Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
SIDNEY EDWIN WILHOIT. None of the one hundred and fourteen counties that are embraced by the boundary lines of the state of Missouri can boast of a more heroic band of pioneers than Greene county. In their intelligence, capacity for civilization and loyalty to the right they have no superiors. In their daring and courageous enterprise they have been equal to the California argonauts, a vast number of whom were Missouri pioneers, not a few from Greene county. Their privations, hardships and earnest labors have resulted in establishing one of the foremost counties in this or any other state, and one which still has a great possibility before it. The Wilhoits and Rountrees were members of this worthy class of our earliest settlers. They have been among our thriftiest agriculturists and worthiest citizens. A well-known member of the present generation of one of these old families is Sidney Edwin Wilhoit, manager of the Jefferson Theater of Springfield.
Mr. Wilhoit was born in Greene county, Missouri, March 3, 1869. He is a son of James M. and Nancy (Rountree) Wilhoit. The father was born in Clay county, Missouri, in 1833, and the mother was born in Greene county, this state, in 1848. The father of our subject grew to manhood in his native county on the farm, and he received exceptionally good educational advantages for those early times, having graduated from William Jewell College at Liberty, Missouri. He was a school teacher by profession and was prominent in educational work in Clay and Greene counties for some time, however, his later life was devoted to farming for the most part He was also one of the founders of the Springfield Wagon Works. He was a leader in public affairs here, and was at one time city marshal of Springfield, and was for two years superintendent of the county farm. He was widely known and highly respected by all classes. He was a man of ability, industry and public spirit, as well as known for his integrity and hospitality. He was active in Masonic affairs, having been a member of that order for many years. The mother of our subject grew to womanhood in this county and was educated in the local schools. Her death occurred in 1906, while the father of our subject reached an advanced age, passing his four-score years and more, dying in October, 1914. To these parents seven children were born, all still living, namely: Sidney E., of this sketch; Guy, Andrew, Ralph R., Ray, Bessie, and Roy.
The immediate subject of this sketch grew to manhood in his native county and he received his education in the public schools. When young in years he began his career as machinist in the Frisco shops in Springfield, the South Side plant, known as the old Gulf shops. Here he remained two years, when he gave up this line of work, which was not congenial to his tastes, and went to Memphis, Tennessee, where he engaged in contracting. Later returning to Springfield, he bought the old Hargrove Bottling Works. Subsequently he returned to Memphis and worked in the Frisco shops, where, he became general foreman, in which responsible position he gave eminent satisfaction. Finally he began dealing in-apples, and was very successful as a horticulturist. In 1905 he went into the theater business in Memphis and has been very successful in this field of endeavor ever since. Since then he has owned and operated thirteen shows. In September, 1913, he opened the Springfield Hippodrome, in which he owned a half interest, and on January 25, 1914, he took full charge of the Jefferson Theater at 216 South Jefferson street, an up-to-date and popular vaudeville house, with two changes per week. In connection with a bill of several good acts of vaudeville he features at each performance a pleasing moving picture. He has been very successful with both the Jefferson and the Hippodrome.
Our subject was married on May 1, 1908, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Priscilla (Cagle), of Pine Bluff. They have one child, Thelma Vermel, who is five years old.
Politically, Mr. Wilhoit is a Democrat. He belongs to the Springfield Club, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Improved Order of Red Men.
Springfield-Greene County Library