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


EPHRAIM CHALFANT. The late Ephraim Chalfant enjoyed distinctive prestige among the enterprising men of Springfield and Greene county of a past generation, having fought his way onward and upward to a prominent position in the circles in which he moved, and in every relation of life, his voice and influence were on the side of right as he saw and understood the right. He was always interested in every enterprise for the welfare of the community and liberally supported every movement calculated to benefit his fellow men. Although the last chapter in his life drama has been brought to a close by the "angel with the backward look and folded wings of ashen gray," who called him to a higher sphere of action, his influence for good is still felt in the locality long honored by his residence and he is greatly missed by hosts of friends and acquaintances, for he was a man in whom the utmost confidence could be reposed, scrupulously honest in all his dealings with his fellows, always making good his promises, was kind and obliging, especially to the unfortunate, and a man whom all respected and admired.

Mr. Chalfant, who was a citizen of Springfield for over a quarter of a century, and widely known in southwest Missouri as a piano dealer, was born May 11, 1829, in Loydsville, Belmont county, Ohio. He was a son of Robert and Elizabeth (Orin) Chalfant, both parents natives of Pennsylvania, the father born August 29, 1779, and died November 24, 1854; he was a son of Robert and Rachael Chalfant. The mother of our subject was born July 2, 1789, and died December 10, 1857. Robert Chalfant devoted his life to general farming. He left his native state when he was a young man and moved to Ohio, having married in Pennsylvania and established the family home in Belmont county. Politically, he was first a Whig and in later life was quite active in politics. He and his wife were both Quakers. Their family consisted of nine children, all of whom are now deceased. They were named as follows: Benjamin, Miller, Milton, Phoebe, Rachael, Mary, Elizabeth, Ephraim (subject of this memoir), and Lydia.

Ephraim Chalfant grew to manhood on the home farm in Ohio and there assisted with the general work when he was a boy, and, being compelled to work most of the time, he had little opportunity to obtain an education, but he was ambitious, studied hard at home and in this manner and through contact with the business world he became a well-educated man and was a success in life, an example of a self-made man. In his early life he learned the cabinet maker's trade, at which he worked until the breaking out of the Civil war, when he entered the service at the first call for troops by President Lincoln, enlisting at Wheeling, West Virginia, in the spring of 1861 and served three months. Re-enlisting, he was made a lieutenant in August, 1862, in the Wheeling Battery and was soon in the full service, principally in the famous Shenandoah Valley, where he proved himself to be a most capable and efficient soldier for the Union. He was honorably discharged, and afterwards removed to Cooper county, Missouri, where he engaged in farming for five years, then located in Boonville, that county, and opened a piano store, which he conducted with success until in 1881, when he removed with his family to Springfield, this state, where he spent the rest of his life, continuing in the piano business, enjoying a large and ever-growing trade as a result of his business ability, his honest dealings and courteous treatment of his many customers. He understood thoroughly every phase of this particular line and was by nature. musically inclined.

Mr. Chalfant was married November 3, 1852, to Susan Humphreville, who was born in Mt. Pleasant, Jefferson county, Ohio, February 14, 1831. She is a daughter of William B. and Sarah (Dew) Humphreville, the father a native of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and the mother was born in North Carolina. Mr. Humphreville was a cabinet maker by trade, and he made his own glue and varnish, and was a very skilled workman. He was a stanch member of the Quaker church, in which he was a pillar, and he was a "Free-soiler," in his political views. His family consisted of ten children, six of whom are still living, and of this number the widow of the subject of this memoir is the oldest. They were named as follows: Susan, who married Mr. Chalfant; Joseph is deceased; William, Alexander and Theodore are all three living; Julia is deceased; Ensley is living; Lewis, Sarah, are both deceased; and Fannie is the youngest of the family. Mrs. Chalfant received a limited education in the Quaker schools of her day. She is now a member of the First Congregational church in Springfield. She makes her home with her son, Prof. William A. Chalfant, who resides on Benton avenue. She is a woman of pure Christian sentiments and her long life has been one of usefulness and a good example to those with whom she has come in contact.

Two children were born to Ephraim Chalfant and wife: William Addison, born June 22, 1854, married Hattie Leach, and they have one child, Clinton; the elder Chalfant has been a professor in Drury College for a period of thirty-three years, his long retention being sufficient evidence of his scholarship and satisfaction, for during that period he has seen a number of presidents come and go, but he has kept the work of his department up to such a high standard and has kept abreast of the times so well that they have all been glad to work with him. Alonzo B., second son of the subject of this sketch, was born January 8, 1858, and is one of the most efficient and popular photographers of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth May, and they have two children, May and Elizabeth.

Ephraim Chalfant was a Republican but never an office seeker or ambitious to lead in public affairs. Fraternally, he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and passed all the chairs in the local lodge. He was a member of the First Congregational church of which he was trustee and treasurer, and was long active in church affairs, and when he was called to his eternal rest on January 26, 1908, he was greatly missed in church and business circles. He was nearly seventy-nine years of age.

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