Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
WALTER CONSTANCE. Railroad service in some form has a fascination for a very large number of men, and when they once enter it, whether it be on the road or in the shops, they seldom give it up unless compelled by various circumstances to do so. It is well that this is so, for when we come to think of it a vast army is needed to keep necessary transportation lines of the world in successful operation, and it has been said that one of the chief differences between civilization and barbarism is in modes of transportation. To the contemplative mind this statement is not so far fetched as it might at first appear. Walter Constance, foreman of the blacksmith department of the reclamation plant in the South Side Frisco shops, is one who, although well qualified by both nature and education to follow other lines of human endeavor, selected railroad service.
Mr. Constance was born on December 7, 1877, at High Hill, Montgomery county, Missouri. He is a son of William and Josephine (Florence) Constance, the father a native of England and the mother of Highland county Ohio. William Constance grew to manhood in his native land and there received his education, immigrating to the United States when twenty-two years of age, finally located his permanent home on a farm in Montgomery county, Missouri, where he is still living and is actively engaged in his vocation, although sixty-seven years old. He served his county four years as county assessor. He is a Republican in politics. His wife grew up in Ohio and received a common school education, and she came West when young. She is now seventy-seven years of age. To these parents five children have been born, namely: Edward, who is a civil engineer, now in the employ of the United States Government, lives in St. Louis; Walter, subject of this sketch; the next two children died in infancy unnamed; Florence married Owen Palmer, a farmer at High Hill, Missouri.
Walter Constance grew up in his native county on the home farm, where he assisted with the general work during crop seasons, and during the winter he attended the local schools there. First deciding to enter the educational arena as teacher, he entered the state normal school at Kirksville. Upon leaving that institution, he taught two years in Warren county and one year in Montgomery county, this state, with success, but, not liking the work as he had anticipated, he went to Topeka, Kansas in 1898, and entered upon his railroad career, securing employment with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad. He worked there three years as helper and blacksmith, then came to Springfield, Missouri, and continued his trade in the North Side Frisco shop's for a period of eight years, then was transferred to the same department in the new shops when they were opened in 1909, remaining in the blacksmith department at his old trade until 1913, when he was changed to the reclamation department of the South Side shops, October 20, 1913, as foreman of the blacksmith department, which responsible position he still holds, having a number of men under his direction. He has long been regarded as an expert in his line and has been in the service of the Frisco for fourteen years.
Mr. Constance was married in 1897 to Viola McClure, a daughter of John and Sarah (Gosney) McClure, of Clark county, Missouri; to this union four children were born, namely: Grace, a junior, and Rae, a freshman, in the Springfield high school at this writing; Mary is deceased, and Margaret is attending ward school.
Politically, Mr. Constance votes independently. The family attends the Congregational church. He belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, and for a period of eleven years was a member of the Blacksmiths' Union.
Springfield-Greene County Library