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


WILLIAM H. RATHBONE. If the husbandman is fortunate enough to have the true vision of farming, and starts out to make it a reality, he will certainly find the business of farming a most profitable one. He will urge the backward acres of his farm into activity that will make them produce an hundred-fold. The highest grades of live stock will be found about his barns. He will acquire labor-saving and pleasure-giving machinery and equipment of various, kinds. He will make his surroundings attractive and he will experience the full joy of living. William H. Rathbone is one of Greene county's farmers who seems to have the right idea about agricultural matters, and although he does not farm on so large a scale as some, he does it rightly and makes a comfortable living.

Mr. Rathbone was born, June .9, 1857, in Rochester, New York. He is a son of Thomas Henry and Sarah Ann (Warr) Rathbone. The father of our subject was born in Warwickshire, England, July 19, 1827, a son of John and Sarah (Taylor) Rathbone, both natives of England, and who have been long deceased. Thomas Henry Rathbone grew to manhood in his native land and married there, finally emigrating, with his wife and two children, to New York, where he spent seven years. Leaving that state, he came to Greene county, Missouri. He was a tinner by trade, which .he had learned in England, was quite expert, and he continued to follow his trade in the United States, working at it for some time in Springfield, Missouri, or from the year 1858 to 1860, then bought a farm in North Campbell township, consisting of eighty acres, mostly undeveloped, but by dint of hard toil he made a good farm here and remained on the place five years, then took up the tinning business again, leaving the farm in the hands of his sons. Five years later he sold his farm and entered the hardware business in what was then known as North Springfield, maintaining the business for a number of years, then sold out and retired from active life. He built a comfortable home on North Jefferson street where he now resides, having reached the advanced age of eighty-eight years. He is a fine old gentleman, greatly beloved by his many friends, for he has lived an honorable life and his business career was fraught with much good to those with whom he came in contact. He always tried to follow the Golden Rule explicitly. He is a great lover of flowers and enjoys the simple life. He has been twice married. His second wife was a Mrs. Wright, a widow, and a native of England. To this union five children were born, all of whom died in infancy. By his first wife, Sarah Ann Warr, four children were born, namely: John, deceased; Bernard F. is engaged in the hardware business in Springfield, on the north side; Mrs. Teresa Massey lives in Springfield; and William Henry, who also makes his home in this city.

Mr. Rathbone often recalls the trying voyage to America, spending three months on the ocean, the captain of the vessel being drunk most of the time and incapable of handling his ship. Drinking water gave out and the passengers were almost starved and famished when they reached New York. During the Civil war Mr. Rathbone was a member of the Home Guards of Greene county and fought at the battle of Springfield, January 8, 1863, when General Marmaduke made his raid on the place. He was in the thickest of the fight and men were killed on each side of him. He had narrow escapes from death. His first wife was a native of the same locality in England where he was born and there she grew to womanhood. She has been deceased many years.

Politically, Mr. Rathbone is a Republican. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and belongs to the Second Presbyterian church in Springfield. He is a man of strict Christian character and has always taken much interest in church affairs.

William H. Rathbone spent his boyhood days in Greene county, whither he was brought by his parents when only a year, old. He grew to manhood on his father's farm in North Campbell township, and when nineteen years of age started out in life for himself. He received a common school education. He has been living on his present farm of eighty-three acres for a period of fifteen years, during which he has made many improvements, and he is very successful as a general farmer and truck raiser. However, after spending seven years on this place, he went to Springfield, where he became foreman of the casting department of the Crescent Iron Works for awhile, but preferring the country, moved back to his farm.

Mr. Rathbone was married twice, first to Margaret Potter, a daughter of Henry Potter, a native of Kentucky, who came to Greene county, Missouri, where he located and where Mrs. Rathbone was born and reared. She has been deceased for some time. To this union one child was born, Mrs. Lou Lamson, who lives near Strafford, Greene county. Mr. Rathbone's second wife was Emma Fielder, a daughter of Thomas Fielder, and to this union one child also was born, Mrs. Rosa Potter, who lives at Ebenezer, Greene county.

Politically, Mr. Rathbone is a Republican. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias, and his wife is a member of the Methodist church in Springfield.

[1468-1470]


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