NATHAN LAIR FAMILY- The Lair home was one of gracious hospitality and its motto might have been, "Friends and family are our most precious possessions."  Earl and Bessie first met at Ridgeway high School.  They began their married life together in the spring of 1905 and moved to the family home four miles south of Ridgeway.

The Oscar Lair family moved to Missouri from Virden, Illinois near Springfield in the spring of 1892.  Earl was the oldest child.  Other were; Cyrus, Emmaline, and Fredrick.  Earl's mother was Mary Jessamine Johnston who studied at Valparaiso, Indianna and taught school before her marriage.  The name Lair is the Americanized version of the German name Lehr.

Bessies father, George Carson was a U.S. Government surveyor and with his party, walked over the Rocky Mountains three times.  Upon his return home, he married Martha May Carson and paid in full for their home with a crisp $1,000.00 bill saved from his earnings.  Other children were; Hubert, Wilna and Pearl.  The Carson's moved from their Iowa home to the Ridgeway community in 1900.  The Carson family were descendents of Scotch-Irish ancestry.

Earl and Bessie were the parents of a daughter, Avis Exalee.  A grandson, Justyn Lair Graham, added much joy and satisfaction to their lives.  As a family they enjoyed their farm home and activities of the community.  Trips to the West Coast, Mexico, and Canada were highlight pleasures.

Earl and Bessie celbrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary at Kirley Chapel Church with more than 200 friends attending.  Their 57th anniversary was observed with open house at their home.  They were privileged to enjoy their 60th together.

Service to Kirkley Chapel Church was among their most rewarding experinces.  They were faithful in attendance.  Earl was Sunday School superintendent for many years and both of them served as teachers practically all of their lives.  Earl was a lay leader and speaker, a life time member of the official Church Board of Trustees and sexton of Kirkley Cemetery.  Bessie contributed much by her interest in the music progam and all undertaking of the church.  She served as president of the Kirkley Ladies Aid for several years.

Community progress was important to them.  He gave his time and financial help to public service in various capacites.  He helped to organize a community threshing machine company and served as its president.  Good roads were always of great concern.   Countless hours of time and much horse power was used in dragging the dirt roads.  He maintained two miles of Grant Township fro several years.  His interest and support contributed substantially to road gravel projects.

Earl passed away May 41, 1965 at age 80.  Bessie passed away Arpil 4, 1968 at age 83.

source:  Harrison County Bicentennial 1976
transcribed by: Melody Beery]

John Alfred Lilly- This particular branch of the Lilly family has a country home, which once visited is not soon forgotten, in Grant Township of Harrison County, on rural delivery route No. 2 out of Ridgeway. The name has been identified with this section since before the war. It has been associated with some of the most progressive features of farming enterprise, and as home-makers and people of intrinsic culture and upholders of morality and high ideals few families in Northwest Missouri have a better record.

John Alfred Lilly was born in Livingston County, Missouri, April 15, 1860, but has lived in Harrison County since 1861, and his present farm contains land that was entered by his grandfather as early as 1856. The family came to Missouri about 1850 and first located in Livingston County. Grandfather John Lilly had lived in several states before he came to Missouri. He was born in Maryland in 1796, was reared in Virginia, and when a young man moved to Park County, Indiana, where he married Rebecca Storms, moving later to Ross County, Ohio, and they subsequently, after the birth of some children, moved to Illinois, where she died in Hancock County. In that state he married for his second wife Rebecca Matthews, and in moving out to Missouri they came by wagon and team to Livingston County. The grandfather died in 1863, and his second wife died in Jamesport. The children of the first union were: Joseph M., who died in Livingston County; Elizabeth, who married John T. Carns and died in Jasper County, Missouri; Mary A., who married John Browning and died in Hancock County, Illinois; and John, who is sketched in the following paragraphs. The second wife became the mother of: Perry H., of Jamesport; Theophilus, who died as a Union soldier in the Civil war; Milton, who died in McDonald County near Indian Springs, Missouri; and Florence, who married Henry Lee and lives at Hutchinson, Kansas.

One of the venerable and highly esteemed old citizens of Harrison County is John Lilly, son of the above John and father of John Alfred. He was born December 14, 1833, in Ross County, Ohio, and has passed the age of four score. Most of his youth was spent in Hancock County, Illinois, where he attended country schools. In early life he became a farmer, and followed it all through his vigorous career. He came to manhood in Northwest Missouri, and in 1861 enlisted in the army at Bethany in Capt. John A. Page's company of the Sixth Missouri, under Col. E. C. Catherwood. His command saw service in Arkansas, Missouri, and Indian Territory, was at Fort Smith when it was captured from the enemy, and was in the fight at Newtonia, Arkansas. He was mustered out at the close of the war, and escaped wounds and capture.

While he has spent the last nineteen years retired at Ridgeway, John Lilly has achievements to his credit as a farmer such as few other men can parallel. He had a knack of succeeding often where others failed, and came to own and control 600 acres of land and at one time was the largest fruit grower in Harrison County. He set out extensive orchards of apples, pears, peaches, plums and cherries, and also derived revenues from stock raising. His father before him had Whig affiliations, and his own support was given regularly to the republican candidates, though in 1912 he followed many other republicans to the support of the progressive leader, and has since reconsidered the action and is now faithful to fundamental republican doctrines.

John Lilly married Artemissa Westfall, who was born at Quincy, Illinois, a daughter of Alfred Westfall. She died on the old Lilly homestead in Harrison County October 21, 1892. Her children are: Angeline, now the wife of Lycurgus Edwards of Howell County, Missouri, first married Newton Beeson, who was the father of her children; Jane married Joel Harrold, of Blythedale, Missouri; Elizabeth is the wife of Alfred C. Sellers of Ridgeway.

For his second wife John Lilly married Alice Burwell, who is the mother of Vesper Ann, a teacher in Harrison County.

John Alfred Lilly grew up on the farm that he still owns, and his education came from the neighboring district school. Among the pupils in that school then was Theophilus Carns, later a prominent lawyer of Kansas City, but most of them became farmers and several of them are still living in Harrison County. Mr. Lilly was with his parents until of age, and the day after his marriage in Ridgeway moved out to his present farm, with which all the memories and associations of his mature life are identified. The land, when first occupied by himself and Mrs. Lilly, was a piece of wild prairie. It had never produced a crop under cultivation, and the house they lived in for several years was a single room 14 by 15 feet. During the eight years they called that home all their children but one were born.

As a farmer Mr. Lilly has been both a grain and stock man. By purchase and additions he now owns 460 acres in this community. Twenty-five acres 'are planted in all varieties of fruit, and in some respects that is the most interesting feature of the farmstead. They have the much talked of Himalaya berry, which in 1914 bore its first crop in this country. This fruit resembles the blackberry, it grows on a trellis like a grape, is perfectly hardy, and bears in clusters from June to October, the fruit always coming through the leaves to the light. In spite of the extreme drought of 1914 it surprised its owners by its prolific fruiting and bearing. The family has made a specialty of flowers, annuals and perennials, and their home is a bower of beauty and delight to those who know the flowers, shrubs and trees which grow in profusion. The lawn is shaded with maple, elm and box elder, while in the garden are found both the chestnut and the white walnut, the latter a disappointment so far as fruiting is concerned. One valuable item of their experience is that by using salt in the treatment of pear trees every year, they bear better, smoother and larger fruit, and with less blight on the tree trunk.

As a stock man Mr. Lilly has been breeding Herefords for fifteen years. He keeps up his register and is a member of the Hereford Association of the United States. "Old Defender" of the Comstock herd was the sire of much of his stock, and he has kept the blood of prize winners circulating through his own stock. The poultry yard of the Lilly homestead contains the Toulouse goose, the Hamburg chicken and also the pure Plymouth Rock and White Orpington, Pekin ducks, Pearl guineas, Bourbon red and slate turkeys. It is a fact that will interest many that the revenues from eggs and chickens average about four hundred dollars annually.

In his civic and social relations Mr. Lilly has been consistently a republican, though voting for Roosevelt in 1912. He declined the nomination for representative of his county in the Legislature, and for many years served on the school board. For twenty-two years he has been an elder in the Christian Church, and with the aid of his good wife has trained his children in the same faith. Their home has always been the home of the ministers and the orphan and no one is ever turned from their door who needs help.

Mr. and Mrs. Lilly began their united careers a little more than thirty years ago, after their marriage in Ridgeway on November 25th. Mrs. Lilly was formerly a public school teacher, and for many years has been a deaconess in her church. She is also a graduate of the White Cross School of Nursing at. Jamestown, New York.

Mrs. Lilly was born December 25, 1862, at LaFayette, Wisconsin, her maiden name being Emma Burwell. Her parents were Jedediah and Lucinda (Wilcox) Burwell. The former was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, September 1, 1826, in 1859 went to LaFayette County, Wisconsin, where he married, and ten years later moved to Missouri, locating in Daviess County and in 1872 moving to Harrison County. A cooper by trade, he followed farming in Missouri, and died January 25, 1891. His first wife was a Miss Haver, and her children were: Sarah, who married John Ethridge of Monroe, Wisconsin; Anna, wife of Edmond Opdyke of Ridgeway; Henry C. of Reynolds, Nebraska; Ella, who married J. T. Travis, of Bethany; James H., of Loup City, Nebraska. Lucinda Wilcox, the second wife, was born in September, 1832, in Pittston, Pennsylvania, and died at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lilly December 22, 1912. By her marriage to Mr. Burwell she had the following children: John, who died in infancy; Mrs. Lilly; Aaron G., of Lane, Kansas; Melissa, wife of George Jones, of May, Oklahoma; Ira B., of Civil Bend, Missouri; Lewis, who died in infancy; and Charles H., of Shattuck, Oklahoma; also an infant son who died at birth.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Lilly are: John Ralph, a farmer near the old home, married Ida Reeder and their children are Clarence Leroy and Ernest Raymond; Nellie is the wife of Charles M. Reeder of Ridgeway, a Baptist minister, and their children are Esther Charlotte, Esta Claire and Charles Washington; Charles Burwell married Lelie Henry, lives on the home farm; and Jeanne and Joseph Westfall are also at home. The daughter, Mrs. Reeder, was educated in the Bethany High School and was a teacher in the public schools until her marriage. Miss Jeanne finished the four-year course in the Ridgeway High School at the age of fifteen, and stood second in a class of ten, later attended the Warrensburg Normal, and for three years has held a first grade certificate and is now working rapidly to the goal of obtaining a life certificate in Missouri. The two sons, Charles and Joseph, both quit school after the course in the Ridgeway high, and all the sons are enterprising young farmers.

[Source: A history of northwest Missouri, Volume 3; Edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1915; Pgs. 1580-1631; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]


William Adolph Little son of
Chas Bruce Little, b.1/14/1856 in Butler Co , O., d. 1/2/1902, and Barbara Ann (Foreman) Utile, b 9/6/1857, Bartholomew Co.. Ind., d. 7/13/1931,
was born near Hatfield, Mo., 6/19/1896 He is one of seven children.

Benjamin, b. 5/29/1884. d. 1/13/1970;
Bert Hazlett. b. 9/2/1888;
Anna May. b. 8/1/1892. d. 5/15/1907;
Harry Oliver, b. 12/16/1899. d. 7/1/1938

William Adolph was a veteran of WW I.
On 4/12/1924, he married

Clella A. Sweeten, daughter of
Sherman Tecumseh Sweeten, b 9/17/1865 near Eagleville, Mo., d. 7/9/1940. and Gertrude (Enloe) Sweeten, b. 10/15/1873 in Davis City. la., d. 4/28/1939 near Eagleville. Mo

Clella was born one and one half miles north of Eagleville, 9/11/1899. She is one of four children:

Blanche Chloe Chandler, b. l1/14/1892. d 5/11/1962;
Roy Ray. b. 12/10/1893, d 6/16/1956,
Demar. b. 4/11/1902. d 4/14/1960.

"Dolph" and Clella purchased their present farm home, one mile south of Eagleville, in 1933 about the time the US DA. Soil Conservation Station was established in Harrison Co., Mo They were among first farmers to contract for conservation work on their farm. Mrs. Little was one of the pioneering workers who solicited memberships to get electric service for the farms in 1938. The Littles pioneered in electric heat for the home; theirs being the first electrically heated rural home in Harrison Co.

Clella taught in rural schools 18 years. She was Educational assistant to Harrison Co. Agricultural Conservation Committee three years. The Littles have been breeders of Purebred Shorthorn cattle 52 yrs. "Dolph" is a 50 year Mason. He and Clella are charter members of O. E S. Eagleville. The Littles are members of Christian Church at Eagleville Their grandparents were among the early settlers of Harrison Co.

Clella's paternal grandparents Henry Sweeten, son of Robert and Sara Sweeten, b. Montgomery Co.. Ind. 10/31/1832. d. 2/10/1899 was mustered into Co. D. 23 Inf. in Harrison Co. 9/22/1861. Taken prisoner at battle of Pittsburgh at Shiloh. Tenn. 4/6/1862, released and promoted to 1st Lt. 1/13/1863. Participated in Sherman's march to Atlanta. Resigned 9/13/1864. Paternal grandmother: Serena (Kittle) Sweeten, b. Barber Co.. Va., 4/20/1836. d 2/14/1896. the daughter of Martin D. Kittle, b. 7/4/1811. and Mary Kittle, b. 5/18/1812. d.2/28/1889

Clella's maternal grandparents: Dr. John D. Enloe Sr.. b 4/13/1817. N. C. d. 12/27/1878. at Cainsville, one of Harrison County's early doctors He was a charter member of Cainsville Lodge No. 328. A F & A.M., organized 1868. Grandmother Permelia (Durbin) Enloe, b. 4/1/1834, d. 4/1/1894 at Eagleville.

[source: Harrison County Bicentennial 1976,transcribed by: Melody Beery]


H.C. Lessley
was born in Augusta County, Va., May 9, 1834, and is a son of James and mary (Crawford) Lessley, who were of Irish and Scotch descent, and were married in Virginia, where the father passed his life engaged in farming.  He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and to himself and wife ten children were born, of whom seven are still living, all save our subject residents of Virginia.  The father was an extensive land holder, an earnest member of the Presbyterian Church and lived to the age of eighty five years.  The mother was one hundred years of age upon her last birthday and is still living in Augusta County, Va., which was her native county.  She has been a member of the Presbyterian Church seventy five years.

H.C. Lessley remained at home until sixteen years of age, and then began life for himself with 62 1/2 cents in money, by working at his trade, that of a printer.  He was thus engaged in Staunton, Augusta County, for about five years and then finding that a sedentary life was ruining his health, began the study of surveying, which, however he never practised.  In 1856 he went to Poweshiek County, Iowa, and ten months later came to Harrison County, Mo., where in 1857 he entered 400 acres of land which he proceeded to improve.  August 24, 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Twenty-third Missouri Volunteer Infantry.
Source: History of Harrison and Mercer Counties, Missouri Goodspeeds, 1881

Charles R. Lawrence
a well known carpenter and builder of Bethany, who for many years has worked at his trade in Bethany and vicinity, is a native son of Harrison County.  He was born in Bethany, February 17, 1857, and is a son of Richard and Mary A. (Goucher) Lawrence, both of whom were natives of New Jersey and early pioneer settlers in Harrison County.  They came here in 1856 and the father bought land here and spent the remainder of his life in this county.  He died in November, 1888, and his remains are buried in the Dale Cemetery.  His wife died in 1899 and her remains also rest in the Dale Cemetery.

To Richard Lawrence and wife were born the following children:  Richard G. Betlton, Missouri; Sarah A. Cedar Springs, Missouri; Harriet, married John Wilson, and they live in Bethany Township, Harrison County; Hettie, married Lon Rakestraw, Hardy, Nebraska; two children died in infancy; and Charles R. whose name introduces this review.

Charles R. Lawrence was reared in harrison County and received his education in the district schools of this county.  Early in life he learned the carpenters trade and became an expert workman in this line.  He has worked at his trade all his life chiefly in Bethany and vicinity and has done work on nearly all the principal buildings of this city, including churches, school buildings and many of the best residences.

Mr. Lawrence was married in 1889 to Emma (Kenison) Stafford and to them have been born four children as follows:  Stella M. who married George Goble and they reside in Spokane Washington; Inez P., who died in 1914 and is buried in Dale Cemetery; Hazel, married William Milburn and they live in Denver, Colorado; and Abbie, married Roe Towns and they live in Richmond, Kansas.

Mr. Lawrence is a dependable citizen and the Lawrence family ranks among the representative people of Harrison County.
Source: History of Harrison County, Geo. Wanamaker, 1921

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