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

CARVER O. MERCER. To ambitious, struggling youths, with only the broad, perhaps cheerless highway of the future before them, this narrative of a self-made man--a successful life--presents an example worthy of consideration and earnest emulation, and might even fill a faltering heart with strong zeal, or a youthful mind with greater determination and a fuller recognition of those attributes which constitute true manhood--nature's patent of nobility--industry, integrity, temperance and right living along all lines Carver O. Mercer, who has been an enterprising resident of Springfield for over thirty years, is a well-known contractor and has long been identified with the affairs of the city, consequently is well known here and over Greene county.

Mr. Mercer was born in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess county, New York, November 22, 1852. He is a son of Thomas C. Mercer, a successful pioneer physician, who was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1817. He was the son of a brick manufacturer who furnished the brick for many of the first houses built of this material in Louisville. There Doctor Mercer grew to manhood and, after. receiving a common school education, entered the Louisville Medical College from which he was graduated, and soon thereafter began the practice of his profession in that city. He seemed to specialize in surgery for which he had much native ability. He served nine years in the United States army, part of the time as regular physician and part of the time as contract surgeon. After leaving the service of the government he located in Utica, Indiana, where he engage d in the practice of his profession for some time, later removing to Jeffersonville, that state, where he continued practice with his usual large success until his death in 1884. His wife, who was Katherine Orvis before her marriage, was a native of the state of New York. To Dr. Mercer's father and mother five sons and two daughters were born, named as follows: Thomas C., father of the subject of this sketch; Henry, who was a printer in Louisville, Kentucky, is deceased; James met death in a hotel in Texas when it was destroyed by fire; Pope met death by being accidentally shot; Levi, deceased, was among the early settlers near St. Louis, Missouri; Julia, deceased, was the wife of Claudius Devaull, a carpet merchant of Louisville, Kentucky; the name of the youngest daughter could not be learned by the writer.

To Dr. Thomas C. Mercer and wife two sons and two daughters were born, namely: Carver O., of this sketch; Elizabeth married Louis Girdler, superintendent of the Fall City Cement Company, and they have four sons and two daughters; Henrietta is the wife of Philip Arnold, who is engaged in educational work in Joplin, Missouri, and to them three sons, one of whom is deceased, and two daughters have been born; Neville, who became a deputy clerk to the probate judge of Jasper county, Missouri, and was well known in public affairs in his vicinity, is deceased, having died in Greene county.

Carver O. Mercer spent his earlier years in his native city and in Utica, Indiana, being educated in the common school in the latter place. At an early age he began life for himself by launching out in the teaming and transfer business. He remained in Indiana until 1873, when he came to Missouri and located in the city of Joplin, in which he spent ten years, then in 1883, came to Springfield. He has continued the business in which he was first engaged since leaving Indiana, his business gradually increasing until it reached large proportions many years ago, although it had a modest, beginning. He has long been one of the best known transfer men in Springfield and is quite well equipped in every respect for this line of work, always keeping good teams, wagons and general equipment, and keeps a number of trustworthy hands employed all the while. He has had the contract for sprinkling the streets of Springfield since 1904, and has also had the contract for hauling coal for the pumping station of this city since 1906. That he has retained these contracts so long would indicate that he has given the best of service and highest satisfaction to all concerned. He has been very successful in a financial way and owns considerable property here, including a commodious residence. His office and barns are located at Chase and Camp streets.

Mr. Mercer was married on February 29, 1880, in Newton county, Missouri, to Amanda J. Wolf. She is a daughter of George Wolf, a farmer of Fremont county, Iowa, who is now deceased. In that county the birth of Mrs. Mercer occurred, March 19, 1854, and there she grew to womanhood and received her education in the common schools. She proved to be a faithful and sympathetic helpmeet. She was called to her eternal rest on December 16, 1913.

Our subject and wife had no children of their own, but they adopted a son, Leo Mercer, who was born March 4, 1888. He was given a common school education in Greene county, and in early life he enlisted in the United States army in which he served seven years, during two of which he was stationed at Alcatraz Island, near San Francisco, California, and later spent several years in the Philippine Islands. His record as a soldier was an honorable and excellent one. He worked a year for the New York Continental Jewell Filteration Company, his work being in Springfield. After this he secured employment with the Jarrett & Richardson Construction Company of Springfield and is still connected with this firm, which, for two years has been engaged on a large viaduct in St. Louis.

In 1911, Leo Mercer and Mary Owen were carried in Greene county. She is a daughter of Bill Owen, a farmer living near Springfield. She was educated in the schools of this city. To Leo Mercer and wife, two children have been born, a son and a daughter, namely: Orvis Leo and Mary.

Politically, Carver O. Mercer is a Democrat, but he has never been an office seeker.


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