Illinois pioneers of rural electrification

John SargentJohn Sargent

John Sargent of Rushville represented Adams Electrical Co-operative on the AIEC board of directors from 1940 until his death in 1976, and was president of the board from 1949-51.

Sargent was an integral part of the formation of Adams Electrical in Camp Point and was an original incorporator and the first board president of Western Illinois Power Cooperative, Inc. The generation and transmission cooperative was formed to serve the ever-increasing needs to some 35,000 members of the seven electric ­distribution cooperatives in west central Illinois.

Representing Illinois on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) board from 1952-53, Sargent was also a member of the legislative committee of the NRECA.

Known for his sound ­judgement and devotion to the rural elec­trification program, he gave ­innumerable hours to the program both statewide and nationally.

In celebration of the AIEC’s 75th anniversary, this is eighth in a series of profiles on Illinois’ rural electric pioneers.