STICKEL, ALEXANDER WESLEY (deceased). - "He never allowed his anger to master him; his life was not show - very unpretentious - and we who knew him best feel our lives are the better for having known him." The foregoing simple tribute paid to his memory by a friend who had known him throughout life, while not set in glowing terms or smooth-flowing phrases, is as great a eulogy as any man could hope for. Alexander Wesley Stickel, who is well remembered by business men and agriculturists of Sangamon County, always impressed men in just that way - that they were better for having come into contact with him. A self-made man, who had gained an education only through the strictest economy and hardest labors, while assisting his father on the home farm, when his brothers had gone to the war, he could sympathize with those who were not so fortunate as he, and this, with his other sterling, lovable characteristics, made him one of the most esteemed and respected men of his day and locality. Alexander Wesley Stickel was born near Decatur, Macon County, Ill., February 9, 1849, and died in Springfield, March 23, 1908.
Joseph Stickel, the father of Alexander W., was born in York County, Pa., August 26, 1814, and later moved to Macon County, Ill., in 1857, purchasing a farm near Hillsboro, on which he carried on operations until the time of his death in 1892. Joseph Stickel married Kathryn Wilson, who was born in Tennessee, August 21, 1816, and to them were born a family of children, of whom Alexander Wesley was the youngest of several boys. The youth was but twelve years of age when the outbreak of the Civil War occurred, and after trying to enlist and being refused, he followed his brothers (who had been more successful) as far as he might and then trudged bravely back to the farm, determined to fight it out there. Between times when it was necessary for him to help his father in the duties of the farm, he managed to acquire a good education in the public schools and Hillsboro Academy, in which latter institution he had received a scholarship, and later attended Asbury University (now known as DePauw), at Greencastle, Ind. After leaving the latter institution he returned to the home farm, where he remained until his marriage, after which he moved to the O'Neal farm and gave his entire attention to the cultivation of the soil for about ten years longer, when he removed to Auburn, owning an interest in a coal mine at that place for five years. In 1887 he located in Springfield, and after traveling for a Minnesota flour firm for several years, engaged in the grain and hay business. His death was caused by an attack of pneumonia, after only one week's illness.
After his marriage and subsequent settlement on the O'Neal farm in Ball Township, Mr. Stickel became a leader in township politics, and was elected to several responsible offices on the Republican ticket, his popularity being shown by the fact that the township had always been a Democratic stronghold up to that time. When quite young he became affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, was an official member at McMurray Chapel, where he remained from 1872 to 1877, at Auburn from 1881 until 1886 and holding the office of Member of the Official Board of the First Methodist Episcopal Church at Springfield, at the time of his death, having been a member of this congregation for twenty years.
Mr. Stickel was married on the O'Neal farm in Sangamon County, December 24, 1872, to Ella O'Neal, born on this farm, which is situated twelve miles south of Springfield. Her father, Samuel O'Neal, was an early settler of Sangamon County, entering some of the land on which he settled, which is now the property of Mrs. Stickel. He was a soldier in the Black Hawk War, being in Captain Iles' company. To Mr. and Mrs. Stickel were born four children, of whom the son, the youngest child, died in infancy; Lillian died September 4, 1887; Florence, living with her mother at No. 1211 South Sixth Street, Springfield; and Bertha, who married E. B. Lyons, connected with the State Insurance Department.