Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


Chapter 10
County Growth and Progress
by A. M. Haswell


The first federal census, taken after Greene county had a separate legal existence, was that of 1840. At that time the immense area first set aside for the new county had already been much curtailed by the formation of other counties cut out of its domain, but there was still remaining a vast extent of territory, and the small number of inhabitants, seven years after the organization of the county, illustrates the thinly settled condition of the region. The total population, as shown in this census, including blacks as well as whites, was only five thousand three hundred and seventy-two.

Ten years passed; the area of the county was still more cut down by the organization of other counties, but the number of people in the reduced boundaries was twelve thousand seven hundred and eighty-five.

The numbers as given in the various subdivisions of the county were as follows:

Town of Springfield
Campbell township
Boone township
Cass township
Dallas township
Finley township
Jackson township
Ozark township
Polk township
Porter township
Robberson township
Taylor township

411
1,820
959
974
670
1,640
742
569
732
494
1,157
1,380

Of this number one thousand two hundred and thirty were negro slaves, and seven free persons of color.

Thus we see that the county, in spite of being shorn of a large amount of territory, increased its population only a little less than one hundred and fifty per cent in the decade just passed. [211]

A school census taken midway between the last federal census and the one five years in the future, in 1855, gives some interesting figures. This does not, of course, give the total population, being only a list of persons of school age, and of the property subject to school tax. It makes the total valuation of the county to be $2,912,928. Of this, there are listed the following classes:

One thousand four hundred and twenty slaves, valued at $704,975; land, $1,449,895; town lots, $105,917; money and notes, $239,926; other personalty, $512,725. The number of children of school age (this, of course, not including the negro children, who have already been accounted for under the head of "property"), was 5,908. Thus, in fifteen years after the first census, the white children alone numbered 608 more than the entire population, white and black, included in 1840. Certainly, Greene county at that time was in no danger from Roosevelt's bugaboo of "race suicide!" a menace, by the way, which the county has always carefully guarded against.

OTHER STATISTICS.

Some other brief statistics also give a sidelight on the rapid growth of the county between 1840 and 1850. In the first named year the entire county revenue from all sources was $1,555.56. The expenditures were $1,533.50, leaving a balance of $21.76 in the treasury. In 1850 the revenues had grown to $2,472.97, and the expenses that year ran up to $3,263.44, leaving a deficit of $780.47. We may be sure that the ever-present critics of all in authority were not slow to denounce the extravagance of a County Court which would thus plunge their constituency into burdensome debt!

The census of 1860 shows that the wave of immigration had run its course, and that the county was practically at a standstill in population. Of course we must remember that further territory had been taken from Greene county since the last census, several populous townships having been thrown into the formation of Christian county and Greene reduced to the bounds which she retains until this day. So that the slow growth is far more apparent than real. The figures total 13,186, only 401 more than at the ceding census. Of this total 1,668 were slaves. By precinct and township the figures were as follows:

Boone

Campbell (incl. Springfield)

Cass

Center

Clay

1,034

3,442

1,259

1,147

678

Pond Creek

Robberson

Taylor

Wilson

Jackson

808

1,933

916

850

1,124

[212]

Before the next census, that of 1870, Greene county had passed through four years of devastating civil war. We have no means of knowing the population remaining in the county at the close of hostilities, but it is sure that the number was far below that at the time of the census of 1860. The growth from that time to the census year was rapid, almost phenomenal, for the number given is a total of 21,549, a gain of 8,363 over that of 1860, an increase of only a little less than 65 per cent, and this in less than half of the decade, for the real growth did not begin until well into 1866. Of the total as given, 3,249 were negroes.

By townships, the figures are as follows:

Boone Township

Campbell Township

Cass Township

Center Township

Clay Township

Jackson Township

1,692

3,139

1,531

1,681

840

1,759

Pond Creek Township

Robberson Township

Taylor Township

Wilson Township

City of Springfield

882

2,419

998

1,053

5,555

The census of 1880 probably created more dissatisfaction in Springfield and Greene county generally than in that had preceded it. Charges were made that it was so loosely and carelessly taken that a large number of inhabitants had been missed entirely. There was some talk of appealing to Washington for a recount, and a good deal of correspondence to that effect. But nothing resulted, and the count stood as first given.

The figures given as the total for the county were 28,817. Those for the city of Springfield were 6,524. As the city had been steadily growing, although somewhat checked by the panic of 1873 and the dull times following it for several years, this growth of only 969 in ten years was bitterly denounced as far short of the true figures. Of the total, 2,808 were negroes.

By township and precinct the figures were as follows:

Boone Twp (incl. Ash Grove)

Brookline Township

Campbell Township

Cass Township

Center Township

Clay Township

Franklin Township

Jackson Township

2,160

1,821

3,254

1,945

1,746

852

1,464

1,725

Pond Creek Township

Robberson Township

Taylor Township

Walnut Grove Twp

Washington Township

Wilson Township

Springfield City

North Springfield City

1,009

1,299

896

921

1,094

1,101

6,524

997

[213]

The population of Springfield by wards was as follows:

First Ward

Second Ward

Third Ward

Fourth Ward

TOTAL

1,426

1,681

2,152

1,265

6,524

As the city had taken a census for its own purposes in 1878, which showed a population of 6,878 at that time, Or, 354 more than shown by the government enumerators two years later, there was certainly room for doubting the correctness of the Federal figures.

But time passed and the census of 1890 drew near. Three years prior to the taking of this census Springfield and her neighbor to the north had united as one city, and this, together with a steady and healthy growth, is shown in the new figures for the city.

SHOWED AN INCREASE.

The total for the county was 48,616, an increase in ten years of 19,815, or over 662/3 per, cent for the entire county. The ratio of growth for Springfield is still more impressive. The figures for 1880 were, as we have, seen, 6,524. Those for 1890 were 21,850, or an increase of 334 per cent. During this decade Springfield had at last thrown aside her swaddling clothes, and started toward her destiny of becoming a metropolitan city.

The population by townships and wards is given as follows:

Boone Township

Brookline Township

Campbell Township

Cass Township

Clay Township

Center Township

Franklin Township

Jackson Township

Pond Creek Township

2,923

900

5,262

2,260

1,239

2,355

1,686

2,078

1,009

Republic Township

Robberson Township

Taylor Township

Walnut Grove Twp

Washington Township

Wilson Township

Springfield City

TOTAL

1,327

1,475

896

1,360

1,022

1,129

21,850

48,616

Of this number, there were 3,441 negroes.

Springfield by wards shows the following figures:

First Ward

Second Ward

Third Ward

Fourth Ward

Fifth Ward

1,772

2,840

2,311

2,115

3,627

Sixth Ward

Seventh Ward

Eighth Ward

TOTAL

3,633

2,616

2,939

21,850

[214]

During the next decade came the frightful panic of 1893, and the four five years of stagnation which succeeded it, and the effect of these lean years are shown in the reduced growth both of Greene county and the city of Springfield, although in greater proportion in the city than in the country districts.

The total for the entire county was 52,713, a growth of only 4,097 in ten years. Of this growth Springfield had 1,417 and the rest of the county 2,680. The percentage of growth for the city was only a fraction over 6 per cent. For the county as a whole it was only a little over 8½ per cent. Of the total number, 3,298 were negroes.

The record by precincts and city wards follows:

Boone Township

Brookline Township

Campbell Township

Cass Township

Center Township

Clay Township

Franklin Township

Jackson Township

Murray Township

N. Campbell Township

2,815

1,939

2,672

1,474

2,634

1,288

1,632

2,274

881

3,424

Pond Creek Township

Republic Township

Robberson Township

Taylor Township

Walnut Grove Twp

Washington Township

Wilson Township

Springfield City

TOTAL

900

1,696

1,656

1,183

1,532

1,170

1,224

23,267

52,713

A PROSPEROUS DECADE.

The decade from 1900 to 1910 was, with Springfield and Greene county, as with most of the United States, the most prosperous in history up to that time. The increase in population for the county as a whole was 15,215. This was divided between the city and country as follows: Springfield increased 6,400; the country districts increased 8,815. The rate of increase for the whole county was very nearly 331/3 per cent. For Springfield it was almost 25 per cent. By precincts and city wards the following are the figures:

Brookline Township

Boone Township

Campbell Township

Cass Township

Center Township

Clay Township

Franklin Township

Jackson Township

Murray Township

814

2,715

3,337

1,213

2,258

1,159

1,582

2,217

901

N. Campbell Township

Pond Creek Township

Republic Township

Taylor Township

Walnut Grove Twp

Washington Township

Wilson Township

Springfield City

TOTAL

4,834

716

1,631

1,048

1,592

974

1,105

35,201

63,831

By wards, the city of Springfield makes the following showing:

First Ward

Second Ward

Third Ward

Fourth Ward

Fifth Ward

3,976

5,379

2,395

2,307

6,458

Sixth Ward

Seventh Ward

Eighth Ward

TOTAL

5,544

4,448

4,787

35,291

[215-216]

Of this total, there were 2,625 negroes. By this census Springfield passed her only rival for the place of fourth city in the State of Missouri, Joplin, by several hundred, and her rate of increase since these figures have been published has placed her beyond any danger of losing her standing in comparison with other Missouri cities. Conservative men, who are posted upon the growth of the capital of Greene county, do not hesitate to place her present population at over 40,000.

It is interesting to compare some of the figures in these seven Federal censuses, in which Greene county has had a separate enumeration. Take, for instance, the number of negroes at the various periods:

The census of 1850 is the first one where the separate, figures are given for whites and blacks. In that census the percentage of negroes (nearly entirely slaves) to the entire population was almost 10 per cent. Ten years later the census of 1860 shows that the negro population was almost 12½ per cent of the whole. In 1870 we see the effects of freedom, which brought many negroes from other counties and states to Springfield. The ratio is practically 162/3, about one-sixth of the population. In 1880 it had dropped back to almost 10 per cent. In 1890 it was 7 per cent; in 1900, 6 per cent, and in 1910 a fraction over 4 per cent.

"Firsts" in Greene County—Inany history, telling the story of a community from its beginning, much interest naturally attaches to the dates which various enterprises had their first beginnings in the region under consideration. The following list has been made with much care, to cover least the principal of these beginnings, and an effort is made to arrange them in their chronological order as nearly as possible:

The first house built by a white man for a permanent home in Greene county was undoubtedly the log, cabin erected in 1822 by Thomas Patterson, near the spring which still is called, in his memory, the "Patterson spring. As told in the appropriate chapter of this work, Patterson and the several other families that had settled around him in 1822 were compelled to abandon their humble homes and remove from this region on account of the Indian title to the lands not yet being extinguished. Whether this first cabin remained standing when Patterson returned with his family in 1830, we do, not know, but, at all events, it was certainly the first white man's house in the county.

The first marriage was celebrated in 1831, when Lawson Fulbright wedded a daughter of David Roper, a settler some five miles east of the subsequent location of Springfield. This was quickly followed in the same year by the wedding, on August 7, 1831, of Junius Rountree and Martha Miller. The same year saw Junius T. Campbell married to Mary Blackwell.

The first male white child born in the county was Harvey Fulbright, a son of John Fulbright, born in 1831. The first white female child born in the county was Mary Frances Campbell, a daughter of John P. Campbell, forever held in honor as the founder of Springfield.

The first death was that of a child of Joseph Miller, in 1831. [216-217]

FIRST SCHOOLHOUSE AND CHURCH

The first schoolhouse in the limits of Springfield was a rude structure of logs, which occupied the ground now covered by the old frame build on the northwest corner of Main and College streets. This old building was itself used for school purposes, and also was the house of worship of the First Christian church for many years. This first schoolhouse was built in 1832. A small log cabin one mile west of Springfield was used as a schoolhouse in 1831.

The first building put up for church use was a log building, and stood in the then woods north of Wilson creek, near the present intersection of Phelps avenue and North Jefferson street. This building was occupied by the Methodists and Cumberland Presbyterians alternately.

The first mill was that built by a man named Ingle on the James river in 1822. The location was about the old wooden bridge across the James on the Ozark road. This mill was sold by Ingle to an old Indian trader named Wilson, and was by him removed to a site at the mouth of the Finley on the James, when Ingle and the other first settlers were compelled to leave the country.

The first jail was built by several citizens as a free gift, the county at that time having no funds to use for such purpose. This was in 1834, about one year after the organization of Greene county. The building stood on the west, side of Boonville street between the Public Square and Wilson creek. Afterward, when funds from the sale of town lots came into the hands of the County Court, almost the first money paid out by them was to refund the outlay of those public-spirited men who had furnished the jail out of their own pockets.

The first court house, so-called, was the residence of John P. Campbell, which was selected by the County Court at its second session in June, 1833.

The first term of Circuit Court was held beginning August 11, 1833.

The first pauper was granted relief by the county in December, 1833.

The first general election was held in August, 1834, and continued three days to afford time for those citizens residing at a distance to reach the county-seat to vote.

The first assessment was finished early in 1834. The assessor was John Williams, and it took him eighty-six days to reach and assess the five hundred families scattered over the immense territory then included in the county.

The first prisoner ever sent to the penitentiary was Wilson Edison, sent up for two and one-half years in the last of May, 1834. It is a strange fact that this man Edison was not only the first prisoner from Greene county, but also the first one to occupy the new penitentiary at Jefferson City. It is said that he was the sole occupant of the cells of the penitentiary from the 8th of March to the 28th of May, 1834.

The first county warrant ever drawn by Greene county was for the sum of $5.00, and was given to Martin B. Brame in payment for the building of a table and "pigeon boxes" for the use of the County Court. This was in the last of January, 1833.

Springfield was first incorporated as a town on the 19th of February, 1838. It was afterward reincorporated, for what reason nobody seems at this day to know, but this second incorporation was the sources of much trouble, as it gives the boundaries of the city in a very loose and confused manner.

The United States land office was first opened in Springfield on the 1st of September, 1836. At that time, and subsequently, there were such offices at Ironton, Boonville and other points in the state. As the land was sold out the offices were discontinued one by one until for the past four years the only one left in Missouri is the Springfield office, and, as there are less 1,500 acres of government land left in the entire state, the days of the remaining office may be said to be numbered.

The first postoffice was established in Springfield in the autumn of 1834. The postoffice building was a log house that then stood on the west side of South Jefferson street about midway between Walnut street and McDaniel avenue. The first postmaster was Junius Campbell, who at the time of appointment was just twenty-two years of age. His duties were not very heavy, as the mail came by horseback from Little Piney, one hundred miles to the northeast, only twice a month. From such humble beginnings has grown the immense postal business of Springfield, that now occupies the great stone government building, employs several scores of men and handles hundreds of tons of mail every month. [217-218]

FIRST NEWSPAPER.

The first newspaper was published in the spring of 1837 by J. C. Tuberville. It was called the Ozark Standard, but soon changed its name to the Ozark Eagle.

The first United States census after the formation of Greene county was that of 1840, at which time the population of the county, covering more than twenty times its present area, was only 5,372.

The first murder in Greene county was perpetrated on the 28th of May, 1837. Strangely enough, the man who did the killing was an official of the county, being Judge Charles S. Yancey, of the county court. Yancey had fined the man he afterward killed, John Roberts, for a misdemeanor, and Roberts had threatened his life for so doing. Afterward he attacked Yancey on the Public Square and the judge drew his pistol and shot Roberts dead. After a regular trial, Yancey was acquitted on the plea of self-defense. He lived many years afterward, an honored judge of the Circuit Court and citizen of the county.

The first commissioner of public schools was A. H. Matthias, appointed in 1853.

The first (and last) legal execution was that of Willis Washam, who was hung on the charge of killing his stepson. The date of execution was the 25th of August, 1854. The prisoner denied his guilt almost with his last breath, and opinion as to the justice of his fate was much divided. Long years after he was hanged, the report was circulated that his wife, on whose testimony he was put to death, had so confessed upon her death-bed that she had killed her son herself and had sworn the crime on to her husband in self-protection. This report has been denied and reiterated time and again, and at this distance of time it is very unlikely that the mystery will ever be unravelled.

The first Probate Court was establish in 1834, the governor appointing Hon. P. H. Edwards as judge and S. H. Boyd as clerk. Prior to this time probate business had been a part of the duties of the County Court.

The first bank was the Springfield branch of the State Bank of Missouri, opened in Springfield in May, 1845, with J. H. McBride as president, J. R. Danforth as cashier and C. A. Haden as clerk.

The first temperance organization was a division of the Sons of Temperance, which was formed as a result of a great temperance revival in 1849. This was a strong and active organization, and some time after, its organization succeeded, with the help of its friends, in erecting a two-story brick building, which stood for many years on the northeast corner of the Public Square and St. Louis street. This building was destroyed by fire in 1876.

In August, 1851, the County Court, in response to a largely signed petition, made an order that no further dramshop licenses should be issued in the county. This was the first prohibition action of the court. It should be stated that the court quickly reversed itself on receipt of another and opposing petition, again reversed and refused license, and so for several times. The judges apparently, were lineal descendants of John Bunyan's famous character, "Mr. Facing Bothways." [219-220]

The year 1858 saw a foundry established by Mr. Ingram. This was the first in Greene county and one of the first in this part of Missouri.

In March, 1859, J. E. Smith and W. H. Graves started the first steam planing mill in Greene county.

The telegraph was first opened to Springfield on the 3d of April, 1860. It was built, by way of Bolivar, from Jefferson City, and was later extended to Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Arkansas. At the close of the war the line was discontinued until after the railroad reached Springfield, when it was permanently re-established.

The first railroad reaching Greene county was the Atlantic & Pacific (now for many years the St. Louis & San Francisco). It was opened to Springfield May 23, 1870.

On May 13, 1870, the first of many victims was killed by the cars North Springfield. He was an Irishman by the name of Patrick Dorland, and he was probably a deliberate suicide.

The first issue of the Springfield Leader was dated April 4, 1867. This paper continues to prosper until this day.

The first through train from Kansas City came into Springfield May, 25, 1881, and was welcomed with every demonstration of joy. This was the first train into the actual limits of Springfield as they then existed.

The market quotations at various periods of a community's growth afford an interesting study, and a few are here inserted:

The records of market prices in the county for the first decade of its existence are not to be found. It is doubtful if any ever existed. Money was a scarce article among the pioneers, and a large part of traffic was carried on by bartering one article for another. Up to about 1845, or until the establishment of the first bank, we have little information as to prices. From then until about 1850, we are told by old citizens and in a former history of the county, which probably drew its information from the same sources, that wheat was worth from 30 cents to 40 cents a bushel; corn, 50 cents per bushel or 6o cents per barrel (of corn in the husk); pork, from $1.25 to $1.50 per hundredweight, and other things in proportion.

In the history of the county above referred to is given a table of prices of some of the standard articles in 1851. This was made out by Sheppard & Kimbrough, one of the pioneer firms of merchants in Springfield, and is as follows:

Sugar, 10 cents per pound; coffee, 12½ cents; salt, $3.00 per sack; nails, 15 pounds for $1.00; rolled steel, 40 cents per pound; castings, 5 cents per pound; wagonboxes, 5 cents per pound; domestic (muslin), 7 and 10 cents per yard; spun cotton, $1.00 and $1.10 per bunch; bacon, 8 cents per pound; flour, $1.25 and $1.50 per hundred; feathers, 25 cents per pound; beeswax, 20 cents per pound. [220-221]

CROP FAILURES AND HIGH PRICES.

The season of 1856 had brought an almost total failure of crops in the county, and following year, 1857, brought almost a famine to southwest Missouri. Greene county was much better off than some of her neighboring counties, but even here prices soared. Sweet potatoes sold as high as $7.00 a bushel; Irish potatoes, $2.00 per bushel; seed corn, $1.50, and the poorest "nubbin" corn readily sold at $1.00 per bushel. The long distance from railroad or river transportation made a short crop a serious matter in those days.

During the four years of war, 1861-5, prices were almost wholly governed by the fortunes of war. When the Federals were in full possession, with the route to the railroad open and daily followed by trains of wagons with supplies, prices, while high, were not prohibitive. But when contending armies were ravaging the region in and around Greene county prices were, as an old-timer once said to the writer, "all a fellow was a mind to ask!"

With the return of peace, matters adjusted themselves somewhat, although the wide margin between the prices of home-grown articles and those from abroad was very striking. In 1868, for instance, sugar, the brown article, very readily brought 162/3 cents per pound, while the best Winesap apples were worth only 15 cents a bushel and corn 25 cents. Muslin was from 15 to 20 cents a yard, calico 10 cents to 12½ cents, and wheat from 50 to 60 cents a bushel.

In 1874, four years after the coming of the railroad, the quotations are as follows:

Sugar (brown.), 8 pounds to the dollar; sugar (white), 6 pounds for $1.00; coffee, from 25 cents to 35 cents per pound; salt, $2.50 per barrel; brogan shoes, $1.50 per pair; muslin, 12½ cents to 15 cents per yard; calico 10 cents per yard; wheat, from 60 to 70 cents per bushel; corn, 25 cents per bushel; timothy hay, $7.00 per ton.

To close, we will give the market quotations, as published in the Springfield Republican ofJuly 11, 1914:

Eggs, 16 cents per dozen; butter (creamery) 27 cents, country 20 cents; sugar, 23 pounds (light brown) for $1.00; flour, 100 pounds for $2.20; sweet potatoes, $1.25 per bushel; new Irish potatoes, 85 cents per bushel; wheat, 85 cents per bushel; oats, 45 cents; timothy hay, $14.00 to $17.00 per ton; corn, 70 cents to 80 cents per bushel; cattle, beef steers, from $5.00 to $6.50 per hundredweight; hogs, from $6.50 to $7.75 per hundredweight. [221]

The Rough Side of Life—Like all other communities, Greene county has had its share of evil happenings. As long as men are human beings, anger, intemperance and lust will drive some of them into excess and bloodshed. In a work like the present it would be worse than useless to try to enter in detail into all the sordid facts of crime for the eighty-five years of the corporate existence of the county. Here and there stands out some crime that, for a fair understanding of the past, should have mention, but the vast mass of crimes are, and should be, ignored in such a permanent record as this.

As has been stated in this chapter, the first homicide in the county was when Judge Charles S. Yancey, one of the justices of the County Court, on the 26th day of May, 1837, shot to death John Roberts, who had attacked him after many times threatening his life. Judge Yancey was tried and acquitted of the crime. It is a singular fact that twenty years after being himself freed from the charge of murder, Judge Yancey pronounced the death sentence upon Willis Washam, the only man ever legally executed in Greene county.

In the summer of 1838 J. Renno was stabbed to death by Randolph Britt in a whisky shop in Springfield, the first of a long and appalling list of such deeds in just such places in Greene county. Britt was tried in Benton county and sentenced to the penitentiary for manslaughter. He was soon pardoned out by the governor, who thus early set an example followed only too well by most of his successors in office. In 1841 John T. Shanks perpetrated another saloon murder in Springfield, killing a man named Davis. Shanks cut his waythrough the log walls of the jail and escaped, and was never tried for his crime. [222]

THE WORK OF MOBS.

In 1859 occurred the first outbreak of mob violence in Greene county. It was caused by that ever-present menace where there is a large negro population, the assault committed upon a white woman by a black man. Mart Danforth, a negro slave, committed this crime, for which the law then provided no adequate punishment. He was arrested and promptly indicted, and confessed his guilt without reserve. Before he could be brought to trial a crowd gathered took him from the custody of his guards and hung him upon a tree in the Jordan valley, just east of where Benton avenue now crosses that stream.

In 1871 another negro, Bud Isbell, was hanged by a mob, almost on the same spot, and for the same crime. In neither of these cases were any arrests or indictments had for any of the mob. This, not because Green county is a lawless community, but because, anywhere in the United States, North as well as South, this crime committed by a black ruffian upon a helpless white woman instantly kindles a flame that nothing short of the quick and merciless death of the guilty one can satisfy, and for which it has so far been impossible to convict one of the indignant slayers of the ravisher.

In 1884-5 there occurred perhaps the most cruel murder in the history of Greene county, followed by a lynching of the murderer that was certainly excusable if lynching is ever so; and afterward by a trial as accessories before and after the fact of two women, which was the most spectacular court procedure in the entire life of the county.

In the winter of 1884-5 there came, by invitation of the church, Mrs. Emma Molloy, a woman evangelist, to bold a series of meetings in the First Congregational Church. Mrs. Molloy was a wonderful woman. A brilliant writer, she had edited and led to a great success and enormous circulation a prohibition paper called The Morning and Day of Reform. Onthe rostrum, either as a temperance advocate or as an evangelist, she had very few equals and no superiors. Her eloquence and her ability to sway a great audience at her will were such as to give her a reputation that was nation-wide.

Her series of meetings in Springfield awakened the greatest interest, and, after concluding at the First Congregational church she was invited to the old town and held a successful revival there. With her when she came to Springfield was an adopted daughter, Cora Lee, and before her series of meetings was closed there arrived George Graham, who was introduced as the manager of Mrs. Molloy's paper. Graham was a well educated man, and was apparently a devoted suitor of Cora Lee's.

After ending her revival services Mrs. Molloy bought a small farm on the road between Springfield and Brookline, about three miles from the latter place. Here Graham soon brought his two little boys, and here he was married to Cora Lee. Soon after the marriage a sister of Graham's first wife, came to Springfield, and at her instigation Graham was arrested under the charge of having committed bigamy by marrying Cora Lee. The sister also claimed that she was unable to find trace of her sister, Mrs. Graham, and that she feared that Graham had made away with her. The charge aroused the greatest interest, and, especially among the citizens in the neighborhood of Brookline, suspicion against Graham steadily increased.

At length a party of men from Brookline went to the Molloy farm and instituted a thorough search of the place for any signs that murder had been committed. Coming to an abandoned well, they lowered one of their number, Isaac Hise, into the shaft, which terminated in an opening or small cave in the rock. Here Hise found the nude, and mutilated remains of Graham's first wife! [222-223]

The news caused the most intense excitement, and threats were openly made of lynching the murderer, for none doubted that Graham was the guilty party. As yet he had not been indicted, and his attorney was endeavoring to obtain his release from prison, where he was held under the first charge of bigamy. A writ of habeas corpus was applied for, and it was thought that it would be successful and that Graham would be released.

This probably intensified the excitement, and brought deadly and prompt action, for that night the sheriff was aroused from his sleep, and at the point of a revolver, gave up the keys of the jail to the leader of a small but determined company of men. Graham was then taken from his cell in a wagon and carried to a lonely spot in the northwest part of town, a short distance north of the old woolen mill, and was there strung up to a post oak tree, where he hung until cut down by the coroner the next morning. Mrs. Molloy and Cora Lee were indicted as accessories before the fact, but after a long and exciting trial they were both acquitted. The prosecuting attorney was John A. Patterson, still a leading attorney of Springfield, and he conducted his difficult duties in this trial in a way that won him the respect of all acquainted with the facts. The leading counsel for the defense was O. H. Travers, late prosecuting attorney of Stone county, Missouri.

THE REGULATORS.

There was one strange outbreak of lawlessness, at an earlier date than that related above, that should not be omitted in this history. This was the doings of the organization known as the "Regulators," in 1866, the year succeeding the close of the Civil war. That long conflict had trained thousands of men in the ways of plunder and license. In a single day, as it were, these men found the war ended, their regiments disbanded, and themselves forced to take up the peaceful avocations that they had followed before the beginning of hostilities. A very large majority of them, to their everlasting honor, quietly returned to their home and became at once the peaceful, industrious citizens that they had been, before the war. But there was a small percentage that refused to abandon the methods of pillage and free living that they had followed for four years. [224]

All over the Southwest, and in Greene county no less than elsewhere, robbery, attempted murder, horse stealing and theft of all grades was rampant. It became the opinion of honest men that there was an organized band preying upon the community. Evidence to warrant arrest was hard to get, and even when arrested indicted and brought to trial it seemed an impossibility to convict. Alibis, the defense by well-paid lawyers, and perhaps fear of personal consequences on the part of some jurymen, led to almost certain acquittal of the prisoners. Under these circumstances some of the best citizens in the county were goaded into doing that which history shows that men of Anglo-Saxon blood have ever done when the courts of law failed to afford them protection, they met and organized to take the punishment of the marauders into their own hands.

This organization they christened "The Honest Man's League," although it has come down in history oftener as "The Regulators"' than by any other name. The new enforcers of justice openly proclaimed that their purpose was to rid Greene county of the thieves and robbers that infested its borders—to do this by the forms of law if possible, but, at all hazards, to do it, even to the extent of hanging the guilty ones.

The first victim was Capt. Green B. Phillips, who lived some miles northeast of Cave Spring in Cass township. Captain Phillips was an old citizen, had been a brave soldier in the Federal army and had taken an active part in the defense of Springfield when that city was attacked by the Confederates under Marmaduke in 1863, the last man, one would naturally think of as a robber or the associate of robbers. But, in some way suspicion attached to him, and, early one morning in May, 1866, three men came upon him when he was husking corn to feed his stock, and shot him to death without mercy.

Many at that time declared their belief that an awful mistake had been made, and an innocent man murdered. Others as strenuously asserted their belief that Phillips was a sympathizer with the lawless element, if not, indeed, a sharer with them. At this late day there are no means of getting the actual truth, but to an impartial mind it would seem as if in this case at least the "Regulators" had acted in undue and cruel haste.

But this one victim did not satisfy the avengers. Three days after the killing of Phillips, two young men, John Rush and Charles Gorsuch, were captured in the village of Walnut Grove, given a short trial, found guilty of theft and hanged to a tree, about a mile southwest of the village.

The "Regulators" also assisted the sheriff in arresting several men accused of various minor crimes. When some of these men were bailed out of jail and others were shrewdly taking advantage of the law's delays, the "Regulators" published the following card to let all men know that they did not propose to have any foolishness in Greene county:

"Headquarters Regulators, Walnut Grove, June 16th, 1866.

"To the Citizens of Southwest Missouri: [225]

"We, the Regulators, organized to assist in the enforcement of the civil law and to put down an extensive thieving organization, known to exist in our midst, having succeeded in arresting and committing to jail a number of persons charged with grand larceny, robbing and general lawlessness, whom we believe to be bad men; and, finding that some of them have been bailed out, thereby extending to them an opportunity of again putting into execution their diabolical purposes of robbing, plundering and murdering their neighbors, therefore we hereby give notice that all persons bailing such parties out of jail will be regarded as in sympathy, if not in full co-operation, with such, and will be held strictly responsible for the conduct and personal appearance at court for trial of all persons thus bailed out of jail.

"Emphatically by the Regulators."

About June lst the "Regulators" rode into Springfield in force, to the number of two hundred and eighty horsemen. Forming a hollow square in the Public Square in front of the court house, they were addressed by Rev. Mr. Brown, a Presbyterian minister from Cave Spring and an active member of their organization. Other speakers, who were in sympathy with their movement, were Major Downing, Senator J. A. Mack and Col. James H. Baker. On the other hand, Hon. John M. Richardson and Col. J. S. Phelps spoke against the "Regulators" and condemning their action. When this meeting was adjourned, the "Regulators" showed their grim determination to extirpate crime in the Southwest riding through Springfield into Christian county, through Ozark and from that town on the Forsyth road for a mile or two. Here they arrested a fugitive from Greene county by the name of James Edwards, tried him on the charge of theft, found him guilty and hung him to a large oak tree at the side of the road. All these activities on the part of the "Regulators" struck terror into the hearts of the thieving element, and very quickly rendered Greene county as free from depredations of the kind as any spot in any state could be.

Nearly fifty years have passed since the "Regulators" finally disbanded, with their work accomplished. But the terror of their name endures, and more than once, when some unusually wicked crime has been perpetrated, men have been heard to wish that the old "Honest Men's League" was still in existence, to mete out swift and terrible justice to the criminals. [226]

THE HEADLEE MURDER.

On the 26th of July of this same year occurred a cruel murder of a minister of the gospel, one of those events resulting from the angry passions of the Civil war just ended. Rev. S. S. Headlee was the presiding elder for the Springfield, district of the Methodist Episcopal church war by Judge Harrison J. Lindenbower, of Springfield. This right Lindenbower denied, and Cannefax brooded over the matter until he was ready for almost anything which seemed to him to give him revenge against the man who held his land.

Meeting in a saloon, he asked Lindenbower: "Well, what are you going to do about that land?" To which the judge is said to have answered: "Oh, you go and see your lawyer about that, and let him attend to it for you." At that Cannefax stepped behind his victim and shot him three times. Lindenbower died in a few minutes. Cannefax was arrested and indicted for murder in the first degree. He took a change of venue to Taney county and the next June he and three others escaped from the Greene county jail, and he was not taken until June, 1874, when he returned to Greene county and was captured by Sheriff A. J. Potter after a sharp struggle. On trial at Forsyth he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the penitentiary for life.

In July, 1873, one Buis was lynched near Walnut Grove under the charge of stealing sheep, which, it was said, he sold to Springfield butchers. This was another inexcusable crime. If guilty, the law would have abundantly punished him with a term in the penitentiary. Nevertheless, men chose to stain their hands with his blood, and became thus his murderers and a thousand times more guilty than their victim. There were several other homicides, suicides and horrors of the sort, none of which require stating here. And again it is to be said, none of these murders were ever punished upon the gallows. Either the hearts of Greene county juries are unusually susceptible or the powers of our attorneys in defense of criminals are unusually great.

The last murder which I shall mention in this list was of comparatively recent date. In February, 1909, an inoffensive old man and his aged wife were shot to death by one Tucker at a little farm about half a mile west of the new Frisco shops. The old man, whose name was Ellis, had shut up some of tucker's cows which had broken in his (Ellis') field. He refused to release them unless Tucker paid a trivial amount of damages. On that Tucker flew into a fierce passion, and, without warning, shot the poor old couple dead.

Tucker was tried in the Greene county criminal court and was sentenced to death, the only man who was ever so sentenced in the old court house then standing on the Public Square. The date of execution was set, and Tucker's case seemed hopeless. But there are never lacking those to flock to the help of a man sentenced to death, and the rule had no exception in this case. If ever a man deserved the death penalty, surely this man did, but such pressure was brought to bear upon the governor, Hon. Herbert S. Hadley, that he finally commuted the sentence to imprisonment for life, and Tucker is now serving that sentence in the penitentiary at Jefferson City. [227-228]


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