RICHARD GATES SPEARS, engaged in the operating of two hundred and seventy-five acres of land, on which he carries on general farming and stock-raising, was born October 30, 1869, a son of G. C. and Elizabeth Frances Spears, who are represented elsewhere in this volume. He was reared on the old homestead about a mile and a half northwest of Tallula, and he pursued his education in the district schools and in Tallula. In the months of vacation he assisted his father in the operation of the home farm and after he had finished his education he began farming on his own account upon his grandfather's farm, northeast of Tallula. When his father removed to his present farm Richard G. Spears also took up his abode upon the farm which is now his home and conducted the place until his father removed to the town.
About that time Richard G. Spears was married to Miss Mary V. Washburn, a daughter of George O. and Ann Elizabeth (Burns) Washburn, the former a native of Vermont and the latter of Virginia, while both were of English and Scotch descent. Mr. Washburn was a farmer and school teacher. He removed to Saline county, Missouri, and not only became active and prominent in connection with its education and agricultural interests, but also became a recognized leader in public thought and action and at one time served as county judge of Saline county. He was born March 19, 1827, and is still living in Marshall, Missouri, at the advanced age of seventy-seven years, while his wife was born December 3, 1827, and also yet survives. Their daughter Mrs. Spears was born in Saline county, Missouri, and is the fourth in a family of six children, the others being as follows: William, a farmer living near Blackburn, Missouri, married Flora Strader and has four sons. Elizabeth is the wife of Dr. Joseph W. Campbell, formally of Neodosha, Kansas, and is now living with her father. Rev. G. L. Washburn is pastor of the Presbyterian church in Washington, Missouri, and married Miss Mary Barron, by whom he has two sons. He was educated at home by a governess and in a Presbyterian school, and was married November 1, 1894. Albert L., living on a farm near Blackburn, Missouri, married Miss Mattie Owens and has three daughters and one son. Laura Burns Washburn is at home in Marshall, Missouri.
Since his marriage Mr. Spears has continuously engaged in farming and stock-raising and operates two hundred and seventy-five acres of land, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation. He also raises and sells stock and both branches of his business are proving profitable. Mr. and Mrs. Spears have no children of their own but have adopted a pretty little girl of six years, Bertha Grady, who is now attending school. He is a Republican, but aside from exercising his right of franchise takes little interest in politics. He belongs to the Baptist church, while his wife is a member of the Presbyterian church, and in the community where they reside they have made many warm friends through the possession of sterling traits of character. He has never divided his business energies over many lines, but has concentrated his efforts in one field of activity with the result that he has prospered and is now classed with the substantial agriculturists of the community.