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


LOUIS P. ERNST. In treating of men and characters, the biographer contemplates them as he finds them, and not according to conceptions of his own. He is not supposed to entertain any favoritism, to have any likes or dislikes, or caprices of any kind to gratify, or to not have any special standards of excellence, "according to an exact scale" of Gunteror Aristotle, or fall out with the life of a great subject, because "not one of the angles of the four corners was a right one." He will not attempt to prove himself always in the right. Where a long contact with the personage exists, the labor of arrangement, synopsis and production becomes more simple, and this is quite equally true as applied to those who have been performers, whether in front of the curtain or otherwise, through the shorter or longer years. And, yet, in the business, financial and professional avenues, we discover "age lagging superfluously on the state," side by side with the thrifty fruitage of actors in their spring, or zenith-time of endeavor. While Louis P. Ernst, well-known ex-mayor of the city of Springfield, has passed the nadir of his professional life, yet has many years of profitable activity before him. He is a man of thought and study and finds essential nutriment in feasting at the boards of the legal masters of the past. Having depended a great deal upon these authorities he has ever kept well prepared for his daily tasks. Under the teachings of an intelligent mother he early acquired those habits of industry and self-reliance, which, linked with upright principles, have, uniformly characterized his manhood-life. He commands the unqualified confidence of the people of Greene county, and deserves it. Since locating in our midst less than a decade ago he has shown himself to be an earnest man, and in that sense applies himself to business, an honest man in dealings with his clients and all others, a simple man in his tastes--simplicity emphasizing every phase of his life.

Mr. Ernst was born, July 9, 1853, in Lorain county, Ohio. He is a son of George Ernst, who was born in the year 1801, in Hanover, Germany, where he grew to manhood, received an excellent education and spent his earlier years. Learning the tailor's trade when young he spent seven years as military tailor in the German army, making officers' uniforms. He emigrated to American in 1831, locating in Lorain county, Ohio, when that section was a part of what was still known as the Western Reserve, and there he spent the rest of his life, dying in 1856. He married Elizabeth E. Ernst, (no relation), in 1821. She was born in Hesse, Germany, in 1803. Her father, Conrad Ernst, emigrated to the United States in an early day and settled near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Philip, Casper and Jacob Ernst, brothers of his father, are all now deceased.

Louis P. Ernst is a fine example of a self-educated and self-made man. He spent his boyhood in Lorain county, Ohio, and there attended the common schools and worked hard on the farm during the summer months, later taking a classic course in Oberlin College in that state, then entered the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, where he took part of the law course. When twenty-three years of age he began teaching school, also practicing law in Ottawa county, Michigan, where he resided for a period of twenty-five years, during which he became well known as an attorney and educator, being superintendent of county schools for several years. In fact, his first life work was teaching, having begun that work in Illinois prior to entering Oberlin College, and although young in years, he won quite a reputation for correct pronunciation of English words, and he was always selected to lead the spelling bees for miles around. He has always been known as having an exceptional memory for remembering names and faces, never forgetting people he has met, no matter how long ago.

Mr. Ernst came to Springfield, Missouri, January 8, 1906, and at once began the practice of law. It was not long until he took his place among the leaders of the Greene county bar and was a familiar figure in the local courts. He took an interest in public affairs and in 1908 was elected mayor of Springfield, performing the duties of this important office for two years in a manner that reflected much credit upon himself and to the entire satisfaction of his constituents and all concerned, doing much during that period for the general upbuilding of the city. After his term of office had expired, having become tired of official and professional life, Mr. Ernst purchased a half section of good land two miles north of the village of Ebenezer, in Robberson township, this county and engaged extensively in stock raising, although still making Springfield his home.,

Mr. Ernst married on August 20, 1881, Minnie.E. Treloar, who was given a good education in the schools of Ottawa county, Michigan, where she taught successfully several years prior to her marriage, and later continued to teach private classes for some time. She is the daughter of Samuel J. and Martha J. (Kearney) Treloar. The father was born in Plymouth, England, in 1839, and died in Springfield, March 22, 1910. The mother was born in New Brunswick, Ottawa, Canada, May 12, 1842, and is making her home with subject and wife. No children have been born to the union of Mr. and Mrs. Ernst.

Mr. Ernst became alderman in Springfield one year after coming here. Before his term as alderman had expired he was elected mayor, although he had lived but a short time in our midst. He did much to encourage public improvements while in office and looked well to the city's finances, using his influence to secure very low contracts for work for the city. He also created a widespread sentiment toward general public improvement.

Mr. Ernst was formerly member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Politically, he is a stanch Republican and has long been active in the affairs of his party. He and his wife are affiliated with the Second Presbyterian church of Springfield.

[1531-1533]


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