JOSEPH W. WENGER, commercial agent for the Illinois Central railway, Cairo, Ill., was born in Lacon, Marshall county, Ill., Sept. 28, 1851. He is the son of Dr. Elias Wenger, born in Rockingham county, Va., in June, 1821. In 1855 Doctor Wenger graduated from Rush Medical college, Chicago, and practiced medicine in Northern Illinois for thirty-two years, dying Aug. 29, 1887. He served as a member of the Illinois legislature in the year 1862-63, and at the time of his death was president of the Illinois State Medical society. The mother of Joseph W. was Eliza Smith, born in Augusta county, Va. She was married to Elias Wenger in that state and died in 1879. Joseph W. Wenger is the fourth of seven children -- four sons and three daughters, all living. He was educated in the public schools, and at the age of twenty entered the employ of the Illinois Central Railway Company at Gilman, Ill., serving in the capacity of switchman and clerk for three or four years. In 1873 he entered the office of the general freight and passenger agent of the Gilman, Clinton & Springfield railroad, at Springfield, where he was a clerk for two years. From Springfield he went to Peoria, Ill., where he served until 1879 as clerk in the general freight office of the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad Company. He then re-entered the service of the Illinois Central as clerk in the freight office at Cairo, where he has been ever since. In 1882 he was made chief clerk in the superintendent's office. In 1887 he received the appointment of commercial agent, his present position. Thus it will be seen that he has been in the continuous employ of the Illinois Central for twenty-five years, and its commercial agent for eighteen years. He is a Royal Arch Mason, a Knight Templar and a Shriner, and is an ex-president of the Alexander club. He is actively affiliated with the Hoo Hoo order, a fraternity whose members are made up of the railway men and lumber men, throughout the United States and Canada. Mr. Wenger is a Democrat in politics and a vestryman in the Episcopal church. On Sept. 28, 1881, he married Miss Mary Bainbridge Taylor of Cairo. She is the daughter of Augustus F. Taylor, a former well known citizen of Cairo, and granddaughter of Col. Samuel Staats Taylor, who was very prominent in the early history of the city. Mr. and Mrs. Wenger have three children: Joseph Bainbridge, of Chicago; Miss Alice Mary and Kenneth Taylor. The mother of Mrs. Wenger was the late Phoebe Alice Taylor, who for many years held the office of county superintendent of schools of Alexander county. The brothers and sisters of Mr. Wenger are Mrs. Mary E. Danforth of Washington, Ill.; Mrs. Louise A. Craig of Twin Lakes, Col.; Abram A. of Ogden, Utah; Charles P. of Cairo, Ill.; Daniel B. of Trinidad, Col.; and Mrs. Nellie Pennewill of Kankakee, Ill.
Extracted 2016 May 15 by Norma Hass from Memoirs of the Lower Ohio Valley, Personal and Genealogical with Portraits, published in 1905, Volume 2, page 257