Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JAMES A. STOUGHTON. One of the successful and influential men of affairs of Springfield of a past generation was the late James A. Stoughton, who, having inherited many of the sterling qualities of his New England ancestors, fought his way to the front, notwithstanding an unpromising early environment, and he proved himself to be a man of keen business discernment and sound judgment. He had great faith in the future of Springfield and at his death the city sustained the loss of a citizen of sterling worth and one closely identified with her upbuilding and material advancement. He was eminently a business man and from the inception of his career he was uniformly successful. Endowed by nature with a keen analytical mind and an indomitable will he overcome all obstacles and carried through to a successful conclusion the many varied enterprises with which he was connected during his long career.
Mr. Stoughton was born in Vermont, May 26, 1834. He was a son of. James A. Stoughton, who was reared and educated in New England, and engaged in farming in Vermont, spending his life there.
James A. Stoughton grew to manhood on the home farm in his native state, and there he assisted with the general work during the crop season and he received his education in the district schools of his community, which, however, was none too extensive, but this lack was later supplied by contact with the business world and by wide home reading. At the age of twenty years he left Vermont and made the long journey to Texas, where he was engaged in the cattle business for a period of eight years and thereby got an excellent start in life. Leaving the Lone Star state he came to Springfield, Missouri, in 1867 and engaged in the livery business, which he successfully conducted for about twelve years, meantime becoming interested in other lines, and these, assuming large proportions caused him to abandon the livery business and devote his attention to other channels of activity. Soon after locating here he evinced his faith in what was at that time known as North Springfield, now a part of the city proper and known merely as the "north side," and he unwaveringly maintained his loyalty to that part of the city. He acquired much real estate in that portion of the city and was one of the chief factors in its upbuilding. Perhaps no man was a more potent factor in the development of that section of the city. The question of transportation between the two divisions of Springfield was quickly grasped by him and he in conjunction with R. L. McElhaney and H. F. Fellows, built the first railroad at Springfield, a single track, horse-car line, from Commercial street to the public square. While but a crude affair it was a paying venture, and was the nucleus of the present electric system, of which Mr. Stoughton was a director and heavy stockholder at the time of his death. A reserved man, with few confidants, his connection with various enterprises was not generally known. He was vice-president and director of the Bank of Springfield, of which he was one of the founders, and its pronounced success was due in no small measure to his wise counsel and able management. He owned considerable valuable real estate, including one of the finest business blocks on Commercial street, which he had built himself.
Mr. Stoughton was married January 14, 1875, to Elizabeth Adams, who was born in Louisville, Kentucky, June 20, 1857. She is a daughter of Spencer and Patience (Phipps) Adams, both natives of Kentucky and both descendants of fine old families of the Blue Grass state. Mr. Adams devoted his life successfully to agricultural pursuits. During the Civil war he cast his fortunes with the government and served three years in the Union army, proving to be a brave and gallant soldier, and took part in a number of important campaigns and battles. He and his wife spent their lives in Kentucky, honored and respected by their neighbors. They were the parents of eight children, all of whom are now deceased but three. Mrs. Stoughton grew to womanhood in her native state and there received a good education. She has inherited many of the estimable traits of character of her progenitors and her hospitality, charitable and affable disposition have made her popular with a wide circle of friends. She still resides in the beautiful family residence on Benton avenue, Springfield.
Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Stoughton, five of whom still living, namely: Frank K., born November 1, 1875, died in November, 1906; Minnie, born January 2, 1877, died October, 1909; Lena P., born December 30, 1882, died when five years of age; Benjamin W., born on November 6, 1878, lives in Colorado; Harry B., born November 27, 1886, is at home; Fountain, born on January 4, 1889, is in the United States navy; Bernice J., born March 10, 1890, is at home; Guy Herbert, born November 6, 1893, is employed at treasurer's office; Marie, born January 11, 1885, now Mrs. Albert Turner, of Springfield.
Politically, Mr. Stoughton was a Democrat, but was not ambitious to be a political leader. He was a member of the Presbyterian church, and a liberal supporter of the same. His death occurred May 7, 1907, when nearly seventy-three years of age.
Springfield-Greene County Library