Updated: Sep 2, 2021
In the field of political life and commercial activity Charles Alexander Ramsey has won distinction and today is numbered among the leading, influential and honored citizens of Hillsboro, while as president of the Hillsboro National Bank he is occupying a prominent position in financial circles. For many years he has been engaged in helpful manner in the development of the natural resources of the state, in the up building of his adopted city and in the promotion of the enterprises which add not alone to his individual prosperity, but also advance the general welfare and prosperity of this city.
Mr. Ramsey was born in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, on the 8th of January, 1845, his parents being William II, and Mary (Rarer) Ramsey. The father was of Irish descent, Inn his parents were of the Presbyterian faith. The mother was of German lineage and both were natives of Pennsylvania, where they spent their entire lives. Mr. Ramsey was a very strong and energetic man and his death resulted from accident in 1894, when he was seventy-three years of age. He followed carpentering and building but was living retired at the time of his death. His wife had died in 1886, at the age of sixty-two years.
Charles A. Ramsey was educated in the common schools and at the Pine Grove Academy in Center County. Pennsylvania, the institution being located in the town of Pine Grove Mills, He left the Keystone state in 1865 when twenty years of age and located in Shelby county, Illinois, where he resided for a brief period. He then removed to Irving in Montgomery County, where he established a drug store, conducting the same for eleven years. In 1877 he removed to Hillsboro, where he established a hardware and implement business, becoming a member of the firm of Challacombe & Ramsey. This relation was maintained for about fifteen years or until 1892, when Mr. Ramsey sold out to his partner. The entire period had been one of prosperity in which well-directed business interests had resulted in the acquirement of a handsome competence. In 1882 he assisted in the organization of the Hillsboro National Bank, was elected its president and has since remained at the head of the institution, being annually re-elected. His practical and progressive spirit has made this one of the sound financial concerns of the county and the business has constantly grown in volume and importance.
On the 27th of October, 1870, Mr. Ramsey was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Corley, a daughter of B. W. F. Corley, a prominent citizen of Shelby County, Illinois and an extensive farmer. This union was blessed with two children. The elder, a daughter, Mae, born in Irving in 1872, died in Hillsboro in 1895. The other, a son, died in infancy.
Mr. Ramsey is a staunch Republican and has long been a recognized leader in the ranks of the party in this Locality. He was elected mayor of Hillsboro in 1891 and as the chief executive officer he gave to the city a public spirited, progressive administration that resulted in substantial benefit. In 1892 he was nominated and elected to the Legislature, and as a member of the thirty-eighth general assembly again did good service for his constituents. In 1904 he was chosen a delegate to the state convention which will go down in history memorable because of the great deadlock that occurred over the nomination for governor, the leading contestants being Richard Yates, then governor of the state, Frank Lowden, and Charles Deneen, state's attorney of Chicago, the contest at length resulting in the selection of the last named. Mr. Ramsey has also been township supervisor and was president of the board for two terms. He is a trustee of the Soldiers & Sailors Widows Home at Wilmington, Illinois, and has always been deeply interested in military affairs and kindred subjects since the time of the Civil war, for then he espoused the cause of the Union, having enlisted in 1862, as a member of Company D, One Hundred and Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry. He was mustered out at Harrisburg in 1865 after three years of service. He had been promoted to the rank of sergeant major in August, 1864, and to adjutant in January, 1865. He served in the Army of the Potomac and participated in the battle of Gettysburg and others of the most hotly contested engagements of that long and sanguinary struggle. Honored and respected in every class of society, he has for some time been a leader in thought and action in the public life of the state.