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


ELMER E. E. McJimsey. Elmer E. E. McJimsey is the editor and owner of The Springfield (Missouri) Republican. His brother editors declare that to think of the city of Springfield or of the beautiful Ozark country is to think in the same moment of Editor McJimsey, so closely has the fame of the region and of the Missouri journalist, politician and orator become interwoven.

Mr. McJimsey is not a native of the Ozark country, nor even of Missouri. This information frequently surprises his most intimate friends. He was born in the little Indiana town once known as Pleasant Hill, but now called Wingate, in Montgomery county, February 23, 1862. His father, Joseph McJimsey, a native of Wheeling, West Virginia, was a merchant of Pleasant Hill before and during the Civil war and for some years afterward. In 1875, however, the family came to Missouri, locating at Maryville, Nodaway county, where Joseph McJimsey engaged in the livery business, conducting this establishment for years. Joseph McJimsey died at the age of eighty-two years in Chillicothe, Missouri, March 9, 1906. His wife, nee Isabel Bales, was born in Xenia, Ohio, in 1837, and is now a resident of Long Beach, California.

Elmer E. E. McJimsey was educated in the public schools of his native town in Indiana and those of Maryville. He was from his earliest boyhood a lover of horses, and at fourteen years of age rode as a jockey with such success that he continued in this calling for two years. At the age of sixteen he was made a full partner with his father in the Maryville livery business, the first name becoming McJimsey & Son.

It was while pushing the interests of this business that the young man, always a lover of books, began to show a fondness for writing and later for public speaking.

Mr. McJimsey purchased in 1895 a half interest in the Maryville Tribune and became at once its editor. Almost as soon as he had fully entered upon his new duties he realized that he had found his life work, and during the succeeding eight years the vigor of his writings making possible in a short time the issuance of The Tribune as a daily instead of a weekly newspaper attracted wide attention.

Mr. McJimsey was deeply interested in politics and scarcely did his success as a journalist become assured when he also began to win fame on the public platform. An enthusiastic believer in and supporter of the principles of the Republican party, he defended that faith in state campaigns and became one of a company of earnest young men who took for their slogan, "Win Missouri for Republicanism." But he was not permitted to confine his campaign efforts to his own state. Mr. McJimsey's fame as speaker reached the national Republican headquarters in Washington and he was called upon to visit the East and participate in the great battles being waged there for the predominance of Republican principles. One of his memorable oratorical efforts was when, the day of the death of President McKinley, he spoke in a pouring rain to a great concourse of people on the public square of his home town, Maryville, the address being such a tribute to the martyred executive as stirred his hearers profoundly.

Calls to more extensive fields came constantly to the Maryville editor as his reputation grew, and in 1903 he disposed of his holdings in the Maryville Tribune to his business associate, Curtis Wray, and associated himself with Charles D. Morris in the purchase of the St. Joseph (Missouri) Gazette. Mr. McJimsey became at once editor-in-chief of this paper and soon the journal took front rank with the best daily papers of the country. In 1906 Mr. McJimsey severed his connection with the Gazette in order to enter a yet more promising field. With John E. Swanger he bought The Springfield Missouri Republican on March 1st of that year, and at once Mr. McJimsey assumed editorial and managerial control. He has seen this paper grow to one of the influential and valuable properties in the Middle West, and is not only its editor now, but also principal owner and president of The Republican Company, as well as a stockholder in the St. Joseph Gazette Company.

The Republican has wielded, from the moment Mr. McJimsey took up the direction of its policies, a potent influence in the development of Springfield and southwestern Missouri. The Republican has stood firmly for public improvement in city and country. The paper originated the good roads movement in southern Missouri, and by persistent and wise effort built up an enthusiasm for highway improvement which has resulted in that section equalling other portions of the state in the extent and permanency of its road building. The Republican set about making known to the world the richness of the natural resources of the Ozarks, the salubrity of the climate of that region, the beauty of the scenery and the charm of year around life there. More than to any other factor, it is admitted far and wide, the ensuing wonderful growth and development of this section of country is due partly to The Republican's work of loyalty and love toward this end.

Among the recognitions of his service which have come to Editor McJimsey have been offers of posts of honor and of opportunity for yet additional achievements for the public weal. Owing to the extent of his own business affairs, not all of these responsibilities could be undertaken by Mr. McJimsey. He accepted the supervisorship of the census in the fourth Missouri district under President McKinley. He declined the appointment to the consul-generalship of Peru, South America, offered him by President Roosevelt. Mr. McJimsey was named by Governor Folk as a member of the Missouri commission to the Portland Fair in 1905, and by Governor Hadley as a member of the board of regents of the Springfield State Normal for six years, beginning with 1909. After serving as president of the board from 1911 to 1913, Mr. McJimsey was compelled to resign because of other growing duties. He was appointed by President Taft as postmaster of Springfield, April 11, 1910, and also as custodian of the Federal building of that city, resigning both positions in January, 1914. He was named to the Springfield library board by Mayor Ernst in 1910 resigning in 1913, in which year he was appointed by Mayor Culler as a member of the Springfield public park board and was made the first president of that board, which was created by vote of the people largely as the result of the tireless work of The Republican to inaugurate a park and boulevard system in Springfield. Mr. McJimsey was a member of the Republican state committee of Missouri for two terms, beginning with 1898, was chosen as both temporary and permanent chairman of the Republican state convention held at Jefferson City in 1902 and was president of the Young Men's Republican Association of Missouri, 1911-12. He is a member of the Masonic, Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen and Elks fraternal orders. He is a member of the Springfield Club and served as its president from 1909 to 1910, and belongs to the Country Club and the Springfield Club. His family is Methodist in religious affiliations.

Mr. McJimsey was married at Maryville, August 24, 1901, to Caroline M. Webb, daughter of H. N. Webb, at the time of his death editor of the Unionville (Missouri) Republican, and at one time secretary of the Republican state committee.

[1345-1348]


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