Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri • ca. 1914

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

FRANK E. HEADLEY. Life is in the open country. Life is in the growing grass, the waving fields of wheat, the springing corn. Life is in the trees and birds, and in the developing animals of the farm. Any man who works with the land, who feeds a field and watches the result, gains a real fundamental knowledge of the underlying foundation on which tests all our civilization. It makes him a sober man, a thoughtful man, a reverent man, and, if he experiments wisely, a hopeful optimist. Life is where things are born and live and grow. On the farm is real life. It is not to be found in the city. Realizing these facts, Frank E. Headley, proprietor of "Spring Lawn Farm," of Franklin township, Greene county, is contented with his environment and is one of the most progressive of the younger generation of agriculturists in this section of the state.

Mr. Headley was born July 7, 1885, in Springfield, Missouri, and is a scion of one of the prominent old families of Greene county, his father for many years having been a prominent business man of the Queen City. He is a son of Frank E., Sr., and Ida (McDaniel) Headley. The father was born at Groveport, near Columbus, Franklin county, Ohio, September 5, 1852. He was a son of Aaron C. and Hannah (Ebberly) Headley. He was educated in the public schools in Columbus, Ohio, and there resided until he was seventeen years of age, coming with his parents to Springfield, Missouri, in October, 1870, the family locating at 737 North Jefferson street, and our subject was born in the first house north of the old homestead. The father of our subject and his brothers were in the game and produce business for six months. June, 1871, found them penniless, and Frank E., Sr., then accepted a clerkship in the grocery house of N. Kelley at a salary of twenty dollars per month. He worked there about three years and six months, then clerked for Sutter & Townsend for six months. He then bought out Mr. Townsend's interest, and the firm became Sutter & Headley for four years; then Oscar M. Headley bought out Sutter's interest, and the firm became Headley Brothers. Later the firm became the Headley Grocery Company, the father of our subject remaining active in this business until 1902, having carried on an extensive retail and wholesale trade over a wide territory; in fact, they did the largest retail grocery business in the Southwest. Frank E. Headley, Sr., sold out in 1902 and entered the hotel business at Aurora, Missouri, where he remained two years, then sold out and bought the farm on which his son, our subject, now resides, the "Spring Lawn Farm," containing two hundred and fifty acres. He was a successful breeder of fine live stock, especially registered Jersey cattle and Percheron horses, keeping several blooded imported Percheron stallions, one of them, "Carabas," being the first draft stallion ever brought to this country, and was exhibited at numerous fairs. "Emperor" was another noted horse which he imported and kept on his farm here, and several others also became famous, among them being "Spot Light," "Obsidian," "White Stockings", and "Colossus." Mr. Headley purchased his farm here from George H. McCann, who first started the handling of blooded Jersey cattle here, which he brought from the Hood farm of Jerseys, of Lowell, Massachusetts. In the herd was a pure St. Lambert bred bull, "Exile of Spring Lawn." General Holland owned this farm and improved it during the Civil war period, assisted by his neighbors. His corn crop was stolen by the soldiers who occupied the county at that time. General Holland built a dwelling house here of logs, and our subject has built a club house just east of the residence, using the same logs that the General used in his house, the old Holland home. The club house is fitted up in a modern style and is an attractive place.

Frank E. Headley, Sr., war one of five children, four sons and one daughter. The sons all became successful business men. Their parents spent their last years in Springfield. Frank E., Sr., was a Democrat in his earlier years, and in 1879 was elected by this party to the city council from the second ward, and was re-elected in 1882. He was also a member of the school board of Springfield and helped elect Prof. J. Fairbanks as county superintendent of schools. Later in life he was councilman from the sixth ward for several terms. In later life, for personal reasons, he became a Republican. He was a member of Calvary Presbyterian church at Springfield. His health failing, he went to California in the hopes of restoring same, and died, in that state October 15, 1906, at the age of sixty-seven years, after a successful, useful and honorable life. His wife, Ida McDaniel, was a native of Carthage, Missouri, and was a daughter of. Francis Marion McDaniel, of that city. Her death occurred when the subject of this sketch was two weeks old, July 21, 1885.

Frank E. Headley, Jr., the only child of his parents, grew to manhood in Springfield, and was educated in the schools of this city. Later he took a short course in the agricultural department of the Missouri State University, where he spent two years, 1903 and 1904. He then assisted his father in the operation of the home farm in Franklin township, and he now owns and operates "Spring Lawn Farm," being regarded as one of the most progressive and scientific general farmers and stock raisers in Greene county. He has made many important modern improvements, spending over one thousand dollars on fences, built a cement silo and a cement chicken house. The farm contains a lake, fed by natural springs, and this our subject has kept well stocked with trout and catfish and other varieties of the finny tribe. He has a large and up-to-date barn for his horses and cattle, sanitary, furnishing every comfort, and is painted white. He has also built an attractive stone pump house in the rear of his home. It is built of stone and arched over and has open sides. The water is forced to the stock barns by hydraulic pressure. Part of the place might well be called a park, for our subject has taken much pains in its rustic detail, and has two deer on a part of his land. The farm has excellent water in abundance, and is an attractive, valuable and desirable place in every respect, one of the choice farms of the Southwest. In addition to raising thoroughbred registered Jersey cattle, Mr. Headley also raises White Leghorn chickens; also keeps some fine collies, Percheron horses and Berkshire hogs. At present he has forty-five head of pure jerseys, twelve to twenty-one pounds butter test. He has shipped cattle all over the United States, especially to Arizona, Utah and Idaho and various places in the Southwest, and over Oklahoma and Missouri. He has a modern and beautiful home, a bathhouse at the side of the lake, spring house, ice house and other improvements found only on the best American farms. In 1913 he built a substantial modem store and office building in Springfield, with a one-hundred-seventeen and a half-foot front and one hundred feet deep. It is known as the Frank E. Headley block, and is well located at 214-222 West Walnut street. It was begun June 13, 1913, and finished in February, 1914.

Mr. Headley was married March 7, 1911, to Nellie B. Armstrong, of Hamilton, Missouri. She is a young lady of education and refinement, and is a representative of a highly esteemed family. To Mr. and Mrs. Headley one child has been born, Frank E. Headley, Jr., born June 12, 1913.

Politically, Mr. Headley is a Republican, but is not active in public affairs, being essentially a home man and preferring to give his attention to his large farming interests and his live stock especially. He is a member of Calvary Presbyterian church of Springfield, and has been a deacon in the same for the past five years. He is a young man whom it is a pleasure to meet, being genial, sociable, obliging and hospitable, is well read and a genteel gentleman in all the relations of life.


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