Sangamon County ILGenWeb © 2000
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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

ALBERT L. CONVERSE, M. D. -- Dr. Albert L. Converse was for a number of years a practitioner of medicine in Springfield, but for almost thirty years he has given his attention to stockraising and farming and is recognized as one of the leading representatives of agricultural interests in central Illinois. He was born in Painesville, Ohio, June 29, 1842, a son of Henry and Niana J. (Priest) Converse, natives of New Hampshire and Vermont respectively. Their marriage occurred in New York and they afterward removed to Alabama, while at an early day they became residents of Ohio. The father was a farmer and also became interested in the manufacture of oil. The year 1846 witnessed his arrival in Illinois. He located in Springfield and subsequently purchased the home which is now the Doctor's place of residence. His attention was devoted to farming and stockraising and he became not only a prosperous citizen of Sangamon county, but one highly respected by all who knew him. For nine years he was a member of the board of supervisors and was also long identified with the Baptist church. He took a very active interest in educational and religious advancement in this city, and his labors proved of marked benefit to Springfield, for he possessed much influence and popularity. His death occurred here, January 25, 1889, and his wife died in 1882. Nine years previous to his death they had celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. The parents are survived by two sons: Albert L. and William 0., both residents of Springfield.

In 1846 Albert L. Converse accompanied his parents to this city and in its public schools acquired a good literary education. He then began reading medicine with Dr. Charles Ryan, a prominent physician of Springfield, and after attending lectures in the medical department of the Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, he was graduated with the class of 1864. He then opened an office and for ten years successfully followed his profession in Macon and Sangamon counties, but in the meantime he had become greatly interested in farming and stock-raising in the home place, and on the expiration of the decade he gave his entire attention to these interests. For the past ten years he has been president of the Springfield Paving Brick Company, which he assisted in organizing and which now makes large shipments of paving brick to many of the leading cities within a radius of three hundred miles.

On the 6th of September, 1864, Dr. Converse married Miss Henrietta Thompson, a daughter of Aaron Thompson, of Springfield, and unto them have been born six children: Florence, who was born in 1865, and died at the age of sixteen years; Anais, who was born in 1867 and is the widow of Dr. Frank B. Smith, of this city; Olive, who died at the age of nineteen months; Henry A., born in 1875; Albert E., born in 1881, and Henrietta, in 1890, all at home. These children were present on the occasion of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of both their paternal and their maternal grandparents.

The Doctor is ranked as one of Springfield's representative men, and in official life he has done much for the welfare and progress of his city and county. For three years he served as supervisor and for two years was chairman of the county board. Upon the Democratic ticket he was nominated and elected to represent his district in the state legislature and thereby served as a member of the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth general assemblies. He was on a number of important committees, including that of the revenue, agriculture, appropriations and the sanitary committee. He acted on all of these during the first term, and during the second term he was again a member of the committees and of the joint revenue committee. Upon the adoption of the Democratic platform upon which William J. Bryan was nominated he ceased to affiliate with that party, and has since been a Republican, and has taken the stump during every campaign, rendering great service to the party of his adoption. The Doctor is an active member of the Baptist church and is a Master Mason. The Doctor owns an elegant home at No. 1340 North Eighth street. As a business man he takes advantage of every opportunity to promote his own interests and at the same time he has advanced the growth and improvement of the city and co-operates effectively in measures for its welfare. There is nothing of the pessimist in Dr. Converse, nor of the visionary optimist. He believes in looking on the bright side - that is, intensely practical in business and in citizenship, looking to effort rather than theory for result, taking careful cognizance of conditions and thus meeting them in a practical way. It is his belief that a knowledge of the world is the best educastion a man can receive, and in putting this in practice he has not only familiarized himself with every state in the Union, but has also traveled extensively throughout Europe.

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