Henry Clay McDougal was born in Marion county, Virginia (now West Virginia), December 9, 1844, and was the second son of John Fletcher and Elvira Boggess McDougal, who were born and reared in that county. His great grandfather, William McDougal, was a Scotch Presbyterian clergyman, who came from the highlands and settled on the Monongahela River, in Virginia, in the year 1770. His maternal ancestors came from England under the second charter granted by James I, in 1609, to the company of ” Adventurers and planters, etc., for the first colony in Virginia,” and first settled on the James River about 1621, and later, 1660, on the Potomac, in Fairfax county, from which place his great-grandfather, Lindsay Boggess, removed in 1799 to Marion county.
His father was a farmer and stock-raiser, and the son lived upon the farm the greater part of the time until the commencement of the late rebellion. He received a limited education, such as was afforded in the common schools of the country, being deprived of the benefit of a collegiate course-upon which he was just ready to enter-by the commencement of the Civil War. Early in 1861 his elder brother and most of his schoolmates became avowed secessionists, and many of them at once enlisted in the Confederate army; but believing his highest duty was to the general government rather than to the State of Virginia, he enlisted as a private “for three years or during the war” in Company A, Sixth Regiment Virginia Infantry Volunteers (Union), in July, 1861, and served in the department of Western Virginia, and on the Upper Potomac, until September, 1863, at which time he was detailed as chief clerk of the brigade, then commanded by the colonel of his regiment, Nathan Wilkinson, now of Wheeling, West Virginia, and served in that capacity until he was mustered out at the expiration of his term of enlistment in August, 1864. It was while serving as chief clerk that he learned from Colonel Wilkinson those habits of prompt, energetic and accurate attention to business which have since marked his course.
Within ten days after being mustered out of the army he accepted a position as clerk in the United States quartermaster department at Gallipolis, Ohio, where he remained until the early summer of 1865, when he was sent by the quartermaster-general to Cincinnati, Ohio, to take charge and dispose of immense stores of government supplies, as quartermaster’s agent. Closing up this last business in October, 1865, he went to Indianapolis, Indiana, as chief clerk of the transportation division of the quartermaster’s department and so continued until March, 1866, when he resigned and returned to his old home in Marion county. Spending a few days at the old homestead, and his father just at that time departing for his future home in Daviess county, Missouri, he went east and spent the spring and summer in the eastern cities and pleasure resorts.
In June, 1866, President Johnson tendered him a commission as major in the regular army, which was declined. In the fall of that year he came west to visit his father, who then, as now, resided near Bancroft, in this county, reaching that place October 25, 1866. While on this intended visit he became impressed with the grandeur of this country, and feeling confident that there was a bright future for this part of the State, he determined to cast his lot in the Great West and make this his future home. Coming to Gallatin, February 4, 1867, he entered the law office of Judge Robert L. Dodge, as a law student, and with that gentleman soon thereafter engaged in the real estate business. On November 6th, 1868, he was admitted to the Daviess County bar and duly licensed to practice law, by Hon. Jonas J. Clark, then judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Missouri.
On the 2d day of November, 1869, he was married, at Gallipolis, Ohio, to Miss Emma F. Chapdu, eldest daughter of Edmund Kinsey Chapdu, a well-to-do Frenchman of that place. Their union, which has been a very happy one, has been blessed with four children, Mabel, aged ten; Genevieve, aged eight; Henry C., Jr., aged six; and Edmond, aged three; all bright, healthy and intelligent children, while he and his wife look as young and vigorous as when first they were married. In 1870 he was elected Mayor of the City of Gallatin without opposition, and held that office for two terms, declining a third: lie had previously held the office of city clerk, being the first clerk of the city after the reviving of the city government from its lapse during the late war.
At the general election in November, 1872, he was elected judge of the Probate Court of Daviess county and filled that office with honor and credit to himself for a term of four years. In December, 1874, he formed a law partnership with Marcus A. Low, Esq., of Hamilton, Missouri, one of the ablest lawyers in this State, who soon thereafter removed to Gallatin. This partnership continued until January, 1876, when Messrs. Low & McDougal formed a copartnership with Colonel John H. Shanklin, of Trenton, Missouri, under the firm name of Shanklin, Low, & McDougal; and this partnership has since continued without interruption, the firm having a very extensive general practice in the courts of Northwest Missouri in addition to their railroad practice as attorneys for the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Rail-way Company, and the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railway Company. For convenience, this firm keep up two offices, one at Trenton, where Messrs. Shanklin & Low reside, and the other at Gallatin, where Judge McDougal has resided for the past fifteen years.
Notwithstanding the fact that he was born and reared in Virginia, and is Southern by blood and education, as well as in his tastes and manners, yet Judge McDougal has since manhood been a Republican in politics; but, being a lawyer who loves above everything his chosen profession, he has neither time nor inclination to mix in political affairs. Judge McDougal has been a Mason since 1868, and is now a member of Gallatin Lodge No. 106, and Gallatin Royal Arch Chapter No. 11, and is a member of Kadosh Commandery of Knights Templar, at Cameron, Missouri.
He has at various times since coming to Gallatin, occupied the position of city councilman, and is now a member of the Gallatin school board, having always taken a deep interest in education and been a strong and earnest sup-porter of the common schools. There has not been a public enterprise suggested and carried out in the county or town that he has not been in the front rank in supporting, by his time, energy and money. Ever since his residence among these people he has continued to endear himself to them, having won their admiration by his genial, affable manner, coupled with a pluck and will that just so sure as maintained leads to success. By close and continuons application to the study and business of his profession, he has not only accumulated a handsome property, but has attained a high rank among the lawyers of the country. Judge McDougal stands six feet high, is of light build and wiry, betokening energy, and a capability for enduring the toils of a business life. His manners are polished and graceful, and he takes his place in society, the lodge or the public meeting without inconvenience, and when it has been his duty he has presided with dignity and honor, commanding the respect of all. There is no man in the town or county of his residence that is more universally popular among all classes, political, religions or otherwise, than Judge McDougal; he is identified with these people, their interest and destiny, and knowing this, each and all appreciate and honor him. He has, from the positions he has occupied and a natural inclination to travel and see of this vast country of America, cultivated a large and distinguished acquaintance, it being his good fortune to enjoy the personal acquaintance and friendship of a large number of the prominent public men of the State and nation. It has been his kind privilege to have the means to travel and learn of the customs and manners of the people of this country from the land of the Pilgrim fathers to the home of the Montezumas, and by this means he has accumulated a store of knowledge that can be learned in no other way, and is invaluable to the mortal who wishes to make this short life here on earth a pleasure to him-self and family.
Thus we have sketched the life of one who has not reached the summit on life’s highway; one whose life has been thus far a success; whose fair name has never been tarnished; whose reputation for honesty and moral worth cannot be questioned; and one whom wife, children and friends shall ever love and fondly cherish his name.