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


HOWARD BENTLEY EAST. The biographies of successful men are instructive as guides and incentives to those whose careers are yet to be achieved. The examples they furnish of patient purpose and consecutive endeavor strongly illustrate what is in the power of each to accomplish, if he is willing to press forward in the face of all opposition, refusing to be downed by untoward circumstances, thus making stepping-stones of what some would find to be insurmountable stumbling blocks. The gentleman whose life history herewith is, succinctly and, we hope, accurately set forth, is a conspicuous example of one who has lived to good purpose and achieved a definite degree of success in the special spheres to which his energies and talents have been devoted.

Howard Bentley East, president of the Bank of Willard, and one of the most progressive agriculturists and useful Citizens of Murray township, Greene county, was born January 31, 1855, on the old home farm in the above named township, and is a son of Sidney and Eliza (Williams) East. Sidney East was born in Indiana, February 1, 1822, and was a son of Jahhue and Sarah East, both natives of Indiana also where they grew up and were married and spent the earlier part of their lives, and there their son, Sidney, grew to manhood and received the usual meager educational advantages of the times. He was twenty years of age when he removed with his parents from that state to Greene county, Missouri, in 1842; they located in Murray township, where, three miles northwest of Willard, Jahhue East spent the rest of his life engaged in general farming, dying about 1858. He owned eighty acres of good land. Politically, he was a Democrat. His wife belonged to the Baptist church.

Sidney East was married in what is now Murray township in 1853 to Eliza Williams, a daughter of Abner and Mary (Folden) Williams, both natives of western Tennessee, the father's birth occurring there on March 1, 1800, and the mother was born on November 8, 1807. Mr. Williams died March 1, 1863, and his widow survived until October 24, 1896. These parents grew to maturity in Tennessee and were married there and removed to Greene county, Missouri, when their daughter, Eliza, was seven years old. The family was accompanied by Abner's brother, Melton Williams and wife, the party making the overland trip in wagons, with ox teams, from Henderson county, the trip practically all the way being over a wild, rough country. Upon reaching Springfield they found only a cross-roads dry goods store and a blacksmith shop surrounded by almost a wilderness. They began life here in the pioneer fashion. Eliza Williams was born in l832, and was therefore a young girl when her family brought her to this county in 1841. Her father took up a claim of one hundred and twenty acres and purchased forty acres more. This land he cleared and improved and in due course of time had a good home. Politically, he was a Democrat and he and his wife were members of the Missionary Baptist church at Mt. Pleasant. Sidney East was the third child in a family of nine children, all of whom are now deceased. After his marriage, Sidney East purchased eighty acres of land, which he farmed until his death, in 1858. His family consisted of three children, namely: Alvin Munroe is deceased; Howard Bentley, of this review , and Tabitha Clementine, who died in infancy. After the death of the father the mother of these children married again, in 1860, to Henry Grant, a son of John and Catherine Grant. A history of the Grant family will be found on another page of this work, in the sketch of William W. Grant.

Howard B. East was reared on the home farm in Murray township, where he worked when a boy, and he received a good practical education in the common schools, which has later been supplemented by actual contact with the world and by wide home reading until he is today a well informed man a great variety of subjects. On December 12, 1878, he married SusanWadlow, a daughter of John Wesley and Mary Ann (Lethco) Wadlow. The Wadlows is one of the prominent old families of this part of Greene county, and the reader is directed to the sketch of Albert Sidney McLinn in this for a history of the Wadlows. Mrs. East was reared to womanhood in her native community and received a public school education.

Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. East, named as follows: Bertie, born November 10, 1879, who married Walter E. Gilmore, of Murray township, and they have two children, Evelyn and Rolland; Homer, born November 1, 1881, who married Julia Maples, lives in Springfield, and they have three children, Eunice, Geraldine and Howard; Bentley, born October 21, 1886, who married Josie Johnson, lives on a farm near Cave Spring, Cass township; Wilford, born June 1, 1897, is attending school in Springfield; and Edwin, born April 3, 1899, is at home.

Mr. East was only seventeen years of age when he took up farming, and after his marriage he operated the original eighty acres of the homestead, on which he made many improvements, including a large, substantial barn in 1900, also remodeled the residence in an up-to-date manner and prospering by good management and close application, he added another eighty to his holdings, and he is now owner of two hundred and fifty-six acres, ninety acres of which lie in Cass township, the balance in Murray township. He has brought this fine and productive farm up to a high state of cultivation and improvement and it is one of the most valuable and desirable farms in the northern part of Greene county. Everything is in ship-shape and indicates that a gentleman of thrift, good taste and good management has given it his careful attention. He carries on general farming and stock raising on a large scale, and handles great numbers of various kinds of live stock annually, dealing in mules, horses and cattle quite extensively. He has been president of the Bank of Willard since its incorporation, in 1911, and its large success and constantly growing prestige has been due to his able management, keen business discernment and his straightforward and scrupulously honest methods in dealing with his many patrons. It is one of the sound, safe and conservatively managed banks of the county. A general banking business is carried on. Its capital stock is ten thousand dollars and five thousand dollars surplus, and it has a very large deposit for a bank in a small town. Its other officers are: J. W. Clutter, vice-president, and J. E. Cahill.

Politically, Mr. East is a Republican and has been active and influential in local public affairs. He served one term as judge of the Greene county court, being elected to this responsible position in 1902, and he discharged his duties in a manner that reflected much credit upon himself and to the satisfaction of all concerned. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist church, as is also his wife, and. they both take a very active interest in church work. He has been deacon of the congregation at Willard for a number of years and is regarded as one of the pillars of the church here. Fraternally, he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. Personally, he is a man of pleasing disposition, a good mixer, is universally esteemed and is a strong factor in his township.

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