Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of
Greene County, Missouri

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


JAMES R. MILNER, who since 1867 has made his home in Springfield, Mo., came originally from Jefferson County, Ohio, where he first saw the light on September 4, 1845. His parents, David N. and Mary A. (Chambers) Milner, were among the early pioneers of the Buckeye State, and came from Pennsylvania, having been born, reared and married in that State. James R. Milner was one of a family of six children, and was the youngest son. His early training was received in the common schools of Ohio, which he attended when not employed on his father's farm, and where he obtained a reasonably good common school education. He was inured to hard work during the early portion of his life, so that when the Civil Way came up be was far better fitted than the average to enlist in his country's cause. At an early day he enlisted in the Ninety-eighth Ohio Volunteers, and although not mustered in on account of being too young, he served with that command in various engagements in Kentucky, after which he returned home, and remained a year. At Columbus, Ohio, in 1863, he was mustered into the Ninety-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until the grand review at Washington, D. C., at the close of the war. The first engagement in which he participated was at Tunnel Hill, later at Buzzard Roost, and then in the engagements of the Atlanta Campaign under Gen. Sherman. He saw the hardest fighting at Bentonville, although the engagements at Peach Tree Creek and Kenesaw Mountain were hotly contested. He made an excellent soldier, notwithstanding his youth, for he was never sick, and was. always ready for duty. He was mustered out of the service before he was twenty years old, and at-the close of the war he was transferred to the Seventieth Ohio Regiment, and sent to Louisville, where he served in the mustering office until his division of the army was mustered out. Being anxious to improve his education he entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, after his return home, in which noble institution of learning he pursued his studies for two years, graduating in the class of 1866 and 1867, as a full-fledged bachelor of law. Immediately thereafter be came to Springfield, Mo., with the interests of which place he has since fully identified himself. Although he is an-intelligent, well read and successful lawyer, he has not wholly confined his attention to that profession, but has also been an extensive real estate dealer, insurance agent and does an abstract business. For several years he was collector of revenue of twenty-one counties in southwest Missouri from 1869 to 1873, in the discharge of which duties, as well as in all else, he showed himself zealous and industrious. At the present time he is not only doing an extensive real estate and insurance business, but discharges the duties of president of the Springfield Foundry and Machine Company, and is a stockholder in the Springfield Pottery Company, besides being quite extensively engaged in the lumber business. He is one of the directors of the Greene County Bank, and in various other ways has been interested in the various progressive movements of Greene County. He is the owner of large tracts of timber, mining and farm lands, which are located in Greene and adjoining counties, and also buys and sells city property, and at present is doing a thriving business in this line, in both residence and business property. Politically he has always been a Republican, and has held the office of county superintendent of public instruction, providing himself to be the right man in the right place in this position. He has always been interested in the cause of education, and has helped to advance the interests of the schools of Greene County as much, if not more, than any other man residing in it. At one time he was a member of the board of the State Normal School of Missouri, a position he filled very acceptably for four years under Gov. McClurg, He was for some time a member of the city council, during which time he helped to establish the city water works, and won numerous friends by his support and aid in promoting worthy movements which tended to improve the community which he resides. He is a charter member of the Post No. 69, of the G. A. R. of Springfield, of which he was for some time commander, and is considered one of the leading members of that organization in the State of Missouri, having been on the State and national council of administration, and delegate to national encampments at several different times. Mr. Milner was married in Oberlin, Ohio, in 1876, to Miss Hattie Cormings, daughter of A. C. and A. J. Cormings. Mrs. Milner was born February 29, 1844, being one of six children born to her parents. The Cormings came originally from Vermont, but were among the first to locate in Ohio, where they became well known and prominent. Mr. and Mrs. Cormings have been residing in Springfield with their son-in-law, Mr. Milner, for a number of years. Mr. and Mrs. Milner are connected with the Presbyterian Church, in which Mr. Milner is a deacon and a member of the board of trustees. Mrs. Milner is a lady of much intelligence and natural refinement, and is not only an active church worker, but has always been interested in educational work also, and was the first lady principal of Drury College, with which institution she was connected for some, time. Previously she was with the State Normal School at Kirksville, Mo. for three years as principal of the ladies' department, leaving it to accept a position in Drury College. She is a leader in the social circles of Springfield, her grace and ease of manner and her fine conversational powers fitting her to shine in any society in which she might care to move. Their residence, located at 851 Benton Avenue, near Drury College, is a handsome one in all its appointments, and there Mr. and Mrs Milner dispense a refined yet cordial hospitality to their numerous friends the only child born to them died in infancy. In a business way Mr. Milner has been successful, and what he has in the way of worldly goods has been learned by honest exertion and honest industry.

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