Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
B. F. RATHBONE. Many minds labor under the misapprehension that real patriotism is peculiar to men of high genius or the favorites of fortune. The true patriot is one who, from love of country, does, or tries to do, in the proper sphere, all that appears necessary to promote her honor, prosperity and peace. The substantial, elements of this precious virtue which underlies the welfare of every nation, and especially of one professing to be free, like our own, are furnished by men in every walk of life, who step out of the realm of mere self-love, and seek to further and augment the commonweal. Among those who fill the highest seats, and prove themselves most deserving of public gratitude, many have been the farmers of the land, who have redeemed this great country from the wilderness and made even the rocks drip with fatness and blessing; or they may have, many of them, come from the ranks of tradesmen, doing their allotted tasks in the shops and factories of the country, in fact a patriot and useful citizen may spring from any walk of life. B. F. Rathbone, formerly an agriculturist, and for many years one of the Frisco's dependable shop employees, was born under alien skies, but he has spent most of his life in America, fifty-seven years of which have been lived in Greene county.
Mr. Rathbone was born March 13, 1848, in Birmingham, England. He is a son of Thomas H. and Sarah Ann (Warr) Rathbone, a sketch of whom will be found on another page of this work. The father of our subject immigrated to the United States in the spring of 1851, and the family followed during the autumn of that year. They all remained in New York City until 1858, when they removed to Greene county, Missouri, and established their permanent home.
B. F. Rathbone, of this sketch, was three years of age when his parents brought him from England. He spent his boyhood in New York City, where he attended school. He also went to school after coming to Greene county, having attended the Capt. John R. Kelso Academy. However, his education was limited, the Civil war having interfered with his studies. The family settled at the old Rathbone spring, northeast of Springfield, and there our subject worked on the farm when he was a young man, in fact, he followed general farming until 1882, in which year he removed to Springfield, and in August of that year began working in the old North Side Frisco shops. His first work for this road was the hauling of all the rock for the culverts from Springfield four miles cast of the city. His first work in the shops proper was as blacksmith's helper. He remained in the shops until 1888, when he was elected constable of Campbell township, and he became deputy sheriff under Joe C. Dodson, however, he served but a short time in this capacity when he was appointed to a position on the police force. He served in all twelve years in the various official positions, proving to be an efficient and dependable officer. He then returned to the shops and finished learning his trade. About nine years ago he was assigned to the work of spring maker at the North Side shops, and this position he has continued to hold to the present time, having long since become an expert in his line.
Mr. Rathbone was married March 13, 1871, in Springfield to Emily Rush (Woods), a daughter of Samuel Woods, a well-known citizen here a few decades ago. He came to Greene county from Tennessee in an early day and devoted his attention to general farming. During the latter years of his life he served one term as county treasurer, and prior to that was deputy sheriff. He made a good official and was well liked by all who knew him. He was a gentleman of the old school. Our subject's wife's mother was known in her maidenhood as Mary Ragsdale. To their union six children were born, only three of whom are living at this writing. Mrs. Rathbone was born at Springfield, reared to womanhood and educated here.
To Mr. and Mrs. Rathbone six children were born, all of whom survive, namely: Emma R., born March 1, 1872, is the wife of Albert L. Schofield; Ernest G., born January 9, 1874, married Erma Smith, and they reside in Springfield; Harold H., born August 29, 1877, married Ida Robinson, to which union two children were born, Milton and Marjorie; John D., born May 24, 1879, married Mary Culler, and they have two children, Erma and Dorothy; Walter G., born September 9, 1884, married Clara Parker, and they have two children, Ross and Emily; Edith L., born January 18, 1891, married Brandt Gaffga, and they have one child, Emily L.
Politically Mr. Rathbone is a Republican and he has always been loyal in his support of the party. He is a member of the Orient Lodge No. 86, Knights of Pythias, and he served as captain of Ascolon Division No. 15, Uniform Rank, Knights of Pythias, and Lodge No. 218, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, having passed the chairs in both these orders. He also belongs to the Blacksmiths' Union. The family holds membership in the Benton Avenue Methodist Episcopal church.
Springfield-Greene County Library