HENRY P. BUCKLEY - Henry P. Buckley was a prominent representative and honored business man and citizen of Springfield, who died here June 24, 1901, his death being deeply regretted throughout the entire community. He was born in Wisconsin in 1851 and seemed imbued with the spirit of enterprise and progress which is dominant throughout the central west. He acquired his education in Oberlin College, of Oberlin, Ohio, and then returned to the Mississippi Valley, locating in Dubuque, Iowa, where he was engaged with his father in the railroad business. On leaving that city he removed to Springfield, Illinois, in 1871 and became a factor in mercantile interests here as a dealer in flour and feed in the building now occupied by Foster's livery. For five years his mercantile enterprises were there carried on and about 1880 he abandoned the flour and feed business in order to become a florist, starting in the new enterprise on a small scale. In 1893, however, he purchased the site of the greenhouses which are now conducted under the name of the W. T. Buckley Plant Company and there the father established a business, conducting his enterprise as a general florist until his death. Under his capable management the trade increased in volume and profit and there is now twenty thousand square feet under glass, this extensive plant being required to meet the growing demands of the trade.
In 1857 Mr. Buckley was united in marriage to Miss Ella Conkling, and they became the parents of seven children: William T., who is now proprietor of the greenhouse; Alice M.; Harry M., who is also connected with the florist business; Edgar H., of the Capitol Coal Company; Harvey C., who is employed in the postoffice of Springfield; and Jeanette and Helen G., who are yet in school. The family home is at the corner of Fifth and Skarrett streets and was purchased by Mr. Buckley at the time of his marriage, all of the children being born there.
Mr. Buckley was a man of domestic tastes whose interests centered in his home and family, and he considered no sacrifice on his part too great if it would promote the welfare or enhance the happiness of his wife and children. He lived a quiet, unassuming life and yet he commanded the respect and regard which are ever accorded true worth, no matter in what land or clime. He was a liberal supporter of charitable and benevolent interests, generously giving wherever it was needed to the extent of his financial possibilities. A story of distress or need at once awakened his sympathy and this was manifest in substantial assistance. A Republican in his political views, he kept well informed on the issues of the day, believing it the duty of the American citizen to labor for the cause which he believed contained justice for the nation. He belonged to the First Congregational church and his life was ever in consistent harmony with its teachings and his professions. His business interests were alike honorable and commendable and whatever he achieved was th direct reward of his own labors. In those finer traits of character which combine to form that which we term friendship, which endear and attach man to man in bonds which nothing but dishonor can sever, which triumph and shone brighter in the hour of adversity - in those qualities he was royally endowed.
William T. Buckley, the eldest son, was born in Springfield, September 7, 1878, and after his graduation in the Stuart school he spent two years as a student in the high school of Springfield and later entered the Springfield Business College, in which he was prepared for the practical and responsible duties of life. He entered upon his business career as a clerk for L. E. Wheeler, an ice merchant, with whom he remained two years, and then in 1899 he became associated with his father in the present florist business, which he is yet carrying on. After the father's death in 1901 the company was reorganized under the name of the W. T. Buckley Plant Company with our subject as manager. A wholesale business is carried on and the trade has now reached extensive proportions, returning to the owners a good profit on their investment. The business has increased several fold since William T. Buckley assumed the management and has been built up through practical business methods, keen discernment and the utilization of opportunity. A specialty is made of bedding plants and the trade in this department is extensive. William T. Buckley votes with the Republican party, but has never been an aspirant for office, preferring to give his entire time and attention to his business affairs.