JAMES D. VAN BIBBER, Springfield, Mo., is one of the retired farmers of Greene County and one of the first county officials. He springs from old colonial stock of Holland Dutch ancestry--three brothers--sea captains- coming from Holland in the early part of the seventeenth century, to New York and Virginia, and were among the early founders of the country. Joseph Van Bibber, grandfather of our subject, was born in Virginia and moved to Missouri in 1800 with his family and settled in Callaway County, in the wilderness. He married a Miss Irwin, of Irish stock. He owned a large tract of land and passed all the remainder of his days in Callaway County. He was the father of seven children: Lucinda, Minerva, Melissa, Joseph, Irwin, Frank and Daniel. Joseph Van Bibber, son of above and father of our subject, was born in Greenbrier County, Va., in 1797 and was but three years of age when brought by his parents to Callaway County, Mo., and was, therefore, reared in this State, received a common education and was a gunsmith by trade and employed by the United States Government at Liberty, Clay County, Mo., when there was an Indian agency. He married in St. Charles County, Mo., Susan, daughter of Nathan and Olive (Van Bibber) Boone. Nathan Boone was the son of the famous pioneer, hunter and Indian fighter-Daniel Boone, of Kentucky-and who moved to Missouri in 1795-97 and settled in St. Charles County, having been preceded by his son, Daniel. Morgan Boone came a few years previously. Nathan came in 1800, was born in Kentucky in 1781 and married there before be was twenty-one years of age, and himself and wife became the parents of thirteen children, twelve of whom lived to be married men and women: James, Jeremiah, Delinda, Susan, Olive, Nancy, Benjamin H., John C., Levica, Melcena, Mary, Sarah and Mahala. Mr. Boone resided on his farm in St. Charles County until 1834. He was a captain in the Dragoon service of the United States Army and stationed at Ft. Leavenworth for many years. He was engaged in the early Indian troubles, and resigned when he became an aged man, being lieutenant colonel at the time. In 1834 he moved to Greene County and settled on land near Ash Grove which he purchased of the Government, several hundred acres, and here he passed the remainder of his days, an honored citizen, and reached the age of seventy-five years. After marriage Joseph Van Bibber lived at Liberty. until 1832, when he went to Arkansas and settled in Randolph County, in the wilderness, and was one of the first settlers in that county, and was one of the surveyors who laid out the town of Pocahontas, the county seat of that county, and here he died at the age of forty-two years, and his wife died a few years previously. They were the parents of four children who lived to grow up: Letitia, James D., Sarah and Emulus C. James D., son of above and our subject, was born May 3rd, 1828, at Liberty, Clay County, Mo., and was left an orphan at about thirteen years of age, after which he lived with his grandfather, Col. Nathan Boone, at Ash Grove, until between fifteen and sixteen years of age, when he began to work out for himself. He worked and paid his tuition at a subscription school, and attended school at Springfield two terms and thus gained a common education and began life as a clerk at Cave Springs. He married in 1854, at twenty-six years of age. He engaged in the mercantile business at Cave Springs, Mo., in which be continued until the Civil War broke out. He then exchanged his stock of goods for land near Cave Springs, and continued purchasing until he owned about 700 acres, and lived on this land until 1862 when he came to Springfield and engaged in the mercantile business and continued in this business until the close of the war. In 1874 he was elected clerk of the county court and held this office twelve years with general satisfaction, being elected three times. Politically he is a Democrat. He owned a farm north of Springfield adjoining the city limits and sold it in 1887 and bought 243 acres upon which he built a commodious residence He married Caroline Staley, daughter of Alfred and Lucinda (Brown) Staley. Alfred Staley was from North Carolina and settled in Missouri in 1846 in Greene County. In 1848 he went into the mercantile business at Cave Springs, where he was a prominent merchant until his death in 1853. To Mr. And Mrs. Van Bibber were born two children: Alfred H. and Laura B. Socially, Mr. Van Bibber is a Mason, member of the O'Sullivan Lodge, No. 7, of Walnut Grove, and held the office of secretary three years. He is a mail of high Christian and moral character as his long services as a county official attests his honesty of character and its general appreciation by the people.
Springfield-Greene County Library