Location: Christian County MO

Biography of Charles F. Debrunner

Charles F. Debrunner is local manager of the United Iron Works Company’s plant at Independence. He is a young man, but his business career covers all the years since he was about fifteen or sixteen, and had been identified almost entirely with one line of manufacturing. He is one of the live and enterprising young men who have been attracted to this important industrial center in Southern Kansas, and had made his influence felt in its business and civic circles. He was born at Billings, Christian County, Missouri, May 16, 1882. His father, Frederick DeBrunner, was born in 1839 in Switzerland. The grandfather, who was of French descent, spent his life as a farmer in Switzerland. Frederick DeBrunner came to this country when a young man, lived and worked for two years in Chicago, and then returned to Switzerland where he married Mary Werder, who was born in that country in 1842 and is now living at Billings, Missouri. He brought his bride to America and for ten years was in the grocery business at Sigourney, Iowa. In 1879 he removed to Billings, Missouri, and remained an active merchant there until his death in 1906. While at Billings he served as city clerk for ten years, was an active democrat, and was a member of the German Evangelical Church, in which he seryed as deacon several years. He was...

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Biography of Fenton T. Stockard

In this country where so many young men are thrown upon their own resources at an early age and are often obliged, while yet inexperienced and unfamiliar with their own tendencies and inclinations, to choose their occupation in life, it can not be expected that the most suitable or congenial pursuit will be selected. Consequently it should be impressed upon the minds of youth that they ought to begin at an early age to practice introspection and seriously study the famous Delphic oracle, ” Know thyself.” They will thus find as suitable an occupation as did Fenton T. Stockard, who from an early age evinced a strong liking for law, which was apparently just suited to his qualifications and desires. Mr. Stockard is now one of the prominent attorneys of Billings, and has been a resident of that city for the past twelve years. He came originally from Gibson County, Tennessee. his birth occurring December, 16, 1867, and is one of a family of six children born to C. H. and Patience E. (White) Stockard. The father is also a native of Gibson County, Tennessee, and is now a prominent farmer and highly esteemed citizen of Christian County, residing near Billings. The Stockards are of Irish origin, and our subject’s great-great-grandfather was born on the ocean while his parents were coming to this country. William Stockard, grandfather of our...

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Biography of Robert P. Lawing

ROBERT P. LAWING. This well-known pioneer, who is everywhere respected for his sterling worth, came originally from Rutherford County, Tennessee, where his birth occurred August 4, 1825. He is a son of Robert and Mary A. (Sublett) Lawing, and the grandson of Andrew Lawing who was a native of the Old North State, where he received his final summons. The Sublett family came to Tennessee from Virginia, and our subject’s grandfather, William Sublett, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, being captain of a company. He was of Irish descent. Mrs. Lawing was but seven years of age when the family moved to Tennessee, and in that State she died in 1843. The father of our subject was born in Mecklenburgh County, N. C., in 1787, but came to Tennessee at an early date and was here married to Miss Sublett. Ten children were born to this marriage, eight of whom grew to mature years and four are now living: Sarah, now deceased; Mary, now resides in Tennessee; Allen died in Arkansas in 188l; Susan resides in Springfield and is the mother of Judge Vaughan; Robert P., subject; Frances, married a Mr. Sibley, and died in Tennessee; Louisa is still a resident of this county, and is single, and James B., who died in Texas. The father of these children came to Christian County, Missouri, in 1856, and located...

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Biography of E. G. Friend

E. G. FRIEND, who was born near his present home near Sparta, Christian County, Missouri, August 29, 833, is one of the prominent farmers and stockraisers of his section, and a man well posted on agricultural topics. He is a son of William and Elizabeth (Grimes) Friend, and a grandson of James Friend, who was a native of Scotland. The latter crossed the ocean with his two brothers to America at an early date, and settled in the grand old State of Virginia, where he was married and raised a large family. Later he moved to Ohio, and from there to Missouri, where he settled near New Madrid. There he resided for some time and then moved to Marion County, Arkansas, but remained there only a few years, when he died there in the twenties, at the age of one hundred and ten years. He reared a large family as follows: Andrew, Gabriel, James, Augustine, Jessie and William, and others forgotten. His wife died while he was residing in the Buckeye State or in Virginia, and was of German origin. Our subject’s father, William, who was a native of Ohio, moved to Minaberton, Missouri, and resided there a short time and then moved to Linden, on the classical Finley, a stream running through Christian County, after the death of his father, and made his home there until 1853, when...

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Biography of Dr. Wesley B. Wasson

DR. WESLEY B. WASSON. The value to any community of a professional man is not marked merely by his learning and skill, his proficiency in medical and surgical practice, but also by his character both private and professional, his honorable adherence to medical ethics and his personal integrity and benevolence of purpose. When a physician combines these characteristics it is with great pleasure that we record his life-work, and such a man do we find in Dr. Wesley B. Wasson. Although but just starting on his career in the medical profession, this young physician and surgeon has already become prominent in his calling and has the confidence of all. He was born on Spring Creek, in Stone County, in 1862, and is a son of John T. and Caroline (McCullah) Wasson, the former born in Darke County, Ohio, February 29, 1820, and the latter in Tennessee, March 10, 1830. Although the father received but a limited education in his youth he was a man possessed of a great amount of good common sense and good judgment. About 1852 he came down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to the mouth of Arkansas River, then up that stream to Ft. Smith, and then by land across the country to Stone County. There he stopped for a time with Alex. McCullah, and soon after married his daughter. From that time until 1867...

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Biography of A. C. Crain

A. C. CRAIN, ex-sheriff of Christian County and one of the representative men of the same, is now living a retired life at Sparta, Missouri He is a native of Tennessee, born in Franklin County October 2, 1833, and the son of William B. and Alice (Ford) Crain, natives of Tennessee. The grandfather, William B. Crain, was a native of North Carolina and came to Tennessee at an early day. Later he moved with his family to Stoddard County, Missouri, and in 1842 settled with his family in Greene County. Previous to this, in 1839, the father of our subject died and the mother followed him to the grave the following year. Both died in Stoddard County. The grandfather reared the three children born to this union. William Crain resided in Taylor Township, Greene County, for three or four years and then moved on the James River, near Galloway. Two years later he moved to Newton County, Missouri, before it was organized and made his home there for three years. There his death occurred and the family subsequently moved back to Greene County, settling in the same neighborhood where they had formerly lived. Some years later the grandmother went back to Newton County and there received her final summons. She and her husband were the parents of eleven children: Mahala, Lucinda, Hannah, Dollie, Mary, James, Hiram, William B. (father...

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Biography of William Bain

WILLIAM BAIN. The farming class of America, and especially of the State of Missouri, is notable for the degree of intelligence that is possessed among its representatives. William Bain, who resides in Finley Township, owns a fine farm, which attests by its value and productiveness the excellent qualities of thoroughness and system which mark the owner. Like many other first-class citizens of the county he came originally from Tennessee, his birth occurring in the eastern part of the State in 1821. His parents, Arthur and Mary (McFerren) Bain, were natives of that part of Tennessee also. There the father and mother passed their entire lives, dying in McMinn County soon after the war. Mr. Bain was a hatter by trade, and a man whose industrious habits and honorable, upright career endeared him to all. He inherited sturdy Scotch blood from the paternal side of the house, and his wit and activity from his mother, who was a native of the Emerald Isle. The father, William Bain, was a weaver by trade. One of his sons, Rev. John Bain, was a prominent Presbyterian minister in Nashville, Tennessee, at one time. Our subject’s maternal grandfather, Samuel McFerren, was of Irish origin, and followed farming and teaming in Knox County, Tennessee, until his death. William Bain is the eldest of nine children, who are named in the order of their births as...

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Biography of William Thompson

WILLIAM THOMPSON. The man from Tennessee has always been a potential element in the civilization and development of Missouri, and in early days along the woodsman’s trail came men of all avocations and of every degree of social life. No better blood ever infused pioneer life; no sturdier arm ever set about the task of subduing the wilderness and no less vigorous mental activity could have raised a great commonwealth, amid the unbroken elements of nature, within.the limits of half a century. William Thompson, who is one of the pioneers of the county, is now retired from the active duties of life and is living in peace and quiet at Billings. He was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, May 10, 1832, and is a son of Thomas and Lucinda (Baker) Thompson, natives respectively of Indiana and Kentucky. The parents moved to Tennessee at an early date and there passed the remainder of their days. The Thompson family is of Scotch-Irish and the Baker family of Irish descent. Our subject was one of nine children as follows: Hugh, Elizabeth, Joseph, Nancy, Richard, Alexander, Jane, William and Lucinda. Joseph, Alexander and our subject were in the Civil War, while Hugh, Joseph and Richard participated in the Mexican War. The only ones now living are Alexander, Richard, William and Lucinda. Richard resides on the Wilson Creek battle-ground in Christian County, and is...

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Biography of Simeon P. Maples

SIMEON P. MAPLES. In no part of Missouri is agriculture in a more flourishing condition than in Christian County, and here Mr. Maples is considered one of the leading tillers of the soil. Like two-thirds of the representative citizens of the county he is a native of Tennessee, his birth occurring in Bradley County October 2, 1842, but he is now a law-abiding and public-spirited man of his adopted county. He is a son of Simeon P. and Elizabeth (Webb) Maples, the grandson of Josiah Maples and the great-grandson of Josiah Maples, Sr., who was born in France. At an early date the latter crossed the strait to England with two brothers, and subsequently came to the United States. This was prior to the Revolution, and he served under Gen. Washington during that war. He married and reared a family in Virginia, but later removed to Tennessee, where he tilled the soil in McMinn County until his death. Josiah Maples, Jr., was born in the Old Dominion, and when but a boy he moved with his parents to McMinn County, Tennessee, where he married. In 1854 he came to Christian County, Missouri, and followed farming until his death the following year. He was the father of nine children. Our subject’s maternal grandfather, Thomas Webb, was a blacksmith by trade, but in connection also carried on farming. He married Miss...

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Biography of Taylor Bray

TAYLOR BRAY. The Bray family is of Irish extraction and the family tree took root on American soil at an early date. Our subject’s grandfather, William Bray, was a native of North Carolina, in which State he passed his entire life. His son, Mark Bray, father of our subject, was also a native of the Old North State, born December 21 796, and died December 19, 869. The latter was married in his native State to Miss Margaret Patterson, also a native of North Carolina, and there their nine children were born. About 1840 or 1841 they, in company with about sixty of their friends, among whom were the McDaniel and Marley families and others, emigrated to Christian County, Missouri, and settled near Sparta. The McDaniels and Marleys settled near Ozark. Mr. Bray, who settled near Sparta also, bought a tract of land, which was afterward known as the Bray settlement, and subsequently became the owner of a large tract of land and one of the wealthiest men in the county. The Bray family became very prominent in this section and were highly esteemed by all. Mr. Bray was an excellent shot and killed many deer and turkeys, for the woods abounded in game at that time. Mrs. Bray did her own spinning and weaving. In political matters Mr. Bray was a Democrat and previous to the Civil War...

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Biography of W. W. Scott

W. W. SCOTT. W. W. Scott who is one of the oldest pioneers of Christian County, Missouri, has attained the advanced age of four-score years and five, for his birth occurred in Tennessee, December 21, 1809. Honorable and upright in every walk of life, his career has been without blot or blemish, and he is one of the best-preserved, physically and mentally, of the men who have reached his age. His father, Thomas Scott, was a native of that grand old State, Virginia, but at an early day migrated to Kentucky, where he married Elizabeth Jones, a native of North Carolina. Then together they moved to Tennessee, and there the mother of our subject died. The father came to Taney County, Missouri, in 1846, or about that time, and there followed farming. Game was plentiful in those days and Mr. Scott often killed deer and bear. By his marriage to Miss Jones he became the father of eight children, as follows: Betsey A., Dicy A., James H., Wm. W., (subject), Thomas, Lavina (mother of J. J. Bruton), M. A. and Lucinda. The subject of this sketch grew to mature years in his native State, and was there married to Miss Frances Slate, who bore him six children: Emily J., Margaret E., George W., Thomas T., William R. and Francis. After his marriage Mr. Scott moved to Arkansas. His wife...

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Biography of James K. P. McHaffie

Among the early families to come to this State and carve out homes for themselves in the then almost unbroken forest, were the McHaffies, who settled in the Ozark Mountains, where they identified themselves with progress and development. They were of that moral and personal integrity which go to make up the model American citizen, and were valuable acquisitions to the region in which they settled, which was then in need of honorable, substantial and permanent residents. David McHaffie, the father of our subject, was one of the early pioneers and came to the Ozark region with two brothers, John and Hugh McHaffie, and David McHaffie. He took up land in what is now Christian County. Hugh, who had a wife and child, died many years ago. John died in 1887. He reared a family and one of his sons is living on the old homestead, first settled by the father. David McHaffie was born in the grand old State of Virginia, November 4, 1806, and was a son of Andrew McHaffie, one of the pioneers of Virginia. David was a young man, twenty-eight years of age, when he started to the far West, and he made the trip by wagon from Knox County, Tennessee, where he had lived from the time he was five years of age, his father having moved from Virginia to Tennessee, when David was...

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Biography of Alfred H. Purdy

ALFRED H. PURDY. Among the enterprising and successful produce merchants of Billings, Missouri, Alfred H. Purdy holds a prominent position. He has been in business in this city since 1880, has developed a permanent patronage, and his house is one of the creditable monuments to the business circles of this place. He came originally from south Illinois, born December 28, 1857, to the union of Henry I. and Mary (Varnum) Purdy. Our subject passed his boyhood and youth in his native county, and in addition to a common-school education attended college at Carbondale, where he was thoroughly educated. For a short time he clerked in Carbondale, but later came to Missouri, and clerked in a store in Joplin for a number of years. In 1880 he came to Billings, leased the mill, and was engaged in the milling business from that time until 1884, under the firm name of Purdy & Goesling. After that he and his brother, C. E. Purdy, embarked in the grocery business, which they followed for about six years, when our subject bought out his partner. Later he sold this, and still later branched out in the produce business with L. M.Wolfe, now the vice-president of Billings Mercantile Company. In 1890 Mr. Purdy and George M. Scott bought out Mr. John Seide, mercantile store, also the store of C. E. Purdy, consolidated the business, and...

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Biography of Hon. J. J. Bruton

There are men, and the number is by no means small, who drift into what we are accustomed to look upon as the learned profession in the same way that thousands of men in the lower walks of life drift into the ordinary bread-winning occupations. Having no special preference for any calling, and without feeling that they have any particular fitness for a certain profession, they find themselves drifting in that direction as a result of associations or environment, and in the course of time they find themselves shouldering responsibilities for which they have scant liking, carrying burdens which rest heavily upon them, and laboring in a field which has for them no attraction other than what is yielded in the way of annual incomes. The prominent lawyer whose name heads this sketch impresses even those who meet him in a casual way as a man who has drifted easily and naturally into his calling, who realizes he has made no mistake in the choice of his vocation, and feels thoroughly at home in the position which he occupies. This first impression deepens as a more intimate acquaintance and familiarity with his life leads to the unbiased and impartial view that the success he has achieved is the logical sequence of talent rightly used, together with energy and industry never misapplied. Mr. Bruton is a native of this State,...

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Biography of Robert A. Smith

ROBERT A. SMITH, better known as “Mac” Smith, is a prominent farmer and stockraiser of Swan Township, Taney County, Missouri, and is classed among the wide-awake, progressive men of his section. His birth occurred in Christian County, Missouri, January 1, 1846, and he is one of eight children born to William and America (Bryant) Smith, both natives of Cumberland County, Virginia, where they were reared, educated and married. Later they left their native State and moved to Kentucky, but remained there only a short time, and then settled in Hickory County, Missouri The following year they removed to Christian County of that State and settled in the woods on Swan, near Cedar Creek, where Mr. Smith began improving a small farm. Thence they removed to a point near Sparta, where Mr. Smith improved another farm, and there died in 1865. He was very successful as a tiller of the soil, and was also quite a prominent horse raiser. During the war he was a Union man, but took no part except to serve in the Home Guards. He was a pioneer of Christian County. His grandfather, Spencer Smith, a native Virginian, and a mechanic who followed farming in that State, passed his entire life there with his wife, Sarah Crecy. He had three sons and one daughter. On the maternal side, his grandfather, Eli Bryant, was also a native...

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