Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JOHN AARON McCONNELL. Many elements contribute to the development of a country, but no one thing plays so large a part as sterling worth and character. It is to the rugged, steadfast men and women who come into its domain that any country must look for its progress, and it is most often the plain, blunt men of business and everyday affairs who most affect a country's history. One of the most extensive farmers in the southwestern part of Greene county is John Aaron McConnell, who grew up just after the Civil war. Through the years that have passed since then, his life has been a busy and fruitful one, and he has played an important part in the affairs of the community during the most important period of its development. He is one of our best examples of a successful self-made man.
Mr. McConnell was born on South street, Springfield, Missouri, April 17, 1865.He is a son of Thomas C. and Hannah B. (Bledsoe) McConnell, who emigrated to Springfield from Tennessee during the Civil war, and in this city the father maintained a grocery store until 1868, when he removed to Granby, Missouri, where, shortly afterward he was accidentally killed. Our subject was at that time less than two years old, and his mother removed with him to Christian county to make their future home, with Mrs. McConnell's parents, who resided on a farm in that county, and there our subject spent his early boyhood. When eight years of age his mother married again, her last husband being James Holderby, a Baptist minister at Wilson Creek, where our subject lived until he was fifteen years old, leaving home at that time to work out as a farm hand. He had little opportunity to obtain an education, but this lack in his early life has been subsequently made up for by wide home reading until he has become a well informed man on current topics and important movements in the world's affairs. Saving his money when a lad he was enabled to purchase his first land, forty acres, in Brookline township, Greene county, when twenty-four years of age. He was not only a hard worker, but a good manager as well, and, prospering with advancing years, he added to his original purchase until he owned a fraction less than nine hundred acres of valuable land. He has given each of his three children forty acres, and the use of eighty each out of his ranch, the rest he keeps well improved and well cultivated and engages in general farming
and stock raising on a large scale, being regarded by his neighbors as one of the progressive agriculturists of the county. He has a large and well furnished home and numerous good barns and outbuildings in general, and an excellent grade of live stock of all kinds may be seen on his place. All this is the result of close application and honest dealings with his fellow men as well as the exercise of sound judgment. About three hundred acres of his land embraces the Wilson Creek battlefield, a part of historic "Bloody Ridge" where the greatest slaughter took place being on his land, and the home that he occupies at the present time is the one where the body of Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, commander-in-chief of the Union army, was laid out soon after he was killed about noon on the day of the battle. Mr. McConnell has a number of relics picked up on the battlefield which he takes a pride in exhibiting. Mr. McConnell handles a number of car loads each season of cattle, hogs and grain.
He raised two hundred and fifty acres of wheat in 1914 that averaged over twenty-three bushels to the acre. In 1915 he had about the same acreage, with about sixty acres of corn. His farm is second to none in the county.
Mr. McConnell was married in December, 1885, to Mollie Keltner, a daughter of George and Martha Keltner, of Republic, this county. She was born in Greene county and here grew to womanhood and was educated in the common schools. She proved to be an excellent helpmeet and when her death occurred in 1902 she was greatly missed by her neighbors who knew her for a woman of the finest character and noble impulses.
To our subject and wife the following children were born: Josephus married Minnie Hagwood, lives in Brookline township and they have three children, Earl, Virgil and Elsie; Bessie married William McElhany, of Brookline township, and they have two children Gladys and Glen; Myrtle married Robert McClure, of Republic township: and they have one child, Eva; a son died in infancy, unnamed.
Mr. McConnell is a stanch Democrat.
Springfield-Greene County Library