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


JOHN C. CHAFFIN. Conditions are so widely varied in the vast area in the Middle West that is devoted to agricultural pursuits on a more or less extensive scale; the results desirable by both individuals and communities are so widely divergent, and the fact that most profitable results to one would mean positive loss to another, make any general rules, laid down to cover the entire country, unsuited to many farmers; so, it is necessary for each to use his brains as well as his brawn and decide for himself the problems that are most vital to him personally. Such methods have been adhered to by John C. Chaffin, a farmer of Washington township, Greene county, and he has therefore, been successful in his chosen vocation.

Mr. Chaffin was born in this county on September 25, 1859, and he has been contented to spend his life in his native community. He is a son of Joseph and Eliza (Day) Chaffin. The father was born in Hawkins county, Tennessee, September 21, 1824, was a boy when he was brought to Missouri by his parents, was reared on a farm and educated in the early day schools of Greene county, where the family settled upon arriving here, after a journey of hardships in wagons from the state of Tennessee. Joseph Chaffin worked for his father on the home farm until he was twenty-one years of age, then entered one hundred and twenty acres of land from the government, to which he later added two hundred acres, cleared most of his land and developed a good farm, which he kept in first class condition in every way. He was a very industrious man and made a great success as a general farmer and stock raiser. In 1869 he went to Montana for his health and remained there four months, and died at Corvallis, that state January 27, 1870. He was a man noted for his liberality and kind deeds, helping the poor and needy whenever occasion demanded, and he was influential and highly esteemed in his community. He was a member of the Christian church, and, politically, was a Republican. In the early days he hauled goods from Rolla to Springfield with an ox team. He worked for Governor Phelps for some time as overseer on the governor's farm. His wife, Eliza Day, was born in Greene county, Missouri, May 4, 1837, was reared on a farm and educated in the early-day schools. She was a fine type of the industrious, self-sacrificing women of her day (different from the majority of women of this generation). She was willing to assist her husband get a start in life, raised cotton, from which she spun and wove cloth for her family and did much hard work that the average woman of today would not do. But there were few in her day who did not do the same things. She was a worthy member of the Christian church and set a good example among her neighbors and acquaintances. Her death occurred in Christian county, Missouri, March 1, 1913, when nearly seventy-six years of age.

To Joseph Chaffin and wife six children were born, namely: James E., who lives in Greene county; Mrs. Nancy S. Samuels lives in Greene county; John C., of this review; Mrs. Emma J. Everly lives in Montana; Mrs. Mary Frances Summers lives in Montana, Mrs. Orlena A. Stow lives in Christian county.

John C. Chaffin grew to manhood on the farm where he is now living. He received a common school education in this vicinity. He was eleven years old when his father died, and our subject and his elder brothers operated the farm after that until the mother married again. When twenty-three years old our subject bought forty acres of the homestead, to which he later added one hundred and forty acres. He went in debt for the place, but paid for it in due time by hard work, good management and economy, often depriving himself of many things in order to do so. He sold eighty acres of his land some time ago, and now operates one hundred acres. He cleared about thirty-five acres of his land. He has a well-improved and productive farm and has made a success as a general farmer and stock raiser. Twelve acres of his land is timbered. This farm was known to the old settlers at the "Bill Jessup" farm.

Mr. Chaffin was married, August 13, 1879, to Winnie Stephens, who was born in Wright county, Missouri, February 19, 1861. She is a daughter of John G. and Cynthia (Beattie) Stephens. The father was born in middle Tennessee, and there grew up on a farm and received a meager education in the early-day schools. He immigrated to Missouri prior to the breaking out of the Civil war, and settled in Wright county on a rented farm. During the war he was a member of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry and saw service in the Union army, was honorably discharged at the close of the war, but came home sick, and died a few days later. He was a member of the same company in which "Uncle Jeff Watts, of Rogersville, served. His wife, Cynthia Beattie, was born in middle Tennessee, July 4, 1837, was reared on a farm and received limited educational advantages in her native community. When young she came to Missouri with her father, the trip being made in ox wagons. She was a member of the Methodist church. Her death occurred on December 8, 1906.

Mrs. Chaffin was reared on a farm in Greene county and was educated in the common schools, walking three miles to attend school in an old log house. She is a member of the Methodist church.

Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Chaffin, namely: Armanda D., born September , 1880 died October 9th of the same year; John H., born July 11, 1889, died on March 5, 1890; Eunice J., born on May 12, 1893, is living at home; Stewart C., born June 30, 1895, lives at home.

Politically, Mr. Chaffin is a Republican, and while he has never sought political honors, is always ready to do his part in furthering any good movement for the general welfare of the community in which he lives and in which he is well and favorably known.

[1741-1743]


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