Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

REV. JOHN T. BACON. Examples that impress force of character on all who study them are worthy of record, and the mission of a great soul in this world is one that is calculated to inspire a multitude of others to better and grander things; so its subsequent influence cannot be measured in metes and bounds, for it affects the lives of those with whom it comes in contact, broadening and enriching them for all time to come. By a few general observations may be conveyed some idea of the useful, unselfish and unpretentious career of Rev. John T. Bacon, for the past sixteen years pastor of the First Cumberland Presbyterian church of Springfield, united in whose composition are so many elements of a solid, practical and altruistic nature as to bring him into prominent notice, who, not content to hide his talents amid life's sequestered ways, by the force of will and a laudable ambition forged to the front, rising by his individual efforts, from an early environment none too auspicious, and is therefore one of Greene county's best examples of a successful self-made man.

Reverend Bacon was born in Crawford county, Missouri, June 2, 1868. He is a scion of a sterling old Southern family of the Blue Grass state, and is a son of Thomas J. and Mary Ellen (Chapman) Bacon. The father was born near Louisville, Kentucky, April 10, 1832, and when nine years of age moved with the family to St. Louis, Missouri, where he spent his early youth. He was compelled to work hard when a boy and his education was limited to thirty-two days in a common school. When twenty-five years of age he moved to Crawford county, this state, where he spent the rest of his life engaged in general farming, in which he was fairly successful. At the age of twenty-nine years he married and soon thereafter moved on a farm adjoining that of his father, who had also located in that county. His death occurred in 1888. He was an honest, hard-working and well-liked man, who was influential in the general welfare of his community. The mother of our subject, a woman of strong Christian character, was born April 20, 1839, in Crawford county, Missouri, and there grew to womanhood and received a common school education. Her death occurred April 17, 1885.

Five children were born to Thomas J. Bacon and wife, namely: Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Caldwell, who died December 5, 1895; Emma died when five years of age; John T., of this review; Charles Benjamin, a resident of Marshall, Missouri, is at this writing postmaster at that place; and Reuben M., who lives in San Antonio, Texas.

John T. Bacon grew to manhood on the home farm in his native county and there he worked hard when he became of proper age during the crop seasons, and in the winter time he attended the rural schools of his home district; later was a student in the Salem Academy, Salem, Missouri for one term. When twenty-one years old he entered Missouri Valley College, Marshall, this state, from which institution he was graduated with the class of 1896. His alma mater honored him with the degree of Doctor of Divinity. In the autumn of 1896, having fostered for some time the laudable ambition to become a minister of the gospel, he entered Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, where he made an excellent record and was graduated with the class of 1899. He came direct from there to Springfield, Missouri, accepting a call as pastor of the First Cumberland Presbyterian church, which is located at Jefferson and Olive streets, and here he has remained to, the present time, his long retention in this important church being sufficient criterion of his popularity with the congregation and of his ability, fidelity to duty and growth in power. He has remained a close student all the while and has developed with his church. During his pastorate here the membership has increased several hundred, until it is today one of the largest, most earnest and wealthiest congregations in Springfield. Mr. Bacon is a forceful, logical, learned and not infrequently and eloquent pulpit orator, instructing and entertaining his audience at the same time, and he is also a man of no mean business ability, and has looked well to the material affairs of the church, as well as to its spiritual welfare. Although a man of plain address, avoiding the lime-light of publicity, he is nevertheless one of the most widely known and popular ministers Springfield has ever had, and he has been active for years in movements having for their aim the general moral upbuilding of the city.

Mr. Bacon was married October 6, 1898, to Mary E. Dysart, who was born near Fayette, Howard county, Missouri, October 3, 1874. There she grew to womanhood and received a common school education, later was a student in Howard Payne College at Fayette, from which she graduated in 1894. She has proven to be a most faithful helpmeet and the success of our subject as a minister has been due in no small measure to her sympathy, encouragement and counsel. She is a very active church worker and a leader in the societies of the church of which Mr. Bacon is pastor. She is a daughter of William P. and Dora A. (Brown) Dysart, a highly esteemed and well-known family of Howard county. Mr. Dysart was born in Randolph county, Missouri, received a good education, graduating from old McGee College in the fifties, and later in his early life taught school for awhile, later took up farming, which he followed successfully until his retirement from active life several years ago. He is now making his home with the subject of this sketch. Mrs. Dysart was born in Howard county, there grew to womanhood and received a common school education. She, too, is still living, completing the happy circle of Mr. Bacon's household.

One child has blessed the union of our subject and wife, William Dysart Bacon, whose birth occurred June 20, 1902; he is at present a student of the State Normal here and is making a fine record for scholarship.

Politically, Reverend Bacon is a Democrat. Personally, he is a man of fine physique with a striking resemblance to William J. Bryan, of whom he is a great admirer. Fraternally he belongs to the Masonic Order and the Knights of Pythias. He is a broad-minded, genial, obliging gentleman of genteel and courteous address and the number of his friends is limited to his acquaintance.


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