks and later on when the Captain of the company asked him how it came that he was here, the Captain was informed that he was a member of the company, and so the muster roll showed. He had repeatedly tried to be mustered in previously to this time and had failed. He was a drummer boy, and at the time of his death was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.
He was marred on the 18th day of June, 1890, to Miss Theressa Crang, but in 1905, was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife. About eighteen years ago he was married to Miss Jessie Parker, Dewitt county school teacher, who survives.
He was of a family of four children of which three were girls, but of whom only Miss Melda Booth, of Waynesville, Illinois, survives him. He is also survived by a cousin, Mrs. A. E. Hall, of Peoria.

"During his early youth he became a member of the Presbyterian church at Waynesville. He never moved is membership from that organization.
He was deeply interested in business development of Clinton and Dewitt county. In 1894 he became a stockholder and a director in that organization of the Central Illinois Building & Loan association and has remained a stockholder and director during the entire period to the time of his death and has served that organization during this entire time as its attorney. In 1911 he became a stockholder and assisted in the organization of the Farm Loan & Trust company, and remained a director of that organization until l the date of his demise.

"He always had a willing ear for the worthy needy and those who were in distress. No one knew except William Booth during his lifetime of the assistance and help he had rendered to those who were in need. He never talked about these matters and the public knew nothing of them except as those whom he had assisted would make the facts known. He was the originator of the Santa Claus treat which is given annually to all the children in Dewitt county. In its origin he gathered together nine other of his men friends and during all the years of the existence of this organization they each contributed Ten Dollars, which was spent in securing toys, candies and oranges that all the poor children in Dewitt county might enjoy the anniversary of this festive day.

"In recent years he offered a prize of $10 to the girl who would make with her own hands the best graduating dress and for a number of years he kept this custom alive. Those who knew William Booth best believed he did this because he thought the graduation suits were too expensive form many of those who had closed their educational career in Clinton schools. He was a plain man and decidedly opposed to frills.
In the loss of William Booth, the people of Dewitt county, have lost an honest, fearless and courageous citizen. The worthy poor or needy and the distressed citizens have lost one of the best friends they ever had.

"The funeral services will be held at the home at 121 West Cherry street, at 2 o'clock p.m., Friday. Internment will be in Woodlawn cemetery."- Clinton Daily Journal, Clinton, IL, Thursday, 24 Nov 1927, pp. 1 & 2

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