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Local History

Lucius Rountree Home

Reminder of Bygone Days
Springfield Mo. Leader-Press, August 30, 1954
by Lucile Morris Upton

"Among the landmarks of Springfield history is the last home of a pioneer who as a boy came here in the second year of the city's settlement.

 Click to enlarge"This house, built in 1888 by Captain Lucius A. Rountree, is on Route 7, about half a mile from Scenic Drive on a road that starts as West Catalpa. It is now owned by Mrs. J. C. Feezell. She and her late husband, who was a supervisor at the Frisco Shops, bought the place 30 years ago, several years after the Rountree family had sold it.

"The gracious old 8-room white frame house, set in a grove of trees, has been maintained in almost its original state, except for installation of modern utilities and furnishings. A circular stairway with walnut railing, wide flooring, a fireplace with walnut mantel now painted white, and china doorknobs with thumb locks are among the items that set the period in which the house was built.

"Shutters were at the windows in the beginning, then were removed when they became unfashionable. Now that shutters again are desirable, Mrs. Feezell is considering having them reinstalled.

"The family of Joseph Rountree arrived in Greene County from Tennessee in January, 1831. The Campbell and Fulbright Families had settled here several months before that. There were six of the Rountree sons. Lucius was born in Hillsboro, N. C., in 1814, so was 16 when he came here. The father was the first school teacher here and had a homestead of 160 acres with a home near the present site of the Rountree Cemetery, about one fourth mile from the Lucius Rountree house.

"Captain Lucius Rountree built a home in 1846 on a farm 2 1/2 miles west of Springfield on Mount Vernon Road, where he had a 240-acre farm. Roy M. Lawson, Springfield abstracter and grandson of Captain Rountree, says that farm was sold in 1887 and the present house was built in 1888. The pioneer lived there until his death December 3, 1906.

"Lawson recalls many interesting stories his grandfather told him about early days in Springfield. Captain Rountree served during the Civil War with the 14th Missouri Cavalry and later with the 46th Missouri Infantry in settlement of Indian difficulties in Kansas and Colorado.

"Another member of the family, Albert H. Rountree, Route 7, son of Captain Rountree's brother, Junius, recalls that the pioneer was 'bright, jovial, and cheerful' and had a wonderful memory for pioneer stories.

"Mrs. Feezell recalls that her husband, who had lived in Tennessee as had the Rountrees, fell in love with the house and grounds the moment he saw the place, because it reminded him of his boyhood home

"Mrs. Frezell maintains her summer home here but spends her winters in Tucson, Ariz. Her husband died about 13 years ago. She had three daughters, Mrs. R. F. Hedgpeth, 1228 East Bennett; Mrs. W. A. Whipple, Tucson and Mrs. Melvin Wright, Los Angeles. A fourth daughter, Mrs. C. F. Carpenter, San Diego, died 17 years ago.

"Although she is youthful and smartly dressed, it is interesting in view of Mrs. Feezell's long residence in the old home, that she was selected to play a movie part as a pioneer woman a few years ago.

"She was one of the 20 women, chosen from several hundred extras in the picture Red River, when the filming was in progress at Tucson. For the part she wore an old fashioned sunbonnet and dress and rode in a surrey with fringe on the top. Such a costume and conveyance would have been customary for the era in which the housed was built."

See also, Happenings on Kickapoo Prairie by Eunice P. Allison, Biography of Rev. James Hervey Slavens, M.D. and an autobiography by Luther J. Slavens, and Rowantree, Rowntree, Rountree families by Barbara Kemm.

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