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


RICHARD EDWARD EVERETT. Statistics show that most of our men of business were born on the farm, and data also shows that comparatively few of those now engaged in industrial pursuits, the trades or professions are following the lines of endeavor in, which their fathers before them engaged, and we also find that very few men continue in the vocation in which they first started. It is .not best for the young man to continue at anything for which he is not properly equipped by nature. If a boy feels dissatisfied with farm life, continually thirsting for something different, it is well to allow him to follow his natural tendencies. We are not all adapted by nature for one line of work, which is a wise provision, otherwise farming would be more largely overdone than at present. Some of us were intended for lawyers, others for physicians, ministers, mechanics, tradesmen, inventors. It has always been found to be folly to try to make something out of a man whose natural bent lay in another direction. This is the cause of so many failures in the various walks of life. One is indeed fortunate if he determines when a boy at the outset of his career just what work he can do best in this tread-mill world of ours. It seems that Richard Edward Everett, president of the Springfield Planing Mill & Lumber Company, has been well fortified by nature for his life work and has therefore succeeded.

Mr. Everett was born November 20, 1856, in Darien, Fairfield county, Connecticut. He is a son of William Everett, who devoted his active life to railroad work, having for years been engaged in construction work for the New York & New Haven Railroad Company. He was an expert complicated-track builder. He lived in and around New York City, Brooklyn and Long Island. He was a native of Ireland, where he spent his boyhood, and from there immigrated to America when eighteen years of age. He worked as teamster on the great Jacob Bell estate, which furnished Fulton Market, New York City, with most of its produce in those early days before railroads. Later he moved to Darien, Connecticut, and took up railroad construction work which he followed the rest of his life, having been with that road more than forty-seven consecutive years, his death occurring in Connecticut in January, 1893. He was a member of the Catholic church and a stanch member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He married Hanora de Guidra, native of Ireland, of French descent. She lived to the advanced age of eighty-nine years, dying at Darien, Connecticut in 1908. To these parents the following children were born: William H., deceased, patented the first electric block system ever used in a railroad; John B., Thomas W., Richard E., Katherine E., Mary A., and James H. Everett.

Richard E. Everett grew to boyhood in Connecticut, and received his education in the schools of Darien. He entered business life for himself in 1881. He immigrated to Missouri in 1877 and for one year thereafter was a builder at Ash Grove, Greene county, erecting the high school building at that place, and a number of the most important business houses. For three years thereafter he was pattern maker for the Springfield Foundry & Machine Company, at the end of which time he embarked in his present business and has since been a builder of prominence. Some of the first structures of prominence in Springfield he erected were the "Gulf shops," public school buildings, the Board of Trade Building, the electric power house, the water works and many of the best residences of the city. He had served a thorough apprenticeship at his trade in his youth before he left the East, then for one year was in the United States navy, having been joiner on the ship Colorado.

The business of the Springfield Planing Mill & Lumber Company, which has for many years been regarded as one of the largest of its kind in this section of the Middle West as well as one of the most widely known, was first established in 1868, Mr. Everett being the successor to the Chicago Lumber Company. The business is conducted on quite an extensive scale, and the buildings and yards covers about a half a block, the main building being a substantial two-story brick. It is well equipped with modern machinery and a large number of skilled mechanics and helpers are constantly employed. The business has gradually increased with advancing years, for the rapid growth of Springfield and nearby cities and towns of the Southwest has called for exceptional activity on the part of the lumber and mill work and bank and store fixtures, and Mr. Everett has responded nobly to the demands made upon him since locating here, his company having all the while been one of the most prominent in its line of work and as its machinery has been kept up to the high standard of the costliest type, the mill has been found equal to the demands made upon it. From this mill has come a very large part of the material which has entered into the construction of the leading private residences and prominent and extensive business blocks which have been erected during the past three decades or more in the Queen City of the Ozarks, as well as other towns in this section of the state. From this plant also has come most of the hardwood fittings for the Springfield banks, stores and other well-known buildings. Mr. Everett besides building the old Gulf south side shops at Springfield furnished the material and did all the building for the Kansas City, Ft. Scott & Memphis Railroad Company, from Memphis, Tennessee, to Birmingham, Alabama, from Amory to Aberdeen, Mississippi, and from Ensly to Coal Camp, Alabama, and from Willow Springs to Grandon, on the Current River Branch, and from Ash Grove to Clinton, high line.

In rotation he furnished the work for the Anheuser-Busch people, building the ice and refrigerating plant, cold storage building; Crighton's Provision Company; the building occupied by Armour & Company; John F. Meyers Milling Company's model mill; St. John's Hospital; St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal church; Classical Hall for Drury College; and others.

For the last six or eight years, the company has turned its attention more to mill-work and fixtures, having installed in this city some of the most complete outfits, such as those in the Dalrymple Drug Store, the Model and Rep's Dry Goods stores, Browne Bros. Book Store, Queen City Bank, the mill work for the new Landers building, the mahogany fixtures for the Mezzanine and second floors of the new Her building, the fixtures for Fred Harvey in the new Union Station in Kansas City, and various other Fred Harvey restaurants.

In his yards Mr. Everett keeps a full line of lumber of all kinds, and his extensive modernly equipped mill is prepared to furnish anything usually manufactured in a planing mill, prompt and high-grade work being his aim at all times. The plant was originally established by Knott & See, which firm later sold out to S. W. McLaughlin, who sold it to the Chicago Lumber Company. Mr. Everett has been connected with the concern since 1881, and has been sole proprietor since 1892. It has been incorporated under the laws of Missouri with a capital stock of eighty thousand dollars.

The present officers are: Richard E. Everett, president; Karl W. Everett, vice-president and general manager; W. W. Johnson, acting secretary; I. N. Johnson, treasurer. At this writing thirty-eight mechanics are employed. The yards extend from Phelps avenue to the tracks of the old Gulf railroad, thus giving the company excellent shipping facilities.

Mr. Everett was married in Springfield, in 1882, to Lizzie M. Titus, a daughter of Joseph Titus and wife, an old family of this city. Here she grew to womanhood and received a good education in the Springfield schools, having been one of the youngest pupils that was ever graduated from the high school.

Politically, Mr. Everett is a Democrat and he has long been influential in political and public affairs here.

Beginning with 1879 he has been connected with the city fire department, twenty-one consecutive years. He served in the capacity of chief for twelve years and during that time the department was greatly improved under his able supervision, it finally ranking third in perfection in Missouri. For thirteen years he was a member of the city council from the Third ward, serving under Mayor Ralph Walker and others. At one time he was city marshal, and years ago he made the race for mayor but was defeated for the nomination. He has done much for the general upbuilding of Springfield. He is a member of the Catholic church, and fraternally belongs to Springfield Council No. 698, Knights of Columbus, Ozark Council No. 418, Royal Arcanum, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

That Mr. Everett is a progressive and energetic business man is seen from the large measure of success which he has achieved in his special line of endeavor, having started in a modest way. His reputation in all walks of life has been unassailable and he is widely and favorably known throughout the Ozark region.

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