GEORGE E. AYRES - George E. Ayres, who is an attorney at law of Springfield, was born in Hillsboro, the county seat of Highland county, Ohio, on the 2d of June, 1852. His father, James T. Ayres was born in Buckingham county, Virginia, June 10, 1824, and completed his education by graduation in Augusta College of Kentucky. On the 17th of September, 1846, he married Matilda Reed, of Maysville, Kentucky, who was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and removed with her parents to the Blue Grass state during her early girlhood. Her father, John C. Reed, was a prominent merchant of Maysville. After his marriage Rev. Ayres removed with his family to Highland county, Ohio, where he resided upon a farm until 1866, when he came to Illinois, settling in Macoupin county. Later he removed to Litchfield, Illinois, where both he and his wife died, his death occurring on the 19th of December, 1894, and she passed away March 3, 1898. They were the parents of nine children, of whom six are living: James R., a resident of Fayette county, Illinois; Frank H., of Litchfield, this state; George E.; Wilber T., who is professor of Latin in De Pauw University of Greencastle, Indiana; Albert H. and Annie, who are living together on a farm near Litchfield. Those deceased are Charles W., Carrie B. and Lucy Etta.
Upon the home farm George E. Ayres spent the first fourteen years of his life and during that period attended the common schools. Later he studied in Bunker Hill Academy, of this state, and was afterward a student in McKendree College, of Lebanon, Illinois, where he completed the work of the junior year. He next entered the State University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he was graduated in the law department in 1892. Previous to this, however, Mr. Ayres had entered upon a successful career as a teacher, a profession which he followed for fourteen years, beginning when in his seventeenth year. He taught for two years in Bunker Hill Academy and later was principal of the high school of that place. He was also principal of the public schools of Staunton, Illinois, for two years; was principal of the high school of Litchfield; and for four years was the superintendent of the public schools of Hillsboro, Illinois. In 1890 he served as vice-president of the State Teachers' Association. However, the profession of law attracted him and he began preparation for the bar. After his admission to practice he opened a law office in Springfield, associating himself with E. L. Chapin under the firm name of Chapin & Ayres in an office in the Franklin building. This partnership was dissolved in February, 1893, when Mr. Ayres removed to his present location over the First National Bank. Shortly afterward he became connected with George A. Sanders and they have since engaged in practice together.
In 1893 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Ayres and Miss Evalyn Rutledge, of Hillsboro, Illinois, at which place she was born, a daughter of H. R. Rutledge, of Hillsboro. By this marriage there are two daughters: Eloise, aged seven years; and the baby, Wilberna. Mr. Ayres belongs to St. Paul Lodge, No. 500, A. F. & A. M., and is a dimitted member of the chapter. He and his wife belong to the First Methodist church of Springfield and take an active interest in its work. While neglecting in no wise his duties of citizenship, of social life and of the church, his time is naturally mostly given to his professional duties. He is a strong advocate of the church and does all in his power to advance its influence. Unflagging application, intuitive wisdom and a determination to fully utilize the means at hand are the concomitants which insure personal success and prestige in this great profession which stands as the stern conservator of justice. Possessing all these requisite
qualities of the able lawyer, Mr. Ayres is steadily advancing and in the ten years of his practice in Springfield has gained a very creditable position at the Sangamon county bar.