William G. Edens
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William G. Edens


William G. Edens, vice president of the Central Trust Company of Illinois and well known champion of good roads, was born in Richmond, Indiana, November 27, 1863, a son of Hervey D. Washington and Elsie Jane (Fought) Edens. He was a pupil in the public schools of Lebanon and Boone county, Indiana, and from the age of fourteen has been a dependent upon his own resources, for at that time he became a messenger boy for the western Union Telegraph Company. He afterward acted as mail carrier and as assistant to the station master of the I. C. & L. Railroad at Lebanon, Indiana, for three years. Then he devoted many years to railroad work, filling consecutively the positions of freight and passenger brakeman, train baggageman, express messenger and freight and passenger conductor, thus covering the years from 1880 until 1887. For thirty-four years he was a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and was vice grand master of the organization from October, 1887, until January, 1890. He was then chief clerk and cashier at the national headquarters at Galesburg, Illinois, until 1896. In that year he was made state organizer of the Illinois Republican League and in the fall of the same year served on the staff of the republican national committee under Chairman Marcus A. Hanna, with supervision of the organization of railroad voters. His next position was that of assistant general superintendent of the free delivery system in the post office department from 1897 until 1904, when on the 30th of June he resigned again to become state organizer of the Illinois Republican League during the national campaign.

Mr. Edens' identification with banking interests dates from September, 1905, when he entered the employ of the Central Trust Company of Chicago as manager of the department of new business. In July, 1909, he was made assistant secretary of the company and is now its vice president, having been called to that position on the 1st of November, 1919. There is perhaps no banker in all the state of Illinois so widely known both within and without the confines of the state, for not only has he been active in business circles, but has also labored most untiringly and effectively for the adoption of many interests of general benefit. He was appointed a member of the board of highway advisers of Illinois in July, 1917, and is now the president of the Illinois Highway Improvement Association and it was largely attributable to his efforts that in 1918 Illinois voted a sixty million dollar bond issue for the improvement of the highways of the state. He was made secretary of Group 4 of the Illinois bankers Association. He belongs to the Hamilton and Press Clubs, is a member of the Historical Society and was a grand chancellor of the Knights of Pythias of Illinois in 1903-4 and a member of the finance committee of the Supreme Lodge and senior supreme representative of Illinois.

Mr. Edens was made an honorary member of the National Association of Letter Carriers. He belongs to the Woodlawn Park Episcopal church, is a member of the Ohio Society and the Indiana Society and is perhaps best known as a champion of the interests of the people. In this connection his work in behalf of public highways, in the conservation of forest preserves and the natural beauties of the state is well known. He is likewise interested and active in the development of organized effort to secure better legislation for the protection and care of women and children of working people.


Source Citation: Boone County Biographies [database online] Boone County INGenWeb. 2008. <https://sites.rootsweb.com/~inboone> Original data: J. Seymour Currey. "Illinois Activities In The World War, Vol I, Covering the Period From 1914 to 1920." Thomas B. Poole Company, Chicago, 1921, pp 512-513.

Transcribed by: T. Stover - October 10, 2008