Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
Chester H. Bolles is one of the native sons of Springfield who has gained a creditable and by no means unimportant position in the business circles of the city, being at the present time proprietor of a drug store at No. 731 North Grand avenue. His father, Dr. Hiram O. Bolles, was for many years a leading physician of this city. He was born in Cazenovia, New York, July 29, 1838, a descendant of one of the old New England families. His parents were Barney and Emily (Olcott) Bolles, natives of New Hampshire. From his home in the Granite hills, the father went to New York, where he remained for several years, and there reared his family of six children - Emily, the wife of Frank Wheatley; Hiram O.; James E.; Jennie F.; and Callie, deceased, wife of Herbert Carlie; and one died in infancy. In 1870 the parents came to Illinois and made their home with their son, Dr. Bolles, the father dying when more than eight-five years of age, the mother when past the age of eighty.
Hiram O. Bolles was provided with superior educational privileges as a foundation for his medical studies. He was graduated with high honors in the New Ipswich University, in the class of 1858, and began to prepare for his chosen profession in the medical department of the Pennsylvania University, in which he was graduated with the class of 1864. From that time until the close of the war he served as a surgeon in the Union army and was with Sherman on the march to the sea. Following the close of hostilities he came to Springfield and at No. 425 North Sixth street purchased the home in which he resided until called to his final rest. He was a skilled physician, of large practice, and the public and the profession acknowledge his ability and his strict conformity to the ethics of his calling. Always great interested in the welfare of his adopted city he served in various positions of public honor and trust. He was elected on the Democratic ticket in 1875 to serve as a member of the city council from the first ward, and for seventeen years he was a member and the president of the board of water commissioners. On the 23d of May, 1865, he married Miss Eliza Van Meter, whose father was from Kentucky. They had four children, but Harry M. and Bert V., who were graduates of the Springfield high school, died just as they were entering manhood, the former passing away in June, 1889. Chester H. was the eldest of the children and the youngest is Mamie B., who was born in 1877 and is now the wife of Albert B. Carswell. She is a graduate of the high school and with her husband resides at the old home on North Sixth street. The Doctor died on August 8, 1901, and the wife in October, 1886. He had continued in practice up to about three years prior to his death and did a great work for the alleviation of human suffering and was the loved family physician in many a household in Springfield.
Chester H. Bolles, who was born in 1867, and continued his education in the public schools until he had taken up the work of the junior year in the high school, entered upon his business career as a clerk in the drug store of W. A. Hickman & Company, under whom he served his apprenticeship. He was graduated in 1890 from the Illinois College of Pharmacy and then became a salesman for Attlesberger & Company, with whom he remained until he began business for himself in 1891. He purchased the store at No. 505 Washington street where he had learned the business and later he opened his present store, called The Branch Store, in which he was assisted by his brother Bert. This was in 1895 and after his brother's death he sold his store on Washington street and removed to his present location, remodeling the building, which was once owned by his father. Here he put in a full stock of druggist sundries, drugs and patent medicines, and has built up an excellent business from a small beginning.
On May 28, 1891, Mr. Bolles married Miss Etta Tobin, a daughter of James Tobin and a graduate of the high school of the city. Of their three children two died in infancy, the other being Eleanor Blanche, born in 1895. Their home is at the corner of College street and South Grand avenue, where Mr. Bolles purchased a residence. He and his wife belong to the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is a liberal supporter, and in his political views he is a Democrat. In business circles he is recognized as a young man of enterprise, of laudable ambition and persistency of purpose, and he has the essential qualities of an upright manhood which form the basis of all legitimate success.