Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
NAPOLEON GOSNEY. It is the dreams ahead that keep hope in us all. To some it is dreams of financial success, to others political power; still others, perhaps, it is dreams of health, pleasure, fame or the chance to be of service to mankind. To those who, in early life, fate has not been overly kind, it has been the dreams of the possible opportunities held by the mystical future that has given them hope to continue the battle, often against seemingly overwhelming odds. Napoleon Gosney, for many years one of the leading contractors of Springfield, who for some time has been living retired, had dreams when he was a boy, and these led him to a useful and successful life in a material way, as well as caused him to so shape his ends as to become a helpful citizen.
Mr. Gosney was born at Ottawa, Canada, May 24, 1852. He is a son of Andrew and Delphine Gosney. The father was born near Montreal, Canada, and the mother was born at Ottawa. They grew in their native localities and received common school educations, and were married in Ottawa. Andrew Gosney was a contractor in stone and lime, and was also a stone cutter. He died at the age of forty-five years, when our subject was a small boy. His wife survived to the advanced age of ninety years, and her parents lived to be over one hundred years of age. To Andrew Gosney and wife eleven children were born, named as follows: Delphine, deceased; Severe died in 1910; Henry, Emma and Leon, all deceased; Napoleon, of this review; Emily, deceased, Lenore lives in Minnesota; Mrs. Eugenia Dugan is living near Cleveland, Ohio; Exzelda lives in Ottawa, Canada, and one died in infancy.
Napoleon Gosney grew to manhood in Canada and received a common school education. He followed in the footsteps of his father in a business way and learned to be a stone cutter and mason. When seventeen years of age he left Canada and moved to Akron, Ohio, where he lived about four years, then traveled over the East and South working at his trade. He came to Missouri in 1877, locating in Springfield later, and here engaged in construction work, organizing at different times several construction companies and became one of the best known men in this line of endeavor in this section of the state. He has done an immense amount of construction work for the Frisco. Operating for many years on an extensive scale, giving his close attention to his affairs and exercising good judgment and foresight, he accumulated a comfortable competence. He retired from active life about eight years ago on account of failing health.
Mr. Gosney was married at Carthage, Missouri, September 10, 1878, to Josephine A. Smith, who was born in Winchester, Indiana, August 16, 1858, and she spent her girlhood days in the Hoosier state and was educated there. She removed with her parents in 1872 to Jasper county, Missouri, where the family home was established. She is a daughter of George A. Smith and Nancy Ann Paxton, who were born in Pennsylvania. Mr. Smith was a millwright by trade. He bought a large farm in Jasper county, Missouri, and was a successful farmer, and there his death occurred about 1884. His wife, was a native of Pennsylvania, and she was reared and married in Cleveland, Ohio. She died in 1892 at the family home near Carthage.
Five children have been born to Napoleon Gosney and wife, namely: Eugenia May, wife of William Henry McCowan, was born March 5, 1879, and is at present living in Springfield. She has six children: Josephine Anna, born September, 5, 1904; William Henry McGowan, Jr., born March 6, 1907; Frances Eugenia, born March 15, 1910; Richard Gosney, born July 16, 1911; Mary Eileen, born April 19, 1913, and Nell Genevieve, born June 25, 1914. Vera Pearl, wife of O. B. McGlothlan, was born October 19, 1881, and is living on a farm in Webster county, Missouri. She has three children: Loriene Josephine, born May 14, 1904; Lucile Donella, born December 30, 1905, and Vera Cordus, born December 24, 1907. Lester S., born August 5, 1883, is working in Kansas City at this writing. Josephine and Reynold are both deceased.
Politically, Mr. Gosney is a Republican and has been loyal to the party through both victory and defeat. During his residence in Springfield of twenty-two years he has become well known and has always been regarded as a good and honorable citizen in every respect. The family belong to the Christian, church, to which- Mr. Gosney gives liberal support.
Springfield-Greene County Library