Henry Trares was born 20 April 1855 in Randolph, Portage, Ohio. He was the son of John Lewis Trares and Nancy Mary Ann Knapp. Nancy was the daughter of John Adam Knapp and Elizabeth Andes. John Adam was the brother of our immigrant ancestor, Franz Adam Knapp.
Henry’s uncle, John Sebastian Trares, whom I have already written extensively about in previous posts, had established a drug store in Edwardsville, Illinois. When John Sebastian went home to Ohio for a visit, his nephew, Henry, then 14 years old, decided he wanted to “go west” when his uncle returned. Henry did and soon became a clerk in his uncle’s Edwardsville, Illinois store.
He continued to work for his uncle until 1882, when he and a partner, E.A. Keller, opened a hardware store called Trares & Keller. In 1892, he purchased the business of A. Gerber & Son, a general store housed in the Gerber Building at Main Street and Hillsboro Avenue in downtown Edwardsville.
Henry Trares became a successful and well-known businessman in Edwardsville. For 18 years his store prospered in the Gerber Building. Then, in 1909, a new building was erected which became the largest department store in southern Illinois in the Schwarz Building.
Henry Trares was elected president of the First National Bank. When the bank was consolidated with the Bank of Edwardsville, he was elected chairman of the board of directors, a position he held for many years.
Henry also was active in the Edwardsville Home Building & Loan and was an organizer of the People’s Loan Association. He also was active in other civic activities, including being a member of St. Boniface’s Catholic Church, the St. Boniface Benevolent Society and the Holy Name Society. He was a member of the Catholic Knights of Illinois and the Knights of Columbus.
On May 20, 1879, Henry married Frances Heddergott, a member of an old Edwardsville family. Frances died June 26, 1933, four years after celebrating their golden (50th) wedding anniversary.
Henry and Frances had eight children, including:
- Henry Jacob Trares (1880-1955), who, like his father, became a merchant and took over the family mercantile business.
- Theresa M. Trares Keshner (1883-1963)
- Clemens Raymond Trares (1885-1918)
- Wilbur Alvin Trares (1891-1952), who became a Madison County, Illinois court judge for more than 24 years.
- Roman J. Trares (1893-1959)
- Julius August Trares (1896-1927)
- Florian E. Trares (1901-1959)
Henry Trares died at his home in Edwardsville on June 14, 1935, and was buried in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Edwardsville.