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


CYRUS J. McMASTER. There are always valuable lessons to be gained in perusing the life histories of such men as the late Cyrus J. McMaster, one of Greene county's, most progressive citizens of a past generation, whose life forcibly illustrated, what energy, integrity and fixed purpose can accomplish when animated by noble aims and correct ideals. During the years of his residence in the county he held the unequivocal esteem of those with whom he came in contact, for he was a man whom to know was to trust and admire, owing to his many commendable attributes of head and heart, and when the "reaper whose name is death" gathered him in his sheaves he was greatly missed by a wide acquaintance. For many years he was one of the leading business men on the north side of Springfield, and was widely known as a hardware and implement dealer over this section of the Ozarks.

Mr. McMaster was born in Dade county, Missouri, on May 18, 1847. He was a son of Edward H. and Eliza J. (Bull) McMaster, both natives of North Carolina, where they grew to maturity, were educated exceptionally well for their day and generation. The father studied medicine and received his degree, after taking the prescribed course in a medical college, and he became a successful general practitioner, most of his active life being devoted to this vocation. The parents of our subject were married in their native state, but while yet young removed to Missouri in an early day, located in Dade county, where they became prominent among the pioneer settlers, and they spent the rest of their lives in this state. Their family consisted of nine children, four of whom are still living, named as follows: Rufus W., Mrs. Carrie Patterson, Mrs. Ester Denby and Mrs. Madge Denby.

Cyrus J. McMaster received his early education in the public schools of Dade county, but he was for the most part a self-made man, having had little assistance in any way, working persistently and earnestly to advance himself. He came to Walnut Grove, Greene county, when young, and there remained until he was about twenty-six years of age, when he came to Springfield. He had for some time been engaged in the harness and saddlery business, which he continued after coming to this city for three or four years then went into the buggy and wagon business, which he conducted alone and on an extensive scale for a period of thirty-four years, during which he carried on a successful trade over a wide territory and was one of the best known men in this line of business in southwestern Missouri, a large part of his trade extending into adjoining counties. He was the county agent of a number of the best makes of wagons and buggies and had full charge of the business of these firms in this section of the state. Eight years before his death he went on the road as traveling salesman for the Joel Turney Brothers Wagon Company, of Illinois, and gave this firm eminent satisfaction in every respect, doing much to extend the prestige of the same in the territory assigned him. He remained active in his chosen line of work until his death. He was one of the best informed men in the implement trade in the state, and his judgment and veracity could always be relied upon, so that his thousands of customers reposed implicit confidence in his integrity at all times during his career. His large vehicle house on Commercial street was kept fully stocked with various kinds of standard wagons, buggies, carriages and other similar things used by farmers and in fact, all classes of citizens who bought and used vehicles of any kind.

Mr. McMaster was married, December 16, 1869, at Walnut Grove, to Belle Weir, who was born in Springfield, Illinois, April 23, 1852. She was a daughter of James D. and Fidelia (Meachel) Weir. They were natives of Kentucky and Illinois, respectively. They grew up in their localities and were educated in the common schools, and when a young man Mr. Weir left the Blue Grass State and located in Illinois, where he married. They established their home on a farm, devoting their lives to agricultural pursuits. Their family consisted of nine children, three of whom are living at this writing, namely: Andrew, Mrs. Agnes Dagan and Marion. Mrs. Belle McMaster grew to womanhood in Illinois and received a good education in the schools there. She proved to be a most faithful helpmeet and was a woman of many commendable characteristics. Her death occurred on September 14, 1914.

To Mr. and Mrs. McMaster two children were born, namely: Vernie, born April 6, 1871, married John French, and they live in St. James, Missouri; Walter W., born March 22, 1874, married Nettie Smith. He was in the recorder's office of Greene county for a period of twelve years, eight years as deputy, and four years as recorder. His long retention in this office, one of the most important in the county, would indicate that the people imposed implicit confidence in his ability and integrity. He is now engaged in business on the north side.

Cyrus J. McMaster was a veteran of the Civil war, having been but a mere boy when he enlisted in 1861 in a regiment of Missouri volunteers, having enlisted from Walnut Grove. He was in the army four years, seeing quite a good deal of active service, and serving in a most creditable manner for one of his tender years. Politically, he was always a Republican, and religiously, he belonged to the Presbyterian church, while his family affiliates with the Methodist Episcopal church.

Mr. McMaster was called to his eternal rest on December 30, 1912, at the age of sixty-five years, after a successful and honorable life.

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