EDWARD L. WEAVER is one of the honored and respected business men of Springfield and the son of one of Greene County's most prominent pioneers-Maj. Joseph Weaver. The Weaver family is of French stock and is believed to be an old American Colonial family. Joseph Weaver, father of our subject, was a soldier from Georgia in the War of 1812 and held the office of major. He married in Tennessee, near Nashville, February 22, 1821, Judith May. They became the parents of ____ children. Louisana (born June 25, 1823, and married Charles A. Hayden), Martha A. (born March 15, 1824), Joseph J. (born March 1, 1828), Ripley (born October 9, 1829), all the above born in Tennessee. Emmalet, born April 23, 1831, in Greene County, Mo., where the following children were born: Thomas J. (born, February 1, 1833), Felix B. (born February 10, 1836), Edward L. (born February 21, 1837), Mary (born July 12, 1838), Josephine (born March 19,1840), Ann Eliza (born March 12, 1842), Napoleana (born March 2, 1849), Judith (born May 31, 1851). Maj. Joseph Weaver was a man of property and a slave owner, the record of the birth of his slaves dating back to 1806. His old family Bible, still in the possession of our subject, and published in Massachusetts in 1830, and purchased by Maj. Weaver the same year, has written on its fly leaf, in Maj. Weaver's own handwriting, the following inscription: "Joseph Weaver came to Greene County, Mo., in March, 1830." He brought with him his family and his slaves. He first stopped at Delaware, Indian town, on the James River, and soon settled southwest of Springfield, two miles. He became the owner of a large tract of land, over 500 acres, and twenty-four slaves. He was one of the commissioners appointed by the Government to remove the Delaware Indians from Greene County to the Indian Territory. He was the first representative to the State Legislature from Greene County. This was the winter of 1833. He was afterward a member of the State Senate. He was one of the organizers of Greene County and a prominent citizen. He was a stock raiser and farmer and at one time a merchant. In politics Democratic. He was a member of the Christian Church and a leader in its affairs. He died September 2, 1852, leaving a handsome property to his children. His homestead was three miles northwest of Springfield, where he lived many years. Maj. Weaver was a man of great force of, character, well known in Greene County for his integrity and ability. His son, Joseph John, was Mayor of Springfield two terms. Ripley, now of Boone County, Ark., has been a member of the Legislature and Senate of that State, and acted as Lieutenant Governor of the State, and is now a World's Fair commissioner. Maj. Weaver was a kind hearted and indulgent master to his servants. An instance is related of his buying, a negro slave who had run away and was hiding in the brush. His name was Irving, and after the purchase he came to Maj. Weaver and said: "Marsa Joe! I understand you have bought me." "Yes;! Irving," replied Maj. Weaver. "All right, marsa! what do you want me to do?" he said, cheerfully, and went readily to work and gave no trouble to his new master, who well understood bow to treat his servants so that they were happy and contented. The following is Maj. Weaver's record from his family Bible of his favorite household servants, which we copy as a matter of historical interest: "Sitty was borned the 26th Sep., 1806. The following are her children: Tempy, borned 27th Sep., 1823; Ruthie. borned 17th July, 1825; Peter, borned July 14tb, 1827; Simon, borned Dec. 28tb, 1831; George, borned Dec. 25th, 1838; John, borned June 22d, 1836; Andy, borned 1838." Aunt Sitty was the favorite housekeeper for many years. She was a woman of excellent character and held in high esteem by Maj. Weaver and his family. On the division of the estate she fell to Edward L. Weaver, our subject, who relieved her from work as she was old, and saw that she was kindly cared for until her death. Aunt Sitty's daughters-Tempy and Ruthie-were the housemaids after they were large enough, while Aunt Sitty, in the good old days, was the boss of the kitchen, where she reigned supreme. Her son, Peter, became a preacher of prominence to the colored race. Edward L. Weaver, son of above and our subject, was born in Greene County, February 21, 1837, on his father's farm, one and one-half miles west of Springfield, on Wilson's Creek. He had the common education of his day in the old subscription school. At the age of sixteen years he became a clerk for Farrier & Weaver, general merchants, they being members of his family. He clerked for them three years while attending school, then clerked for Shepard & Kimbro, general merchants, until 1858, when he crossed the plains to California with his brothers, Thomas and Felix, driving 500 head of cattle. The trip was made safely and the cattle disposed of and the return trip made in December, 1859. He then went into partnership with Shepard & Kimbro in 1860. They carried a large stock of goods in Springfield and erected a large store at Ash Grove, now known as "Bentley Store House." They also built the hotel facing the depot and a blacksmith shop and other buildings. They bought forty acres of land, laid out Ash Grove and founded the town; this was long before the railroad was surveyed through. The firm sold off town lots and soon had a prosperous village founded. When the war broke out the firm was doing a large trade and they were prosperous merchants. When the Union troops, under Gen. Lyon, came to Springfield, they took large amounts of goods and gave vouchers on the United States, and as Mr. Shepard was a Union man he afterward collected it. After the battle of Wilson's Creek, the Confederates came into Springfield. They were destitute and took everything in the store, for which the firm received Confederate money, which became worthless. The store at Ash Grove was maintained until the redoubtable Jim Lane came with his celebrated band of Kansas "Jay Hawkers" to Springfield, and on his return to Kansas he passed Ash Grove, sacked the store and took away a large stock of dry goods, groceries, and every thing they could carry. Not being contented with what they could carry away, they found a heavy stock of feathers on the second floor, and out of pure mischief they brought them to the lower floor, cut open the sacks and strew them counter deep throughout the large store which was 6Ox2O feet. They could only carry away a part of the large stock of molasses on hand and they poured the remainder over the feathers, making a horrible mess. They took along with them, also, all the negroes from the neighboring farms, as they rode along, whom they could induce to accompany them. Jim Lane was a sharp, shrewd man, and had plenty of information about the people from the turncoat Missourians who accompanied him and who were well posted. W. B. Farmer was accused either justly or unjustly (the historian has no vouchers) of being "on the fence," or siding, as it might be to his advantage, with either Federals or Confederates. Of this, Lane was well. informed, and as the grim leader rode along at the head of his hardy partisans and came opposite the house, which was near the road, he halted, saluted Mr. Farmer politely, and with much affability inquired about his family and slaves. After a short talk, seeing some slaves about, he told them to hitch up one of the teams and come along, and took Mr. Farmer's negroes away before his very face. The war closing, found our subject ruined financially and he was obliged to begin life again with nothing to aid him except his hands, a stanch purpose and his faithful wife, who was unaccustomed to labor in any form, her father being a wealthy Southern man. Mr. Weaver engaged in the stock business in which he prospered, and then in the mercantile business, in which he continued until 1879, since which time he has been engaged in stock dealing. In politics he has always been a stanch Democrat, but has taken no interest in holding office, although frequently solicited to do so. On February 21, 1861, he married Eliza E., daughter of Nicholas B. and Harriet (Goodwin) Smith, and to Mr. and Mrs. Weaver were born two children: Edward S. and Clara M., both of whom were well educated in the Springfield schools. Edward S. is a clerk in a mercantile establishment in Springfield and is a young man of business ability. Clara M. is a young lady at home. She possesses artistic talent of a high order and has many beautiful and well executed paintings, the result of her skill with the brush. Mrs. Weaver is a devout member of the Christian Church and believes in the practical work of a Christian. There are many instances which illustrate her benevolence of character and charitable disposition. She has never refused efficient aid to the needy, and in many cases she has bountifully assisted the suffering poor. She descends, on her mother's side, from the Goodwins, a Colonial Virginia family of wealth and distinction, settled near Petersburg, Va. It is said that her grandfather Goodwin, owning 500 negro slaves, and finding he had no use for half of them, and not wishing to sell them, set 250 of them free, and they soon after returned to their kind master, tired of freedom. Gen. Nicholas Smith, her father, was born in Virginia and married there, and came to Greene County. He was a man of wealth and one of the largest slave holders in Springfield. He was extensively engaged in farming and was one of the early hotel keepers. He was receiver in the United States land office at an early day when there was a great deal of business transacted. He was a general in the old Missouri State Militia and was at one time United States Commissioner of swamp lands in Missouri. In religious opinion he was a Methodist. Politically Democratic, he lived to the age of fifty-five years and died in 1858. Gen. Smith was one of the early citizens of Springfield. He was highly respected and beloved by all who know him. He was prominent in the first Masonic Lodge of Springfield. He left an estate of over $100,000. Genial and pleasant in his address, he was a man of large and full habits. Mrs. Weaver has her mother's piano, which must be now, probably, over seventy-five years old. It was among the first pianos made in the United States. The inscription is, "New Patent S. & A. W. Geib, N. Y." It was brought by Gen. Smith in a wagon all the way from Virginia, and is the first piano ever brought to southwest Missouri. It was given to Mrs. Smith when she was Miss Harriet Virginia Goodwin, when she was sixteen years of age, by Gen. Winfield Scott, who was a relative, on her graduation from a young ladies seminary in North Carolina. Mrs. Smith used to play on the piano to the Delaware Indians in this county, much to their astonishment and delight. Mr. Edward L. Weaver is one of those citizens of Springfield who bears an untarnished name. He has always been a man well known for his integrity of character and as one of our substantial men who is well known for his acts of kindness.
Springfield-Greene County Library