Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
WALTER A. COON. Walter A. Coon, president of the Bank of Republic, is recognized as one of the enterprising citizens and business men of Republic, Missouri. Mr. Coon was born near Urbana, Dallas county, Missouri, January 18, 1872. His parents were William Benton and Harriet V. (Andrews) Coon. His grandparents on his father's side were of German and Irish extraction while on his mother's side they were of English and Scotch-Irish descent.
Walter Coon is a product of the public school and has always been a warm friend and protector of the public school. His father was a noted school teacher, and he saw to it that the son should not lose any of the advantages of the public school, especially when he was the teacher. The subject of our sketch began teaching school at the early age of eighteen and taught some eight or nine terms of school and was very successful as a teacher. He points with pride to the fact that he taught three years at one place, two at another, and completed thirteen months of public school in less than one school year by teaching three different schools in three different counties and boarding at the same place during the whole year.
He was married November 27, 1895 to Mira A. Crudginton, the eldest daughter of T. B. Crudginton. They have three children, two daughters and one son. Merle Coon, born December 2, 1896; Faye Coon, born January 5, 1899, and Teddy Benton Coon; born February 12, 1903. Merle Coon is a graduate of the public school at Republic and is now a student of Drury College. Mr. Coon learned the mercantile business under the care of Uncle Steve Burris, the "Merchant King" of Dallas county. After a thorough training in the mercantile and business world, he engaged in the newspaper business and was associated with the Pendletons in the Buffalo Reflex during the Spanish-American war. He developed considerable ability as a writer but after two years of newspaper experience he decided to embark in the mercantile business for himself and chose Republic as a desirable place to live and rear his family. He located there in the summer of 1899 and continued in the mercantile business until December, 1911, when he sold out to J. S. Morris, of Pierce City. The store is now being conducted by William Dela Rue. Shortly after disposing of his mercantile stock he accepted the presidency of the Bank of Republic, the fourth oldest bank in Greene county. Mr. Coon has always been very successful in all business dealings and never speculates but is cautious and conservative in whatever he undertakes. Politically, he is a Republican and has never departed therefrom. He was appointed postmaster of Republic by President Roosevelt in 1907 and served one year, resigning voluntarily on account of his health. He is a member of the Christian church and teacher of the Bible class, rarely ever missing a Sunday. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having attained the rank of the thirty-second degree in the Joplin Consistory of the Scottish Rites. It was largely through his efforts that a Masonic lodge was organized in Republic which now has a membership of nearly one hundred. He is secretary of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at the present time. He is also a member of the Abou Ben Adhem Temple Shrine, Past Worthy Patron of the Eastern Star, and belongs to the Woodmen of the World, Knights of the Maccabees, and Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mr. Coon has been a great friend of the public school and has been president of the Republic school board almost continuously since 1903. He has seen the school grow from four teachers to nine teachers, from a six months' term to a nine months' term, from a two years course to a four years high school course, and from an unclassified school to a school of the first class.
Mr. Coon is an example of what can be accomplished by persistence and perseverance, as he has always been a hard worker and tireless in his efforts to accomplish whatever he undertakes. In fact, his life has always been a battle for supremacy and while he has had much opposition and competition, he has met the conditions fairly and honorably and successfully. There is no such word as failure in his vocabulary of business enterprises.
Springfield-Greene County Library