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Applegate, A. M.
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Applegate, A. M.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 630-632


A. M. Applegate is a grain-dealer of Pearl, whose intense and well directed efforts have made him a leading representative of business activity in Pike county. The unostentatious routine of private life, although of vast importance to the welfare of the community, has not figured to any great extent on the pages of history, but the names of men who have distinguished themselves by the possession of those qualities of character which mainly contribute to the success of private life and to the public stability and who have enjoyed the respect and confidence of those around them should not be permitted to perish. Their example is more valuable to the majority of readers than that of heroes, statesmen and writers, as they furnish means of subsistence for the multitude, whom in their useful careers they have employed and promote the commercial activity whereon depends the welfare of every community. Such are the thoughts that involuntarily come to our minds when we consider the life of him whose name introduces this review and who has made a splendid record in business circles and is today in control-of an extensive grain trade.

Mr. Applegate was born in Spring Creek township, February 22, 1871. His parents were Harrison C. and Ellen (Stone) Applegate. The paternal grandparents were James Monroe, who was born October 31, 1804, and Jerusha (Stark) Applegate, born February 16, 1816. The former came to Illinois and engaged in farming here until his death on March 5, 1874. His wife lived to an advanced age and spent her last days in Texas, dying on February 5, 1898. The maternal grandparents of Mr. Applegate were Nathan and Mildred Stone, who both died in 1874. He was a farmer, stock-raiser and butcher and both died in Pike county. Harrison C. Applegate was born July 17, 1843, in Indiana and became a farmer of Illinois, removing to his state with his parents in pioneer times. For many years he was closely associated with agricultural interests in Pike county and he died in Spring Creek township on March 14, 1874. His wife was born August 26, 1850, in Kentucky, her parents, who were natives of Virginia, having come to this state at an early day. Following the death of her first husband she was married in the fall of 1880 to Martin Whalen, of Greene county, Illinois. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Applegate were born two children, the sister, who was the younger, being Viola Applegate, who still resides with her mother in Pearl. By the second marriage there were three children, namely: Mary, Jennie and James Whalen.

A. M. Applegate acquired his primary education in the country schools of his native township and afterward continued his studies in Whitehall, Greene county, Illinois, to which place the family removed in 1881. In the spring of 1882 they became residents of Pearl and here Mr. Applegate completed his education. He successfully passed a teacher's examination in 1885, but decided not to give his attention to the work of public instruction and entered upon his business career in connection with the grain trade, becoming an employ of I. L. Lemon, a grain merchant of Pearl, who was afterward succeeded by Joseph Schultz. Sr. Mr. Applegate remained in his employ until the spring of 1896, when Mr. Schultz made an assignment. A receiver was appointed and the plant was rented by the receiver to Mr. Applegate until the adjustment of the property under his charge. Our subject then purchased the plant under the foreclosure and thus embarked in the grain trade on his own account. The property at that time consisted of the warehouse, corn crib and corn sheller, located on the line of the Chicago & Alton Railroad. Bringing to his business great enterprise, thorough understanding of the trade and a laudable ambition, Mr. Applegate gradually increased his business and in time found it necessary to provide a grain elevator, which he erected at a cost of four thousand dollars, including machinery and a gasoline engine. It was constructed in 1903 and is a fine structure, having storage capacity for fifteen thousand bushels. It is provided with a Hopper scale and necessary cleaner for weighing and handling grain for shipment. The corn crib has a storage capacity of ten thousand bushels of ear corn. Mr. Applegate is now conducting a large and profitable business and in addition to the operation of his elevator and management of his other interests he buys salt in carloads and supplies to the wholesale and retail trade and in the same way handles northern seed potatoes. Mr. Applegate is a member of the Illinois Grain Dealers Association and is one of Pike county's most prosperous and public-spirited citizens, who has contributed largely to the prosperity and welfare of Pearl. Considering the limited opportunities which he enjoyed in his youth he has achieved much more success than is ordinarily gained and is indeed one of the most prosperous, energetic and respected business men of Pearl township. He is a self-made man, who without any extraordinary family or pecuniary advantages at the commencement of life has battled earnestly and energetically and by indomitable courage and integrity has achieved both character and prosperity, having by sheer force of will and untiring effort worked his way upward.

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