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 FRY ROPER. One expression of the discontent of the people of the twentieth century is the back-to-the-farm movement. While the wages of workmen have increased and the hours of labor have decreased, the desire for the better things of life and the luxuries have grown proportionately. That which satisfied the laboring man of forty years ago would be regarded with disdain by the workers of today. The increased cost of living in the city undoubtedly has much to do with the discontent of the people, and the imperfect marketing system which, raises the cost to the consumer and minimizes the profits of the producer, is another fertile source of discontent. Whether conditions will adjust themselves under the present economic arrangement and our imperfect system of distribution is a question. It will require more than an ordinary prophet to rise in his place and foretell what the answer will be to the rising tide of discontent of the people of the cities. Having spent his life close to Nature, engaged in peaceful agricultural pursuits and dealing honestly with his fellow men, thereby keeping his conscience clear, William Fry Roper, a well-known citizen of Republic township, Greene county, has never been seized with the spirit of discontent that is so apparent over the land; in other words, he has had the tact to live his life along well-regulated and proper channels.

Mr. Roper was born in Greene county, Missouri, February 17, 1853. He is a son of Wylie B. and Minerva (Fry) Roper. The father of our subject emigrated from middle Tennessee to Greene county, this state, in 1851, and rented land nine miles northeast of Springfield, but in a short time settled north of Nichols, on a tract of about two hundred acres. He was a native of Tennessee, as was also his wife, and there they grew to maturity and received limited educations and were married. Our subject was then about one year old, and it was on this place that he spent his boyhood, and attended subscription school at old Antioch. His parents rented their farm and moved to Springfield, where Wylie Roper was selling goods when the. Civil war began. Later the elder Roper moved with his family to Texas and bought a large farm, of which he placed two hundred acres under cultivation. To Wylie Roper and wife ten children were born, namely: DeWitt C. is the eldest; Maggie L., is the wife of Frank White and they live near Nichols, in Greene county; Russell, deceased; John W. lives in California; William F., subject of this sketch; George lives in Lawrence county, Missouri; Wylie B. lives in Oregon; Mrs. Lulu Martin lives in Springfield; Mary and Myrtie, the two youngest, both died in infancy.

William F. Roper was married August 2, 1877, to Minerva Sparkman, a daughter of W. D. and Jane (Rainey) Sparkman, both natives of Tennessee, where they grew up, were educated and married, and from that state immigrated to Greene county, Missouri, in 1854. Their family consisted of eight children, named as follows: Dr. Allen G.; Orren lives near Bois D'Arc, Greene county; Jefferson lives in California; Lizzie is deceased; Minerva, who married Mr. Roper of this sketch; James lives in Seattle, Washington; John lives in Republic township, this county; Alice, who married J. M. Short, is deceased.

To Mr. and Mrs. Roper nine children have been born, namely: Ada is the wife of Edward Roop, of Independence, Missouri; James lives in Seattle, Washington; Ollie is engaged in the furniture and carpet business in Republic, and, being an ardent lover of horses, owns and trades in them. Alice is the wife of Oscar Roop, of Republic; Janie is the wife of George Burris, of Seattle, Washington; Charlie lives in Republic; Bruce lives in St. Louis; Leon lives in Republic; Thomas also resides in Republic.

Mr. Roper owns fifty-nine acres of valuable land on the outskirts of the city of Republic, which land he keeps rented, and he lives quietly in his attractive home here, having been retired from the active duties of life during the past two years.

Politically he is a Democrat. He is a member of the Christian church, to which his wife and children also belong.

[1513-1514]


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