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Biography of W. L. Stowers
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W. L. STOWERS. A popular resort for the traveling public and people of this city is the West Plains Hotel, which was first opened in 1883, and is conducted by W. L. Stowers, one of the prominent business men in the city. Mr. Stowers, who is a most genial and obliging host, was born in Marion County, Missouri, August 2, 1843, son of Samuel and America (Whaley) Stowers.
Samuel Stowers was born in Virginia in 18O5 to the union of Colman and Nancy (Conway) Stowers, natives of the Old Dominion. The grandfather came to Ralls County, Missouri, as early as 1825 and followed farming, but he was a manufacturer of machinery while residing in Virginia. He was one among the early pioneers of Missouri, and made his home in Ralls County until his death in 1853. He was with the old Whig party and was a prominent man in the county. His wife died in Ralls County about 1851 or 1852, and they were members of the old Ironside Baptist Church. Three daughters and two sons were born to them: Anna, Susan, Nellie, Thomas and Samuel. None of these are living.
Samuel Stowers, father of subject, was a young man when he came to this State, this being a year or so before his father came, and he settled in Ralls County and married Miss Whaley. From there they moved to Marion County, and there Mrs. Stowers died in 1847. Two years later Mr. Stowers emigrated overland to California and took his oldest son, Thomas Coleman Stowers, with him. He made the trip in about nine months, and he and son engaged in mining, meeting with good success and becoming owners of valuable claims. There Mr. Stowers made his home until his death in 1868. He was a Whig in politics, and while a resident of Ralls County, Missouri, held the office of assessor. Mr. Stowers was well known both in Ralls and Marion Counties, and for some time operated a mill in the latter county. He was large and portly, and a very pleasant man to meet. The children born to his marriage were: Anna B., wife of N. Glascock, of Ralls County, Missouri; Argaline died in California; William H. H., a teacher, died in California in 1870. He represented his county in the California Legislature two or three times, and had a very promising future; Preston W. died young; W. L., subject; and Nancy V., single, died in California. The mother of these children was a native of Bourbon County, Kentucky, and the daughter of Edward Whaley, who came from Kentucky to Missouri at an early day and located in Marion County, where he was a prosperous and well-to-do man, and one of the very earliest pioneers in that part of Missouri. He died in Marion County after a long and useful life. Edward Whaley was a civil engineer by profession and a very prominent man in his county.
Our subject was left motherless when four years of age, and he was reared principally by his grandfather and uncle. He attended the common schools of Marion County and later the McGree College, of Macon County, where he was busily engaged with his studies when the war broke out. After leaving college he engaged in work on the farm of his uncle, and in 1864 emigrated to Montana, where he engaged in mining for gold. For two years he followed this, met with success, and became the owner of some valuable mining claims, which he afterward developed. In 1866 he sold out and returned to Ralls County, where he was married the following year to Miss Bettie Maddox, of that county. Her parents, William and Lorinda (Withers) Maddox were early settlers of Ralls County, where the father followed agricultural pursuits. He was a Union man and Whig before the war, but afterward became a Democrat. He was a wealthy man and slave owner. Mr. Maddox is deceased, but his wife is still living, and is now eighty-eight years of age. Mrs. Stowers was born in Ralls County, Missouri.
After his marriage our subject engaged in farming, and after returning from Montana, resided in Ralls County from 1866 to 1881, when he moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he remained until 1883, his health being poor. From there he came to this city and embarked in the hotel business, which he has since continued. Outside the hotel business he and Joseph Knoerle own a fruit farm of 114 acres and he is connected with the West Plains and Howell County Building and Loan Association and the Missouri Savings and Loan Company, of St Louis. In politics Mr. Stowers is a Democrat and a strong man in his party. He and wife are connected with the Episcopal Church. They have had two daughters: Maggie O., now Mrs. E. J. Greene, of West Plains, and Lorinda E., wife of Joseph Knoerle, of West Plains. Mr. Knoerle is a commercial man and represents A. N. Shuster & Co., of St. Joseph. Elizabeth Doris is their only child. Mr. Stowers is a member of the K. of P., the A. O. U. W. and K. of H.
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