Most businesses closed by noon on Thanksgiving day. Several county offices were open for a few hours, including the County Clerk who kept busy issuing hunting licenses.
Most businesses closed by noon on Thanksgiving day. Several county offices were open for a few hours, including the County Clerk who kept busy issuing hunting licenses.
Julia knew she was going to die. She had been shot in the chest and left arm and her left thumb was blown apart. But her concern was for her family—” How bad my mother will feel, and my poor sister, how she will miss me.”
Just a few minutes earlier she sat reading on the front porch of the Morrison house, where she worked as a servant. Deciding that her time was better spent reading the Bible rather than a novel, she went inside to get it. She was walking down the hallway and into the kitchen when she was shot by Theodore Morrison, the son of Nathan Morrison, the first president of what was then Drury College.
That was on May 14. Julia lingered, in considerable pain, for a week. Part of that time she was lucid; sometimes she was delirious. But regardless of her mental state, she was worried about her family.
“She spoke of different members of her family, and…how they would grieve for her, showing very plainly that she believed she would die…I noticed particularly the fact that she was so perfectly willing to die. All that she said on this point showed a beautiful, trusting, Christian character,” stated a witness.
Julia was also worried about Theo. According to the testimony of Frances Fowler, a Drury art teacher who was nearby when the shooting occurred, Julia expressed particular concern that Theo not be blamed. She “seemed to feel keenly that Theo would be severely blamed by his parents, and she felt that it was…an accidental move of Theo’s that caused the gun to go off.”
Julia Patterson died on July 21st. She had been “born of poor but respectable parents, and had recently joined the Christian Church…she and her sister [had] been saving their hard earnings for years in order to assist their parents in purchasing a home, and it almost prostrated them to see her cut down in the bloom of womanhood.”
There was no inquest held in Julia’s death; the coroner was out of town, and in any case, her father objected. The funeral was held the afternoon of her death at the home of relatives, some sixteen miles southeast of Springfield.
Prosecutor John A. Patterson declined to hold a preliminary examination; he thought the grand jury could handle the case. Theo was arrested on May 27 after the grand jury indicted him for 2nd degree murder; he pled not guilty. Theo’s $1500 bond was paid by a few prominent Springfield men, including T. B. Holland. Since he was underage, he could not be sent to prison; according to the Springfield Leader and Press, the charge would become a misdemeanor that would likely land Theo in the county jail for only a year.
Theo didn’t go to trial until February 1887. Dr. Tefft, witness for the state, testified about Julia’s injuries and her mental condition. He said the only thing he heard Julia say about the shooting was that it was “accidental,” which she repeated “a good many times” in front of everyone, including her family. By the time of her death on Thursday, Tefft stated that “she was more or less delirious…not all the time, but part of the time.
Another witness, an art teacher at Drury College, confirmed that Julia said the shooting was an accident. She also recounted that Theo had no contact with Julia other than asking if there was anything he could do to help.
There was much discussion at the trail about the condition of the gun and whether or not Theo knew it was loaded. Theo claimed that he did not; his younger brother Douglas had loaded it to hunt rabbits without Theo’s knowledge. Also, it had been taken to a gunsmith a few weeks prior to the shooting to have a new hammer installed. Theo and his brother complained that the gun wasn’t reliable; sometimes it would shoot, sometimes not. The gun was not repaired because the gunsmith couldn’t find a hammer that would fit.
The trial lasted four days. On Sunday, February 5th, Theodore Morrison was found guilty of manslaughter and fined $500.
After the trial, the Morrison family moved to Wichita, Kansas, where Nathan became the first president of Fairmont College (now Wichita State University). He died in 1907 and his wife in 1926.
Theo graduated from Marietta College in Ohio in 1902, then obtained a law degree from Northwestern University. Due to hearing loss, possibly caused by the scarlet fever, he gave up law and became a librarian at Fairmont College. In July 1906, Theodore married Belle McHenry at her home in Aberdeen Mississippi. They had one child, a son also named Theodore, born in 1910.
Theodore H. Morrison died in July 1912. A notice in the Springfield Republic reported that Theo’s death was caused “by an abcess (sic) on the brain, the result of an attack of scarlet fever in childhood.” There was no mention of his manslaughter trial.
Dr. Fannie Williams is elusive. Though she was well known in the Joplin area during the 1870s and 1880s, little is known about her.
Fannie may have been born and raised in Kansas. (In 1885, her father and brother both lived in Kansas.)
She attended medical school at the University of Iowa and graduated in 1876.
By 1877, she was living in Joplin and treating patients. Although it was uncommon for female doctors to treat male patients, Fannie treated men, women, and children.
She was known occasionally as Mrs. Dr. Fannie E. Williams. In the 1880 Joplin census record, she was listed as a widow. Unfortunately, I have yet to determine her husbands name or find her marriage record.
In 1885, she was living and working in Carthage. “Her fame as a skillful surgeon and successful practitioner [enabled] her to establish herself in the new home in a short time.” She apparently had recently moved from Joplin to Carthage. Despite being a female in this era, she seemed to have little or no problem in being accepted as a qualified, competent doctor and was thus able to have a successful practice.
By 1886, Fannie was the superintendent of the Department of Health for the Carthage WCTU and regularly gave scientific lectures. At this time, the WCTU had a scientific education department, mainly focused on health, particularly the health benefits of abstaining from alcohol.
She still had ties to Kansas and even spoke in Garland as a state lecturer for the WCTU. She was invited to give a lecture there on July 3rd, 1886.
In 1886, the Missouri WCTU convention was held in Carthage and of course, Fannie was one of the speakers. She lectured the ladies on wearing too tight clothing, apparently a pet peeve of hers.
Throughout the month of June, 1887, Fannie spent her time in an Ozark court room with Cora Lee. She was with her throughout her trial for the murder of Sarah Graham. (For more about the murder, click here.) Fannie and Cora likely met through the WCTU.
In December 1887, Fannie left the Ozarks and moved to Riverside, California, apparently for her health. She continued to practice medicine and work with the WCTU, lecturing about health.
Riverside (California) Daily Press, January 18, 1888
Fannie was sick for much of the year in 1889. In October, the Riverside Daily Press reported that her health was much improved and she hoped to return to work soon. Unfortunately, her condition worsened and she died in early November.
The Reed-Underwood house inhabits land that was originally part of Hawthorn Place subdivision, which was platted in 1903 by John R. Hegiman, president of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York. The first owner of the lot was J.W. Drumwright; by the end of that year it had been sold to H.F. Denton. In 1905, the lot was owned by W.H. Johnson, as were several other lots in Hawthorn Place. By 1907, Samuel A. Reed and his wife Susan, had acquired the lot along with two others. Construction likely began on the house in 1907 and was completed by 1909. The house sits on approximately 1/4 acre and according to a 1965 appraisal, contained a total of eight rooms, with four bedrooms, one bath, and three closets. The house contains only one fireplace. Out buildings included a barn and a tool shed. The two-story enclosed porch and the garage were later additions, as is the wood deck in back. The kitchen counters are made of beautiful Phenix marble. The house now boasts five bedrooms and four baths and still claims the same 1/4 acre plot.
In 1914, a portion of Hawthorn Place was subdivided into Reed’s Addition by Samuel A. and Susan Reed. Reed was a prominent member of the Springfield community and served as clerk of the circuit court for many years before becoming a District 1 judge. The Reed family lived in their new home for a few years before moving to another house just down the street. Susan Reed died in 1934 and Samuel in 1937.
By 1920, the house was owned by Thomas F. Underwood, a mechanic for the Frisco railroad, and his wife, Jennie. When Thomas died in 1922, Jennie became sole owner. When Jennie died in 1927, the house was left jointly to their seven children. During the 1930s, the house was inhabited by Shane M. Wallace, the Underwood’s son-in-law who was married to their daughter, Esther.
During the 1940s and 1950s, the house saw a succession of owners and even stood vacant for a couple of years. Thankfully, the home has been lovingly maintained throughout its 100+ year history.
Located in Springfield’s lovely Rountree neighborhood, this 1939 house is part of McMillan Place subdivision, 2nd edition, which was platted in April 1914 by Otho McMillan and his wife, Laura. Otho was a businessman of varied interests; in addition to real estate development, he was also a restaurateur and and a meat-market owner. When Otho died in 1927, Laura became sole owner of the development, which included 28 lots.
The original owner of the house was Thomas J. Welsh, who was born in Springfield and grew up in a house on S. National. He was the son of Thomas N. and Agnes Glynn Welsh. Thomas N. was part owner of what would eventually be called the Welsh Meat Packing Company. The business began operating in 1895 under the ownership of A. Clas. He sold the company to the Tegarden brothers in 1904; in 1912, they sold the plant to a group of local businessmen. One of those businessmen was Thomas N. Welsh. His partners included his wife’s uncle, Thomas H. Glynn, as well as Dr. Robert Glynn.
In 1930, Thomas N. is listed on the census as the secretary of a meat packing company and his son, Thomas J., as an employee of a college bookstore. The bookstore was likely located at present-day Missouri State University, where he was a student. While attending college, Thomas J. was a member of the men’s group called the “S” Club in 1929 and 1930. Also in 1930, he was part of a men’s pep club called the “Grizzlies.”
By 1940, Thomas J. was married to Mary Mildred, had two children, and was an accountant at his father’s meat packing company. Thomas J. and his family lived in this house for over 20 years.
In 1961, Thomas N. Welsh and his wife Agnes died within two days of each other, both deaths due to bronchopneumonia. Thomas J. Welsh died the following August. He was only 53-years-old. Mary Mildred died in 1966. The house went to their son, Michael, who owned it for several years.
It is hard not to fall in love with this house located in Arlington Heights subdivision. The lot was originally platted in 1910 by William G. and Mollie Swinney, along with Harrison M. and Sarah Smith. By 1915, the Swinney’s had sold their share to the Smith’s; a few years later they retired to California and never returned to Missouri.
Harrison Milton Smith was born in Ohio in 1857, but moved to Pulaski County, Missouri, in 1889. Smith started the Pulaski County bank where he was cashier for many years. In 1903, the Smith family moved to Springfield and opened the Farmers and Merchants Bank. The Smiths had two daughters, Orpha and Wilma. Wilma married George Thompson, the owner of Thompson Auto Sales Company. Harrison and Sarah both died suddenly, within four days of each other, in December 1929.
Construction of the house was completed at least by 1931, when Charles W. Riley moved in with his wife, Carlotta and their son, John. Charles was born in Dade County and was the son of a physician and druggist in Everton. Charles chose the same path and became a well-known druggist in Springfield. He had a pharmacy in the Medical Arts building, as well as his private business, the Riley Drug Store, located at 225-227 N. Main. The Riley’s lived in this house until 1946.
Oscar C. Nonweiler, a district superintendent with the Cherokee Pipeline Corporation, and his wife Sarah lived in the house during much of the 1950s. Since then, the house has had various owners and has, fortunately, been beautifully maintained.
When I first visited this late-Victorian beauty in February 2014, it was wearing a lovely shade of blue. The house had been fairly well maintained, though the grounds were somewhat overgrown and in disarray. Otherwise, the house was still beautiful, both inside and out.
Located in the the Rountree neighborhood, the house was built in approximately 1900. Its first inhabitants were the Park sisters, Elizabeth and Alzoa, along with their mother, Clara. The lot was originally part of the George M. Jones addition; in March 1911, the Park sisters subdivided a portion of that addition and created Zobeth’s subdivision. Interestingly, when filing the plat for the new subdivision, the sisters had to declare “themselves to be single and unmarried” before a notary. The Parks lived in the house until at least 1906.
Elizabeth and Alzoa were two of the six children born to Dr. William H. Park and his wife, Clara. William was born in Pennsylvania, but lived in Springfield by 1870. He had his own medical practice, though by 1890 he had gone into business with J.W. Crank and J.G. Davis to form the Crank Drug Company. One of their several stores was located on the corner of Commercial and Boonville, a location that later housed Skaggs Drug Store.
The Park sisters never married, choosing instead to have careers. Both sisters graduated from Drury College near the close of the 19th century. Elizabeth was a teacher for much of her life, mostly in Springfield but also in Pierce City at the beginning of her career. She taught at the Springfield Normal and Business College where, in 1916, she was the dean. In addition to teaching, Elizabeth was also a “special agent” for the Equitable Life Insurance Society which had offices in the Woodruff Building. Alzoa also taught school; in 1916 she had moved to Wyoming, where she was a public school teacher until at least 1930.
Alzoa, the younger of the two sisters, died in Springfield in 1942 at the age of 73. Elizabeth lived another twelve years; she died in 1954, just a couple months short of her 88th birthday.
By 1915, the house was owned by the Anderson family. Arthur L. Anderson was born in Kentucky in 1875, but his family later moved to Missouri. By 1910, he had been married to Gertrude Jefferson for five years and the couple had two children. Arthur was a doctor and had an office at various locations in Springfield over the years, including the Woodruff Building and the Medical Arts Building.
For a time, Arthur’s mother also lived with them; the family was eventually joined by two more children, as well as Gertrude’s elderly father, Benjamin, and her sister Anna. Benjamin was a retired farmer and Anna was a teacher at the nearby Jarrett Junior High School. The home also included, at various times, one or two servants.
Arthur died in 1940 and Gertrude continued to live in the house, along with her sister-in-law Anna, until at least 1959.
At the time of my 2014 visit to the Park-Jefferson house, it had been empty for a while and was looking for a new owner. The house has since been sold and appears to be in good hands. The exterior has been updated with a beautiful new paint color. The grounds have also been cleaned and cleared, making the house easier to view.
The new paint color and the lack of debris around the house makes it look warm and inviting.
This gem in the heart of Springfield was built in 1881 by J.E. Tolfree. Two years later, Springfield banker and businessman, James E. Keet, purchased the house from Tolfree and transformed what was originally a fairly standard two-story, Italianate brick structure into the extravagant beauty now known as the Keet-McElhany house.
James Elijah Keet was born in Washburn, Missouri, in 1849 to Josiah Thomas and Elizabeth West Keet. At that time, Washburn was known as Keetsville and was named after Josiah and his brother, James T. Keet. Josiah later moved his family to Springfield where he became a merchant, first in partnership with William Massey, and subsequently with Newton Rountree. Their business became the well-known Keet-Rountree Dry Goods Company. James E. Keet worked for many years as the secretary and treasurer of the family business and eventually served as its president.
By 1886, James Keet and his wife, Katherine Holland, had made substantial changes to their new home. The porch was enlarged and became considerably more elaborate. They added the turret on the west wing, as well as an additional building in back that contained a kitchen and servants quarters. They later added a third floor to the house with a Queen Anne-style roof.
Though the primary renovations were done in a couple of different phases, there were ongoing changes to the house that are typical of long term home ownership. Since the Keet family was prominent in Springfield business and social circles, some of those changes were considered newsworthy.
And indeed he did have a “substantial” cellar, one that included a tunnel! The tunnel extends from the basement of the house to the servants quarters in back. Its arched roof is visible above ground.
Now let’s take a look inside the house.
The house contains over 6,000 square feet, including the basement and tunnel area. It contains 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, and numerous fireplaces. Though it is over 100 years old, the house has been excellently maintained and even retains many of the original features.
It may have been in this dining room that the Keet’s held their Thanksgiving dinner in 1899. The Springfield Republican reported that “Mr. and Mrs. James E. Keet’s guests at Thanksgiving Dinner were; Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Holland, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Holland, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Holland, Mrs. E.J. Robberson, Mrs.Arthur Taylor, Miss Lida Robberson, Miss Emily Otterson and Mr. Jamie Holland.” The Holland family were prominent in Springfield business and banking and were relatives of Katherine Keet.
The activities of the Keet family were consistently reported in local newspapers. In June 1888, an “elegant reception” was held in the home of Mrs. L.A. Campbell “at the home of her father, Major McElhany.” Mrs. James Keet wore “blue and white French gingham, puffed sleeves and front fichu style, garnished with picot edged ribbon.” Major Robert J. McElhany was a Springfield banker; his grandson, Claude, would later marry Katherine E. Keet, one of the daughters of James and Katherine.
Three prominent Springfield families, the Keets, Hollands, and McElhanys, all three bankers and merchants, intersected in this one house. Though this beautiful home is now surrounded by businesses and parking lots, she was once surrounded by numerous beautiful homes. Those homes are no longer extant. Somehow, this house alone survived the expansion of the central business district.
James E. Keet died in July 1900. The St. Louis Republican took note of his passing: “James E. Keet, one of Springfield’s most prominent businessmen, died today. He was president of the National Exchange Bank, president of the Keet-Rountree Wholesale Dry Goods Company, and a moving spirit in a number of other [illegible] concerns.”
In his 1895 will, James stated that he had complete “faith and confidence in [his] wife, Kate,” and believed that she would ensure the welfare of their children; therefore, he left the entire estate to her. In a codicil, written barely a month before his death, he bequeathed one thousand dollars to each of his siblings.
Katherine Holland Keet lived in the house until her death in 1920. James and Katherine’s daughter, Katherine E., was already living there with her husband, Claude McElhany. Claude died in 1956 and Katherine E. remained in the family home until her death in 1983.
On November 22, 1903, the Springfield Republican announced the imminent construction of “a very fine residence” for Paul Nicholas. The builder was A.R. Bowman who projected a cost of $16,000 to complete the beautiful home that would be known as Humboldt Place. Work was completed in 1904.
Paul Nicholas was born in England on Christmas day, 1855. He arrived in the US in 1877 and was naturalized in 1890 while living in Graham County, Arizona. In 1893, he married Roselle Tierney in Morenci, Arizona. Nicholas was almost 38 years old and Roselle was 18.
Though Nicholas was the “superintendent of mines” at the Arizona Copper Company, a trip through Springfield in 1902 led him to buy land west of town and to be a farmer in addition to his work as an engineer. Today, his 176-acre farm is no more, but the house still sits peacefully in a park-like setting on the remaining seven acres.
In the late 1890s, while working for the copper company, Nicholas began to “prospect near Humboldt hill,” which was located near the town of Morenci. It is from this mining operation that Nicholas found the name for his new home in Springfield. Initially, the copper vein in Humboldt turned out to be “small and the ore poor in grade.” However, the mine eventually made a fortune for the Arizona Copper Company and likely for Nicholas as well.
Even while living in Springfield, Nicholas continued his work in Arizona, where he went on occasional visits to “look after his copper interests.” Nicholas and his wife were also busy in the local social scene; in 1908, Nicholas was listed as an “old member” of the Springfield Club, a social organization formed in 1901.
In addition to their frequent activities at the Springfield Club, Paul and Roselle participated in numerous other social events with Springfield’s leading citizens. In April 1909, they attended a party at the home of the Frank Fellows family on East Walnut. The guest list also included F.X. Heer (Heer’s Department Store), H.B. McDaniel (McDaniel Bank), Holland Keet (Holland Bank), J.T. Woodruff (Woodruff Building), and Miss Annie Abbot.
The couple were members of the Country Club and they also attended numerous events at the Colonial Hotel. Paul Nicholas just happened to be on the board of directors of the Colonial Hotel Building Company. This social whirl appears to have been the norm for the Nicholas family throughout their lives.
In the autumn of 1911, Paul and Roselle took their daughter Murillo to Boston where she planned to attend Chevy Chase College and Seminary. The school opened in 1903 and was known at the time primarily as a finishing school. I don’t know if Murillo graduated, but two years later she was back in Springfield attending a bridal shower given for her (and two other young ladies) at the Colonial Hotel. Later that week, the three young women were entertained again at the home of Mrs. Holland Keet.
On October 5, 1915, Murillo Nicholas married prominent Springfield banker James Claud McDaniel in her parents “spacious suburban home…west of the city. The wedding was a quiet home affair, but beautiful in its simplicity. The drawing room was beautifully decorated in palms, ferns and baskets of Southern smilax, with large baskets of pink roses.”
The wedding march began at 3:30 and the bridal procession descended the stairs (pictured above). Then the bride appeared, with her father, looking “exquisitely dainty in her gown of white satin, made short and draped with tulle, over which the court train of white, embroidered in silver and seed-pearls, hung in graceful folds. She wore a tulle veil with clusters of orange blossoms encircling the head. Her bouquet was of white orchids and lilies of the valley.”
The wedding cake was “made in the form of a ring” and was a “marvel of the confectioner’s art, with a monogram of the bride and groom upon it in icing. Its center was filled in with white roses and lilies of the valley, out of which a dainty miniature bride emerged.”
The wedding was attended by about 150 guests and was likely one of the main social events of the season.
Nicholas is said to have loved plants and added a small greenhouse (pictured above) to the east side of the house.
Paul Nicholas died in 1936 of pneumonia. He was 80 years old. Roselle continued to live in the family home until around 1944, when she sold Humboldt Place and moved to a home on S. Weller. She died of pancreatic cancer in 1954 at the age of 81.
Humboldt Place is a two story brick structure and was built in the Neoclassical Style with a main central block and two wings. The front gable is supported by six Corinthian columns. The gable is decorated with a round, stained glass window. This is an uncommon house style for the Springfield area and we are fortunate that this beautiful house is still extant.
Ancestry.com. Census Records and Springfield City Directories.
Colquhoun, James. The History of the Clifton–Morenci Mining District. London: William Clowes and Sons, 1924.
Missouri Digital Heritage. “Missouri Death Records, 1910-1964.”
Patton, James Monroe. “The History of Clinton.” M.A., 1945.
Taylor, Mabel Carver. “Cavalcade of Homes, Part 15.” Springfield Magazine.
Photos courtesy of Alyson Yen. Used with permission.
Springfield News-Leader, 1894: “Harry Garlick has purchased a fine residence on Washington Avenue and will occupy it in the near future.”
The beautiful house at 1451 N. Washington was quite new when the Garlick’s bought it 1894, but it was already inhabited. Harry Garlick, an insurance salesman, bought the already built home in March, but Reverend Joseph C. Plumb and his wife, Elizabeth, were already living in the house. (You may remember the Plumb’s from my book about Emma Molloy. Reverend Plumb was one of her main supporters and Emma stayed with him and his wife briefly when she first moved to Springfield.)
By October 1895, the Plumb’s had moved to Kansas and the Garlick’s finally moved into their new home. They lived there until 1901 when they sold it to Austin Blodgett, a tie and timber inspector for the Frisco railroad. By 1913, the Blodgett’s had moved to Alabama and the house once again had new owners. Walter W. Constance, a foreman at the southside Frisco shops, and his wife Viola moved in. Walter was also an award-winning coach for a Frisco baseball team. Their daughter, Rae Josephine, married Fred Hays in the home in September 1920. The lovely scene is described below:
“The house was lavishly decorated with potted plants and masses of goldenrod and other flowers, while an altar was improvised on the same…Miss Helen Moore…played the wedding march as the bride entered on the arm of her father…She wore a Frenchy gown of rose-taupe de chine and carried a bouquet of bride roses. She was attended by her sister, Miss Grace Constance, who wore a dainty frock of white organdy…Following congratulations, a wedding breakfast was served in the dining room, covers being laid for twenty. Mr. and Mrs. Hays are spending their honeymoon at Lake Taneycomo. Later they will go to St. Louis, where Mr. Hays will resume his studies at Washington University.”
(As a side note, Grace Constance later worked as a bacteriologist in Mexico. She married Clyde Hyslop in Greene County in 1923.)
By 1925, ownership passed to Charles F. LaBounty and his wife Emma. Charles worked as a machinist at the north side Frisco shops. They lived there for many years, until 1947, when Charles died. The house then went to Warren R. Hoffman and by 1959, to Albert E. Moorman.
Albert Moorman and his wife Evelyn lived in the house until they moved to Canada in 1968. Albert had been a biology professor at Drury since 1947, but the couples unhappiness with the Vietnam War led them to move to Canada where Albert accepted a position at a university.
For more pictures of this lovely home in Springfield’s historic Midtown Neighborhood, click here.
Springfield News Leader
Springfield Leader and Press
Springfield Daily Republican
Springfield Daily News
Greene County, Missouri, Tax Books, 1895-1898
Springfield City Directories
Find A Grave
Greene County, Missouri, Recorder of Deeds, Marriage Records
Missouri Digital Heritage, Death Certificates, 1910-1969
Missouri Department of Natural Resources: Greene County National Register Listings, Mid-Town Historic District