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

JOHN W. DEATON. A man whose career has been varied and busy is John W. Deaton, the present custodian of the Carnegie Public Library at Springfield; however, the careers of most men in this restless and high-tensioned age are varied. Very few of us begin our life vocation in boyhood and follow it in the same locality. It seems to be the universal custom to fly from this occupation to that, to try one location then another, many years often passing until one is really settled in his serious life work. It may be that such a course is best, again it may be it is not—no one can know.

Mr. Deaton was born January 18, 1853, near Columbia, Kentucky. He is a son of John P. and Nancy W. (Pollard) Deaton, both natives of Virginia, where they grew to maturity and were educated in the common schools, the father becoming a well-read man and was a good writer. He was born in 1808 and died in 1876. The mother of our subject was born in 1815 and died in 1889, both having spent their last years near Pierce City, Missouri, where their deaths occurred. They were married in Virginia and remained in that state until 1844, when they removed to Kentucky, where they maintained their home thirty years and reared their family. There John P. Deaton engaged in general farming and prior to the Civil war period was an overseer of slaves on a plantation. In 1874 they left the old Blue Grass state and-made the overland journey to Springfield and on to, Pierce City, Missouri, and located on a farm west of that place and there he and his wife spent the rest of their days.

Politically John P. Deaton was a Democrat, but during the war he favored the Union cause. His family consisted of five children, only two of whom are living at this writing, namely: Sarah, Lucy Ann, Parmelia W. are all deceased; Elijah D. lives in Pierce City, and John W. of this review.

The subject of this sketch, who is the youngest of the family, grew to manhood on the farm where he worked when a boy and he received a common school education in Kentucky, but by home reading has added to the same. He accompanied his parents to Pierce City, this state, but remained there only a few months, going on to Texas in February, 1875, where he rented a cotton crop and farmed for a while, then returned to Pierce City and drove a stage between that town and Fayetteville, Arkansas, for over six years. He was then city marshal of Pierce City, having been elected on the Democratic ticket. His services were so highly satisfactory in every respect, his public career being marked with such fidelity to duty, tact and courage that he was retained in this important office for a period of ten years. He then went into the railway mail and post office service, in which he remained for nearly twenty-five years, with satisfaction to the people and the department at Washington, his services being marked for honesty and faithfulness and strict attention to his own business. From 1887 to 1892 his run was between Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri. In 1892 he left the railway mail service and took a position in the post, office at Springfield, where he was employed until 1912, his long retention there being evidence of his able and honest service. He did not engage in any special line of endeavor from the time he left the office until January 1, 1914, when he was made custodian of the Carnegie Public Library at Springfield, which position he holds it this writing and his work here is satisfactory in every respect.

Mr. Deaton was married in Springfield September 9, 1891, to Emma. E. Phariss, who was born at Mt. Vernon, Lawrence county, Missouri, December 31, 1859. She is a daughter of Samuel M. and Eleanor (Duncan) Phariss, natives of Tennessee, from which state they emigrated to Missouri in early days and spent the rest of their lives here. Mr. Phariss followed farming, having taken up government land near Logan, Lawrence county, in 1840, which he developed. He taught school in Springfield for a time after the war. He was a highly educated man and active in politics, being a leading Democrat of Lawrence county. He held several county offices, was circuit county clerk and county recorder at an early day; he died in 1890 at Logan. Mrs. Deaton grew to womanhood in Lawrence county and she received a good education, was graduated from the college at Marionville, Missouri, after which she taught school successfully for several years in Pierce City and Aurora.

To Mr. and Mrs. Deaton two daughters have been born, namely: Gladys A. has decided musical talent, especially as a pianist; after graduating under Miss Birdie Atwood, of Springfield, she attended and was graduated from the Kroeger School of Music in 1914, and is now teaching in Springfield; Faerie Christine was educated in the Springfield public schools and is a vocalist of more than ordinary ability.

Mr. Deaton owns a cozy home on Robberson avenue. Politically he is a Democrat, and religiously he and his family are members of St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal church.


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