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Andrew County
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B. L. RalphB. L. Ralph. Now living quietly on his farm, which is partly within the city limits of Savannah, B. L. Ralph has had a varied business career which has taken him into all the states west of the Mississippi River, as far north as Alaska, during the Klondike mining excitement, and as far south as Old Mexico. He has done a great deal of work in a constructive way, has prospered as a business man, and is a good substantial citizen.
B. L. Ralph was born near Albany in Gentry County, Missouri, January 1, 1863, a son of George S. and Mary J. (Twedell) Ralph. His father was born in Ohio, June 30, 1824, and his mother in Illinois, February 15, 1829. Left an orphan, his father came out to the Platte Purchase in Northwest Missouri in 1846, while his wife came with her parents to St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1848, and they were married in Gentry County, where the father spent his active career as a farmer. The mother is still living at Albany. Their three children are B. L. Ralph; William, of Gentry County; and Ida, wife of J. W. Worden of Gentry County.
B. L. Ralph spent the first twenty-three years of his life in Gentry County, lived on the old farm with his parents, and in the meantime had gained the fundamentals of an education in country schools. Among other experiences of his lifetime he has done a considerable amount of school teaching, teaching for two winters in his home district, and after moving to Andrew County in 1884 taught a country school one winter.
In 1886 Mr. Ralph was married in Savannah to Amy M. Cobb. She was born in England, August 25, 1870, and at the age of four years came with her parents, Amos and Harriet (Brand) Cobb, who settled in Savannah. After their marriage Mr. Ralph moved west, locating in San Luis Park, Colorado, took up a homestead, and assisted in the building of irrigation ditches.
After a year spent there he returned to Missouri, and became foreman on mason work during the construction of the Chicago Great Western Railroad through Savannah. His next venture was in the wholesale and retail oil business at Maryville, and subsequently he was connected with the Standard Oil Company, and went out to Kansas and was located at Salina for nine years. He was interested there in the Lee Mercantile Company, a wholesale grocery firm. After selling out, Mr. Ralph was one of the men attracted to the far North by the gold discoveries in Alaska in 1897. He went over the Dyea Trail and down the Yukon River to Dawson City. This was a trip fraught with many difficulties and dangers. The party had to whipsaw the lumber used for the construction of boats, and there were times when provisions were scanty and when all manner of difficulties threatened them. Mr. Ralph spent fifteen months in prospecting in the Yukon Territory, and returned to Skagway, a distance of seven hundred miles, by dog team, making that trip in twenty days. He arrived home in the spring of 1898.
With his brother-in-law, Charles B. Cobb, he engaged in masonry contracting along the line of the Chicago Great Western, and did all the masonry contracting on that system. Since giving up his contracting business Mr. Ralph has looked after his farming business. He has twenty two acres with his home partially in the corporate limits, and another place of 220 acres outside.
Mr. Ralph is a democrat in politics, and is affiliated with both the York and Scottish Rite branches of Masonry, including the thirty-second degree and the Shrine. He and his wife are the parents of two children: Mildred and Elizabeth.
[Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pgs.1496-1498; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


James M. Rea. In an office that was signally dignified and honored by the services of his father, Judge Rea is maintaining the same high standard of efficiency and is one of the able and popular executives of the government of his native county. He is a son of the late Judge Joseph Rea, to whom a memoir is dedicated on other pages of this work, so that in the present article it is unnecessary to offer further review of the family history, though it may consistently be said that few names have been more prominent and represented greater influence in this history of Andrew County than that borne by him who is now serving as judge of the Probate Court of the county and who is known as a citizen of high civic ideals, as well as a man of broad mental ken, well fortified convictions and unquestioned integrity of purpose.
In what is now known as the Fisher farm, about two miles northeast of the Village of Rea, named in honor of the family, Judge James Muse Rea was born on the 26th of August, 1863, a scion of one of the sterling pioneer families of Andrew County. He is the oldest of the children of Judge Joseph Rea and Sarah A. (Muse) Rea, the latter of whom maintains her home at Savannah, the judicial center of the county, the death of her husband having occurred on the 28th of February, 1914. He whose name initiates this article has been a resident of Andrew County continuously from the time of his birth, save for an interval of one year, during which he was identified with the cattle business in Oklahoma and Indian Territory, in 1881. He attended the public schools of his native county until he had completed the curriculum of the Savannah High School, and in fitting himself for the profession in which his father achieved distinctive success, he entered the law department of Cornell University, at Ithaca, New York, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1892 and with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, his admission to the Missouri bar having been recorded in the year prior to his graduation. He engaged in the practice of his profession at Savannah and built up a substantial and representative law business, to which he continued to devote his undivided attention until his election to the office of Judge of the Probate Court, in 1910. His father held this important office for three terms and for the same was virtually the "perpetual candidate'' of the democratic party, and he himself has given an administration marked by great circumspection and care, so that the many important interests presented for adjudication in his court have been handled most efficiently and to the satisfaction of those concerned.
Judge Rea has been unswerving in his allegiance to the democratic party and has been one of its influential figures in his home county. He has been a student of economic and governmental affairs, both local and generic, and has never lacked the courage of his convictions. In 1912 he circulated in Andrew County a petition in support of the initiative policy, to enable the people to adopt by vote or to defeat by the same process the single-tax policy, of which he is a stalwart advocate. He realized fully that the idea was one that was distinctly unpopular among the farmers and that his advocacy would possibly lose to him the political support of many of the sterling husbandmen of the county, but he held principle above personal advancement and lived up to his convictions. In the election of 1914 he was defeated at the polls on account of his convictions as to single taxes, but throughout the campaign no other than high encomium as a man and an officer were heard against him.
On the 2nd of June, 1910, was solemnized the marriage of Judge Rea to Miss Nellie Barr, daughter of Boyd and Mary Jane (Jenkins) Barr, honored pioneers of Andrew County, and the one child of this union is a winsome little daughter, Blanche, who was born on the 2nd of January, 1913.
[Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pgs.1402-1403; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


Joseph ReaJoseph Rea. No publication purporting to touch consistently the history of Andrew County could justify its functions were there failure to pay a tribute of honor to the late Judge Joseph Rea, farmer, banker, lawyer and probate judge, for he left a deep and benignant impress upon the annals of this county, which represented his home from his boyhood days until his death, which occurred on the 28th of February, 1914. The judge was a scion of one of the most honored and influential pioneer families of Northwest Missouri, and in his sturdy physical and mental makeup he represented the best of the fine Scotch and Welsh strains of ancestry.
Judge Rea claimed the old Hoosier State as the place of his nativity, but was a lad of six years at the time of his parents' immigration to Missouri. He was born in Ripley County, Indiana, on the 13th of November, 1837, the second in order of nativity of the two sons and eight daughters of Jonathan and Lurana (Breden) Rea.
That the second generation gave prolific progeny to the family line is evidenced by the statement that Judge Rea had nieces and nephews to the number of sixty-four. Jonathan Rea was one of the sterling pioneers of Andrew County, Missouri, where he developed a farm from the primitive wilds and where both he and his wife continued to reside on their homestead until the close of their lives.
Judge Joseph Rea was reared to the sturdy discipline of the home farm and while assisting in its work and management during the years of his youth he attended the district schools during the winter terms and thus laid the foundation for the substantial superstructure of knowledge which made him in his mature years a-man of strong intellectuality and distinctive judgment.
After the death of his father, in February, 1854, he continued to remain on the old homestead with his mother and sisters until the devoted mother likewise passed away, in February, 1861, the family having become scattered after that time. Thereafter Judge Rea remained on the old home farm with William Pettyjohn, who had rented the property, and while actively concerned with the work and management of the place, he devoted as much time as possible to the study of law, the reading of which he had previously prosecuted under the able preceptorship of Judge William Heren, of Savannah, judicial center of the county, this ambitious work having been prosecuted when he was also attending the school conducted by Prof. George W. Turner.
At the inception of the Civil war Judge Rea took a decided stand for the Union and became a member of the state militia, and after his marriage, in 1862, he soon subordinated his personal interests to enlist in the Fifty-first Missouri Volunteer Infantry, in which he rose from the position of private to the office of first lieutenant of Company B. He also served as assistant quartermaster and for a period of about two months was in charge of the Gratiot Street military prison, in the City of St. Louis. He continued in service until the close of the war, and thereafter he continued to be identified with agricultural pursuits and stock growing in Andrew County during the remainder of his active career, besides which he was engaged in the practice of law for a long period of years and gained prestige as one of the well fortified members of the bar of this part of the state. For twenty-four years he was the popular candidate presented by the democratic party for the office of probate judge, for which he was nominated for six consecutive times and to which he was elected three times. In each instance of election he had anticipated defeat, and the anomalous condition was that at the time of each defeat he had anticipated victory.
He served, and with characteristic loyalty and ability, three terms as judge of the Probate Court. Judge Rea was a man of forceful personality, inflexible integrity in all of the relations of life, and generous and considerate in his intercourse with his fellowmen, his strong mind and resolute purpose making him well equipped for leadership in public thought and action and his very nobility of character gaining and retaining to him the confidence and high regard of all with whom he came in contact. He was a man of dignified presence, more than six feet in height and weighing about two hundred and twenty-five pounds in the prime of his life. Sincere with himself and others, he demanded a reason for the faith that was to be adopted by him, and though he ordered his life on the highest plane of integrity and- honor he did not become formally a member of any religious organization until about fifteen years prior to his demise, when he united with the Christian Church, of which he ever afterward continued a zealous and earnest member, his widow being one of the venerable and revered pioneer women of the City of Savannah. Judge Rea was a brother of Hon. David Rea, who was elected a member of Congress from the then Ninth District of Missouri in 1872, as candidate on the democratic ticket, and who was twice re-elected. Hon. David Rea entered the Union army at the beginning of the Civil war and rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of a Missouri regiment.
In October, 1862, was solemnized the marriage of Judge Rea to Miss Sarah A. Muse, who was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, on the 27th of July, 1844, and who was five years of age at the time when her parents, the late Henry and Mahala Muse, came to Missouri and established their permanent home in Andrew County, within whose borders she has continued to reside to the present tune. Judge and Mrs. Rea became the parents of nine children, of whom the eldest is Judge James M., who is now serving as judge of the Probate Court of Andrew County, a position in which he is admirably upholding the high prestige of the name which he bears, individual mention of him being made on other pages of this work; Jonathan H. remains with his widowed mother in Savannah; Thomas B.. who resides at South Omaha, is United States livestock inspector of Nebraska; Claude is a resident of Edmonton, British Columbia, where he is identified with the wholesale grocery business; Ida is the wife of Henry S. Rector, a successful farmer near Tonganoxie, Leavenworth County, Kansas; Earl is a farmer and representative citizen of Saline County, Missouri, his homestead farm being situated two miles north of Marshall; Ellen, under the administration of her eldest brother, is the efficient and popular clerk of the Probate Court of Andrew County; Bettie died in 1903, at the age of twenty-five years; and Frank H. is special agent at Kansas City, Missouri, for the Home Insurance Company of New York.
[Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pgs.1400-1402; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


D. A. Reece. That energy, prudence and industry are the leading elements of success in agricultural as well as in all other lines of endeavor has been very clearly proved by D. A. Reece, a prominent farmer and cattle raiser and shipper of Andrew County, who is the owner of the Kodiak Stock Farm, a tract of 298 acres situated in section 7, Rochester Township, one-half mile south of Kodiak. Left an orphan in childhood, Mr. Reece has had to make his own way in the world, and that he is now a substantial, prominent and respected citizen of his county proves that he is a man of character and enterprise, hard working and" thrifty.
D. A. Reece was born in Yadkin County, North Carolina, March 8, 1866, and is a son of Joel and Malissa (Fleming) Reece. Both were natives of North Carolina, and in 1868 removed to Andrew County, Missouri, locating in Rochester Township. There the mother died in 1870, and the father in 1874, his death being caused by a stroke of lightning. They were the parents of four children: Louise, who is deceased; Eliza, who is the wife of Jacob Wall, of Rochester Township; D. A.; and John F., who is a resident of Oregon.
After the loss of his parents D. A. Reece became a member of the household of Samuel O. Daily, of Rochester Township, and remained with Mr. Daily until he reached manhood. When he started out for himself he went to Colorado, where he located a claim and remained in that state for eighteen months, working on an irrigation project the most of the time. After returning to Andrew County he rented land for three years and then bought fifty-eight acres in Rochester Township, on which he resided for seven years, when he sold to advantage and for three more years rented the adjoining farm of 187 acres, which he then bought and continued to operate for seven years. In the meanwhile he had gone extensively into the cattle business and bought his present farm of 298 acres, later selling his other farm. Mr. Reece has a fine property and has added to its value by making excellent improvements. He married a daughter of  Andrew and Sarah (Williams) Roberts. They were natives of Kentucky and both died in Moniteau County, Missouri. The mother of Mrs. Reece died when she was one year old and in 1873 the father married a second time in Andrew County.
Mr. and Mrs. Reece have five children: Joel A., who resides in York County, Nebraska, married Happy A. Graham; John M., who is a farmer in Rochester Township, married Ura M. Cortney; Mary D., who resides at home; Eliza S., who is the wife of Stanley O. Kelly, a farmer in Rochester Township; and Eddie Rosa, who resides at home.
Mr. Reece and family are members of the Christian Church at Long Branch. For many years he has been a Mason, as was his father before him, and belongs to the blue lodge and chapter at Savannah. He has never been an office seeker, but has always given his political support to the democratic party from principle. It is largely due to the sturdy good citizenship of such men as Mr. Reece that Andrew County has made such substantial progress in the last decade, and to this class the best interests of their home community will always appeal.
Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pgs. 1769-1770; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


Judge Thomas A. Reece. He is one of the upstanding and forceful figures in the citizenship of Andrew County. For the past four years he has served as presiding judge of the County Court, and the people recently set the seal of approval on his administration by electing him for a second term. His chief reputation, however, is as a breeder and raiser of fine Hereford stock, and the Oakhurst Farm, six miles north of Savannah, is a model place of its kind and its improvements and adaptation to the uses of modern stock raising are the results of an exceptional degree of enterprise on the part of Judge Reece.
Thomas A. Reece was born in Rochester Township of Andrew County December 6, 1867. His parents were William A. and Obedience A. (Hobson) Reece. His father was born in North Carolina and came to Andrew County about 1848, being then eighteen years of age. He lived for a number of years with the family of Stephen H. Hobson.
Obedience Hobson, whose parents were Thomas and Rebecca Hobson, was born in Indiana and came to Missouri with her parents during the '40s. She is now living at Bolckow in Andrew County. William A. Reece and wife were married on the place now occupied by the county farm. Her parents were natives of North Carolina, settled first in Indiana, and on coming to Missouri bought the farm now occupied by Judge Reece. Mr. Hobson bought the land from the original entrant. The house, which was built in 1848, is still standing, and Mr. Hobson subsequently acquired the land now contained in the county farm. He died in Rochester Township July 21, 889, in his ninety-fourth year.
Judge Reece was reared on the home farm in Rochester Township, and two years after his marriage in 1891 moved to his present place. The Oakhurst Farm comprises 300 acres, lying partly in section 25 of Nodaway Township and partly in section 30 of Empire Township. When Judge Reece took possession 240 acres of the farm was in the heavy timbers, and he has done more than the individual share in clearing off and putting the land of Andrew County under cultivation. All of his land except twenty acres is now cleared and under the plow, is well fenced, has a modern home and substantial outbuildings, and is excellently equipped for its purposes as a stock breeding farm. Judge Reece set out the flourishing apple orchard which is also a feature of the place. Since 1905 Judge Reece has been engaged in the breeding of Hereford cattle, and keeps about a hundred head. He also raises hogs and horses, and none of the grain and grass raised on his farm is ever sold, all of it being fed to his stock, while he buys a lot more. The Oakhurst Farm is conducted under the business title of Thomas A. Reece & Son, and the firm are extensive advertisers in the American Hereford Journal and their stock has a recognized reputation among Hereford cattle men all over the country. Several of the registered bulls from Oakhurst have been regarded as among the best specimens of this stock in America.
A lifelong republican, Judge Reece in 1910 was elected county judge of Andrew County, and was reelected in 1914. Since January 1, 1911, he has been presiding judge. By an interesting coincidence Judge Reece received 1,958 votes at both elections, and in 1910 his majority was 351, and in 1914 it was 329. In all the four years of his incumbency of the judicial office he has never missed a day from court. Several times when the roads were blocked with snow so that a horse could not get through he has walked the entire distance of six miles from his home to the courthouse.
Judge Reece is an active member of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, and was elected a deacon in the church at the age of twenty years and has held the office ever since. On December 23, 1888, Judge Reece married Rosa B. Elliott, who was born in Nodaway Township of Andrew County October 18, 1867. Her parents were M. M. and Elizabeth (Townsend) Elliott. Her father was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and died in 1900 at the age of eighty-four. During the Mexican war he went out from Missouri with the troops under Gen. A. W. Doniphan and was a teamster in the long march to New Mexico and Old Mexico, while later he saw service in the Missouri State Militia during the Civil war. He was a farmer by occupation, and owned a place of 224 acres. The Mount Vernon Baptist Church stands on a part of his original farm, and he donated the land for the site. Both he and his wife were active members of this church. Mrs. Reece's mother was born in Monroe County, Indiana, February 9, 1831, and came with her parents to Savannah, Missouri, in 1847. She was married February 14, 1850, and died September 28, 1914. She was the mother of eleven children, eight of whom grew to maturity.
Judge Reece and wife are the parents of three children: Verna Maud, who died at the age of six months: Virgil Thomas, who lives at home and is associated with his father in the management of Oakhurst Farm; and Mary Obedience, the wife of D. C. Middleton of Andrew County, and they have a son, William Thomas.
Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pgs. 1705-1706; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


J. A. Roberts. For nearly a half century the Roberts family have been conspicuous members of the rural community half a dozen miles west of Savannah in Lincoln Township, where J. A. Roberts has his home in section 3. The name bespeaks a large relationship with both the older and later generations of Andrew County people and while the lives of most of them have been spent in the normal and inconspicuous walks of life, they have been none the less useful, have walked upright in the sight of men and God, and those that have gone have left the world a little better for their presence.
J. A. Roberts, though a resident of Andrew County most of his life, was born in Richardson County, Nebraska, July 27, 1857. His family were among the pioneers of Nebraska Territory, and his birth occurred shortly after the historic debate on and settlement of the Kansas Nebraska question. Mr. Roberts is a son of the late J. W. and Sarah Ann (Walker) Roberts. The paternal grandparents were Arnett and Ann (Thompson) Roberts, both of whom were born in Kentucky and both died at Salem, Nebraska. Some facts that will contribute to the family history are found in an obituary of Ann (Thompson) Roberts, who died in Salem, Nebraska, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. J. C. Lincoln, October 15, 1892, aged eighty-four years nine months and fourteen days. She was the daughter of Gideon and Jane Thompson, and was born in Todd County, Kentucky, and was married to Arnett Roberts when sixteen years of age.
They removed from Kentucky to Cooper County, Missouri, in the spring of 1826. Arnett Roberts died at Salem in February, 1862, his widow surviving him thirty years. They were the parents of eight children, four sons and four daughters, and only three of them survived their mother. Those who grew up were three sons and two daughters: James W.; Obediah, Samuel, Eliza Lincoln and Carrie Holt.
The late J. W. Roberts, father of J. A. Roberts, was born in Cooper County, Missouri, May 22, 1826, and was about sixteen years of age when his parents came to Andrew County in February, 1842. He was married February 25, 1849, to Sarah A. Walker, who was born in Estill County, Kentucky, July 22, 1829, moved with her parents to Clay County, Missouri, in 1830, and thence to Andrew County in 1837, the Walkers having been among the very first settlers in that section of Northwest Missouri. In October, 1854, J. W. Roberts and wife removed to Richardson County, Nebraska, and helped to establish the frontier line of civilization in that state. They lived there about a dozen years, and in November, 1866, returned to Andrew County. Here J. W. Roberts bought a farm on Hackberry, six miles west of Savannah, and lived there working as a farmer and increasing his revenues by employment as a carpenter among the neighbors throughout the rest of his active career.
J. W. Roberts and wife traveled through life together nearly fifty-eight years, and died within thirty-six hours of each other. Mr. Roberts died at his old home February 3, 1907, aged seventy-nine years eight months and seven days, and less than two days later his wife passed away February 5, 1907. She had united with the Christian Church in 1858 and remained steadfast in its membership until her death. She is remembered as a faithful wife, a devoted mother and a kind neighbor.
J. W. Roberts, who was long affectionately known in his community as "Uncle Billy," was a man who had gone through some of the hard experiences of pioneering, but always retained an optimistic attitude towards life, and his death marked the passing of one of Andrew County's oldest and best citizens. He had become identified with the Masonic order in 1848, and for many years was in good standing in his lodge. J. W. Roberts and wife were the parents of ten children: Mary Martin, deceased; Susan Martin, deceased; Alexander D., of the State of Washington; J. A.; Frank, a resident of Washington; David, of Andrew County; Samuel, who died in 1878; William, of Andrew County; Jennie Patterson, of Warrensburg, Missouri; and Carrie. Evans of Savannah. The late J. W. Roberts was the first man to carry the mail between Sparta in Andrew County and Rockport in Atchison County, and performed this service during 1844 to 1848.
Mr. J. A. Roberts has lived in Andrew County since the return of his parents to this section from Nebraska in October, 1866. He was about ten years of age at that time and finished his education in the public schools of this county. His home has been on the farm where his father died west of Savannah with the exception of the first four years after his marriage, when he lived in another locality west of Savannah. Mr. Roberts owns 104 acres, utilized for general farming purposes. He has been a progressive and successful citizen. He is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America and belongs to the Christian Church in Savannah.
On March 9, 1882, he married Nannie Caroline Waterson, who was born in Brown County. Kansas. June 20, 1861, a daughter of James Waterson. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have eight children: Minnie Bell, who died January 25, 1814, was the wife of J. J. Hall; James W. was graduated from the law department of the University of Missouri in 1910, was nominated for the office of prosecuting attorney in Andrew County before receiving his diploma, was elected as a democrat, succeeding in overcoming a normal republican majority of about three hundred, and was nominated for a second term in that office, but withdrew from the campaign in order to remove to Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he is now one of the successful members of the bar; Jesse L. is a farmer in Andrew County; Joseph Ernest died January 20, 1883, at the age of four years; Claude V. is a farmer in Andrew County; Ruth Lucile is the wife of Clarence Christianson, an Andrew County farmer; Lloyd W. and Loren L. are both at home.
[Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pgs.1954-1956; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


J. F. Roberts. While Mr. Roberts represents one of the oldest families settled in Andrew County and has had success above the average as a substantial farmer in the vicinity of Whitesville, special interest attaches to his name through his active influence as one of the originators of the famous Whitesville Corn Show, of which he has been president since it was organized in 1907. The Whitesville Corn Show, though starting as a local society, for the benefit of a small community of farmers, has developed into an institution deserving of some particular comment as one of the factors in the agricultural development of the state. Twenty-one farmers in the vicinity of Whitesville may be called the charter members, each contributing one dollar in order to hold a small exhibition of the products of local corn fields. At the close of the fair all the corn on exhibit was sold in order to pay the premiums, which totaled about fifty dollars. From that somewhat humble beginning the show has been developed into the biggest of its kind in Missouri. The value of the premium list in 1914 was about a thousand dollars.
While the first exhibitors and most of the patronage was drawn from the immediate locality, the scope of the enterprise has been continually broadened, until for the past two years it has received exhibits from corn growers in six different states, and since 1912. owing to this development, the name has been changed to the Whitesville interstate Corn and Poultry Show.
Aside from the interest attaching to the daily exhibits during the fair, a special feature is the banquet, and at the last show about five hundred plates were laid. During 1913 the association entered upon still further extension of its worthy influence. A monthly bulletin will be issued under the auspices of the show, beginning in January, 1915. For the month of March a bulletin is in course of preparation, which will be mailed to each of the members of the association and will be distributed to about twenty-five thousand corn growers in the corn belt. While this corn show started as a modest affair with headquarters at the little Village of Whitesville.
J. F. Roberts is a native of Buchanan County, Missouri, where he was born June 17, 1868, a son of J. P. and Jane (Richards) Roberts. Both his parents were natives of Andrew County, Missouri, and with the exception of about four years spent in Buchanan County lived in Andrew County practically all their lives. The father was born in 1842 and the mother in 1841.
He died February 26, 1912. and since then the widowed mother has lived with her son J. F. The paternal grandparents were Thomas and Polly Roberts, both natives of Kentucky, where they married, and came to Missouri about 1840, securing Government land near Rosendale. About the time of the war they sold their property and moved to Clinton County, where both died when about eighty years of age. Grandfather Roberts in the early days gave considerable time and attention to the raising of horses. There were four sons and three daughters in his family: James, Thomas, Martha, John. Jane, Porter and Ella. The maternal grandparents of Mr. Roberts were Mr. and Mrs. Zachariah Richards, the former a native of Tennessee, from which state he removed to Illinois and was married there and came to Andrew County. Missouri, in 1841, locating four miles southwest of Whitesville. He died on the old homestead there after a residence of sixty-one years. He was likewise head of a large family of children. The career of J. P. Roberts was spent as a farmer, but for a number of years he was a stock shipper, and at the time of his death was connected with the bank at Rea.
J. F. Roberts, the only son of his parents, was reared in Andrew County, attended the public schools, and turned his early training to advantage when he chose farming as his regular career. He now resides on the old home farm in section 28 of Platte Township. He owns 308 acres, divided into two farms. The home place, comprising about one hundred and forty acres, is situated a mile west of Whitesville, while the other farm is a mile and a half south of the home place. He operates both farms for the raising of grain and stock. His farm is known as the Cloverdale Farm, and has come into considerable note as the home of some fine Shorthorn cattle. He has made a specialty of planting and raising the Boone County white corn.
Mr. Roberts is a democrat, has taken considerable part in local affairs and though a member of the minority party was a prominent candidate a few years ago for the office of county judge, being defeated by only six votes out of a total of 1,900, the normal republican majority of the county being about three hundred. Mr. Roberts is affiliated with the Masonic Order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
In 1894 he married Maude Wilson. She was born in Kansas June 24, 1871, a daughter of Henry and Sarah (Clark) Wilson, both natives of Illinois. Her father died in Andrew County in 1911, and her mother now resides at Bolckow in this county. Mr. Roberts takes much pride in his children, who are five in number and named Oscar, Chloe, Clarence, Forest and Clyde. The son Forest, aged twelve years, at the last Whitesville Corn Show delivered the address of welcome, and is called the boy orator, and gives promise of a brilliant career. In 1913 he also made a speech at the banquet, when about one hundred and fifty persons were present, fifty of them being members of the Commercial Club of St. Joseph. Among them was the vice president of the Chicago Great Western Railway, who had the boy's speech typewritten and published in the St. Joseph Gazette. All the children take much interest in corn growing, and they are showing the influence of that movement for agricultural uplift which has resulted in the formation of so many boys' corn clubs throughout this country, and is bringing about a training for the younger generation which will undoubtedly show some remarkable results in future years.
Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pgs. 1745-1746; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


Theodore L. Robinson. The years of his life which were most fruitful in accomplishment and in broad and effective service to himself and his fellow men, the late Theodore L. Robinson passed at Maryville, in Nodaway County. There his memory is likely to endure long, and the inspiration of his career and its example are effective lessons that may be read with profit by all. After many years spent in battle against adversity, he lived to accomplish those things which are considered most worth while by ambitious men—honorable activity in business with satisfying material rewards, the esteem of his fellow men and a public spirited share in the social and civic life of his community.
Theodore L. Robinson was a native Missourian, born in Callaway County February 8, 1833. Three years later his mother died, and he was left in the care of his paternal grandparents by his father, who went to Texas and whom he never afterwards saw. When eleven years of age his grandparents moved to the vicinity of St. Joseph, and at the age of twelve he began work in a hotel in that city. He made himself useful, and soon attracted the attention of a St. Joseph merchant, in whose employ he remained for five years. When he was sixteen years of age, and at once caught the "gold fever," and went west. His employer furnished him with goods, mostly cheap clothing, to sell in the West, and in company with another young man he crossed the plains with a wagon drawn by oxen.
His mercantile venture was ill-starred, since everyone seemed to have supplied himself with clothing and other needed supplies, and all the stock he carried across the plains was disposed of at a sacrifice. However, by hard work in mining and otherwise he earned enough to pay his old employer for all the goods and for the team furnished for transportation. Six years were spent on the Pacific Coast in varied experience and hardships, and in 1855 he returned to Missouri, without money, and with his constitution impaired by exposure and the rough existence of the West. On his return to Missouri he received news that his father had recently died in Texas, leaving his second wife a widow with three little children. His elder brother had also died in the same state, while a younger brother had died in 1844. Mr. Robinson at once reentered the employ of his merchant friend at St. Joseph, and remained until he could equip himself with a wagon and team for the long journey to Houston, Texas.  
He went to that state and brought back his father's widow and her three small children, in order the better to provide for them. This was only an incident of his long career, but it illustrates remarkably well the general character of his mind and heart. Soon after returning from Texas Mr. Robinson was furnished a stock of goods by his old and always friendly employer, and in August, 1857, established a store in Maryville, Missouri. That little city remained his home the rest of his days, where he was honored not only as one of the early merchants, but as one of the finest citizens. He prospered in mercantile trade and also as a lumberman. In 1873 Mr. Robinson became actively connected with the Nodaway Valley Bank of Maryville, as a partner with James B. Prather, Mr. Robinson having active charge of the business. On the death of Mr. Prather in 1892, Mr. Robinson made his son, James B. Robinson, cashier of the bank, the latter having previously been bookkeeper and assistant cashier. The bank was incorporated April 7, 1894, and Mr. Robinson remained its president until his death a few weeks later, on May 28, 1894.
This brief outline of facts only suggests the remarkable struggle of a poor boy against adverse circumstances and emphasizes his later success. He acquired a considerable fortune and died both wealthy and respected. Personally he was a plain and unassuming gentleman, wide awake in his attitude of affairs, and even tempered and well poised. His progressiveness and public spirit were as marked as his business ability. While he himself had succeeded in life without an education, he was none the less a stanch friend of schools and learning, and for twenty years was a member and treasurer of the Maryville School Board. Politically he was a democrat, had fraternal affiliations with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and died a member of the Christian Church.
On October 9, 1859, Mr. Robinson married Rebecca J. Ray. She was born in Bardstown, in Nelson County, Kentucky, and when a child was brought to Nodaway County by her father, James Ray, a pioneer welfare and in the pleasures of home and in his many friendships was a strong characteristic.
[Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pgs. 1977-1979; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


George W. Rodecker. The retirement of George W. Rodecker from active life, in 1900, was justified by the accomplishment of success in its broadest sense, by many years of devotion to the vocation of farming, by a brave and active service in the ranks of the Union army during the great Civil war, and by faithfulness to public and private duties and conscientious regard for the perpetuation of his name and labor in the bringing up of his children.  His life has been a singularly active one.
Samuel Rodecker resided on the farm on which he was born until 1854, in which year he migrated with his family to Illinois as a pioneer, and there passed his life in the pursuits of the soil, dying in Knox County. The mother passed away in Andrew County, Missouri. They were the parents of eight children, of whom six grew to maturity: George W., of this review; Mrs. Nancy Andrews; Frederick, deceased, who was a resident of Southern Missouri; Alice Hensley, a widow, who resides at Lincoln, Nebraska; Mrs. Kate Bell, a widow of Chicago, Illinois; and William, a resident of Nebraska.
George W. Rodecker was fourteen years of age when he accompanied his parents to Illinois, and in that state he completed his education in the public schools. He remained at home assisting his father on the farm until the fall of 1861, when his country's need for defenders of the flag caused him, with other patriotic young men of his neighborhood, to enlist in the Union army. He became a member of Company K, Fifty-fifth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, attached to the Fifteenth Army Corps, First Brigade, Second Division, with which organization he served for three years. During this service he participated in nine great battles, in addition to numerous smaller engagements and skirmishes, and at all times bore himself as a courageous, faithful and cheerful soldier, winning the respect of his comrades and the confidence of his officers. He took part in the great battles of Shiloh and Hollow Springs, Mississippi, the advance on Corinth, Sherman's march to and past Vicksburg, where he helped dig the canal approaching the fortifications and was on guard duty when the Indianola ran the blockade, and the battles of Missionary Ridge and Black River, and was then disabled by sickness and taken to the hospital at Memphis, Tennessee, where he was confined for two months. He was finally mustered out of the service with an excellent record, receiving his honorable discharge at Springfield, Illinois, in the fall of 1864.
When his military service was completed, Mr. Rodecker returned to farming in Knox County, Illinois, and there remained until the spring of 1882, when he came to Andrew County, Missouri. Here he successfully followed agricultural pursuits until 1900, when he rented his property and moved to King City, in order that his children might secure better educational advantages. In 1904 he took up his residence at Savannah, where he has a comfortable home and is surrounded by all the comforts that a life of industry and honorable dealing may bring.
Mr. Rodecker was married in 1865 to Miss Louise Marks, a native of Kentucky, who died five years later without issue. In 1872 Mr. Rodecker contracted a second marriage, being united with Miss Eliza Cooper, who was born in Kentucky, in 1847, and died at Savannah, in February, 1907, the mother of five children, as follows: Frank, who is a resident of Durango, Colorado, and has six children; Nera, who is the wife of Morris McColley, of St. Louis, Missouri; Irma, who resides at home with her father; Mrs. Alice Sealey, who died in April, 1913, leaving two children, Maxine Elliott and Leon, who make their home with their grandfather; and George C., who is a shoe merchant at Savannah, and the father of two children.
Mr. Rodecker has been a lifelong democrat. He heard the great joint debate between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, at Galesburg, Illinois, and subsequently, while in the army, cast his ballot for George A. McClellan. He has continued to support democratic candidates to the present time and has been an active worker in the party, although he has not sought personal preferment. While a resident of Illinois, however, he acted capably for a number of years in the capacity of justice of the peace. Mr. Rodecker is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and has served as elder and trustee for a number of years, holding the latter position at the present time. He has continued to maintain an interest in his old army comrades, and is a popular member of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic.
[Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pg. 1643-1644; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]

 

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