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Luther Henry Waddle. One of the greatest influences existing in a community, and particularly in those localities removed from the larger cities, is that exerted by the newspaper. To it the people look for their information regarding questions of importance, and, in a large degree, their own stand is based upon that taken by it. It is therefore desirable that the newspaper of a community be in the hands of capable, reliable and right-thinking men, and in this respect Weir City, in Cherokee County, is particularly fortunate in that the Weir City Journal has as its editor and publisher Luther Henry Waddle, under whose management it is being conducted in a manner that will redound to the credit of the locality and the benefit of its people.
Mr. Waddle was born four miles north of Ash Grove, Greene County, Missouri, September 10, 1881, and is a son of Hon. J. D. L. and Elizabeth E. (Black) Waddle. In the family the blood of several races combine, English, French and Scotch, and the earliest settlement in this country was made in Kentucky, where members of the family were pioneers. Young Dee Waddle, the grandfather of Luther H., was born in 1820, in Carroll County, Northern Missouri, and died near Ash Grove, Missouri, in 1886. He was a school teacher and preacher by vocation, and traveled around to various communities, and became prominent in public life and political affairs, being a member of the Legislature of Arkansas at the time of the outbreak of the Civil war. He was one of those who believed in the preservation of the Union, and did all in his power to prevent Arkansas from seceding, but, failing in this, enlisted in the army of the North, and during his service acted in the capacity of clerk to his captain. He was nominated for Congress at Fayetteville, Arkansas, during the period of the war, but did not return to that state, the remainder of his life being passed in Missouri. He was a stanch republican and a man who was held in the highest esteem and respect in his community. Mr. Waddle married Miss Floyd, and the following children were born: J. D. L.; E. G., who is engaged in farming near Ash Grove, Missouri; Fannie, who is the wife of George Davis, a retired farmer of Wichita, Kansas; Mattie, who is the wife of Robert Leeper, a farmer near Ash Grove, Missouri; Elizabeth, unmarried, who is a writer of considerable note and lives near Ash Grove; and James O., who is a farmer and brilliant newspaper writer of near Ash Grove.
J. D. L. Waddle, father of Luther H., was born October 22, 1850, at Bowers Mills, Lawrence (then Greene) County, Missouri, and as a child was taken to near Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he resided until reaching the age of fifteen years, in the meantime securing a public school education. When he embarked in business it was as a handler of insurance, but subsequently turned his attention to the newspaper business, and, with his son, published the Advance, at Ash Grove, Missouri, for four years. While living in that state, Mr. Waddle became actively interested in republican politics. He is proud of the fact that he has always been a stanch supporter of the principles of the Grand Old Party, and was one of the stand-pat variety until his death, December 9, 1916. While at Ash Grove he was elected justice of the peace, an office which he filled for several years. He was also elected county judge, an office which he held for two terms, or eight years, and was then deputy county clerk of Greene County for eight years. He always was a believer in good roads, and it was he who originated the system of working the county’s prisoners on the roads. Greene County now has one of the best systems of highways to be found in Missouri. On September 1, 1906, Judge Waddle came to Weir City, Kansas, and purchased the Weir City Journal, which he assisted in editing until June, 1916. Afterward he lived in retirement until his death. He owned a half interest in the paper. This organ was established in 1888, under the name of the Tribune, and is a republican sheet, circulating in Cherokee and the surrounding counties. The plant, with its modern machinery and equipment, is situated on Washington, corner of Pine Street, and in addition to its newspaper presses has a fine job printing department. Judge Waddle is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is fraternally affiliated with Ash Grove Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Camp No. 714, Modern Woodmen of America, of Weir City. Judge Waddle married Miss Elizabeth E. Black, who was born in 1850, in Greene County, Missouri, and died at Weir City, Kansas, in February, 1914, and they had four children: Roxie E., who died at the age of ten years; a boy who died in infancy; Luther Henry, of this notice; and Ella L., who married William Shannon, a railroad man of Nevada, Missouri.
Luther Henry Waddle was educated in the schools of Springfield, Missouri, where he attended the high school, but left in 1900 four months prior to his graduation. At that time he entered the newspaper business at Ash Grove, beginning to publish the Advance, and two years later was joined by his father in this enterprise. In 1904 Mr. Waddle gave up newspaper life for a time, being for two years engaged in farming in Missouri, but in 1906, on coming to Weir City, began editing the Weir City Journal, with which he has been identified ever since. This has been developed into a strong and influential organ of the republican party, and a newspaper that is known for its reliability and sound worth. Under Mr. Waddle’s management its subscription list is showing a pleasing growth each year, and the merchants and professional men are showing their appreciation of Mr. Waddle’s efforts by good advertising support. The paper has always been a good booster for its community’s interests and those of the people and has been a valuable factor in the securing of civic improvements and general benefits.
Mr. Waddle is a stalwart republican and is prominent in the ranks of his party, having formerly served as precinct committeeman and now serving his second term as treasurer of the Republican Central Committee. He has been a member of the school board of Weir City for six years, and during the last year has occupied the office of president thereof. Fraternally he belongs to Weir City Camp, No. 714, Modern Woodmen of America, of which he is past consul. He is also an ex-member of the International Typographical Union, and belongs to the Weir City Commercial Club.
Mr. Waddle was married at Weir City, Missouri, in June, 1902, to Miss Ella Neergaard, daughter of T. A. and Ella (Lybarger) Neergaard, the former of whom, a farmer, is deceased. Mrs. Waddle’s mother married again after her first husband’s death, and is now Mrs. B. M. Foust and resides near Elk City, Oklahoma. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Waddle; Lamar, born December 24, 1903, a freshman in the Weir City High School; and Vivian, born November 3, 1908, who attends the graded schools.