Caldwell County Missouri
DARL B. CROSS
A prominent lawyer of Lathrop, Clinton County, Darl B. Cross, of the firm of Cross & Sons, is a man of culture and ability, thoroughly versed in the intricacies of the law, and, with his partners, has conducted and won many suits of importance and note since beginning the practice of his profession. The youngest son of John A. Cross, of whom a brief biographical sketch appears elsewhere in this volume, he was born in Caldwell County, Missouri, July 9, 1879. But four years old when he was brought by his parents to Lathrop, Darl B. Cross attended the common and high schools of this place, and subsequently studied dentistry, which he practiced successfully for a few years. Unable, however, to resist the lure of the law, he began its study under the tuition of his father, and on April 15, 1905, was admitted to the Missouri bar. A close student, with access to the large and well selected law library of his father, Mr. Cross has gained an excellent knowledge of his chosen profession, and built up a large and lucrative general practice, as a member of the widely known legal firm of Cross & Sons having a position of note in legal circles. Genial and courteous in manner, and hearty and sincere in expression, he has won a host of friends and clients, all of whom speak a good word for him at all times and in all places. Mr. Cross married, November 22, 1904, at Plattsburg, Missouri, Miss Catherine Shikles, a daughter of William Shikles, of whom further account may be found on another page of this work. Mr. and Mrs. Cross have one child, John A. Cross, second. Mr. Cross has served as city attorney seven years. Fraternally he is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. (Source: A History of Northwest Missouri, Vol 2 by Walter Williams. Publ. 1915)
ELI P. NESBITT, M. D.
Dr. Nesbitt is one of the younger representatives of the medical fraternity in Nodaway county, yet his youth seems no bar to his progress and his success, for he has already gained a reputation and a high standing that many an older practitioner might well envy. He was born in Caldwell county, Missouri, December 25, 1873, and is a son of George W. Nesbitt, one of the leading fruit farmers of Andrew county, Missouri. His father came to this state in 1860, following farming in Caldwell county until 1882, when he removed to Andrew county. He was born in Stark county, Ohio, in 1838, a son of George Nesbitt, Sr., who emigrated from Pennsylvania to the Buckeye state. On removing to the portion of the country west of the Mississippi George W. Nesbitt took up his abode in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where he made his home until the year of his arrival in Missouri. He was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Cates, a native of Ray county, this state, who died in 1897. Their children are: Edith, the wife of Dr. E. L. Crowson, of Pickering, Missouri; Kate, who is living in Andrew county; Eli Paulus, our subject; Florence and Pleasant, who are students in the Missouri State University; Nellie, who completed the high-school course in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1900; and Ethel, who is a sophomore in the same institution. The Doctor acquired his literary education in the Chillicothe normal school, under Professor Allen Moore, and read medicine under Professor Senor, one of the faculty of the Central Medical College, at St. Joseph. In 1894 he matriculated in that college, completing the regular course in three years and winning his diploma in 1897. On the 25th of May of that year he opened his office in Gaynor, as the successor of Dr. Ream, of Maryville. He has gained here a large and constantly growing practice and his business is of a desirable character, bringing to him a good remuneration. The Doctor was married in Gaynor, in December, 1899, to Alice, a daughter of Mrs. Mary J. Davis. His interest in fraternities extends to membership in the Modern Woodmen of America, and he represents in his professional capacity the Prudential Insurance Company of America and the Marshalltown Insurance Company, of Marshalltown, Iowa. The Nesbitt family is well known in politics for its adherence to Democracy. None of its members have sought or held office, but as citizens have given their aid to its work at primaries and county conventions. This is practically true of the Doctor, who does what he can to aid the cause, yet without effort at show or desire for political preferment. [Source: A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri: with numerous sketches ... By William Smith Bryan publ. 1876 Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]
PRESIDENT JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH
President Joseph Fielding Smith, for many years the leader of his people, a man whose greatness was found in his keen sense of duty, his devotion to high principles and his charitable spirit, came to his prominence in connection with the secular and religious upbuilding of Utah through the natural development that spells character, resulting from a true recognition of life's values and of duty well performed. He was born at Far West, Missouri, November 13, 1838, a nephew and namesake of Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His father, Hyrum Smith, was the Patriarch of the church, and owing to the many attacks made upon Mormonism in Missouri and Illinois, was at the time of his son's birth a prisoner in the hands of the Missourians. The family afterward removed to Nauvoo, Illinois, and the father suffered martyrdom at Carthage, Illinois, for his faith. The widowed mother in 1846 traveled with the band of Latter-day Saints who left Illinois, and, crossing the Mississippi on a flatboat towed by a skiff, she then started on the long journey across the arid plains to Utah—the Mecca of the people of her faith. Her little son accompanied her and acted as herd-boy and teamster, driving a yoke of oxen from the Missouri river to the Salt Lake valley. In every possible way he assisted the family on the long journey and had not quite reached his tenth year when their travels were over. Utah at that time had not even been organized as a territory, so that Joseph F. Smith was a witness of the entire development of the state and the family shared in the hardships and privations of pioneer life. Holding closely to the faith of his fathers throughout his entire life, he remained a most zealous follower of the church and was continually advanced in its councils. In early manhood he served as a colonizer and missionary and was afterward legislator, apostle and president of the church, remaining for seventeen years of his life as its chief representative. In his early years President Smith was in humble circumstances, but he possessed splendid business and executive ability as well as religious zeal and energy. He saw and recognized his opportunities and in early manhood lived a life of economy and intense industry. Prosperity attended his efforts in his later years because of the splendid business principles which he ever followed. He would at no time incur indebtedness and he frequently admonished his people to "Get out of debt and keep out," setting them a splendid example in this connection. One of his biographers, writing of him after his death said: "Those who criticized him for what they deemed a too active participation in commercial affairs, and thought that as a religious leader he should have been engrossed in spiritual things, to the exclusion of the temporal, overlooked the fact that from the Mormon point of view the spiritual includes the temporal. The Latter-day Saints never could have accomplished their great work of redeeming a desert, building cities, bringing the poor from foreign lands, colonizing waste places and planting civilization in the midst of savagery, had not their religion been a religion of temporalities —of emigration, agriculture, manufacture and commerce, as well as of tabernacles, chapels, schools and missions. Deserts are not redeemed by prayer alone. States are not founded by singing hymns, preaching sermons or performing ordinances. President Smith held that the Gospel was intended to save men in this life as well as in the life to come, and that a religion which does not better one's condition here cannot be depended upon to improve it hereafter." Gifted with the power of oratory, he was always a most impressive speaker and his zeal often carried him to the heights of eloquence. During his leadership of the church President Smith inaugurated many important public works. Some of the leading structures which were erected under his direction were the Hotel Utah, the Latter-day Saints Hospital, the Bishop's building and the new Church Offices, all at Salt Lake City. In Canada and Hawaii the work on temples of the church was begun and in various states, as well as in Great Britain, Scandinavia and some of the Pacific islands valuable realty was acquired, mostly for mission purposes. Nor was President Smith ever forgetful of the great leaders who preceded him and in Vermont he caused the erection of a splendid monument to Joseph Smith on the site of the Prophet's birthplace, while a similar monument was erected to the memory of Hyrum Smith on the burial lot in the Salt Lake City cemetery. He was always greatly interested in the industrial development of Utah and was active in the establishment and promotion of various business enterprises which have been of great value and profit in the development of the west. He became president or a director of various large business concerns and ultimately gained that prosperity which is the direct and merited reward of close application, of indefatigable industry and keen business sagacity. All who knew President Smith bore testimony to his kindness and his courtesy, particularly to children and the aged. He believed that each had their rights, which should be respected. He felt that adults should recognize and observe the rights of children just as much as children have regard and veneration for the aged." It has been said that on more than one occasion the council felt a little impatient because President Smith did not arrive promptly at a meeting, but when he would come in a few moments late they learned that he had been detained by someone whose story of woe he felt that he should listen to and give needed aid and encouragement. Those who came into close and intimate relations with President Smith are best qualified to speak of his character and in this connection Elder Orson F. Whitney has said: "President Smith's dominant trait was his unfaltering and unflagging devotion to duty. A man more diligent, more industrious, more zealous in the practice of the principles he professed, it would be impossible to find. True to his convictions, fearless and outspoken in their defense, he was absolutely untiring in his labors for the promotion of the Master's cause. He did not court martyrdom, but neither would he have shrunk from it had it been a choice between death and dishonor. He was an example of moral rectitude, of clean conduct, of righteous living; and this without doubt constitutes his chief title to greatness. Honest, brave, determined, conscientious in all his relations with God and with his fellowmen— these and kindred qualities, which his illustrious lineage and his exalted station, gave him a prestige all but unrivalled in the annals of the church over which he presided. Throughout his entire career he stood a stalwart among the noblest in the land, a man of unblemished integrity, a rock against which the billows of temptation beat and dashed in vain.
"Second only to his loyalty and devotion to the work of God was his warm and tender love for his family—his wives, his children, and after them his kindred in general. No man could have been more attached to the members of his household, more regardful of their welfare, more solicitous for their safety, more zealous of any influence that threatened their peace and prosperity, their happiness in time or in eternity. And how richly was he recompensed! In all that numerous flock of sons and daughters, his children and his children's children, not one 'black sheep' is to be found, not one wanderer from the fold of the Good Shepherd. This reflection must have been to him, even in hours of sorrow and dejection, an unfailing source of comfort and consolation. Everyone who knew Joseph F. Smith recognized him as a spiritual giant, a man of mighty faith and religious power. No slight upon his religion or his people ever passed unnoticed by him—or unresented, unless for principle's sake he was patient and held his peace. Never was he silent through fear of consequences to himself. Exceedingly sensitive and easily hurt, he was apt to express himself intensely, and could be stern and severe in reprimand. But none knew better than he that 'reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved by the Holy Ghost,' is only half the duty of a servant of God when rebuking error or wrong-doing. None knew better how to 'show forth afterwards an increase of love' toward the one reproved, lest enmity should spring from humiliation. All Utah mourned his departure, and in other parts of the Intermountain region Mormons and Gentiles alike paid tributes of respect to his memory. The governor of Utah and the mayor of Salt Lake City, both non-Mormons, requested by public proclamation a general suspension of business during the hour set for the burial. Owing to the influenza scourge and the danger attendant upon indoor gatherings, no service was held except at the grave, to which the casket containing the remains, starting from the BeeHive House precisely at noon of November 22d, was followed by probably the longest funeral cortege that has ever moved through the streets of Utah's capital. At the tomb brief addresses were made by high church officials, beautiful and appropriate music was rendered, and the body of a good and great man was laid in the bosom of Mother Earth to await the Morning of the Resurrection." President Smith died November 19, 1918. [Source: Utah since Statehood: Historical and Biographical Volume 2; By Noble Warrum; Publ. 1919; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.]
ROBERT T. STEPHENS
Robert T. Stephens enjoys the unusual distinction of having served continuously for eight years as city attorney of Excelsior Springs. He was born in Caldwell county, Missouri, October 10, 1881, a son of Edward and Eliza (Evans) Stephens. The father was a farmer of Caldwell county for many years. Both parents, however, were natives of Wales, where the father's birth occurred in June, 1848, while the mother was born In September, 1849. They were married in Wales on the 16th of July, 1870, and in the fall of the same year left that little rock-ribbed country for the new world. Six weeks were consumed in making the voyage and after landing on the shores of America they did not tarry long in the east but came almost directly to Missouri, settling in Caldwell county where they reared a family of nine children. The father was a man of exceptional qualities in his relations to his family, finding his greatest happiness in promoting their comfort and welfare. He was also a most substantial citizen and while he did not seek nor fill public office he contributed in many ways to the general good and was held in high esteem by all who knew him. He passed away August 22, 1888. Robert T. Stephens obtained a public school education attending the Excelsior high school at Cowgill, Missouri, from which he was graduated in 1902. He then entered the William Jewell College at Liberty, Missouri, from which he was graduated with the class of 1907. Later he became a student in the Kansas City school of Law and in 1910 was graduated with the LL. B. degree, while in 1911 his alma mater conferred upon him the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts. Mr. Stephens entered upon the practice of his chosen profession in Excelsior Springs in 1911 and in April, 1912, was appointed city attorney to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. Wyman. At the ensuing election he was chosen by popular suffrage to the office and has been re-elected at each succeeding city election since that time, being once more chosen for the office on the 6th of April, 1920. He has made a most excellent record in this connection and no higher endorsement of the value of his service could be given than the fact that he has so many times been made city attorney. He has much to do with protecting and developing the interests of the city through the discharge of his official duty and Excelsior Springs numbers him among its most valued residents. Mr. Stephens was very active in all war work. He served on the legal advisory board, and was one of the Four Minute men and also a member of the American Protective League: He was very anxious to get into the army and it was through no fault of his that he was not able to go overseas. He entered the service but was with the army only one day when the armistice was signed. He is now a member of Clyde Gustine Post, No. 236, of the American Legion. Politically he is a republican and fraternally he belongs to the Masons, having membership with the blue lodge, the chapter, Knight Templar Commandery and Mystic Shrine. His work as a man and citizen is widely acknowledged and all who know him esteem him highly. ["Centennial history of Missouri (the center state) one hundred years in the Union, 1820-1921", Vol. 5, pub. 1921]
© Copyright by Genealogy Trails