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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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WILLIAM R. BORDERS, one of the wealthy and most enterprising citizens of Randolph County, is at the head of the Bank of Sparta; indeed he is sole proprietor of that institution, and is ranked among the leading business men of the city. His father, James J. Borders, was born in Randolph County July 2, 1818, only a short time before the state was admitted to the Union. At the age of twenty-five, he purchased land and began farming for himself. He continued to reside on the homestead which he there developed until 1878, when he came to Sparta. He engaged extensively in raising horses and mules, and also had on hand large land speculations. He owned at one time as much as ten thousand acres, and at his death was the largest land-owner in the county.

In the year 1873, in connection with Mr. Boyle, James J. Borders purchased the Bank of Sparta, then operated by S. P. Smith, and retained his connection with it up to the date of his death. He was a charitable and benevolent man, and his help was given in a practical way, which enabled the receiver to help himself and thus retain his self-respect. In politics he was a Democrat. In 1873 he was elected County Commissioner. He had previously served as Justice of the Peace, but few cases came before him for trial, as he almost invariably induced the litigants to compromise. Socially he was a Master Mason. He was as honest as the day is long, outspoken and fearless, and had the confidence of all. His death occurred in Sparta, July 22, 1891.

The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Mary A. Ritchey. She was born in this county, and is a daughter of William and Sarah (Hyndman) Ritchey, who were natives of Pennsylvania, and who came thence to Illinois. The father was a coal dealer and a very successful business man. Mr. and Mrs. Borders were married about 1854, and became the parents of eight children, namely: Andrew, James B. and Maggie, deceased; William R., of this sketch; Andrew, Mattie E., Michael W. and Mary I. James B. married Ada McCormick, and lived at Nashville, Ill. They have six children. Andrew was Postmaster at Sparta during President Cleveland’s first term, and is at present Postmaster at Tulare, Cal. He married Mamie Weir, and they have two children, Francis and Irene. Mattie E. is the wife of Dr. C. F. Taggart, a practicing physician of San Francisco, Cal., who was graduated in St. Louis, and is now taking a post-graduate course in Berlin, Germany; they have one child, Norma H. Michael W., a practicing attorney of Belleville, Ill., was graduated from the Columbia Law School, of New York, and is now holding the office of City Attorney of Belleville, although he is only twenty-five years of age. He married Alice Abby, and they have one child. The Borders family is one of prominence in Randolph County, its members having been inseparably connected with the material progress and development of this community. Maj. Andrew Borders, father of James J., was one of the early pioneers and prominent characters of Illinois.

Our subject has also borne his share in the work of public advancement and improvement. He was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads, and became familiar with all the duties of farm life. He entered upon his business career as silent partner in the Bank of Sparta in 1873, and is now sole proprietor. This is now one of the leading financial institutions of the county, conducted on a safe and conservative basis, and is a credit to the community as well as to the owner. Mr. Borders is a man of excellent business and executive ability, and his success is well deserved. He is extensively interested in the natural gas wells at Sparta. In fact, he was a ruling spirit in the company which discovered natural gas in Sparta, and is now sole proprietor of three flowing wells, with about three miles of gas mains. He is also a prominent breeder of trotting and pacing horses and is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Standard Pacing Horse Breeders’ Company. In politics he is a zealous Democrat, but never held, and could not be induced to hold, an office. For eight years he served as Treasurer of Hope Lodge No. 162, A. F. & A. M., and he is also a member of Tancred Commandery No. 50, at Belleville, Ill. He is the largest owner of city property in Sparta, and one of the largest holders of real estate in Randolph County.

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

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