Thomas PAXSON, elected three times to county offices on the democratic ticket in a strongly republican county, is now filling the office of treasurer, and his elections have come as a testimonial of his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him by his fellow townsmen a confidence that is well placed, as is shown by his fidelity and capability in office qualities which have led to his re-election. Hennepin and Putnam county number him as a representative citizen.
Mr. PAXSON was born in Belmont county, Ohio, February 25, 1854. His father, Thomas PAXSON, Sr., was born in Loudoun county, Virginia, December 14, 1801, and in early life learned and followed the shoemaker's trade, while later he worked in a paper mill at Wheeling, West Virginia. Subsequently he removed to Ohio, where he carried on farming until his death. He was married to Miss Sarah McCORMICK, who was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in 1814. He was born and reared in the Quaker church, but in later years belonged to no denomination. His wife, however, was a member of the Methodist church. She was his second wife, his first wife having been a Miss Morgan, of Cincinnati, Ohio. They had two children, both of whom died in infancy, and following the death of the mother, Thomas PAXSON, Sr., wedded Miss McCORMICK, by whom he had ten children, four of whom are now living: William, who resides with his brother Thomas; Amos, who is living near Magnolia, Putnam county; and Parven, a resident of Kansas.
Thomas PAXSON of this review lived with his parents through the period of his minority, spending his youth on the home farm and acquiring a common-school education. When twenty-five years of age he left his parents' home and came to Illinois, working by the month as a farm hand in Marshall county. He later removed to Magnolia, Putnam county, and secured a clerkship in a store, where he was employed for about one year, and then resumed farming. While thus engaged he was elected to the office of sheriff of the county, and entered upon the duties of the position December 1, 1890. He served for four years and then conducted a hotel in Hennepin until 1898, when he was again elected county sheriff. Four years later he was chosen by popular suffrage to the position of county treasurer. It is a law that no man shall serve for two consecutive terms in the office of either treasurer or sheriff, and thus Mr. PAXSON could not be nominated without a lapse of time, but in 1906 he was nominated for the third term for sheriff, and his popularity and ability as an officer leave little doubt as to the outcome of the election. He was reared in the faith of the democracy, and his mature judgment has sanctioned its policy and platform, and his elections therefore are all the greater compliment from the fact that Putnam is regarded as a republican county. He has also served as township clerk of Magnolia township, filling the office for two years before elected sheriff the first time. 'He was collector of Hennepin township for three years while in the sheriff's office and one year in the hotel. Later he served for four years, so that his incumbency in that position covered altogether eight years. No official is free from mistakes, but any that Mr. PAXSON may have made have been errors of judgment rather than an indication of incapability or infidelity. On the contrary, people of the opposition party endorse his work and give him support at the ballot box, and his official record is altogether creditable.
Mr. PAXSON was married in 1884 to Miss Alice HORTON, a native of Magnolia and a daughter of N. C. HORTON, an early settler of Putnam county. Mr. and Mrs. PAXSON now have five children: Edwin G., Sallie, Thomas, Milton and Florence, all yet at home, the eldest being in his twenty-first year. Mr. PAXSON is a valued member of the Woodmen, Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges, and he has in the county a wide acquaintance and qualities which render him very popular in political circles and private life. He regards a public office as a public trust and no trust reposed in him was ever betrayed in the slightest.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.