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


NORRIS W. FELLOWS. In presenting the following brief sketch of Norris W. Fellows, now living retired from the active duties of life in his pleasant home on St. Louis street, Springfield, Missouri, we find that the battle of life has been well fought by this enterprising, self-made man. That he is endowed with financial abilities of no mean order must be admitted, yet there is added to this an honest determination of purpose and an obliging disposition, which has impelled him to help others while he was making a path to prosperity for himself. From an early age his desire has been to earn every cent needed in the prosecution of his business. He has always lived up to his principle; and now that old age has set her silvery seal upon his head, he having seen the winters of more than three-quarters of a century, with the ambition to accumulate not so strong upon him as in his earlier years, no longer being a necessity, free from embarrassing debts and with unencumbered property, he stands among the financially strong men of Greene county, in which he first located more than half a century ago. Springfield presents quite a difference in appearance now to what it did then, and no one has witnessed its steady development with any more pleasure than our subject.

Mr. Fellows, formerly a well-known wagon manufacturer, was born in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, October 21, 1837. He is a son of Erastus and Betsey (Cole) Fellows, the father born in Connecticut in 1800, died in 1886; the mother was born in Otsego, New York, in 1801, and her death occurred in 1888, both having reached advanced ages. Erastus Fellows grew up amid the primitive conditions of the East and he had very little opportunity to obtain an education. He left home when twelve years of age and went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he found employment with a dairy company, with which he remained two years, then came to Tioga county, Pennsylvania, and there took up government land which he developed. He devoted his life principally to farming, also ran a "temperance, hotel." Politically he was first a Whig, later a Republican. His father, John Fellows, after the War of 1812, moved with his family to Tioga county, Pennsylvania, locating on the same tract of land which his son, Erastus entered from the government. The mother of the subject of this sketch was a daughter of Royal Cole, who was a soldier both in the Revolutionary war and the War of 1812. Erastus Fellows and wife both spent the rest of their lives in Pennsylvania and died there. Their family consisted of four children, all now deceased but our subject; Rachel, Homer, Norris W., and Mary. The mother of the above named children was twice married and had two children by her first husband, Moses Johnson, these children being named Elmira and Newton.

Norris W. Fellows worked on the home farm in Tioga county, Pennsylvania, when a young man and he received such educational advantages as the early day schools afforded. He left that state in 1860 and came to Springfield, Missouri, and during the Civil war was in the quartermaster's department here under Captain Grimes, and was in the state militia service a while at Rolla, serving as lieutenant. After his services for the Union he engaged in the mercantile business at Rolla with A. C. McGinty & Company, remaining there about three years as a member of this firm, the name then being changed to Fellows, McGinty & Company, which continued thus for about two years, enjoying a good business with the surrounding country. Mr. Fellows then went to Arkville, Missouri, where he continued in the mercantile business until 1869, with his usual success; then returned to Pennsylvania and spent six years on the old home place, which he purchased and on which he carried on general farming. Returning to Springfield, Missouri, in 1876, he and his brother, H. F. went into the wagon manufacturing business, which at that time was reorganized from the Springfield Manufacturing Company to the name of the Springfield Wagon Company, with a capital stock of twenty-five thousand dollars, succeeding it with Norris W. Fellows as vice-president, his brother, Col. H. F. Fellows, being president. After the latter's death, in 1894 our subject succeeded to the presidency, which position he retained until in December, 1896, then sold out, and has since been retired from active business, spending his time looking after his personal property. The Springfield Wagon Company has been one of the leading manufacturing institutions in this city for over a quarter of a century and its large success has been due in no small measure to the able management and keen business acumen of the subject of this sketch. He has been very successful in a business way, being a man of sound judgment, wise foresight and close application. He has made honesty and straightforward dealings with his fellowmen his aim and has consequently always enjoyed the good will and respect of those with whom he has come in contact.

Mr. Fellows was married, February 4, 1869, to Harriet M. Duncan, a native of Franklin, New Jersey, and a daughter of Sebasten and Harriet M. (Ford) Duncan. Mr. Duncan was a woolen manufacturer. Mrs. Fellows grew to womanhood in the East and received a good education, and she taught school with success until 1868, when she left the Atlantic coast country and came to Missouri.

Eight children have been born to Norris W. Fellows and wife, six of whom are living, namely: William H. is superintendent of an electric light and gas company at Leavenworth, Kansas; Helen is the wife of Capt. J. J. Maze and lives in Washington, where he is First Assistant Adjutant General, United States Army; Susie, a twin of Helen, is single and is assistant librarian in the public library in Springfield; Robert M. lives at Harrison, Arkansas, where he has charge of his father's interests; Norris L. is a traveling salesman for the Springfield Wagon Company, Duncan is deceased; Harry and Harriet, twins, the former deceased, the latter living at home:

Politically Mr. Fellows is a Republican and has been influential in local party affairs for many years. He served on the local school board several times, also as a member of the city council. He was a. member of the building committee when the present magnificent high school was built in Springfield, the other members of the committee having been John McGregor, W. C. Booth, Newton Rountree, W. A. Reed and Silas Eversoll. Mr. Fellows was chairman of this board. Fraternally he is a member of the Knights and Ladies of Honor and the Woodmen. Religiously he is a member of the Presbyterian church, in which he was treasurer and a trustee for several years. He is plain and unassuming in manner, charitable and obliging, and by reason of his noble character is frequently sought as counselor and friend.

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