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

MATTHIAS CHRISTMAN. It is not the kind of work, but the kind of spirit with which it is done that dignifies and exalts human service. This is a thought that should put heart into every worker, put glow and cheer into his service and fill him with a large degree of satisfaction in doing the work that nature seems to have, in a way, appointed for him. Matthias Christman, general machine foreman in the North Side Frisco shops, Springfield, is a man who gets satisfaction out of his daily tasks and therefore his work is not only well done, but life is worth living to him.

Mr. Christman was born in Springfield, Illinois, January 29, 1863. He is a son of Michael and Caroline (Duffner) Christman, both natives of Germany, in which country they spent their childhood years, and from there immigrated to America when young, both locating in Springfield, Illinois, where they were married, and there established their permanent home, the father of our subject, who is now eighty-four years old, and who has devoted his active life to the machinist trade, is still a resident of that city, but the mother passed away on May 17, 1914, at the age of seventy-five years. To them seven children were born, three of whom are living at this writing, namely: X. B. is engaged in the hardware business in Springfield, Illinois; Matthias, of this sketch; John D., who was a machinist by trade, is deceased; Mary is the wife of Joseph Phillipp, who is engaged in the furniture and dry goods business in Springfield, Illinois. The other children died in early life.

Matthias Christman spent his boyhood days in his native city and there he went to school until he was fourteen years old, when he left his text books and went to work as an apprentice in the Wabash railroad shops in that town, remaining there from August, 1877, until 1882, completing his trade as machinist, then went as journeyman to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe shops at Raton, New Mexico, working there from September, 1882, until April, 1883, in April of which year he went to Decatur, Illinois and worked at his trade in the shops of the Wabash Railroad. From April, 1883, until July, 1883, he worked for the Wabash & Decatur Railroad, and in August he worked as machinist in Kansas City for the Kansas City, Ft. Scott & Memphis Railroad Company, which transferred him in 1890 to its shops in Springfield, Missouri; as erecting foreman, which position he held there until August, 1911, having continued in the employ of the Frisco System, which leased the former road in 1900. In August, 1911, he was transferred to the North Side shops as assistant general machine shop foreman, and in 1912 was promoted to general machine shop foreman, which position he now holds, there being about one hundred and fifty men under his direction. He is giving his usual general satisfactory service, being a man highly skilled in his trade and possessing marked executive ability. He has an interest in the Christman Adjustable Hub Plate Company, being a director and stockholder in the same. He has been the dominating factor in the success of this concern, indicating that he is a man of fine business acumen. He is also of an inventive turn of mind, and has invented piston valves and bushing for air pumps and holds patents on each. These devices have been highly praised by manufacturers.

Mr. Christman was married in 1884 to Elizabeth Hurley, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and to this union two children have been born, namely: John M., who was educated in the ward and high schools of Springfield, is now a machinist in the North Side Frisco shops; Carrie, who was also well educated in the Springfield schools, lives at home with her parents.

Politically Mr. Christman is a Democrat. He belongs to the Modern Woodmen of American, and to the Catholic church.


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