Greene County Biographies
Greene County Biographies
From: Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri
Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
by Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck
JUDGE ALFRED PAGE. One of the prominent lawyers of Greene county is Judge
Alfred Page, whose career at the local bar, comparatively brief, has been
most commendable. As judge of the Circuit Court for a period of four
years, he proved himself to be worthy of the people's trust in high
positions. Coming up from the soil, battling his way alone and unaided up
the ladder of professional success, he is entitled to the respect and
admiration that all should accord the successful self-made man.
Judge Page was born near Covington, Tipton county, Tennessee. He is a son
of L. and Artemissa (Montgomery) Page, early settlers in western Tennessee
and there the father engaged in farming, being now eighty-three years of
age. The death of the mother occurred in 1904, when about seventy-five
years of age. The father removed to Missouri many years ago, locating in
Webster county and came on to Greene county in 1907. Judge Page has a
brother in California and one in Missouri, who are engaged in teaching;
four of his brothers are deceased; two sisters are living, one in Joplin,
this state, and the other is keeping house for her father in Greene,
Alfred Page grew to manhood on the farm and assisted with the general work
about the place when he became of proper age. He was sixteen years old
when he came to Missouri in 1885, and located in Greene county in 1891,
where he has since maintained his home. He received a common school
education, and later studied at Drury College, Springfield, from which
institution he was graduated with the class of 1897. He began his career
by teaching which he followed five years, four of which were spent as
principal of the high school at Ash Grove and one as principal of the high
school at Aurora. Not finding this field of endeavor entirely to his
liking he began the study of law while still teaching and in 1901 was
admitted to the bar, and at once began practice in Springfield. Taking an
interest in public affairs from the first he was assistant prosecuting
attorney of Greene county from 1903 to 1906, inclusive. He was elected
judge of the Criminal Court in 1908, the duties of which office he assumed
January 1, 1909. In April of that year the criminal court was merged with
division No. 2 of the Circuit Court, and Mr. Page was appointed by
Governor Herbert Hadley the first judge of the new division. After his
term of office expired, January 1, 1913, he formed a partnership with Col.
G. A. Watson, under the firm name of Watson & Page, with offices in the
Baker block on the public square, Springfield, and he has since been a
member of this firm. Politically, he is a Republican.
Judge Page was married in 1900 to Ada Trevitt, of Ash Grove, a lady of
many commendable attributes of head and heart, and she was summoned to an
untimely grave in 1903, leaving a daughter, Lenora Artemissa Page.
Personally the Judge is a gentleman of exemplary character, a good mixer
and a pleasant man to meet.
WILLIAM P. PATTERSON, M. D. One of the well known physicians and surgeons
of Greene county is Dr. William P. Patterson of Springfield who has been
engaged in the practice of his profession in this county for a period of
twenty-eight years. During his earlier years his employments were such as
are common to farmers' boys. He attended the rural schools in winter, made
progress in study and books, and laid a few foundation stones upon which
some parts of his life's structure yet rest. To these early years, under
the tutelage of father and mother, whose chief ambitions were to impress
upon the minds of their children such principles as would make possible
lives of usefulness and honor, Dr. Patterson, like myriads of others, is
deeply indebted for that probity of character, and those justifiable
aspirations that prominently characterize him as a citizen in the passages
of life. In these immature years, when the mind is taking its bent, when
youthful ambitions are shaping themselves for manhood achievements, no
influences have ever been found more prolific or potential for good, than
those which the farm with such accompaniments has afforded. The farmer's
home—the chaste purity of its teachings, the broad fields, the forest, the
orchard, meadow, hill and dale, the song birds, and the hum of bees, the
babbling brook, the silent river—all the opulence of beauty that Nature
spreads out with lavish hand, are teachers of youth whose lessons are
never forgotten. It was amid such scenes and influences that the earlier
years of our subject were spent. And he is still a lover of Nature and a
student of her secrets.
Doctor Patterson was born at Sale Creek, Hamilton county, Tennessee,
October 19, 1861. He is a son of J. A. N. and Elizabeth S. (Coulter)
Patterson, an excellent old southern couple of the rural type, well
educated, hard working, honest and hospitable. The father, who fought
gallantly in the Confederate army during the war between the states, is
still engaged in farming in Hamilton county, and is now advanced in years.
Doctor Patterson grew to manhood in his native community and there
attended the public schools and the Sale Creek Academy , then entered the
State University, at Knoxville, then entered Vanderbilt University at
Nashville, and was graduated from the medical department of that great
southern institution. He made an excellent record in both the
universities, but to further equip himself for his chosen life work he
took a post graduate course in the New York Polyclinic. He came to Greene
county, Missouri in 1886 and began the practice of medicine at the town of
Brookline, where he soon built up an excellent practice and there he
remained until in January, 1897, when, seeking a wider field for the
exercise of his talents he removed to Springfield where he has remained to
the present time, enjoying a lucrative and ever-growing general practice
as a physician and surgeon ranking among the best of his professional
brethren in southwest Missouri. He maintains an up-to-date suite of
offices at 505-506 Holland building. He has ever remained a close student
of all that pertains to his vocation and has therefore kept well abreast
of the times. He is a member of the Greene County Medical Society, the
Southwest Missouri District Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical
Association and the American Medical Association. He has served as
secretary and president of the county and district societies. During
1897-8 he served very acceptably as coroner of Greene county. Politically,
he has always been a Democrat. He has been a director in the Young Men's
Christian Association here for the past fifteen years, and has long been
an active worker in the church and in all movements looking toward the
moral improvement of the city. He is a member of the South Street
Christian church. He is also prominent in fraternal circles, and belongs
to the Masonic order, including the Chapter and Council, the Benevolent
and Protective Order of Elks, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Royal
Arcanum. He is medical examiner for the Modern Woodmen of America, and
several old line insurance companies, including the Illinois life, the
State Mutual of Massachusetts, the National Life, International Life of
St. Louis, the Northwestern Mutual and others. He is now a member of the
board of education, having served for the past five years.
Doctor Patterson was married in 1891 to May Blackman, a daughter of
Wallace W. Blackman, a prominent citizen of Greene county in the early
days. Here Mrs. Patterson grew to womanhood and was educated. Mrs.
Patterson completed her education at Christian College, Columbia,
Missouri. To the Doctor and wife three daughters have been born, namely:
Aldine, May and Elizabeth. Mrs. Patterson was born in Greene county and
has spent her life here and has always been popular with a wide circle of
friends. She is a member of the South Street Christian church and is
active in the work of the same.
ELY PAXSON. From the days of the Egyptian mummies, when the old Pharaohs
were elaborately embalmed, to the present time this
science--enbalming--has gone through various stages of development, but it
is doubtful if it is any better today than when the body of the great
Rameses was prepared for the tomb, for the student of history finds that
the ancients knew many things which we do not know, the "lost arts" being
a theme which has engaged much thought by moderns. In various museums,
notably the British, mummies are to be seen which have withstood the
ravages of many thousands of years. The manner of laying away the dead has
differed widely in different ages and with different nations. The ancients
preferred sepulchers hewn from solid rock, some were buried in upright
positions, some with their heads to the east, others to the west. We read
of the Hindus casting their dead into the Ganges river, of bodies being
deposited in trees by the Indians of North America and the natives of
Africa. It was once the desire to so prepare the body that it would retain
its material form forever; now many desire that this house of clay shall
be dissolved as quickly as possible after it has been cast aside by the
inscrutable something we call spirit or soul, hence cremation is now a
well-established business. The universal civilized manner of burial
demands skill of a high nature, and so in every city and town in
Christendom we find undertakers and embalmers. One of the most adroit,
learned and successful, as well as best known and popular, of those who
are engaged in this line of endeavor in Springfield is Ely Paxson, whose
experience of half a century entitles him to a position in the front rank
of undertakers in Missouri.
Mr. Paxson was born near Findlay, Ohio, January 17, 1847. He is a son of
Morris and Mariah (Shipman) Paxson, and a descendant of an old English
family of Colonial stock. Ely Paxson, the paternal grandfather of our
subject, was a native of Pennsylvania and received his Christian name from
the old Ely family. He grew to manhood in the old Keystone state and there
became a successful farmer and useful citizen, remaining there until 1833,
when he removed with his family to near Findlay, Ohio, where he continued
farming until his death, which occurred about 1876. His son, Morris
Paxson, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Burks county,
Pennsylvania, September 26, 1825, and he was eight years of age when the
family removed to Ohio. He grew to manhood in Hancock county and assisted
his father with the work on the farm, and he received his education in the
pioneer schools there. When a boy he learned the blacksmith's trade, at
which he became quite expert. He remained in the Buckeye state until 1867,
when he came to Missouri, arriving in Springfield in May of that year, and
here he spent the rest of his life, becoming well known to the business
world here in that early period of the city's development. His death
occurred January 17, 1893, in his sixty-eighth year. He was an honest,
hard working man whom everybody respected. He was a member of the Knights
of Pythias, and religiously he belonged to the Methodist church. He and
Mariah Shipman were married at Findlay, Ohio, where- she had spent her
girlhood and was educated. To this union seven children were born.
Ely Paxson, the immediate subject of this sketch, spent his boyhood at
Findlay, Ohio, and there received his education in the common schools, and
later learned the cabinetmaker's trade, also the undertaking business, for
which he seemed to possess from the outset decided natural ability, such
as, industry, tact, steady nerves, kindness, promptness and integrity, and
these qualities with others have resulted in great success in later years.
In 1868, he came to Springfield, Missouri, and for two years worked as a
journeyman cabinetmaker in the establishment of Julius Kassler on College
street, then entered into partnership with his employer, and in March,
1880, bought him out and has continued in the undertaking business ever
since alone, his business growing with advancing years until it has long
since reached very extensive proportions and Mr. Paxson's name is. known
over all southwestern. Missouri, and in his dealings with the people here
for a period of over forty-five years he has maintained a reputation for
honesty, courtesy and good citizenship enjoying all the while the good
will and esteem of his fellow men. His establishment was destroyed by fire
in 1875 and again in 1885. In1888 he erected the substantial two-story
brick structure which he still occupies, and which is modernly equipped in
every respect for the successful and prompt carrying on of his business,
and here he employs assistants of the highest skill.
Mr. Paxson was married on March 20, 1873, to Anna Belle Keet, daughter of
James Keet, a prominent business man of southern Missouri, the Keets
having been among the leading families of Springfield for many years, and
here Mrs. Paxson grew to womanhood and received an excellent education.
She is a lady of culture and is prominent socially.
Politically, Mr. Paxson is Republican and has been more or less active
affairs. He was coroner of Greene county for two terms, the duties of
which office he discharged with ability and satisfaction. Fraternally, he
is a well-known Mason, having attained the thirty-second degree in that
order. For a number of years he was, recorder of' St. John's Commandery
No. 20, Knights Templars, of which he is past eminent commander. He is
treasurer of the latter body and Solomon Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons,
and treasurer of Springfield Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. He is also past
master of the Blue Lodge. He and his wife are members of Grace Methodist
Episcopal church, of which he is treasurer.
Mr. Paxson has always had the welfare of Springfield at heart, and his aid
in furthering the best interests of the same has never been withheld in
all laudable movements, and he is not only one of the best known men in
this city and county, but is one of the most highly respected for his
industry, public spirit and exemplary record as a man and citizen.
OSCAR L. PEAK, M. D. The name of Dr. Oscar L. Peak, of Springfield, will
be held in lasting honor as one of the able physicians who has given loyal
service in behalf of suffering humanity in Greene county. Those who know
him best are unrestrained in their praise of his genial disposition and
his ability as a physician. The large success which has crowned his life
work, coupled with his ripe experience and kind heart, has enabled him to
bring comfort, hope and confidence to the sick room and he has brought
sunshine into many a home.
Doctor Peak was born in Buffalo, Dallas county, Missouri, November 20,
1849. He is a son of Reuben T. and Juliet F. (Johnson) Peak. The father
was born in McMinn county, Tennessee, in 1824, and his death occurred in
St. Joseph, Missouri, June 11, 1907. The mother was born in Steubenville,
Ohio, July 16, 1828, and her death occurred August 2, 1852, in Buffalo,
Missouri. The Doctor's father received a good college education in
Illinois, and after coming to Missouri in pioneer times he taught school
in Buffalo. He was also a minister in the Baptist church in later life. A
part of his earlier life was devoted to merchandising. His family
consisted of six children, namely: Dr. Oscar L., of this sketch; Loren J.,
deceased; Mary A. lives in St. Joseph, Missouri; William C. lives in
Aline, Oklahoma; Edward C. lives in Modena, Utah, and Dr. Frank is a
practicing physician in Pratt, Kansas.
Dr. Oscar L. Peak received a good common school education, later attending
Shurtleff College in Illinois, after which he took a course in a medical
college in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was graduated with the class of
1878, and in 1886 he took a post-graduate course in St. Louis, Missouri.
He began the practice of his profession in Pratt county, Kansas, in 1878,
and remained there until 1893. He took an interest in public affairs there
and was county superintendent of public instruction of Pratt county,
Kansas, in the eighties. He was United States pension surgeon in Pratt
county for over ten years. He enjoyed a good practice in that field, but
in 1893 he left it and took up his residence in Springfield, Missouri,
where he has since remained. He first established his office on the south
side of the public square, later moving to the north side of the city,
with an office at 41O ˝ East Commercial street, where he is still located.
He has built up a large practice and is one of the best known general
practitioners in the county.
Doctor Peak was married, April 13, 1880, in Pratt, Kansas, to Elizabeth
Viola Moore, who was born in Van Buren county, Iowa, June 6, 1862. She is
a daughter of Thaddeus S. and Samantha A. (Richey) Moore. The latter was a
daughter of James E. and Elizabeth (Parker) Richey. Mr. Moore was a
cabinet maker by trade. He was born in 1834 and is now living in
California. He is a first cousin of Thomas Moore, the famous Irish poet.
The mother of Mrs. Peak was born in 1837 and died September 8, 1885. Mrs.
Peak is a graduate of the Woman's Medical College of St. Louis. This
college suspended operations several years ago.
Five children have been born to Doctor Peak and wife, namely: Burt, born
February 22, 1881, in Pratt, Kansas, died February 28, 1882; Bird C., born
May 20, 1882, married William A. Minor, superintendent of Lieut W.
Weiler's force pump factory at Rochester, New York, and they are the
parents of one child, Oscar E. Minor; Bessie O., born September 12, 1883,
married, June 1, 1912, Rev. Paul B. Waterhouse, of Pasadena, Cal., a
graduate of Princeton, and they are now living in Hachiman, Japan, where
they are engaged in missionary work in Omi Mission. A son was born to them
in Tokyo, Japan, February 19, 1915. He was christened Gordon Merrill. Mrs.
Waterhouse is a graduate of Drury College, where she was an honor student.
She is also a graduate of Hartford (Connecticut) Theological Seminary;
Reuben T., born April 30, 1891, lives in Springfield. He attended Drury
College, after having graduated in the Springfield high school, later
being graduated from the Western Dental College in 1914. He was married in
October, 1914, to Miss Helen V. Trenary, of this city. He has an office
with his father and is making a good start in his profession; Oscar L.,
Jr., born .May 23, 1893, died June 13, 1893.
Doctor Peak is a Republican, of the progressive wing of the party.
Fraternally, he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the
Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights and Ladies of Security, in which he
has been financier for a period of ten years. He is also a national
trustee of this order. He and his family are members of the First
Congregational church. Mrs. Peak is president of the Greene county
district of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. They are both very
active workers in the temperance cause.
LEONARD B. PERKINS. Change is constant and general; generations rise and
pass unmarked away, and it is due to posterity, as well as a present
gratification, to gather up and put in imperishable form upon the printed
page as nearly as possible a true and succinct record of the parent's
life. The late Leonard B. Perkins was for over a quarter of a century one
of the well-known and enterprising hotel men of Springfield, and his life
record has in it a valuable lesson, showing that success may be achieved
in the face of discouragements, if one has persistence, courage and good
habits, and his career can not fail to interest the young men into whose
cradle smiling fortune has cast no golden scepter. Personally Mr. Perkins
was a gentleman of pleasing address and quiet appearance, frank and kindly
in manner and popular with his friends and fellow citizens. Measured by
the true standard of excellence, he was an upright, courteous gentleman,
true to himself and to others, and as a citizen his influence was potent
for good. He was a veteran of the Civil war, having served throughout the
struggle, with troops from the old Empire state. He gave close attention
to his business, and amassed a sufficient amount of this old world's goods
to make his latter years comfortable and free from embarrassment. He
possessed tact and discriminating judgment, and was always ready to advise
and help others, when necessary, and many were eager to avail themselves
of his wise suggestions in matters of business. His home was all that good
taste and kindness could make it and his social and family relations were
of the most pleasant and agreeable character.
Mr. Perkins was born at Parishville, St. Lawrence county, New York, March
12, 1840. He was a son of Cyrus G. and Martha A. (Barnes) Perkins, the
father a native of New Hampshire, and the mother of Potsdam, New York.
Mr. Perkins grew to manhood in his native state and received his education
in the common schools. When the Civil war came on he was one of the first
to enlist at Potsdam, New York, April 22, 1861, in Company B, Sixteenth
New York Volunteer Infantry, and soon thereafter the company left for
Albany, that state, where it was mustered into the Union service on May
15th, to serve two years. He proved to be a gallant and faithful soldier
and saw considerable hard service with the main army in the East, and he
was mustered out and honorably discharged at Albany, New York, May 22,
1863. He at once returned to Potsdam, that state, where on June 4th he
married Emeline L. Dewey. In August of that year he took his bride to
Washington, D. C., and later to Alexandria, Virginia, where he entered the
government railroad service. He remained there two years and then moved to
Baltimore, where they lived for a number of years, then went back to
Parishville, New York, and in 1874 went to Woodstock, Illinois, and
engaged in dairy farming. Remaining there about six years, he went to
Muscatine, Iowa, but soon the family moved to Springfield, Missouri, in
1880, and Mr. Perkins established the Perkins Hotel on East Commercial
street, which was successful from the first and became in due course of
time one of the popular hostelries of the city, and he continued to manage
the same until about ten years ago when he retired from active management
of the same, in favor of his son, James A. Perkins, who has since
conducted it in a successful manner, and he has proven to be a popular
host like his father and the place continues to be popular with the
Mrs. Perkins was born in Hopkinton, St. Lawrence county, New York, on
September 8, 1840. She is a daughter of Hubbell Hopkins and Anne (Wing)
Dewey, and she grew to womanhood in her native county and received a
common school education. She is living with her son, James A., in
To Leonard B. Perkins and wife three children were born, all in Baltimore,
Maryland, namely: Leonard Barnes, born June 20, 1867, died February 6,
1868; Emma DeEtt, born March 13, 1869, died August 20, 1870; and James
Albert, born September 5, 1870. Mr. Perkins has a brother and a sister
living, the former Judge Fred D., and the latter, Mrs. Martha A. Grennon;
they both reside at Woodstock, Illinois.
Politically, Mr. Perkins was a Republican. Religiously he belonged to St.
John's Protestant Episcopal church. Fraternally, he is a member of Orient
Lodge No. 86, Knights of Pythias and Ozark Camp No. 25, Woodmen of the
Mr. Perkins and his faithful life companion traversed the road that leads
from yesterday to the unknown beyond for a half century, and they
celebrated their golden wedding, June 4, 1913, and we reprint the
following from the society page of the Springfield Leader, which tells of
that important event in the lives of the subject of this memoir and his
"An elegant and unusual reception was given Wednesday evening at the
Perkins Hotel on Commercial street, when the many friends of Mr. and Mrs.
Leonard B. Perkins, were bidden to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of
their marriage. The parlor suite was profusely decorated in Lady
Wellington roses, which are of a deep yellow color, and on tables were
displayed the many gifts of gold, and other pieces in which the golden
color was prominent. The dining room was a veritable bower of white field
daisies, festoons of yellow tulle gracefully draped the paneled walls.
During the evening Mrs. George B. Swift, accompanied by Miss Mary Hall,
sang, 'My Heart Is Singing,' by Sousa, and responded with 'My Dear,' by
Ernest R. Ball, as an encore. Miss Nell Haynes, accompanied by Professor
Kelly, sang in her usual brilliant style, 'Happy Days,' and giving as an
encore, 'Silver Threads Among the Gold.' The orchestra program, under
direction of Prof. Herbert L. Hoover, was exceptionally pleasing, the
selections 'Annie Laurie,' 'Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes,' 'Soldier's
Farewell,' the popular airs of fifty years ago. In the receiving line
were: Mrs. Lemuel. Parsons and Miss Emily Hess, both of Oklahoma City;
Mrs. Lee R. Hoff, and Misses Willene Rand, Adah Roberts and Bernice
Jackson ably assisted in receiving the many guests. Mrs. Perkins was
gowned in white and carried an arm bouquet of yellow roses. The ladies
assisting in receiving were exquisite in gowns of white lingerie. Later in
the evening the younger people danced until a late hour. A two-course
luncheon was served continuously during the evening, and in the large hall
delicious punch was dispensed. About two hundred guests called and
congratulated Mr. and Mrs. Perkins on this happy occasion."
The death of Leonard B. Perkins occurred on February 28, 1914, after a
short illness, when nearly seventy-four years of age. We quote the
following from the Springfield Independent, in its issue of March 2, 1914:
"For several days Mr. Perkins' friends were confident that he could not
survive many days, yet when the hour came they were much grieved at his
departure. His home was constantly visited by his friends during his
illness. His old soldier friends were there, his lodge friends called and
his business friends were solicitous of his condition. Thirty and four
years is a long time to be a citizen of the same location. During that
time he called to his circle of friendships the old, the middle aged and
the youth. Everybody respected him and all had a word of cheer. He
delighted to relate stories, of the Civil war. He also took delight to
state that he and Mrs. Perkins played on the same play-grounds in youth
while attending the same school. They played together in youth and they
lived together as the years ripened into age. He was a sensible,
intelligent old man—cultured and refined, and he never dropped his Yankee
habits in full. He was a splendid conversationalist and he liked to talk
about the early history of Commercial street.
"In his passing Springfield loses one of its warmest admirers and one of
nits best citizens. The little old hotel he used in the long ago is now
the hotel office of the Perkins and no old citizen can pass that site
without thinking of the one who used to be there to greet friends and
guests in the royal manner of the old Empire state. He has left a heritage
of good will and good cheer to all the people. It is sad to see these old
landmarks pass from the city's activities and the city’s makeup. The old
have a place in our history and no matter how long they stay their life is
precious to all who stop to consider. The old soldiers' ranks are
thinning. The old people's circle is diminishing and ere long there will
be but few to tell the tale of early history. Mr. Perkins was our friend
and neighbor and many times he came into this office with good cheer and
sunshine when the hour seemed the darkest. His many visits will be
remembered as so many messengers of splendid encouragement, confidence and
JUDGE WILLIAM H. PERKINS. Examples that impress force of character on all
who study them are worthy of record in the annals of history wherever they
are found. By a few general observations the biographer hopes to convey in
the following paragraphs, succinctly and yet without fulsome encomium,
some idea of the high standing of William H. Perkins, ex-judge of the
Greene county court, as a leading agriculturist and stockman, one of the
representative citizens of the county and a public benefactor. Those who
know him best will readily acquiesce in the statement that many elements
of a solid and practical nature are united in his composition and which,
during a series of years, have brought him into prominent notice at least
throughout the western portion of the county, his life and achievements
earning for him a conspicuous place among his compeers.
Judge Perkins was born on a farm in Brookline township, Greene county,
Missouri, February 18, 1850, and is a scion of one of our pioneer
families, being a son of William G. and Martha A. (Beal) Perkins. The
father was a native of Logan county, Kentucky, where he was reared. When a
young man he came to Greene county, Missouri, and entered two tracts of
land from the government, the first in 1848 and the last in 1851. These he
developed by hard work and became a successful farmer and business man.
Both these tracts of land, now very valuable and comprising as fine
farming land as the vicinity affords, have remained in the family, being
now owned by the subject of this sketch. The father was known as "Grief"
Perkins, his middle name being used instead of his first name. He was an
influential man in his community, especially in the affairs of the
Presbyterian church, in which he was an elder for many years, being the
founder of the church of this denomination in this community. He had two
brothers and two sisters, all now deceased but Mrs. Hayden, who lives in
Texas. The death of William G. Perkins occurred in 1908 at the advanced
age of eighty-seven years. He was known to all as a man of fine personal
character, a "gentleman of the old school" who never was known to neglect
his duties as a neighbor or citizen. His faithful life companion, a woman
of beautiful old-time Christian faith, survived him only six weeks,
passing away at the age, of eighty-one years. She was a native of
Tennessee, and when young in years accompanied a party of emigrants from
that state to the Ozark mountain country. They reached a certain stream,
since known as "Turnback" creek, from the fact that here this party of
home seekers turned back on their route. They finally located on Wilson's
creek, which stream was destined to become famous in history. Here Mrs.
Perkins's father, Daniel Beal, entered land from the government, which he
developed into a good farm, which remained in possession of the family
until recently, when our subject turned the patents over to purchasers.
This place lies some four miles west of Springfield. There Mr. Beal spent
the rest of his life. He was an energetic man, and was active as a member
of the Baptist church.
Judge Perkins is the second of nine children, all born in Greene county,
where the parents were married; they were named as follows: Mrs. Mary O.
Norman, a widow, is living eight miles southwest of Springfield; William
H., of this review; Mrs. Nannie Crenshaw, a widow, lives nine miles south
of Springfield; John T. is farming in Oklahoma; Laura is the wife of Rev.
W. H. Wilson, now residing in Oklahoma; Mrs. Minerva Dillard lives nine
miles east of Springfield; Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson, Mrs. Jennie Stephens and
Daniel are all three deceased.
Judge Perkins was reared on the old homestead, where he did his full share
of the work when growing to manhood, and in that neighborhood he received
a common school education, which has been greatly supplemented in after
years by contact with the world and wide home reading. Early in life he
turned his attention to general agricultural pursuits which he followed
successfully and continuously up to a few years ago. He paid especial
attention to the live stock business, and no small portion of his
comfortable competency was derived from this source. Growing up among
stock and having a liking for them he became an exceptionally good judge
of all kinds. He still owns a part of the old home place, but now lives in
Springfield, where he removed in 1909.
A stanch Democrat, Judge Perkins always took an abiding interest in
political affairs, and in the fall of 1910 he was elected county judge and
presided at the sessions of the Greene county court in a manner that
stamped him as a man of ability, far-seeing, impartial and having the best
interests of the county at heart, unbiased in his efforts to benefit the
general public, and his course has been entirely satisfactory to his
constituents. Religiously, he is a member of the Presbyterian church.
Judge Perkins was married in Greene county, in the year 1873, to Martha J.
Ellison, a daughter of John Ellison, an early settler in this county, and
here he became a successful farmer. Mrs. Perkins was born here in 1853 and
reared and educated in her native community. She proved to be an excellent
helpmate, sympathetic, kind and industrious. Her death occurred in
February, 1909 at the age of fifty-six years. Her only brother also died a
few years ago.
Three children were born to our subject and wife, named as follows:
Clarence, now forty years old, is farming in the state of Louisiana;
Bessie is the wife of George Langston, at present postmaster at Texhoma,
in western Oklahoma, where he has a ranch, and they have one son, Maurice,
now six years old; Eunice, youngest of the trio, is living with her father
The Judge was always a man who made friends easily, and after his career
on the bench began they rapidly multiplied, and all who know him will
agree that he is deserving of the respect in which he is so widely held.
HARVEY E. PETERSON. The career of Harvey E. Peterson, one of the
enterprising men of affairs of Greene county and the Ozark region, who is
owner and proprietor of the famous Sequiota Cave, would indicate that he
is a man of industry, foresight and courage. Having begun at the bottom of
the ladder he has mounted it unaided and often in the face of adversities
that would have discouraged and thwarted men of less, determination and
honesty of purpose.
Mr. Peterson was born in Graham, Nodaway county, Missouri, March 27, 1874.
He is a son of George H. and Christie A. (Mauer) Peterson. The father was
born in Williamsburg, Ohio, where he was reared and educated in the common
schools. When a young man he took Horace Greeley's advice and went West,
locating near Denver, Colorado, where he spent a number of years, removing
to Nodaway county, Missouri, in 1875, where he purchased a ranch of one
thousand acres and engaged extensively in general farming and the live
stock business. He was very successful as a business man and was a leader
in the affairs of his community. Owing to failing health he has been
living in retirement for some time. The mother of our subject was born in
Otisco, Indiana, August 30, 1849, and when young in years her parents
brought her to Nodaway county, Missouri, where she received a common
school education. When twenty-three years old she went to Colorado with an
uncle and aunt, and met Mr. Peterson in Denver and they were married in
1874, soon after which they returned to Nodaway county, Missouri. She is
still living and is an active member of the Presbyterian church. To these
parents six children were born, namely: Harvey E., of this sketch; Mrs.
Mary Shamberger and Mrs. Mae Badger are twins; Mrs. Frances Baker, Leroy
Harvey E. Peterson was reared on the homestead in his native county and
there worked when growing up. He received a good education in the common
schools. He worked for his father on the ranch until 1900, then spent two
years as assistant cashier of the Peoples' Bank at Maitland, Missouri. He
then spent considerable time in traveling, worked one year for the Fowler
Packing Company as livestock buyer. In 1904 he settled, on a farm near
Graham, Missouri, where he remained about two years, then moved to
Springfield, was in the heating and plumbing. business for himself under
the firm name of the Peterson Plumbing Company until the fall of 1907,
when he sold out and went to Utah, installing a plumbing and water system
for the United States government there, then went to Denver, Colorado, and
engaged in the plumbing business again. While in Utah he purchased a
section of land, which he still owns. After leaving Denver he went to
Cedar City, Utah, where he engaged in the plumbing and heating business,
and installed irrigation plants there also. In the spring of 1913 he
returned to Missouri on a visit and purchased the place where he now
lives, six and one-half miles southeast of Springfield, twenty-four, acres
of picturesque land on which is located the beautiful Sequiota Cave.
Mr. Peterson was married in June, 1904, to Edna M. Perry, of Springfield,
Missouri. She was born in Kansas City, December 8, 1878. She is a daughter
of Edward J. and Mary N. (Noyes) Perry. The father was born in Watertown,
Wisconsin, September 11, 1854, and when fifteen years of age he began
railroading in Watertown, and has been in the service ever since. He is at
present vice-president of the Kansas City, Clinton & Springfield Railroad,
the duties of which responsible position he is discharging in a manner
that is satisfactory to all concerned. His rise has been rapid in his
calling and he has been a student of everything that pertains to his
vocation, with the result that he has kept well informed in all that
pertains to railroading. He makes his home in Springfield and is well
known in the railroad circles of the Southwest. Mary N. Noyes, whom he
married in February, 1878, was born at Three Rivers, Wisconsin, March 18,
1860. She is prominent in club and social life in Springfield and an
active worker in the Presbyterian church. Mrs. Peterson was reared to
womanhood in Kansas City and Springfield and was given excellent
educational advantages, graduating from the Springfield high school, and
then spending three years in Chicago, studying at the University of
Chicago and the American Institute, in which last named institution she
was graduated in the kindergarten course. She was Superintendent of the
kindergartens in Springfield for two years, taking a great interest in her
work and was very successful.
To Mr. and Mrs. Peterson four children have been born, namely: Olivia is
at home, Noyes, deceased;-Mary, deceased; and Marie, who is with her
Politically Mr. Peterson is a Republican, and fraternally he belongs to
the Modern Woodmen lodge. He is courteous and accommodating.
HON. JOHN S. PHELPS. The grand old state of Connecticut has sent out
thousands of her sons in the founding and upbuilding of new communities in
the West. Many of these have served their adopted states long and well,
and have left the imprint of their character and courage upon the history
of their times, carving their names and fame upon the very foundation
stones of many of the great commonwealths. But never did the old state
make a better gift, never did she send out a better man, a brighter
intellect, than when she gave John S. Phelps to Missouri. The prominence,
both state and national, of this most distinguished citizen of Greene
county of a past generation, may well serve as a reason why this sketch is
given a conspicuous position in this volume.
Mr. Phelps was born in Simsbury, Hartford county, Connecticut, December
22, 1814. He was a son of Elisha Phelps, who was a lawyer of great
prominence in the old Nutmeg state, who served his fellow citizens in the
state Legislature, state offices and four terms in the national Congress.
Noah Phelps, out subject's paternal grandfather, was first a captain, then
a colonel in the Revolutionary war and a most successful scout and spy. He
was one of the "committee of safety" that planned the capture of
Ticonderoga. Like his son and, grandson he, too, served the people in
legislative and other capacities of public trust.
John S. Phelps was reared in his birthplace, receiving his education in
the public schools and in Washington (now Trinity) College at Hartford,
completing his course there in 1832, graduating when seventeen years old.
Subsequently he studied law under his father for three years, and was
admitted to the bar on the twenty-first anniversary of his birth. After a
year and a half of practice in Hartford, he married there and determined
to come West and seek a better and wider field for an ambitious young
lawyer. Acting with that wisdom and foresight which ever characterized him
in both public and private life, he chose the newly admitted state of
Missouri, and in 1837, set foot upon her soil. It was necessary to be
re-examined, before being enrolled as a member of the Missouri state bar,
and young Phelps went to Boonville, where Judge Tompkins of the Supreme
court had agreed to meet and examine him; the judge, however, failed to
come, and Mr. Phelps mounted a horse and proceeded to Jefferson City,
where the judge resided. Here again was a disappointment for Judge
Tompkins was some distance in the country at a sawmill, and there, sitting
on a log in the woods in Cole county, Missouri's future governor was
examined and licensed to practice in all courts of record, the license
being written on a leaf torn from an old blue ledger, that being the only
paper in the mill camp. Armed with this document, the young lawyer started
for the great Southwest, locating at Springfield, then a mere hamlet with
but fourteen white families. He at once entered upon a good practice. When
here less than a week he was retained to defend Charles S. Yancey, who
afterwards became circuit judge. He rapidly rose to the head of his
profession, practicing over a district extending from Warsaw on the north
to Forsyth, on the south and from Waynesville on the east to Neosho on the
west. He was soon recognized as the leading member of the bar in that
section, for young as he was, his great legal attainments enabled him to
cope successfully with the most experienced lawyers.
His public life began at an early age. In 1840 he was chosen to represent
Greene county in the General Assembly of Missouri, and but little of his
life was spent in retirement from that time until his death. In 1844 he
was elected to Congress, and for eighteen consecutive years, served in the
same high position of public trust. He was the father of the postage
stamp. Any attempt at a full statement of his acts comprised in those
years--his many valuable services would far transcend the limits of this
work; but the bare fact that for twelve years he was a member of the
committee on ways and means--always the most important committee of a
legislative body--and part of the time its chairman, is in itself, the
best evidence of the esteem and confidence reposed in him on the part of
his coworkers in Congress. He believed in a tariff for revenue only, and
voted for the tariff of 1846, a measure denounced by the protectionists as
one fraught with destruction to the manufacturing interests of the
country. In about ten years thereafter, when a further reduction of duties
was advocated and carried, the leading manufacturers of the country
besought Congress not to interfere with the duties established in 1846.
Mr. Phelps favored the measure granting bounty lands to soldiers. He
favored the granting of lands by the general government to Missouri to aid
in building a railroad from St. Louis to the southwest corner of the
state. In 1853 when Congress was discussing the building of a
trans-continental railway, Mr. Phelps favored the construction of a road
through the Indian country to Albuquerque, thence to San Francisco, on
which route a road was later built.
During his last term in Congress, which was in Abraham Lincoln's first
administration, he was part of the time in the field, the great Civil war
being then in progress; and he was appointed on the committee of ways and
means, before he had been sworn in as a member, a compliment never before
tendered to any other citizen. In 1861 he raised a regiment, known as the
"Phelps Regiment," which did valiant service for six months, and was
commanded by Colonel Phelps in person at the memorable engagement at Pea
Ridge, in which it suffered such heavy loss. Without solicitation on his
part Colonel Phelps was appointed military governor of Arkansas, in 1862,
which he accepted, but ill health soon necessitated his return to St.
Louis. In 1864 he resumed the practice of law in Springfield, his
Congressional career having closed in 1863. He was nominated for governor
of Missouri in 1868 on the Democratic ticket, but he failed of election
but he ran 12,000 ahead of his ticket, but eight years afterwards he was
elected to this high office by a larger majority than any governor of this
state ever received up to that time, and no man ever did greater honor to
that highest office than he, and no lady ever did the honors of the
governor's mansion with more becoming grace than did his daughter, Mrs.
Mary Montgomery. Had not the constitution fixed the one term limit on the
governor's office, there is no doubt but that Mr. Phelps would have been
reelected, had he been willing. In the convention of 1876, no less a
personage than the Hon. George G. Vest--Missouri's greatest senator since
Benton--was defeated by Governor Phelps for the Democratic nomination.
After the expiration of his gubernatorial term Governor Phelps lived in
partial retirement, only occasionally giving legal advice in some very
important cases. He spent considerable time in travel, including northern
Mexico and Oregon. President Grover Cleveland tendered him the position as
American minister to any country in Europe, excepting the four great
powers, but he declined the honor owing to failing health.
Few men had greater conversational powers or enjoyed more keenly the
social intercourse of friends, than did Missouri's great governor, from
Greene county. He enjoyed a large circle of distinguished acquaintances
from various parts of the Union, and when he was summoned to his eternal
rest in 1886 he was, mourned not only by the state but by the nation as
David R. Francis, mayor of St. Louis, afterwards governor of Missouri,
declared a half-holiday in St. Louis and came in person to attend the
Great, genial, magnanimous, easy of approach, and yet dignified withal,
scholarly, brilliant and a genteel gentleman in all the relations of life,
Governor Phelps was just the style of a man that a whole people delighted
to honor and revere, following his lead with the implicit confidence which
is ever the surest criterion in pronouncing him a great man.
LORENZO PHILLIPS. Among the high-grade and straightforward business men of
a past generation who helped to make Springfield the substantial
commercial city which we of the present generation take such delight in,
was the late Lorenzo Phillips, who for many years was one of the city's
best known grocerymen. He was a man who bore a reputation for wholesome
living in all walks of life and was therefore deserving of the material
success he achieved and also the social prestige which was unquestionably
Mr. Phillips was born in Greene county, Missouri, September 23, 1866. He
is a son of Thomas and Elizabeth Phillips, who were natives of the state
of Tennessee where they grew up, were educated and married. Thomas
Phillips became a prosperous farmer and extensive mule dealer in his
native state, from which, however, he finally removed to Greene county,
Missouri, where his death occurred a number of years ago. His family
consisted of eleven children, seven of whom are still living, namely:
Marion, Monroe, Jesse, Thomas, Warrie, Vida and Lorenzo.
Lorenzo Phillips grew to manhood in Greene county and received his
education in the common schools and here he engaged in farming until his
marriage, after which he went into the grocery business in which he
continued with ever increasing success up to within two years of his
death. The L. Phillips Grocery, located on South street, Springfield, of
which he was proprietor, was well patronized by the best people of the
city, for there they always found a large and well-selected stock of
staple and fancy groceries and were dealt with in a courteous and honest
manner. The last two years, of our subject's life were devoted to the
bakery business with equal success.
Mr. Phillips was married on November 21, 1886, to Laura Hardesty, who was
born in Audrain county, Missouri, December 18, 1860. She is a daughter of
Felix and Catherine (Gurton) Hardesty, the former a native of Missouri and
the latter of Kentucky. They have both been deceased for some time. Mrs.
Phillips received good educational advantages and she taught school
several terms. Her father devoted his active life to mercantile pursuits.
He located in Springfield when Mrs. Phillips was sixteen years of age and
her education was obtained here.
Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, namely: Curt, born on
August 14, 1887, married Bessie Codel and they live in Springfield;
Albert, born on July. 19, 1889; Marie, born on August 28, 1891, died
September 23, 1895; Pearl, born on September 25, 1893, is at home;
Georgia, born on December 4, 1895, is at home. These children received
good educations in the Springfield schools.
Politically, Mr. Phillips was a Republican. He remained active in business
affairs up to his death which occurred on December 24, 1898. He left his
family well provided for including a pleasant home on South Main street.
CHARLES B. PICKERING. The late Charles B. Pickering was a worthy
representative of that type of American character and of that progressive
spirit which promotes public good in advancing individual prosperity and
conserving popular interests. Members of the Pickering family have long
been identified with the affairs of Greene county.
Mr. Pickering was born at Greeneville, Greene county, Tennessee, September
28, 1854. He was a son of Samuel and Margaret (Gray) Pickering, the father
born March 22, 1820, and the mother on June 9, 1819, both in Tennessee,
and there they grew to maturity and were married, and they were young when
they came to Greene county, Missouri, located on a farm and here spent the
rest of their lives, the father dying in 1908 and the mother's death
occurred May 17, 1907. They were the parents of nine children.
Charles B. Pickering grew to manhood on the home farm and he worked hard
when a boy, and in the winter he received his education by attending the
district schools. Early in life he began farming for himself, which he
continued along general lines the rest of his life and was one of the
successful tillers of the soil in Republic township, owning over two
hundred acres of well improved and productive land. He had a good home and
numerous convenient buildings for his livestock, which he always managed
to keep a good grade of and carefully prepare for the market.
Mr. Pickering was married October 29, 1884, to Sarah M. Summer, a native
of Greene county, Tennessee, born July 16, 1861, and she was a daughter of
Joseph and Julia (Harris) Summer, both natives of Virginia, in which state
they spent their earlier years, finally removing to Missouri, and locating
on a farm in Greene county. Mr. Summer was also a carpenter.
To Mr. and Mrs. Pickering two children were born, namely: Leota, now about
twenty-four years of age, married Ardo D. Anderson, a farmer of this
county, and Samuel Bruce, who is now about twenty-two years of age, lives
on the home farm with his widowed mother and is successfully operating the
Politically, Mr. Pickering was a Republican, and in his church
affiliations was a Protestant Methodist, although he was raised a Quaker.
Fraternally, he belonged to the Woodmen of the World.
The death of Mr. Pickering occurred on October 22, 1908, at the age of
fifty-four years. He was industrious, strictly honest and reliable and was
highly respected by his neighbors and acquaintances.
CLAYTON R. PICKERING. That the career of such a man as the late Clayton R.
Pickering, for many years a popular justice of the peace in Greene county,
besides being treasured in the hearts of relatives and friends, should
have its public record also, is peculiarly proper because a knowledge of
men whose substantial reputation rests upon their attainments and
character must exert a wholesome influence upon the rising generation.
While transmitting to future generations the chronicle of such a life, it
is with the hope of instilling into the minds of those who come after the
important lesson that honor and station are sure rewards of individual
Mr. Pickering was born near Greenville, Tennessee, May 27, 1841. He was a
son of Samuel Pickering and wife, both natives of Tennessee, where they
were reared and married. Our subject's mother died when he was quite small
and he was reared by his step-mother, who was Margaret Johnson before her
marriage. Samuel Pickering devoted his active life to farming. A few years
after the Civil war he removed with his family, including our subject, to
Missouri, locating in Greene county. He was the father of eight children,
four by each of his wives, our subject being one of the first union, and
was a first cousin of David Crockett, the famous scout and adventurer.
Clayton R. Pickering grew to manhood in Tennessee and worked on the farm
when a boy. He received a limited education in the common schools there,
and later in life became a well informed man by home study. He left school
when the Civil war began and enlisted in the First Tennessee Cavalry,
serving in the Union army under Gen. Sherman, and was in the Atlanta
campaign and on the march to the sea, and was in many important
engagements and saw considerable hard service during the three years of
his enlistment. He narrowly escaped death many times, once in particular
when his horse was shot from under him, wounding him by the fall. When a
young man he learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed after
locating in Greene county, Missouri, and was regarded as an exceptionally
skilled workman. He finally located in the town of Republic, this county,
where he served as postmaster for some time, then was elected justice of
the peace for two terms. In 1902 he located in Springfield, where he spent
the last years of his life, and served as justice of the peace, in which
capacity he proved to be an efficient, unbiased and popular public
servant, his decisions always being fair to all parties and showing a
sound knowledge of the basic principles of jurisprudence, and they seldom
met with reversal at the hands of higher tribunals.
Mr. Pickering was married July 3, 1902, in Springfield, to Mrs. Vassie
(Douglass) Morris, who was born in Greene county, Missouri, on April 1,
1863, and here grew to womanhood and was educated in the common schools.
She is a daughter of Rufus and Caroline (Bottom) Douglass, both natives of
Tennessee, where they grew up and were married, and from there moved to
Springfield, Missouri, in an early day and they spent the rest of their
lives on a farm in Greene county. Mr. Douglass was also a trader in live
stock, etc., and was a highly respected man. His political relations were
with the Republican party. His family consisted of these children:
Jonathan, Elizabeth, Jane Vassie, our subject's wife, and Amanda. Mr.
Douglass came to Greene county, Missouri, on horseback in an early day,
but died soon thereafter. The death of Mrs. Pickering's, father occurred
on December 31, 1891, and her mother died on August 13, 1902.
Mrs. Pickering was first married to Elvis Morris, by whom she had one
child, Opal Morris, who was born October 18, 1889, and she was reared in
Springfield, where she received a good education. She is living with her
mother in their home on West Mount Vernon street. The union of Mr. and
Mrs. Pickering was without issue.
Politically Mr. Pickering was a Republican, and religiously he belonged to
the Congregational church. His death occurred on November 1, 1911, when
past his three score and ten.
Mrs. Pickering's uncle, James Douglass, had a good many slaves before the
Civil war, but finally freed them, however, but not until one of them
murdered his wife. The guilty negro was hanged. This uncle raised an
orphan child, Seley Johnson, who was well known here.
CHARLES E. PIERCE, M. D. Among the best-known of the younger generation of
professional men in the western part of Greene county is Dr. Charles E.
Pierce, of Brookline Station. He has always been a close student and
having availed himself of every opportunity to widen the area of his
professional knowledge and make him efficient in the practice, it is not
at all surprising that his advancement has been rapid and satisfactory and
that he now holds such a high and honorable place among the general
practitioners of medicine in a field long noted for the high order of its
Doctor Pierce was born at Lebanon, Missouri, May 23, 1875. He is a son of
E. W. and Margery Ann (Webb) Pierce. The father was born near Terre Haute,
Indiana. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a millwright by
trade. He moved from Indiana with his family to Christian county,
Missouri, when his son E. W. Pierce, was a boy and he taught the lad his
trade, at which he became quite proficient. E. W. Pierce enlisted in the
Sixth Missouri Cavalry at the outbreak of the Civil war, and served in the
Union army until 1865. He saw much hard service and was twice wounded.
After the war he returned home and resumed his trade of millwright, which
he followed until his death in September, 1913, at the age of seventy-six
years. He and his brother, Enos Pierce, built the first flour mill of any
importance in the city of Springfield, and they were well known in their
trade over several counties of southwest Missouri. The mother of the
subject of this sketch was born, reared and educated at Fair Grove, Greene
county. Her parents died before the war of the states began, when she was
a child. She is making her home now in Ozark, Christian county, and is
seventy-four years of age.
To E. W. Pierce and wife four children were born, three sons and one
daughter, namely: William, a traveling salesman, lives at Marionville,
Missouri, is married and has two daughters; Dr. Charles E., of this
sketch; Tela is the wife of L. B. Williams, a hardware merchant of Ozark;
Frank is in the wholesale drug business in Kansas City, Missouri.
Doctor Pierce was a child when his parents removed from Laclede county to
Christian county, and he received his education in the public and high
schools of Ozark, graduating from the same. He studied hard at home, and
might be said to have been self-taught. He practiced at the Frisco
Hospital in Springfield three years, and during two years of that time
studied pharmacy. He began studying medicine when but a boy, and he took
the prescribed course in the University of Louisville, Louisville,
Kentucky, from which institution he was graduated with the class of 1911.
Soon thereafter he began the practice of his profession at Ozark with
Doctor Bruton, with whom he remained two years, during which he got a good
start, then came to Brookline Station, Greene county, where he has since
been engaged in the general practice and has, enjoyed a large business all
the while and has met with excellent success.
Doctor Pierce was married on February 19, 1913, to Jennie Glenn, of
Christian county, where she was born, reared and educated. She is a
daughter of John Glenn, a prosperous farmer of that county and a
well-known citizen. His family consists of eight children, one of whom,
John Glenn, is at this writing treasurer of Christian county.
Politically, Doctor Pierce is a Jefferson Democrat, believing in the
old-time principles of the party. Fraternally, he is a member of the Free
and Accepted Masons lodge at Forsyth, Taney county. He attends the
Presbyterian church. He is a member of the Greene county Medical Society,
the Missouri State Medical Association and the American Medical
HERBERT W. PIGG. A man's life work is the measure of his success, and he
is truly the most successful man who, turning his powers into the channel
of an honorable purpose, accomplishes the object of his endeavor. In the
study of every man's life we find some mainspring of action, something
that he lives, for, and in Herbert W. Pigg, of Springfield, it seems to
have been an ambition to make the best use of his native and acquired
powers and develop in himself a true manhood. For many years he was
engaged in railroad service holding responsible office positions with the
great Frisco system, but at this writing he is incumbent of the office of
deputy internal revenue collector in which he is making a commendable
Mr. Pigg was born on December 11, 1872, in Madison county, Kentucky, being
the scion of a sterling old Southern family, the son of Louis P. and Susie
(Ballard) Pigg, both natives of Kentucky. Louis P. Pigg, moved from the
Blue Grass state to Clay county, Missouri, when our subject was three
years old and later located in Kansas City where he became, a successful
business man, engaging in the wholesale and retail grocery business in
Kansas City for a number of years, building up a large trade and
accumulating a competency. He retired from active life a few years ago. He
is now about seventy-eight years of age and his wife is about
seventy-six-years old. During the Civil war he cast his lot with the
Southern Confederacy, serving three years in a gallant manner, taking part
in many of the important engagements and campaigns in the South. Six
children were born to Louis P. Pigg and wife, named as follows: Nora is
deceased; Herbert W. of this sketch; Minnie lives in Kansas City; B. J. is
deceased; Odie W. lives in Kansas City; and D. George who lives in Kansas
Herbert W. Pigg attended the ward and high schools of Kansas City, later
spent two terms at Center College, Danville, Kentucky and also took a
commercial course in Kansas City at Spaulding's Business College. After
his graduation from the business college, he accepted a position with the
Kansas City, Ft. Scott & Memphis Railroad Company in Kansas City,
continuing in the work there, being promoted from time to time, until
October 1, 1901, when he came to Springfield, Missouri, after the
consolidation of the above named road with the St. Louis & San Francisco
Railroad Company. He had been in office-work for the former road all the
while and upon coming here he became assistant chief clerk in the
mechanical department, which he held until he resigned to take his present
position, having been appointed deputy internal revenue collector, April
1, 1915. He is discharging the duties of this important position of trust
in a manner that reflects much credit upon himself and to the entire
satisfaction of the department. While in the employ of the Kansas City,
Ft. Scott & Memphis Railroad Company in Kansas City Mr. Pigg studied
medicine under Dr. Charles F. Wainwright, dean of University Medical
College, Kansas City; our subject never completed his course in medicine
due to the fact that Doctor Wainwright left Kansas City, going to New York
where he later died.
Mr. Pigg was married on May 22, 1895, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Hazel
Politically he is a Democrat, and has long been active and influential in
the affairs of his party. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and he
affiliates with the Christian church. Personally he is a well informed,
broad-minded, companionable and genteel gentleman in every respect, and he
and his talented wife are in every way deserving of the high esteem in
which they are universally held. Mr. Pigg's death occurred very suddenly
on June 22, 1915, due to an attack of heart trouble.
COLUMBUS JEFFERSON PIKE, M. D. Proper intellectual discipline, thorough
professional knowledge and the possession and utilization of the qualities
and attributes essential to success has made Dr. Columbus Jefferson Pike,
of Willard, Greene county, eminent in his chosen calling, and he has by
his own efforts risen to a place in the front rank of the enterprising
general practitioners in a county long distinguished for the high order of
its medical talent.
Doctor Pike was born at Brighton, Polk county, Missouri, March 12, 1861.
He is a son of James M. and Polly (DeRossett) Pike. The father was born in
1808 in Montgomery county, Tennessee, and in that state he spent his
boyhood days and received his education in the town of Clarksville,
remaining in his native state until. 1835, when he emigrated to Missouri
and settled on a farm in Polk county. He had married in Tennessee and
three of his children were born there before he removed with his family to
Missouri. Upon coming to this state he first settled on one hundred and
sixty acres near Morrisville, where he lived for seven years, then sold
out and bought about three hundred acres near Brighton, and he operated
this excellent farm until 1854, when he entered the mercantile business at
Brighton, which he continued until 1863, when his store was burned, and he
returned to his farm, where he resided until his death in 1878. He was a
prominent man in that community. He was a Democrat and a Southern
sympathizer during the war between the states, and religiously he belonged
to the Baptist church. James M. Pike was twice married, first to Miss
Mallard, by which union twelve children were born, namely: William, born
in 1830, died in 1904; Sarah lives in Slagle; James M., Jr., died in 1912;
Mrs. Mary Jane Slagle died in, 1862; the fifth and sixth children, twins,
died in infancy; Mrs. Lucy Bryant is deceased; Mrs. Rebecca Slagle lives
at Brighton, Missouri; Polly Ann is deceased; George W. lives in Texas;
Carney and Joseph J. both reside at Slagle, Polk county. Polly DeRossett
was the second Wife of James M. Pike, and to this union ten children were
born, namely: Mrs. Lora Licklider lives at Slagle, Polk county; Richard
lives at Cliquot, Missouri; Emily died May 25, 1914; Thomas Leander lives
at Pleasant Hope, Polk county; Ransom is a merchant at March, this state;
Sebain is a Baptist preacher and lives at Bolivar, Polk county; Dr.
Columbus J., of this sketch; the eighth and ninth children, twins, died in
infancy; Robert L., the youngest of the twenty-two children, is engaged in
farming at Rocky Ford, Colorado. The mother of these children, Polly
DeRossett, was born in Tennessee in 1825, and her death occurred in 1905.
Dr. Columbus J. Pike, of this sketch, spent his boyhood days on his
father's farm, and he was seventeen years old when the death of his father
occurred. He received his early education in the public schools at Slagle,
Polk county. He began life for himself by entering the drug business at
Brighton, which he continued four years, reading medicine the meantime,
and finally entered the Kansas City Medical College, from which he was
graduated in 1890, having made an excellent record there. He began at once
the practice of his profession at Pleasant Hope, his native county, where
he got a good start, but remained only eighteen months, when he located at
Northview, Webster county, Missouri, and practiced there for a period of
eight years in a most satisfactory manner, then came to Willard, Greene
county. Desiring to further add to his medical knowledge, he took a
post-graduate course in the New York Post-Graduate College, from which he
was graduated in 1904, after which he returned to Willard, and has since
been continuously engaged in the general practice of medicine, enjoying
all the while a lucrative practice, and uniform success has attended his
work in his vocation. He stands high with the people and his professional
brethren in this section of the state, as may be surmised from the fact
that he was president of the Southwestern Missouri Medical Society for the
year 1913, his office expiring in April, 1914. In this responsible
position he discharged his duties in a manner that reflected credit upon
himself and to the satisfaction of all concerned. He is also a member of
the Missouri State Medical Association, the Greene County Medical Society
and the American Medical Association.
Politically, he is a Democrat, fraternally a member of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows and the Court of Honor, both at Willard; and in
religious matters he belongs to the Baptist church at Willard, of which
his wife is also a member, and in which she takes an active part.
Dr. Pike was married, August 15, 1880, to Mollie Ryan, who was born,
reared and educated in Polk county. She is a daughter of William Ryan, an
early settler and prominent in Polk county.
Three children have been born to Dr. Pike. and wife, namely: Ethel, who
married Horace Dameron, a farmer of Rogersville, Missouri, has one child,
Lucile; Charles R., who married Gettie Frazier, a native of Greene county,
is engaged in the drug business at Willard, and they have two children,
Lillian Belle and Robert Ray; Arbaleta is at home with her parents.
LEWIS F. PIPKIN. The gentleman of whom the biographer now writes is known
as one of the progressive men of affairs of the city of Springfield,
having been actively identified with the industrial world in this locality
for many years. Mr. Pipkin's well directed efforts in the practical
affairs of life, his capable management of his own business, interests and
his sound judgment have brought to him prosperity, and his life
demonstrates what may be accomplished by the man of energy who is not
afraid of work and has the ambition to continue his labors, even in the
face of seemingly discouraging circumstances. Our subject has been content
to spend his active and useful life in his native county, and he is a
product of one of our honored pioneer families, having been born here over
a half century ago, he has lived through the wonderful changes that have
taken place in this vicinity, his boyhood having been spent in an epoch
when practically everything was different from what it is today when
Springfield was little more than a village.
Lewis L. Pipkin, secretary and treasurer of the: Springfield Grocery
Company, was born at Fair Grove, Greene county, Missouri, September 14,
1861. He is a son of William H. and Christina, (Hoover) Pipkin. The father
was a native of Tennessee and the mother was born in North Carolina, the
birth of the former occurring in the year 1833. These parents spent their
earlier lives in the South, attended the early-day schools and migrated to
Greene county, Missouri, in frontier days and spent the rest of their
lives in this locality, Mr. Pipkin dying here in 1893. He became a
successful and well-known business man and was postmaster of Springfield
during President Cleveland's administration, during his first term. At one
time he was a candidate for county collector, and was defeated by only
eight votes. His friends believed that he had been elected and endeavored
to induce him to contest the election, but he refused to do so. While he
took much interest in public affairs he was not an office-seeking
politician, however, was always willing to do his duty as a good citizen,
having at heart the welfare of his city and county. He was known as a man
of excellent business ability, broad-minded, well-informed, scrupulously
honest and a true friend and genteel gentleman. He was an active church
worker and was a delegate to the general conference of the Methodist
Episcopal church, South, in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1890, also in 1892.
He served for years as a member of the board of stewards of the local
church of this denomination and was very prominent in church affairs. The
death of his wife occurred in the year 1899. They were the parents of one
son and five daughters, all of whom survive at this writing, namely: Lewis
F., of this sketch; Cyntha Jane, Margaret Alice, Rosina Ida, Carrie Bell
and Mary Etta.
Lewis F. Pipkin spent his boyhood at Fair Grove where he attended school
until he was seventeen years of age, when he began working in his father's
general store at that place. He had a natural bent for mercantile
pursuits, and, having ambition to forge to the front in this line, he soon
gave evidence of unusual ability. He remained in the store with his
father, until the latter removed his family to Springfield in 1879, and
here founded the firm of Doling & Pipkin, general merchants, which venture
was successful from the first and grew to large proportions with advancing
years. The firm retained the services of our subject until 1882, when he
accepted a position in a book store in this city, which business he bought
out in 1884, and continued to conduct it with very gratifying results for
a period of nearly twenty years or until 1903, when he sold out. During
the following year he was connected with the Springfield Traction Company,
and in 1904 became associated with the Springfield Wholesale Grocery
Company as bookkeeper, and in, 1909 was elected secretary and treasurer of
the company, which responsible position he is still holding in a manner
that reflects much credit upon his business ability and to the eminent
satisfaction of all concerned.
Mr. Pipkin is thoroughly informed upon all details in connection with the
grocery business and is one of the prime factors in this great
institution, which does an enormous annual business, covering a vast
territory in the Southwest. He has a capacity for detail and has
introduced new systems which have greatly increased the volume of the
business to a large degree. In all his transactions he has proven himself
worthy of the trust reposed in him and is faithful to all obligations in
every relation of life.
Mr. Pipkin was married in Springfield, May 6, 1886, to Lillie Y. Murray, a
daughter of Lilburn H. and Asenath L. (Anderson) Murray, one of
Springfield's most prominent families, Mr. Murray having been one of the
leading business men here during a past generation. Here Mrs. Pipkin grew
to womanhood and received an excellent education, and here she has long
been a favorite with the circles in which she moves.
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Pipkin has been blessed by the birth of the
following children: Eula Lillian, Louise M., Marguerite, William H., and
Lilburn Murray Pipkin.
The family are members of St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal church, South,
and are regular attendants. Politically Mr. Pipkin is a Democrat, and he
has always taken an active interest in the welfare of his party,
particularly as regards its local affairs, and his influence has been most
potent for the general good. For three terms he has served as city
collector discharging his duties faithfully and with circumspection. He is
a member of the Springfield Club, the James River Club, and the Young
Men's Business Club, and is thoroughly in sympathy with the aims of the
last named organization, collaborating with the members in order to
increase the commercial importance of the Queen City of the Ozarks.
Fraternally, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Royal
Mr. Pipkin has risen to his present commanding position in the business
world solely through his individual efforts, his industry, fidelity,
honesty and because he has from the first been an adherent of correct
principles and lofty ideals, and his career is most creditable in every
CALVIN POLLACK. Of the second generation of those of foreign blood in
Greene county, the name of Calvin Pollack, a merchant of Cave Spring, Cass
township, should receive special setting in a biographical work of the
nature of the one in hand, for in him are outcroppings of many of the
characteristic traits that have made the French people successful and
leading citizens wherever they have dispersed. He has tried to keep before
him the aphorism, expounded by one of the greatest writers of the present
age, "That the wise make of their failures a ladder, the foolish a grave,"
and he has refused to recall the doings of the past except their lessons,
which he has used as guides for present-day actions, refusing to permit
obstacles to thwart him in his race for a given goal. , In. thus
advocating sound and wholesome principles of life for himself, he has
inadvertently had a palliative influence on the lives of those with whom
he has come in contact, the people of this locality knowing him as an
honest, earnest, energetic and public-spirited citizen, worthy of their
confidence and respect.
Mr. Pollack was born in Cass township, Greene county, Missouri, September
6, 1874. He is a son of Joseph Pollack, who was born in 1842 in
Alsace-Lorraine, which was a part of France up to 1871, but since the
Franco-Prussian War it has been a province of Germany. Reidseltz is the
name of the village in which he first saw the light of day and where he
spent his boyhood and attended school. Leaving there at the age of
seventeen years he immigrated to America, landing in New York City. He
came on west to Dayton, Ohio, where an elder brother had previously
located. From there he went to St. Louis, where he attended a commercial
college. After remaining there two years he came to Springfield, and
engaged in the mercantile business, working for the firm of Frieberg &
Klotz, which established a branch store at Walnut Grove, this county, of
which Mr. Pollack was placed in charge. On March 1, 1866, he married
Martha Elizabeth Skeen, a daughter of Hope Skeen. She was born on October
11, 1845, at Fair Grove, this county, and removed to Cass township when
eight years old and grew to womanhood and received her education. She is a
member of one of the prominent old families of this locality, and she has
spent her life in Greene county, living now at Cave Spring. After his
marriage Joseph Pollack purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in
Cass township and here spent the rest of his life as a general farmer. He
developed his place from the wilderness, establishing a good home by hard
work and perseverance, and he became a useful citizen here and was highly
respected by all who knew him. His death occurred December 13, 1905.
Twelve children were born to Joseph Pollack and wife, four of whom died
when young, namely: Guy died at the age of twenty years; Delinda is the
wife of George Rock and they make their home in Colorado; Calvin, of this
sketch; Adele is the wife of C. Denby, and they reside at Pearl, this
county; Marvin is living on the old home farm in Cass township; Harry is
married and is clerking in the store of his brother, our subject; Mrs.
Katie Short lives in Tennessee where her husband is engaged in the real
estate business; Helen is at home with her mother.
Calvin Pollack grew to manhood on the homestead and assisted with the
general work about the farm when a boy. He received his education in the
common schools here and he began life for himself as a farmer, continuing
in this line of endeavor successfully for a period of twenty-five years.
Leaving the farm he began clerking in the general merchandise store of D.
E. Cloud at Cave Spring, remaining in his employ four years, during which
time he learned the ins and outs of this line of business, but continued
to work f our years more in the same store for W. S. Click, who purchased
the, store from Mr. Cloud. After spending eight years as clerk and
becoming well acquainted with the business and the people of this,
locality, he bought out his employer and has since managed the store on
his own accord, enjoying a large and constantly growing business, and
keeping at a seasons an extensive and well-selected stock of general
merchandise. Having always dealt courteously and honestly with the scores
of regular patrons of the store, he has enjoyed the confidence and good
will of the people of this community.
Mr. Pollack married Nellie Darraugh, March 18, 1900. She is a daughter of
Whitfield Darraugh, and was reared and educated in Greene county. Two
children have been born to our subject and wife, namely: Florence, now ten
years old, is attending school at Cave Spring; and Josephine, seven years
old, is also in school.
Politically, Mr. Pollock is a Democrat, and is a supporter of every
measure, which makes for the general upbuilding of his community.
Fraternally he is a member of the Modern Woodmen lodge at Cave Spring. He
is an active member of the Christian church of his home community, being a
deacon in the same.
HENRY WEBB PORTER. The final causes which shape the fortunes of individual
men and the destinies of states are often the same. They are usually
remote and obscure; their influence wholly unexpected until declared by
results. When they inspire men to the exercise of courage, self-denial,
enterprise, industry and call into play the higher moral elements; lead
men to risk all upon conviction, faith--such causes lead to the planting
of great states, great nations, great peoples. That country is the
greatest which produces the greatest and most manly men, and the intrinsic
safety depends not so much upon methods and measures as upon that true
manhood from whose deep sources all that is precious and permanent in life
must at last proceed. Such a result may not be consciously contemplated by
the individuals instrumental in the production of a country; pursuing each
his personal good by exalted means, they work out this as a logical
result; they have wrought on the lines of the greatest good. When the life
of one such individual ends, we look back over the pathway he had trod and
note its usefulness, its points worthy of emulation and perpetuation. What
the late Henry Webb Porter, Successful attorney-at-law and self-made man
of Springfield, did for his fellowman and the communities honored by his
citizenship, in general might, in a manner, be told in words, but its
far-reaching influences cannot be measured. He was in touch with the
people, and from a sincere and deep felt interest in their welfare labored
for all that would prove of public benefit until the busy and useful life
Mr. Porter was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, November 27, 1835. He was a
son of William and Judith (Reeves) Porter, the father a native of New
Jersey and the mother a native of Tennessee. They grew up in their
respective localities and received limited educations in the schools of
the early days. William Porter came to Tennessee when young in years and
there married, and he devoted his active life to agricultural pursuits, at
one time operating an extensive tobacco plantation. He removed with his
family from Tennessee to Greene county, Missouri, in 1855, and bought a
farm north of Springfield, securing same from the government, and this
land he developed by hard work and lived on the place until 1864, then
moved on a farm in Arkansas, where he spent the rest of his life. He
became a prosperous farmer and influential man in his community. His death
occurred on December 16, 1878. His family consisted of eleven sons, ten of
whom grew to manhood, but only two of them are living at this writing;
they were named as follows: Granville and Benjamin, twins, are deceased;
Peter, deceased; Abner is living; William, deceased; Robert, deceased;
Jesse is living; Henry W., our subject, and John, deceased, were twins;
Felix, deceased; the youngest child died in infancy.
Henry W. Porter grew to manhood in Tennessee and he received a limited
education in the public schools there and in Greene county, Missouri,
having been twenty years of age when he removed here with the rest of the
family. He spent his boyhood on his father's farm and assisted with the
general work on the same. He studied at home, became a well-read man and,
studying law, was admitted to the bar and practiced many years with much
success. He was well versed in all phases of the law, and was a forceful
and earnest pleader at the bar. He also took a great interest in political
affairs, and was active and influential in the Democratic party. He held a
number of public offices always with credit to himself and satisfaction to
all concerned. He was an able and strong worker for the cause of
Mr. Porter removed with the family to Arkansas in 1864 and resided in that
state until 1902, when he returned to Greene county, and lived in
Springfield about four years, being then retired. His death occurred in
Arkansas on March 5, 1914.
Mr. Porter was married in Greene county on March 17, 1865, to Matilda J.
Bedell, who was born at Ebenezer, in the northeastern part of Greene
county, February 2, 1837, and she grew to womanhood on the old Bedell farm
near that village and received her education in the public schools there.
This old homestead was entered from the government in 1830 by Mrs.
Porter's mother, and the farm has never gone to owners outside the Bedell
family. The Bedells are among the pioneer and well-known families of
Greene county. Mrs. Porter is a daughter of David H. and Marina (Wallace)
Bedell, both being born in North Carolina, where they grew up, attended
the old-time schools and were married. They made the long overland journey
from that state to Greene county, Missouri, in early pioneer days, and
here endured the hardships and privations incident to all frontier people
of those times. By hard work and close application, good management and
economy, they became well established in due course of time, and spent the
rest of their lives on their farm here, his death occurring shortly before
the breaking out of the Civil war, and she died during the war. They were
noted for their honesty and hospitality, and were well known to the
pioneers here. The family of Henry W. Porter consisted of twelve children,
five of whom are living at this writing, namely: Mahlon, Judith, Edward,
John, are all deceased; Melissa lives at Springfield; Charles lives in
Arkansas; Mira and Mary, twins, are deceased; Laura, deceased; Walter
lives in Arkansas; Sadie lives in Virginia; Fannie lives in Little Rock,
Mrs. Melissa Hulett, fifth child of our subject, was born on October 10,
1870, in Eveningshade, Arkansas, and there she grew to womanhood and
received her education in the public and high schools. On December 27,
1893, she was married in Arkansas to Ezra Hulett. Soon thereafter they
removed to Boonville, Missouri, where they continued to reside until 1902,
when they located in Springfield, where they have since resided. Mr.
Hulett was a cabinetmaker by trade, a highly skilled workman, and later he
became a successful contractor. He was born on May 1, 1866, in Rocheport,
Atchison county, Missouri. He was a son of Andrew and Anne (Clark) Hulett.
Mr. Clark, father of Anne Clark, was a pioneer of Boonville, this state.
The death of Ezra Hulett occurred on October 31, 1913. His family
consisted of four children, namely: Lucile, born on October 24, 1894, is
single and lives at home; Matilda, born on November 26, 1895, died January
18, 1898; Blanche, born on January 1, 1898; Mary, born on November 6,
Politically, Mr. Hulett was a Democrat. Fraternally, he belonged to the
Modern Woodmen of America.
Mrs. Hulett and daughters are members of St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal
church, South, and she belongs to the auxiliary of the Young Women's
Christian Association. She is active in church work and has a wide circle
of friends. She owns a beautiful home on South Campbell street.
AMBROSE POTTER, M. D. If we would stop trying to get the money that the
other fellow earned, without giving something in exchange, the biggest
problem of life would be solved. We quite often want more than our share.
Dr. Ambrose Potter, a popular and efficient young physician of Ebenezer,
Robberson township, Greene county, is one of those who take a delight in
bringing succor to suffering humanity--who delights in giving more in this
world of ours than he receives. Such a man is always admired in whatever
community he may cast his lot, and his record is most commendable and
should emulated by others.
Doctor Potter was born in Christian county, Missouri, February 11, 1886.
He is a son of Christopher Columbus and Mary Elizabeth (Fondren) Potter.
The father was born in Greene county, near Strafford, on November 27,
1858, and there he grew to manhood, received a common school education,
and remained on his father's farm until his marriage in 1878, later
removing to Christian county, where he bought one hundred and forty-four
acres of land. Prospering by hard work and good management he added to
this until he is now owner of a fine farm of two hundred and sixty acres,
where he carries on general farming and stock raising and is one of the
leading farmers of that county. Politically, he is a Democrat, but has
never sought political leadership. Fraternally, he belongs to the Modern
Woodmen of America at Ozark; the Court of Honor at Kenton, Missouri; and
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Ozark. He is a member of the
Christian church at Sparta. His family consists of five children, namely:
Laura, deceased; Ambrose, of this sketch; Mrs. Alta Lawson; Agnes and
Angie, twins. The mother of these children was born in Greene county and
here grew to womanhood and received a common-school education. She is a
daughter of Ambrose, and Nancy (Yeary) Fondren.
Doctor Potter grew to manhood on the home farm in Christian county and
there worked in the summer months, attending the public schools during the
winter, later the high school at Ozark. He taught one term of school in
Christian county. Later he took the prescribed course in the St. Louis
College of Physicians and Surgeons, which he entered in September, 1907,
and from which he was graduated with the class of May 1911, with an
After leaving college Doctor Potter returned to Christian county, and
successfully passed the state board examination in June, 1911, at Santa
Fe. New Mexico, and he practiced his profession at Las Vegas, that state,
one year, and although he was building up a good patronage, he preferred
his own state, and, returning to Missouri, took the state board
examination in St. Louis in June, 1912. Soon thereafter he located at
Ebenezer, Greene county, where he has since resided, enjoying a successful
and growing practice, and, judging from his past record, the future must
find him one of the leading general practitioners in a community long
noted for the high order of its medical talent.
Doctor Potter was married, October 5, 1912, to Rosa Rathbone, a daughter
of William Henry and Emma (Fielder) Rathbone, a sketch of whom appears on
another page of this volume. Mrs. Potter received good educational
advantages and is a young lady of commendable domestic and social
qualities. The union of our subject and wife has been without issue.
Doctor Potter is the official registrar of births and deaths of Robberson
township. He and his wife are genial and neighborly and have made many
friends since locating at Ebenezer.
JAMES ELMER POTTER. A young man who has stamped the impress of his strong
personality upon the minds of the people of Green county in a manner as to
render him one of the conspicuous characters of the locality is James
Elmer Potter, who is now serving his second term as county collector. Few
men of his age are better known throughout the county, few occupy a more
conspicuous place in public affairs, and it is a compliment worthily
bestowed to class him with the representative men of this locality where
the Potters have been influential since the first settlement of the county
and where he has been content to spend his life as teacher, agriculturist
and public servant always having the best interests of the county at
Mr. Potter was born on February 2, 1875, near Strafford in the eastern
part of Greene county, Missouri, and he is a son of Louis Cass Potter and
Susan M. (Hankins) Potter. The father was born in the same locality as was
our subject, the date of his birth being 1845, and there also, about three
miles south of Taylor township line, the mother was born. These parents
grew up in this locality and received their education in the common school
and were married there, established their home on the farm and spent lives
engaged successfully in general farming and stock raising, and there death
of Louis C. Potter occurred in 1893. He was a man of industry and
public-spirit and made a success in his vocation, leaving behind him at
death an honored name. His family consisted of three children, namely:
Susie, James E., and Ethel.
James E. Potter grew to manhood on the home farm near Strafford and there
he worked when a youth, and when of proper age he attended the schools of
his community and later the Springfield Normal, after which he taught
school for a short time, but was compelled to give up that line of
endeavor owing to failing health. He has made general farming and stock
raising his main occupation.
Politically, Mr. Potter has always been a stanch Republican. He was first
elected to the office of county collector in 1910, and, having served his
term of four years in a manner that was highly satisfactory to all
concerned and with much credit to himself he was again elected to this
office in November, 1914, and is now beginning on his second term. He is
faithful, painstaking and accurate in his official work. Being a man of
uniform courtesy and fair dealing, and being straightforward, candid and
sincere, he at once enlists the good will of everyone.
Mr. Potter was married on August 10, 1904, near Strafford, to Susan E.
McCraw, who was a native of California, from which state she was brought
to Greene county, Missouri, when young by her parents and here grew up on
a farm and received a common school education. She is the daughter of
Gabriel and Elizabeth C. (Waterson) McCraw. These parents were early
settlers here, locating on a farm. They went to California, where the
mother died. The father later returned to Greene county, Missouri, where
he still lives on the old homestead on the James river. Our subject's wife
is the oldest of two children, the youngest being James G. McCraw, living
with his father on the farm.
John L. McCraw, paternal grandfather of our subject's wife, was one of the
pioneer settlers of Greene county, and was a surveyor by profession. He
surveyed a great deal of land in this locality.
Thomas Potter, paternal grandfather of our subject, was among the first
settlers in Greene county, was prominent among the pioneers and was
sheriff of the county in the early fifties.
Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. James E. Potter namely: Eldred
McCraw Potter, born May 16, 1905, died in infancy; and Howard Cass Potter,
born July 5, 1910.
Fraternally, Mr. Potter is a member of the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America. He is a
Republican. The family are members of the Presbyterian church.
NICHOLAS POTTER. Everybody in Brookline township, Greene county, knows
Nicholas Potter, now living in retirement, after a long career at the
forge, during which there was no more highly skilled blacksmith in the
county. He is a pioneer here, for it was fifty-four years ago that he
first cast his lot with us, at the time the ominous clouds of rebellion
were gathering, and, although born under an alien flag many thousand miles
away from here, he enlisted his services in behalf of his adopted country
during that great struggle. He has seen the locality develop from a
comparatively wild state to one of the foremost farming communities in the
state, and he has always taken just pride in the same.
Mr. Potter was born in Uerceg, Prussia, September 29, 1834. He is a son of
Nicholas and Katerine Potter, both natives of that country also, where
they grew up and were married, established their home and spent their
lives. Both the father and grandfather of our subject were blacksmiths by
trade. Neither of them ever came to America.
Nicholas Potter, of this sketch, who was one of seven sons, spent his
boyhood in his native land and there received his education in the common
schools. In 1853, when nineteen years of age, he emigrated to the United
States, as did so many of his countrymen at that period. His first four
years in the New World were spent in New York and New Jersey. In 1857 he
came on to the interior, locating at Jefferson City, Missouri, where he
finished learning the blacksmith's trade, a rudimentary knowledge of which
he had gained under his father in the old country. After remaining there
some time he went to Glasgow, this state, for about a year and a half, and
in 1860 came to Little York, near Springfield, Greene county, and began
working at his trade. When the war broke out he enlisted in the Home
Guards, June 11, 1861, and fought in the great battle of Wilson's Creek,
August 10th of that year, after which he was honorably discharged, but he
continued with the Union army, following his trade of farmer, until July
1, 1865. After the war he returned to Greene county and worked at his
trade in Springfield a few years, locating in Little York in 1867, and in
1873 located in Brookline Station, upon the completion of the Frisco
railroad to that point, and here he has since resided, maintaining a
blacksmith shop up to a few years ago, when the infirmities of old age
made it necessary for him to give up active life. He is now eighty years
old, but is comparatively hale and hearty. His shop was always a popular
one, and his patrons came from all over this section of the country. Mr.
Potter also, owns eighty acres of good land in Brookline township.
Mr. Potter was married, March 26, 1866, to Louisa Philips, a daughter of
William Philips, a prosperous farmer near Brookline, Greene county, where
she grew to womanhood and received a common school education. She is one
of eleven children.
A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Potter, John, whose birth occurred in 1867.
He is now in the employ of the Frisco railroad, with which he has been
connected since 1891; he married Jane Stuldley, of Brookline, and they
have three children, two sons and a daughter. A daughter was. also born to
Nicholas Potter and wife, Mary Ellen, whose death occurred at the age of
Politically Mr. Potter is a Republican, and religiously he and his wife
belong to the Baptist church.
W. C. POTTER. In a brief sketch of any living citizen it is difficult to
do him exact and impartial justice, not so much, however, for lack of
space or words to set forth the familiar and passing events of his
personal history, as for want of the perfect and rounded conception of his
whole life, which grows, develops and ripens, like fruit, to disclose its
true and best flavor only when it is mellowed by time. Daily contact with
the man so familiarizes us with his many virtues that we ordinarily
overlook them and commonly underestimate their possessor. Nevertheless,
while the man passes away, his deeds of virtue live on, and will in due
time bear fruit and do him the justice which our pen fails to record.
There are, however, a number of elements in the life record of W. C.
Potter, president of the Bank of Fair Grove and one of the most
progressive agriculturists and representative citizens of Greene county,
that even now serve as examples well worthy of emulation, and his scores
of friends and acquaintances are not unappreciative of these. He is one of
the leading native citizens of this section of the state, and here he has
been content to spend his life, which has already reached the Psalmist's
specified outpost of three score and ten, and during that long period he
has done much toward the general development of the country, which he has
seen reclaimed from the wilderness and transformed into a splendid
agricultural section. For he is a scion of one of the earliest pioneers of
southwestern Missouri, his parents having located here, "far from the
maddening crowd's ignoble strife," " like the "rude forefathers" in Gray's
Elegy, over three-quarters of a century ago.
Mr. Potter was born September 18, 1844, in Dallas county, Missouri. He is
a son of Benjamin T. and Sarah (Adams) Potter. The father was born in
Tennessee, June 15, 1815, and died in Texas, December 16, 1891; the mother
was born in Virginia, in May, 1820, and died August 4, 1874, in Greene
county, Missouri. These parents spent their childhood in the East and
received limited educations in the old-time schools. When a mere boy B. T.
Potter and his elder brother, Col. Tom Potter, emigrated to Missouri in
1828, and were the first settlers in Dallas county (then Crawford county),
locating there about the time the Fulbrights emigrated to Greene county.
B.T. Potter spent his early life in Dallas county, clearing and improving
a farm. He and Sarah Adams were married in Greene county in 1838. In 1860
he was one of two men in the township where he was living to vote for
Abraham Lincoln. However, in later life he was a Democrat. He reared his
family on his farm in Dallas county, there being twelve in number, namely:
Elizabeth Jane is living; Louise Ann and John W. are deceased; W.C. of
this sketch; Lewis and Clark twins, are deceased; Martha is the wife of A.
J. Hankin; Josephine is deceased; Benjamin F., Napoleon D., D.L. and C. L.
are all living.
W.C. Potter, of this review, grew to manhood in the old homestead in
Dallas county, where he worked hard when a boy. He had little opportunity
of obtaining an education, partly because of lack of schools and partly
because of the interruption of the Civil war. However, he has made up for
this deficiency in later years by contact with the world and by wide
miscellaneous home reading, and is a fine type of the successful self-made
man. He remained in Dallas county until 1881, having devoted his attention
to trading in live stock, cattle and mules especially. In that year he
purchased the fine farm where he now resides, the place then consisting of
three hundred and twenty acres, known as the old Adams farm. During his
residence here of thirty-three years he has made many important
improvements, and having prospered, is now owner of over six hundred acres
of valuable and productive land in this vicinity, all well fenced and
properly improved, and he has long carried on general farming and stock
raising on an extensive scale. His farm ranks with the best in the county
in every respect. He has an attractive, substantial two-story stone
residence, modern in its appointments and elegantly furnished, a place
where he can spend the "twilight of his years" in comfort and happiness.
He has a large number of convenient and well arranged outbuildings, in
fact, everything about his place denotes thrift and prosperity. He built
his handsome residence in 1888 of stone quarried from his own lands. This
home is known to the many friends of the family as a place of
old-fashioned hospitality and good cheer. He has continued to handle
annually large numbers of live stock of various grades,and there is no
better judge of live stock in the county than Mr. Potter.
Mr. Potter has been president of the Bank of Fair Grove, near which
village his farm lies, since its organization in 1905, and its pronounced
success has been due for the most part to his conservative, honest and
able management. It is regarded as one of the sound and safe banking
institutions of southwestern Missouri, and a general banking business is
carried on. Its capital stock is ten thousand dollars. J. W. B. Appleby is
cashier and H. E. Gault is assistant cashier. All three of these gentlemen
well known about Fair Grove and they have the confidence of the patrons of
the bank to the fullest extent.
Mr. Potter was married December 30, 1886. in Greene county, to Emma
Anthis, who was born in Madison county, Illinois, January 28, 1856. She is
a daughter of George and Maria (Ellis) Anthis, the father born in Indiana
in 1828, and died in Alton, Illinois; December 25, 1898; the mother was
born in Delaware in 1830, and died in Springfield, Missouri, October 26,
1911. These parents were married January 30, 1851, in Madison county,
Illinois, where Mr. Anthis devoted his active life to farming until
1876,when he removed to Greene county, Missouri. His family consisted of
eight children, namely: Frances E., deceased; Wesley, deceased; Emma, wife
of our subject; Hiram, deceased; Stephen; Morton; Anna, wife of J.
Ferguson, and Ida, widow of J. S. Reed.
Mrs. Potter grew to womanhood in Illinois, where she received a good
education and she taught school a year in that state, and after coming
with her parents to Greene county, Missouri, taught six years in the
schools here, Prof. J. Fairbanks being superintendent of schools at that
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Potter has been without issue.
Politically, Mr. Potter is a Democrat, and although he has always been
deeply interested in the public affairs of his township and county, as
well as state and national, he has never held public office, being
essentially a home and business man. Fraternally, he belongs to the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a charter member of Lodge No. 387, at
Fair Grove, in which he has passed all the chairs. His wife is a charter
member of the Rebekahs at Fair Grove, and they both belong to the Baptist
church at that place and are liberal supporters of the same.
Mr. Potter is a splendid example of the virile, broad-minded man of
affairs, who has always believed in doing well whatever is worth doing at
all, a man of keen discernment and sound judgment and at the same time a
follower of the principles embodied in the Golden Rule in all his
relations with his fellow men, and therefore be enjoys their confidence
and good will.
WILLIAMSON HENRY FRANKLIN POTTER. One of Greene county's progressive
farmers and well known men in public affairs is Williamson Henry Franklin
Potter, of Washington township. He has succeeded in agricultural affairs
partly because he has been willing to apply himself assiduously to his
vocation and partly because he has adopted modern methods of husbandry
whenever practicable. He is a worthy scion of one of the prominent old
families of this section of the state and here he has been content to
spend his life. He has assisted in the wonderful improvement of the
locality that has taken place here during the past half century. A man of
fine foresight he has ever manifested faith in the future of his native
Mr. Potter was born in Greene county, Missouri, May 7, 1850. He is a son
of Henry D. and Nancy (Myra) Potter. The father was born in Tennessee,
March 22, 1810, there grew to manhood and received a common school
education and married. He spent his boyhood days on a farm. He came to
Missouri in 1845 in wagons, locating in Greene county, where he bought
forty acres of land, later adding one hundred and sixty acres, owning a
fine farm of two hundred acres at the time of his death. He cleared most
of it and, carried on general farming successfully. His death occurred on
his home farm here, in June, 1875. Politically he was a Republican. His
wife was a native of Tennessee where she grew up on a farm and received a
common school education. She was a very industrious woman, spun and wove
cloth for clothing for her family. She often told of the hardships they
encountered on the tedious journey from Tennessee. She often raised the
cotton herself which she later spun and made into garments for her
household. She often worked all day and far into the night. She was a
worthy member of the Presbyterian church. She died on the homestead here,
about a month after her husband died. To these parents seven children were
born, namely: William R. died in Tennessee; Mary Ann died about the close
of the Civil war; Mrs. Margaret Jane Watts is living at Rogersville,
Missouri; she has been twice married, first, to James K. Kelley, who was a
soldier in the Civil war, but returned from the front on account of
sickness and died on his farm. The next child is Mrs. Sarah Ellen Watts,
deceased; Mrs. Martha Pickle lives at Rogersville; Mrs. Amanda S. Watts
also lives at Rogersville. Margaret, Sarah and Amanda married brothers,
named Watts, and Williamson H. F., of this sketch.
Our subject grew to manhood on the home farm, and he received his early
education in the common schools. He has followed farming all his life, and
is now living on a part of the farm on which he was reared. He remained
with his parents until he was twenty-one years of age, when he married
Amanda E. Pickle, then went to farming for himself. At first he entered
forty acres of land from the government, worked hard and managed well and
later added one hundred and twenty acres to this, cleared about eighty
acres and made the necessary improvements on his land, such as building a
cozy home, a good barn and erecting proper fences. He has one of the
largest barns in the community and other convenient outbuildings. Fifteen
acres of his land is in timber. He has been very successful as a general
farmer and makes a specialty of raising Percheron horses and Jersey cows.
In 1890 he went to Half Way, Polk county, Missouri, and entered the
mercantile business where he enjoyed a very good trade, and while there
was appointed postmaster. After spending two years there he returned to
his farm in Greene county. He went into the hardware business in Palmetto
about a year later and conducted a store there two years and met with fair
success. He then engaged in the marble business at Henderson, Webster
county, for three years. In 1900 he was elected a judge of the Greene
county court, during McKinley's administration, and served one term with
entire satisfaction to all concerned. Returning to his farm in Washington
township he has since devoted his attention exclusively to general farming
and stock raising.
Mrs. Potter was born in Tennessee, February 4, 1856, and when four years
of age came to Missouri with her parents, making the journey in wagons.
The family settled at Palmetto, Greene county, where Mrs. Potter grew to
womanhood and received a common school education. She is a daughter of
Jacob B. and Malissa (Holt) Pickle. Her father devoted his life to farming
and became owner of an excellent place of two hundred acres. Politically
he was a Republican, and was a member of the Methodist church. His death
occurred on his farm at the age of about eighty years. His wife was a
native of Tennessee, his native state, and there they grew to maturity,
received such educational advantages as the early-day schools afforded and
were married there. She was a member of the Presbyterian, church. Here
death occurred on the home farm in Greene county.
To Mr. and Mrs. Potter seven children have been born, namely: Mrs. Mary A.
Burris lives at Half Way, Missouri, where her husband, J. B. Burris, who
was in the mercantile business, died in the spring of 1914; Jefferson H.
is farming in Polk county; Mrs. Nora M. Pursselley lives in Springfield;
George L. lives in Greene county; Opal lives at home and teaches school in
Greene county; Willie lives at home, and Ellis, born June 30, 1887, died
November 11, 1887.
Politically, Mr. Potter is a Republican. Fraternally, he belongs to the
Woodmen of the World, the Masonic Order and the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows. He has been an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church
for a period of forty-three years. He is influential in the affairs of his
community, is widely known and has always borne an excellent reputation.
WILLIAM P. POWELL. A gentleman of warm, sympathetic impulses, liberal and
generous, William P. Powell, assistant foreman of the reclamation
department of the South Side Frisco shops, Springfield, is a young man
whom everyone, who has ever known him personally, likes and speaks well
of. His manners are easy in social intercourse, with high conceptions of
morality and honest, fraternal living. All these commendable traits,
together with the fact that he has achieved such notable success in his
field of endeavor at such an early age would augur for him a bright future
in railroad service.
Mr. Powell was born at Saint Mary's, Sainte Genevieve county, Missouri,
October 10, 1884. He is a son of Elisha T. Powell and a grandson of
William Powell, a large tobacco grower of Kentucky in the early days. The
father of our subject was born at Henderson, Kentucky, where he grew up,
attended school and spent his life, engaged in raising, tobacco of a high
grade and on an extensive scale. Later in life he removed to Sainte
Genevieve county, Missouri, and established the family home. For some time
he operated a cooperage business at Jackson, this state. The latter years
of his life were spent in retirement at De Soto, this state, where he died
at the age of fifty-seven years, and was buried there. Politically, he was
a Democrat and he belonged to the Methodist Episcopal church. The mother
of the subject of this sketch was known in her maidenhood as Della Van
Winkle, and she was born at Jefferson City, Missouri, where she grew up
and was educated, and she is now making her home in Springfield and is
fifty years old. To these parents only two children were born, a daughter
dying in infancy, and William P., of this sketch.
Our subject received his education in the common and high schools at De
Soto, Missouri. After leaving school he went to Texas and became a clerk
in the post office at the town of Brownwood, having taken the civil
service examination for the same. Later he was for one year in the United
States mail service in that state. He then came to Springfield, Missouri,
in 1902, and took a position as helper in the blacksmith shops of the
Frisco railroad, in the North Side shops, under John French, who was
foreman there for eighteen months. Our subject then went with the United
Iron Works in this city as blacksmith helper, where he remained nine
months, then took a position in the Schmook Machine Foundry Company here
as blacksmith, later taking a position in the South Side Frisco shops as
blacksmith helper, but returned to the Schmook foundry as blacksmith, then
came to the South Side Frisco shops as blacksmith, in 1913, and for some
time he has been assistant foreman of the blacksmith shop in the
reclamation department of these shops, and has given his usual high-grade
service and satisfaction.
Mr. Powell has remained single. Politically, he is a Democrat. He belongs
to the Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of Pythias and the
International Brotherhood of Blacksmith Helpers. Religiously, he is a
member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
L. W. PRESTON. L. W. Preston was born in Boyle county, Kentucky, July 13,
1860. He is a son of Francis A. and Mary (Sedore) Preston, both natives of
Kentucky, the father born in 1832, and his death occurred in Springfield,
Missouri, February 11, 1908. The mother was born in 1834, and her death
occurred in this city on March 16, 1908. They thus ran a pretty even race
on the highway of life, and were regarded by all who knew them as A fine
old couple, hospitable, neighborly and likeable in every respect. They
grew to maturity in Kentucky and received common school educations there.
They were married near Nicholasville that state. Mr. Preston learned the
blacksmith's trade in his youth, at which he became quite expert and which
he followed all his life. He removed with his family from Boyle county,
Kentucky, to Springfield, Missouri, in 1880, and here he followed his
trade until his death. Politically, he was a Democrat. He belonged to the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His family consisted of eight children,
three of whom are still living, namely: Nettie, Belle, Katherine and
Bettie are all deceased; L. W., of this review; William, deceased; James
L. lives in Springfield; and Edward N. also lives in this city.
L. W. Preston was twenty years of age when he left Kentucky. There he had
grown up and received a common school education. When he first came here
he worked for Jess & Sturdy in their carriage works for a while, and in
1884 he and his father opened a carriage and blacksmith shop at the
present location, corner of Pickwick street and Patton alley, and it is
thus the oldest established business of its kind in Springfield, is also
one of the best and most favorably known. The firm's large, substantial,
two-story brick building is modernly equipped with every appliance for
turning out high-grade work, and a specialty is made of manufacturing
wagons, but auto and carriage painting and general carriage repairing are
done, and rubber tires are handled. Our subject learned the business under
his father starting in with him when our subject was twenty-one years of
age, and they worked together until the father's death. Only the best
grade of material is handled by the firm, and only skilled workmen are
employed. Prompt and first-class work is Mr. Preston's aim.
We quote the following from the Springfield Leader, under date of December
18, 1911: "One of the best known and most reliable establishments of its
character in the city of Springfield is the L. W. Preston Carriage
Company. L. W. Preston is the proprietor and manager of this concern, and
he has been in the carriage manufacturing business since 1884 at his
present stand. He is thoroughly conversant with all the details of the
business, and has built up a large and flourishing trade. Mr. Preston is
prepared to do all kinds of carriage repairing. He has four departments,
the woodshop and the smithing departments being located on the ground
floor, the painting and trimming departments on the second floor of his
large establishment. He makes a specialty of manufacturing high-class
delivery wagons, and has had quite a run on these in this vicinity. All
work is under the immediate supervision of L. W. Preston, and is looked
after by him in the most thorough and conscientious manner. Nothing but A
No. 1 material is used in all work. Besides the work mentioned, Mr.
Preston has built up an extensive trade on rubber tires; he also does all
kinds of auto painting. His telephone number is 954."
Mr. Preston was married on March 20, 1890, in Springfield, to Eva E.
Follett. She was born on March 17, 1869, in Michigan, and she is a
daughter of ______ and Sarah A. (Orcutt) Follett. The mother was twice
married. Mrs. Preston was brought to Springfield, Missouri, when young,
and here she received her education in the high school. Her stepfather
died soon after the family located in Springfield.
The union of our subject and wife has been without issue. The pleasant
Preston residence is on Cherry street.
Politically, Mr. Preston is a Democrat. Fraternally, he belongs to the
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
ISAAC PRICE. One of the oldest employees of the St. Louis & San Francisco
Railroad Company is Isaac Price, foreman of the paint department in the
South Side shops, Springfield. It is a significant fact that he has been
continuously on the payroll of this company for a period of forty-five
years. That would indicate that he is a man of unusual skill, industry and
faithfulness. Although but a small boy during the great war between the
states, he desired to do what he could for his country, and not hardy
enough to carry a heavy musket and other accoutrements of a regular field
soldier, he served as bugler for the artillery.
Mr. Price was born at Pelham, Grundy county, Tennessee, September 17,
1846. He is a son of William and Matilda (Meeks) Price, both natives of
Tennessee, where they grew to maturity, attended the old-time schools and
were married, establishing their home at Pelham. The father was a
blacksmith by trade. Taking a part in public affairs, he was elected
sheriff of Grundy county, his native state, and served in that office for
many years. Later he removed to Rockport, Arkansas, where he followed
blacksmithing for a short time, and there his death occurred in 1861, when
only thirty years of age, and he was buried at that place. His widow
subsequently came to Missouri, and died at Pacific in July, 1914, at the
advanced age of eighty-seven years, having survived her husband over a
half century. To William Price and wife six children were born, three sons
and three daughters, namely: George, now deceased, was a locomotive
engineer on the Frisco; William, who resides in Springfield, is a Frisco
engineer; Mary married Charles Hacker, deceased, who was a car repairer in
St. Louis; Bettie, deceased, was the wife of John McGoan, also deceased;
Isaac of this sketch, and one who died in infancy. John Price, paternal
grandfather of these children, was a millwright by trade and lived at
Isaac Price spent his boyhood in his native community and there received a
limited education in the common schools, also attended school at Rockport,
Arkansas, for a while, but left school at a tender age, went to St. Louis
and enlisted in the Federal service, in 1863, as bugler, in Company M,
Second Missouri Light Artillery, with which he remained until the close of
the war in 1865, seeing considerable active service, and after the war he
also served in the army of the West against the hostile Indians. He was
honorably discharged and mustered out in St. Louis, December 29, 1865.
After his career in the army he followed the carpenter's trade about a
year, then in 1867, began learning the painter's trade in the Missouri
Pacific railroad shops at St. Louis, under a Mr. Langley. Remaining with
that road until 1870 he began work at Pacific, Missouri for the Frisco
Road, as car painter. Remaining there until this road opened shops in
Springfield, now known as the North Side shops, he was sent here and
worked as a painter foreman until July, 1909, in which year he was
transferred to the new shops as foreman painter. He worked there until
April 15, 1914, when he was sent to the South Side shops as painter
foreman, which position he occupies at this writing.
Mr. Price owns a small farm of thirty-five acres in Greene county and a
good residence on the National Boulevard, Springfield. He was married in
1872 to Margaret Maugan, a daughter of Thomas and Mary Maugan, and to
their union the following children were born, namely: Thomas, a sign
painter in Springfield, is in business for himself; William is chief of
the Springfield fire department; Annie married Connie Jones, who has long
been in the employ of the Springfield Traction Company; Laura is single
and lives at home; Nellie married William Burks, a conductor on the New
Orleans, Texas & Mexico railroad, and they live in Kingsville, Texas. John
died in infancy.
Politically, Mr. Price is a Democrat. He belongs to the North Side post of
the Grand Army of the Republic. He holds membership in the Improved Order
of Red Men, and his family belongs to the Catholic church.
THOMAS W. PRICE. One would find it necessary to search long and far to
find a farm kept in better condition or managed under more up-to-date
methods than that of Thomas W. Price of Taylor township, Greene
county--the place on which he has spent his life. He has not only worked
hard and persistently in keeping everything in its proper place, but has
been a student of local conditions and has read such literature as
pertains to twentieth century methods of husbandry, so that he has been
enabled to reap just reward for his pains and labors from year to year.
Mr. Price was born here on July 14, 1871. He is a son of John H. and Mary
(Calwell) Price. The father was born in Russell county, Virginia, July 19,
1822, and was reared there on a farm and received a common school
education. The mother of our subject was born in Tazewell county,
Virginia, December 17, 1830. She was brought to Missouri when a young girl
by her parents, the family locating in Greene county, where she attended
school, and here she married Mr. Price in 1868. Her death occurred on the
home farm in Taylor township, July 13, 1899. John H. Price was fourteen
years of age when, in 1836, he immigrated with his parents from the Old
Dominion to Greene county, Missouri. His father entered a farm from the
government which he developed. Here John H. Price worked amid pioneer
environments, and in 1853, during the gold fever days, he and his brother
drove five hundred and twenty-five head of cattle overland to California,
reaching their destination with four hundred and ninety head. A loss of
only thirty-five head from this large herd over the wild plains of the
vast west and during a trip of some six months was indeed a remarkable
feat. He was successful in his venture to the far West, and returned home
in due time and turned his attention to general farming. When the Civil
war came on he joined the Home Guards in 1861, and was made assistant
inspector general of General McBride's brigade of the Federal army, and in
September, 1861, he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel for meritorious
services. He had command of the post at Lebanon until October of that
year. He was in command of the State Guards at Springfield when Gen. John
C. Fremont marched his great army to that place, and it was against
Colonel Price's men that Major Zagonyi made his famous charge in October,
1861, just west of the city. Colonel Price was captured in Taney county
and for a brief period was held a prisoner at the government arsenal in
St. Louis, finally being exchanged and. rejoining the army under Gen.
Sterling Price at Osceola, St. Clair county. He saw considerable hard
service and was an efficient and brave officer. He fought at the battle of
Pea Ridge and was captured again and sent to the Union prison at Alton,
Illinois, where he was held for six months. In June, 1863, he rejoined the
Confederate army and was made adjutant of Colonel Cornell's Missouri
regiment. In August, 1863, he was appointed inspector general of Freeman's
brigade of Marmaduke's division, which position he held with honor and
success until the close of the war. Returning home after his brilliant
military career he resumed farming and was owner of two hundred and
fifteen acres, on which he carried on general farming and stock raising in
an able manner. He was well known and influential in his locality, and was
a man of fine personal character. His death occurred on April 7, 1889, in
Henderson, Missouri. He had but two children, namely: Mrs. Lydia Foster,
who lives in Springfield, and. Thomas W., of this sketch.
Thomas W. Price was reared on the home farm, where he worked hard when
growing up, and he received his education in the common schools. He worked
the farm for his father until the latter's death. He has remained on the
home place, which consists of one hundred and thirty-eight acres at the
present time, this being his part of the original. He has kept it well
improved and carefully cultivated and the buildings in good repair.
Mr. Price was married on October 15, 1902, to May Wells, who was born in
Webster county, Missouri, December 4, 1880, and was reared on a farm there
and received her education in the common schools. She is a daughter of
John D. and Elizabeth (Compton) Wells, both of whom still live in Webster
county and are actively engaged in farming. Four children have been born
to our subject and wife, namely: Mary, John H., Marion and Mildred.
Politically, Mr. Price is a Democrat. He has been justice of the peace in
Taylor township for four years, giving eminent satisfaction. He belongs to
the Modern Woodmen and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
HENRY PROSERPI. It is not strange that the little republic of Switzerland
should lose many of ts enterprising citizens who come to the United States
and establish their homes, for our institutions are similar to their own
and they do not have such a hard time adjusting themselves here as do the
emigrants from other countries of Europe, born and reared under conditions
which are just about the antithesis of our own. The ports of entry of
America have ever been freely opened to the Swiss, and having thus
extended to them a hearty hand of welcome, they have been coming to our
shores for two centuries or more, and their substantial homes now adorn
the towns, hills and plains in every state in the Union. They have been
loyal to our institutions and have proven to be splendid citizens in every
respect. Thus they have aided us in pushing forward the civilization of
the western hemisphere and we have helped them in many ways, giving them
every opportunity, which they have not been slow to grasp, being people of
thrift, tact and energy.
One of the worthy class mentioned in the preceding paragraph is Henry
Proserpi, who is engaged in cement contracting in Springfield, his birth
having occurred in Switzerland on October 25, 1855. He is a son of
Balydsour and Christina (White) Proserpi, both these parents being born in
Canton Fazeno, Switzerland, and there they grew to maturity, were educated
in the common schools and were married and they spent their lives in their
native country, the death of the father occurring in 1873, and the mother
passed away in 1871. They were the parents of ten children, of whom Henry,
of this sketch, was the youngest. Six of these children still survive.
Henry Proserpi grew to manhood in Switzerland and there received a public
school education, which was somewhat limited, and he may be classed with
our self-made men. He emigrated from his native land when he was
twenty-five years of age, in 1881, coming to the United States and
penetrating the interior to Springfield, Missouri, arriving here with but
seven dollars and fifty cents as his sole capital and unable to speak a
word of English. But he had a trade and plenty of grit and determination,
so it was not long until he was on his feet. He began working at the
cement and stone business when fourteen years of age, and he has followed
the same ever since, mastering the various ins and outs of the same when
but a boy. He started on his own account here in 1884 and has become
widely known in Greene county in his special line of endeavor. He has done
numerous big jobs for the Frisco railroad, and among the notable larger
jobs which he has had was the Landers Theater, on which he did all the
cement work, and the auditorium at Drury College. He is known to be a man
of advanced ideas and does his work promptly, neatly and honestly. He has
been very successful in a financial way.
Mr. Proserpi was married on December 20, 1884, to Belle Hopkins, a
daughter of james Hopkins, a farmer of Phelps county, Missouri, and she is
one of a family of twelve children, six sons and six daughters. Mrs.
Proserpi's father was from Tennessee. He died in Phelps county, and the
mother was Fanny Morrow and was born in Indiana. She is still living in
Phelps county, Missouri.
Seven children, two sons and five daughters, have been born to Mr. and
Mrs. Proserpi, namely: Rosa Gertrude, born on November 2, 1885, married
Clyde Sperry, a real estate and insurance man of Springfield, and they
have one child, Harold Eugene Sperry; Daisy Christina, born on November 8,
1887, is at home; Joseph Franklin, born on November 6, 1889, died in
infancy; Jessie May, born on November 6, 1890, died in infancy; Charles
Ernest, born on January 27, 1894; Georgia F., born on November 28, 1897,
and Mamie A., born on Februar 21, 1900.
Politically Mr. Proserpi is a Democrat. Fraternally he belongs to the
Modern Woodmen of America and the Woodmen of the World. He and his family
attend the Baptist church. Their home is at 2133 Benton avenue.
AUGUST F. PRUGGER. It was the great philosopher Bacon who admonished us
thus: "Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for
granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider."
Whether August F. Prugger, foreman of the motor car room in the North Side
Frisco shops, Springfield, was made acquainted with the above advice when
a boy or not, he has always followed the proper course in his wide
miscellaneous reading, believing with our own Benjamin Franklin that
"reading makes a wise man," although our subject does not claim to be
such. However, those who know him well have observed that he is well
informed and is a close observer of everything that is going on about him.
His honored father before him was such a man and evidently transmitted to
his son many of his commendable characteristics.
Mr., Prugger was born August 18, 1863, at Whitewater, Wisconsin. He is a
son of Joseph Prugger, who was born in Bavaria, Germany, where he grew to
manhood, received a good education and there learned the trade of cabinet
maker under his father, becoming an expert in the same. He remained in the
Fatherland until he was twenty-nine years of age, then, about 1859, came
to America in an old-fashioned sailing vessel, which required many weeks
to make the long voyage. He landed in New York, and from there made a tour
of the Southern states, finally locating in Walworth county, Wisconsin,
where he continued his trade of cabinet maker, also worked at the: Esterly
Reaper Works, and later removed to, Indianapolis, Indiana, where he worked
at cabinet making for sixteen years. He then went to Illinois and worked
at his trade in Mattoon and Marshall. We next find him in West Superior,
Wisconsin, where he lived retired, later removing to. Milwaukee and made
his home with one of his sons, dying there in 1910, at the age of
eighty-six years, and was buried in that city.
The mother of our subject was known in her maidenhood as Mary Anna
Ostermeyer. She was born in Bavaria, Germany, where she spent her girlhood
and attended school, emigrating to America with her parents when fifteen
years of age. The family located first in Milwaukee, later removing to
Jefferson, Wisconsin, and there she resided until her marriage, at the age
of eighteen. She is now living with her daughter, Theresa Prugger, and is
now about seventy-six years of age.
Four children were born to Joseph Prugger and wife, three sons and one
daughter, namely: Albert G. is employed by the Pawling & Harnishfeger
Electric Crane Works at Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Frank, a contractor and
builder of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was for some time vice-president of the
Milwaukee Construction Company; August F., of this sketch; and Theresa,
who has remained single and lives in Milwaukee, was connected with the
knitting industries of Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and was long
head forelady and very expert in her line; she is now connected with a
large wholesale fur house.
The paternal grandfather of our subject was a well-to-do factory owner in
Bavaria, Germany, making cabinets, furniture, etc. He spent his life in
his native land.
August F. Prugger grew to manhood in Wisconsin and received a common
school education, leaving school when sixteen years of age, and began
working at the Esterly Coffin Works, but not taking to this line of
business he turned his attention to the manufacture of furniture and then
to machine work for the Esterly Harvester Works as machinist apprentice,
at Whitewater, Wisconsin. After serving his apprenticeship he worked as
journeyman for six years, then went to Beloit, Wisconsin, with the
Williams Engine Works, building stationary engines. He worked in the
Berlin Machine Works at Beloit, assembling sand paper machinery. On
January 28, 1891, he went to work for the St. Louis & Frisco Railroad
Company at Springfield, Missouri, and has been in constant service with
this company ever since. He first worked as machinist, keeping machinery
in repair, also worked in the pump department in the north side shops. He
had become familiar with millwright work while at Whitewater, Wisconsin.
At Beloit he helped install the machinery and worked there as millwright,
and he has been working at this line for the Frisco here many years. He
has installed machinery in many places over the Frisco System, such as Ft.
Scott, Memphis, Birmingham and other points. He was appointed foreman of
the north side shops about 1904, under Michael Carney, and he is now
foreman of the motor car shops there, having about fourteen hands under
his direction. Nearly all of the millwright work over the entire system is
under his direction. He is an expert in his line and faithful in the
discharge of his every duty.
Mr. Prugger was married in 1896 to Eva Sprohs, a daughter of John Sprohs,
a native of Germany, but now living in Springfield.
To our subject and wife four children have been born, namely: John Joseph
is a student in Conception College at Conception, Missouri; Clara,
Theresa, and Henry are all at home, the Prugger residence being on Summit
Mr. Prugger is independent in his political views. He is a member of the
Catholic church, and fraternally belongs to the Knights and Ladies of
Security and the Improved Order of Red Men.
WALTER L. PURSSELLEY. M. D. It is a pleasure to write the biography of a
man who has forced his way from the common ranks up the ladder of
professional success, having overcome obstacles that would have downed,
and does down, myriads of men of less sterling fiber. But this is just the
thing, that Dr. Walter L. Pursselley, physician and surgeon of
Springfield, has done, and he is therefore entitled to his success and to
the respect that is accorded him by a wide acquaintance in Greene county.
He infuses his personality, courage and conscience into his work, is
active at his books during every spare moment, is determined and has the
strength of will for achievement. Habits of systematized thought, study
and reflection have invigorated his mind, and he has clear discernments of
his profession, comprehensive of its principles, and, to points obscure to
many of his professional brethren, the genius of their application. He is
a good doctor, a safe and competent adviser in consultation and with a
constantly growing practice, to which he applies himself with faithful and
conscientious zeal, no oracle, such as the ancient Greeks applied to when
in doubt of the future, is required to forecast his professional success
in years to come.
Doctor Pursselley was born in Greene county, Missouri, August 30, 1866. He
is a son of William and Sarah (Beasley) Pursselley. The father devoted his
life, to general farming, retiring from active work a few years prior to
his death which occurred at the age of seventy-three years. During the
Civil war he was a soldier in the Union Army, having enlisted in the
Eighth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, under Colonel Lisenby, and was in
active service three and one-half years, serving his country faithfully.
Among the many engagements in which he participated was the battle of Pea
Ridge, Arkansas. The mother of our subject died at the age of sixty-three
years. The paternal grandfather, John Addison Pursselley, belonged to the
band of brave, sterling frontiersmen who pushed the borders of
civilization westward. He emigrated from Tennessee to Missouri in a very
early day, transporting his family and household effects by wagon over
rough roads and unbridged streams. Inheriting the same elements of the
pioneer adventurer, his son. William Pursselley, father of the Doctor,
joined the famous band of "forty-niners" and crossed the great western
plains to the gold fields of California. He had many thrilling escapes
from the hostile Indians of the West while en route, and he assisted in
recovering a herd of cattle which the red men had stolen from white
emigrants. The Pursselleys are of Scotch-Irish and German-American
Dr. Pursselley grew to manhood on the home farm and he received his early
education in the district schools and the Henderson Academy, at Henderson,
Missouri, lacking two months of graduating when he quit to take up
teaching. Ambitious to enter the medical profession when a young man, he
taught school six years in order to obtain funds to defray the expense of
a medical course. He entered the Missouri Medical College at St. Louis in
1894, and was graduated from that institution in 1897. Soon thereafter he
came to Springfield and began the practice of his profession, remaining
here ever-since, and enjoying a constantly growing practice as a general
practitioner, however, he has of late years devoted special attention to
surgery in which he seems to be especially gifted. He is generally known
to his friends as "the busy doctor," which may be interpreted to mean that
he does a large business.
Doctor Pursselley is one of seven children, five boys and two girls, both
girls being deceased, and subject being the eldest of family; William T.
W., John W., Clay W. and James W., all living in Polk county, farming,
except one, John W., who is in the milling business at Brighton, Missouri.
Doctor Pursselley is a member of the Greene County Medical Society, the
Southwest Missouri Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical Association
and the American Medical Association. Fraternally he belongs to the
Masonic Order, the Woodmen, Order of the Maccabees, Royal Neighbors and
many others. Politically, he is a Republican, and religiously, is a member
of Grace Methodist Episcopal, church.
Doctor Pursselley was married, December 26, 1898, to Nora M. Potter, of
Palmetto, Greene county, Missouri. She was born there in November, 1876,
was educated in the public schools and the Henderson Academy. She is a
daughter of Judge W. H. F. and Amanda (Pickle) Potter. The father is a
prominent citizen of Greene county, where he has long been active and
influential in political affairs, and is an earnest worker in the Masonic
Order, of which he is now chancellor. He held one term as county judge of
Greene county. He has devoted his life successfully to general farming,
but is now living in retirement. Mrs. Pursselley has the following
brothers and sisters: Mrs. Monnie Burris, of Bolivar, Polk county,
Missouri; Jefferson Potter, of Pleasant Hope, Polk county; George Potter,
who lives seven miles east of Springfield; Ople Potter, unmarried, of
Palmetto, Missouri, and Willie Dennis Potter, also living at Palmetto.
To Doctor Pursselley and wife one child has been born, Mary Pursselley,
whose birth occurred in Springfield, April 6, 1900. She is making an
excellent record in school, being in the eighth grade, and has nearly
finished the third grade in music in which she has decided talent.
MANSEL PUTMAN. The social, business and political history of this section
is filled with the deeds and doings of self-made men, and no man in the
pioneer period of Greene county was more deserving of the appellation than
was Mansel Putman, who has long been sleeping the sleep that knows no
waking, like the Scottish hero of "The Lady of the Lake," for Mr. Putman
marked out his own career in his youth and steadily followed it to the
final ending of his mortal career, his success having been attributed to
his earnest and persistent endeavor, and to the fact that he consistently
tried to follow the teachings of the "Golden Rule."
Mr. Putman was born on January 12, 1822, in Marshall county, Tennessee,
and there he grew to manhood and resided until 1842 when he immigrated to
Greene county, Missouri, at the age of twenty years, with his parents,
John and Polly (Garrett) Putman. The family located seven miles north of
Springfield, Where John Putman bought a claim on which he farmed until his
death, September 27, 1867, at the advanced age of eighty-four years. The
land was mostly in the rough, but he was a hard-working man and cleared
most of it. Politically he was a Benton Democrat, and religiously he was a
member of the Primitive Baptist church, being a member of the Zion
Minerva James, wife of Mansel Putman, was born on August 8, 1820, in
Madison county, Tennessee, and she and Mr. Putman were married February
15, 1849. She came to Greene county, Missouri, with her parents, Thomas
and Nancy (Gately) James, and her death occurred on the homestead farm in
this county, November 27, 1905. Mary Jane Putman was their only child. She
is the wife of Ammon Knighten, a sketch of whom appears on another page of
The death of Mansel Putman occurred on, November 9, 1895, on a farm in
Franklin township, where Mrs. Knighten was born and reared and has lived
all her life, having succeeded to the ownership of the homestead upon the
death of her mother in 1905. She was educated in the rural schools.
Politically, Mr. Putman was a Republican, and he was in sympathy with the
Union during the Civil war. He was a member of the Home Guards, and while
the war was in progress he was taken from his home and shot by a band of
General Price's soldiers, but he finally recovered from his wounds.
He belonged to the Union League and the Grange. He was a member of the
Cumberland Presbyterian church at Mt. Comfort. His wife also held
membership there, and they were both active in the affairs of the church,
liberal in their support of the same.
Mr. Putman was a very successful farmer and a highly, respected citizen.
He was one of a family of fourteen children, all now deceased but John G.
and Joseph Edward Putman. The former is engaged in farming in Franklin
township; he was born in Marshall county, Tennessee, and came with his
parents to Missouri in 1842. After devoting his active life to general
farming he is now living in retirement, and has reached the advanced age
of eighty-six years. His son, Seth Jerome Putman, operates the home farm.
John G. Putman has seven children, namely: Mrs. Mary C. Porter lives on a
farm in Greene county; one son died in infancy; Mary S., who was the wife
of William Clark, died in 1913; Mrs. Nellie Saltsgaver, Seth Jerome, Norma
Alice and Nancy Ellen.