Personal Reminiscences
and Fragments of the Early History of
Springfield and Greene County, Missouri




Hon. Chairman and Gentlemen

Twelve months ago I had the pleasure of meeting our excellent host and urging him to continue the meetings of the Pioneer Citizens of the County and City, as the different papers, prepared and read, depicted the trials, toils and sacrifices they made, also facts placed on record would be of historical interest, and only the sons of the fathers can state these FACTS correctly.

I am pleased to be with you today, to "Sit at the feet of the Elders and Ancients of the People," and listen to the words of wisdom that fall from your lips, hear the history of those days, days of anxiety, peril and hard labor, changing prairie into fertile fields, clearing forests and abundance of harvests.

The sincere friendship that existed between neighbor and neighbor, helping and assisting each other in health, and when sickness came to offer all kindness, and in death, sympathy and condolence. The widow and orphan given help with an open hand.

You taught the children patriotism and the upholding of law and government, moral and divine--in a word, our "American Institutions." You were the incentives to thrift.

All these and more are the sureties of good citizenship. All having passed your "three score years and ten'' and some "four score," I know you will join me in thanks to our Heavenly Father for the blessings he has showered upon you, long life, good health, happy surroundings and the hope of many happy days to come in the country and city you have helped to create. For myself I hope your days may be long and pleasant and when the time comes for the "Master's call,'' you may be ready, and receive the welcome plaudit, "Well done, good and faithful servant.''



The Reason Why We Had an Honest Community in the First Settling of This Country.

The early settlers were mostly from the old hardy stock from Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and other older states. They came, viewed the country, were well pleased with the climate and topography; hence, determined to make for themselves and families permanent homes.

The next thing was to purify the community and make it a desirable and pleasant community in which to live. And as newcomers moved in, their conduct was carefully scrutinized and if serious objections were found, some of the older men would go to them quietly and inform them that their conduct was such that they preferred that they move on, as there was plenty of other territory elsewhere, and by that means got rid of them without arrests, fines or imprisonments, and probably no one would ever know; it except the parties themselves.

You ask how this could be done? I will illustrate by one or two instances. There was an old man who lived in the west portion of this county, familiarly known as Uncle Davy Reynolds. It was his custom when he came to Springfield to stay one night at my father's house and, as a boy, I had heard him tell of the working of this plan. On one occasion a man moved in and stopped near his place-had four horses to feed-and he, Uncle Davy, soon found that he was not buying corn sufficient to feed those four horses, for the county was sparsely settled and he knew every man who had corn to sell. He watched his crib and found his corn missing. He went to his crib on Saturday, selecting the day on purpose, arranged his corn so that he would know if any was taken, and in the cobs of several ears inserted a slip of paper with his name written on it . Next morning it was gone. On Sunday he visited this man and while there walked out to the lot, and on examining the cobs, found several with his name in them. He suggested to the man that it was a strange incident. Of course the man was confused. Uncle Davy suggested the best way out was for him to move and by the time the sun was an hour high the next morning he was gone.


One other instance--a neighbor of Uncle Davy's-kept missing his meat and suspected a man living on his place, in a cabin with stick and mud chimney, and large loose stones for hearth stones. He walked over, seated himself by the fire with the family, and soon found that one of the stones had been moved recently; suggested that he saw signs of the wood rats bothering them, raised the stone and found his ham of meat. The man soon left the county, never to return.

In this way they eliminated the objectionable element. In after years I spent the day socially with Solomon Owens, the father of Capt. Baker Owens. During the day we talked of the early settling of the county and I spoke of these things and he replied that he, too, had resorted to these measures often to rid the neighborhood of objectionable characters, and that the custom in those days was frequently resorted to by the older and better settlers.


My father's name was Edward M. Thompson. He came to Springfield from Tennessee in 1829. He had previously lived in Kentucky and moved from there to Tennessee. He was raised in Maryland. After coming here he first settled on the headwaters of the James river at what was known as the Sam '1 Caldwell farm. He afterwards moved from that place to the Joe McCraw farm at Cave Spring, which was then generally known as the Eastman farm, six miles from here on the Rock Bridge road. He then moved from there to Kickapoo Prairie, where I now live. He there entered 640 acres of land, on which I was born, and part of which I now own. I was born on the 12th day of July, 1836. My earliest remembrance of the inhabitants of Springfield is of one DeBruin, who had a store on the corner of College street and the Public Square, where the old court house now stands. The next building was the State Bank, located on the corner of Boonville street and the Public Square. On the northeast corner of Boonville street and the Square, General N. R. Smith operated a hotel. The next house was Jacob Painter's gunsmith shop, located where Reps Dry Goods Store now stands. The next house was over on the south side of St. Louis street and the corner of the Square, occupied by D. D. Berry's store. The next house was at the southeast corner of the Public Square, owned by Benjamin Andrews, and occupied as a grocery, confectionery and bread store. The next house was at the southeast corner of South street and the Public Square, where Sheppard & Jaggard ran a store. Right across from the latter store was a log house where Braddock Coleman occupied a building as a saloon. The next house was Judge Farmer's store, in which was located the post office, at that time, about where the O 'Day Book Store now stands. The next house was the Rube Blakey saloon, situated on the west side of the Square, in the southwest corner, being a building about 12 feet by 14 feet square, where the O 'Day Clothing Store now stands. There was nothing else on the west side of the Square at that time except the Blakey saloon. These are all the houses on the Public Square when I first came here that I can remember.


My mother's brother, Judge James Dollison, came here with my father. Judge Dollison entered 160 acres of public land, the southwest corner of which was Dollison and Cherry streets. My cousin, Mrs. Sample Orr, inherited one-fourth of that land, and she offered it to me for $2,000 in 1866. I have since purchased a lot 75 feet by 185 feet cut out of that tract, for which I paid $1,600, having made the purchase 25 years later.

Junius Campbell and my father and James Blakey owned the only farms then occupied between my house and Springfield on the Kickapoo Prairie. This constituted all the farms there were on Kickapoo Prairie at that time. James Dollison planted the first orchard that was ever planted in Greene County. I can remember when my mother rode over on horseback and brought home apples in her apron from that orchard and we thought that those were the best apples ever grown, for they tasted long and rich.

In those days we went to Cason's Mill, where the James River bridge is now located near Galloway. The Yoakum mill was then in existence, but there was no mill at the Jones Spring at that time. Old Uncle Bennie Bashears at Beaver Gap had a corn cracker, which consisted of two little stones of about a foot or 15 inches across, and those old stones were lying about there in that neighborhood a few years ago. But neither the Fulbright nor the mill at Jones Spring had been built at that time. The Cason Mill is the oldest mill that I know of. The next mill to be built was at the Jones Spring and also the Lawson Fulbright Mill.


The earliest remembrances that I have of the inhabitants is that of Mr. Nick Smith, who run a tavern on Boonville street, and old man Andrews and DeBruin and Jake Painter. I also remember Wilson Hackney, the old hatter, who lived on South street; also Peter Epperson and Braddock Coleman; also a man by the name of Peck, who lived right where George McDaniels' house now stands; also Wash Merritt, who bought that place and taught school there. That was the only house there was out that direction just then. On College street there was Allen Fielden, who lived down here some where Maj. Berry lived down there in a little double log house. That was the only house there was on the south side of College street, and there was none at all on the north side except Presley Beal and Jake Mills. On Boonville street there was Nick Smith and Joe Burden, whom I have already mentioned. Burden afterwards lived on St. Louis street. Old Captain A. M. Julian's carding machine was located on Boonville street, as was also the old blacksmith, Jenkins; he was on the hill on the south side of Jordan. There was nobody else on that side of the street out that way.

The grandfather of Jimmie Edwards lived on the hill on the west side of Boonville street. Eli Armstrong's step-father had a tan yard right where the bridge is now. It was known as the Jessup tan yard. At that time there were no residences on the north end of Boonville street.

I also remember old Captain Massey. He bought the improvements of Mr. Warren here. He was one of the oldest settlers that I can remember on Kickapoo Prairie.

I have preserved all this time a copy of a contract between Mr. Samuel Teas and certain citizens, which I will submit for its antiquity:

"Article of Agreement made by Samuel Teas on the one part, and we the undermentioned subscribers of the other part, Witnesseth:


That the said Samuel Teas, on his first part, agrees to teach a common, moral, English school, to the best of his capacity, to teach six months, Saturdays and Sundays excepted, to teach in the school house near Mr. John Haskins; the said Teas binds himself to keep good order and regulation in this school. We the assigners on our part promise to pay the said Teas, for his services, six dollars for each pupil by us assigned, and to pay one-half of our subscription at the end of the first three months, the balance at the end of the school, and to make the school house comfortable to teach in, &c., &c. We, the teacher and subscribers farther agrees that there shall be three Trustees appointed for the school, who shall have the power to regulate and settle all disputes, or difficulties which may arise in the school, and should the teacher neglect or not do his duty, the Trustees shall have the power to close the school by first paying him for the time he may have taught. We, the teacher and subscribers do agree in all cases to abide by the decision of the Trustees. Witness our hands, &c., the school to commence on the_______day of_____the 1841.
Samuel Teas.



$ cts

Jeremiah Cravens



A. Britten

1 ½


Dani Prigmore



James Byrd



E. W. Beasley



Benjamin Thomas



John F. Mllls

1 ½


Abraham Fisher



Berry Durham



John Haskins



Thomas F. Thompson

1 ½


Edw. L. Dillon



Saml W. Mann



P. S.--Be it farther understood that the said Samuel Teas who is mentioned in the within Article further agrees that he will take one-third of the amount assigned by each subscriber in any suitable trade to be paid to the said Teas when called for and delivered to him at his place of residence at the market price of the country. Be it also understood by the assigners and teacher that no day scholars will be admitted to come to this school, neither shall any assigners to this article send at any time day scholars without it should be to make up lost time, &c.
Samuel Teas.

I will teach the school if there be twenty-five pupils assigned to this Article.
S. Teas."



I came to this country in 1841, about the 10th of November. I came from Tennessee. I lived on the line between Kentucky and Tennessee. I came into this city on St. Louis street. One of the first residences that I can recollect on St. Louis street was Dr. Shackelford's, who lived east of Dollison street, which was then out in the country. After passing Dr. Shackleford's coming into town, the next residence was John S. Kimbrough's. Next to him was old Uncle James R, Danforth; then came old man Shannon, who had a hotel on the south side of St. Louis street where the Opera House now stands. That is all there was at that time up to the corner, where Berry had a store. I heard Mr., Thompson's statement of the residences and early citizens of the city and they are about the ones I recollect. There was nothing on the southeast corner of the Square except the places that Mr. Thompson has already mentioned; there was, however, a man named David O. George, who had a house there which has since been known as the Braddock Coleman place. Afterwards the old log cabin that the General and myself bought was built. The Square was just about the way Mr. Thompson described it when I came here. Major Berry lived on College street on the south side, and Beal lived on the north side. Joel Haden had the land office on the north side of the place occupied by De Bruin. On Boonville street there was a hotel run by a man named Smith, and old man Edwards lived on the west side. The old log jail was located on the east side of the street. For about twenty years I don't think there was a man put into it. We had no use for a jail. It was an old double log jail; however, there was one man named Shanks who was placed in there for murder and be cut out of jail and escaped, and never was apprehended. These streets leading from the Square were named on account of the direction of the main travel in early days, between the towns from which we received our supplies. For instance, Boonville was the name given the road because of the travel between Boonville, Missouri, and Springfield. St. Louis street was given that name on account of it being the main St. Louis road. College street was so named because of the establishment of a college on that street. South street was so named on account of its general direction.


The first church built in Springfield was built in 1833 or '34, and is standing now. It is the oldest in the city now in existence. It was occupied in early days by preachers of different denominations. The court house was also used for the purposes of worship, different denominations occupying it on alternate Sundays.

The first court house that Greene County had was an old log house, which was torn down before I came here.

I think when I came here that the population of the town on the original fifty-acre tract would not exceed 200. I think I can remember the name of every man who then lived within the corporate limits.

I might say further that I have two pieces of furniture, an old chair and an old bureau, that was made here in the city many, many years ago. The bureau has been in my family some sixty-three or sixty-four years, and it is a strong piece of furniture today. It was made by Pressley Beal, who then had a shop on the corner of College street and Patton alley. The chair I have had some fifty years. It was made by Mr. Shockley's father, and I kept it as a memory of my early association with those gentlemen.

As I have frequently been interrogated about the punishment administered to Samuel Glover, who was a worthless fellow who hung about the drinking places of the town, I have always refused to give any information upon the subject further than to say that he was punished and that he was told what his punishment was for. Mr. Hubble has quizzed me so thoroughly on the subject that I will tell just this much of the circumstance. This man had a very pretty girl some fifteen or sixteen years of age, and she apparently had very little of the care that was due from her father. On one occasion she was given a calico dress by some of the good women of the town, and it was noticed that she never appeared with it on. Upon inquiry of the girl about the matter, she was forced to admit that her father had taken it away from her and had pawned it for drink. Sometime thereafter, search was made for this recreant gentleman, and he was found in a nearby place of drink in the old Baker Arcade, and he was escorted down the hill, and after a few minutes' entertainment the gentleman was permitted to make his escape. I again refuse to admit that I took any part in it, or to name those who did. Promises made even at that early date will hold good yet, I never admitted or undertook to tell anybody about it. I have been asked if he ever robbed his family any more. I can say in good faith that I don't think he ever did while he lived in this vicinity.


While I was in school in Tennessee, I got into a little trouble and was punished for it. About twenty years ago my wife and myself went back to old Tennessee to make a visit to my early home. We were driving along in a road in a buggy, and in passing through the country not far from my old home we came to a farm with a spring near by, and I requested the driver to stop, as I wanted to get a drink of water. An elderly lady came to the gate when we drove up, and I told her that I would be glad to get a drink of water from the spring. She asked me to wait until she could bring fresh water from the spring. I says, "No,you need not do that." I says, "Where is your husband?" She says, "He is out in the field.'' I says, "I should like to see him very much. Your husband whipped me once. She at once became very much excited and agitated, and I asked her again if I might be permitted to see him, and it seemed to worry her so much I said to her. "Madam, you need not feel worried about the matter, as I was just a boy in school when he whipped me, and I am very anxious to see him." She realized the fact that it was a school-boy frolic and insisted upon my waiting until she could call him, but I told her that I had not time, as I was going to a nearby neighbor.


I am pretty well acquainted with the people who lived here when I came here and soon got well acquainted through business relation with the people of the country. I sold goods to the people here and extended more or less credit up to the beginning of the war. I believe the only outstanding account that I had when I closed business was one account amounting to $1.25, and I had numerous promises from the man to pay that. I frequently dunned him, and finally he came into the Store with a fine new knife one day and wanted to trade knives. He selected a knife which pleased his fancy, and I offered in exchange to take his knife and give him six bits to boot. I banded him my knife and took his knife and put it in my pocket. I made no offer of the six bits. He saw that I had omitted to give him the boot money, and he says, "You haven't paid me yet.'' I remarked to him, "You just owed me $1.25, and we will just square that account," and in that way I collected my last account.


I came to Springfield in 1841 with my father and the family from Giles County, Tennessee. As to any further statement I can only just say that I acquiesce in the statements made by Mr. Holland and the other gentlemen in every particular in regard to the buildings, improvements and the location of residences in this city, except perhaps that I remember Mr. E. M. Bearden and Mr. Henry Matlock. They lived over where the McGregor warehouse now stands.


I arrived here about February 14th, 1853, at 10 a. m. Came from Tennessee by way of Berryville, Ark. Stopped at Gen. N. R. Smith Hotel, board $1.50 per week. Shortly after my arrival, I noticed a crowd collected in the south side of the Public Square. They were laughing and making considerable noise. On inquiry as to the cause, the General informed me they were burning Rube Blakey's whiskey.


William Ross from Illinois was here, making temperance speeches, and Rube had been converted, and the evening before joined the Sons of Temperance.

You old citizens all remember the nice times we had, many beautiful and lovely girls, sociables on every Thursday evening, which were open to all; respectable young men were eligible, if they respected themselves; money did not count. Those men with a taint were given to understand "not wanted." If any man had dared to insult one of our girls, Springfield would have been a hard road for him to travel. The young men were the girls' protectors.

These same young men visited the sick and nursed them if needed; any person in town sick we all heard of it. A stranger visiting taken sick, was looked after and the best of care given him; if in distress financially the boys went down in their pockets.

Two hundred and fifty was the number of inhabitants claimed on my arrival. Court house in center of Square. Jail on Boonville street, near Water, built of logs. When occupied, Uncle Ev. Hollingsworth had the care of the unfortunate in the "Stable," as Judge Chas. S. Yancy dubbed it.

The preceding statements so nearly cover the situation that I've nothing to add. Actual count of heads of families living in Springfield, Mo., March 31, 1853, 280; singe men, 36; total population of Springfield on that date, 316.


I was born in Rockford City, Illinois, having moved from there when I was two weeks old, in a two-foot snow, and went to Tennessee, and was raised in the corner of Giles, Lawrence and Maury Counties, Tennessee. My father owned a cotton factory in that country and sold it in the year 1851. He came to this country and bought property here and returned in 1852, and in 1853 he moved with his family to this country.

When I came here there was quite an improvement on the Public Square to the condition narrated by these gentlemen preceding me. Beginning at College street and going north, Mr. DeBruin had the stand that has been spoken of, and between that and the next business place was the business house of Farrier & Weaver, for whom Uncle Jesse Kelly was clerking. The first time I ever saw Jesse Kelly he was clerking and tailoring. The first time I ever remember seeing him he was sewing up a pair of fine pants for himself. The next house north of that was Fielden's, and then on the north side I don't think there was anything more until you got to the bank building; yes, however, there was a little house where the Lancet was published, a newspaper edited first by Mr. Davis and afterwards by Mr. Boren. Then the next on the east side of Boonville street were about the locations that Mr. Thompson has already mentioned. Painter was on the corner, and on the corner of St. Louis street the old Temperance Hall was built, a two-story brick. From St. Louis street south to the corner of the Square I don't think there was anything in addition to what Mr. Thompson has mentioned except that somebody occupied a drug store in there, and Dr. Shackleford had a dry goods store there. On the south side of the Square from the Andrews place to South street, there was a little house that nobody has mentioned that old man Troger had; he had a little stand in there. I know I came in one day, and as I was going in there with Wiley Roper to get some crackers, the old counter was lined up with men with guns and pistols and it looked like war times. McAdams had a business house on the west side, and Rube Blakey's place was on the corner of College and the Square. He had a gallery there. Those are about the additions that I remember on the Square.


There were two churches here when I came, the Christian church on College street and the Methodist church here that has been spoken of, and a Presbyterian church was being built on Jefferson street south of Walnut. There was also the Stevens brick school house on Benton avenue and Water street. Mr. Carlton had his college here and was teaching; that was on the south side of the Mt. Vernon road, which was afterwards named College street, after the establishment of his college. Those are two of the additions that I remember to the Square and the immediate streets. There was the Bailey House on South street and then the Lyon House constructed in its stead on the east side of South street. Then there was Wilson Hackney's place next, and those were all the business houses there in that direction, as I remember it. David O. George had some kind of a business, I think, back off of the street, or be might have perhaps lived there. There was an old log house where the Christian church now stands made from white oak logs and weather-boarded. I have been frequently asked about the number of people living here about that time. Now, people generally in talking about it ask me, how many people are there here? Of course they would go by the old fifty-acre tract. As a rule everybody lived on what they called a lot. They didn't have over an acre or two acres of ground at that time and they were regarded as living in the town, and they claimed a population of 500, and I should think that they had that many.

On Grand Prairie there was the Bragg place, and the Uncle Joe Rountree place; William White was opening a place, and the John Rountree place; the Bill Tatum place; the John Young place; the old man Postum place west of the Young place, and the Potter place, and the Weaver place; the William Massey place and the Buck Rountree place, and the Bill Robberson place, and my father's place. Those constituted all the farms on the prairie, and all the rest of the prairie was open and vacant.

I remember that on the day after the battle of Wilson Creek, on Sunday morning, I got on my horse to go down to the battleground, and I struck a bee line as straight as I could go through the prairie, and I never let down a fence, or went through anybody's gate from the old Weaver farm to the battleground. There was not a farm on the way from there to the battleground, a distance of about eight miles.


I was born and raised in Tennessee and got to Springfield, Missouri, July 29th, 1855. I found the manufacturing and mechanical "plants" then in Springfield to be first in amount of output. John Lair, who had a blacksmith and wagon shop at the northwest corner of Jefferson and St. Louis streets. There nearly all the plows and wagons were made and repaired. I don't remember the number of "fires'' he then run, but later he run from four to eight "fires"

and later made "stocks'' and used leather belting and could shoe 100 mules a day if the driver was in a hurry. Lair's "Prairie Breaker'' was known for 100 miles and required from four to six yoke of oxen to pull it through the tough roots of the prairie sod.


Wm. McAdams saddlery and harness shop was where the ten cent store now is. He had several journeymen and apprentices all working hard and steadily from ten to fifteen hours a day. All overwork was paid for at regular rates, and there was no strikes nor discontent.

Presley Beal had a "cabinet shop'' at the northwest corner of College and Patton alley, where bedsteads, bureaus, etc. were made so strong and good that there are some of them now in the city, apparently as good as ever. At the northwest corner of Mill and Boonville, Thos. Jessup had a tan yard, where the leather used by people was largely made.

A little further north, on the opposite side of Boonville street, was Capt. Julian's "carding machine,'' a very important part of our industrial life, and the old ox and the "tread wheel" that furnished the motive power was kept steadily at work during the carding machine's season.

Wilson Hackney had a hatter shop a little north of the corner of Walnut and South streets, and there he made hats that lasted so long that sometimes the owners got tired of them.

Uncle Jake Painter had a gunsmith shop in the northeast corner of the Square. It was an important factor in our early life. He made and repaired rifles and "Jake's Best,'' a single barrel pistol, was a necessity to all who crossed the plains. The "hammer'' was on the underside of the barrel and all were "sighted and trained'' before leaving the shop. He was a genial old gentleman and lived to a ripe old age.

In closing, I say I feel some responsibility for these pleasant reunions, because I introduced our host to his good wife, and a few weeks later I had the pleasure of standing by his side when he made his vow to honor, love and OBEY Mary J. Powell. How well he has kept his vow only she can know, but, judging from her appearance, wearing her 67 years without a gray hair in her head, I have a right to believe he has kept his promise fairly well.



I came to this county on the 12th day of November, 1855. I was born in Bedford County, Tennessee. I came here alone. There was quite an improvement in the situation here in 1855, from what has been detailed by the other gentlemen present. There were a great many additions to the city at that time. McQuerter had a hotel on the corner of the Square and Boonville, and there was a little house on the other side which was used as a stage office. That was where the bank is now. The next was the old Danforth Temperance Hall, and after you passed Berry's store there was a little frame building that Ben Smith had a barber shop in; then came Andrews, Shackleford and McElhany, and a little house where Mrs. Worrel's building is. There was a little log office between it and Sheppard & Kimbrough's Store that was used for a little office. After you passed Sheppard's store and across from South street on the other corner, was the Braddock Colman saloon. On the east side of the Square I don't believe there was any addition to the buildings named by Mr. Thompson. On the west side of the Square, Circle had a clothing store north of McAdams' shop. I remember that he had a lawsuit and had Circle for a witness, and Mr. Haun was an attorney on the opposite side, and Circle swore to a certain state of facts, and when it came time for Haun to cross-examine him, he says

Mr. Circle, you say so and so? Answer. Yes.
Ques. How do you know that; did you see it? Ans. No, sir.
Ques. Well, how do you know it? Ans. Hugh Hunt told me.
Ques. Well, then, you don't know it? Ans. Oh, yes, I do.
Ques. How do you know? Ans. Why, Hugh Hunt told me so.
And they never did get anything else out of him, and the matter was submitted to the jury upon that statement.


I was born the 21st day of July, 1835, near Murfreesboro, Tenn. Came to Springfield in 1854, arriving November 5, after a trip of about seven weeks, having left the old home September 18th, We camped--my father's family--four or five days on what is now St. Louis street, on the lot now occupied by the residence of Harry Silsby. The first acquaintance made was with Marion Shockley, who lived on the opposite side of the road from our camp. Also made the acquaintance of Peter C. King (who afterwards was sheriff of Greene County), Jno. S. Kimbro and Samuel Jopes. These gentlemen came to our camp to welcome our arrival, as if we were old friends. In those days there was no need of the formality of an introduction. Every citizen was the friend of each newcomer as long as he proved to be deserving. If a man was honest and industrious no questions were asked about his past possessions, or whether he was college bred or what church he attended, or the thousand and one questions now asked.


The citizens of Springfield and Greene County of that day were generally men of education, much of it self-acquired in the rude struggle of pioneer life. They were well read upon all the questions relating to the welfare of the nation. In the U. S. Senate Thos. H. Benton once affirmed that "Springfield contained more men familiar with leading political questions of the day than any other 40 acres of the State of Missouri,'' and I suppose he was not far out of the way.

Jno. Lair was also an acquaintance made at our camp. We had a hack with a broken iron axle, which I took to his shop on St. Louis street for repairs, and foolishly asked him if he could mend it. He replied, "I can mend anything, young man." He was a shrewd business man and a good and upright citizen, who lived by the Golden Rule. As an instance, I heard Bedford Henslee relate a business transaction with him. He and Mr. Henslee had some dealing together in which there was due Mr. Henslee a balance of several hundred dollars on an open account, which had run for several months, and when settlement was made, interest was computed and scrupulously paid as if the claim had been secured by an interest-bearing note. Mr. Lair did much for the advancement and upbuilding of Springfield. In connection with Monroe Ingram, in 1858, he established the first foundry and machine shop in the city. It did not, prove much of a success, but showed his spirit of enterprise. Many others could be named who helped to boost Springfield in that early day.


The enterprise that did most to push Springfield to the front in those days and give her a conspicuous place on the map of the nation was the Overland Mail Route, which was the forerunner of the Southern Pacific Railroad. This was accomplished by the arduous and unceasing efforts of the late Governor Jno. S. Phelps while in Congress. After the passage of the law, there was a very strong "pull'' for the location of the point of departure for the Pacific Coast. Aaron V. Brown of Tennessee, President Buchanan's postmaster general, insisted that Memphis should be the starting point, while Governor Phelps and many prominent Missourians insisted on St. Louis. While Gov. Phelps was in the west looking over the proposed route, the postmaster general was using every effort for Memphis. Gov. Phelps was hastily summoned to Washington, where, after a long and heated discussion, the latter was compromised with one line from Memphis—the other from St. Louis. The franchise or contract was awarded to Jno. Butterfield of New York, a life-long stage man of very limited education, but a man of wonderful energy and a prince of organizers. When he arrived in Springfield to look out a location for barn and shops, he created a great interest. Major D. D. Berry banqueted him and had many prominent Citizens to meet him. He was a short, thick man, and it being warm weather he wore on the streets a linen duster down to his heels. A good many young men about town got Butterfield Coats, among them Brannon Woodson, Billy Hornbeak, Jake Shultz, Jack Leathers and others. The fad was short lived. I think they were all discarded before frost.

Mr. Butterfield established his barn and shops on the lots now occupied by the Reps Dry Goods Co., and part of the lot covered by the Heer Dry Goods Co. Part of the property was owned by Jake Painter on which was his gunsmith shop. Mr. Butterfield was a man of few words, and approaching Mr. Painter said: "I want to buy your lot.'' Mr. Painter asked: "What will you give?'' The answer was, "One thousand dollars.' 'Mr. Painter replied, "I will give you the deed tomorrow,'' and the transaction was closed, which I suppose is the shortest real estate deal ever made in Springfield.

Mr. Painter moved his shop to his home lot on the corner of Olive street and Patton alley, and it is said he was never again seen on the Public Square. I, myself, do not remember to have seen him away from his shop in the thirty years he lived in Springfield, after he moved from the Square.


It was a red letter day for Springfield, about the middle of August, 1858, when the first Overland coach arrived. The business houses were decorated, and men, women and children were out on the Public Square in force. If my memory serves me right, three coaches came in together-horses and coaches decorated with flags and ribbons, bugles sounding and horses came up Boonville hill at a gallop. Young Jno. Butterfield was on the first coach, and it was said he made the entire trip through to California, but of course he was relieved for rest and sleep. The trip took about twenty-one days.

When Horace Greely of the Tribune and Sam Bowles of the Springfield, Mass., Republican came through Springfield in September, 1859, there was quite a turn-out to welcome them, but they were only here for a few minutes.

Warren H. Graves, who had taken much interest in establishing the line, on every trip received a bundle of daily papers that gave the later news than came in the regular mails, and there was always a rush to see the latest papers, and the interest never flagged as long as the mail was continued. Among the people who were most persistent to get the news were W. B. Logan, Jno. S. Kimbro and Col. M. Oliver.

There was always a crowd to welcome the coaches' arrival from either east or west; there was seldom a trip that did not bring one or more prominent men on the passenger list.

The saddest time came when in June, 1861, every day brought two or three coaches from the west, with a string of horses and men going north. And when the great war began in earnest the glory of the Overland Mail had departed forever.


My father settled in this county in the year 1837. I was born in 1830 in Greene County, Tenn. My father settled some twenty miles northwest of Springfield near Walnut Grove, within three miles of where the city of Walnut Grove is situated. My father's name was George W. Kelly. He represented this county in the State Legislature for one term and was twice sheriff of this county. My father, with his family, passed through Springfield and moved to the place heretofore indicated, and I did not again see Springfield until I was fifteen or sixteen years old.


I have heard the statement of Mr. Thompson as to the location of business houses and residences, and of the early inhabitants of Springfield, and my remembrance of those things is about the same as he has narrated, with the exception that later I remember that Dr. Shackleford ran a store on the east side of the Square; also that Mr. McAdams had a harness shop on the west side of the Square. C. B. and J. L. Holland had a clothing store and tailor shop on the west side of the Square, located the next door to McAdams.

My father located northwest of this city about twenty miles when all of this country was prairie out in this northwestern direction and which was unoccupied, all of what is now called Grand and Leepers Prairies, and there were no roads through the county, excepting there was an old Indian trace that ran from a place below here on the creek that was called Delaware town, which came by a little to the west of Springfield, and crossed the Osage river at the point where Osceola now stands, and on into the country to the northwest to a place called Harmony Mission; also known as the ``Big Road.'' It had been traveled until there were paths for the teams and wagon. My father built his cabin close to this road at a little spring. No man in those days would settle in this country unless he had a spring of running water. The next thing of importance to him, and for which he sought, was timber. They seemed to be rather suspicious of this prairie land. They did not know whether it would grow corn and oats or not. It never had grown any timber, and coming from a woodland country in Tennessee and North Carolina, where they didn't know how to make a field unless they hewed it out of the forest instead of fencing in the prairie, they would go down on a spring branch and chop out and grub and clear three or four acres of ground for a field, which would cost them more labor than it would have to build a forty-acre field in a prairie.


The neighbors were from one to three miles apart, and dependent altogether on where the Creator had planted springs for a settlement. The country then was full of game. Deer by the herds, and wild turkeys by the flock, and bands of wolves, and occasionally a panther, and a bear, or a wild cat, or catamount, as we called them, were found. It was a big heavy cat with a short tail, perhaps what Roosevelt now calls the Bob cat. The men had plenty of leisure in those days, and notwithstanding their privations, visited each other a great deal. A man would walk two or three miles to a neighbor's to see how they were getting along. No man left his house or went to his neighbor's, without carrying his old flint lock four-foot rifle. I guess a stranger coming into a country and seeing a man visiting that way would have thought it was hardly safe to remain here. It would seem that everybody here was up in arms, but they didn't carry their guns to protect themselves against mankind, or to attack a man, but they didn't know but they might run into a wolf, or might come across a panther, or something of that kind, and if they hadn't meat at home they would kill a deer as they went home. I have known my father to pass by a herd of deer where there were sometimes twenty in a bunch, where he was near enough to shoot, and might have selected the particular deer he wanted to kill, and never take his gun off his shoulder. We had meat enough at home.

Every family had its little cotton patch and its little flax patch; also a little flock of sheep, and the women folks made their wearing apparel at home. The man, for every day wear, wore brown jeans, sometimes called butternut, in our days, but he always had a Sunday suit which his wife had made for him of indigo blue, and when he got that on he could strut. The women folks made their own dresses. They spun their cotton, dyed the colors, and they had blue and pale blue, and white and copperas, striped or checked, as fancy pleased them, and when a woman could get a few threads of turkey red woven into her dress, when she got that on she could strut.

The grass of the prairies grew very tall, and what paths there were through the prairies had gradually been worn down by deer and buffalo, and perhaps originally started by the Indians, so that if there was any decline to carry off soil it was washed down perhaps a foot or so, and the grass would grow up so tall that you could not see the paths; it would just fall over and cover them. I have gone with my trousers wet way above the knees along these paths from the dew in the morning hunting my horses to plow, as we turned them out every night on the grass. In the fall of the year, when the grass would be dry and a fire would get started, if the wind was high, it would take a pretty fleet horse to keep out of the way.


From where my father built his house, his first cabin, to where he made his little field in the edge of' the prairie, it was about half a mile away, and the ground was covered with prairie grass the same as on the prairies, but here and there was a large oak tree. He kept the fire out of that for protection, and it grew in sprouts. The next year or two they had grown to bushes, and then got to be saplings, and the last time I saw that timber over forty years ago, it would have made six rails to the cut. That is how the timber grows in this country.

A man thought in those days that he must have 100 acres of timber to every forty acres of prairie. But the timber grew fast, and then it could not be disposed of.

Now, in respect to the houses that people built in those days, they were made of rough logs and usually about sixteen feet square. There wasn't a nail in them nor a piece of iron. They were what we called rib and weight pole roofs. The ribs were laid lengthwise to hold the boards, and the boards were laid on ribs and the weight poles were laid on the boards to hold them down. The doors were made of clapboards similar to those on the roof, generally four feet long and nearly a foot wide. They made a good roof, and the doors were hung on wooden hinges. They had a wooden latch on the inside with a string tied to it and a hole above it, and the string hung on the outside. If you were outside and wanted to get in, all you had to do was to pull the string, and I suppose that is the origin of the phrase that the "latch string hangs on the outside." The sleeping arrangements in those cabins consisted merely of what we called a one-post bedstead. That is to say, a post was placed in the floor and an auger hole was bored in the wall on one side and into the wall on the opposite corner, and poles were placed in those holes extending across to the upward pole, and boards were laid across, and on top of that we had a straw tick. We also had what we called a trundle bed, which was built low enough to be pushed under this bed which was to be used by the children, and in our house there was three of us children, and we could all lie with our heads in one way upon the bed. After a while there was another one sent down from the big bed, and there were four of us. Then we had to turn, two heads one way and two the other way, and our feet went in between each other. After a while, when there got to be five of us in the trundle bed, and we could not be fitted in that way, we had to be put crossways, and I, being the oldest boy, by that time I was too long, and I had to either let my head hang out on one side or my feet on the other, and I guess I let my feet hang out the most, for they are bigger than my head, and that accounts for the wearing of a number nine shoe instead of a number seven.


I will tell you, gentlemen, those sturdy old industrious pioneers had more energy, more grit, and more sand than money, and they opened up this country and built up its commerce; they with their wives, those women who made personal sacrifices and endured the greatest of hardships, they are the parents of a race of people that cannot be excelled anywhere in the world. They were as noble as Spartans; and amongst their descendants we might pick out men of learning and men of genius. I don't want to call names of the old pioneers, because I would have to leave some of them unmentioned; they were all alike. I say among the descendants of those people we might pick out lawyers and lawmakers, doctors, school teachers, preachers, some politicians, and maybe, if some one was ambitious enough, that we might have found one among the number who could have taken Teddie's place.

During those early days we had no schools. My mother taught four of us children how to read and spell at home. We had no chairs in the house except two that were tied to the rear end of the wagon when they moved from Tennessee, and the posts were worn half an inch deep from rubbing against the feed trough. My father split the timbers out, what we called puncheons, and put legs in them for his children to sit on. Among those was one some five or six feet long. My mother would set us four children on a bench, and while she was about her cooking and housework she would teach us, and if we found a word we could not spell we would put our finger on it and turn the book to her, and she would pronounce it for us, and we would go on. By that means we learned to read. I do not remember just when the free school system was organized in this country. We had at first a three months' school, commencing in the summer, and the boys would go a few weeks after the corn was laid by, and after the school was closed the teacher had to wait for the trustees to make their return of his school and draw his money for it the following year. We seldom had the same teacher two years, and every teacher would turn the boys back in their books, and they were just as far as they were at school before. He turned them back, some to "Baker" and some to "Amity." These were the first words in the lessons of the old blue back speller. I know boys who had gone to school a little while each year, ten or twelve years, and could not read. I would like to speak of the things of which we were deprived and which the younger people may think indispensable to business and comfort, and of our substitutes therefor; we had no railroads, but we had our ox teams and horse teams which enabled us to transport any of our products to market. We hauled our wheat to Boonville. We had no telegraph or telephone, but we had a substitute; we called it the "dinner horn.'' It was made from the largest and longest ox horn and had a suitable mouthpiece carved ill the small end with an opening to the hollow of the horn. Any woman or 10-year-old boy or girl could blow this horn so that it might be heard from one to three miles away. This horn was used to call the men from their work to breakfast, dinner or supper, but if heard at any other hour of the day or night it was known as a signal for help.


Everybody knew the tone of every settler's horn, and when heard at any hour between meal hours, every man within hearing distance started at once for the cabin from where the summons came. The cabin might be surrounded by a pack of wolves, a panther or a wild cat might have been seen in a tree, some one might have been bitten by a snake, for snakes were numerous in those days, or a child might be lost in the woods, or a boy had fallen from a tree.


Once my father was plowing, when a neighbor's dinner horn blew at an unusual hour, and in less time than it takes to tell it my father was astride the plow horse and off at a gallop to the cabin where the horn had blown. No roads, but everybody knew the location of the cabins by corners.

We had no newfangled harness in those days. Our harness was fastened with a leather strap with a knot on the end, it was passed through a hole in each side of the homes and with one turn below, the knot was brought around and tightened with a loop, and all you had to do was to give a jerk to the other end and the homes were opened and the horse walked out of his harness, and the driver was astride him in a minute.

I have heard old men say, "I would like to live my life over again, if I were allowed to correct mistakes,'' but I would like to go back to 1837 and come up through all the deprivations, labor, exposures, joys and disappointments, rather than to quit and go away.

And now, may I wish that our friend, Martin J. Hubble, who has so kindly honored us with an invitation to meet and talk with him about old times, and all you old friends, if it were possible, may live as long as I would like to.


The history of any country is that of her people. It would recognize along the corridors of past time persons whose marked individuality render them conspicuous among their fellows. That of Greene County presents here and there, such characters, wresting her wastes of land from nature's state; developing her latent resources or giving to her growth a fresh momentum by inviting immigration to her boundaries.

Originally the Osage Indians occupied this part of Missouri. Then the Delawares from Ohio and Indiana, and the Kickapoos when being removed to their "reservation,'' were located here for a time. Old Bob Patterson settled in what was called Greene, now in Webster County, in 1821. John P. Campbell, John Edwards, William Fulbright, Joseph Miller, James Massey and others, with their families, settled in the vicinity of what is now Springfield in 1829. John P. Campbell was one of the leading early settlers and the founder of Springfield, where he resided from the time of its first settlement till his death in 1849. Radford Cannefax and family arrived in 1831. Judge Charles Yancey in 1830, and Joseph Burden and Joseph Rountree soon afterwards. The pioneer life of these first settlers was varied; their experiences are full of reminiscences worthy of record. The journey to St. Louis (their source of most supplies) over mere bridle paths, often for necessaries of life, broke the monotony of frontier life.


The county was organized January 2nd, 1833, and named in honor of General Nathaniel Greene of revolutionary renown. It then embraced nearly all the State south of the Osage river west of Phelps County. During the year 1834, John Mooney and Thomas Patterson, with their families, settled on James river, about seven miles south of Springfield. At the first election in 1834, Joseph Weaver was sent to the Senate, J. ID. Shannon to the House, and Chesley Cannefax was chosen sheriff. Springfield was selected as the county seat in 1836, at which time none of the lands were owned in fee, but all held alike as squatters. In 1836 the first frame house was built by Benjamin Cannefax, and in 1837 the first bricks were burned and a chimney built there from, which attracted general attention, being the first of that kind in the place. In 1839 the United States Land Office was opened at Springfield, but for a few years during the war it was removed to Boonville for safety. Joel Haden was the first receiver and a Mr. Brown the first register, and Junius T. Campbell the first postmaster.

The first court house was built in 1839 and burned in 1861. The present building situated on the west side of the Public Square was commenced before the war and was not completed until after its close.

For several years after the settlers came, the Delaware Indians constituted by far the largest part of the inhabitants. They occupied beautiful lands surrounded by lovely groves of walnut, sycamore, etc., on the banks of Wilson creek. In 1840 they reluctantly ceded the country to the U. S Government, taking in exchange lands near Kansas City, to which they at once removed. This opened the country for settlement and immigration poured in rapidly.


In the early days of our city it was the custom of the inhabitants to perch upon some of the many stumps in the middle of the Square and look afar off down the Old White River trace (now St. Louis street) and tell with perfect certainly an approaching cavalcade of Tennesseeans, Carolinians, Kentuckians, or Old Virginians. The Tennesseeans would be moving along in wagons with upturned wagon beds-loaded with precious white-headed children, as regular in height as stair-steps, drawn by two horses and a mule spike. The Carolinians would be straddled on mules and jacks. Tennesseeans always had a grease bucket to lubricate the running gear part of the wagons; Carolinians had tar buckets, filled with Carolina pine tar, to heal up the bruises and grow the hair tight on the naked places of their dumb brutes. Tennesseeans were bareheaded, barefooted, and wore copper-colored breeches, with legs run through about a foot and a half too far; Carolinians, high quartered black leather shoes, and were afraid of snakes. A flintlock gun and a dog of the "Sooner'' kind always was a part of Old Virginians. This was seventy-five years ago and but few of these witnesses are now living. Jacob Painter was one, however, whose memory was not treacherous, and in his old age could look upon the historic panorama of Springfield, and paint in simple and interesting colors to the edification of all who love the early history of their home. Jacob was a natural born angler, and many years ago would while away the whole of a Sabbath day on the banks of the Jordan with a pin hook and a pawpaw pole without a nibble which, however, never discomfited his placid and even temper. There being no churches and houses of worship then, he regarded this not only harmless, but a beautiful study of one part of the great book of Nature. The smallpox came to Springfield one time and Jacob took to the brush. After many weeks be cautiously returned and was surprised to find so many people still living.

The early Democrats of Southwest Missouri sent John S. Phelps to Congress; Burton A. James to the Senate; John W. Hancock to the Legislature; made General Nicholas R. Smith, known to the country then as "Old Skip," a major general of militia; Charles S. Yancey, a circuit judge; Joel Haden, register of the land office, and Robert J. McElhany, postmaster. These men were the Democratic leaders in this portion of the State.


Father Haden was the organizer of the Christian Church in Southwest Missouri, and in the latter part of July of each year, one week before the election, all Christians attended the protracted meeting of Father Haden, and for many years that meeting decided the election. Father Haden aspired to the gubernatorial chair of the State in 1846, and a Democratic primary was called to meet at Forsyth, Taney County. Father Haden, Yancey and others attended to get instructions in favor of the former. The day's proceedings were a little refractory, but Haden's friends were working up things late at night, and all of the delegates came out for him except one--Stallcup. L. Y. C. T. Huddlestone, a great friend of Haden's and a member of his church, was talking it into Stallcup, what a good man Haden was; he was the smartest man, the best and the damndest wire puller in the whole Democratic party. Father Haden stepped into the hotel about then, and Huddlestone appealed to him to know if what he had said about him was not the truth. Haden patronizingly said, "Why yes, Brother Huddlestone, I am just like a jug handle.'' "There!'' says Huddlestone to Stallcup, "I told you so.'' Stallcup, in the language of Brother Huddlestone, "caved,'' and Southwest Missouri was solid with her seven delegates for Haden in a convention of 113, and it was never broken, either up or down. This was the first defeat the Democracy of Southwest Missouri ever received, although it was always on hand with a candidate for any office in the State.

J. P. Campbell donated fifty acres to the county for its capital, and in the northeast corner made a reservation in which was an unsounded well of pure water. That well is flow in the center of Water street.

In 1840, General Nicholas R. Smith kept the Union Hotel, situated on the north side of the Public Square and east of Boonville street. No man ever kept a more popular inn than Smith. The reception room of the hotel was large and comfortable in winter, and the lawn and upper piazzas the retreat in summer for the whole town. Here the hunt was organized and the fishing parties made up, the newspapers read and politics exhaustingly discussed.


Cyrus Stark, a lawyer, in 1838, established and edited the first newspaper in Springfield, the same being called "The Ozark Standard.'' It was sold to Mitchell and E. D. McKinney, a lawyer and son-in-law of J. P. Campbell. It became involved financially, and under a mortgage under control of Governor Phelps was sold and purchased by Phelps, and the "Springfield Advertiser'' took the place of the "Standard and Eagle.'' In 1840 Warren H. Graves, a brother-in-law of Governor John C. Edwards, and Livingston Edwards and Judge Patrick Edwards took charge of it and made it the most popular paper ever published in Southwest Missouri.

Governor Phelps was elected to the Legislature in 1840, defeating one Sharks. The Lancet, edited by Joshua Davis and John M. Richardson, was established, and afterwards the Springfield Mirror, the first and only Whig paper ever published in the county. James W. Boren was its editor and publisher. So many newspapers in so sparsely settled country caused confusion, bolting and independent thinkers, and parties lost to some extent control of their members; since then Springfield has been a nursery of politicians and could trot out one or a dozen athletic intellects any time to champion any question, home or foreign.

Thomas H. Benton once said of Springfield that its inhabitants were more generally posted in the affairs of government than any other forty acres of land in the United States. Stark, Mitchell, McKinney, Hubbard, Fisher, Graves, Davis, Boren, Richardson and Smith were our newspaper men from 1838 to 1860. They were assisted by Phelps, M. Boyd, Campbell, Bailey, Wilks, Haden, Cunningham, McBride, JudgeYancey, Bedford, Waddill, Price, McElhany, Claude Jones, Sheppard, Owens and Hubble.

In 1844 Governor Phelps was elected to Congress on the general ticket and for eighteen years served the district, state and county with distinguished ability and great honor and credit to himself. Among the many acts with which he was connected was the grant of land to build the 35th parallel railroad, and to him belongs the credit of running the overland mail from St. Louis to California. Phelps was out on the plains viewing the country between this city and Albuquerque when the Postmaster General was about starting the mail. The Postmaster General was Aaron V. Brown of the State of Tennessee, and could establish the points anywhere in the Mississippi Valley and on the coast of California as starting points. Senator Trusten Polk had been sent to Washington to urge St. Louis as the point for the valley. He signally failed and on Phelps' return from the plains he heard of what was going on. Without rest he went to Washington City and after a long and angry discussion with President Buchanan, his cabinet, and the Postmaster General, succeeded in having the points made at St. Louis and Memphis, Tenn.


Leonard H. Sims was also elected to Congress from Greene County in 1844. Phelps and Sims were elected on the general State ticket. At no other time in the history of the State was two Congressmen elected from one county at the same time.

In 1846 the State was divided into five congressional districts, and each Congressman was elected from his own district.

In 1848-9 the Jackson resolutions, so-called, were denounced by Senator Benton. He appealed to the people and a minority party known as the Benton or Softs, sprung up in the State, and in many counties the Whigs and Softs miscegenated and defeated the "hordes'' or the National Democratic party of the State. In 1858 the Bentons and Whigs united on Marcus Boyd and O. B. Smith for the Legislature, and Frank T. Frazier for the Senate. That was the most bitter and unrelenting canvass ever made in Greene County. Smith was a young man just from the masterly bands of John A. Stephens, a gentleman of rare culture and finished education, who founded the Springfield Academy, and he had in five years developed Smith into a strong man intellectually and a dangerous foe in the hustings. The canvass of the county was thorough and complete and Smith was the classical "Eagle of Oratory'' in that canvass. He was the first man in Southwest Missouri, who, with a manly voice, advocated the equality of all men before the laws of God and man.

At an early date D. D. Berry, C. B. and J. L. Holland, James R. Danforth, Junius T. Campbell, Sheppard & Jaggard, Caleb Jones, W. B. Logan and D. Johnson & Co. occupied stores fronting on the Square. There were no business houses on any of the streets until about 1845. One John DeBruin opened a very large assortment of goods on the Court House lot, College street and Public Square, and for years did more business than any of the other stores. The staples he would always sell at a sacrifice in order to sell his other goods at a fair profit, and his cheap store was by that means heralded throughout Southwest Missouri and Northern Arkansas. He held his customers for many years, left here, went to St. Louis, and died.


Bentley Owens, Junius Rountree, Frank Bigbee, Dr. Caldwell, Col. Pony Boyd, Ab. McGinty and S. S. Vinton were clerks in the stores then. The Court House was in the middle of the Square-two stories and a pigeon garret in height. No man ever held an office so long as did Esquire Peter Apperson, except he was a king. Elected justice of the peace in 1837, he continually presided until 1861, and believing his duties or something else demanded his immediate presence at Rolla, on the morning of the 11th of August, 1861, it being a Sunday, he precipitated in the direction of Rolla and opened his office soon thereafter, and meted out justice to soldier and civilian with a ready and bountiful hand. He was a good collector of his fees, but on one occasion he could neither fall back on plaintiff, defendant, county or state, and that was a case no law had been provided for. One D. C. Smith and James Stalling had collided and each of them received severe knife wounds. Apperson had them arrested, they demanded a jury, and were two days in getting one unbiased. By this time Smith and Stalling had made friends and each of them pleaded guilty, but the jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and Esquire Apperson never did satisfy his mind about that case to the day of his death, which took place in 1864, leaving a pet dog and a gander, his only worldly possessions. There were worse men than Esquire Apperson.

In the month of August, 1837, Judge Charles S. Yancy, whilst defending himself from a felonious assault made upon his person by one Roberts, shot and killed his assailant. Yancy surrendered himself to the authorities and was discharged because the homicide was done in self-defense. In 1838 one Britt stabbed and killed one Reno, and in 1841 one Shanks shot and killed Davis. Shanks was arrested, but made his escape. These three deaths were on the Square.


General Nicholas R. Smith was receiver and General James H. McBride register in the general land office at Springfield. Lands were sold first by public outcry, and for six weeks a great crowd of people were in attendance as purchasers at the sale, and it was exceedingly tedious as every piece of money, big and little, had to be examined and counted by the receiver, and the money must be coin of the United States. One McQueen had set up a little kingdom on White river, and had supplied his neighbors with money from his mint, which was very similar to the United States coin, and passed about as current except at the land office.

The county and town from 1840 to 1850 rapidly improved, the increase in population being from 5,000 to 12,785, and by that time nearly all the arable lands were entered up by actual settlers, and the county was spotted with comfortable farms and farm houses. A rich trade opened up with the Southern States on horses and mules, prices ranging from $150 to $200. Apperson, Matlock, Campbell, Crenshaw, Haden, Fulbright, Weaver, Cannefax, Shackleford, Hancok, Lair, Corbin, Holland and others were drivers of horses and mules from this county. Morton Haden, Thompson, Hubble, Jones, Massey, Langston and others drove cattle to Independence and Leavenworth City and sold them at fair profits. Hogs were driven to the St. Louis market, and furs, peltries, dried fruit, beeswax, etc., etc., were freighted to Boonville.

Springfield in 1860 and 1861 was headquarters of the two antagonisms in Southwest Missouri. Douglass and Breckenridge, political parties, had perfect organizations, and were fierce and bitter, the one charging upon the other secession, and the other repelling the charge with vehemence and acrimony. Claiborn Fox Jackson was elected Governor over Sample Orr of our county, the Union candidate, so-called. The Legislature in the month of February, 1861, called a special election of delegates to a convention of the State. Littlebury Hendrick and Sample Orr were elected from this, and Robert Jemison from Webster county, as Union delegates. That short canvass caused each and every citizen to choose his flag-and from the 18th day of February, 1861, business was suspended and secret organizations formed. In May following the two opposing parties met at Springfield.


The Secession element of the people had a barbecue near the Fulbright spring. Peter S. Wilkes, Representative Hancok, Frazier and W. C. Price, Colonels Campbell and Freeman were the leading spirits of the Southern cause. Colonel Phelps, Colonel Marcus Boyd, Sample Orr, General Holland, Colonel Sheppard and Thomas J. Bailey were the leaders on the Union side. Several thousand Union men met at Colonel Phelps' farm south of town, with every kind and species of destructive weapons, organized a double regiment with Phelps as colonel, Marcus Boyd Lieutenant-Colonel and Sample Orr and Pony Boyd majors. Colonel Dick Campbell was sent with a flag of truce by the opposing elements to confer with Colonel Phelps about raising a flag on the Court House. Colonel Phelps agreed that the ladies might raise the State flag and he would raise above it the Stars and Stripes. This compromise prevented a deadly conflict of the two forces on that day. It, however, was only for a time, as the future terribly revealed. On that memorable day, fathers were on one side and sons on the other; estrangements, even to bitterness of hate, severed the peace and happiness of many families in Greene County. Business partners, friends and neighbors became enemies. Sigel came and Lyon came, and for a few weeks gave confidence and hope to the Unionists. Wilson Creek battle, on the 10th of August, 1861, with the death of General Lyon, blasted all repose, and Sigel, with a crippled remnant of a beaten and discouraged army, retreated from Springfield the early morn of the 11th of August towards Rolla, Missouri. A wave of refugees, black and white, old and young, longer and wider, in a solid column, than the tail of a comet, and all were on double-quick time, army march--every man for himself, and no one to this day who was in that memorable exodus will admit that he was in the rear; but each one will say that as he looked back he could see clouds of dust and moving, living panorama of humanity "on the git," with eyes opened and fixed on the east. One officer, high in authority and confidence of the Dutch commander, had no wagons or other accouterments for his regiment. He pressed a wagon and a pair of mules and loaded it with seven barrels of whiskey and a half box of hard tack for his fragmentary regiment of five hundred men on a retreat of one hundred and fifty miles. This officer, with great presence of mind and forecast of the future in loading his single wagon for his men, fed them and twice as many refugees most sumptuously with the choice of all the commissaries of the command for seven days, and had two barrels of whiskey left, seventeen wagons and teams, loaded with hard tack, country cured hams, sugar, coffee and molasses.


The year 1861 exceeded by far any year before or since in the products of the farms in Greene County. The inhabitants, Lyon and Sigel's army, Fremont and Hunter's army, McCullough and Price's army, were all wastefully supplied on its crops for two years, and much of it into the third year. Over $3,000,000 of claims for quartermasters' stores and commissary supplies to the Army of the Union have been filed against the government by the people of the county for the crop of the year 1861, and no good reason to doubt the justness of any single claim, all of which will be liquidated by the government in time.

In July, 1861, L. A. D. Crenshaw, Dr. E. T. Robberson and S. H. Boyd, ardent Unionists, conceived the idea that unless Southwest Missouri received immediate relief from the government the Union element would fall into the hands of Claib Jackson s forces, and they determined on going to St. Louis and impressing upon the Union men of St. Louis the necessity of holding Southwest Missouri secure; and one evening on horseback the three started for Rolla. Dr. Robberson was acquainted with every path and road in the county and could travel them in the night as well as he could in the daytime. Each one was riding a gray horse, and after dark they were traveling in a narrow pathway through the woods east of Springfield, Dr. Robberson in the lead. They passed men-crowds of men, until after midnight, horseback and on foot, and not a word was said, spoken or passed between them. The town of Rolla was filled up with excited men, and all rebels. No train had been to Rolla for three days. They got W. H. Graves of the firm of Graves & Faulkner' to hire them a hack to get out of the town and to St. James. They had gone but four miles and discovered a large train of cars just moving up the Dillon grade of the road. It was Sigel and his regiment of Dutch on their way to Springfield. Very soon they met Sigel and he learned the situation at Rolla, and gave orders to surround the town; and with aboutone-half of his regiment, newly uniformed, with bright, bristling muskets, moved through the woods onto the town. Some 300 or 400 men had gathered in the town and many were boasting of how easy it would be for them to whip all the Dutch in St. Louis. Faulkner & Graves' large commission house was crowded with men, and one old fellow who was spokesman was hoping the Dutch would come so he could go for them. While he was thus talking some one come into the room and said, "By G-d, the Dutch are here now upon us!'' The old man and all the others stepped out on the platform, and looking down the road sure enough saw through the opening woods about 400 yards distant the bristling soldiery moving down upon them. Not a word was spoken, not an order was given, but the sight was enough, and no fixed opinion of any 400 men was as quickly changed. The old man turned pale and with one hound cleared the railroad track and down the track he ran as never civilian ran before all his courageous comrades following their gallant leader. After running about a mile they were pressing through a deep cut in the road about a quarter of a mile in length. As the old man and his men were about passing out the west end of the cut, thinking he was safe for a while, to his astonishment 100 or more of those same Dutch raised up out of the brush on the side of the road, and bringing down their bayoneted muskets on the old man and his company, said, "`Halt, dare! Vot d--n velers is you anyhow?'' It is needless to say the old man and his entire company then and there surrendered, body and soul and all their possessions then present and in expectancy to the men who fight "mit Siegel.''


The extended and growing commerce with Greene County, through its chief city, Springfield, enjoys, is largely owing to its advantage of location and extent of arable land. The power behind the throne--the agricultural wealth of the county-encouraged and sustained the city until it was enabled to lay aside its swaddling clothes and boldly take possession of the key to the commerce of the great Southwest, which it holds today more confidently than ever before.

At the breaking out of the Civil War, our city contained about 2,000 inhabitants, and although not larger than many of the seats of surrounding counties, today, it was then as now, the most prosperous and important town in a commercial point of view in Southwest Missouri. The merchants and traders of those days were enterprising and their mantle has fallen upon their successors, and they have kept in the van, and by their shrewd and capable management of private and public affairs not only placed Springfield in the advance among the inland towns of Missouri, but constantly urged its growth and influence to the utmost limit. The war summarily checked this happy progress. Neighbors found themselves arrayed suddenly one against the other; the energy which had characterized our people was none the less apparent now that it had turned from the channels of industry into those of strife, and the great highways elading from our city to the north, south, east and west, which were wont to respond with the cheery greetings of the hundreds of wagoners, who were the patient and plodding means of social and business intercourse, were filled with the advancing or retreating forces of Federal or Confederate. Springfield was from a military, as it had been from a commercial view, a strategic point, and its possession throughout the war was bitterly contended for. During the entire struggle it was held as a base of supplies and operations by one or other of the contending armies, and not until peace had been fully declared and effectually accomplished was an attempt made towards repairing the enormous waste of property and vitality incident to that terrible five years' storm. But such was the spirit of our then stricken and shattered little city that no sooner did the Sun of peace once more send forth its genial rays and assert the brotherhood of man, than she threw off the weeds of woe and at once Set about to rebuild the waste places. Soldiers, whom the chances of war had assigned to this locality, returned to their homes with marvelous stories of its wondrous charms, and about the year 1866 a tide of immigration set in from the four points of the compass, which continued uninterrupted until 1870. Every stage from the north and east was loaded to the guards with those who had left their homes with the intention of making an abode with us. As a consequence money was plentiful, business houses multiplied and property advanced to a fictitious valuation-all of which tended to a suicidal extravagance in the matter of building not warranted by the class of immigrants received. The town soon outgrew the country tributary to its local trade, and about the year 1873, shortly after the completion of the St. Louis and San Francisco railroad, a reaction occurred from which it took several years to recover. The mushroom population whose presence added to value only in numbers, disappeared as suddenly as it had come, and while in itself detracted nothing from our real status, it had a disheartening effect, which told unhappily for us upon values.


But all this, like the loping off of superfluous limbs from a healthy tree, was, altogether, beneficial. While the city was at a standstill, the county as a whole was making rapid improvements. Enterprising, intelligent farmers filled the vacancy in our population caused by the fleeing idlers from town. Under their careful and experienced supervision the rich lands throughout the county which had hidden talents, were made to equalize the ruinous differences heretofore existing between town and country, and the result was soon visible in an improved condition of affairs. From that date our growth has been substantial, never wavering or at a standstill, until we have a population of 40,000 in the city, and nearly as many more in the county. During all this time through seasons of business prosperity or depression, the energetic merchants of Springfield have constantly maintained and increased its commerce to meet the continuous demands upon our enterprise, and to facilitate trade. The old landmarks in business portions of the city have one by one given way to stately and commodious structures. Capital has been freely invested in valuable public improvements until today, in point of commercial importance, solidity, attractiveness and population, Springfield ranks among the most ambitious cities of our State. What is known as the "Arkansas trade'' has, and with proper attention, always will be, an item of importance to the wholesale merchants of Springfield. This territory embraces the leading towns, and crossroads, places of business in Northern Arkansas, this side of the Boston Mountains. It now amounts to many millions per annum and is being yearly increased.

The wholesale trade of Springfield is not, however, confined to adjacent counties in Missouri and the section of Arkansas just mentioned, but has lately been pushed into Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Our ambitious merchants and dealers in their zeal, having the temerity to jostle the far-reaching business firms of Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago that operate in this latter named trade territory. It will not be out of place to give in this connection a few facts relative to the wholesale business, that an adequate idea may be formed of its importance. Some of our mercantile firms last year sold from $500,000 to $1,000.000 each. Several others made sales reaching from $150,000 to $250,000. In addition to this there are several other houses jobbing ill a smaller way in connection with their retail business.


Our manufacturing establishments, although creditable in point of number and efficiency, by no means occupy the field. The enormous extent of territory tributary, its advantages of location, and the ever increasing demand for the multiplicity of articles that at present are in many instances shipped hundreds of miles at great expense, and then re-shipped from this point, convinces one who gives the subject proper attention, that Springfield must become a manufacturing center of unusual importance. Those flow in operation. although inaugurated at a time so unfavorable as to cause a struggle for existence, have outgrown their difficulties and prospered. Springfield's first bank was a branch of the Missouri State Bank, located here in 1846, where the National Exchange Bank is now located. D. D. Berry was its president and James R. Danforth its cashier. It was well conducted and very popular. Our banking facilities have grown rapidly during the last two decades; deposits have increased from $500,000 to more than $5,000,000. The fact that the money fright has passed by without leaving a scar, is sufficient evidence of their soundness and careful management.

Last but not least, we want to thank New York and Boston capitalists for building us a railroad from St. Louis to Springfield in 1870. Especially, Andrew Peirce, Jr., and Francis B. Hayes, who made it possible for a farmer to get the freight reduced from $25.00 to $5.00 on reapers, and buy a barrel of salt for $1.50 that once cost $10.00, and everything else in proportion.


Abuse them as we have; curse them as we may. Southwest Missouri owes a debt of gratitude and thanks to those noble men, bigger than Ozarks.


I had in mind to make for this occasion a list of tell men who had done most in the early days to make it possible for their successors to build our beautiful city.

It can't be done with ten, so we will write of the deeds of our ancestors at our next dinner when we will have narrations of their upbuilding in the early days and personal reminiscences illustrating the forcefulness of the "Fathers in Israel."

As all of my lists include Col. John P. Campbell, William Fulbriglit, Joseph Rountree and Rev. Joel H. Hayden, and from there on diverge, it is safe to say that those four must be in any list and I can talk about them.

The best life and epitome of the things accomplished by John Polk Campbell that I have ever seen is on page 451 of "Doniphan's Expedition and the Conquest of New Mexico and California," by William Elsey Connelley, written by Mrs. Rush Owen, the only surviving child of Col. John P. Campbell, and which is as follows:

"My father, John Polk Campbell, was born in Mechlinburg County, North Carolina, in 1804. He was the third son of John Campbell, whose ancestors moved to North Carolina from the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, and Matilda Golden Polk, daughter of Ezekiel Polk, that delightful old optimist, known as Old Zeke Polk, the Tory, who was brother to old Tam Polk, who declared independence long before anybody else did. Ezekiel Polk was a great-grandson of Robert Pollock (the original form of the name), who abandoned his estate in the barony of Roos, County Donegal, Ireland, and settled on the eastern shore in Maryland and gave to America one of its most distinguished families. Ezekiel Polk was captured at the battle of Guilford Court House, and confined on board a prison ship in Charleston harbor. After many months, he, with many others, was given the choice of transportation or taking the oath of allegiance. He took the oath and never violated it. He was the grandfather of James Knox Polk, eleventh President of the United States, whose administration made more history than that of any other President except those of Washington, Lincoln and McKinley.


"John Campbell, father of John Polk Campbell, was lost during the war of 1812, and his fate remains a mystery to his descendants. His wife was left with ten children, a farm on Carter's Creek, Maury County, Tennessee, several slaves and a debt of one hundred and seventy-six dollars. She often described herself as wild with grief, but the duties of everyday life pressed too heavily upon her to allow inactivity. After long months of uncertainty she called the children together and said ' This debt must be paid if we have to live on yellow cornmeal mush and buttermilk." Wages then were twenty-five cents a day, and usually paid in produce. In after years her children laughingly declared they did so live. It has encouraged many of her descendants in times of sadness and depression to renewed efforts and ultimate success.

"In the autumn of 1828 John Polk Campbell and his elder brother, E. M. Campbell, visited their Grandfather Polk in the Western District of Tennessee, and their Uncle William Polk, of Walnut Bend, Arkansas, father of Olivia Polk, who was the wife of D. D. Berry, one of the first merchants of Springfield, Missouri. On this trip to the West they visited Van Buren, Arkansas, and Southwestern Missouri, camping on the fine prairie where John P. Campbell afterwards located the town of Springfield. Upon their return home they made immediate preparation to move to the Ozark country of Missouri. The first party consisted of John P. Campbell, his wife, baby daughter, and several slaves, and his friends, Joseph Rountree and Joseph Miller, with their families. They were followed by many families, and John P. Campbell built and vacated successively thirteen log cabins in one year to accommodate his friends. He founded the city of Springfield, giving for a townsite fifty-three acres of land. He engaged in the trade with Northern Mexico and with Texas. He spent much of his time on the plains, which he crossed and recrossed many times. He was employed to lay out a road from the Texas settlements to Chihuahua, and was to receive a grant of land for his service, but it was never given him, although the road was completed. He aided Colonel Doniphan and fought in the battle of Sacramento. He brought home with him several Mexican flags and two beautiful blankets; also a solid silver bell which was given him by a Mexican officer, who was seriously wounded and whom my father saved from being trampled to death on the field of Sacramento. Father reached the Texas frontier in a starving condition after leaving Colonel Doniphan, having been continually pursued and harassed by hostile Indians. He was finally rescued by a Kickapoo Indian, whom he had many years before saved from freezing to death, but who had killed a Delaware Indian and fled to the wild western tribes. He recognized my father instantly, furnished him and his party with food, and guided them safely to the Texas frontier settlements. In the hardships of this trip he contracted scurvy, from which he never recovered, and from the effects of which he died May 28, 1851.


"My father was a man of enterprise and great self-reliance. At the age of thirteen he walked from Maury County, Tennessee, to Meeklenburg, North Carolina, that he might attend school and get some education. He lived some years in the family of General Nathaniel Greene, and attended school. He was a great admirer of General Greene, and caused Greene County, Missouri, to be named in his honor. He was a student as long as he lived. In Missouri in his day books were scarce and high-priced, but he gathered a quite large library, which was free to his neighbors and which gave many of the citizens of Springfield their first opportunity for general reading in their younger days .After the battle of Wilson Creek most of his books were scattered and lost.

"My father was six feet two inches in height, fair, with light brown hair that curled, and eyes that were keen and piercing when he was aroused, but usually open and mirthful. He and his brother William were sweet singers, with that remarkable timbre heard rarely even in the Cumberland and Ozark mountains, but nowhere else on earth. To hear it once even is a joy forever. I have heard them sing-heard the music of their voices drifting over the moonlit prairies--have stood between them with my arms about each as they sang, breathless with ecstacy. My Uncle William's favorite author was Thomas Moore, but my father preferred the writings of Robert Burns to all others.


"John Polk Campbell was married August 28, 1827, near Spring Hill, Maury County, Tennessee, to Louisa Terrell Cheairs, the daughter of a French Huguenot."

Joseph Rountree I knew well. A kindly, sturdy old man, whose sons and daughters were a credit to the country. He was Judge of our County Court and there was no talk of "graft or loot." I also knew Joel H. Hayden. He organized the Christian Church in the city, preached at first in the Court House in the center of the Public Square. Was over 6 feet high, portly, but not obese, and was one of the finest specimens of manhood I have ever seen.

He was a candidate for Governor once, but was beaten by a "scratch.'' He was one of the officers of the land office, but never again offered for public office. He was a splendid "speaker" and a "born orator."

The first child born in Springfield was Mary Frances Campbell, January 29, 1831, daughter of Col. John Campbell, sister of Mrs. Rush Owen, and the first male child born in the present city was Harvey Fulbright, son of John Fulbright, and father of Dr. Fulbright, now living here.

"Uncle Billy'' Fulbright made the first crop in 1829 on his claim south of College and west of Market streets, and had the corn, oats and wheat to support the newcomers. My informant says he was "big bodied, big brained and big hearted,'' a tireless worker and ALL who stayed around had to work. He raised a big family of sons, eight, I think, all good citizens.

The fight for the county seat was at first a three-cornered one between Col. Campbell, Maj. D. D. Berry and Finley Danforth, who wanted it at the Danforth Springs, six miles east; Maj. Berry wanted it at the Gum Springs, two miles southeast, and Col. Campbell where it is. Maj. Berry feared that Danforth would win in a three-cornered fight so joined forces with Col. Campbell and Col. Campbell won.

There was an Indian trader, named Wilson, who was here with the Delaware Indians when the whites came. He put up a tent on the south side of the Public Square, where the west room of the McDam'd Bank now is. Everybody in the country was invited in to vote their choice of a name for the county seat.


Wilson (after whom the present Wilson Creek is named) had a jug of white whiskey, and as fast as the people came in he took them over to his tent and said "I am going to live here and I was born and raised in a beautiful town in Massachusetts named Springfield, and it would gratify me very much if you would go over and vote to name this county seat after my native town." Then he produced the jug and told the voter to help himself, which he did, and of course went and voted to name the town Springfield. My informant, Capt. Lucius A. Rountree, told me this story many years ago, and three years ago he told it to me again, always closing by saying, "I was 17 years old and was 'much of a man' ", and all of you know he was. There is no doubt that this story is true.

Mr. Brown has given the population of the town in June, 1853, as 316. In June, 1856, a census was taken for a private purpose and there were all told 723 people in the town.

When the "Overland Mail'' to California was known to be a certainty, a gentleman conceived the idea of a telegraph line to follow the route of the stage. When he came to Springfield, to get help to build it, he made the point that Springfield would be in the newspapers every day to record the passage, one way or the other, of the "Overland Stage.'' I saw the point and took one hundred dollars' worth of stock in the enterprise. We did get on the map, and few things were done to advertise the city more than it did. The line was practically destroyed at the beginning of the war, and a year or so after the war had been going on I met the man in St. Louis who had taken my subscription and money and he asked me if I still had my stock. I told him, "Yes.'' He asked if I wanted to sell it. I was amazed because I had never expected to get anything for it, and now that the line was torn down, I concluded he was sarcastic and said, "Yes, of course, but the wire is all gone and many of the poles and 'want' is all I would get."

He looked at me a little bit and said "Hubble, you were the first subscriber I got in Springfield and I see I could buy that stock for a song, but remembering how good I felt when I got your subscription, I am going to give you a 'pointer.' You can get $_______for that stock, but I must not figure in the matter. Where are you stopping ?'' I told him and that night a stranger set up his name to my room at the hotel and I went down and he said he understood I had a share of the stock in the Telephone line (I forget its name). I told him I had and he went on to tell me how it was destroyed and the Government was going to build a line for its own use to Springfield, but that they were going to wind up the old company and that he understood that because I was the first in Springfield I was guaranteed against loss and he would give me my money back if I would transfer the stock to him, and he talked largely about the loss the war had caused the company.


I listened and when he stopped I told him it was not much and I would keep the stock to show my children that I had been a progressive citizen in Springfield. To cut the story short-he offered me and I accepted so much money for that stock that I don't care to tell the amount. What the new company that was formed wanted or done with my stock, I don't know. So I write this as a curious reminiscence of old days in our beloved city.

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