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Lawrence Y. Sherman

SHERMAN, Lawrence Y., lawyer, legislator, ex-Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, and present Lieutenant-Governor, was born in Miami County, Ohio, November 9, 1858, and at the age of eleven months was brought to McDonough County, Ill., by his parents, who settled at Industry, in that county. During his youth he spent a number of years in Jasper County, Ill., receiving his primary education in the public schools, meanwhile working on a farm at fifty cents a day. Later he spent some time in St. Clair County, and for six years was engaged in teaching, devoting his attention at night to the study of law. Then, having taken a course in the law department of McKendree College, from which he graduated in 1882, he was admitted to the bar, during the same year, and at once came to Macomb with a view to establishing himself in his profession. As practice for the young lawyer in those days came slowly, he devoted a part of his time during the first months of his residence in Macomb to manual labor, manifesting those qualities of personal vigor, independence and self-reliance which have resulted in the success of recent years. As a result of his interest in public affairs, he soon began to take an active part in State and National politics, and, in 1886, was elected County Judge, serving for a period of four years. As the expiration of his term of office he entered into partnership with Charles D. and D. G. Tunnicliff, the latter an ex-Justice of the Supreme Court and a leading lawyer of Western Illinois. In 1894 he was a prominent candidate for the Republican nomination for Representative in the General Assembly, but with the desire to promote party harmony, withdrew his name from before the convention. Two years later he was again a candidate, was nominated and elected, and by three successive reelections, served four consecutive terms (1896 to 1904), covering the period of the Fortieth, Forty-first, Forty-second and Forty-third General Assemblies. During two of these terms (the Forty-first and Forty-second) he served as Speaker of the House and, in connection with all public measures, acquired a prominence not surpassed by any other member of the General Assembly.

In 1904, after the historic struggle in the Republican State Convention of that year, he was nominated for the office of Lieutenant-Governor, and at the November election was successful by a plurality of 296,640 — a vote of nearly two to one over that of his Democratic competitor — a result unprecedented in the previous history of the State. An incident of no little personal interest in this connection is the fact that, while a student in McKendree College, Mr. Sherman made the acquaintance of Charles S. Deneen, who headed the ticket as candidate for Governor in 1894 — Governor Deneen's father, at that time, as Professor of Latin, being a member of the College Faculty.

Mr. Sherman's name has been prominently mentioned in connection with a number of important offices, and during the spring of 1907 he was tendered by President Roosevelt an appointment as member of the Spanish Claims Commission, but this he declined, indicating a desire to retain his connection with State politics. A man of great mental energy and strong personal characteristics, as well as a close observer of public affairs, Mr. Sherman manifests a disposition to occupy an independent attitude on many leading questions connected with foreign as well as State and National interests.

Mr. Sherman was united in marriage in 1891 to Miss Ella M. Crews, of Jasper County, Ill., who died in 1893. Fraternally, he is connected with several branches of the Masonic Order, including the Knights Templar, the Consistory and Mystic Shrine, and is also a member of the Knights of Pythias.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 1001-1002, extracted 30 Jul 2020 by Norma Hass.

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