Edmond E. WONSER, a prosperous hardware merchant of Hennepin, conducting his interests along modern business lines, was born near Oberlin, Ohio, August 21, 1860. His father, Elanson E. WONSER, was born in New York and when quite young removed to Ohio. He was a cooper by trade and followed that pursuit until his removal to Kansas, where he engaged in farming. In early life he wedded Agnes Louise BRANNAN, who was born in Ohio and died in Michigan at the age of thirty years. He afterward married again and by his first union he had two sons and two daughters, of whom the daughters and one son died in early life, while by the second marriage there were three children, all now deceased. The father's death occurred in Kansas when he was sixty-four years of age.
Edmond E. WONSER was only a year old when his parents removed from Ohio to Michigan, where they lived for about eight years, and then went to Kansas. He acquired his education in the common schools and has made his own way in the world from the age of fifteen. When a youth of fourteen he left home, after which he engaged in farming and cattle-raising in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. For three years he was with the firm of Wiggins Brothers, at Burlington, Kansas, working on the ranch for one year and afterward buying and shipping cattle. Subsequently he was for seven years foreman of a large ranch in Holt county, Nebraska, and in 1889 he went to Valparaiso, Indiana, where he pursued a commercial course in a business college there, realizing the value of such a training as a preparation for life's responsible duties. He afterward spent three years in the United States car shops at Chicago and in 1896 he came to Putnam county, Illinois, where for eleven months he was, employed as driver of a team. For a year and a half he was employed in the elevator office of H. H. LEECH and next entered the employ of W. H. LUCAS in a hardware store. In April, 1901, he formed a partnership with Mr. Ham and bought the business, which was conducted under the firm style of Wonser & Ham for eighteen months. Mr. HAM then wishing to retire, Mr. WONSER purchased the entire stock. He now carries a large line of hardware, stoves, tinware, furnaces, roofing and farm tools, and does all kinds of tin and metal work. He has a liberal and constantly growing patronage and he owns -a two-story building at the corner of Front and High streets, where he conducts the business. He has a much larger stock than is usually found in a town of this size and thus he gives his customer the benefit of an extensive assortment of goods.
On the 28th of June, 1899, Mr. WONSER was united in marriage to Miss Clara I. HAM, a native of this county and a daughter of Philip HAM, now deceased, who was one of the early settlers of Putnam county. Her mother survives and is now living with Mr. and Mrs. WONSER. Unto our subject and his wife has been born a daughter, Doris Catherine, now four years of age. Mrs. WONSER is a member of the Congregational church and a most estimable lady. Mr. WONSER supports the republican party and has served as village treasurer for three years. He is somewhat prominent in local political circles and is a genial gentleman, of kindly manner and cordial disposition, who stands well in the community, where his business integrity is above reproach.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.