Biography of John C. Settle
John C. Settle, who conducted a contracting and building business under the firm style of John C. Settle & Company, was a resident of St. Louis from 1897 until his death, which occurred April 17, 1921. He was born in Monroe City, this state, October 3, 1865, his parents being John B. and Mildred A. (Bannister) Settle. The Settle family is of English origin and was founded in America in 1770 by three brothers, one of whom took up his abode in New York and nothing is known about his descendants. The second went to North Carolina and was the founder of a long and illustrious line. To this branch of the family belonged Congressman Thomas Settle of Greensboro, North Carolina. The third brother took up his abode in Virginia and his descendants later went to Kentucky. Congressman Evan Settle, of the latter state, is connected with this branch of the family. John Cooper Settle, an uncle of John C. Settle o1 this review, was at an early day the editor of the Louisville Courier. John B. Settle, father of John C. Settle, was born upon a farm near Monroe City, Missouri, his father having come to this state from Kentucky in the early part of the nineteenth century, at which time the family homestead was established near Monroe City. As the years passed John B. Settle took his place in the business world as a farmer and builder and led an active and useful life, passing away in 1914. His wife was a daughter of James Bannister, who represented a family that was established in Missouri in the eighteenth century. They were planters and slaveholders. Mrs. Settle passed away three years before the death of her husband, being called to her final rest in 1911.
John C. Settle obtained his education in the public and high schools of Monroe City and also had the benefit of private tutoring in engineering. When twenty years of age he was ready to take his place as a factor in the world’s work and when twenty two years of age he went to Colorado, spending seven years in the building business, a part of the time as a partner of Joseph Saunders and part of the time alone. He then returned to Monroe City and entered into the organization of the Missouri State Life Insurance Company, in which he was associated with four other progressive business men. He was thereafter an active factor in the conduct and management of the business until 1897 at Monroe City, at which time he removed to St. Louis and continued his association with the Missouri State Life for two years. In 1899, however, he resumed business as a contractor and builder and continued active in this way throughout the remainder of his life. He was at one time a partner of Anton Wind and Jacob Althans, but during the greater part of his connection with the building operations of St. Louis was alone and conducted his interests under the style of J. C. Settle & Company. He erected many of the finest and most important buildings not only of St. Louis but also of other sections of the state, including the Varied Industries building of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which was built at a cost of seven hundred and twenty thousand dollars. He likewise had the contract for a number of the state buildings and other smaller structures of the exposition. At Jefferson Barracks he erected the administration building, the arsenal, the barracks, the quarter-master’s storehouse and two large warehouses seventy-five by three hundred feet. He did much construction work at Fort Riley, Kansas, and has been the builder of several postoffices and custom houses for the government. He likewise did much work for the state and was also the builder of various churches, including the Union Methodist church of St. Louis, which, though erected a number of years ago, is still in perfect condition. For several years he did all carpenter work for W. A. Cann at Jefferson City and he built the gymnasium and Sunday school building of the Evangelical church, which is the largest structure of the kind in the state. During the last five years of his life Mr. Settle had the contract for all building for the Laclede Gas Light Company and the Madison Coal Corporation. For the latter he built sixty houses for its employes at its mines in Kentucky. At one time he had under construction fifty bungalows for the Cairo Real Estate Improvement Company at Cairo, Illinois, and at Carterville, Illinois, he built fifty-two houses. Not long prior to his demise he began specializing in the wholesale construction of homes and he negotiated with housing corporations from the Lakes to the Gulf. In fact Mr. Settle was one of the best known contractors and builders of the entire Mississippi valley. His operations were most extensive and of an important character and he was well qualified to handle large contracts requiring the employment of hundreds of workmen. He thoroughly understood every scientific principle of his business, besides all the practical phases of construction, and his powers of organization and executive force were dominant elements in the attainment of his place of prominence and his gratifying success.
On the 24th of December, 1902, Mr. Settle was married to Miss Agnes Price, a daughter of Elwyn Price of Versailles, Missouri. For seventy years her father has lived at Versailles, where he has followed farming and merchandising. He was brought from Roanoke, Virginia, when five years of age by his parents. His father went to California in the gold rush of 1849 and there his death occurred. Mrs. Price descended from the Livingston family which came from Scotland in early days settled in Virginia. To Mr. and Mrs. Settle were born two children, Nadine John C., Jr.
In politics Mr. Settle was an independent democrat. Religiously he was connected with St. John’s Methodist Episcopal church of St. Louis and was always active in church and Sunday school work, serving for fifteen years as the teacher of the Bible class. He was a Mason, belonging to Rose Hill Lodge, No. 550, A. F. & A. M., of St. Louis; and to St. Louis Chapter, No. 8, R. A. M. He was also connected with Odd Fellows Lodge, No. 5, of St. Louis, and passed through all of the chairs to captain in the lodge at Pueblo, Colorado. He likewise belonged to the City Club and to the Chamber of Commerce and his interests were broad and varied, for while preeminently a busy and successful business man, he never neglected his duties and obligations in any particular. The attainment of success was never the sole end and aim of his life but only a means to an end, and that end was largely service to others.