WILLIAM W. PEASE - Though many years have passed since William W. Pease departed this life, he is yet remembered by Springfield's citizens, and those who knew him elsewhere, as a man of sterling worth and upright character, and his connection with business affairs at an early day combined with his loyalty in citizenship, made him a representative resident of Springfield, and one well worthy of mention in this volume. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Mary R. Pease, who is now living in Springfield in her seventieth year. She is a daughter of David and Catherine (Gray) Roberts, the former of Welsh or English descent and the latter of Scotch-Irish lineage. At an early day, however, the father crossed the Atlantic to the United States and settled in New York city, where he acted as librarian of the mercantile library previous to his removal to the Mississippi Valley. With a colony of eastern people noted for their culture, intelligence and business capability, he came to Illinois, settling in Tremont. That portion of the state was largely unimproved and he took up his abode upon a farm in a little log cabin. Later he removed to the town of Tremont, where he was appointed postmaster and became very prominent and influential in public affairs. He was the owner of extensive landed interests and he developed an excellent farm on which he planted a nice orchard, one of the noticeable features of the landscape in those early days when the work of improvement had been scarcely begun in that locality. After he removed to Tremont he engaged in general merchandising. He lived to the advanced age of eighty-six years and his widow, surviving him for a time, reached the ripe old age of eighty-seven years and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Pease. In their family were ten children, of whom Mrs. Pease is the eldest, but only three are now living: Charles D. Roberts married Miss Octavia Ridgely, by whom he has five children. He is now engaged in merchandising in Springfield, having a large store on the south side of the square in which he carries men's furnishing goods and ladies' suits. John Roberts volunteered for service in the Civil war as a member of the Tenth Illinois Cavalry. He raised a company in Springfield, became its captain and served his full term without being wounded, although he was in all of the principal cavalry charges. He was once captured, however, by guerillas. His brother, Edward Roberts, now deceased, was also in the army, and for a time was held as a prisoner of war. His widow survives him and resides near Mrs. Pease. The deceased members of the Roberts family are Robert G., Anna G., Thomas, Jennie, who became the wife of George Ingles; Edward R., William W. and Joseph. Edward R. Roberts lost a bright little girl, Mamie, who was drowned when eleven years of age, and he left three children, Thomas, Edward and William Robert.
In the subscription schools of Tremont, Illinois, Mrs. Pease acquired her preliminary education. She is a well read woman, who, throughout the years, has constantly broadened her mind by reading and investigation. She remained with her parents until she gave her hand in marriage to William W. Pease and later they came to Springfield, living first on South Sixth street, where they spent the greater part of twelve years. For a time following the death of her husband Mrs. Pease made her home with her son, Robert R. Pease in Omaha, Nebraska, and she also lived for a time in Tremont, but returned to Springfield, where she now occupies a comfortable and pleasant home.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Pease were born three sons; Robert E. married Elizabeth Turner, a daughter of a very prominent family of Quincy, Illinois, and a lady of marked culture and refinement. Her father conducts a large tobacco manufactory in Quincy. Unto Robert E. Pease and his wife was born a son, Thomas L., who died at the age of eight months. The father was thrown from his horse while driving from Omaha on a ten mile trip in a party consisting of himself, his niece, Miss Wood, of Kansas City, and two young friends. This accident resulted in his death July 25, 1896. He was a most devoted man to his family, and was a prominent merchant of Omaha, where he was engaged in dealing in men's furnishing goods. William E. Pease is also living in Omaha. Henry L. Pease, the youngest son, is at home.
William W. Pease, the father, was prominent in public affairs in Springfield and exerted no little influence in behalf of general progress and improvement. He was a member of the firm of Pease Brothers, hardware merchants of Springfield, who began business here at an early day, carrying on a wholesale and retail trade. The house won favor with the public, because of the straightforward business methods followed and the close adherence to the principles of commercial ethics.
Mrs. Pease's memory goes back to the early days when houses were lighted by candles made by the family. She also remembers when fires were built with the aid of flint and tow, for matches had not been invented. The cooking was done over large fireplaces, for cook stoves had not come into use. Wonderful are the changes which have occurred during the intervening period, the present mode of living bearing little resemblance to that of her girlhood days. Mrs. Pease is a member of the Woman's Club of Springfield, which was organized fro the purpose of promoting intellectual, musical and literary advancement. She is well known in the western part of the city, and though she lives a somewhat quiet life, she has many warm and sincere friends.