Collection: History of Greene County Missouri

History of Greene County Missouri

What is now known as southwest Missouri, substantially Greene County as organized in 1833, was formerly known as the Osage Country, being the home of the Indian tribe for which it was named. After the War of 1812 the Kickapoos made villages on the Pomme de Terre River, and near the present site of Springfield, leaving their name in that of Kickapoo Prairie, south of that place. The history of the region is peculiarly interesting as that of one of the most important purely American settlements made in the State. This dataset contains numerous biographies of leading citizens of Greene County during the 19th century – these biographies provide a biographical narrative to the history of Greene County Missouri.

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Biography of Henry Sheppard

Henry Sheppard, among the early people of Greene county, was the man who made and left the best impression. He was born in Cumberland county, New Jersey, on November 8th, 1821, of the seventh generation from the original settler of his name. His father was a quiet man of moderate means who gave to his sons what education he could in schools and at home taught them, by precept and by example, industry, self-reliance and truth. The mother was a deeply religious woman. Henry, the oldest son, an ambitious and independent boy supported himself from the age of fifteen. He was trained in business in an old-fashioned Philadelphia firm; and he learned well their lessons of judgment and labor. During these years of youth his chief recreation were a literary society and the volunteer fire company to which he belonged. Often after a hard day in the store he would run miles with his engine and work for hours at night, sometimes in stations of danger. A vent for his superabundant energy was necessary, and he found it in this innocent excitement. During this period he joined the church of Dr. Albert Barnes, whose influence on his life was great and good. Leaving Philadelphia with the savings of his salary and full credit on his late employers’ book, he went in 1843 to Camden, Ark., where he remained about...

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Biography of Hon T. A. Sherwood

Thomas Adiel Sherwood was born at Eatonton, in Putnam county, Georgia, June 2, 1834, where he spent his early life. His father, Rev. Adiel Sherwood, D.D., was a Baptist clergyman of great learning and prominence, who was born and reared at Fort Edward, in the State of New York. The family were of English extraction. Dr. Thomas Sherwood, and Andrew, his brother, immigrated to this country during its colonial period, from Nottinghamshire, England, and settled in Connecticut. Dr. Thomas Sherwood was the grandfather of Major Adiel Sherwood, who served in the war of the Revolution under Gen. George Washington, and was present with him at Valley Forge, and in several of the battles of that memorable war. Major Adiel Sherwood was the father of Rev. Doctor Adiel Sherwood, and grandfather of the subject of this sketch. In 1852 Rev. Doctor Sherwood, for several years president of Shurtleff College, and the author of several theological works, removed from Alton, Illinois, whither he had removed from Georgia, and settled at Cape Girardeau, in the State of Missouri, and with him came his son, Thomas Adiel, then a young man about 18 years of age. Young Sherwood had already acquired a good education at Mercer University, Georgia, which he completed at Shurtleff College, Alton, Illinois. After leaving college be studied law, occasionally teaching school, until he graduated at the Cincinnati, Ohio, Law...

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Biography of Rev. Augustus H. Tevis

The scholarly subject of this sketch is a native of Rush County, Indiana, born on his father’s farm, May 13, 1841, and was the ninth child of a family of three sons and seven daughters. His parents were Dr. Daniel H. and Phoebe (Scott) Tevis, the former having been a physician by profession,—a self-made man, who enjoyed a large and lucrative practice. He (Dr. Daniel H.) was born in Bracken county, Kentucky, and was quite a scholar as a linguist, being a proficient in both Latin and Greek. The elder Dr. Tevis died in 1858, and his wife in 1862, both of whom are buried in Rush county, Indiana. After his father’s death, the management of the extensive farming operations, embracing several large farms, left by him, all devolved on Augustus H., then but seventeen years old. In 1860 he entered Asbury University at Greencastle, Indiana, then under the control of Bishop Bowman. Early in the beginning of the civil troubles, however, young Tevis left college to volunteer like a true patriot and aid in suppressing the rebellion. He enlisted in September, 1861, and became second lieutenant of company H, thirty-seventh Indiana volunteers. He was in active service for over three years, participating in many hard battles, fights and skirmishes, including Stone river, New Hope Church, Resacca, before Atlanta, and numerous others. At Stone river, he was slightly wounded,...

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Biography of Capt. George M. Jones

Capt. Jones is the son of Henry F. and Mary (Waller) Jones, and was born in Shelby county, Tennessee, Oct. 19th, 1836.His father is still living there, aged eighty-one. His mother died in l856. George M. grew up on the farm, receiving his education at the common schools of the county where he lived. At the age of seventeen he went to Memphis, Tenn., and sold dry goods for the firm of Cossitt, Hill & Talmadge. He remained with them something over three years, receiving for his first year’s service, $75.00 and board; for the second, $100.00, and the third, $150.00. He came to Springfield, Missouri, in January, 1858, but went back to Tennessee after a short time. In the fall of the same, year he returned to Springfield and engaged in the general merchandising business, the firm being Miller, Jones & Co. He only remained here a year when be went to Dillon, Phelps county, Missouri, and embarked in the forwarding and commission business, which he carried on until the war broke out in 1861. In June of that year he enlisted as a private, in Capt. Dick Campbell’s company of Independence, Mo. State service, in the interest of the South. He was next transferred to Foster’s regiment, Company A, McBride’s division, C. S. A. He was shortly afterward made quartermaster, with the rank of captain. On account...

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Biography of Capt. S. H. Julian

Captain Julian is the son of Isaac and Nancy (Wood) Julian, and was born, in Monroe county, Tennessee, April 4, 1822. When he was fifteen years of age his parents moved to Greene county, Missouri, and settled the farm in Cass township, where they both afterwards died. Stephen grew to manhood upon the farm, and on May 15, 1842, was married to Miss Sarah L. Vestal, of Putnam county, Indiana, but a native of North Carolina. They were blessed with six children, Flavius C., Melcena M., Mary L., John C. (deceased), Robert F. and William R. He built a house where he now lives, and in 1852, he took a drove of cattle across the plains to California. He returned by the isthmus of Panama to New Orleans and reached home in 1853. In 1857, he made another trip for the same purpose, returning via New York, reaching home in 1858. When the war came he espoused the Union side, and raised a company of cavalry for three years’ service in April, 1862, for the M. S. M. He commanded that company a year, and, was then appointed recruiting agent for this district. In January, 1864, he was elected captain of a battery, and was with Gen. A. J. Smith, who followed Price when that general was on his last raid into Missouri. In the fall of 1864 his...

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Biography of Daniel C. Kennedy

Mr. Kennedy was born in Queens county, Ireland, February 14, 1841, and is the third child of Michael and Elizabeth (Condron) Kennedy. His parents emigrated to America in 1843, and in 1848 his father went back to Ireland to assist his countrymen in their struggle for independence. The agitation being suppressed by the government, he returned to America and settled permanently with his family in St. Louis, where be died in 1863, in the sixtieth year of his age. Daniel C. received a common school education in the city of St. Louis, and at the age of fourteen entered the printing office of Keith & Woods, and imbibed a taste for work of that nature, which ultimately led to his being one of the loading journalists of the Southwest. He worked in different offices and read law in his leisure moments. At the beginning of the late war he espoused the cause of the South, and joined the St. Louis militia, and was captured by Captain Lyon at Camp Jackson. When exchanged young Kennedy went to Memphis, Tennessee, where he joined an artillery company, which was ordered to reinforce Gen. Price at Springfield, Missouri. His company was with Price when he retreated to the Boston Mountains, Arkansas. After the battle of Pea Ridge it was ordered to reinforce Johnston at Shiloh. At the fall of Vicksburg, upon the 4th...

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Biographical Sketch of Alfred A. Lowdermilk, M. D.

Dr. Lowdermilk is the son of William and Martha (Rhodes) Lowdermilk, and was born in Greene county, Tennessee, June 24, 1848. In 1856, his parents moved to Sangamon county, Illinois, taking young Alfred with them. At fourteen years old, he started out to make his own living and learned the trade of tinsmith, which he followed till he was twenty-one years old. He then, in 1869, entered and took a course of lectures in the Louisville Medical College. The next year he began the practice in Vernon and Barton counties, this State, thus acquiring the means to complete his professional education. Returning to Louisville in 1875, he took a second course of medical lectures, graduating therefrom in 1876. Soon after this he began the practice in Illinois and continued till 1880, when he located at Bois D’Arc in this county, where he practiced actively till the fall of 1882. His failing health there necessitated his quitting active practice, and he opened a drug store, and has done only office practice since then. Dr. Lowdermilk has been a member of the I. O. O. F. lodge since he was twenty-one years old in which he has filled various offices. He is also a member of the Grand Lodge. February 13, 1866, he was married to Miss Lizzie Burton, of Scott county. She died April 13, 1870, leaving two children—Martin and...

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Biography of Dr. Joseph M’Adoo

The subject of this sketch was born in Donegal county, Ireland, August 9, 1832. His parents were Thomas and Esther Rankin McAdoo, and Joseph was the oldest of six children, four brothers and two sisters. He came to America with his parents in 1838, locating near West Greenville, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, and there resided till he completed his education, which was partially obtained in the common schools of the county, and completed at Westminister College, and at Philadelphia. He began teaching school at eighteen, teaching in several districts, where others failed because of bad order in the school room. Young McAdoo’s executive ability enabled him to bring order out of chaos and to pass class after class through the advanced arithmetical course in the short term of three months. For four years he carried on coal and ore mining operations quite successfully, but quit to finish his education. He located in Tiffin, Ohio, in 1856, where be began the successful practice of medicine. During the civil war, he was, a part of the time, connected with the Ohio National Home Guards, and, in 1864, was chosen first lieutenant of Co. A, 164th Reg. Ohio Vol. Infantry, and at the close of his term, was complimented by President Lincoln. In 1865 he came to Missouri in search of a dryer climate, locating at Huntsville, Randolph county, where he remained till...

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Biography of John L. M’Craw, Sr.

Mr. McCraw was born in Hawkins county, Tenn., in 1808, where he was reared and educated. In 1886 he married Elizabeth H. Kenner of the same county, and the same year he immigrated to Greene county, Mo., and bought the farm in Taylor township, where he lived and died. In farming and stock-rearing he encountered all the hardships incident to pioneer life. The stock did well upon the prairie grasses, and sheep and pigs found natural enemies in the wolves that infested the country at the time. Mills were few and far between, coffee and biscuits luxuries that could be only indulged in Sunday mornings and when “company” came. The clothing for the family was all made from the raw material by the ladies of the household, Mr. McCraw, himself, making the shoes from leather tanned by a neighbor. Game abounded, but he never killed but one deer, and that with his Jacob-staff while out surveying. He was elected county surveyor in 1839 and in 1840 surveyed the eastern boundary of the county. In 1849 he visited his parents in Tennessee, making, the entire trip upon horseback. His wife died in 1855, leaving him six children, four boys and two girls, all of whom are yet living. Two children, a son and daughter, died before her. At the beginning of the rebellion he espoused the Union cause, having previously...

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Biography of William M’Kerrall

This well-known subject was born in Orange county, N. C., June 17,1824. At sixteen he received the appointment to West Point Military Academy, and entered same class with Gen. Hancock. He was compelled to leave school, however, on account of ill health, and returned to North Carolina. There he entered Caldwell Institute, John Wilson, D.D., president, and took a regular collegiate course. At the outbreak of the Mexican war, young McKerall volunteered and was elected first lieutenant of Co. E of the North Carolina regiment, which company he served with during the war, latterly as acting captain. On one occasion, Lieut. McKerall commanded a detachment on escort, and conducted a supply train 180 miles without loss or mishap, except guerilla skirmishes. He was introduced to Gen. Taylor, and made his report on the same day the Missouri volunteers under Col. Doniphan were returning from the arduous campaign in New Mexico. After the battle of Buena Vista, his regiment encamped 14 months on the plains there, and was subsequently garrisoned at Saltillo, where Lieut. McK. Studied Spanish under Dr. Gregg, of St. Louis. Still later, he served as regimental inspector and commissary. He was honorably discharged at Old Point Comfort, Va. He then settled in Louisiana, where he studied law. In 1850, he went to Texas, locating near San Augustine (East Texas), where he practiced law, and there joined the...

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Biography of Samuel Henry Melcher

Samuel Henry Melcher is the son of Woodbury Melchor, Esq:, and a grandson of Capt. Samuel B. French, was born in Gilmanton, N. H., October 30, 1828. Was educated at Gilford and Gilmanton academies; graduated at medical department, Dartmouth College, in Grafton county, N, H.; then in Boston, Mass., until 1859, when he traveled South and through Texas; and at the close of that year, settled in Potosi, Washington county, Missouri. On the breaking out of the war, he offered his services at once to Gen. Lyon, at St. Louis arsenal; and was mustered in as assistant surgeon 5th Regt. Mo. Vols. (three months), May 7, 1861. Was with his regiment at the battles of Carthage, July 5, 1861; Dug Spring, August 2, 1861; Wilson’s Creek, August 10, 1861, where he was the last officer on the field after the forces fell back, and brought off the body of Gen. Lyon and delivered it to Gen. Schofield the same night, as narrated on other pages of this volume. By order of Gen. Schofield, he remained a prisoner in the hands of the Confederates, to take care of the Union wounded. Was in Springfield when the “Fremont Body Guard” made their terrific charge, and attended the wounded on both sides; was furnished with wagons by Gen. Sigel, and moved the wounded in all that region to Rolla, thence by rail...

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Biography of Lilburn H. Murray

Mr. Murray is the son of John and Sarah (Luttree) Murray, and was born in Crawford county, Missouri, September, 1834. His parents came to Greene county, Mo., and settled seven miles northwest of Springfield, where they lived one year and then moved to Grand Prairie, where L. H. was reared and educated. At the age of twenty-one, he went to California, where he was engaged in the stock and mercantile business for about ten years. He returned to Springfield, Mo., in September, 1866, and soon went into the hardware business. The firm was McGregor & Murray for some five years, and McGregor, Murray & Noe, until 1876. During a part of this time he lived in the country upon what is now the Judge Cowan farm. In 1871 he was elected mayor of Springfield, and in 1874 was elected to the Legislature, being the only Democratic representative Greene had had since 1858. He has been a councilman from both the Second and Fourth wards. He took active part in the building of the Gulf railroad. John M. Richardson graded the road to Ash Grove and it lay for several years unironed, until Mr. Murray, H. E. Havens and Maj. Sheppard bought the roadbed and organized the Springfield and Western Missouri Railroad Company. They then took into the company, L. A. D. Crenshaw, G. D. Milligan, Judge Ralph Walker, C....

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Biographical Sketch of John Glenn Newbill

The eldest son of T. G. Newbill is a native of Southwest Missouri, his birth-place being in the northeast corner of what is now Webster county. His childhood was passed on his father’s farm, two and one-half miles west of the city of Springfield. He was educated principally in the district school and schools of Springfield, and studied three years under the tutorship of Dr. Wm. V. Allen, formerly of Bates county, Mo. For several years, while prosecuting his studies, he alternately worked on the farm and taught in the public schools of Greene and Bates counties. Returning in 1876 from a two years’ trip to the Pacific coast, he afterwards engaged in the business of journalism. At present he is the editor of the Springfield-Express, one of the leading and most reliable Democratic papers in the Southwest, in which capacity he has labored with untiring energy since the establishment of the paper on the 1st day of April, 1881. He is also secretary of the Democratic Central Committee of Greene county. He was married on the 4th day of the preceding January, to Miss Carrie Leona Rhoades, daughter of B. T. and Ottilie Rhoades, of Montgomery county, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Newbill are the parents of one child, Albert Glenn Newbill, born to them February 1st...

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Biography of Dr. Thomas Jefferson Bailey

Dr. Bailey was a native of Kentucky, born in Lincoln county, January 17, 1803, whith his father, John Bailey, had removed with his family from Virginia. There the father died, and Thomas J. grew up to manhood. He read medicine at Danville under the able preceptor ship of Drs. Smith and McDowell, till he was prepared for practice. Prior to removing to Missouri, in 1828, he married Miss Harriet Sproul, a native of the same county as himself. He settled first in Ralls county, this State, where he practiced medicine till 1837, removing thence to Springfield, when that town was a mere hamlet. Both himself and wife were well pleased, and, resolving to stay, located on a forty-acre tract between the two cities of Springfield. Here he began a most successful professional career, and for nearly a quarter of a century ministered to the sick in his plain, simple way that built him the large practice out of which he realized a fortune. His sympathetic disposition and moderate charges made him beloved of all, no one ever complaining of excessive bills. His plain style won confidence, and he was never a man to judge others by dress or outward appearance; but always looked within to find the man. He thoroughly believed that ” ‘Twas not in rank or wealth or state, but ‘get up and get’ that makes men great.” Dr....

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