Biography of James Oscar Sayers

James Oscar Sayers of Fisher, one of the advisory board of editors of the Champaign County History, has had an active experience in this section of the county covering a period of forty-two years. He came here as a young man possessed of no financial resources, and by hard work and constant attention to his duties has built up a mercantile business whose volume is second to none in the village. Mr. Sayers is wide awake to all things that concern this locality and is generally recognized as one of the most capable men of Champaign County.

He was born in Morrow County, Ohio, April 29, 1862, the eldest of three children, a son and two daughters, of John Francis and Caroline (Banner) Sayers. The two daughters are: Rose, wife of John Priest of Ashland, Ohio; and Frances B., wife of Oscar Braderick of Fredericktown, Ohio. John F. Sayers, his father, also a native of Morrow County, Ohio, had a common school education and was a farmer by vocation. In 1865 he took his family out to Poweshiek County, Iowa, where he lived until his death in August, 1869, at the very early age of thirty-three. His widow, who was a native of Newark, New Jersey, was a young girl when taken to Ohio, afterwards returned to that state and died in Fredericktown. She was a member of the United Brethren Church. She was of Holland-Dutch stock, her father being unable to speak the English language until after the age of ten.

James Oscar Sayers was about three years old when his parents moved from Ohio to Iowa, and was only eight years old when his father died. At the age of eleven years he came to Champaign County, Illinois, which has been his residence ever since. His early education was acquired in the common schools. Later he took a course in the university at Valparaiso, Indiana. He early learned to depend upon his own exertions to put himself ahead in the world, and for two years he farmed as a renter in the northern part of the county. Later he took a position as clerk in the store of S. B. Sale at Fisher, and after two years he had advanced to a point where he was able to purchase an interest in the business. That was in 1887, and from that beginning has come the present firm of James O. Sayers. During the disastrous fire at Fisher in 1902 his store building was burned, but he at once rebuilt and now has one of the most commodious business structures in the village. Mr. Sayers carries a splendid line of staple groceries, hardware and paints, and his trade has yearly been attaining a larger scope and volume.

On February 19, 1885, he married Miss Fannie M. Sale, who was born in Champaign County in 1863. Both her parents are now deceased. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Sayers, the only one now living is Frank E. Sayers, who, after graduating from the Fisher schools, entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, received the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1911 and the degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1913 from this institution. After completing his medical course he served one year as an interne in a hospital at Youngstown, Ohio. From August 1, 1914, to August 15, 1917, he engaged in the private practice of medicine at Normal, Illinois, at which latter date he entered the Medical Corps of the United States Navy with the commission of a first lieutenant. Doctor Sayers is married and has a son, Richard. In politics he is a Republican, is a member of the Masonic order, and belongs to the Phi Gamma Delta and Phi Beta Pi (medical) college fraternities. He is also a member of the McLean County and Illinois State Medical societies.

Mr. J. O. Sayers is a Republican, and has frequently been honored with political responsibilities. He has been a delegate to county and State conventions, was township supervisor of Brown Township eleven years and chairman of the county board of supervisors for four years. For several years he was a director of the local schools and did much to advance and improve the educational facilities. He is a member of the Masonic order, and with his wife a member of the Methodist Church.



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

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