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

GEORGE W. THURMAN. In any rich and progressive agricultural country, like that contiguous to the town of Republic, Greene county, Missouri, the flour milling business is usually found to be one of the most important industries. Here a vast acreage is put to wheat annually and the total number of bushels produced after the results of the threshing season are known is enormous, so a great and modern mill in the center of this nature-favored locality has sprung up, known as the Republic Custom and Merchant Mill Company, of which George. W. Thurman is manager. To conduct such a business successfully requires ability of a high order and characteristics that have been known to make for success whenever and to whatever they are properly and persistently applied.

Mr. Thurman was born in this county, February, 22, 1870, and is the son of Caleb and Mary S. (Jenkins) Thurman. The father was born in Sevier county, Tennessee, in 1834, where he spent his boyhood and during the Civil war he removed to Arkansas, and after the close of the conflict came to Greene county, Missouri, and soon thereafter purchased a farm and devoted the rest of his life to general farming and stock raising here, making grain raising a specialty. He was a man of rare business ability and industry, and although he came here with little of this world's goods, only fifty cents in money and a pair of mules, he worked hard, managed well and prospered with advancing years, became owner of one of the finest farms in the western part of the county, which contained three hundred acres, and at the time of his death was worth twenty-five thousand dollars. He was a well-known man and influential citizen. His first wife was also a native of Tennessee and there spent her girlhood and they were educated in the common schools of their native state and were married upon leaving there for Arkansas. She proved to be a faithful helpmeet and is still living on the home place near Republic, at the age of eighty years. The death of Mr. Thurman occurred in January, 1909, at the age of seventy-five years. To these parents ten children were born, seven sons and three daughters, six of whom survive, namely: William H., I. J., Samuel G., Robert E., and Martha C., twins; James G., our subject; John died in infancy; Cyphronia A., and Mary Jane.

George W. 'Thurman was reared on the homestead in Greene county and there he did his full share of the work during crop seasons when he became of proper age, and he received a good practical education in the local schools. In August, 1898, he was married to Hattie A. Orr, a native of Greene county, where she was reared and educated. She is a daughter of Elias R. and Martha Jane (Norman) Orr. Mr. Orr was of German descent, and he came to Greene county, Missouri early in the nineteenth century, from Ohio, and here became well established on a farm and spent the rest of his life, dying in Republic in October, 1907. His wife died in 1889. They were the parents of seven children, one son and six daughters, namely: Mary Elizabeth, Gracy Alta, Libby Emma, Hettie A., wife of our subject; Lula Mehelia, Horner Noah, and Edith Audry.

Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Thurman, named as follows: Gaynell H., born in October, 1899; Jewell Ivan, born March 7,1891; Noel, born March 7, 1903; Geneva died in infancy; Ruth, born in March, 19l4.

Mr. Thurman remained on the home farm until he was twenty-three years of age, then began working as a stationary engineer, which he followed for a number of years. In March, 1904, he and five others formed a stock company and built the Republic Custom and Merchant Mill and have operated the same ever since. During the ten years of its existence it has been a marked success and its volume of business has gradually increased with the years. Mr. Thurman is active manager of the mill, and its pronounced success has been largely due to his able management. He is a close student of everything that pertains to the flour-milling business and has mastered every phase of the same, keeping fully abreast of the times in modern methods. This is one of the largest and best equipped mills in southwest Missouri. The building is a three-story substantial, well arranged and well located structure, and the equipment is up-to-date in every respect. In February, 1911, an electric light plant was added to .the equipment. The capacity of the mill is fifty barrels per day of flour and same of cornmeal, and the products of the same find a very ready market over the Southwest, owing to their superior quality. The following are the principal brands of flour produced here: "White Lily," "Satisfaction," and "Premium."

Politically, Mr. Thurman is a Republican and he has long been active and influential in local public affairs. He is now incumbent of the office of police judge of Republic and is discharging his duties in this connection in a highly commendable manner. He has also served as alderman, and has done much for the material and moral upbuilding of Republic. Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Free and Accepted Masons. He and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. and Mrs. Thurman belong to the Knights and Ladies of Security, and the Eastern Star.


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