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


WILLIAM BURTS LINNEY. Those who are observing know that it is not a very rare thing in this favored land of ours for a man to achieve his ambition in the face of obstacles, accepting assistance from no one, or at least not depending upon others to bring them to the goal sought. William Burts Linney, a well-known and successful Springfield attorney is an example of one who has met and overcome in an admirable manner the obstacles that have threatened to thwart him in his laudable quest for the coveted heights of professional success. In early life he was apprised of the fact that the pathways of mortal men are beset with many things calculated to impede them in their race for material crowns; but he was also taught that the prize is always won by the deserving, persevering and patient.

Mr. Linney was born on August 28, 1867, in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a son of William Carlyle Linney and Mary Ann (Kelso) Linney. The father was a soldier in the Confederate army under Gen. Sterling Price, and fought at the battles of Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, Lexington, Cabin Creek and others. At Cabin Creek his regiment captured, by the assistance of other troops, a Federal wagon train, taking valuable supplies. William Linney's brother had enlisted in the Union army about the same time of his enlistment in the Southern ranks. After the train was captured the baggage, clothing, provisions, etc., were divided among General Price's troops, and William Linney's allotted portion contained a suit-case in which he found a new pair of boots and a good suit of clothes. In the pocket of the coat several letters were found, addressed to John Linney, and thus he knew that he had come into possession of his brother's clothes. After the war was over the Linney brothers got together and verified this fact.

William C. Linney was a native of Kentucky, but his wife was born in Missouri, to which state he removed with his parents when about two years old, the family locating in Grundy county in 1843, where they lived until 1861, when he moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, living there until 1867, when he, his wife and son returned to Grundy county, Missouri, living there until 1869, when he located at Clinton, Henry county, but not long thereafter removed to Joplin, this state, thence, in 1878, to Grundy county, Missouri, where their permanent home was established.

William B. Linney received his primary education in the public schools of Joplin and the district schools of Grundy county. He assisted his father with the work on the farm in Grundy county, where the family led the plain life of a plain American people, the life which, in its apparently monotonous smoothness makes possible the development of good citizenship. During the winter months he attended the district schools in the vicinity of the home farm, until 1883, when he obtained a teacher's certificate. But he did not begin teaching then, securing a position as clerk in a general merchandise store at Grant City. He adopted a very simple rule at that time which has stood him in good stead in those greater undertakings later in life. That rule was to do every day's work thoroughly. Thus it was that his employer soon came to learn that the young man in his employ was to be trusted to do whatever was assigned him, with accuracy and complete fidelity to their interests.

The goal of Mr. Linney's ambition was finally reached and he entered the law department of the University of Missouri, at Columbia, from which institution he was graduated on March 25, 1886. His ambition to be a lawyer did not spur him ahead so rapidly that he neglected or only half learned the preliminary details of the profession. He took care to study his forms, the verbiage and the principles of its constructions so that he might be able to apply the knowledge to future original work. The future seemed very bright to his imagination, and he had already begun to look back with pride at the progress he had made since the days of the Grant City store. Especially encouraging was the consciousness that every day he was acquiring in fuller measure the powers by which he had cleared away for himself thus far, and that, set in the right channels from the beginning those powers must ultimately bring success.

On August 23, 1886, Mr. Linney was admitted to the bar of Grundy county by Hon. Gavon D. Burgess, at that time judge of the Grundy Circuit Court. He continued in the practice of his profession at Trenton, Missouri, until 1908, except the year 1894, when he was located at Joplin, in partnership with former Attorney-General Edward C. Crow, when he moved to Pryor, Oklahoma, where he was elected and served as cashier of the First National Bank of that place. It was said of him, "He filled faithfully and with conceded ability the position which industry and honorable ambition secured for him." In January, 1914, he located in Springfield, Missouri, where he has since been engaged in the practice of the law with very gratifying results.

Mr. Linney was married on June 5, 1895, to Elenora Van Horn, a daughter of Robert F. and Margaret A. (Messerly) Van Horn, a well-known family of Webb City, Missouri. Mrs. Linney had the advantage of a good education. One child has been born to our subject and wifeóMary Margaret Linney, whose birth occurred on May 24, 1898.

Politically, Mr. Linney is a Democrat. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, belonging to Indian Consistory at McAlester, Oklahoma; he is also a member of Bedouin Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Muskogee, Oklahoma. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen of the World. He is a member of the Springfield Club and the Country Club. He and Mrs. Linney have made many friends since locating in this city and gained a high standing in the circles in which they move.

[1387-1389]


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