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

WELDON E. STALEY. The country has many advantages over the city. Likewise, it has its disadvantages, and one of the greatest of its disadvantages is the lack of opportunity to gain a competence within a reasonable period of time. Many farmers have grown rich through increased valuation of their land; others have become well-to-do through carefully husbanding their resources, rigid and economical living and good business ability, ofttimes combined with favorable seasons for their principal product. It seems something of a pity that the farmer is not responsible for considerable of the increase in the high cost of living. He should be getting more of the high prices which the city people are paying for their produce than he is, because he is justly entitled to it. It costs too much for the farmer to market his stuff. Transportation charges are too high. The middleman's profits are excessive and there is not sufficient security for the farmer to insure him a just and honest return from all commission dealers. Nevertheless to the honest, pushing, hard-working and enterprising farmer is due the prosperity, wealth and advancement of any community, and to their zeal, energy and integrity will its future prosperity be indebted, as it has been in the past. . Among the names that have long been prominent in agricultural circles in the northern part of Greene county is that of Weldon E. Staley, of Cass township.

Mr. Staley hails from below the Mason and Dixon line, being a representative of a sterling old Southern family, and his birth occurred near Raleigh, North Carolina, July 9, 1840. He is therefore nearly to the mile-post marking three-quarters of a century. He is a son of Alfred Staley, who was born in North Carolina, June 2, 1811, in which state he grew to manhood and received a good education for those early days. He devoted his active life to general farming in which he met with more than ordinary success. In an early day he removed with his family to Clinton county, Missouri, making the long, tedious overland journey in wagons, in typical pioneer fashion. After spending two years in that county he came to Cave Spring, Greene county, this state and established the future home of the family, and there also established a general merchandise store. He built up a large trade among the early settlers, notwithstanding the fact that the country round about was sparsely settled, but many of his customers came long distances from settlements in the northern part of this and the southern part of Polk county. He remained a merchant there until his death, which occurred on December 16, 1853. His wife, Lucina Brower, was born in North Carolina, in which state she was reared, educated in the subscription schools, and there they were married on February 12, 1835. To their union nine children were born, three of whom died in infancy, the others being named as follows: Caroline married James Van Bibber, of Greene county, Missouri; William B. is a retired farmer, living in Texas; Weldon E. of this sketch; John C. died at Cave Spring many years ago; Sanders, who was at one time a judge of the Greene County Court, lives in Springfield; Lula, who. married Doctor Coltrane, is living in Springfield.

Weldon E. Staley was young in years when his parents brought him from North Carolina to Missouri. He received a common school education in Greene county, and assisted his father in the store at Cave Spring until he was about twenty-one years of age. He and his brother operated the store for many years after which he removed to the farm, although he had been very successful in the merchandise business. In 1860 he purchased his present fine farm in Cass township, and in 1861 removed to it, thus he has been a resident on one farm for the unusual period of fifty-four years. Doubtless very few farmers of this county have lived on their farms during a period of such a length of time. His, place consists of two hundred and sixty acres, which he has developed very largely from a wild state, bringing it up to a high standard of improvement and cultivation through close application and good management. He has carried on general farming and stock raising on an extensive scale and has a good home in the midst of pleasant surroundings. During the Civil war he was a member of a militia regiment, but did not see much active service.

Mr. Staley married Angeline Evans, January 23, 1861. She is a. daughter of Joseph Evans, one of the old settlers in this part of Greene county, the Evanses having been among the best known and most highly respected families of this locality for several generations. Here Mrs. Staley spent her girlhood and attended school. Mrs. Staley died, December 20, 1903.

Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Staley, one of whom died in infancy; the others were named as follows: William Walter, Molly is the wife of Tom Watkins, and they reside in Springfield; Mrs. Dolly Roberts lives in Greene county; Fannie is the wife of W. E. Thompson and they live in Cass township; Horace lives in Carthage, Missouri; Joe lives on the farm with his father; Kate is living at home; Bunch is engaged in, farming a short distance west of the homestead; Juanita is the wife of George Haun, and they live on a farm south of Springfield.

Politically, Mr. Staley is a Democrat, and while he has ever been loyal in his support of the party and a public-spirited man, he has never sought public office or political leadership, being content to devote his attention exclusively to his home and his farm. Like the rest of the Staleys, his reputation in all the relations of life has been that of a plain, honest and helpful citizen, deserving of the high esteem in which he is held by wide acquaintance.


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