My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

HON. BENJAMIN W. POPE is one of the most prominent citizens of Du Quoin, and is also widely and favorably known in southern Illinois. He is now serving as County Judge of Perry County, and is the efficient Postmaster of the city in which he resides. His life record is as follows: He was born in Franklin County, Ill., October 20, 1853, and is a son of Dr. Benjamin F. Pope, who was born in Williamson County, Tenn., May 24, 1825. The grandfather, Dr. Winfield Pope, was a native of North Carolina, born in 1792. When six years old he went to Tennessee with his father, Hardy Pope, who was also a native of North Carolina. The ancestors of the family were Scotch and English, but the date of their emigration to America is unknown. Hardy Pope was at one time a large slave holder, and had extensive property interests. He died in 1833, when the father of our subject was a child of eight years.

Dr. Winfield Pope was a prominent physician in his day, and died in Williamson County, Tenn., in January, 1840. He had four sons, two of whom were physicians, Benjamin F. and Hill B. The latter died in Dexter, Mo. The other sons were farmers, and died in Texas. Dr. Benjamin F. Pope is the only one of the family now living, although the descendants of Hardy Pope are numerous in this locality. His mother, who in her maidenhood was Elizabeth Arnold, was a native of Tennessee, as was her mother, who lived to the age of ninety years. Mrs. Pope died January 5, 1839.

The Doctor was a youth in his teens when his parents died, and for three years thereafter he worked on a farm. He then began clerking in a store, and during that time studied medicine with Dr. James S. Taylor. Becoming competent to practice, he was granted a license and practiced one year in Carroll County, Tenn. In December, 1848, he came to Illinois, locating in Franklin County, where he practiced for sixteen years, securing an extensive patronage, and by good investments, coupled with good judgment, laid the foundation of his fortune. On the 2d of January, 1865, he removed to Du Quoin, where he had previously purchased property, a portion of it being the location of his present pleasant home. After coming to Du Quoin, he engaged in merchandising; for twenty-three years was engaged in the lumber business, and for seven years was in the dry-goods business. At length he turned over the latter to his son, Pleasant V., who still carries on operations along that line under the name of Pope & Co., being associated with B. F. Pope, Jr., a cousin of Dr. Pope.

In 1849 the Doctor married Emeline, daughter of Dr. Benjamin Ward Pope, and to them were born five children, three of whom are yet living. Byron J. was educated in McKendree College of Lebanon, and was in business with his father at the time of his death, which occurred at the age of twenty-three years; Ada I. died at the age of thirteen; Pleasant V. is engaged in merchandising; Benjamin W. is the next younger; Sarah E. is the wife of George F. M. Ward, who is extensively engaged in business as a clothing merchant in Mt. Vernon. Dr. Pope, father of this family, is one of the large stockholders in the First National Bank, and is the owner of much valuable property in Du Quoin. He is regarded as one of the leading citizens of the place, and was three times honored with the office of Mayor of the city.

Judge Pope was a lad of eleven years when his father came to Du Quoin. He was educated in its public schools, and in the State University of Champaign, after which he taught school for several years, being Superintendent of the city schools of Du Quoin and Tamaroa. He then read law in the office of R. W. S. Wheatley and Judge Wall, and further continued his studies in the law department of the University of St. Louis, and was graduated from the law department of the North western University of Chicago in 1878. After again teaching school for one term, he commenced the practice of his chosen profession in Du Quoin in 1889.

Mr. Pope has been honored with a number of public offices. He was elected City Attorney, and wrote the present city ordinances. In November, 1890, he was elected Judge of Perry County, being the first Democrat ever chosen to that office in the county. He overcame the Republican majority of two hundred, and carried the county by over four hundred, which fact indicated his popularity and the high regard in which he is held. In 1892 he was the candidate for Congress in the Twentieth District. He spoke throughout the district, and his well known oratory and honesty of purpose won for him many friends. On the 25th of October, 1893, Judge Pope was appointed by President Cleveland as Postmaster at Du Quoin, and at this writing is serving both on the Bench and in the post office. The promptness and fidelity with which he discharges his public duties are well known, and his faithfulness and honesty of purpose are unquestioned. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and is a genial, honored gentleman, whose history deserves a prominent place in this volume.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Perry County, Illinois family biographies here: Perry County, Illinois Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.