JOHN O. BOGGS
Among those who have passed the center milestone on life's journey, leaving behind them a career untarnished, is numbered this gentleman. Almost with the first introduction of civilization into Jackson county, he took up his residence here. Wild was the land, the forests unbroken and progress still a thing of the future. Indians frequently visited the neighborhood and Jackson county was indeed a frontier settlement. In the labors that have transformed it into its present high improved condition, with its excellent farms, splendid homes and extensive business interests, Mr. Boggs has ever borne his part.
Our subject was born in Lee county, Virginia, October 30, 1818, and traces his ancestry back to colonial days. His grandfather, James Boggs, was a native of North Carolina and a soldier in the Revolution. The father, John Boggs, was born in Virginia, in 1771, and in that state was married to Nancy Wells, who was born in Lee county, Virginia in 1773. In 1822, they removed to Kentucky, spending their last days in Lawrence county. They had 14 children, all of whom reached years of maturity, namely: James, Hugh, Mrs. Eleanor Shepherd, Mrs. Phoebe Kendall, David (deceased), Mrs. Nancy Burton, Mrs. Elizabeth Sparks, William, Mrs. Mary Holbrook, Mrs. Rebecca Holbrook, John O., Elijah, Mrs. Aurenia Gamble and Mrs. Jemima Gamble. Two of the sons, William and John, were soldiers in the Confederate army. The parents were both faithful members of the Baptist church, and Mr. Boggs took a very active part in its work.
Our subject is the only survivor of the family. On a Kentucky farm he was reared to manhood and early became familiar with all the labors incident thereto, but his school privileges were exceedingly meager and he is principally self-educated. In 1839 he came to Jackson county, Missouri, and made his home 3 miles North of Lee's Summit.
For 6 years he worked for others and then began trading in the stock business. In 1849, attracted by the discovery of gold in California, he crossed the plains with ox teams, leaving Jackson county on the 7th of May, and arriving at the gold diggings on the 7th of September. He made the trip in safety and there engaged in trading in hogs, cattle, mules and horses. In this venture he won considerable success and the following year he returned home by way of New York.
Mr. Boggs then purchased a farm 3 miles North of Lee's Summit - a tract of wild prairie land on which stood no house or other improvement. He has killed deer all over this prairie and has seen here the Shawnee, Wyandotte and Delaware Indians. For some years after locating on this farm, Mr. Boggs did his own housekeeping as well as farm work. The labor of cultivating the farm was carried steadily forward until the once wild lands yielded to him a good return.
After a time he secured as a companion and helpmeet on life's journey Mrs. Peace McGuire, nee Kennedy, a widow lady and a native of Kentucky. They were married in 1857, and her death occurred at Lee's Summit, March 26, 1876. By her 1st marriage she had 2 children: Eliza, now the wife of James Inskip, of Kansas City, by whom she has one son, William; and Paulina, wife of Joseph M. Cooper, of Kansas City, who has 3 children - James, Walter and Peace. Mr. Boggs reared and educated his wife's daughters. He was again married January 7, 1877, his 2nd union being with Mrs. Elizabeth Crane, widow of Dr. Crane, of Ashland, Ohio. She was born in the Buckeye state, and died March 25, 1895.
Mr. Boggs was living upon his farm when the war began. He had over 300 acres of land, all fenced, owned a few slaves and was doing well, but both armies invaded this region and from his farm took whatever they desired. Fences were torn down and it seemed that ruin reigned in the neighborhood. Our subject entered the Confederate service and participated in the battle of Lone Jack. He then went South, joined Captain Longhorn's company, which formed a part of Colonel Upton Hayes' regiment and Shelby's command. He was afterward commissioned captain, was assigned to Colonel Slayback's regiment, and was in the commissary department. He took part in the battle of Prairie Grove and in the campaign against the Red river expedition of General Banks, also the engagement at Mark's Mill, where over 1,500 prisoners were captured. He was all through the Arkansas campaign and in the various battles and skirmishes until the surrender of General Shelby at Shreveport, Louisiana. He next went to Baton Rouge and drew rations for the regiment at that place and St. Louis. He assumed command of the regiment after General Slayback went to Mexico, and returned home with and disbanded the troops. He was never wounded or captured, but returned to his farm to find that the labor of years had been all swept away, the crops used for food for the armies and the fences and houses burned to the ground.
With characteristic energy Mr. Boggs began again the work of making a good farm, erected new buildings and continued the improvement until 1873, when he sold out. He is still engaged in the stock business and was also for a time engaged in selling dry goods.
Politically, Mr. Boggs has always been a democrat, has frequently served as delegate to the party conventions and has been deeply interested in the success of the democracy. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, and his religious beliefs is that of the Baptist church, in which he has served both as trustee and clerk of the congregation at Lee's Summit. He has been called to public office on various occasions, having been constable of Prairie township, and a member of the city council of Lee's Summit. He has also been mayor of the city and for 20 years was Justice of the Peace. He has allowed nothing to interfere with his faithful performance of duty, and his public and private life are alike above reproach.
This page was last updated August 2, 2006.