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


THE FREEMAN FAMILY. One of the oldest, best known and honored families of Greene county is the Freemans, the first member of which, a Revolutionary soldier, braved the wilds of this locality nearly a century ago and from that day to the present time his descendants have played well their parts in the local drama of civilization and the family history is well worth perpetuation on the pages of a volume of the nature of the one in hand. This family has not only been noted for their unflagging industry and success in material things, but also good citizens, always ready to support such measures as had for their object the general good of the community and county, and too, they have looked well to their personal reputations.

One of the best known members of this family of the present generation is Rederick Flavius Freeman, who was born in Greene county, Missouri, October 3, 1852. He is a son of William B. and Eliza E. (Snow) Freeman. The former was born in North Carolina, August 7, 1825. He came to Missouri in early life and spent the rest of his days in Greene county, engaged in farming and stock raising. He was married on August 11, 1851. He was engaged in buying cattle for the government during the Civil war, at the time of his death, September 11, 1862. His wife was born on April 13, 1834; she survived him nearly forty-seven years, dying on March 17, 1909.

To William B. Freeman and wife the following children were born: Rederick F., mentioned in the preceding paragraph, being the eldest; Samuel S., born on August 16, 1854; Mrs. Mollie L. Edmondson, born on December 4, 1856; Gabriel B., born on September 23, 1858; William W., born on November 6, 1861, died July 3, 1899; Ona A., born on May 9, 1859, died on July 6, 1860.

The father of William B. Freeman was John Freeman, who was a son of William Freeman. The latter was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, having enlisted as a private in 1776, from North Carolina, under Capt. Andrew Oliver and Colonel Hogan. After his first term of enlistment of three months had expired he re-enlisted on July 20, 1878, for nine months, as a private under Captain Childs and Colonel Hart in the Tenth North Carolina Regiment. In 1781 he enlisted a third time, for three months, as a private under Captain Taylor and Colonel Eaton. He saw considerable hard service and fought gallantly for his country in such engagements as Guilford and Camden. At the time of his enlistment he resided in Bertie county, North Carolina. He applied for a pension on July 23, 1832, and his claim was allowed. At that time he lived in Burke county, North Carolina. His birth occurred in the former county, October 26, 1759. He spent the major portion of his life in the old Tar state, engaged in farming, but in his old age he sought a newer country and made the long overland journey with his family to Greene county, Missouri, where he spent the rest of his days, dying here on January 27, 1838, at the age of seventy-nine years. He was buried in the National Cemetery at Springfield and the government placed an appropriate monument at his grave where lies the only Revolutionary soldier in that cemetery.

William Freeman, mentioned above, married Mary Bryan in 1786. She was a daughter of Robert Bryan. Her death occurred on November 5, 1845. The record shows that their children were, in 1850, Rederick, fifty-six years old; Larry was fifty-two years old; Lemuel H. was forty-nine years old; Elizabeth and James, twins, were forty-seven years old, the former being the wife of Israel Smith.

Returning to the career of Rederick Flavius Freeman: He grew to manhood on the home farm and assisted with the general work there when a boy. His educational advantages were somewhat limited. His business experience in life has been his best teacher, and has given him a broad comprehension of men and things and self-reliance. He is a well-read man, posted on current matters, and he has succeeded in his life work. He is a general farmer and an extensive buyer and shipper of live stock. He has always lived in Greene county and has kept actively engaged ht his chosen vocations. He is a stanch Democrat of the old school; he thoroughly believes in the principles of his party, is an ardent worker for the cause of Democracy, but has had no time for political favors himself, yet he is always on deck at the needed time to assist his friends and his party.

Rederick Flavius Freeman was married on January 20, 1876, to Martha Ann Cooper. Mrs. Freeman was born on May 9, 1856, in Greene county, Missouri. She is a daughter of George W. and Zerelda E. (Goodin) Cooper, the father born on February 20, 1814, and died on November 12, 1881; the mother was born on December 29, 1820, and died on December 29, 1884. These parents were among the early settlers of Greene county. To them the following children were born: Joseph G., born on October 15, 1839, died on October 14, 1864; Mrs. M. Jane Hardy, born on June 12, 1841; John D., born on January 3, 1843; Mrs. Nancy E. Howard, born on April 24, 1845; Mrs. Margaret E. Moore, born on March 2, 1848; A. D., born on March 10. 1850, died April 20th of that year; Robert M. E., born on May 21, 1851, died in 1905; A. A. W., born on January 26, 1854, is deceased; Martha Ann, wife of Rederick F. Freeman, and Z. A. C., Newbill, born on January 21, 1861. Rederick Flavius Freeman and wife are members of the Presbyterian church.

To Rederick Flavius Freeman and wife the following children have been born: Walter Edmond, born on April 12, 1877, was educated in the common schools of Greene county, and at an early age commenced working, in the machine shops of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company at Springfield, and continued there for five years, then engaged in the general merchandise business in Springfield, which he successfully conducted for nine years. In 1908 he was elected sheriff of Greene county with the largest majority any Democrat ever received for that office. He overcame a Republican majority of eight hundred and had eleven hundred and ninety-nine majority to his credit, which is sufficient evidence of his high standing in the county as a man and citizen; his term of office expired on December 31, 1912, having enjoyed the distinction of being the youngest sheriff the county ever had, and he was also the first to hold a four-years' term, and was the last to serve while the county offices remained in the old court house, was also the first sheriff after the new court house was occupied. He was a. member of the city council during the years 1905-06. He has been a prominent member of the Democratic County Committee for several years, and he held the office of state committeeman in 1910 and 1911. He was president during the existence of the Drovers Bank of Springfield, which went out of business in the fall of 1913. He was a director of the Peoples Bank from its organization until 1912 assisted in its organization and was one of its stockholders. At this writing he is extensively engaged in the real estate business, handling his own property principally. He is an active Democrat, belongs to the Baptist church, and fraternally is a member of the Masonic order, the Modern Woodmen, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and also belongs to the Sons of the American Revolution. He married Lucy Gertrude Noblitt, November 22, 1899. She is a daughter of William Allen Noblitt, who was a mechanic in the Frisco shops, and his death occurred on March 23, 1888. Mr. Noblitt was a veteran of the Civil war, having enlisted for service in the Union army at Springfield in 1863, and left for the front in February, 1864, as a member of Battery 1, Second Light Artillery, under Stephen H. Julian and he saw considerable service, including the great battle of Nashville, Tennessee, December 15 and 16, 1864. He was honorably discharged and mustered out at the close of the war, after which he returned to Greene county and resided here until his death. His health was so seriously impaired while in the army that he never recovered and he died while still a young man. His wife was Nancy Tennessee Gooch, a native of the state of Tennessee from which state she came to Missouri when a child and is still living at the age of sixty-five years. She is of English and Scotch extraction. Her daughter, Mrs. Walter Edmond Freeman is a graduate of the Springfield high school. She and her husband have one child, Mildred Lucille Freeman, born on February 18, 1905, who is now attending school, assisted three of her cousins in unveiling the monument erected by the government in the National Cemetery at Springfield over the grave of her ancestor, William Freeman, who was a veteran of the American Revolution, There was a large gathering and appropriate speeches were made during the ceremony of the unveiling. Mrs. Walter E. Freeman has one sister, Mrs. Josie Chapman, who resides in Springfield; also one brother, Ernest Allen Noblitt, also of Springfield.

John Guy Freeman, second son of Rederick Flavius Freeman and wife, was born on November 17, 1879. He now resides about ten miles north of Springfield, where he owns a large farm and is extensively engaged in raising live stock. Politically, he is a Democrat. He was married to Margaret Shelledy, May 3, 1901. She is a daughter of Leander Nelson Shelledy, who was born on April 27, 1840, in Edgar county, Illinois, but left there at an early age for Kansas, where he was living at the outbreak of the Civil war and there he enlisted in the Union army on July 21. 1862, and participated in numerous important engagements, remaining in the service until the close of the war, having been mustered out on July 17, 1865. Not long thereafter he came to Greene county, Missouri, where he lived until his death, April 7, 1906. He married Mrs. Sarah A. Pitt, November 5, 1877. Her maiden name was Calkin. Mrs. Margaret Freeman's father was previously married, by which one son was born, Allen A. Shelledy, who saw service as a private during the entire Spanish-American war, being mustered out on August 16, 1899. He then went to the Philippine Islands where he has continued to reside and has been successful in his work there, The mother of Mrs. Margaret Freeman had four children by her first marriage, namely: Marvin A. Pitt, who lives north of Springfield, Missouri; Sidney Pitt, who is now living in Roswell, New Mexico; Mrs. Elizabeth Freeman lives in Kansas; and Mrs. Nellie Givins lives in Oklahoma. Mrs. Margaret Freeman has the following brothers and sisters: James E. Shelledy is living in Dalhart, Texas; Charles C. lives in Greene county, Missouri, Mrs. Charles M. Trankham lives in Greene county, Missouri; Henry A. Shelledy is at this writing a student in the University of Missouri at Columbia; Mrs. Ruth McCroskey lives in Greene county, this state.

John Guy Freeman and wife have one child, Hal, born on August 23, 1907; Charles Emmett, born on May 10, 1881, married Gertrude Johnston, April 12, 1903, and they have one child, Edna May, born on May 23, 1906; Harry Frank, born on June 26, 1882, married Ruby Stovall, September 25, 1904, and to them two children have been born, Grace Marie, whose birth occurred on September 23, 1905; and Harry Bryan, whose birth occurred on October 15, 1909; Harry Frank Freeman has resided in Springfield for several years and been a member of the police department and is now deputy sheriff of Greene county. Dr. Samuel Flavius, fifth child of Rederick F. Freeman and wife, was born in the old Freeman neighborhood, near Heady, September 27, 1884, was educated in the common schools of his district, later spending one year in Morrisville College, in Polk county, also spent one term at the Missouri State Normal and four years in the American Medical College at St. Louis, from which he was graduated in 1909. He took a post-graduate course at St. Louis University in 1912. His special work has been diseases of children in which he has met with great success. He commenced practicing his profession in Elwood, Greene county, remaining t here three years, then moved to Springfield in 1912 where he is now located and is building up a satisfactory business as a general practitioner and a specialist on the diseases of children. He is a member of the Southwest Missouri, State and National Eclectic Medical Societies. He has held the office of county physician for Greene county since 1909, which he still retains, the duties of which he is discharging in a highly acceptable manner. Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Royal Neighbors and the Mystic Workers, American Yeomen, and Knights of Pythias. Politically, he is a Democrat, and religiously a member of the Baptist church, of which he is a deacon. Doctor Freeman married Liela Jessie Bennett, November 25, 1909; she is a daughter of William P. and Alice (Mooney) Bennett, a well-known and substantial family who live on a farm near Elwood where Mrs. Freeman was reared and educated in the public schools, later attending Morrisville College. She has the following brothers and sisters: Dr. Floyd W. Bennett, a practicing physician of St. Louis Missouri; Gert M. Bennett lives in Denver, Colorado; John F. Bennett, who lives at Englewood, Colorado, is a deputy sheriff of Arapahoe county; Gola May Bennett is the wife of William Jones, of Elwood, this county, also Herschel David at home. Doctor Freeman and wife have one child, Flavius Bennett Freeman, who was born at Elwood on May 30, 1911. The three younger children of Rederick F. Freeman and wife were named as follows: Della Maud, born on February 28, 1886, married Harvey Tiller, April 29, 1906, and they have two children, Dwight Freeman, born in July, 1907; and Helen Blanche, born in January, 1911, Harley Gabriel, born on November 23, 1889, married Madge Gately on October 10, 1909, and they have one child, Frances Muriel, born on October 5, 1911; George Porter, eighth and youngest of the children, was born on February 22, 1892, married Stella Keech, April 20, 1912, and they have one child, Jessie Wanetta, born on February 19, 1914.

Thus from the foregoing paragraphs it will be seen that the various; members of the Freeman family are well situated in life, are good citizens, and deserving of the high respect in which they are held.

[1648-1653]


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