Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead

W. W. DONHAM, clerk of the circuit court of Greene County, Mo. The official work of this gentleman has extended over a number of years and has brought him before the attention of the citizens of Springfield, and in him his constituents have found a man of ability and integrity, and one whose activities have ever been employed for the good of the community. He is a native of this State, born in Johnson County, July 6, 18397 and the son of Demis and Jane (Bighan) Donham, the former a native of the Blue Grass State and the latter of Alabama. The families came to Missouri at an early day and settled in Johnson County where they resided for many years. Demis Donham was of Scotch-Irish descent and of genuine Yankee stock of New Jersey. He was a man honored and respected by all for in every walk of life he acquitted himself with credit and renown. The youthful days of our subject were spent on his father's farm in Johnson County and he secured a fair education in tile district schools. In 1862 he enlisted in Company A, Seventh Missouri Cavalry, and served until April, 1865. He entered the service as a private but before the close of the war he held the rank of major. Among the engagements in which he participated the following are the most prominent: The Big Blue and Lone Jack. He served principally on the frontier and spent a good deal of his war days in fighting Guerillas. In 1863 he was in the Marmaduke raid for sixteen days and during that time had but one good meal. Mr. Donham had his right eye so affected during service that he lost the use of it and now receives a pension. Although he took part in some hard fighting he was never wounded, but bad some narrow escapes. His fighting was confined to Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas. After leaving the army he was appointed United States assessor for the second division of the third district of Missouri and held that position two years. He then entered the war claim business and was occupied with the duties of the same for six years, and filled that position in a very creditable manner. Previous to entering the army Mr. Donham followed the profession of teaching and although young in years (for he was but twenty-one when he entered the service), he won quite an enviable reputation as an educator. After filling the above mentioned positions he became clerk of the district court at Springfield and hold that position until the office was abolished. After that he was mail contractor in Arkansas, residing at the time in Boone County, at Harrison, for four years. His mail route was from Harrison to Walnut Ridge. In the year 1883 he returned to Springfield and was contractor for transporting the mails from the depots to the post office for two years. In 1886 he was elected to the position he now holds and so ably did he fill that position, that in 1890 he was re-elected. He has held other positions in Greene County and has ever discharged the duties in a careful and conscientious manner. In the year 1865 he was married in Greene County to Miss Elizabeth C. Bearden, a native of the county, who was born near the public square of Springfield. Her father, E. N. Bearden, is one of the oldest pioneers now living in the county, having settled two miles east of Springfield in 1837. Mrs. Donham died in October, 1892. She was the mother of eleven children: Emma, Grace, Mattie, Grant, Della, Anna and Bessie. All the others died young. Mr. Donham has a pleasant home at 859 North Main Street, Springfield, and he and family attended the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in which all hold membership. Politically Mr. Donham was reared a Democrat but in 1856 he became a Republican and has remained with that party up to the present. He is a man universally respected and has filled the many positions he has held with credit to himself and to those who aided him in getting them. He is a member of the G.A.R., also the A. O. U. W., the W. O. W. and was a member of the L. of L. order ever organized in Greene County.


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