Meigs Wait

Meigs Wait of Perryton township is one of the best known men in Mercer and Rock Island counties and an active, progressive farmer and stockman. He has resided in Mercer county since 1860 and has thus been an eye witness of the changes which have so transformed this section of the state.

He was born in Switzerland county, Indiana, September 9, 1836. His father, Henry Wait, was born in Grand Isle county, Vermont, a son of Gardner Wait, a native of Wales. Henry Wait saw active service in the war of 1812. He removed to Marietta, Ohio, and was there married to Miss Sophia Wells. After a few years he moved to Switzerland county Indiana, and in 1865 came to Rock Island county, Illinois, and lived there until his death, February 9, 1882. His wife died two years later. Meigs Wait was raised in Switzerland county, Indiana, on his father's farm and in 1856, when in his twentieth year, was married. Four years later, or in 1860, he removed to Illinois and located in Mercer county, his attention being directed to this region by his brother, William Wait, Who had previously move to Illinois and settled in Rock Island county. Mr. Wait of this review first purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, of which only a few acres were broken. There were no buildings and one of his first tasks was to erect a small house. Here lived by himself for one winter, he had not wished to subject his wife to the hardships of the first year's pioneer life. In 1861 he further improved his farm and in 1865 he was able to buy an adjoining eighty acres, thus making his holdings two hundred and forty acres. For thirty years Mr. Wait was a stock buyer and shipper and carried on a very extensive business, shipping from five hundred to six hundred cars of stock each year. He had one man in his employ as stock buyer for twenty years, which shows that he was a considerate employer and that he recognized the value of experience and loyalty. He dealt in both cattle and hogs, buying stock in Rock Island and Mercer counties and also across the river in Iowa, and received a gratifying annual income from his business. Aside from buying stock he has raised high grade cattle, hogs and horses. Mr. Wait has not only carefully managed his farm of two hundred and forty acres on section 2, Perryton township, this county, but he is the owner of about six hundred acres of well improved land. Since coming into possession of the land he has erected a large two-story house,j and he has two good barns and the other necessary buildings upon his place. He has further added to the value of his farm by setting out trees thereon, and beautifully kept lawn and flower garden, which abounds in various varieties of roses, makes his residence one of the attractive places of the county. In 1856 Mr. Wait married Caroline Robinson, who died in March, 1862. By this union were born two children: Frank, residing in Reynolds, Illinois, and Kate, the widow of William Burchard and a resident of Chicago. In 1863 Mr. Wait was united in marriage to Miss Edith Clark, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of William and Mary Clark, who moved to Mercer county, Illinois, in 1853. To Mr. and Mrs. Wait seven children were born as follows: William H., now of Liberty, Texas; Ernest, who was a medical student when his death occurred, July 16, 1887; Daisy, at home; Bertie E., of Wichita Falls, Texas; Marion, who is carrying on the home farm; Guy, a dentist at Le Roy, Illinois; and Mark, also a dentist and located at Bethany, Illinois. Mrs. Wait and daughter are members of the Reynolds Methodist Episcopal church and are active in the various line of church work. Politically Mr. Wait has always cast his ballot for the democratic candidates. His first vote was given to George B. McClellan for president in the election of 1864 and every nominee of the democratic party for the presidency since that time has received his support at the polls. He has taken a prominent part in local politics and has served in various office of trust and honor. In 1887 he was elected supervisor and his able service won him continual reelection, so that he has now served for sixteen consecutive years in that position. For one term he was chairman of the county board, and the business of the county was transacted in a prompt and efficient manner under his administration. He has also served as delegate to both state and county democratic conventions and his advice is sought on all matters relating to the welfare of the party in this locality. He is also connected with the financial interest of the county as a stockholder in the Reynolds State Bank. For fifty-four years Mr. Wait has been a resident of the same farm in Mercer county and not only has he seen the changes which have come in the last half century, but he has also been identified with the best interest of the public and has sought in private and in official capacity to further the interests of Mercer county along all lines of human activity.

-"Past and Present of Mercer County Illinois", vol II, SJ Clarke Publishing, 1914