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


ISAAC M. HICKMAN. Among the men who were instrumental in advancing business interests in Springfield and after a useful and honorable career passed on to other planes of action on the "outmost banks and shoals of time" was the late Isaac M. Hickman. Time and prolific enterprise have, wrought wonderful changes in Greene county since he took up his residence here, through which period he kept well abreast of the times and his activities benefited alike himself and the general public, his well directed efforts gaining for him a position of desirable prominence in commercial circles. His chief characteristics seemed to be keenness of perception, a tireless energy, honesty of purpose and motive and every-day common sense. He was successful in business, respected in social life and as a neighbor discharged his duties in a manner becoming a liberal-minded, intelligent citizen of the state where he spent his entire life and where the essential qualities of manhood have ever been duly recognized and prized at their true value. To write in detail a full account of his useful life would require a much more elaborate article than the nature of the work admits or requires. Sufficient will be said, however, to form a correct conception of the man and his career, a career affording many valuable lessons to the young of the rising generation.

Mr. Hickman was born in Miller county, Missouri, August 9, 1860, on a farm. He was a son of Aaron and Caroline (Rowden) Hickman, both natives of Kentucky, the father born in 1836 and the mother in 1837. These parents grew to maturity in their native state, were educated in the rural schools and were married there. Mr. Hickman was a farmer. He was a soldier in the Civil war and died during the service. He had but the one child, Isaac M., of this sketch. The mother remarried and died in Crawford county, Missouri, in 1897. She married a brother of her first husband, and by that union six children were born, two of whom are living at this writing.

Isaac M. Hickman grew to manhood on the farm in his native county and there assisted with the general work when a boy. He received a limited education in the district schools. He was a self-made man, and received his business education by practical experience, partly by clerking in a store when a boy. He devoted his active life to merchandising, which he continued with gratifying results up to within two years of his death, however, he occasionally traveled on the road. Many years ago he operated a store at Willow Springs, and from there went to Joplin where he conducted a store for six years, then was a traveling salesman for awhile. He removed and opened a grocery with his family to Springfield in the spring of 1905 and opened a store on West Walnut and Evans street. In 1912 he moved to North Campbell street, where he owned a grocery store. He always enjoyed a good trade owing to his courteous and fair dealings with his customers and he carried well selected stocks of goods. A criterion of his high standing among Springfield business men is seen in that he was president of the Missouri Retail Merchants Association of this state from October, 1911 until October, 1912, performing the duties of the same in a manner that reflected much credit upon himself and to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Mr. Hickman was married October 1, 1883, in Cuba, Missouri, to Lena Parks, who was born near that city on November 2, 1863. She is a daughter of David and Elizabeth (Farrar) Parks. The father was born in Tennessee, in 1828, and died in Cuba, Missouri, in 1897. The mother was, born in this state in 1837 and is still living in the town of Cuba. These parents were married in Crawford county, Missouri. Mr. Parks devoted his active life principally to merchandising, also to the hotel business in Cuba. He was a well known and influential citizen of Crawford county. His family consisted of ten children, all now deceased but three. Mrs. Hickman grew to womanhood in Crawford county, and received a common school education there.

Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Hickman, named as follows: Maybelle, born August 14, 1884, is living at home; Harry P., born May 18, 1887, lives in St. Louis; Lillian M., born November 16, 1889, died October 4, 1895; David A., born January 7, 1892; Karl R., born April 29, 1897; Relfe V., born November 22, 1899.

Politically, Mr. Hickman was a Republican, and he was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church.

Mr. Hickman met a tragic death on June 29, 1914, regarding which we quote the following from the Springfield Leader in its issue of that date:

"Isaac M. Hickman, of 533 East Harrison street, a former president of the Missouri Merchants Association and a veteran groceryman of this city, was fatally injured at 7:30 o'clock this morning when he was struck by Frisco passenger train No. 15 near Benton and Phelps avenues. Mr. Hickman lived only ten minutes after being struck. The victim of the accident was fifty-three years old and was employed as a salesman for the Detroit Automatic Scales Company, which firm maintains offices at 516 College street.

The accident occurred while Mr. Hickman was walking west on the 'Y,' the sharp curve in the Frisco tracks which connects the Mill street right-of-way with the one on Phelps avenue. The spot where Mr. Hickman was struck is about ten feet northeast of the bridge which spans the Jordan creek. The approaching train was hidden by the warehouse of the S. G. McCracken Wholesale Flour Company, at Benton and Phelps avenues. J. L. Woods, of 636 North Main street, the only eye witness to the tragedy says that apparently Mr. Hickman made no effort to escape death under the wheels of the train as so far as can be determined, the pedestrian was not aware of his danger until too late to act. The body was catapulted through the air for a distance of twenty feet, the unconscious form alighting in the middle of the tracks. The right foot fell across the south rail and it was severed. The train passed over the body without inflicting other injuries. Mr. Hickman never regained consciousness. The injuries which caused death were a dislocation of the spine in two places and three deep wounds in the skull. The left foot was badly crushed. Large contusions about the body evidence the fact that many of the vital organs were dislodged by the impact of the collision.

Justice of the Peace, R. H. Trevathan, acting coroner in the absence of Coroner Will H. Lohmeyer, was notified and he was taken to the scene, where he begin an investigation of the accident. He ordered an inquest at 10 o'clock this morning in his office on College street. His list of witnesses included J. L. Woods, 636 North Main street, and S. G. McCracken, 621 North Campbell street, both of whom arrived upon the scene immediately afterward. The coroner's jury is composed of J. S. McConnell, B. F. Snider, J. O. Odom, R. C. Schroeder, W. H. Dignum and W. H. Scarbrough. The body was removed to the morgue of the Lohmeyer undertaking establishment at 305 West Walnut street, where it is being prepared for burial. The body will be shipped to Cuba, Missouri, tomorrow morning, where interment will be made beside a deceased child.

Mr. Hickman is survived by the widow, four sons and one daughter, Harry Hickman, St. Louis, and Miss Maybelle, Karl, Relfe and David, all of whom reside at the family residence on East Harrison street.

No member of the train crew was aware of the fact that a man had been struck until after the incoming train had arrived at the Mill street pasenger station, that a passenger had informed him dead man was lying beside the track at Benton and Phelps avenues. The officer rushed to the spot and assisted in caring for the remains. Engineer George T. McKenna, 1613 Sherman street, was unaware of the accident when the train left the station to continue the journey to Monett. Engineer McKenna runs from Monett to Newburg.

The spot where Mr. Hickman was hit is especially dangerous, owing to the fact that the tracks to the east are obstructed by the building formerly occupied by the R. C. Stone Milling Company. According to F. E. Townley of 1345 Texas avenue, district manager of the corporation which Mr. Hickman represented, his salesman was returning from a business trip when he was struck by the train. Mr. Townley had been informed by Mr. Hickman on last Friday that he would visit a new grocery store in the vicinity of the United Iron Works on Monday morning, with a view to selling a set of scales.

Mr. Hickman was born August 9, 1860, in Miller county, Missouri, where he gained his early education. His parents conducted a country store and in his association with his father he became familiar with the business. He came to Springfield about twenty years ago. At one time Mr. Hickman conducted a grocery store at West Walnut and Evans streets. Later he opened a similar business at North Campbell and Olive streets. He was president of the Missouri Retail Merchants Association in the year 1906. He had been in the employ of the Detroit Automatic Scales Company for the last year."

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