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



This book would not have been published except for the suggestion of Father J. J. Lilly, after he had read of the first dinner I gave to the old settlers of Springfield. He suggested that my guests were the only persons now living who could tell of the early days as they really were, and of matters and things as they really existed, during the first few years of the settlement of Greene County. Realizing the truth of his statement, I herewith present the recollections of my guests, largely in their own language, which may not attract the hypercritical, but will satisfy all those wanting to know our early history and of early settlers, their integrity, perseverance and forcefulness. There is nothing about the late Civil War or things which occurred during or after it, except as to the death and burial of General Nathaniel Lyon, which is truthfully told by the only man living who knows the facts, Dr. S. H. Melcher, now of Chicago, Illinois.

The first dinner I gave was on the last day of March, 1906, fifty years after my arrival in the city. I sent out invitations written with a goose quill pen on a sheet of foolscap paper, and folded as we used to fold letters before envelopes were invented. They were all sealed with red wafers. The invitations were given to J. M. Kelley, J. R. D. Thompson, A. H. Wilson, Captain John L. Holland, J. L. Carson, Judge J. Y. Fulbright, Hon. L. H. Murray, Dr. E. M. Hendricks, F. M. Shockley, and T. B. Holland. The invitation read: "On the last day of March, 1856, I rode into Springfield on a red sorrel horse having four white feet and a white nose, a flax mane and tail. The tail touched the ground and his mane reached his knees. I sold him to Hugh T. Hunt, who knew his stock, for $250. I was twenty years old, and now at the end of fifty years, I want all of the men who lived in the city or countythen, and live in the city now, to take dinner with me on that anniversary.

There will not be many of you, so I urgently ask you to dine with me at my house at 12 o'clock noon next Saturday, the 31st day of March, 1906.

Yours truly,

Turnip Greens
Hog's Jowl
Corn Bread
Boiled Custard
Pound Cake

The thirty-first of March, 1906, was a beautiful, sunshiny day and all of the guests were present. The next day Father Lilly met me on the street and made the suggestion that those assembled at the dinner write the early history of the city and county, and he was added to the list of guests. What occurred at the dinners afterwards will be found in the following pages.


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