Alonzo K. Vickers

Hon. Alonzo K. VICKERS, one of the Judges of the First Judicial Circuit, and a resident of Vienna, is an honor to the Bar  and to the citizenship of his native State. He was born in Massac County September 25, 1853. His father, James Vickers, was born in Warren County, Tenn., and his father, Thomas Vickers, is supposed to have been a native of the same county, coming of one of its earliest pioneer families.

About 1840 the grandfather of our subject came to Illinois, and casting in his lot with the pioneers of Massac County, bought a tract of Government land, which he cleared and occupied some years. Finally, selling his farm, he removed to Metropolis and lived retired in that city until his demise. He was twice married and reared nine children. The father of our subject was a boy when the family came to this State, making the journey with teams. He grew up and married in Massac County and carried on farming there some years. He then took up the mercantile business in Metropolis and was engaged in that line two years. Returning to his farm, he lived upon it until his untimely death in 1861, when scarcely past the prime of life.

The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Celia Smith. She was born near Tuscumbia, Ala.,March 3, 1812, a daughter of William Smith, who was a farmer and spent his last years near Tuscumbia. The mother of our subject was first married at the age of seventeen to Jacob Vickers, and in 1840 came to Illinois and settled in Massac County. She rode all the way on horseback, carrying a babe in her arms. Both she and her husband entered a small tract of Government land and then built a log house, of which the boards that covered the roof were rived by hand, and the rude chimney was made of earth and sticks. That pioneer abode was afterward the birthplace of Judge Vickers, of whom we write. The Vickers were among the pioneers of the locality. There were no railways to facilitate communication with the outside world for years after they settled there, and the people lived principally on the products of their land and on wild game, which was abundant. Mrs. Vickers was an adept at spinning and weaving, and from the raw material furnished by the wool and flax made all the clothes worn by her children. When left a widow a second time her means were very limited, her only property consisting of forty acres of partly improved land and the log cabin home. Her two elder sons, Aleck and James, were in the army, and our subject, a lad of eight years, was her main dependence for assists ance in caring for the family. But she was a woman of strong character, courageous and possessed of much business ability, and managed her affairs so skilfully and prudently that she became quite comfortably well off and reared her children to be useful men and women. She died on the home farm May 10, 1875, and her memory is reverently cherished by those who knew and loved her.

Judge Vickers' early training and experience in the fields of labor bore fruit in a manly, vigorous manhood. He made the best of his opportunities to seoure an education, attending the district school in winter, while the rest of the year was devoted to hard work on the farm. He pursued an excellent course of study at the High School at Metropolis and in 1874 entered the office of Judge R. W. McCartney, of that city, to prepare himself for the Bar under his instruction. He also pursued farming during the following three years, spending all his spare time reading law. In 1877, well equipped for his profession by a clear and comprehensive knowledge of jurisprudence, be began to practice in Metropolis.

In 1879 the Judge turned from the law to journalism, buying the Vienna Weekly Times, which he edited one year. He then sold the paper and was actively engaged in practicing before the courts until his election, in 1891, to his present office as a Judge of the First Judicial Circuit. He is peculiarly qualified for the position. His rulings are sensible, practical and to the point, and his decisions bear evidence of his familiarity with the least detail of the case under consideration and are presented clearly and forcibly and are marked by justice, firmness and moderation.

In 1880 Judge Vickers was married to Miss Leora Armstrong, a native of Metropolis and a daughter of William and Anner Armstrong. Three children, Jay Frank, Hazel M. and Louise Edna, complete the household circle in this well-appointed home. The Judge is a representative of the following social organizations: Vienna Lodge No. 150, A. F. & A, M.; Vesta Lodge No. 340, I. O. O. F.; Vienna Lodge No. 248, K. P.; and Vienna Encampment No. 53, I. O. O. F. In his political relations our subject is allied with the Republican party, and in 1886 he was chosen to a seat in the State Legislature.

transcribed by Nan Starjak

The Biographical Review of  Johnson, Massac, Pope and Hardin Counties
Biographical Publishing Co., 1893
pp 578-579


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