Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
EDWARD J. DEWITT. It has not been so very long ago that a number of immigrants from our older Eastern states coming to Missouri could procure good new land and thereby get a start with small capital. Now the new lands Of our country that can he profitably farmed are practically all occupied. The only course left for the American farmer to pursue is to adopt a system of farming that will not only build up and maintain, but will increase the production of the land. The dairy cow seems to be the means through which a part of our farmers are destined to do this. One of the citizens of Center township, Greene county, who secured new land upon casting his lot with us is Edward J. DeWitt, and this he developed intelligently and now has a good farm and has been making a comfortable living all the while.
Like many of our worthy population he hails from grand old Virginia, his birth having occurred in Bedford county, that state, January 17, 1840. He is a son of Elisha D. and Susan (Coleman) DeWitt, both of whom were natives of Virginia, where they grew up, were educated and married and established their home. Their parents came from Scotland, so our subject is of Scotch descent from both sides of the house and he manifests many traits of that excellent race. These two families immigrated to the United States prior to the war of 1812. Ten children were born to Elisha D. DeWitt and wife, five of whom are living, namely: Lafayette is a tobacco manufacturer of Lynchburg, Virginia; Marion is farming in Bedford county, Virginia; Mary is the wife of John Thomasson a sales agent for a carriage manufacturing concern of Lynchburg, Virginia; Eliza is the wife of William Owens, a farmer of Bedford county, Virginia; and Edward J. of this sketch. All three of these sons served through the Civil war in the same company.
Edward J. DeWitt grew to manhood on the home farm in his native county in the Old Dominion and there he worked during vacations, attending the common schools in the winter time. He remained at home until he was twenty-one years of age when he enlisted in the Tenth Virginia Artillery, Lee's army, at the commencement of the Civil war and remained in the service until Lee's surrender, April 16, 1865. He proved to be a faithful soldier and rose to the rank of sergeant. He took part in many of the important battles and campaigns of the war. After being mustered out he returned home where he remained until October 26, 1866, when he married Mollie Coleman, a daughter of William and Amelia (Wooley) Coleman of Bedford county, Virginia. Upon his marriage he moved to near Kiser, West Virginia, where he rented a farm and resided until 1873 in which year he came to Greene county, Missouri, locating in Campbell township where he lived four years, then bought his present farm of eighty acres in Section 12, Township 29, Range 23, Center township, the same having been formerly the property of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company, and Mr. DeWitt was the first person to secure a deed to the property. He cleared it up and placed it under good improvements and cultivation.
To Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt two children have been born, namely: Willit J., born on August 13, 1874, received a public school education and lived at home until his death, January 13, 1907; Monnie P., born on December 14, 1882, married on November 22, 1905, to Elmer Reynolds of Springfield, he being in the service of the Frisco lines at that place; they have three children, May who is eight years old, Clarence who is five years old, and Ernest who is one year old.
Mrs. DeWitt's family has a commendable war record. Two of her brothers were killed in battle during the Civil war, another was wounded, and one served out his enlistment without accident. They were all in the Southern army.
Our subject and wife have been lifelong members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. Politically he is a Democrat.
Springfield-Greene County Library