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Charles I. Imes

IMES, Charles I. — From the workshop of a mechanic, through the difficult and enlightening profession of law, and a more varied general experience than falls to the lot of the average man, Charles I. Imes has advanced to what, by many thinking minds, is considered the highest plane in the business world, that of managing partner of a reliable monetary institution. The qualities which make the successful banker were as apparent in the early life of the manager of the Bank of Colchester as they are in his mature years, and it may be said of him, as of the majority thus employed, that he has gravitated irresistibly towards this larger and necessary occupation. Cautious, painstaking, conservative, not given to wasting enthusiasm, the master of details and the personification of accuracy, he is well schooled in those things which tend to public confidence, than which no more essential asset is at the disposal of the financial caretaker. In many ways Mr. Imes has distinct advantage over the men who have spent their entire active lives in the counting room and have diverted their activities in outside channels. The latter have come in contact only with the financial side of men, have seen them only when they had money to deposit, or wished to borrow money. They have not beheld humanity in the action of its business. Much of the life of Mr. Imes has been spent in the open, in dose contact with many pursuits which afford ample opportunity for the study of men and things from the broadest standpoint.

In Macomb, Ill., where he was born May 4, 1853, his father, William L. Imes (mention of whom is made elsewhere in this work), owned and operated a wagon and carriage manufactory. This proved the waiting opportunity of the youth while still young in years. He gained first a practical common school education, and for one and a half years worked in the painting department, and for a year and a half in the wood department of his father's manufactory. The next five years, during which he engaged in educational work, he also worked for three years in his father's blacksmithing department. His subsequent training in the Macomb Normal was made possible only through economy and ability to earn his own way, and his stern determination to secure the best possible mental training.

In 1878, Mr. Imes, then twenty-five years old and a master of the wagon-maker's trade, began studying law with Crosby F. Wheat, of Macomb. So thorough was his preparation that he was able in 1881 to enter the senior year at the Union College of Law, Chicago, graduating with honors the following year. A fellow student with him at Union College was William J. Bryan, then in the junior class. While at college Mr. Imes read law in the office of Quigg & Tuthill and Cyrus Bentley, of Chicago, and after his graduation returned to Macomb, where for three years he was the law partner of his former preceptor, Mr. Wheat. Thereafter he conducted a general practice of law on his own responsibility, at the same time becoming greatly interested in real estate, and for a number of years serving as Secretary of the Macomb Building and Loan Association. On May 16, 1892, Mr. Imes, with C. V. Chandler, purchased the Bank of Colchester, which owed its establishment, in 1888, to the energy of Stevens Brothers, now of Chicago, and to the management of which Mr. Imes succeeded. He conducts the bank with the assistance of three clerks, and carries on a general banking business, besides making a specialty of loans on real estate. He is extensively engaged in the purchase and sale of town and country properties, and personally is the owner of several fine farms and valuable holdings in both Macomb and Colchester. He is also a heavy stockholder in the Colchester Electric Light and Power Company.

Mr. Imes has always professed Republican attachment, and he has contributed much to the local strength and importance of his party. He was County Supervisor during 18S7-88, Mayor of Macomb from 1889 to 1890, and Mayor of Colchester from May, 1903, until May, 1905. For the past nine years he has been a member of the Colchester School Board, and his influence has tended to the maintenance of a high standard of instruction in the public schools.

Mr. Imes is one of the most prominent fraternalists in McDonough County, and is a member of the Macomb Blue Lodge No. 17, A. F. & A. M., the Morse Chapter No. 19, the Macomb Commandery No. 61, and the Colchester Eastern Star No. 121. He is also a member of the Washington Encampment No. 39, I. O. O. F., of Macomb, the Military Tract No. 145, I. O. O. F.; the Montrose Lodge No. 104, K. of P., and the Colchester Lodge, M. W. A.

October 1, 1885, Mr. Imes was united in marriage to Mary A. Stapp, who was born on a farm near Macomb, Ill., and educated in the public schools. Mrs. Imes is the devoted mother of three children; Oliver S., Florence and Ralph. The moral convictions of Mr. Imes never have been of the passive sort, but have found expression in many convincing and helpful ways. In June, 1897, with fourteen others, he organized the first Universallst Sunday-school of Colchester, which, from a small beginning, has grown to large proportions, and furnished the chief incentive for the erection of the new brick church which was dedicated .March 1, 1903. Mr. Imes contributed generously to the erection and subsequent support of this church. More than the average associate of active finance, Mr. Imes retains a buoyancy and elasticity of thought and sympathy which endears him to a host of friends and well wishers. He is a genial and approachable gentleman, one who furthers, by every wise and practical means, the well-being of the community, and whose moral, intellectual and financial worth is perpetually allied with the towns of his birth and adoption.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 918-919, extracted 11 May 2019 by Norma Hass.

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