Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
RICH, BENJAMIN - Perhaps no country has contributed more generously to the best citizenship of the United States than has England. Certainly no higher type can be found in the country than representatives of that older civilization, those sturdy, substantial qualities are shown in their reverence for the law, the founding of homes, their enlightened attitude toward education, their support of religion and their almost universal acquirement of financial independence.
Benjamin Rich, the present Recorder of Sangamon County, Ill., was born at Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England, March 18, 1854. His parents were John and Eliza (Bush) Rich, natives of England, where the former was engaged in farming. In 1861 the father brought his family to America and they settled at Johnstown, Pa., whence they came to Springfield in 1873.
The first seven years of Benjamin Rich's life were spent in his native land, where he began his education, enjoying good advantages for securing an education after the family located at Johnstown. When the family located in Springfield the young man began working in the rolling mills, where he remained until 1882, then engaged in dairy business, which he continued until 1896, when he was first nominated for this present office. He was elected in the fall of that year and has been re-elected three times since, so that he is now serving his fourth term. An ardent Republican, he has pulled through these successive elections, while the bulk of his ticket has been defeated in most of them. He is a warm friend or organized labor and carries a large vote among the laboring classes. The people fully realize that he has given them most faithful service and, following the general rule which is an admirable feature of Sangamon County politics, they have rewarded him by retaining him in office, so that the prospects are that Mr. Rich may confidently expects to be renominated and elected to his present office in 1912. He filled several public offices before assuming his present one, as he served five successive years as President of the Village Board of Ridgely, two years as Tax Collector of Springfield Township, four years of Supervisor of Springfield Township (being Chairman of the County Board one years), and also as a member of the board of School District No. 48, at Ridgely. Though his life has been a busy one, he has found time to give considerable time and attention to the educational needs of his community. He is considered a most efficient public official land is correspondingly popular. Personally Mr. Rich possesses those sterling qualities and courteous manners which attract and cement friendship.
Mr. Rich was married in November, 1878, at Springfield, Ill., to Miss Annie Mowrey, a daughter of Isaac Mowery, who formerly was a resident of Johnstown, Pa. To this union six children have been born, two sons and four daughters, namely: Florence A., Alice, Lulu, Mollie, Benjamin and Ray. Mr. Rich has prospered in his private undertakings through his good judgment and business foresight. He has acquired some valuable property, part of it in Sangamon County, and also owns some land in Texas and North Dakota. He is a Director of the Citizens' Loan Association and in the Springfield City Savings & Loan Association. Fraternally he is affiliated with Springfield Lodge No. 4, A.F.&A.M.; Springfield Chapter No. 1, R.A.M.; Elwood Commandery, K.T.; Springfield Lodge No. 262, K. P.; the M. W.A. and is a charter member of Capital Tent No. 1, K.O.T.M.