Biography of Frank B. Means

Frank B. Means. As one of the leading business men of Fisher Frank B. Means is supplying a service which contributes to the standing and importance of that town among the communities of Champaign County and the skill and energy which he employs in the management of the only drug store and pharmacy in the town would be creditable to a city of much larger size. Mr. Means belongs to the pioneer element of central Illinois, and particularly McLean and Champaign counties. It is a fact that should not be forgotten in the history of Champaign County that his father, the late David D. Means, in 1850 broke up the first acre of land in Newcomb Township. He had one of the old-fashioned plows and a team of oxen drew the heavy implement through the virgin prairie. That pioneer plowing was done near the present Phillips estate.

Frank B. Means was born in McLean County, May 18, 1875, and was the eleventh in a family of twelve children, eleven sons and one daughter, born to David D. and Rebecca (Cline) Means. Nine of these children are still living and all are in Illinois except David L., a resident of Post Falls, Idaho, and John E. of Arkansas.

David D. Means was a native of the Blue Grass State of Kentucky, where he was born May 4, 1827. His life was a long and useful one and was protracted to eighty-eight years. He passed away August 22, 1914. The Means family is noted for its longevity. There are few families in Illinois that can present a like record of age in individual members. While David D. Means died at the age of eighty-eight, his brother James died at eighty-nine, his brother Owen A. at eighty-six, and of his sisters Mrs. Van Scoyck died at eighty-five, Mrs. Snowdon Ball at eighty-two, Mrs. Jennie Stansberry at eighty-six and Mrs. Keturah McMacken at ninety. Thus seven children attained an aggregate of 606 years.

When David D. Means was three years of age his parents removed to McLean County, and the home of his mature years was within one mile of the original settlement. David D. Means himself was a pioneer in this great corn belt region of Illinois. He witnessed the remarkable march of progress and development which transformed Illinois within his personal recollection. When the Means family settled in McLean County It was two years before the Black Hawk War, and Jackson was still President of the United States. In the early days David Means assisted in driving stock to market at Chicago, when that city was clustered closely along the banks of the Chicago River. He also aided in the erection of the first log cabin at Ellsworth, Illinois. He was one of the old pioneers of central Illinois who were frequently called “The Snowbirds.” As a farmer he came into the possession of and developed 240 acres near Saybrook, Illinois. In his later years he often referred to a time when the present wealthy city of Bloomington, with its population of 28,000, was a village and hamlet. He was on intimate terms with the prominent old family of Bloomington, the Funks. While a Democrat, David Means voted for Lincoln, and in the later years of his life he supported the Prohibition candidate, St. John. He and his wife were active Methodists and aided in building the various churches in their locality.

Mrs. David Means was born in Ohio, April 3, 1831, and is still living. At the age of eighty-six her intellect is as clear as a bell, her eye clear and sparkling, and all these years have not whitened her black hair. Mr. Means drove to Springfield to get his bride and took her home in a wagon. She has always been active in church and for many years was a worker in the W. C. T. U. Her home is still at Saybrook, and she and her children have their happy family reunions each year. It is an impressive as well as happy occasion where are gathered together four generations, the mother with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The presence of many descendants has been her chief source of solace and comfort in her declining years.

Frank B. Means grew up on the old homestead farm in McLean County, and besides the country school he attended the Saybrook High School. Later he took the full course in the Parsons Horological School at Peoria, graduating with the class of 1896-97 as an expert watchmaker. To the age of twenty-two Mr. Means had lived on the home farm. In 1897 he took up the work of his profession in the watch and jewelry trades at Saybrook. He also was employed as a clerk in a local drug store, and there he gained his first practical knowledge as a pharmacist and subsequently became a licensed or registered pharmacist. In 1899 he went to Monticello, Illinois, was employed as a salesman for several years, in 1903 removed to Lovington, Illinois, which was his home and place of business for six years, and in 1909 he took charge of the store at Windsor, Illinois. In 1911 he removed to Sheldon, Illinois, where he spent one year in a drug establishment, and in 1912 he located in Fisher.

He began in this town as a salesman and at the present time he and his wife own one of the most complete stocks of pure drugs and other goods found in similar stores in towns of 3,000 population. In fact his store is classed as No. 1 among the 7,000 drug stores of Illinois. His goods are carefully purchased from some of the best wholesale houses in the United States. Since 1912 he and his wife have filled 11,096 prescriptions. Their store is the local distributing agency for the celebrated Rexall remedies, and they also carry a complete stock of toilet articles and have the agency of the Eastman Kodak, the National cigar stand and the veterinary remedies of Doctor Roberts.

On May 3, 1898, Mr. Means found his capable helpmate in his marriage to Miss Dora C. Short, daughter of Robert and Lucinda (Russell) Short. Mrs. Means was one of seven children, three sons and four daughters, all of whom are living in Illinois except their brother Alva, a farmer at Lake City, Iowa. ‘Robert Short was a native of Washington County, Indiana, and always followed agriculture as his chief vocation. His death occurred in February, 1914, at the age of sixty-nine, and he is buried at Bellflower, Illinois. He removed to McLean County, Illinois, in 1886, when Mrs. Means was eight years of age. Politically he was a Democrat. Mrs. Short was born in Washington County, Indiana, and is still living at the age of seventy-three. She is an active member of the Christian Church, to which her husband also gave his affiliation.

Mrs. Means was well educated, having attended the common schools and Leroy High School. She was in the Leroy High School when Frank Blair was its principal. Frank Blair is now superintendent of public instruction of the State of Illinois. Mrs. Means’ favorite study was mathematics, and her mathematical mind and her energy have made her an important factor in the success of the business now carried on by herself and husband. Mr. and Mrs. Means are active members of the Christian Church at Fisher. She belongs to the Domestic Science Club. Politically Mr. Means is a Democrat and cast his first vote for Bryan. He has also gone the route of York Rite Masonry, being a member of Cheney’s Grove Lodge No. 468, A. F. & A. M., at Saybrook, Sullivan Chapter No. 68, R. A. M., at Sullivan, Maleta Commandery No. 37, K. T., at Tuscola, and Mohammed Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Peoria. He is also a member of the Oriental Shrine Band at Peoria and was with the Shriners at the Imperial Council at Buffalo, New York, in 1916.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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