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

Page 898

GEORGE T. SAYLES - George T. Sayles is the efficient postmaster of Cantrall, having filled the office since 1896. His administration of the duties of the office is businesslike and progressive, and his uniform courtesy to the patrons of the office has made him popular with those who receive their mail at this point. Mr. Sayles is a native son of Sangamon county, his birth having occurred in Fancy Creek township on the 7th of September, 1831. His father, Thomas Sayles, was born in Kentucky, as was the grandfather, James Sayles, who became one of the early settlers of central Illinois. This section of the state is largely indebted to Kentucky for many valued citizens and men of worth. About 1822 James Sayles made his way to Sangamon county, locating in Fancy Creek township. All was wild and unimproved and the county gave little evidence of the advancement which was soon to be made. Mr. Sayles, however, became an active factor in the work of upbuilding and aided in laying broad and deep the foundation for the present prosperity of this section of the state. Thomas Sayles, who came to Sangamon county with his parents and here attained his majority, was also married here to Miss Jamima Brown, a native of Kentucky, where she was reared and educated. She was a daughter of Thomas Brown. Mr. Sayles carried on farming for a few years in Sangamon county and afterward removed to Fulton county, where he spent his remaining days. Making a trip to the Galena lead mines, he had hardly returned to his home when he was taken ill and died. His widow afterward returned to this county, locating in Fancy Creek township.

Thus George T. Sayles was reared to manhood in Sangamon county and in the common schools obtained his education. He warmly espoused the cause of the Union, and with patriotic spirit he offered his services to the government at the time when the rebellion in the south threatened to destroy the country. It was on the 25th of July, 1861, when he enlisted at Springfield, becoming a member of Company G, Seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He then went south and with the regiment joined the Army of the Tennessee. The first engagement in which he participated was the battles at Fort Donelson and later he was in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth and Town Creek. At the last named place he was mounted and did scout duty around Corinth. He served until the close of the war and was honorably discharged at Rome, Georgia. He enlisted as a private, but was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant in recognition of his meritorious service and his gallant conduct on the field of battle. At all times he was ever loyal to his duty and to the old flag, and to his country he rendered valuable aid.

With a most creditable military record Mr. Sayles returned to his home and for some time thereafter was engaged in farming in Sangamon and Menard counties. In 1873 he established his home in Cantrall and continued farming for two years. He then turned his attention to the grain business, buying and shipping grain at this point for twenty-three years. In 1896 Mr. Sayles as appointed postmaster and has since served in this office, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity. He has always been a stanch Republican since casting his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He has also filled other offices, having been elected justice of the peace again and again, so that he continued in that position for fourteen consecutive years. His decisions were always strictly fair and impartial, and he won "golden opinions from all sorts of people." For two years he was also supervisor and was township clerk for several terms. As a director of the schools he did effective service in behalf of education, and as a trustee of the village of Cantrall he also proved a capable officer.

Mr. Sayles was married in Logan county, Illinois in 1852. His first wife died and he was afterward again married in that county to Elizabeth Cline Turley, a widow and a sister of Henry Cline, of Fancy Creek township. This wife died in Cantrall in April, 1894, leaving a daughter, Margaret, the wife of Eli Poff, a grain merchant of Cantrall. They have four children: George N., Mary E., Harley and Olive E. By a former marriage Mrs. Sayles also had a daughter, Almeda, who became Mrs. Smith and died, leaving two children. Unto our subject and his wife were born two sons, of whom Thomas reached mature years and was married. At his death he left one child. The other son, Edward, died when about five years of age, during his father's absence in the army.

Mr. Sayles is a member of the Christian church and for several years has served as one of its elders. He also belongs to Athens Post, G.A.R., and in matters of citizenship, he is today as true and loyal as when he followed the old flag upon southern battlefields.

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