Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JOSEPH W. LEEDY. His life-long residence in Greene county, his upright life and mature judgment, and the many services he rendered made the name of the late Joseph W. Leedy, for thirty years a leading merchant of Springfield, a synonym for character and worth. One could not contemplate the life record of such a man without gaining therefrom many helpful hints and forming at the same time a very high opinion of the individual, for his affable nature, charitable impulses and benevolent work, extending over a period of years, resulted in incalculable good and stamped him as a whole-souled man and would alone excite the admiration of all, especially of the contemplative turn of mind, for his services to his fellow men came not from a desire to win the plaudits of the world or from any ulterior motive, but merely out of an altruistic nature and a spirit of profound human sympathy. It is scarcely necessary to say that in the inviolable precincts of an ideal home life the true nobility of Mr. Leedy found perfect apotheosis, but there is no desire in this connection to lift the sacred veil of the fireside circle. When he was summoned to close his eyes on earthly scenes when in the zenith of his material success and usefulness to society, all felt that a good man had been called away who could not well be spared. Mr. Leedy was born on a farm near Springfield, Missouri, March 6, 1857. He was a son of A. G. and Mary (Maiden) Leedy, both natives of Virginia, of excellent southern blood. They spent their early lives in the Old Dominion and removed to Greene county, Missouri in early pioneer times and here became widely and favorably known for many years ranking among the leading agriculturists of the county. These parents lived to advanced ages, the mother having survived her son, Joseph W., and died at the age of eighty-four. Their family consisted of six children, namely: Joseph W., of this sketch; Annie married H. L. Ennis (deceased), of Chicago, and to them seven children were born; John is a carpenter and builder of Springfield; Mary married John Flannigan of Carthage, Missouri, and they have two children; Ella married George Booth, an attorney of Webb City, Missouri, and they have one son, Hunter; Mrs. Virginia Curtis who died in 1912.
Joseph W. Leedy grew to manhood in Springfield, where his family had come when he was seven years of age, and he received a good practical education in the schools of Springfield, which was later greatly supplemented by contact with the business world and by home reading on a general scale. He had a decided natural bent for mercantile pursuits, and this was his vocation in Springfield for a period of thirty years, having started here when but a boy, and eight years of this period he conducted a large dry goods store at 225-227 East Commercial street, on his own account. Here he maintained a large and well stocked store, modern in every respect and managed under a superb system, employing a number of assistants, and many of his hundreds of customers came from remote parts of the county, for they knew they would always receive honest and courteous treatment here. By his indomitable energy, close application and integrity he built up one of the best known and leading dry goods businesses in the county, and a comfortable fortune resulted from his efforts. The business is still carried on along the lines which, he inaugurated, under the name of the Leedy Dry Goods & Company of which Mrs. Essie Leedy, a lady of rare executive ability and foresight is the leading spirit and she is making a pronounced success of the same.
Mr. and Mrs. Leedy first met in a store where they were both clerking, and their happy and harmonious domestic life began when their marriage nuptials were celebrated on January 3, 1903. She was known in her maidenhood as Essie Carter, and was born and reared on a farm near Springfield and received a good education in the local schools. She is a daughter of Hazen Blanchard and Elizabeth (Banfield) Carter, the former now deceased, but the mother survives; she lives on the old homestead two miles north of Springfield. Mr. Carter was a highly respected farmer, owning a farm two miles from Springfield. His family consisted of seven children, four sons and three daughters, namely: Sterling, Sherman, Blanchard, Emmett, Janie, Essie and Etta.
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Leedy was blessed by the birth of one child, Langdon Lee Leedy, whose birth occurred May 5, 1910 and he is a bright and promising child. Mrs. Leedy has a beautiful home on North Grant street.
Politically, Mr. Leedy was a Republican. He attended the Christian church. He belonged to no secret orders from choice as his whole thought and attention were given to his family and home outside of business hours.
Mr. Leedy was summoned suddenly to his eternal rest on July 1913, at the early age of fifty-six years. His death will long be deplored by a host of warm friends and admirers.
Springfield-Greene County Library