Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
GEORGE W. CULLER. Holding distinctive prestige among the enterprising and public-spirited citizens of Springfield and Greene county is George W. Culler, a popular and efficient public servant and a progressive business man, and recent mayor of the city. His record as here briefly outlined is that of a successful self-made man, distinctively the architect of his own fortunes, who by the judicious exercise of the talents with which nature endowed him, surmounted unfavorable environment and rose to the position he now occupies as one of the substantial and influential men of the locality honored by his citizenship, having been true and loyal in all the relations of life, standing as a type of that sterling manhood which ever commands respect and honor.
Mr. Culler was born in York, Pennsylvania, April 2, 1872. He is a son of John W. and Anna M. (Holland) Culler. The father was born January 22, 1840, in Virginia, and his death occurred on December 1, 1903, in Springfield, Missouri. The mother of our subject was born April 24, 1844, in York, Pennsylvania, and she is still living in Springfield. John W. Culler was living in North Carolina when the war between the states began, and he was drafted into the Confederate army, but later made his way to the North and enlisted in the Union army, in which cause he sympathized from the first. He joined a Pennsylvania regiment and saw considerable hard service and was wounded at the battle of Fair Oaks. He was captured by the enemy and was confined in a Confederate prison for six months. After the war he went to York, Pennsylvania, where he was married. He devoted the major portion of his life to farming and remained in the old Keystone state until 1887, when he removed with his family to Springfield, Missouri, where he was connected with the mechanical department of the Frisco shops on the North Side. Politically, he was a Republican all his life, but was never active in public affairs. His family consisted of six children, all living at this writing, namely: Charles T. lives in St. Louis; Anna married Prof. A L. Stickel and they live in Kansas; George W., of this review; Laura R. married E. E. Ennis, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume; Mary Ann married J. D. Rathbone, of Springfield, and Samuel E. is engaged in the lumber business at Bunker, Missouri.
The mother of these children was twice married and the above named children were by her second union.
George W. Culler was fifteen years of age when he removed with his parents to Springfield. Here he studied at the high school and Drury College. Early in life he entered politics, and, having made himself proficient as a civil engineer, he was elected city engineer in 1902 and served two terms. In 1904 he was elected county surveyor, which position he held until 1912, being re-elected each time his term expired. He also served four years as a member of the city council, from 1907 to 1911, being re-elected successively. In the spring of 1912 he was elected mayor of Springfield, which office he held one term of two years, or until the spring of 1914. In all these important offices he discharged his duty in a manner that reflected much credit upon his ability and fidelity and to the eminent satisfaction of all concerned. He ever looked carefully to the best interests of the city and county, desirous of seeing the general good prevail, and his honest, conscientious work has been heartily praised by his constituents.
Mr. Culler is secretary and treasurer of the Ennis-Culler Lumber Company, of Springfield, and he is a director of the Bunker-Culler Lumber Company, at Bunker, Dent county. He understands the lumber business thoroughly, enjoys an extensive and growing business and has been very successful in material affairs.
Mr. Culler was married November 29, 1900, in Springfield, to Caroline Schmook, who was born in this city January 24, 1880, and here grew to womanhood and received excellent educational advantages. She is a daughter of John and Anna M. (Kerber) Schmook, one of the prominent pioneer families of this city. John Schmook was born in Berlin, Germany, August 29, 1825, and was a son of Michael and Fredericka (Zinner) Schmook. He received the education of the public schools and learned of his father the cabinet maker's trade, at which he served as an apprentice four years. From April 1, 1846, to April 1, 1849, he served in the Prussian army in the engineer corps. In the month of September, 1850, he crossed the Atlantic and landed at New York, in which city he remained for a year and a half. From there he came west and first stopped at Iowa City, where he worked at his trade until 1856, and then visited New Orleans. Later he visited Leavenworth, Kansas City and St. Joseph, but not liking the business outlook in these places, he returned to Iowa City and made his home there until 1859, when he came to Springfield, Missouri, in the latter part of April and worked at his trade for Ebert Hursh & Company, furniture dealers and manufacturers. In September of the same year he engaged in the furniture business for himself and followed it in connection with the carpet business until 1865. During this time he was also a contractor and erected many buildings. In 1863, besides his other enterprises, he engaged in the lumber business and built and operated a planing mill, also a small grist mill. Withdrawing from his other enterprises gradually, Mr. Schmook devoted his attention to his grist mill, and greatly increased his business. In 1879 he formed a stock company and built the Queen City Flouring Mill, which for a number of years had next to the greatest capacity of any mill in the city. In 1882 he sold out his interest in the milling business and built the Central Hotel on Boonville and Mill streets. In 1886 he built a steam flouring mill at Ozark, Christian county, and this he sold in 1891. In the spring of the following year Mr. Schmook bought valuable lead and zinc mines at Aurora, Lawrence county, which he developed and worked with success, producing more valuable mineral ore than any mines in Aurora and yielding handsome returns. From time to time Mr. Schmook invested in Springfield real estate and owned excellent business properties, upon which he erected a number of substantial buildings. Through his own efforts he became one of the wealthy men of Springfield. In his political views, Mr. Schmook was a Republican, but in city affairs he voted for the man, irrespective of party. On September 1, 1865, he married Anna M. Kerber, and to them six children were born, namely: Paul, John, Otto, Harry B., Frederick and Caroline E., the latter being the wife of the subject of this sketch. Mr. Schmook was a believer in education and gave all his children college educations. He has always been a public-spirited man and contributed liberally of his means to assist the educational institutions of Springfield, and gave freely to the different churches. He was in favor of progress and never refused to aid any good enterprise that he thought would benefit Springfield. Always modest and unassuming, he pursued a quiet and steady course and by his different enterprises was of valuable, practical benefit to Springfield, as his efforts gave employment to others and added to the material wealth of the town. It has been such men as these practical workers who have built the cities and towns of the United States. He deserved a great deal of credit for what he accomplished. Commencing the battle of life in a strange country, where he spoke a foreign language, he by dint of thrift and industry, surmounted every obstacle and became a substantial and highly esteemed citizen, he passed through the entire period of the Civil war in Springfield. He was a member of the Home Guards during that eventful period and assisted in the defense of Springfield January 8, 1863, when General Marmaduke attacked the place. His death occurred in 1898, and his wife is still living at Springfield.
To George W. Culler and wife two children have been born, namely: Vesta Maria, born September 22, 1902 and George W., Jr., born June 7, 1904. The attractive home of the family is at 998 North Jefferson street.
Politically, Mr. Culler is a stanch Republican. Fraternally, he is a member of Masonic Chapter No. 110, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Improved Order of Red Men, Iroquois Tribe No. 41, and the Knights of Pythias, and is a member of the grand lodge of the state of Missouri. He belongs to the Springfield Club, the Commercial Club and the Young Men's Business Club. He is a man who stands well with all classes, being plain, sociable and of unquestioned integrity.
Springfield-Greene County Library