CONKLING, WILLIAM H., Assistant Postmaster of Springfield, is a son of William J. Conkling, whose public and private life has made him a well known resident of Sangamon County.
William J. Conkling was born in New York City in 1826, a son of Stephen and Sarah (Belknap) Conkling, who moved to Mount Vernon, Ohio, in 1831; moving to Leroy, Ill., in 1839, he worked his way through and obtained his college education at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. He came to Springfield, Ill., in 1853, and entered the office of his brother, James C. Conkling, with whom he studied law, being admitted to the Bar October 14, 1854. William J. Conkling, the father of our subject, passed away in 1903, leaving three children: William H. Conkling, Ella G. Buckley and Grace H. Leaverton, all of Springfield.
William H. Conkling was married in 1884 to Miss Sadie J. Thompson, of Jacksonville, Ill., who died in 1905, leaving two children, Grace H. and Aimee J. In 1907 Mr. Conkling married Miss Margaret McManus, daughter of Patrick and Ann McManus.
Mr. Conkling was born and reared in Springfield and took an active part in many public affairs. In 1893 he was one of the citizens who came forward with a proposition to secure to the City of Springfield a home in which to transact its municipal affairs, the results of which accomplished the erection of the present City Hall. He was selected by Mayor Wheeler in 1897 as City Comptroller serving four years, when May Wheeler was appointed as Postmaster, and Mr. Conkling's appointment as Assistant Postmaster demonstrates that his services were valuable as a public official. Mr. Conkling was prominently connected with the erection of many municipal improvements in addition to the City Hall, and was an active worker in the Republican ranks. He was a pupil of the public schools, graduating from the Springfield High School in the class of 1878, directly after which he entered the employ of Christian Wolf, then a prominent and successful hatter and furrier, where he remained ten years, then he and C. J. Giblin purchased the stock of Mr. Wolf and two years thereafter formed a partnership with C. D. Roberts, which arrangement continued until his appointment as City Comptroller in 1897.
Mr. Conkling is a thirty-second degree mason, a member of Elwood Commandery K.T., a member of Navarre Lodge No. 142, Knights of Pythias, also holds membership in the Modern Woodmen, Court of Honor, Elks and Sangamo club, and is one of the Directors of the Springfield Commercial Association. The Second Presbyterian Church holds his membership.
Mr. Conkling was the founder of Hawthorne Place, that beautiful addition and the first modern one ever platted in the city of Springfield. The record of this young man demonstrates that many of the sons of great men follow in the footsteps of their fathers, and make their lives successful as well as leave monuments to the memory of their zeal and enterprise.