MONTREVILLE HEARD. One of the enterprising and energetic business citizens of Thompsonville, Illinois, Montreville Heard, is the proprietor of the leading hardware establishment at this place, where his activities during the twenty years in which he has been engaged in business here have been such as to develop the best resources of the community. and whose integrity and ability have been recognized by his elections to various positions of public trust.
Montreville Heard was born in Hamilton county, Illinois, October 3, 1852, and is the son of Charles M. and Kizzie (Varner) Heard. Charles Heard was the son of Stephen Heard, who in turn was the son of Charles. Heard, with whom the authentic history of the American branch of the family begins. He, Charles Heard, was born in Abbeville county, South Carolina, in 1750, and in 1776 enlisted in the Continental army as a captain, and he served thus for eight years, giving valiant and heroic service in the cause of the struggling colonies. At one time the captain and his men were taken prisoners and crowded into a small prison where a number of his men were smothered to death. Captain Heard, who was a member of the Masonic fraternity, made himself known to the British officer in command who was a brother Mason, who released the captain on his honor. Captain Heard was convinced that the British officer was in sympathy with the Continental army, and he approached him with a proposal to warm the key to the prison and make an impression of the key in wax and give it to him. The officer proved himself to be a man with a price, and for the consideration of the sum of five
dollars agreed to the arrangement suggested by Captain Heard. The captain was a silversmith of no small ability, and with a wax impress of the key he had no difficulty in finding a way into the prison. On the following morning all the Continental prisoners were free.
When the war was over Captain Heard settled down to civilian life again. He married, and among his children was Stephen, who became the father of Charles M. and was the grandfather of the subject of this review. Stephen Heard was born in Tennessee in 1780 and when a young man he located in Nashville. In 1803 he married Delia Wilcox and moved to Walpole, Hamilton county, Illinois, in 1820, where he settled on a farm, there continuing engaged in agricultural pursuits for the remainder of his life, his earlier years of business activity having been devoted to the blacksmithing business. He died during the Civil war. His son, Charles M., was born in Nashville in 1829, at a time when his parents were visiting in that city, and he was reared on the Hamilton county farm in Illinois. In later years, when he had reached years of independence, he acquired a farm of his own and worked it until his retirement, when he and his wife went to make their home with their son, Montreville. Charles M. Heard was supervisor and justice, of the peace of Flannagin township for many years, and was prominently identified with the Democratic party for a long period, but he is now connected with the Prohibitionists. Peter Varner, who was the maternal grandfather of Montreville Heard, was also a pioneer settler of Illinois, to which state he came from Virginia in early life and where the remainder of his life was spent actively engaged in tilling the soil and doing all in his power as an agriculturist to settle the then wilderness regions, and pave the way for advancing settlement and progress.
Montreville Heard was educated in the schools of Hamilton county and was reared to agricultural life. Tilling the soil, however, did not appeal to him sufficiently strong to keep him on the farm, and in 1891 he decided to enter the mercantile field, and accordingly established himself in business in Thompsonville, Illinois. He is now the proprietor of the leading hardware establishments in this place, and carries a comprehensive stock of hardware, furniture, implements of all kinds, wagons and carriages, and also conducts an undertaking establishment. He has by the exercise of his splendid business faculties and the application of strictly business methods, combined with his sterling character, succeeded in building up a highly representative business in this vicinity, and has long been known for one of the most progressive, able and worthy business men and citizens of the city or county. Mr. Heard has become interested in matters of a financial import in the city, and is vice-president of the Thompsonville Bank, in which he is a stockholder. He is also identified with the banking interests of Hanaford, Illinois, and in that thriving place is the owner and proprietor of a department store as well. His activity during the twenty years in which he has been engaged in business in Thompsonville have been of a nature calculated to develop the best resources of the community, and he has done much for the upbuilding of the city in a financial, commercial and industrial way. His integrity and ability have been further reeognized by his fellow men by his election to various positions of public trust, and his reputation as a business man of sterling worth is equalled by his value as a public-spirited citizen and an able official. Mr. Heard is a staunch prohibitionist in his political views, and everywhere recognized as a man of high moral character and courage. He served the city for some time as its mayor, and for many years be has acted in the capacity of a police magistrate. With his family, Mr. Heard attends the
Missionary Baptist church, of which they are members. Mr. Heard also is a member of the Masonic order.
On January 13, 1876, Mr. Heard was united in marriage with Miss America Hall, the daughter of Wilson H. Hall, an early settler of Saline county, who served as justice of the peace for more than twenty-five years, at Galatia, Saline county. One child was born of their union,- Alice, who is the wife of Art M. Stone and lives at Harrisburg, Illinois, where Mr. Stone is the manager of the 0'Gara Supply Company of that city. Mrs. Heard died on June 13, 1877, and Mr. Heard in 1879 married Miss Catherine Plaster, daughter of Joseph Plaster, also an early settler and a farmer who lived in Hamilton county for many years. Mr. Plaster was one of the most successful men in his business in the county, being widely known as a stock raiser. Eight children were born to this latter union: Charles G. is cashier of the Hanaford Bank at Hanaford, Illinois; William B. is associated with his father in the business of M. Heard & Sons; Griffie B. is clerk in a dry goods store; Claudia, is a bookkeeper for the Hanaford Bank; Larkin B., is assistant cashier of the Thompsonville State Bank; Lura and Lulu reside with their parents, and Ross, who is engaged in the poultry business at Thompsonville, Illinois.