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Illiopolis Business Association 

Local History

Taken from a 1901 Supplement to The (Illiopolis) State Center Record



Buyers and Shippers of Grain.


George E. Ford                                                      Lee G. Metcalf

    Conducting an extensive business throughout this section as buyers and shippers of grain in car load lots Messrs. Ford & Metcalf continue to offer to producers unexcelled facilities for the satis­factory marketing of their commo­dities. In addition to the elevator owned and operated at Illiopolis this firm buys also at Lanesville and Buffalo and offer a total crib and elevator capacity at all three of these places of over one hundred thousand bushels. The advantages thus possessed make it possible to accept grain in any amount offered and from as many as desire to sell. A long distance telephone supplies frequent market quotations throughout the day. and patrons are kept advised as to prevailing conditions and tendencies. Messrs. Ford & Metcalf began business as a firm in 1891, since which time their relations with the public at the sources of supply and demand have been characterized by an integrity which has won popular confidence, and, with it an excellent standing and prestige. Mr. Geo. K. Ford and Lee G. Metcalf comprise the firm.

    Mr. Ford is a native of Illiopolis. His early life was spent in gaining an education such as the country schools afforded and at following farming pursuits.  Arriving at his majority he embarked in the grain business with his father under the firm name of Ford & Son and has continued ever since to be identified with the enterprise. In 1890 he aided materially to organize the Farmers State Bank of Illiopolis, and was its first cashier, remaining in that capacity and discharging efficiently the duties of the position for a period of seven years. Mr. Ford still holds the office of director of the bank and is one of its stock­holders. As a citizen and business man, Mr. Geo. E. Ford has ever aided any movement or enterprise which would insure to Illiopolis’ progress or development. His influence and actions in this particular stamping him as being progressive, public spirited and enterprising. Mr. Ford takes an active interest in fraternal and religious affairs, being prominently identified with the local Masonic organization and the Christian church, in both of which he holds honorable positions.


    Mr. Lee G. Metcalf was born near Mechanicsburg in Sangamon county, but moved with his parents to a farm near Lanesville and followed, when not in attendance at the neighboring school, farm pursuits. Having mastered the studies of the country school he entered the Mechanicsburg High Schools and continued in attendance until his graduation. His proficiency and ability immediately secured for him a position; and for the next seven years he followed teaching as a profession acquiring, meanwhile, a brilliant reputation as an educator, likewise substantial recognition receiving for his services the highest salary paid to any teacher of a country school in Sangamon Co. During his career, as teacher, Mr. Metcalf held, at one and the same time, nine first grade valid certificates of his eligibility to teach in as many counties in the state. Ambitious for a higher education, and possessed of the necessary funds acquired by frugality and diligence, he entered the Central Normal College at Danville, Ind., and in a complete course of studies gained, a liberal education. In 1887 Mr. Metcalf was elected Supervisor from his home township, Lanesville, and was active during his term of office in the investigation of county matters that, at that time, caused no little surprise and criticism by the discovery and exposure of gross irregularities. He enjoyed, during this term of office the distinction of being the youngest member that ever served in that body.

    At the elections in 1896 his excellent record met with a hearty endorsement by his reelection from Illiopolis township, and again, in 1898 he was honored the third time consecutively in being returned to the office by his fellow citizens.

    During the last year of his term he was endorsed by his party as Chairman of the Board and represented his county on two occasions at the State Convention of Supervisors.

    Mr. Metcalf’s official career has been marked by a boldness, courage, wise discernment, and inflexible integrity all of which have been justified, confirmed and accentuated by subsequent history. Mr. Metcalf’s business life began in the employment of Ford & Smith where his popularity brought forth results in an increased business. In due time Mr. Smith sold his interest out to him thus creating the present firm. It would be idle to say anything not already known of Mr. Lee G. Metcalf. For miles around his is a familiar face with the inhabitants of this section. All admit his popularity and justly accord him that sterling integrity which is so universally reflected in popular esteem and in a host of friends and well wishers.


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