Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
GEORGE A. McCOLLUM. In what is popularly termed the learned professions, success is the legitimate result of painstaking effort and innate attributes, but close study and indefatigable research are also necessary in short, proper intellectual discipline. These, together with the possession and utilization of other characteristics of equally laudable nature made the late George A. McCollum of Springfield, eminent in his chosen calling, and for a number of years he ranked among the leaders of the Greene county bar. From the start he seemed to realize that there is a vital purpose in life, "that the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns," and that there is no honor not founded on true worth, as well as that the highest and most praiseworthy accomplishment must come from a well trained mind and unselfish, sympathetic nature. All who knew him well will agree that he was a master of his profession, a leader among men distinguished for the high order of their legal ability, and his eminent attainments and ripe judgment made him an authority on all matters involving a profound knowledge of legal science and vexed and intricate questions growing out of the various phases of jurisprudence and its interpretation. He was also prominent in public and fraternal affairs, and when "death, like a friend's voice from a distant field called to him" when in the prime of manhood, this locality felt that it had sustained an irreparable loss.
Mr. McCollum was born in Belfast, Tennessee, April 6, 1868. He was .a son of E. Alexander and Martha Jane (Jones) McCollum.
E. Alexander McCollum., the father, was born in Marshall county, Tennessee, December 19, 1834, and Martha Jane McCollum, the mother, was born in Giles county, Tennessee, May 5, 1844. They both received a limited education in their native state. Mr. McCollum enlisted in 1861 in the Forty-second Tennessee Regiment in which he served three years and was wounded in the battle of Chickamauga. He served under Albert Sidney Johnson in the battle of Ft. Dollison and saw lots of active service.
Mr. McCollum's parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. A. McCollum still reside in Belfast, Tennessee. Seven boys and four girls were born to them, namely: John Henry lives near Belfast. George A., of this sketch; James Edward is with the Frisco lines; Martin Barney lives in Texas; Henry Clinton lives near Belfast; Susan; Phenton; Ethel; Ernest lives near Belfast; Max lives in Michigan and Mattie L.
George A. McCollum grew to manhood in his native community in Tennessee and there received a good education. He remained at Belfast until 1888, when he removed to Springfield, Missouri, attending high school here. Soon after he geban teaching school near Elwood, Greene county, then took up the study of law in the office of J. R. Vaughan. A comparatively short time later he was admitted to the bar and in 1892 he and Major W. M. Weaver formed a partnership for the practice of law. In 1898 the firm was dissolved and Mr. McCollum entered the office of Judge Arch A. Johnson as a partner. This association was discontinued in 1907, at which time Mr. McCollum was retained as attorney for a local public utility. For more than three years prior to his death he had maintained a suite of modern offices in the Woodruff building and enjoyed a large and lucrative practice. In counsel he was thorough, exhausting, always delving to the bottom of things, eager to know the truth. He was earnest and resolute, never urging his imagination to soar into vapory nothings. He always went into court with his case completely in hand, every preparation had been made—no gaps were let down. In forensic disputation his strong weapon was pure reason, by both comparative and deductive processes, without marshaling the aids of rhetoric or eloquence, accessories, it may be added, which, if occasion would suggest, he employed as invaluable reserve. He proceeded firmly and strongly on and along direct lines to his objective, deflecting neither to the right hand nor to the left. Fluent in expression, with purity and elegance of style, precise and faultless in language and the orderly and symmetrical arrangement of words and ideas, the stream of calm, subtle, sinewy, unbroken logic, disdaining. unnecessary ornament and declining the ordinary resources of the orator, was fascinating to hear and often almost irresistible in its persuasion. At the time of his death he was attorney for the Springfield Gas and Electric Company and the Springfield Traction Company.
Mr. McCollum at one time was exalted ruler of the Florence Lodge, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Springfield. He was also a member of practically all the Masonic bodies having chapters in Springfield. He also was a member of the Knights of Pythias and was also a member of the Scottish Rite at Joplin, Missouri; the Modern Woodmen of America lodges. At various times he had held offices in these lodges. He was at one time a member of the school board, also served in the city council. He was an active worker in the Democratic party and in 1906 was chairman of the Democratic county committee. He was possessed of much business sagacity and was known to be highly successful in the Springfield commercial world, having had considerable business interests here. He owned a beautiful home on South Market street where his family still reside.
Mr. McCollum was married in Springfield in 1896, to Ivy Holman, who was born here, where she was reared and educated. She is a daughter of Dr. David E. and Mary S. Holman. To Mr. and Mrs. McCollum two children were born, namely: Katherine, now sixteen years of age; and Josephine, .who is four years old.
Mr. McCollum's death occurred suddenly and unexpectedly. when only about forty-six years of age, on August 10, 1914. Mrs. McCollum and children were spending the summer at Colorado Springs, Colorado, and were thus absent from Springfield at the time of his death, which came as a shock to the entire community.
Springfield-Greene County Library