Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


WILLIAM A. DENBY. The time has never been that the prescription druggist was not of as great importance to any community as a practicing physician. Indeed it would be difficult to name a branch of business that is more indispensably important than that devoted to the sale and importation of drugs and the preparation of prescriptions. A prominent retail merchant in this line at Walnut Grove is William A. Denby, who was born in Dade County, Mo., in 1858, a son of Dr. William and Anna (Patterson) Denby, who were born in Warren County, Tenn., in 1824 and Cannon County, Tenn., in 1828 respectively. They were married in 1845, and in 1855 came by ox team to Dade County, Mo., settling near Dadeville. Dr. Denby acquired his professional education in the Medical College of Keokuk, Iowa, and in 1860 began practicing in and around Dadeville, but in 1868 came to Walnut Grove where he continued to successfully heal the sick and afflicted, his practice extending from Stockton to Cave Springs and from Ash Grove to Bolivar. About 1891 he retired from practice, to a certain extent, and established himself in the drug business, which he carried on, with his usual success, until his death, on the 16th of April, 1898. For many years he also devoted much of his time to religious work and for many years was a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He was an active and energetic worker for the general well being of the community in which he lived. During the early part of the war, he served as regimental surgeon of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, but resigned this position in 1862 to take a place in the State Legislature, to which he had just been elected. He was held in high esteem by the citizens of Greene County and was a prominent member of O'Sullivan Lodge, No. 7, of the A. F. & A. M., at Walnut Grove. He had two sisters who became residents of Cedar County, Mo., where they eventually died, each the wife of a Mr. Edge. The father, Samuel Denby, was a Virginian, but was an early settler of Tennessee, in which State he followed the occupation of farming and milling and in-which he died. He was a soldier in the War of 1812 and a son of Samuel Denby, who was an active soldier of the Revolution. The widow of Dr. William Denby is still living. She became the mother of the following children: Bluford, a farmer of this county, who served in the Civil War in the Sixteenth Missouri Cavalry; Harvey, a resident of Polk County; John M.; Geneva, wife of B. F. Holder of Walnut Grove; Mary, wife of B. T. Edge of Polk County; William A.; Margaret, wife of C. P. LaRue of Dade County; Anna, wife of Chiton LaRue; Eliza, wife of H. L. Rains, also of this county, and Kittie. William A. Denby was educated principally at Morrisville Institute, finishing his course in 1877, after which be began teaching school, a profession he followed with marked success until 1893, when he succeeded his father in the drug business. He was one of the most successful educators and disciplinarians of the county, and upon entering upon his present business, although the county lost an able instructor it gained a painstaking, active, and industrious druggist. He taught in Polk, Dade, and Greene Counties, and upon closing his career as an educator he was principal of the Walnut Grove school. In 1880 he married Margaret, daughter of Dr. E. K. and Eliza McMaster, who came to this State from Indiana, the doctor's death occurring here in 1860. He was a successful physician for a good many years and his death was deeply felt, not only by his immediate family, but by all who knew him -professionally and socially. His widow now resides near Cave Springs, and a large family of children also survive him. Mrs. Denby was born in Polk County and received the principal part of her education in Greenfield Seminary. She and the doctor have three children; Esma, Sherman, and Wiley. Mr. Denby is a member of the Woodmen of the World, Buckeye Lodge, No. 55, at Walnut Grove, and he and his wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

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