CALVINAUSTIN, the junior member of the well-known firm of Edward Calvin Austin, Thesegentlemen are proprietors
of the Effingham Planing Mill Company, and oursubject is a shareholder and director in other local industrial corporations.In
fact, he is recognized as one of the leading business men of this place, anenterprising and progressive citizen,
who well deserves representation in thehistory of his adopted county.
Mr.Austin is a native of the Buckeye
State. He was born on Walnut Hill, inCincinnati. April 10, 1853, and is a son of Seneca and Julia (Burnett) Austin.Further
mention is made of his parents in the sketch of EdwardAustin,
on another page of this work. In early childhood our subjectaccompanied his parents to his father's farm, which
was situated in Kentucky,just across the river from Cincinnati, In February, 1864, the family removed toIllinois,
locating in Jasper County, where they spent two years. During thatour subject continued his studies in the schools,
after which be came toEffingham with his parents. This was in the spring of 1866. He then became astudent in a
private school conducted by the Rev. S. R. Bissell, of this city,where his literary education was completed.
On leavingschool, Mr. Austin learned
the cabinet-maker's trade, at which he worked forfour years in Effingham and Mattoon,
Ill. He then turned his attentionto learning
the watch-maker's and jeweler's trade, at which he was employed fora term of two years. In the summer of 1875 he
left Effingham and went to Salem, N. Y., making hishome with his uncle,
Calvin P. Austin. The succeeding two years of his lifewere thus spent. From November, 1877, until the spring of
1880, he was engagedin merchandising in Mattoon, Ill.,in company with Frank Kern, and the following
year, 1881, he entered therailroad shops of the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad Company at Mattoon. He worked oncoach repairing until the
1st of April, 1884, when he again changed hisoccupation. Rejoining his old partner, Frank Kern, he embarked in
themanufacture of stocking supporters and continued in that line of business untilJune, 1886, when he removed to
Salem, N.Y. There he rejoined his uncle,Calvin P.
Austin, with whom he remained until his uncle's death, April 3, 1889.After that, having been appointed administrator,
he settled up the estate ofhis relative and then returned to Effingham in October, 1890, since which, timehe has
resided in this city. He has become prominently identified with variouslocal enterprises, and the business prosperity
of the place is largely due tohim. With his brother Edward he is half owner in the Effingham Planing Mill,which
does an annual business of $75,000 and upwards. He is also a stockholder anddirector in the Effingham Manufacturing
Company, a large furniture manufactory,the trade of which has constantly increased until they are now doing an
annualbusiness of $50,000. He is also a stockholder in the Effingham Milling Company,and a stockholder and director
in the Effingham Canning and Wood PackageCompany.
On the15th of September, 1880,
Mr. Austin was married in Newton, Ill., the lady ofhis choice being Miss Sarah E. Brooks. She was born in Newton,
and is a daughterof John P. and Mary (Barrett) Brooks, who were among the early settlers of thatplace. Her father
died in the year 1879, but the mother still resides inNewton, making her home with her son, Charles E. Brooks.
Mr. and Mrs. Austinhave a family of four children, two daughters and two sons, Hattie, GordonBurnett, Seneca Brooks
and Mary Louise.
Mr. Austinwas one of the original
movers in securing a college in Effingham and was oneof the most liberal contributors to the same, while his donations
from thebeginning have been alike free and continued. In fact, he and his brotherEdward were so active and liberal
in regard to the college that it was named intheir honor and is known as the Austin Collegeand Normal Institute. The educational facilities of Effingham
were thusgreatly increased, and its citizens should be very grateful for this excellentaddition to their schools.
Mr. andMrs. Austin are members
of the Presbyterian Church, and in politics he is asupporter of the Republican party, but has never been an aspirant
for publicoffice. Socially he is a member of Eureka Lodge No. 598, K. of H., at Mattoon,Ill.
Mr. Austinis the owner of forty
acres of valuable land adjacent to the city of Effingham. In 1892 heerected an elegant and palatial
residence in the eastern part of the town,which is a model of beauty, both in exterior and interior design and
finish. Itis estimated to have cost upwards of $30,000 and without exception it is thefinest residence in Effingham
County. It has all themodern conveniences of
the best city homes and with its tasteful and elegantfurnishings it is wonderfully pleasant and attractive. Mr.
Austin is a plain,unassuming man, possessed of good judgment, a courteous and genial manner, andis highly respected
for his integrity and upright course in life.
Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois,ContainingBiographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative
Citizens, Governors ofthe State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p.
302.Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.