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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.

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GEORGE ODELL DEAN, who is engaged in banking in Ava, occupies a prominent position in business circles, being recognized as one of the leading and influential business men of this place. He was born in Old Liberty, now Rockwood, Ill., September 22, 1854, and under the parental roof spent his boyhood days. His early education, acquired in the common schools, was supplemented by study in the Du Quoin Seminary. He then engaged in clerking, and was employed as salesman in a drug store for a time.

On the 30th of December, 1875, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Dean and Miss Mariana Gates Brown, daughter of James M. and Rebecca (Simons) Brown. She was born in Pennsylvania. Mr. Brown was a native of Kentucky, and came to Illinois about 1842. He was married July 25, 1844, to Mrs. Carter, a widow, whose maiden name was Rebecca Simons. Her death occurred July 3, 1866. They were the parents of five children, Fred W., born October 30, 1843; Samuel D., February 19, 1849; Henry Clay, April 14, 1851; Charles, March 17, 1853, and Mrs. Dean, March 15, 1857. Mr. Brown first settled on a farm near Shiloh Hill. He was an engineer on one of the finest steamboats on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. On the 24th of March, 1869, he married Lurana E. Simons, a half-sister of his first wife. He was one of the prominent and highly respected citizens of this community, and held some local offices. He died January 14, 1874, and his widow married Judge John Morrison, September 12, 1877.

Mr. Dean came with his wife to Ava, January 5, 1876, and began working in his father’s mill, which afterward became the property of the three Dean brothers and their sister, Mrs. Gilbreath. At length our subject and the sister sold out and Mr. Dean went to Shiloh Hill, where he clerked in the store of his brother, W. C. Dean, for one year. He then carried on a drug store in his own interest for two years, after which he sold out and returned to Ava, spending two years as clerk in his brother’s store. He next purchased a hardware store and lumber yard, which he successfully conducted for five years, when he disposed of that business, and in January, 1890, established the bank of Ava, which is carried on under the name of G. O. Dean & Brothers. He has built two fine residences in this place, his own home being erected in 1892, at a cost of $3,800. It is a ten-room house, with a basement, is supplied with all modern conveniences and is the largest residence in the town.

To Mr. and Mrs. Dean were born seven children, four yet living. Emma Leila, born October 29, 1876, is now a student in Forest Park University of St. Louis, and is a fine musician; Fred M., born October 21, 1879, was page in the House of Representatives of the Thirty-eighth General Assembly, being appointed by Speaker Craft through the recommendation of Lieutenant-Governor Gill, his uncle, Hon. W. C. Dean and Hon. Reed Green, of Cairo; Stella was born May 21, 1883, and Mina Bell was born March 24, 1885.

Mr. and Mrs. Dean are prominent members and active workers in the Presbyterian Church, in which he is now serving as Deacon. He is filling his second term as Sunday-school Superintendent, and his wife has been a teacher in the Sunday-school for seven years. Since 1875, he has been a member of the Odd Fellow’s society, is Past Noble Grand, and he and his wife are members of the Rebecca Lodge. Both have served as representatives of the Grand Lodge, and Mrs. Dean is now serving her second term as Deputy. Our subject is a Royal Arch Mason, and has been Senior Deacon, Treasurer and Secretary of Shiloh Hill Lodge No. 695, A. F. & A. M. He belonged to the Knights of Pythias of Murphysboro, and was one of the organizers of Ava Lodge No. 396, K. P., of which he was the first Chancellor-Commander. In politics he is a Democrat, and was Chairman of the Central Committee. He was the second President of the Village Board of Ava, served two terms as City Treasurer and refused a re-election. He was one of the founders of the Ava Building and Loan Association, was its first Treasurer, one of its Directors and has served as Vice-President. He has been prominently identified with the best interests of this community, and gives his support to all enterprises calculated to prove of public benefit. The prosperity of the city is due in no small degree to his efforts, and its history would be incomplete without his sketch.

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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 Jackson County, Illinois family biographies here: Jackson County, Illinois Biographies

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