JOHN S. POPPLE, who is widely and favorably known throughout this section of the State, is a gentleman in the
prime of life, and has already distinguished himself as one of the most useful citizens of Danvers, having been
intimately identified with its business and industrial interests since 1860. Mr. Popple was born in Boston, England
[ed., Boston, Lincolnshire, England], Jan 24, 1841, and when a lad of ten years old started for America with his
parents, arriving here in August, 1851. The family first settled in Oswego, N. Y. The father of our subject, Rev.
Samuel Popple, was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and died at Watertown, N. Y., in 1855. John S.,
a bright and ambitious boy, attended school at Oswego and Watertown, and secured for himself a good English education.
He came to Bloomington, Ill., in 1858, whence he removed two years later to Danvers. He was engaged in the milling business until 1870, but being possessed of more than ordinary musical talent, was desirous of perfecting himself in this art, and accordingly went to Chicago, where he entered the Normal Musical Academy [ed., the Chicago Musical College, now the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University], conducted by Prof. Palmer. Under the instruction of this eminent musician and teacher, he devoted himself to the study of music for five years, and then became a teacher of the same, which he followed with success for five years. In 1875, in connection with his brother, M. Luther Popple, he bought out the hardware stock of William Estes in Danvers, and since that time has been successfully engaged in this branch of trade.
Soon after the establishment of the Bloomington Leader Mr. Popple became its Danvers correspondent, which he continued without the intermission of a single week until April 3, 1880. The Leader frequently called attention to him as a model for all correspondence, both in the brevity and terseness of his style, and his manuscript, which, distinct and handsome as copper-plate, was the delight of the composing-room. Upon severing his connection with the Leader Mr. Popple, in company with Prof. John P. Yoder, established the Danvers Dispatch, April 1, 1881, which at once commanded public attention and invited public patronage. At the end of two years, Prof. Yoder withdrew, and Mr. Popple has since been sole editor and proprietor. The Dispatch is a five-column folio, independent in politics, and has now probably the largest circulation of any paper in McLean County, outside of Bloomington, and has become quite indispensable in this locality. Mr. Popple is a concise and interesting writer, and exhibits more than ordinary ability as a journalist and business manager, and receives honorable recognition from the fraternity, which largely copies from the interesting matter in the Dispatch.
In addition to the many arduous duties of his business affairs Mr. Popple has been pressed into service in connection with many important enterprises affecting the welfare and progress of Danvers and vicinity. His clear head and wise judgment are in constant requisition. He has been elected Secretary of the Rock Creek Fair Association for ten consecutive years, and for nine years served as Secretary of the Danvers Mutual Fire Insurance Company. He is also Agent for the Aetna, Underwriters’ [ed., the Underwriters Insurance Company], Hartford, Phoenix, Springfield and Queen Insurance [ed., originally Queen of Liverpool Insurance] Companies.
The marriage of John S. Popple and Miss Jennie E. Franks, a native of Danvers, was celebrated at the home of the bride's parents, June 4, 1868. Of their union were born four children—Edwin G., Mabel W., Ethel F. and Park W. The home of our subject and his family is pleasantly located on Main street, and in all its appointments is indicative of cultivated tastes and ample means.
Socially Mr. Popple is Secretary of Danvers Lodge No. 742, A. F. & A. M. [ed., Ancient Free and Accepted Masons], which honored office he has held since its organization, March 10, 1873. He is an efficient Sabbath-school worker, and officiates as organist for the Presbyterian and Baptist Sabbath-schools, where his vocal and instrumental talents are a source of great pleasure and satisfaction to the people who attend. It is seldom that in one individual there is combined extraordinary business talent and the most cultivated and refined tastes, but Mr. Popple is a brilliant exception to this rule. His energy and industry are uniformly exercised in all departments of life, and he can devote himself fully as closely to its sober business as to its lighter and more pleasing tasks. He is yet in the prime of life, and great things are expected of him. At his home in Danvers he is honored and esteemed by all, and possesses that genial disposition which is careful not to wound a friend and avoids creating an enemy.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 428. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.