Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
ALANSON MASON HASWELL. The life of Alanson Mason Haswell, a well known real estate man and writer of Springfield, has been an interesting and useful one, and although he has reached the age when most men are living in seclusion and avoiding the turmoil, of business affairs, he is still strenuously engaged in serious work. He hails from the far away, romantic land of Rudyard Kipling, one of the present-day master story-writers, and many interesting tales might be written from the life chronicle of our subject, but space forbids more than a brief resume of his life and character.
Mr. Haswell was born in the city of Mulmain Burmah, East India, June 29, 1847. He is a son of James Madison Haswell and Jane Matilda (Mason) Haswell. These parents were missionaries of the American Baptist Missionary Union, and went to Burmah immediately after their marriage in 1835. James M. Haswell was sent as an assistant to Adoniram Judson, the first American Baptist missionary, and it was in Dr. Judson's home that the subject of this sketch was born.
Anthony Haswell, the paternal grandfather, was born in Portsmouth, England, in 1756, and when a boy was brought to America. When twelve years old he was apprenticed in Boston, Massachusetts, was a "son of liberty" at fourteen, and when in his seventeenth year, helped throw the tea into Boston harbor, at the historic "tea party" in 1773. During the Revolutionary war he served in Washington's army at the siege of Boston, was also in the battle of White Plains, New York, and several other engagements. His grandson, A. M. Haswell, is a member of the Springfield Chapter, Sons of the Revolution, on the record of Anthony Haswell, as also for ancestors of his mother. Anthony Haswell established the Vermont Gazette in Bennington, Vermont, in 1783, and he and his sons continued to publish the paper for more than fifty years, and it was one of the most influential papers of New England during that period. His death occurred in 1816. His epitaph says: "Anthony Haswell, a Patriot of the Revolution; a sufferer for the freedom of the press under the alien and sedition laws." On his mother's side A. M. Haswell is descended from Sampson Mason, one of Oliver Cromwell's "Ironsides," who emigrated from England to Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in 1665 and bought a large tract of land where he founded the town of Swansea, Massachusetts. Hundreds of his descendants are buried there, and many families of them still live there. Mr. Haswell's great-grandfather, Brooks Mason, was a Revolutionary soldier, who fought at the battles of Bennington and Saratoga, as did also four of his sons.
A. M. Haswell was brought to the United States to be educated when eleven years of age, and he never returned to Asia, although his only brother and both parents spent their lives and died there, and his two sisters are there today. After passing through preparatory schools, Mr. Haswell attended high school in Clinton, New York, and finished his education with two years in Madison University (now Colgate University) at Hamilton, New York. After farming in New York, Delaware and Illinois, he came to Springfield, Missouri, in September, 1868 intending to stay six months. He got a contract to assist in classifying the million acre land grant of that which is now the Frisco railway. This kept him in the saddle three years and put the love of the Ozarks so effectively into him that he has remained here ever since, with the exception of some eight years. After classifying the lands, he was connected with the Springfield district of the railroad lands nearly all the time for sixteen years, the last six years in charge of the office. He added general real estate to his office and did a large business for years. In 1893 he went to Chicago, Illinois, and remained there until 1897. He was elected secretary of the Christian Citizenship League and was sent all over the United States speaking in the interest of the organization, addressing certainly three hundred and fifty thousand people. In 1897 he returned to southwest Missouri and for four years engaged in real estate and mining at Aurora, Lawrence county, returning to Springfield in 1901, to his old line of realty, and here he has since resided, but owing to deafness he has closed his real estate office and devotes most of his time to drafting large county maps, at which he is an expert. He also writes extensively for various newspapers and other publications, mostly on subjects pertaining to the Ozarks, of which he is an enthusiast. He is a versatile and forceful writer and his articles are appreciated by a wide audience.
Mr. Haswell was married in Springfield, March 11, 1873, to Lauretta C. Butler, and to this union seven children were born, of whoml three sons and one daughter survive.
Politically, Mr. Haswell is a Republican, and he has been more or less active in public affairs. He has served one term in the state Legislature, representing in a commendable manner the Springfield district. He is a member of the First Congregational church of Springfield.
Springfield-Greene County Library