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Janet Roney>LPL Interviews N-Z>LPL Interviews K-Z, Segment 4

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BACKGROUND
Charles was especially gifted. Began to think of himself as a businessman, started the Sullivan Grain Elevator. With a group of investors started the First National Bank. Had three children, Bertha, Bliss (b. 1879) and Irving. The name Bliss comes from the last name of a good friend of Charles at McKendree College, Charles Bliss, whose family still runs a newspaper in Montgomery County. The family moved to a red brick home in Sullivan. Bertha never married. She was a teacher and the family historian. Bliss was a farmer. Irving was "talented, brilliant, handsome." Bliss was very quiet, loved to work. Irving may not have graduated from high school. By age 16 he was done with school and working in Charles's bank. Dripping with personality. Became involved in Masonic brotherhood, banking circles, and then became a "staunch Democrat." An early support of Woodrow Wilson. Irving was born in 1882, was 30 years old when Wilson was elected. Deadlock convention in 1912. Irving and a man named Stringer from Lincoln, IL did some "wheeling and dealing" so that that Illinois convention would choose Wilson. Irving was rewarded by being named an assistant US treasurer. Head of the Sub-treasury in Chicago from 1912 to 1917. Quit sub-treasury, started a department store that went bankrupt. Enlisted in the army for WW I. Didn't see action, was responsible for dispersing military supplies. Began financial advisor to the founder of Poland. Irving became involved with a nurse (who was not his wife). He divorced his wife and letters were published in the newspaper. He contemplated going to Russia in 1917 to help the White Army as a banker. Went through several wives. Involved in the Florida land boom. Once bragged to narrator's grandmother that he had been worth two million dollars. She asked him what he was worth now and pulled some change out of his pocket. Went through several fortunes. Narrator met Irving twice, and enthralled her and her brothers with stories of his life. Bliss never really expressed his opinion on Irving. Grace (Bliss's wife) was not a fan of Irving.