John J. St. Clair (deceased), a very prominent citizen of Franklin County, was born in New Orleans January 14, 1837. Left in early life an orphan, dependent on his own resources, he learned the carpenter's trade, and with Mr. Cochran in 1859 began, in Benton, the erection of A. D. Jackson's residence. December 16, 1857, he was married to Miss Rebecca Garner at DuQuoin, by Rev. Morton, of the Baptist Church, and became a permanent resident of Benton. Their five sons and five daughters are Emma B. (now Mrs. R. H. Flannigan), Charles H., Guy C., Robert, Frank, John A., Jessie, Bertha and Nellie. Of these Robert died June 1, 1877. Our subject and partner, extensive builders, built the first building of Ewing College, the court house, public school, Cantrell's Block, his own business houses and multitudes of others, all monuments of honest builders. He also had an extensive business in hardware, plows, wagons and buggies and farm implements. He was for two years supervisor of Benton Township, president of the board, and a school director seven years, in all a satisfactory official. December 24, 1857, he was made a Mason, and was a faithful member of the lodge. After a long sickness from throat and lung trouble, and three months' confinement to his bed, he died November 22, 1880, and his last hours were such as to bear out his life and give comfort to his family in their affliction. On November 4, he was carried to the polls in an arm chair to cast his last vote. The Masonic lodge
took charge of the funeral. The principal business house and schools were closed, with many visiting members. They bore the remains to the courthouse, where, on a heavily draped platform, the coffin rested, with an evergreen tree at the head, and a cross and crown of the same on the lid. Pupils, teachers and multitudes of sympathizers crowded the courthouse, and after solemn music and prayer, Judge Browning read the Masonic burial service. F. M. Youngblood then feelingly spoke of the character of the deceased, and John Washburn, president of Ewimg College read Scripture and spoke of the rest of those who died In the Lord, and the necessity of preparing for eternity. After being viewed by the friends, the remains were buried with ceremonies in the Masonic Cemetery. He was a kind, affectionate man, an energetic builder and merchant, and his memory will long live in the hearts of this community. His wife and children have the consolation of knowing that they have the sympathy of hundreds of his friends who mourn their loss with them.