Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
ROSWELL. K. HART. To the pioneer more than to any other is civilization indebted for the brightest jewel in its diadem, for it was he that blazed the trail and acted as van-guard for the mighty army of progress that within the last century has conquered Greene county's wilderness and wild prairies and transformed this section of the Ozark region into one of the fairest and most enlightened of the commonwealth of Missouri's domains. One of this number is Roswell K. Hart, a veteran of the Civil war, who is one of the earliest settlers of Wilson township, this county, and who, after a successful life as farmer and stock man is living in retirement in Springfield.
Mr. Hart was born June 7, 1829, in North Carolina, and when four years old emigrated with his parents to Bedford county, Tennessee, and there grew to manhood and was educated. He is a son of Henry and Barbara (Lambeth) Hart, natives of North Carolina. The father of our subject was a soldier in the war of 1812. He moved from Tennessee to Greene county, Missouri, with his family, where his death occurred, December 21, 1855, and there his wife died about 1877. They had spent their lives on a farm. Mr. Hart was a soldier of courage and ability, and he not only served five years in our second war with Great Britain, but also served two years in Indian wars prior to that period. His family consisted of eight children, only two of whom are living, Mrs. Sally Davis, and Roswell K., of this sketch.
Our subject received but a limited education, however he has become a well-informed man through wide reading. He was twenty-three years old when he made the overland trip in wagons with his parents to Greene county, Missouri, from Tennessee, experiencing numerous hardships en route, and here he has resided ever since, the family having reached here on December 2, 1852, sixty-two years ago. His active life has been spent in farming and dealing in live stock. However, he dealt somewhat in the teaming business, hauling, prior to the Civil war, selling fruit, flour, groceries and trading with the Indians. At the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted in Springfield, in the, Home Guards, and in August, 1862, he enlisted in Company B, Seventy-second Missouri State Militia, Federal army, and at one time he was in charge of a company of men, ranking as major, and covered the retreat of the Union army from Springfield to Rolla. He made an excellent record as a soldier, was respected as an officer by his men and superiors, all acknowledging his courage and ability, and he was discharged at the close of the war as a lieutenant-colonel. Returning home, he resumed farming and stock raising in Wilson township, which he helped put on the map. Selling his farm, he retired from active life about twenty years ago and moved to Springfield, where he has since resided, now living, in his pleasant home on South Market street. He also owns other properties here which he rents.
Mr. Hart was married February 2, 1859, in Springfield to Mary J. Beal, who was born near Wilson's creek, this county. She was a daughter of Daniel and Nancy Beal. She was reared in this county, and educated in the common schools here. Daniel Beal was born in North Carolina, May 19, 1799. He was a cabinet maker by trade and when a young man went to Giles county, Tennessee, where he married Nancy Gibson, a daughter of George Gibson and wife, and they were the parents of seven children, namely: George T., Allen H., James N., Martha A., Damaris, Mary J. and Penelope. Mr. Beal remained in Giles county, Tennessee until three of his children were born, and in 1831 moved to Lawrence county, Missouri, and settled near where Verona now stands. Judge James White came the same time, and here Mr. Beal made a clearing and began his home. He was in company with Judge White in the ownership of land and as they thought the tract of land not large enough for both, Mr. Beal sold out and came to what is now known as Greene county, the latter part of 1833 and settled on Wilson's creek, in Campbell township, four miles west of Springfield. Here he cleared up a farm and passed the remainder of his days, owning two hundred and eighty-eight acres. In politics, e was a Democrat, and both he and his wife were members of the Baptist church. Mr. Beal lived to the age of about forty-seven years and died, December 7, 1847. He was one of the old pioneers of southwest Missouri and highly respected by the older settlers, by whom he was well known as a man of integrity and character and honest worth.
Seven children were born to Col. Roswell K. Hart and wife, namely: Nancy A., who married Louis Hendricks, of Christian county, Missouri; Mrs. Halley A. Alexander lives in Brownwood, Texas; the third child died in infancy, unnamed; Alveria, of Springfield; Samuel K., of Houston, Texas; Andy T., of Greene county; and William H., who is a resident of Austin, Texas.
The death of Mrs. Mary J. Hart occurred February 26, 1914, at the age of sixty-five years.
Politically, Colonel Hart is a Democrat. He is a member of the Christian church, as was his wife. He belongs to the John Matthews Post, Grand Army of the Republic, at Springfield
Springfield-Greene County Library