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Newspaper Article

(Elected Officials)

On October 12, 1905, the West Plains Weekly Journal published what appears to have been a special section highlighting various aspects of Howell County and its leaders at that time.

Many thanks to Sharon Wilson who, while vacationing in Howell County,
was fortunate enough purchase this paper at an auction and was generous
enough to share its contents here on these pages.

 F.M. McCoyJ.W. Kennedy - Woodson EasleyJ.L. VanWormer - Webster Brooks

O.P.A. Heinrich Granville A. MeredithMrs. Carrie Phelps - Wm. S. Morgan

Robert Watson - Hugh K. Chapin - F.M. Kellett - Chas. W. Eno - A.H. Livingston

Chas. Kimberlin - Marcus A. Cooper, Jr. - W.T. Groomer - John Halstead

T.D. Martin - O.L. Haydon - M.E. Morrow - J.N. Burroughs

J.H. McCready - Will McBride - Prof. J.J. Rowe - Wm. Langston

J.T. Pressley - Lewis Luster - J.L. Bess

Judge W.F. Cook - W.T. Seaver - J.T. Barker


The accompanying cut (a photograph accompanies this bio) is an excellent likeness of our present presiding county judge. It was the year 1846 and on Nov. 29th of that year he first looked out upon this world. His father and mother, Wm., Harrison and Rebecca were at that time residents of Jefferson county, Indiana, but when he was eleven years old his parents concluded to come further west and located in Monroe county, Iowa.

After going to Iowa they spent a year in Harrison county, Missouri, but the move was not satisfactory and they returned to Iowa where they resided until 1882. The Kansas boom of 1882 came and with many others Mr. McCoy cast his lot with the Kansans. On July, 19, 1868, Mr. McCoy was married to his most estimable wife her maiden name being Nannie R. Lind. Seven children, of whom four are married, one boy and two girls are yet living at home with their parents.

After spending six years of his life as a business man in Kansas, Mr. McCoy wisely concluded to settle in Howell county, Missouri, where he has since resided. The Judge is now presiding over the county court the second term, he having been re-elected at the last general election.

Although nearly sixty years old Judge McCoy would easily pass for a man of forty-five, and the Journal predicts for him a long and useful life.


The northern district of Howell county is represented in the county court by Judge J.M. Kennedy, one of those sturdy pioneer characters which has made this county what is and whose ranks are growing thinner every year. Mr. Kennedy came form an old-fashion democratic family, his parents, Jesse Kennedy and Prudence Haynes, being Tennesseans. He was born in Murray county on the thirty-first day of May, 1930, which would make him over seventy five years of age. The family left Tennessee when he was only twenty, going over into Arkansas. When the civil war came on it found him in the prime of life and as is usual with young men, eager for the life of a soldier, he joined the 1st Arkansas volunteers under the command of John C. Bundy and served through the war. At the age of 21 years he was married to Nancy B. McKee, to whom thirteen children were born and out of this number four survive, three girls and one boy.

In 1878 the judge came to Missouri, settling in Lawrence county and in 1884 he moved to Howell county, residing here ever since. During his seventy-five years Judge Kennedy has held many offices, being constable, justice of the peace, and sheriff during his residence in Arkansas and mayor of the city of Willow Springs, also that of justice of the peace and constable. He was at one time president of the Willow Springs school board, and during his term of office their magnificent brick school building was erected. He is a present serving his second term as associate judge of the Howell county court and is a most excellent member of that important body.


Down near the southeastern corner of Howell county is a little unpretentious village named Bly and anyone who has lived in the county any length of time and who has ever heard of Bly has also heard of Woodson Easley. A man of a most retiring disposition, yet one whom it is a genuine pleasure to meet and converse with. Judge Easley was born in Saline county,, Illinois, April 16, 1838.

His father, Joseph Easley, and mother, Margaret Bramlett Easley were old and well-known residents of that portion of Illinois.

In 1865 Mr. Easley married to Nancy Cramer of Saline county and ten years later moved to Howell county homesteading 120 acres where he still lives. He has since sold a portion of the original homestead but still owns eight-four acres.

Five boys and one girl were born to Mr. and Mrs. Easley, all still living except the girl who died in infancy. The names of the boys living are Robert V., W.D., B.W., R.E., and J.A. In November, 1900, Judge Easley's wife died and he was married three years later to his present companion.

Politically Mr. Easley is a staunch republican and was justice of the peace for sixteen years in his township. He has also served one term as county judge of the southern distinct and is now in his second term of that office and has made a most efficient and conscientious officer.


J.L. Van Wormer was born at Roll, Phelps county, Missouri, September 17, 1859, and came to Howell county when a boy but seventeen years old. Worked in the Langston Bros. store as a clerk and in his bother's printing office., the Journal, until the year 1879 when he and Judge W.W. Green bought the office and converted it into a republican paper. Mr. Van Wormer afterwards bought out his partner and became the sole owner, continuing in the business until his election as county clerk in 1882.

He was quite successful as a newspaper man and under his management the paper became one of the most influential republican organs in Southern Missouri. His services were so appreciated he was nominated without solicitation on his part and elected to the office of county clerk in 1882, the county being considered at that time hopelessly democratic. He was elected by a majority of three votes and was the only republican elected at that campaign.

During the next ten years, in which democratic supremacy was almost supreme, Mr. Van Wormer was several times nominated for prosecuting attorney only to go down in defeat with the balance of the republican ticket. Not discouraged the party kept up the fight until in 1904 victory came and the whole republican ticket was elected. Mr. VanWormer was appointed postmaster by President McKinley and held the office for four years from February 1899. During this time the office was raised from third to second class, the receipts and business largely increased, the office was removed to the present commodious room with its present handsome equipment installed, and the R.F.D. system in Howell county inaugurated. Mr. Van Wormer is the present prosecuting attorney, having been elected on the republican ticket in 1904. He is an able and fearless prosecutor and is thoroughly unpopular with the violators of the law.


One of the best known and most popular men in Howell county is Webster Brooks, who is our present recorder of deeds. Mr. Brooks is one of the tallest of the present county officials, and at the same time of the most genial. A native of Jefferson county, having been born on January 25, 1870, his early life was the usual round of young men on a farm. He attended district school until old enough to teach others, then securing a school, proceeded to help educate the youth of his county.

In 1881 his parents came to Howell county and homesteaded a tract of land of 160 acres south of town which they still own.

The political position he ever held was assessor of this county and he proved such an efficient office that the party kept him in office for six years. Afterwards he went before the people as a candidate for recorder and was elected by a handsome majority in the election of 1902.

Mr. Brooks was married in July to, 1904, to Miss Gwendoline Wainright, a most charming and beautiful young lady.


Our accommodating circuit clerk, O.P.A. Heinrich was born near Moody in the southern part of this county on March 25, 1876. He was the fifth child of Phillip and Elizabeth Heinrich, well-known and highly respected residents of this county these many years. The larger part of his schooling was obtained in the district schools of this county, afterwards attending the West Plains Business College and then taking a year's course at Ava, Douglas county. Before coming into the lime light as a county official Mr. Heinrich taught school several terms. He was elected to his present position in 1902; and he has given excellent satisfaction, both from his close association to business and his genial, accommodating nature.

He was admitted to the bar of Howell county on June 9th of the present year. It was only last March that Mr. Heinrich, tiring of the lonesomeness of single blessedness, was married to Miss Martha Burton of South Fork. Mrs. Heinrich has established herself in the hearts of many people of West Plains since taking up her abode here.


Granville A. Meredith, our present county collector, is a Howell county man all through, having been born near Myatt, August 29, 1876. Growing up to manhood as most country boys do, his thoughts were possibly of most everything than politics.

During Hugh Chapin's term of collectorship he needed an efficient deputy and secured the services of Mr. Meredith, and this we see the commencement of a political career which, while of short duration, has been free from the least taint, he enjoying the entire confidences of the people. His first terms as collector was approved by the taxpayers of this county in his election to a second term We are sorry that the new law giving collectors a four -years' term was not applicable to this case. Mr. Meredith is a married man, having been united in the holy bonds of matrimony on October 10, 1900, to Miss Susan E. Dillim of Brasher, Adair county. They have two children, a boy and a girl.


Mrs. Carrie Phelps, daughter of J.S. Padon, was born in St. Clair county, Illinois, and graduated with high honors at the McKendree College, of Lebanon, Illinois, with the degree B.S.S.

She taught school several years in her native state in county and city schools with excellent success. Mrs. Phelps came to West Plains a number of years ago and for the past six years has been engaged in teaching in the West Plains schools as principal of the north ward. She was awarded a state certificate in the August examination at Springfield. She is now serving he third term as school commissioner of Howell county. As teacher and educator she enjoys a splendid reputation, and in all her school work she maintains a high ideal in intellectual and moral training. In her work as county commissioner she is always fair in all her decisions and she has won and maintains the esteem of all.


Since Joseph Folk became governor of Missouri we have heard more about lids than in all the years since the famous Hector was a young doggie.

Of course we have a "lid" in Howell county. What county in this grand state old state has the temerity to go about without one , when the bargain counters are all overflowing? Well, having a lid, then it must devolve on some one to pay particular attention to the fact of its being on and on straight and tight. This person is no other than our present sheriff, Wm. S. Morgan. Woe unto those who try to handle this "lid" business without taking Sheriff Morgan into consideration.

Tennessee is his native state and Tennesseans, as a rule, are pretty apt to take care of themselves in any emergency. He was born near Scotts Hill, in Decatur county, January 15, 1868, and when only two years old came over into Missouri. The family located in the northern part of the county, about seven miles east of what was then called Crossville. He now owns a farm on Hutton Valley.

His father's place was on the old Thomasville and Springfield road, at that time the principal thoroughfare in that section of the country. Mr. Morgan's mother's maiden name was Susan Medlin, and she died when he was only eight years old. At the age of eighteen he was married to Nancy J. Benton, and nine children have been born to them, eight boys and one girl, all living excepting one boy.

During all his life, until he was elected to the office he now holds, he followed farming, but always kept in touch with the working of his party, having attended all the conventions for the last fourteen years. Mr. Morgan is a strong republican and was able last fall to carry the full strength of the party vote.


Our present assessor, whose likeness appears in this issue and who is now serving his second term, was until 1901, one of the most prominent farmers in the county and was born in Fulton county, Kentucky, September, 1853. His father and mother, Lytil and Matilda, shortly after his birth moved to Stoddard county, Missouri, thence to Tennessee. Thence, in 1865, the family moved to Indiana and stayed only one year, afterwards returning to Obion county, Tennessee. The move to Tennessee resulted in the family staying there eight years, when they removed to Howell county, Missouri. Mr. Watson was married February 1st, 1883, to Louisa E. Graham, by whom one child was born. This little one only lived eleven months.

The duties devolving upon an assessor are of the most arduous character and require a person who has a good knowledge of values and who is unquestionably honest. As Mr. Watson has given good satisfaction in his office it is reasonable to suppose he possesses these qualifications.


Prominent among Howell County's officials is the present clerk of the county, Hugh K. Chapin. Mr. Chapin is the son of one of the oldest settlers of Howell county, his father and mother, John A. and Sarah, having come here in 1851. Hugh as born eight miles southeast of West Plains and received such schooling s the county then afforded. He is a natural politician, just as some men are merchants, others bankers, etc. The first political office he held was that of sheriff, serving one term. Afterwards he was elected collector and had the distinction of serving his county three successive terms in this capacity. He is now serving his term as county clerk and is a hard working, conscientious official.

On the 19th of February, 1874, Mr. Chapin was married to Miss Celia A. Martin, a resident of this county and by whom three children were born. One of them, Fenton, is a deputy in his father's office.


F.M. Kellett, our well-known and popular county treasurer whose likeness appears in this edition of The Journal, was born in Ozark County August 11, 1851, ten years before the great struggle began between the North and the south.

His father and mother were living on a farm at the time and his early schooling was in the school district of the neighborhood. The war coming on just when he could have been enabled to finish his education necessitated an early ending of school days for him, although he managed to attend several sessions of the Mountain Home, Arkansas, schools.

At the age of sixteen he branched out as pedagogue and followed this calling until he was in his twenty-second year, managing in the meantime to complete his education. Afterwards he clerked in different stores and finally was appointed to his first political position, that of county clerk in Gainesville.

In April, 1873, Mr. Kellett married Miss Alice Estella Conkin, and eight children have blessed this union, as follows: Mrs. Effie Wilbur and Mrs. Hattie Thorne, of Mtn. Grove; J. Elmer, Edna. Ruth, Helen, Howard and Marion, who are with their parents in West Plains.

Coming over to Howell County in February, 1882, he obtained a position as bookkeeper for Bolin & Galloway, one of the business firms of this city. He was afterwards appointed deputy county clerk under J. L. VanWormer. In 1893 he formed a partnership with O.L. Haydon and started in the abstract business with which he is still identified.

In 1902 Mr. Kellett went before the people as a candidate for the office of county treasurer, and was elected by a handsome majority, and was re-elected in 1904 by a larger majority.


Our present surveyor, a picture of whom is shown in this issue of the Journal, is from York state, as down easterners say. He was educated at the Simpson university, at Indianola, Iowa, but in 1879 he returned to New York to engage in civil engineering.

Here he remained until 1901, but the winters in New York are very severe and Mr. Eno was finally forced to locate in a more congenial climate. South Missouri was the point he selected and he has since been located near Lebo in this county.

Leaving New York forced him to resign a lucrative position as civil engineer of Oswego Falls. In the 1901 election Mr. Eno was elected on the republican ticket to the office of surveyor which he now holds, and has given universal satisfaction.

Mr. Eno lately assisted the Journal in getting up what has since been pronounced the best map of Howell county ever published.


In giving a short sketch of the above well known resident to four little city, we feel that the following lines are more appropriate than any other:

"There are those who are as sunbeams as they go their daily round;
The are worthy of remembrance, for but seldom they are found;
So I write this humble tribute - though it needs a worthier pen -
To a prince of nature's moulding, one who loves his fellow men."

Mr. Livingston is one of the strong personalities of the bar of southern Missouri.

Born in "Old Kaintuck" in 1850 and just one day before Christmas of that year one would suppose that his life would only be one of joy, but much of the serious has been interwoven during his fifty-five years of coping with the world's problems. Leaving Kentucky when but five years of age his family settled in Tennessee and remained there until after the close of the civil war when they removed to Illinois.

At the age of twenty, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Gulley, a resident of Hutton Valley, whither he had removed from Illinois. Five daughters and three sons came to bless this union. Mr. Livingston's father-in-law and mother-in-law re still living and residents of this county, both being over eighty years of age.


Mr. Kimberlin's early life was spent in Crawford county, but in 1891 he came to Howell and located at Peace Valley., Soon after coming to this county he engaged in the real estate business and was instrumental in locating many desirable farmers in this section of the county.

In 1900, Mr. Kimberlin was urged by the democracy of this county to make the race for sheriff and was the only man elected on his ticket. This is easily explained to any one after becoming acquainted with the gentleman, for he has a most winning personality. Two years later he was again elected to the position of sheriff and was for another time was the only democrat who was successful.

At the expiration of his last term he again entered his real estate business being now manger of the Howell County Land Company.


The accompanying cut is a likeness of Marcus A. Cooper, Jr.., one of our most hustling and progressive real estate men, and a member of the firm of Cooper, Groomer & Co.

Mark is a product of Howell county, having been born near Moody, March 22, 1880. His educational advantages were few, his father being an extensive stock dealer, Mark was kept busy in the grassy hills of the Ozarks herding cattle. His father, being above the average for ambition and energy, he was taught how to do all kinds of farm work.

Mark, having quite a tact for trading, started out at an early age buying and selling live stock for his father. At the age of sixteen he started out for himself, Greenville, Texas, proving to be his destination. He stayed there only three months, drifting from there to Oklahoma. Here he formed the acquaintance, and made friends of many full blood Indians, leasing a large tract of land for a small sum on which he made good money on the grass which he city for hay. The same fall he harvested forty acres of cotton and fifty acres of corn.

From here he drifted into sunny Kansas. After spending several months there he returned to his mother's fire place in Howell county. About three or four times a day he could be found with his feet under the table clinging to a half gallon jar of peaches, or sitting by the old fire place eating the big red apples store din the cellar for winter. These pleasures are quite a contrast to the western winds, cyclones and blizzards and soon convinced Mark that he was in the right place. So far his education was largely experience, and before entering into nay kind of business he took a three months' course at the West Plains college. He then started out in the stock business with plenty of experience, a host of friends and very little money.

It can be said to his credit that he has never had to call on his father for help, being able at all times to negotiate his own paper on his own responsibility. While traveling over south Missouri and north Arkansas in the interest of the live stock business, he became familiar with the country and is now prepared to show customers where the best farms are located as well as grazing lands and choice stock farms, and can make best prices. Mr. Cooper is now located at the northwest corner of the square over the Famous grocery. He is from Missouri and will take pleasure in showing you.


W.T. Groomer whose likeness appears below, is associated with M.A. Cooper, Jr., in the real estate business.

Mr. Groomer is a man of more mature years than Mr. Cooper, having been born on July 11, 1864, in Davies County, about four miles southwest of Pattonsburg, Missouri. He attended a district school in his neighborhood and afterwards finished his education at the Stanberry Normal. In early life he followed farming and stock raising, and afterwards worked for a time in the savings bank at Pattonsburg.

He was married on November 21, 1889, to Miss Bessie F. Cain, of Davies county, and has two children, the eldest of whom is a daughter fourteen years old, and the younger is a boy eight years old.

Although possessing a fine farm in Davies county, Mr. Groomer like South Missouri and calls Howell county his home.

Mr. Groomer deems himself a competent judge of soil and those contemplating a change of residence should get in correspondence with him.

It is with pleasure that the Journal welcomes such substantial citizens.


If this edition of the Journal only circulated among Howell county people it would not be necessary to put the name under the above cut. Mr. Halstead is a native of Ohio, having been born in Pickaway county, Oct. 23, 1841. In early boyhood he removed to the neighboring state, Indiana, and enlisted in the 80th Indiana under Colonel Brooks. Col. Culberson was afterwards his commander, and he served in various capacities from private to captain, until after several forced marches his health was almost entirely broken. After getting his sick discharge he returned to Indiana and conceived the idea of furnishing the army a better grade of beef than they had been getting during his service. After getting in correspondence with a government contract he was given the right to furnish cattle to the troops. It can be said to his credit that although he made quite a sum in this contract business, yet the grade of cattle which he furnished was almost one hundred percent better than any thing they had yet bought.

After the war was over Mr. Halstead continued in the stock business with varying success, until about the year 1880, when he removed to southern Missouri where he engaged in the real estate business, dealing exclusively in large tracts of land for colonization purposes and also in saw and tie timber tracts in large bodies.


T.D. Martin or "Tom" as his intimate friends call him, is the kind of a young man that is wanted in every city. Firm business qualities coupled with winning personality, have done much to build up a fine trade for the "Red Apple Drug Store."

He was born in DeKalb, Buchanan county, on March 28, 1880, where he lived until he with his parents, Dr. and Mrs. C.H. Martin, moved to Colby, Kansas, where he attended school until at the age of fifteen, we find him at Doniphan, Ripley county, Mo., in his fathers' drug store. He early formed a liking for medicine as was most natural, his father and uncle both being physicians.

After attending the Missouri State University and becoming proficient in compounding chemicals, he was made a registered pharmacist and has, since coming to West Plains, been identified with the Red Apple Drug Store. He is not the proprietor, his uncle, and senior partner, having died last March. Mr. Martinis unmarried, but being a worthy young man and active in all church work, the Journal predicts a wedding not more than five years hence.


One of the most substantial members of the Howell county bar is Judge Oscar L. Haydon. Born in Athens, Illinois, March 25, 1860, at a time in our nation's history when all was turmoil, the young man was accorded only a district school education. His father was a well educated man, being professor of graded schools in Sangamon and adjoining counties until the war came on. He followed farming for several years, afterwards being identified with a chain of nurseries whose headquarters were at Tadmore, Ohio. He was made foreman over the salesmen and held this position until removing to South Missouri, In 1884 Judge Haydon was married to Lizzie Brown, daughter of Allen Brown of New London, Mo. Four children have come to bless this union, three boys and one girl. One of the boys, Duke, is a stenographer and private secretary to Senator John D. Young. In October, 1885, the Judge removed to a 120 acre tract of land south West Plains and with his brother farmed and did some contracting. His brother died in the fall of 1892 and he them moved to town. Shortly after coming to West Plains he was elected alderman and then made chairman of the Board, serving from 1894 to 1896.

In the election of 1894 he was elected to the office of probate judge, serving two terms, and leaving the office amidst the best wishes of a host of friends. Mr. Haydon was one of the original members of the firm of the Kellett-Haydon abstract company. In November, 1902, Judge Haydon was elected representative of Howell county, serving in the 42nd general assembly. He had the distinction, while a member of that body, of being appointed on the committee on will and probate law, and also on the military committee. One of the many honors which have been conferred upon Judge Haydon one which he treasures most, is his being the unanimous choice of the minority party for speaker pro tem of the 42nd general assembly.


M.E. Morrow paid West Plains a great compliment when he threw his fortunes in with the future of this community, for he gave up some very glittering possibilities by so doing. You see, he was born in Tennessee, and to young Tennesseans everything is possible.

They are given government jobs to cut their teeth upon, and as they grow older, downy berths in the diplomatic department to recline upon. But Mr. Mancil E. Morrow wasn't that sort of a man. He cares nothing for pomp and power, but wanted to do the most people good, that is, he desired to do good to the most people. (This is somewhat of a mean old world and one has to be awfully careful for fear of being misunderstood.) Looking the county over Mr. Morrow decided that West Plains was the place where they needed live men the very most. It was in 1896, that Mr. Morrow located in this city. He did not get into politics until practically forced in, but after serving the city one term as city attorney, the people found in him the kind of man they wanted for prosecuting attorney and proceeded to elect him to that office and gave him a second term. Mr. Morrow was born in Lynville, Giles county, Tenn., on February 27, 1870. He received his later education in the Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tenn., graduating in June, 1891.

It is well while giving Mr. Morrow's biography to mention his most estimable wife, Mrs. Morrow, who was before her marriage, Miss Adelaide Van Gordon, and is a daughter of the American Revolution. They have one child, a boy.


A great patent medicine man was lost to us all when Mr. Burroughs came into the world as the son of distinguished parents. He had the rather portly build, the tremendous energy, the fiery persuasiveness, and the beguiling tongue, all those things that go to popularize the man who backs his rig up against the town pump, and prepares banish sickness by means of purple pellets at ten cents per box. However Mr. Burroughs did the best he could to make use of his talents. Although the standing of his family prohibited any patent medicine business, politics and the law afforded him a chance to display his gifts and he made the most of it. He was born on January 4, 1872, in Howell county and was the second eldest of seven children of Aaron Burroughs. When only fifteen years old his father died, and the young man was confronted with the problem of getting an education, and at the same time getting a fair living. It is greatly to his credit that he made his own way through the local schools. After taking an academic course at the West Plains college he taught school for a while afterwards, going to the Cumberland University of Lebanon, Tennessee, where in 1896 he graduated from the law department. He at that time was admitted to the Tennessee bar, but concluded to come back to Missouri where he was admitted to the bar in West Plains and has sine engaged in the practice of law.

Mr. Burroughs was for six years a partners of A.H. Livingston, but is now alone. He was a delegate to the Pertle Springs state convention of the democratic party which convention committed the state to the free silver platform. He was elected a ember from Howell county to the 39th general assembly, but is now devoting his time solely to the practice of law. Mr. Burroughs has never been married.


The man who invented the phrase about the "smile that won't come off" must have had Mr. McCready in mind when he coined the now famous advertising expression. While Mr. McCready's smile hasn't the splendid brilliance and spectacular grandeur of the Roosevelt article nor the coy sweetness that marks the joyousness of the young lady who wants everybody to know that she uses a certain brand of tooth powder, nevertheless it has a charm that is all its own and as for durability, nothing can touch it, ruffle it, or displace it. Of a certainty Mr. McCready has a smile coming to him. In the first place, he is a Yankee-Missourian instead of a plain Yankee and that's cause for laughter, much less a mere smile. He was born in Buffalo, New York, on January 1, 1857, and got busy at such an early age that he almost missed an education. However, the public school helped him as it has so many others. He afterwards lived in Oil City, Penn., and then went to Kansas where even those famous winds failed to remove his smile, in fact the smile was broadened into an actual grim when on September 21, 1884, Mr. McCready succeeded in inducing Miss Mary F. Spencer to link her life with his. Mr. McCready has been a painter and paper hanger almost all his life, and follows this avocation here in West Plains. He is also proprietor of the Post office Book store and news stand and has many warm friends in his customers. Mr. and Mrs. McCready have only one child, Miss Hazel, who is one of the most popular young ladies in the city.


On this page will be noticed an interior view of Will McBride's barber shop. Will McBride, the proprietor, was born in Cuba, Crawford county, on March 6, 1870. At the age of thirteen he started out to make his own living, coming to Howell county. Here he worked at odd jobs until in 1890, when he learned the barber trade. After working a year at his he bought the shop he now occupies. At that time he only had two chairs, but now he runs four chairs and has three bath rooms in addition.

Mr. McBride is a hustling young business man, and besides the barber business has a good-sized bottling works for a capacity of fifty cases a day to look after. All brands of soft drinks are made at the bottling works and you will find the product all over this part of South Missouri and Northern Arkansas. Mr. McBride was married in 1896 to a Howell county lady whose maiden name was Mary T. Garrett. Mrs. McBride is quite a help to her husband, taking charge of the correspondence at the bottling works and looking after the details during the busy months.


Superintendent J.J. Rowe, whose likeness appears on this page, was born in Bates county, Mo., December 24, 1869, and with the exception of five years spent in Kansas, has always claimed Missouri as his home. His father, Vernon Rowe, was a contractor and builder, who in the later years of his life retired to a Henry county farm.

Thus the subject of this sketch has profited by the varying conditions of city and rural life. Being inured to farm life and labor, and having advanced as far as he might in the county schools, the boy was started to the High School of Appleton City, Mo., where he completed a course under Prof. Stephen Pirkey, who shortly after left there to accept a similar position in West Plains, The farmer's life breeds steady habits, for when young Rowe left the high school, he finished with honors. After graduation, he immediately began teaching in the rural schools of his county, took first rank therein, and afterward held the office of county school commissioner, and was recognized as one of the leading town school men of that part of the state.

In 1892 Prof. Rowe entered the Warrensburg State Normal School graduating therefrom in June, 1896 with the full course diploma, with the degree of bachelor of scientific didactics, and a life state certificate. Since this time he has taken another college degree, that of master of pedagogy. He spend 1901-2 in the state university. In all Prof. Rowe has taught ninety-one months, sixty-three as principal or superintendent, and taken six full years in college since graduating high school seventeen years ago. Prof. Rowe came here from the Joplin mining district where he had been employed for several years, and letters passed between the West Plains board and his former employers show that he pushed the interests of their schools as firmly, ably and zealously as he does our own. He is at present secretary of the Southwest Missouri Teachers Association, whose membership embraces all the foremost teachers of thirty odd counties.

During his earlier years of faithful endeavor, Cupid was getting in his work, too, for just ten years ago last month he wooed and won his first and only love, Miss Lydia V. Malone, a junior student in the Warrensburg State Normal. She completed her course as was eminently proper, with the degree of bachelor of pedagogy, and taught two years in the city schools of Warrensburg, was re-employed and changed her mind and her name, too. This sudden readjustment of their affairs and relations came on the 28th of August, 1900, after an engagement of five years.

Mr. and Mrs.. Rowe have one child, Will Vernon Rowe, familiarly known a Billie, who was born at Columbia, on January 2, 1902, while Prof. Rowe was attending the state university. The Rowes and Miss Daily Malone, Mrs. Rowe's sister, are very popular in West Plains. Mrs. R. is a special teacher of high school history and literature. Both have state certificates - he has two. Both seem to have pinned their faith to teaching as their lifework.

The public school is the bulwark of the nation, and with a proper enforcement of the compulsory attendance law, passed by the last general assembly, there is no good reason, as Prof. Rower recently remarked, why illiteracy should not cease to be a factor in our social life.


To collect the revenue of a city of the size of West Plains is no small task, and to keep the collections in a good shape as Wm. Langston does, requires close application to business. This young man, son of J.R. Langston, was born in Howell county in the Spring Creek neighborhood, on Oct. 24, 1875. After spending his boyhood days with the family on the farm and attending district school Mr. Langston came to West Plains and took a special course in the West Plains college. His first political position was that of surveyor of this county, holding office two terms. In 1903 he was married to Miss Imogene A. Adler, who like himself, as born and raised in Howell county. Mr. Langston is an enthusiastic Odd Fellow, being a popular member of the Pottersville lodge. He was elected to his present office the spring of 1904 and has made an efficient official.


The consciousness of knowing that every detail of cut, style and finish is absolutely proper, imparts that well dressed, genteel feeling that helps you accomplish things without worry or fatigue. That is the reason why many men whose business brings them into a daily contact with people who are sometimes influenced by first impressions wear cloths made by J.T. Pressley whose likeness accompanies this sketch.

Mr. Pressley first saw the light of day on the 6th of March, 1880. His parents, A.C. and Martha J., were farmers, having homesteaded a 120 acre tract several years previous.

Up to his eighteenth year Mr. Pressley's life was spent as the ordinary farmer's boy, but at that age he decided to learn a trade and went to Thayer, in the adjoining county, and apprenticed himself to a tailor, serving in this capacity three years. From Thayer he went to Jonesboro, Arkansas, where he worked for two years, and in the spring of 1903 moved to West Plains. Just before embarking in business in the latter place Mr. Pressley wisely concluded he needed a partner, so on Easter Sunday he procured the necessary papers and was joined in life partnership with Miss Flora Fletcher, of Thayer, Mo. They are now living in a modest little cottage in the east part of town. Mr. Pressley is captain of the drill team in the Knights and Ladies of Security.


Lewis Luster is one of the most prominent and promising young lawyers of this section. He graduated from the last department of the Washington University in 1902, with the highest honors of his class, receiving from the law School Alumni Association the prize of $50.00 for the highest average grade made in all the examinations given in the junior and senior years by the faculty, and on the final examinations given by the examining board, composed of attorneys from the St. Louis bar. Immediately upon graduation he became associated with the well-know Frisco attorney, W.J. Orr, and at once entered upon a lucrative practice, which has become more extensive from year to year. The form covers a large territory in this state and in Arkansas in the railroad interest, but do not confine their time and attention and abilities to that practice. The name of Orr & Luster appears with growing frequency upon the dockets of all the courts in the section, representing litigants in a variety of cases and with remarkable success, to which Mr. Luster contributes in no small measure, especially by his careful preparation for trial and his painstaking and exhaustive briefing of all law points involved in his cases.

Mr. Luster is studious, ambitious and conscientious, and is destined to achieve fame and fortune in a profession which he loves and to which his abilities so naturally adapt him.


The present assistant prosecuting attorney of Howell county, Mr. J.L. Bess, is a native of Illinois and was born in Shobonier, Fayette county, November 12, 1872. At the age of six his parents brought him to Howell county and while somewhat older than that now, still he has never expressed a desire to return permanently to old Illinois.

Mr. Bess' opportunities were very few, as his father's worldly goods at the time were very limited. He, however, secured a good common school education, completing the course in March, 1897. The study of law proved to be the magnet which attracted young Mr. Bess, and having been appointed justice of the peace in the meantime, he was in touch with the very element that tends to bring out all the legal talents one has. Mr. Bess about this time was married to a Miss Duncan, a well-educated and refined lady who has since greatly assisted him in his studies. After taking a course in the Sprague correspondence school, he was sufficiently advanced to be admitted to the Howell county bar, and ha since built up quite a lucrative practice. Mr. Bess is energetic and honest, and deemed thoroughly conscientious by all who have done business with him.


Extreme modesty is the primary reason for out not being able to give our readers a likeness of this handsome ex-county Judge of the southern district. We endeavored to impress upon the Judge the necessity of having his "picture took," but is was of no avail.

Biographically speaking and leaving matters pictorial to others, the Judge was born in old Kaintuck, the state where, you are all aware, they have the finest horses and the handsomest women. (We are talking about a Kentuckian now, and West Plains belles, must not feel piqued.)

It was September 23, 1847, that Mr. Cook first contemplated things terrestrial. He spend exactly thirty-nine years in the land of his nativity, they most of that time engaged in his favorite pursuit, raising fine horses. He was married on November 15, 1870, to Miss Edna F. Reilley, also a Kentuckian, and now one of the most hospitable young ladies in our city. To this union seven children were born, four boys and three girls. Coming to southern Missouri in 1886, Mrs. Cook located in South Fork, Howell county, buying one of the best 160 acre tracts in that section. He has since sold half of it and is now a resident of West Plains, being a proprietor of a select boarding house one-half block south of the Square.

During his residence in South Fork he was elected to the only political position he has ever held, Judge of the county court, southern district. This position he filled most acceptably to all, and was urged by his host of friends to stand for re-election, but other matters calling for his personal attention he concluded otherwise. It was during Judge Cook's term of office that Howell county succeeded in relieving itself of a large indebtedness, and a considerable amount of the credit should be given to him for this relief the tax-payer.


In this weary, workaday world almost every man has a hobby. Pierpont Morgan doesn't mind paying thousands for old masters painted by young pupils; Carnegie's mania takes the form of libraries, James Hazen Hyde of Equitable fame likes to give expensive dinners, Gov. Folk likes to see lids on everywhere and W. T. Seaver finds his chief joy and recreation in talking real estate.

It may be that this fad or hobby has tended to make him one of the most successful business men in this part of the country. He is a man with big ideas, and the proper amount of courage to carry him through. He came by his temperament honestly, for the traces his ancestry back to the old Puritan stock. To give a few biographical facts about the man, he was born in Rock Island county, Illinois, February 22, 1849. In 1856 he moved to Scotland county, Mo.

It was mainly by his own exertions that he was enabled to procure an education. In 1877 he was admitted to the bar at Memphis, Mo., and he was afterwards licensed to practice law at Des Moines, Iowa, Nebraska, Salem, Oregon, Texas, and he practiced fourteen years in the United States courts in Indian Territory. Mr. Seaver hand family became residents of West Plains in January, 1905, having purchased a home a short distance south of town, which he has since sold and has moved to town, having purchased property. Personally Mr. Seaver is an outspoken, conscientious lawyer and real estate man, and has the respect of the entire community.


J.T. Barker was born in Spencer county, Indiana, in 1852, near Gentryville. His father, Isaac T. Barker, enlisted in the war, Union side, when the son was nine years old, serving in the 58th regiment. He being the oldest child was the main support for his mother and little sisters and brother, there being five children in all, two boys and three girls.

Mr. Barker joined the Baptist church in 1874, and has been a constant and ardent member every since. And the Bible and music have been favorite studies to him for thirty years. He was married on December 10, 1875, to Miss Fannie Griffith, of Dubois county, Indiana, and to them three children have been born, one dying when very young and another when only five years of age. A son, who is 23 years old is married and resides in this city with his parents. Mr. Barker moved to Macon county, Missouri, in 1878, and lived in north Missouri until February, 1902, when, with their son, Mr. Barker moved to West Plains, Howell county, Mo. where they all joined the First Baptist church of West Plains.

Mr. Barker has been a farmer most all of his life and was coal miner for about three years, though he has been in the real estate business during his stay in West Plains. Before coming here he was engaged in the mercantile business three years. W.T. Barker was married to Miss Allie Hughes February 2, 1902.