Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois,Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States.
(Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 195.
Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.

WILLIAM O. GINTER, an honored veteran of the late war and a dealer in flour, feed and provisions of Mason, is a well-known and influential citizen of Effingham County. A native of Kentucky, he was born in Bath County, near Owingsville, May 2, 1835. He comes of a family that was founded in America during Colonial days. His grandfather, Daniel Ginter, lived for a number of years in the Keystone State, but at an early day removed to Kentucky, where he followed farming until his death, which occurred at an advanced age. His wife survived him for a number of years and passed away at the age of three-score and ten. Their son, John Ginter, became the father of our subject. He was born in Pennsylvania, but with his family removed to Kentucky and there married Polly Oakley, a native of that State and a daughter of Christopher Oakley, a Kentucky farmer, who there spent his entire life. Mr. Oakley in the early days lived in a log cabin, in which port-holes were made in order to protect himself and family from the Indians.

            John Ginter was forge man in the iron works of Bath County, Ky., and to that work devoted his energies until his death, which occurred in 1884, at the age of forty-eight years. He was murdered for telling a friend that a certain man intended to kill him. By thus informing his friend he lost his own life. His wife died the following year. They had the following children: Henry, Samuel, Gideon, William O., John, Nannie, Amelia and Maria; but only Samuel, William and Amelia are now living. The last-named is the wife of Mr. Brandenburg, of Kentucky.

            William O. Ginter was left an orphan at the early age of ten years. He was then taken to the home of Congressman John Mason, with whom he lived several years, when he went to live with James Ewing, who had been a captain in the Mexican War. About a year afterward, however, he returned to Mr. Mason, who sent him to school one winter and then apprenticed him to a carpenter. He served a three-years term at that trade and in compensation for his services received $50 the first year, $72 the next, and $150 for the third. When he had mastered the business, Mr. Ginter left Kentucky, being then about twenty-one years of age, and came to Mason. This was in 1855. Since that time he has made his home continuously in Effingham County with the exception of a few months spent at Pike's Peak, where he went in the spring of 1859 in a party of thirteen, which started from Omaha by what was then known as the Smoky Hill route. Only five of the party lived to arrive at Pike's Peak. They experienced many hardships, suffering more than at any time in the army. For three days and nights they had neither food nor drink. On arriving he found everything in a state of lawlessness and disorder, there being no law except lynch law. While there he paid as high as $1 per pound for flour. He spent two months there and then returned to Mason.

            Mr. Ginter watched with interest the progress of events in the South prior to the breaking out of the late war, and when hostilities began he was among the first to respond to the President's call for troops. He entered the three-months service and afterward re-enlisted, becoming a member of Company G, Eleventh Illinois Infantry, in which he served until the close of the war. He received a slight wound, but otherwise escaped uninjured. His brother John, who was also one of the "boys in blue," was shot down by his side in the battle of Ft. Donelson and was captured by the rebels, but was afterward recaptured by his brother William. His wound ended his life and he was laid in a soldier's grave in Paducah, Ky. Mr. Ginter of this sketch participated in a number of important engagements, including the battles of Ft. Donelson, Vicksburg, Shiloh, Yazoo City, Jackson and many others. He entered the service as a private, but his bravery and meritorious conduct won him promotion and he was mustered out with the rank of First Lieutenant.

            During the war, Mr. Ginter was granted a furlough, in 1864, and returned home. During his leave of absence he was married on the 27th of February of that year to Mrs. Julia A. Morphew, widow of James Morphew and a daughter of James and Lavina Robinson. Her parents were both natives of Virginia, but removed to Putnam County, Ind., and spent the remainder of their lives near Greencastle. The father died in 1846 and the mother was called to her final rest in 1891, at the very advanced age of eighty-eight years. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Ginter: John H., Samuel L., Nannie, Marie, Yuanna and Ursula O. Mrs. Ginter also had one son by her former husband, Leander H. Morphew, who married Miss Annie L. Underwood, of Stuttgart, Ark. John Ginter died in 1877, at the age of eleven years, and Samuel died in 1869, at the age of thirteen months.

            After the war, Mr. Ginter returned to Mason and resumed work at the carpenter's trade, which he followed until 1868, when he bought a farm of twenty acres three miles north of the village, where the family resided for thirteen years. There in connection with the cultivation of his land he also followed carpentering. On the expiration of that period he returned to Mason and again worked at his chosen profession until compelled to abandon it on account of rheumatism, in the spring of 1892. He then purchased the flour, feed and provision store of "Uncle" Daniel Sisson and is now engaged in that business.

            Mr. Ginter has long been literally connected with the upbuilding of this community. He is a carpenter of excellent workmanship and he had a liberal share of the public patronage. He is now doing a good business in the line of his present trade and well deserves the support of the general public. In politics Mr. Ginter is a Republican, and socially is a member of Ransom Post No. 99, G. A. R. He has filled the office of School Director for several years, and the cause of education finds in him a warm friend. Public-spirited and progressive, he always gives his support to any enterprise calculated to prove of benefit to the community. He was a faithful soldier to his country in her hour of peril, and is alike true in days of peace. He is a representative citizen of the community, his life has been well spent, and his record is well deserving of a place in this volume.


Portrait and Biographical Record of Effingham, Jasper and Richland Counties Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Governors of the State, and the Presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), p. 231. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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