CONVERSE, Albert L., a resident of the city of Springfield, Ill., since 1846, has for many years been prominently identified with the civil and official life of his community, and is recognized as one of the leading business men of central Illinois. He has been prominent in political affairs in his part of the State and, as the choice of the Democratic party, served during the Thirtyfourth and Thirty-fifth General Assemblies of Illinois, during which time he acted on the Revenue, Appropriations, Agriculture, Sanitary, and various other important Committees. Mr. Converse has for nearly forty years been greatly interested in agriculture and stockraising, and has exhibited very practical knowledge and experience in his operations along these lines. He is interested in every movement calculated to benefit his community and has been one of the leading figures in the development of some of the leading industries in his part of the State. He has the best interests of his city, county and State ever at heart, and at the same time has been able to attain personal financial success to a very gratifying degree. The birth of Mr. Converse took place at Plainesville, Ohio, June 29, 1842, and he is a son of Henry and Niana J. (Priest) Converse, natives of New Hampshire and Vermont, who were married in New York, soon afterward moved to Alabama and thence to Ohio, where the father became a farmer and oil-manufacturer. In 1846 he removed with his family to Springfield and there purchased the land now occupied by Albert L. Converse and his brother.
Henry Converse became a successful farmer and stockraiser of Sangamon County and took a prominent part in public affairs. He served nine years as a member of the Board of Supervisors and was active in educational and religious work in Springfield, his work and influence in this connection being of lasting benefit to the city. He was a man of high intelligence and true worth and won many lasting friendships among the best class of citizens, in both public and private life. He was for many years identified with the Baptist Church. His death occurred in Springfield, January 25, 1889, his wife having passed away in 1882. They had celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary nine years before his death. Henry Converse left two sons to mourn his loss: Albert L. and William O., both residents of Springfield.
Albert L. Converse received a good education in the public schools of Springfield and applied himself to his studies with interest and pleasure. He read medicine with Dr. Charles Ryan, of Springfield, and afterwards attended lectures at the Northwestern University at Evanston, Ill., graduating from the medical department with the Class of 1864. He spent ten years in the successful practice of his profession in Macon and Sangamon Counties, but on account of failing health abandoned his profession and, having considerable land, took up the pursuit of agriculture and stock raisin. Among the large enterprises which he helped organize and conduct is the Springfield Paving Brick Company, which does a large business and makes frequent shipments of its output throughout Illinois and into adjacent States. During this time he has served many years as President of this company and has helped promote many other local enterprises. He has been active in local politics and served three years as Supervisor, for two years of which he was Chairman of the County Board. Since the Democratic party adopted the platform upon which they nominated William J. Bryan as their candidate for the Presidency, Mr. Converse has abandoned their ranks and has affiliated himself with the Republican party, in which interests he has been an indefatigable and useful worker, expressing his views on public occasions with great force. He is an eloquent and interesting speaker and is very practical in his ideas and suggestions. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and has twice visited Europe. He is an active member of the Baptist Church and fraternally is a Master Mason. He has spent most of his life in his present home at 1346 North Eighth Street.
Mr. Converse was married in Springfield, September 6, 1864, to Miss Henrietta, daughter of Aaron Thompson, of Springfield, and six children have blessed this union, namely Florence, born in 1865, died at the age of sixteen years; Anais, born in 1867, widow of Dr. Frank B. Smith, of Springfield; Olive, died at the age of nineteen months; Henry A., an Attorney, born in 1875; Albert E., a Dentist, born in 1881; Henrietta, born in 1890. The children attended the fiftieth wedding anniversaries of both their paternal and maternal grandparents.