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 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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Biography of Tyree Glenn Newbill

Father of the John Glenn Newbill, was born in Franklin county, Virginia, May 17th, 1882. He was married December 1st, 1846, to Nancy A. Johnson, only daughter of James M. and Elizabeth Johnson, and in the following year removed to Southwest Missouri, locating on the farm now owned by Dr. H. H. Lea, in the northeast corner of the territory now known as Webster county. Three years afterward he removed to Greene county, where he purchased the fine farm of Samuel McClelland, two and one-half miles west of Springfield. Here he engaged largely in agriculture and stock-raising, and was one of the foremost men in the county in the importation and breeding, of the different kinds of fine stock. In the spring of 1854 he took a drove of cattle and wagon train across the plains to the Golden State, returning home by way of Panama and New York in the following autumn. As will be seen elsewhere in this work, he was twice elected president of the Southwest District Agricultural and Mechanical Association for the two years prior to the war, at which time that association stood in the front ranks of similar institutions of the kind in the West. He was also prominently connected with the association as a member of the board of directors from its inception up to that time. In the political campaign of...

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Biography of Dr. Beverly A. Barrett

Dr. Barrett is the son of John S. and Margaret (Patterson) Barrett, and was born in St. Genevieve county, January 8, 1826. The father was also a physician, was a Virginian, and emigrated to this State in 1811, and was a member of the first Missouri General Assembly. Beverly A. was the sixth child of a family of ten children, and had the advantages of a common school education in his native county, subsequently attending a seminary taught by Fox and Davis at Fredericktown  He began the study of his profession in 1845, and after two years’ close application to medical lore, began the practice in Dallas county, Mo., where he remained till 1858, removing thence to Springfield, his present home. In 1864 he moved to St. Louis, and remained there till 1869, he moved back to Springfield which has been his constant place of adolescence then. Dr. Barrett has been in the active practice for thirty-five years, and has done as much labor as any physician in the Southwest. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and was at one time master of the lodge. He is also a member of the M. E. Church South and has been for about twenty-five years. Politically, he is a Democrat, and always acts with that party. He is a member of the State Medical Association, and keeps well up in...

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Biography of John O’Day, Esq.

Among those who have given Greene county its enviable reputation for possessing men of high character, large brain, and sterling worth and ability, is Mr. John O’Day, one of the leading members of the Greene county bar. Mr. O’Day was born in the city of Limerick, Ireland, November 18, 1843. He was brought in infancy with his father’s family to America, his parents settling at first in the State of New York. When he was about 12 years of age the family removed to Juneau county, Wisconsin, where John was educated in the common schools and at an academy. Arriving at the years of maturity, and developing remarkable talent for that profession, he engaged in the study of law, under Judge Windsor, of Maustin, Wisconsin. In 1862 he attended the law school at Albany, N. Y., and in May, 1864, he was admitted to the bar at Now Lisbon, Wisconsin, before Hon. Geo. W. Cate, afterward a prominent member of Congress. Leaving Wisconsin in September, 1865 Mr. O’Day settled in Springfield, February 14 following, and has here since remained, engaged in the active practice of his profession, in which he has been extraordinarily successful. For years he was one of the leading criminal lawyers in the Southwest, and now is regarded as standing in the front rank of the corporation attorneys of the country. Since the year 1870 he...

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Biography of Ransom D. Blades, Sr.

This old settler and prominent citizen is the son of Edward and Ellen (Maynar) Blades, and was born in McMinn county, Tennessee, January 29, 1821. He was the second child and oldest son. His parents were natives of North Carolina, but moved to Tennessee shortly after their marriage. In 1836, when Ransom was fifteen years of age, they came to Greene county, Missouri, and settled on section 10, township 28, range 24. Then that part of the county was settled by only two or three families, and to the southwest of them there were no neighbors nearer than forty miles. They went through all the hardships incidental to early pioneer life, and the wild, open country that they found upon arriving they redeemed from the wolves and foxes, and the glad earth yielded bountiful crops to bless the hardihood and pluck of these pioneers. The schools, both in the eastern part of Tennessee and here at that early day were poor and scarce, and Mr. Blades received but six weeks’ schooling. But in the great school of experience he learned his lessons well, and in due time arose to be one of Greene’s foremost citizens. In April, 1841, Mr. Blades was married to Frances, daughter of Samuel Garoutte, Esq. She belonged to that noted family of that name which appears frequently in these pages, and whose family history appears...

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Biographical Sketch of Dr. William H. Park

Dr. Park is a son of John and Elizabeth (Waggoner) Park, and was born January 8th, 1825, at Milton, Pennsylvania. When he was about six years of age his parents moved to Tiffin, Ohio. He was educated at Tiffin and at the Wesleyan University, at Delaware, Ohio. In the spring of 1855 he graduated from Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia. He was appointed resident physician at the alms house of the city of Baltimore, Md., but soon after returned to Tiffin, Ohio. In August, 1862, he was commissioned as surgeon of the 49th Ohio Regiment, Col. W. H. Gibson. He was mustered out at Victoria, Texas, in Nov. 1865. He was at the battle of Shiloh, Stone River, Liberty Gap and Chickanaauga. He was captured and taken to Atlanta, and afterwards confined at Libby Prison and at Andersonville. Afterward he was at the battle of Nashville and went with the army to San Antonio, Texas. In May, 1866, he came to Greene county, Missouri, and settled upon Leeper prairie, near Bois D’Arc, and was one of the first to settle upon that celebrated prairie after the war. He followed his profession and at one time owned about seven hundred acres of land. He came to Springfield in September, 1881. He is now of the firm of T. E. Crank & Co., druggists, of North Springfield, and at Golden City....

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Biographical Sketch of Jeremiah C. Cravens

This gentleman was born in Saline county, Missouri, February 18th, 1838. He is a son of Dr. John Cravens, who for many years was the peer of the finest physicians and surgeons of the State. They are of Virginia ancestry, Jeremiah’s grandfather, Dr. Joseph Cravens, being for many years a leading physician of Rockingham county, Virginia. Jeremiah C. graduated from the Missouri State University in the class of 1860, taking the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The civil war breaking out soon after leaving school, he cast his lot with the fortunes of the Confederacy, and followed its flag until its brilliant star set forever at Appomattox. He was promoted by Gen. Slack to the position of aid-de-camp, to rank as lieutenentcolonel. He was at the battle of Pea Ridge, in March, 1862, by the side of General Slack, when that gentleman fell mortally wounded. After the battle he went with the army to Corinth, Mississippi, and shortly after the evacuation of that place, he returned to Missouri, with Col. Hughes, and participated in the battles of Independence and Lone Jack. At the last named engagement, Lieut. Colonel Cravens commanded a company of recruits who fought desperately upon that sanguinary field. After the battle he was chosen captain and served with his company in the 6th Missouri Cavalry, under Generals Marmaduke and Shelby, until the war closed. He then...

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