JOHN THOMAS POOL. This successful farmer and stock dealer of Howell County, Missouri, owes his nativity to Humphreys County, Tennessee, where he first saw the light in 1833.
His parents, Joel and Sarah Ann (Thomas) Pool, were worthy people, and the father died in Humphreys County, Tennessee, before the subject of this sketch was born. When he was about one year old, he was brought by his mother to Howell County, Missouri, after her marriage with Matthew A. McCammon, and in this section the rest of their lives were spent. They died some years after the close of the Civil War, worthy members of the Methodist Church. John Thomas Pool was the youngest of four children born to his parents: James Henry (deceased) was a farmer of Dallas County, Tex.; William died before the war, in Illinois; Martha Ellen became the wife of Levi Hedges, and during the war got separated from the rest of the family and died in southeast Missouri.
The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm, in Howell County, from his infancy, and all the schooling he ever received was one month and thirteen days, which was owing to the extreme newness of the country at the time his mother and stepfather located here, there being no schools to attend. When fifteen years old he began life for himself as a farm hand, but at the end of six months took up a claim in what is now Howell County, which he improved and cleared, and which he still owns. His sole possessions when he commenced for himself consisted of an ax and a gun, and he purchased with the money obtained for his six months’ labor a plow. The game which fell under the aim of his trusty rifle he sold, and was then enabled in time to purchase a yoke of steers; he then set vigorously to work on his farm, and his efforts were slowly but surely crowned with success.
He was first married in 1857 to Tryphene Brimhall, a daughter of Joseph and Rhoda Brimhall, who removed from Massachusetts to Shelby County, Illinois, in an early day, where they were married, after which they came to Howell County, Missouri, and died in this State. Mrs. Pool was born in Illinois and died in 1873, and on August 26, 1875, Mr. Pool wedded Nancy E., daughter of Rev. Thomas Wright Carpenter. She was born in Scott County, and has borne her husband the following children: John Thomas (deceased), William H. (deceased), James Edward, Nora May, Nellie E., Norvin C. (deceased), Bertha O. and Bertie O. were twins (the last mentioned is dead), Mary E., Lola E. and Bennie Pearl. Since his marriage Mr. Pool has made a home in Howell County, and is one of its most progressive and successful farmers. He has resided on his present farm of 357 acres, located two miles east of West Plains, which is one of the most fertile and well improved farms of the county, and in addition to this he has sufficient land to amount to 1,140 acres in all; all of which has been acquired through his own efforts. He is very extensively engaged in feeding and shipping live stock, and has found this to be a profitable employment. He is perhaps the oldest settler of the county, and during these many years he has seen the country grow from a wild and almost totally uninhabited region to a thickly peopled district, with thriving towns, villages and farms, and has done his share in bringing about this transformation. He is a member of Mt. Zion Lodge No. 327 of the A. F. & A. M. of West Plains, in which order he is an influential member and an active worker. He has been very successful in his business operations, not with-standing the disadvantages of a meager education, has grasped at every opportunity that has presented itself for bettering his financial condition, and during the early years of his life labored early and late to accumulate a competency. During the hunting season he would frequently make $16 a day with his gun and $300 during the season, and hunted rather for the profit than for the sport. When he was married he could neither read nor write, but his wife was a woman of considerable education and intelligence, and by her instructions he became a fair scholar.