History of Greene County, Missouri
1883

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian


Chapter 16
History of the County from 1875

Part 2
1879 — Miscellaneous — Transfer of the Springfield and Memphis Railroad to the Kansas City, Fort Smith and Gulf Company — Killing of Alonzo Fagg — Killing of R. C. Roberts. 1880 — Miscellaneous Matters — The Great Cyclone — The Political Canvass — The November Election — Census Reports. 1881— First Train From Kansas City — Indignant Temperance People — Annual Conference — The Drouth — Assassination of President Garfield — Memorial Services — School Statistics, etc., etc.


1879—MISCELLANEOUS.

January 1st, Paul Crender, a German, committed suicide by shooting himself through the brain. The tragedy happened at the house of Mrs. Walters, on Boonville street, in Springfield.

May 1st, a young man named Leroy Berry, a son of James Berry, living eight miles northeast of Springfield, was accidentally killed. He was engaged in hauling logs. In coming down a hill the wagon came apart, the young man fell and a log and one wheel of the wagon were dragged over him. His father ran to him and picked him up, but life was extinct.

Decoration Day was well observed at the National Cemetery this year. A profusion of flowers was provided and the soldiers' graves bountifully strown. There was singing by a quartette of male voices; a prayer by Rev. Bushong, and an address by Capt. W. D. Hubbard.

The current expenses of the county this year amounted to $23,635.51.

Deaths.— March 18th , Judge Nathan Bray, a prominent lawyer of Springfield, died. Judge Bray was a native of Ohio, born in 1827, and came to Springfield in 1871.—.August 11, Wirt Ellis, a promising young lawyer of Springfield, died at St. Paul, Minn.—Dec. 18th, Col. Henry Sheppard died at New Orleans, aged 58. Col. Sheppard was a native of New Jersey, and had been a resident of Springfield since 1844. (See biography elsewhere.)

TRANSFER OF THE SPRINGFIELD AND WESTERN RAILROAD TO THE KANSAS CITY, FORT SCOTT AND GULF.

About the 1st of June, 1879, negotiations were completed for the transfer of the Springfield & Western Missouri railroad, then running from Springfield to Ash Grove, to the Kansas City, Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad company. It was known that the latter corporation would arrange for the speedy completion of the road from Ash Grove to Fort Scott, and thus effect railway communication between Springfield and Greene county and Kansas City without change of cars, a consummation much desired and long striven for by the people of the county.

As soon as it was known in Springfield that the railroad negotiations were closed, there was great rejoicing. The booming of Mr. Sam Odell's artillery summoned the people together. A huge bonfire was kindled; rockets were sent up from the bell tower; speeches were made by several prominent citizens; music was rendered by the colored cornet band, and there were great cheering, congratulations, etc. Springfield was now sure of another first-class railway, destined to connect Memphis and Kansas City—to bring into communication the land of magnolias and orange blossoms with the region of prairie roses and corn-flowers—and Springfield would be, by all odds the most important town between the two great termini of the important thoroughfare. Cause enough for joy and exultation, and for self-congratulation on the part of those who had labored so long and so zealously for this result. [562]

TRAGEDIES OF 1879—KILLING OF ALONZO FAGG BY SAMUEL MEANS.

April 19th a young man named Alonzo Fagg was fatally stabbed by another young man named Samuel Means, both of Springfield, and both of highly respectable families. From the testimony, as published, of Will N. Smith, it would seem that there was no immediate quarrel between the parties, but that both were under the influence of liquor. The affair happened late at night, on South street, in Springfield. Fagg and Smith were going home, when Means came up out of an alley and assaulted Fagg, chasing him a short distance and coming up with him inflicted the fatal wounds. Fagg was carried into Kirby's saloon and died in a few minutes. Means was arrested and lodged in jail. At the ensuing November term of court he was tried and to the general surprise of the community was acquitted. There was much unfavorable comment upon the manner in which the case was managed and upon the jury that rendered the verdict.

MURDER OF H. C. ROBERTS BY JOHN VAUGHAN.

About one month after Sam Means had been acquitted, or on December 26, 1879, one John Vaughan, recently from Texas, shot and killed H. C. Roberts, a saloon-keeper, in North Springfield. The killing was wholly unprovoked, and was committed, as most murders are, while the perpetrator was drunk. Vaughan exhibited his revolver in Roberts' saloon while quarreling with one Appleby. Roberts called his attention to the law regarding the carrying of deadly weapons. Immediately afterward, while closing his door, Roberts was shot. Vaughan then presented his revolver at Appleby, who beat a hasty retreat by the rear door. Then Vaughan lit his pipe and left the saloon. Out of doors he shot at a negro woman, but missed her. He was arrested, lodged in jail and held to await the action of the grand jury.

Vaughan was indicted and at the June term, 1880, of the circuit court put on trial. The jury failed to agree, standing ten for acquittal on the ground of insanity, one for murder in the second degree, and one for murder in the first degree. At a subsequent trial he was acquitted on the ground of insanity. [563]

1880—MISCELLANEOUS.

About the 1st of January the Southwestern Missouri Teachers' Association convened in Springfield and continued in session some days. Quite a number of teachers was in attendance. On the 28th of February certain public spirited citizens of Springfield held a meeting to select delegates to represent Greene county at the meeting of the State Board of Immigration at St. Louis. Mayor McAdoo was chairman. Delegates were appointed and then an association was regularly formed for the building and improvement of a public road from Springfield to Harrison, Arkansas. The latter project was designed, of course, to facilitate communication with our Rackensack neighbors, and to draw their trade to Springfield. It engaged the attention of the merchants and business men for some time.

On the 27th of September the wife of Col. James Dumars, of Springfield, fell down a cellar and was fatally injured. The stairway leading from a room in the dwelling house into the cellar had been removed to allow of some repairs. Mrs. Dumars unthoughtedly stepped into the opening, where the stairs had been, with the dreadful result.

Died.—Sept. 13th, Hon. John S. Waddill, whose name appears so frequently in former pages of this history. Judge Waddill was a native of East Tennessee, born in 1805. He came to Greene county in 1835, and first bought a farm at the mouth of Wilson's creek, but the next year came to Springfield, which was his home till his death. In December, Hon. Joseph J. Weaver, another old citizen of the county.

THE CYCLONE OF 1880.

Sunday evening, April 18, 1880, a violent and very destructive cyclone visited Southwest Missouri, destroying not only thousands of dollars' worth of property, but scores of human lives. The town of Marshfield was prostrated and more than 60 persons killed. A dozen more lives were lost in other parts of Webster county. The people of Springfield, the physicians and many ladies went up to the stricken city as soon as they heard of the fearful calamity that had befallen it, and ministered to the victims for several days.

In Barry, Stone, and Christian counties, the same storm did considerable damage, and a great many persons were injured. There seemed to be two cyclones, one of which went through the northern part of Christian and eastward through Texas county, and the other, which was seemingly organized near Ozark, passed up the James, through this county, and on to Marshfield. [564]

The house of J. L. McCraw, sr., in Taylor township, had the roof blown off, and on the same farm 120 acres of valuable timber was blown down, 200 bearing fruit trees destroyed, fences blown away, and other property injured. The house of J. L. McCraw, jr., was blown down and some stock killed.

Volney Galbraith's house was blown down. Mrs. E. Turner's house was unroofed and her farm generally devastated. The houses of W. A. Gault, and his son-in-law, N. Ellis, were blown down and several farm animals killed. Mr. Gault had his shoulder mashed and several of his ribs broken. Mrs. Gault's leg was broken. Three or four children were hurt.

Other results of the cyclone were more serious. The residence of Thos. Kershner was blown down, his farm devasted, he and his wife were badly hurt, and his little son was killed. Maj. Gallaway's house, in Clay township, was prostrated, the farm damaged, and Mrs. Gallaway was killed. T. J. Scott's house, in Clay township, was blown to pieces, his son Walter and his daughter Mary were both killed outright; he was mortally injured, dying afterwards; his daughter "Donny" lost a leg. Miss Nichols, residing at Kershner's, was injured.

Mrs. Elizabeth R. Thompson, widow of James M. Thompson (who was murdered in October, 1864), was killed. She and ten other persons were at her home, in Clay township. The cyclone blew out the side of the house, letting the upper floor above fall on her. The other inmates were saved by the upper floor being held up by a bedstead on the opposite side of the room from the position occupied by Mrs. Thompson. Her son Abner lived in the house with her at the time, but neither he nor the other inmates were seriously hurt.

S. N. Ingram's mill, on the James, was blown down. James Roberts had an arm broken. The widow Simpson's farm was ruined. A Mr. Lee (known as "Sheep" Lee), who lived on the Hampton place, lost 1000 bushels of wheat, which was scattered over the country, and 3,000 pounds of bacon, which was distributed over considerable territory, and Mr. Lee himself was badly injured. Other incidents of the fearful force and destructive effects of the storm are omitted for want of space. There are few more notable events in the history of Greene county than that of the great cyclone of 1880. [565]

THE POLITICAL CANVASS IN 1880.

The candidates for President and Vice President most prominently before the people this year were James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur, of the Republicans; Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock and Wm. H. English, of the Democrats; Gen. James B. Weaver and B. J. Chambers, of the National Greenbackers. In this Congressional district there were at first three candidates for Congress—Hon. R. C. McBeth, of Henry county, Republican; Hon. J. R. Waddill, of Greene, Democrat, for re-election, and Hon. Ira S. Haseltine, also of Greene, Greenbacker.

Two years before the contest had been triangular and Waddill had been elected by a large plurality. The combined Republican and Greenback vote in the district, however, largely exceeded the Democratic. Should the opposition to the Democratic party, therefore, be able to unite on a candidate, his election was certain. Many Republicans and many Greenbackers, too, opposed a coalition, and such a combination could be elected only with difficulty. But the party managers brought it about. Acting, it is said, on orders from Washington, the Republicans, after vainly endeavoring to induce the Greenbackers to come over to their candidate, procured a letter to be written by Mr. McBeth withdrawing from the contest, and leaving the Republican voters free to vote for Haseltine (a former Republican) if they should so choose.

Not all of the Republicans could be made to vote for Mr. Haseltine. Col. D. C. Leach's paper at Springfield, the Patriot-Advertiser, opposed him, as did many Republicans and a few Greenbackers. The result of the contest, which was very close and very exciting, was the election of Mr. Haseltine by a small majority over Mr. Waddill—a result which some Democrats still claim could have been avoided by the latter.

During the canvass there were meetings and pole-raisings at Springfield, Brookline and at other points in the county, and some prominent speakers visited us. The Republican candidate for Governor, Hon. D. P. Dyer, spoke in October to what his party papers called a "rousing" meeting. The Democrats were in good spirits until after the October elections in Ohio and Indiana, and felt confident of electing Gen. Hancock, but when Ohio and Indiana both went Republican at their State elections, they became confused, dispirited, and panicky, and their defeat in November, while a matter of great chagrin and mortification, was not altogether unexpected to them. The Greenbackers held numerous meetings, and numbering some 1,200 voters were important factors in the fight, it being apparent that they held the balance of power, at least. The Greenback candidate for Lieutenant Governor this year was Homer F. Fellows, of Greene county. It was amusing to witness the efforts of the Republican and Democratic party managers to "capture" Greenback voters, and also to observe Garfield men trying to induce Democrats to vote the Greenback ticket, and Hancock men trying to induce Republicans to do the same! [567]

The Republicans were generally successful this year in Greene county, the following being an abstract of the votes cast at the November elections:

NOVEMBER ELECTION, 1880.

 

President

Governor

Congress

Circuit Judge

Townships

HANCOCK

Garfield

Weaver

CRITTENDEN

Dyer

Brown

WADDILL

Haseltine

CRAVENS

Geiger

Dade

Boone

194

174

82

194

175

83

207

229

189

168

101

Brookline, 1st Precinct

88

90

53

88

90

53

104

93

81

81

67

Brookline, 2d Precinct

21

79

25

20

79

26

22

48

20

77

27

Cass

90

143

126

90

142

124

107

207

78

145

133

Clay

40

64

48

40

65

47

50

75

33

51

67

Campbell, 1st Precinct

152

217

106

148

219

105

194

199

133

209

139

Campbell, 2d Precinct

139

239

68

138

241

68

169

165

108

242

95

Campbell, 3d Precinct

248

210

97

245

210

97

277

206

203

198

150

Campbell, 4th Precinct

167

146

63

161

147

66

198

129

141

141

82

Campbell, N. Spfld.

143

94

37

142

97

35

149

107

134

80

60

Center, 1st Precinct

98

41

16

98

40

19

118

23

91

40

27

Center, 2d Precinct

15

50

31

15

49

32

15

56

15

41

35

Center, 3d Precinct

52

20

9

52

20

9

54

22

51

20

10

Franklin

93

117

41

92

116

42

83

80

83

111

57

Jackson, 1st Precinct

73

37

69

72

36

71

72

77

74

30

76

Jackson, 2d Precinct

27

29

66

27

28

67

32

77

25

27

68

Pond Creek

37

80

30

37

80

30

38

33

32

77

37

Robberson

61

102

67

60

101

69

60

126

59

100

72

Taylor

36

55

89

36

55

88

40

108

34

47

96

Walnut Grove

43

88

44

43

88

44

50

95

38

86

49

Washington

33

81

54

33

82

54

35

62

31

75

60

Wilson

62

42

66

60

41

69

69

82

50

38

81

Total

1912

2198

1286

1891

2201

1298

2143

2299

1703

2084

1589

NOTE: Democrats in SMALL CAPITALS; Republicans in Italic; Greenbackers in Roman. [567]

VOTE ON COUNTY OFFICERS, NOVEMBER, 1880.

 

Prosecuting Attorney

Sheriff

County Treasurer

Townships

CRENSHAW

Boyd

Wigfield

ARMSTRONG

Patterson

Smith

FARRIS

Ingram

Boone

207

166

82

189

178

82

236

178

Brookline, 1st Precinct

92

86

50

88

93

49

89

93

Brookline, 2d Precinct

22

76

26

19

80

26

27

97

Cass

92

133

126

76

152

130

130

139

Clay

39

63

49

37

68

45

46

92

Campbell, 1st Precinct

153

208

106

125

237

106

157

224

Campbell, 2d Precinct

124

241

75

122

241

81

98

258

Campbell, 3d Precinct

234

201

108

231

202

111

199

223

Campbell, 4th Precinct

164

140

67

153

157

65

146

164

N. Springfield Precinct

149

79

44

169

87

50

76

92

Center, 1st Precinct

92

41

24

97

41

20

26

46

Center, 2d Precinct

15

49

32

15

49

32

32

49

Bois D'Arc Precinct

52

20

9

52

20

9

49

21

Franklin

89

104

47

64

114

68

54

154

Jackson, 1st Precinct

67

38

74

63

33

78

70

52

Jackson, 2d Precinct

26

26

67

18

18

85

65

32

Pond Creek

38

79

30

38

80

30

40

94

Robberson

58

104

66

50

110

70

84

104

Taylor

38

55

85

28

52

98

86

65

Walnut Grove

36

75

60

41

92

42

79

89

Washington

33

81

55

38

78

53

53

83

Wilson

60

41

68

54

44

71

65

89

Total

1880

2106

1350

1734

2226

1401

1907

2438

NOTE: Democrats in SMALL CAPITALS; Republicans in Italic; Greenbackers in Roman.

The Republicans elected both Representatives to the State Legislature, W. W. Langston and W. H. Wade. Haseltine's majority over Waddill in the district was 107, the vote standing, Haseltine, 22,787; Waddill, 22,680. Four Greenback Congressmen were elected in Missouri this year by fusion with Republicans, viz.: Ira S. Haseltine, Theron M. Rice, Joseph G. Burrows, and Nicholas Ford.

CENSUS REPORTS OF 1880.

The reports of the census enumerators of Greene county showed its population this year, in June, to be as follows:

Boone township, including the village of Ash Grove, 2,160; Ash Grove village, 500. Brookline township, including the following towns, 1,821; Brookline town, 143; Republic town, 81. Campbell township including the following places, 10,775; North Springfield village, 997; Springfield city, 6,524, 1st ward, 1,426; 2d ward, 1,681; 3d ward, 2,152 ; 4th ward, 1,265. Cass township, including the village of Cave Spring, 1,945; Cave Spring village, 78. Centre township, including the village of Bois D'Arc, 1,746; Bois D'Arc village, 72. Clay township, 852. Franklin township, 1,464. Jackson township, including the village of Fair Grove, 1,725; Fair Grove village, 72. Pond Creek township, 1,009. Robberson township, 1,299. Taylor township, 896. Walnut Grove township, including the village of Walnut Grove, 921 ; Walnut Grove village, 264. Washington township, 1,094. Wilson township, 1,110. Total, 28,817.

The number of males, all told, was 14,649; females, 14,168. The number of whites was 26,009; colored, 2,808; foreigners, 807.

There were many complaints that this census was incomplete and inaccurate. [568]

1881—FIRST TRAIN THROUGH FROM KANSAS CITY.

On the 25th of May of this year the first through train from Kansas City to Springfield arrived at the latter station. The special car composing the train had for passengers the general manager of the road, Mr. Geo. H. Nettleton, the general superintendent, Mr. L. W. Towne, and other officials, some newspaper correspondents, and a few invited guests.

On the arrival of the train at Springfield bells were rung, cannon (anvils) fired, and an impromptu reception and jollification meeting combined were held at the Metropolitan Hotel. Speeches were made by General Manager Nettleton, Hon. J. R. Waddill, Mr. Sam. Odell, and one or two others. Regular freight and passenger trains from Kansas City to Springfield began running June 6th. The road began building eastward from Springfield in the early fall of this year.

INDIGNANT TEMPERANCE PEOPLE.

In June and July, 1881, there was considerable feeling among the temperance people in regard to the action of the county court in granting certain liquor licenses. When applications for license were made the temperance people, through their attorneys, Mr. J. R. Vaughan and Mr. D. C. Dade, presented remonstrances and urged other reasons why the permits should not be granted. They claimed that the court, in flagrant violation of law, and against all considerations for the public weal, had pandered to the "whisky interest," to the great injury and shame of the community. Several indignation meetings were held in Springfield, Brookline, and perhaps elsewhere, strongly censuring the county court for its action. [569]

ANNUAL CONFERENCE.

The annual conference of the M. E. Church South for this conference convened at Springfield September 28th of this year, and continued in session until October 3d. Bishop Pierce, of Georgia, presided. A large number of delegates were present, as were many eminent divines of the church from Missouri and from other States. The occasion was one of great interest to the Southern Methodists of Southwestern Missouri.

THE DROUGHT of 1881.

The drouth of the season of 1881 will not soon be forgotten by the farmers of Greene county, nor indeed of Missouri, Eastern Kansas, and Southern Illinois. In this county no rain fell from the middle of July until about the 10th of September. Corn shriveled up in the fields, and, taking the county through, was not half of an average crop. Fruit of all kinds was "short," and potatoes and other root crops were almost an entire failure. A few fields of early planted corn yielded tolerably, but there were very few of such fields. Greene county fared much better than many other localities in this State and in Illinois, where there was actual destitution, in many instances, and grievous want.

Died.—June 8th, Martin Ingram, at his home, six miles from Springfield, aged 78. Mr. Ingram was a native of North Carolina, and came to Greene county in 1834. He was the father of A. F. Ingram, ex-county treasurer. Mr. J. B. Townsend, another old settler and prominent citizen, died September 26th.

ASSASSINATION AND DEATH OF PRESIDENT GARFIELD.

Upon receipt of the news in this county of the assassination of President Garfield (July 2) there was the greatest indignation among all classes of people. And when he died September 20th, there was universal regret and sorrow. The mayor of Springfield, Mr. James Abbott, at once called a public meeting, which was held at the court- house, and over which he presided. A committee, composed of Col. D. C. Leach, Geo. M. Jones, H. F. Fellows, and Judge W. F. Geiger, reported resolutions strongly denouncing the crime of Guiteau and deeply deploring its sad effects, and highly eulogistic of the character of the dead President. Speeches were delivered by Hon. H. E. Havens, Hon. J. R. Waddill, Capt. Geo. M. Jones, O. H. Travers, and Rev. Mr. Berry.

September 26th memorial services were held in the Christian church the M. E. South church, and in other churches of Springfield, including two colored. At the Christian church there were the most important services, President Garfield having been a member of that denomination. A lengthy and able memorial address was rendered by Col. D. C. Leach, and briefer speeches were made by President N. J. Morrison, J. R. Waddill, and D. P. Puttnam. At the M. E. Church South the speakers were Revs. Marks and Bond, Hon. H. E. Havens, Maj. J. C. Cravens, and Capt. Geo. M. Jones, all of whom spoke very feelingly and with much earnestness and ability of the real worth of the distinguished dead and "the deep damnation of his taking off." Perhaps it ought to be borne in mind that Maj. Cravens and Capt. Jones were gallant Confederate soldiers during the civil war. [570]

Memorial services were also held in the churches of North Springfield, and business was generally suspended in both towns. Many stores and other buildings were draped in mourning.

SCHOOL STATISTICS FOR 1881.

From the report of County Commissioner Jonathan Fairbanks, made in August, 1881, it is learned that at that time the total number of white persons in the county, between the ages of 6 and 20, were—males, 4,717; females, 4,295. Total number of white children enumerated in the county, 9,012. Total number of colored children—males, 480; females, 483. Total, 963. Total children of school age enumerated 9,975. Number of white scholars attending the public schools during the year—males, 3,563; females, 3 223. Total, 6,786. Number of colored scholars attending the public schools during the year—males, 287 ; females, 325. Total, 612.

Number of teachers employed during the year—males, 77; females, 59; males and females, 136. Average salaries of teachers per month—males, $33.60; females, $31,66; all $32.46. Amount paid for teachers' wages during the year, $22,289.95.

Number of school houses in the county, 95; number rented, 3. Number of scholars that may be seated in all the school—houses, 7,399. Number of white schools in operation, 116; colored 13. Average cost per day for tuition for each child, 51/5 cents. Value of school property in the county, $68,053. Average rates per $100 levied for school purposes, 50 cents. Assessed valuation of property in the county, $5,237,711. Amount paid for fuel for schools during the year, $934.37. Amount paid for repairs or rent of school houses during the year, $1,346.19. Amount paid for apparatus and incidental expenses for the year, $2,575.69. Amount paid for the erection of school houses or purchasing of sites, $889.11. Amount expended in defraying past indebtedness, $8,202.18. Amount paid for salaries of district clerks, $483.74. Total receipts from all sources during the year, $50,776.00. Total expenditures for all purposes, during the year, $36,747.92. [571]

Children of school age enumerated 1879, 9,648; 1880, 9,953; 1881, 9,975. The colored children enumerated were, 1879, 1,002; 1880, 1,009; 1881, 963, showing a decrease in colored children of 46 in the past year. Of the white children enumerated in 1881, there were 422 more males than females in the county. In the country districts, the males predominated, in the cities, the females. In Springfield there were of school age, 60 more females than males, and in North Springfield, 19. There were in the count , 340 more boys attending school than girls, and 18 more male teachers employed than females. There were in the county 30 summer schools averaging 29 pupils each, and 106 winter schools averaging 41 pupils each. The schools of the city of Springfield averaged 55 to the teacher. The above was the average daily attendance. Average length of summer schools, 67 days; winter, 86 days.

The assessed valuation for 1878 was $5,456,480.00; for 1879, $4,768,111.00, showing a depreciation of $688,369.00. The assessed valuation for 1880 was $5,237,711, showing an appreciation of $469,600 over the previous years.

Some of the school districts were reported to the property to the following amounts:—Springfield, $1,757,197; North Springfield, $229,279; Ash Grove, $117,426; Hazel Dell, district No. 3, township 29, range 22, $98,971 ; Edmison school house, district No. 2, township 29, range 21, $82,797; Oak Grove, district No. 4, township 29, range 21, $77,234; Fair Grove, district No. 2, township 31, range 20, $70,251. There were in the county including above, fifteen districts worth over $50,000; twenty-six districts worth over $40,000; forty-six districts worth over $30,000; seventy-seven districts worth over $20,000; and there were in the county thirteen districts worth less than $20,000. One hundred districts are included in the report.

The following districts made the smallest levies: District 3, township 31, range 22, 6 cents on the $100; district 1, township 28, range 22, 7 cents on the $160; district 2, township 28, range 23, 8 cents on the $100; district 2, township 28, range 20, 11 cents on the $100; district 4, township 30, range 23, 12 cents on the $100; district 2, township 30, range 20, 12 cents on the $100. Several districts levied as high as $1.40 on the $100, while one levied $1.50 to the $100. [572] 


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