Biography of O. H. P. Catron
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O. H. P. CATRON. Few men in the county are better known or more popular than O. H. P. Catron, who is one of the proprietors of the Daily and Weekly Gazette of West Plains, Missouri This is the only daily published in this section, and although the weekly has been known here for many years, the daily has only known an existence of six years. The Gazette is one of the brightest, newsiest sheets published in southwest Missouri, and commands an ever widening circulation. Mr. Catron came to West Plains in March, 1882. He was born in Lafayette County, Missouri, December 27, 1842.
A son of Stephen and Elizabeth B. (Smith) Catron. The grandfather, Christopher Catron, was a native of Virginia, but at an early date moved to Tennessee where his father was born, and thence to Missouri in 1818. There he followed farming until his death. His parents came from Germany. The father of our subject was about eight years of age when he came with his parents to Missouri, and in Lafayette County he passed his entire life. Like his father, he was an agriculturist. He served in the Indian wars in Missouri, and was also in the Mormon trouble in that State. In politics he was an advocate of Democratic principles. Of the ten children born to his marriage, seven are now living: W. J. Catron, a banker, lives at Neosho, Newton County, Missouri; C. C. lives at Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri, and is engaged in the boot and shoe business; R. S. lives at Butler, Bates County, Missouri; Lucy A. Catron Fletcher, wife of G. B. Fletcher, lives on a farm near Alma, Lafayette County, Missouri; Thomas A. is county collector of Lafayette County, Missouri, and lives in Lexington, Missouri; Mollie Catron Brown, wife of Will Q. Brown, a prosperous merchant, lives in Richmond, Ray County, Missouri W. J., C. C. and R. S. served all during the war in the Confederate service, Thomas A. being too young.
O. H. P. Catron attended the schools of his county and assisted on the home place until about eighteen years of age, when he enlisted in the Confederate Army. He served in Shelby’s brigade and ranked as lieutenant during the latter part of the war. Some of the engagements in which he participated were Carthage, Wilson’s Creek, Lexington, Newtonia, Mark’s Mill, West Port, Prairie De Ann, Jenkins’ Ferry, Bayou Meto, Devall’s Bluff, Prairie Grove, Little Rock, Helena, and he was in Gen. Price’s raid. He served for four years and was wounded at Springfield, during Marmaduke’s raid. After the war he located in his native county and followed farming up to 1879, when he engaged in merchandising at Alma, Missouri This he carried on until 1882, when he came to West Plains and embarked in the real estate business and established the West Plains Bank. He was a director in the same up to 1893, when he sold out. From there he went to Oklahoma Territory and opened a bank at Mormon, but subsequently sold out. He then returned to this county and is now practically retired from the active duties of life. In politics he is a Democrat and a strong man for his party. He was the first mayor of West Plains, and the town has never known a more efficient and capable officer than Mr. Catron. He has been vice-president of the Ex-Confederate Association of Missouri, and vice-president of the Confederate Home located at Higginsville, Missouri For the past three years he has given liberally, both in money and time, to secure funds to build and maintain the Home. He has been a delegate to the State convention and is a prominent man in this section. Fraternally he is a K. T. in the Masonic order, and is past master, past high priest and past eminent commander. He is a representative and member in the Grand Lodge, Grand Chapter and Grand Commandery of Missouri. Mr. Catron selected Miss Martha E. Goodwin, of La Fayette County, Missouri, as his wife. She is the daughter of James Goodwin, who is still living at the advanced age of ninety years. Mr. Catron has one son, Lee M., who oversees and manages the Gazette, and who at one time was assistant cashier of the West Plains Bank. Mr. Catron has a fine residence in the city, and is a man well respected by all.