G. W. NOKES. It matters little what vocation a man selects as his life occupation so long as it is an honorable one. If he is an honest, upright man, courteous in his intercourse with his fellowmen and possessed of the average amount of energy and business sagacity, he is bound to make his business a financial success. Because the subject of this sketch is possessed of all these requirements, is the chief reason that he has succeeded; because he is above the average in point of natural business qualifications, is the reason he today stands among the best merchants of the county. A brief sketch of Mr. Nokes is here appropriately given: A native of Cannon County, Tennessee, born in 1845, he is the second in order of birth of eleven children, ten sons and one daughter, born to Nelson and Flora A. (Elam) Nokes, natives of Cannon County,Tennessee, the father born about 1821 and the mother in 1825.
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The parents were reared and married in that State and there remained until 1854, when they came to the neighborhood of Nixa, Missouri, then in Greene County, and settled on a claim in the woods. Mr. Nokes improved four good farms in this neighborhood and there passed the remainder of his days, dying in August, 1879. He was a Union man during the war, but took no active part, being an invalid. He furnished three sons for the Federal Army. Industrious, honest and upright, he was respected by all and was an active member of the Christian Church. A Democrat early in life he was later a Know-Nothing and then a Republican, voting for Lincoln in 1860. His father, Thomas Nokes, was born in the Old North State, but early settled in Cannon County, Tennessee, where he received his final summons. He was a farmer and mechanic. During the War of 1812 he was under Gen. Jackson. He was of Irish parentage. The mother of our subject is residing in Christian County, near Nixa, and is a devout member of the Christian Church. Her father, Reuben Elam, came from Tennessee to Taney County, Missouri, about 1844, and there died before the war. He was a farmer. His wife died in Kansas. They were the parents of a large family, thirteen children, six sons and seven daughters. Four of the sons, Elisha and Elijah, twins, Tillman and George, served in the Federal Army. This family was of Irish origin. The following children were born to our subject’s parents: John T., a farmer of Porter Township, was in the Sixteenth Missouri Cavalry until the close of the war (he operated in southwest Missouri and Arkansas and was captured in the Springfield fight January 8, 1863, but was held a prisoner only two days; he had formerly served in the Seventy-second Missouri Infantry and Sixth Missouri Cavalry, enlisting first in 1862; he held the rank of orderly sergeant); G. W, our subject; Leah M., wife of Albert Stiffler; Nelson, now residing in Greene County, was in the Sixteenth Missouri Cavalry, Company C, from 1864 until the close of the war; William, Jr., resides in Porter Township; Newton J. also resides in that township; Henry E. resides in Finley Township; Andrew J., a farmer of Porter Township; Columbus M., of Porter Township; Lincoln and Elisha Grant, both of Porter Township.
On the farm in Missouri our subject grew to mature years and his education was received principally at home, his mother being his instructor. In 1862, when only seventeen years of age, he enlisted in Company A, Seventy-second Missouri Infantry, serving until April, 1863, operating principally in southwest Missouri. He was captured in the Marmaduke fight at Springfield January 8, 1863, and was held a prisoner two days. When he rejoined his command it was consolidated and made the Sixth Provisional of State Troops, with which he remained until November, 1863. He was then changed to the Sixteenth Missouri Cavalry, and served with that until the close. He held the rank of corporal and was in many skirmishes in Arkansas.
Following the war Mr. Nokes engaged in farming in this neighborhood, and in 1871 was married to Miss Annis I., daughter of Michael and Matilda Keltner, and a native of Sangamon County, Illinois Mr. Feltner was born in Tennessee, but was of German parentage. He came from Illinois to Christian County, Missouri, after the war, but subsequently returned to Sangamon County, where he died in August, 1880. His wife is living there at the present time. Mr. Nokes farmed until 1888 and then engaged in merchandising at Nixa, where he has been engaged in business since. His stock is valued at $4,000, and he is doing a good business under the firm name of J. E. Bennett & Co. Mr. Nokes was justice of the peace three terms, or about ten years, and is a member of the Christian Church.