Volume 2 , Number 3 , Spring 1965
Henry Redmond Awbrey was born at Burnettsville, Hardin County, Kentucky. He was educated in the public schools of Taney County, Missouri.
He taught his first school at Hester, and taught one term at Protem with J. C. L. McKnight. Henry was a bashful young man and when he left in search of his first school he was riding an old mule. At every gate he came to on the road the old mule, in spite of his rider, would go up to the gate and bray, and this proved to be very embarrassing to the rider.
He taught at Gretna and Garber, boarding with the Fronebargers during the school year. The famous Sammy Lane in the story of The Shepherd of the Hills attended school where he taught.
Next he taught at Forsyth in the old stone building across from the Union Church of Forsyth (before the Bull Shoals Lake caused the removal of Forsyth). The stone building was later used as a printing shop for the Taney County Republican.
In l908 he was married to Henrietta Gibson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William C. Gibson.
1917. Major Awbrey served 22 months overseas during the first world war.
He was elected Commissioner of Schools for Taney County (the office which is now known as County Superintendent of Schools). During this term he made and compiled a complete report of all the schools of Taney County, the first one of its kind for Taney County.
He studied and was admitted to the Bar, having taken his examination under the finest judge and lawyers of their day, Judge Giger, D. F. McConkey, J. C. L. McKnight and Colonel R. C. Ford, all outstanding lawyers of that time. Later he was licensed to practice in the US Supreme Court and the Federal courts of the United States. He always referred to his education as
having been obtained through reading, experience, and hard knocks.
He was a Republican, and was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Taney County. During Governor Hadleys administration, he was connected with Swanger in the State Banking Department from 1910 to 1913 at Jefferson City.
He saw active service during World War I in the US Army. He entered the Army as a Captain and was in charge of shipping and transportation. He was a Major at the time of his discharge, having served 27 months with 22 months overseas.
He was the father of three children: a son by his first marriage, Henry Redmond II who now lives in Pittsfield, Illinois; two daughters, Clara Lee now married to Ronald D. Beasley, living at Ellisville, Missouri, and Americanna May, now married to Thomas Harding Magness, and living in Wichita, Kansas. His second marriage was to Elizabeth St. John of Springfield. They were married in Hartville, Missouri, in 1931. His first wife, Henrietta, died in 1928. Elizabeth is the mother of the two daughters mentioned above.
He was a member of A. F. & A. M. Lodge No. 453, and a charter member of O.E.S. No. 32 at Forsyth. He was an Elder in the Presbyterian (Union) Church of Forsyth, the First and Calvary Presbyterian Church of Springfield, and in 1936 of the First Presbyterian Church of Branson. He attended the General Assembly as a representative when a member of First and Calvary Presbyterian Church of Springfield, and again when a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Branson. After moving back to Taney County in 1936, he was a member of A.F. & A.M. Lodge No. 587 and 0.E.S. No. 32.
Mr. Awbrey as a young man.
He served Taney County as State Representative in the 59th General Assembly, 1937-38, and again in the 60th General Assembly, 1939-40 Session. He was a member of Bank and Banking, Criminal Costs, Fish and Game, Judiciary, Roads and Highways, and Commerce and Manufactories.
He was active in Christian Endeavor work and was elected as a State Delegate to the National Christian Endeavor Convention, and heard and knew personally the late Daniel A. Poling. He was also active in Boy Scout work, and upon 25 years of service and scouting, was presented a "Silver Beaver", the highest award paid to a Scout counselor.
Member of State Legislature, 1939-40 General Assembly of Missouri.
During World War II he was in charge of Civil Defense for Taney County, and received the Presidents (Roosevelt) award for his service.
He was a Rotarian and, at the time of his death, was President of the Branson-Hollister Rotary Club. His son Henry was President of the Pittsfield, Illinois, Rotary Club the same year, and their pictures and articles about Father and Son appeared in the National Rotary Magazine.
Henry Awbrey was a self-made man, having started making a living for his widowed mother, three sisters at home and another brother, at the age of 18 years. He spent long hours each night reading in order to gain additional valuable knowledge which helped him to make his life a successful one.
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