Richland County


The reputation of Professor Hostettler as an educator is not alone confined to Olney, nor yet to Richland county, but is familiar to the educational circles of all Southern Illinois. His work during the years of his service has been of an excellent order, and has won him a reputation for efficiency and advanced ideas that is wholly consistent with the close and careful application he has given to all matters of educational interest.

Henry W. Hostettler was born in Richland county, June 7, 1868, and is the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Balmer) Hostettler, the former having been born in Ohio, of Swiss parentage, while the latter was born in Switzerland. Peter Hostettler came to Illinois as a young man and settled on a farm in Richland county, where he still lives. He has been highly successful in his labors in agricultural lines and is widely known in Richland county as a stock raiser of much ability and success. He is an enthusiastic Democrat, and both he and his wife are members of the German Reformed church. His father was Joseph Hostettler, born in Switzerland and an immigrant to Ohio in early life. He was a physician and practiced his profession in Ohio for forty years. The maternal grandfather of Henry "W. Hostettler was a native of Switzerland, coming first to Indiana and later to Illinois, where he devoted himself to farming pursuits, in which he was particularly successful, being known as one of the well-to-do men of his district.

The higher education of Professor Hostettler was obtained mainly through his own efforts, as after he left the common schools he was left to his own resources in the matter of his continued studies, and he attended the Southern Illinois Normal school by teaching school in the winter and prosecuting his studies in the summer, continuing in that way until he had finished his normal course of instructions. He was principal of schools at Bridgeport from 1895 to 1898, and in the latter year was elected superintendent of schools of Lawrence county, serving one term. He was then made city superintendent of schools at Lawrenceville, where he remained for four years, filling the position with credit to himself and in a manner that was highly beneficial to the schools. His next position was as principal of the township high school, a place which he filled for two years, coming to Olney as superintendent of schools in 1911. His labors thus far in Olney have been rewarded by a pleasurable degree of success and he is regarded as the right man in the right place by his constituency.

Professor Hostettler is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and is an adherent to principles of the Democratic party, whose cause he has ever supported in a whole-souled manner. During his term of service in Lawrenceville he was twice elected to the office of mayor, happily demonstrating his fitness for other positions of responsibility aside from his educational work, to which he has devoted the greater part of his life thus far. He is the owner of a fine farm in Lawrence county, as well as other outside interests, but none of these have been permitted to interfere with the fullest and most conscientious performance of his duties in his educational capacity. He has been a member of the Revision Committee of the State Course of Study, serving from 1900 to 1902, and while a member of that committee he did excellent work for the commission. Professor Hostettler was a teacher of mathematics in the State Normal at Normal, Illinois, during the summer term of 1911, in which branch he was particularly successful. He has done a vast amount of institute work and has held various offices in the Teachers' Association of Southern Illinois, his high reputation among the educational interests of the state being well earned and one of which he is eminently deserving.

In 1894 Professor Hostettler married Stella Shaw, a daughter of Hutchings Shaw, a native of Ohio, now a resident of Lawrence county. Three children have been born to the union of Professor and Mrs. Hostettler: Jean, Pern and Mary. The two eldest are attendants at the Olney schools, while Mary is but eighteen months old.

Extracted 13 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 History of Southern Illinois, pages 1244-1245.

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