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Goodspeed's History of Southeast Missouri
Biographies of Scott County, 1888


A B C D E F G H K L M P R S T W Y




Benjamin B. Gaither

Benjamin B. Gaither, one of the most prominent citizens of Scott County, Mo., was born in Kentucky, in 1824. He is a son of John Gaither, of English descent, born near the District of Columbia, in Maryland. When young, the latter's parents came to Maryland, and resided there until their deaths. They had three children: Horace, Harriet (Pierce) and John. The last named removed to Kentucky, where he married Rebecca Bell, a native of Kentucky, of Welsh parentage. In March 1833, they came to Cape Girardeau County, Mo. and purchased land on which they located, and afterward improved and made their home. John Gaither died in September, 1837, and his wife in September, 1836. They were the parents of eight children, viz: Benjamin B., James W. (of Texas), John T. (a merchant of Commerce, Mo.), Harriet (wife of Jackson Ellis, residing near Commerce), Margaret, Mary, Harriet and Rebecca. The last four are dead. Margaret, Rebecca and Harriet were married, and reared families. Benjamin B. was thirteen years old when his father died. He went to Jackson, Mo., and learned the tanner's trade with James M. McGuire, by serving an apprenticeship of six and one-half years. In 1845 he went to Commerce and established a tan-yard, which he managed until 1856, after which he engaged in general merchandising at Benton, and continued two years, when he returned to Commerce and engaged in the grocery and milling business. During the war he dealt in grain, mostly corn, which he sold to the Government and after the war engaged in merchandising and milling. He built the first store-house in Morley, and sold goods there until 1870. In 1872 he traded the store and goods at Morley to his brother, John T., for the farm on which he now resides. On January 26, 1847, he was united in marriage with Susan Ellis a native of Scott County, born on what is now the county poor farm. She was born January 4, 1828 and is the daughter of Edward and Harriet (Nelson) Ellis, natives of Maryland and Virginia, respectively, who removed to Kentucky and from thence to Southeast Missouri in 1827. They had thirteen children, vis: Emily, Eliza, Nelson, Susan, Elizabeth, Jackson, Benjamin, Nancy, Sarah, Mary, Harriet, William and Edward. The last nine are dead. Emily lives in Benton, Eliza is the wife of Daniel H. Loody, and Nelson lives in Scott County, engaged in farming. Mr. Ellis died in the spring of 1858 and his widow in 1859. In 1859 or 1860 Mr. Gaither was appointed justice of the county court, and in 1881 was elected to represent Scott County in the Legislature. Mr. Gaither is extensively engaged in stock-raising. He has about 1,200 acres of land under cultivation, most of which he rents. He is a member of the A.F. & A.M. His wife is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. They have no children of their own, but have reared sixteen orphan children, only two of whom are with them now: Jefferson Tisdle and Lizzie Davis, a daughter of Samuel T. Davis, a prominent attorney of New Madrid County, who died in 1881. Mr. Gaither and wife are highly esteemed by all who know them, and are two of Scott County's best citizens.



John T. Gaither

John T. Gaither, a merchant of Commerce, Mo., was born in 1832, in Davidson County, Ky., and when one year old, came with his parents, John and Rebecca (Bell) Gaither, to Southeast Missouri, and located in Cape Girardeau County. He remained with his parents until the death of his father, in 1840, when he was bound for three years to Mr. McGuire, of Jackson, Mo., to learn the tanner's trade. He then came to Scott County, and was engaged with his brother in the tanning business until 1849, after which he went to New Orleans and remained one Year. Returning home, he entered school at Cape Girardeau, where he finished his education in 1852. In company with his brother, James W., and others, he then went overland, with ox-teams, to California, the trip requiring 110 days, during which he drove the team every third day. Upon reaching California he began prospecting for gold, and after remaining there two years engaged in mining and farming. He returned, in 1854, to Commerce. John T. Gaither, after his return home, purchased the tan-yard of his brother, B.B. Gaither, and managed the business until the commencement of the Civil War. During the war he was engaged in farming and dealing in wood on Big Island, in the Mississippi River. From 1866 until 1870 he was engaged in farming in Scott County, and from 1870 until 1875 in merchandising at Morley, at which time he removed to Commerce and engaged in his present general merchandising business. He was elected treasurer of Scott County 1868, and served one term. For twenty-seven years served as school director, and retired in 1887, refusing to serve longer. In 1858 he married Columbia Daugherty, a native of Dunklin County, Mo., born in 1839. They have had nine children, viz: Hettie (wife of Herbert Ranney, of Cape Girardeau County), Emma (wife of James Ranney, of the same county as above), John W. (deceased), Anna, Arthur, Birtie, Belle, Benjamin B. and Edna. Mr. and Mrs. Gaither are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he having been a member since 1869. He is also a member of the A.F. & A.M., and A.O.U.W.



Abner Greer

Abner Greer was born in Hopkinsville, Ky., in 1834, and is one of ten children born to the union of Jonathan Greer and Mary Hopson. Nine of their children grew to maturity, and six are now living. Jonathan Greer was born in South Carolina, in 1804, and died in 1811. His wife was born in Virginia, in 1811, and is now residing in Hopkins County, Ky. In 1849, Abner Greer went to California by the overland route, which required about ten months. From California, he went on the plains with Kit Carson, and remained six months, after which he was engaged for two years with Capt. Evans, in hauling freight between California and Fort Levenworth, Kas. Mr. Greer drove seven yoke of cattle for twenty-two months, without losing a day. Returning to his native State, he was engaged in trading in horses and mules, in Kentucky and Illinois, until 1857, when he engaged for one year in merchandising. In 1858 he went to Pike's Peak, and spent six months in mining, after which he went to Indiana and bought horses, which he sold in New Orleans. He was then engaged in the livery business in Louisiana until the beginning of the Civil War, when he enlisted in the Confederate army, and was commissioned captain of Company A., of the First Louisiana Regiment, under Col. Molton. At the close of the war he went to Memphis, Tenn., and the next year (1866), came to Charleston, Mo. In 1869 he removed from the latter place, to his present farm in Scott County, consisting of 390 acres with 200 under cultivation. His marriage with Mary Ancell was celebrated on February 2, 1869. She was born in Jun 1848. To them have been born ten children: Delia E., Mary, Pascal, Joseph, Abner, Margaret (deceased), James C., Lucy (also deceased), Charles and George. Mrs. Greer is an active member of the Baptist Church. Mr. Greer is a member of the A.F. & A.M. of the A.O.U.W. and of the Wheel. He deals largely in stock, of which he prides himself on being a good judge.



John B. Greer

John B. Greer, an industrious and enterprising young farmer near Sikeston, Mo., is a native of Scott County, born on July 14, 1860. He is a son of Calvin and Fannie (Turner) Greer, natives of Scott County, Mo., and East Tennessee, respectively. The subject of this sketch was reared on his fathers farm, and has followed farming as a vocation the most of his life. He was appointed deputy circuit clerk in 1882, and held the office one year. In 1883 he served as deputy sheriff under Jasper Trotter. While filling those offices, he resided at Benton. He is a prosperous farmer, and is now cultivating 350 acres of fine land near Sikeston. On October 7, 1885, he was united in marriage with Lou, daughter of A.E. Mason, of Illinois. Their union has been blessed by the birth of two children: Bessie and Willene. Mr. Greer is a member of the Wheeler society.



David E. Grojean

David E. Grojean, an enterprising farmer residing near Sikeston, was born in Scott County, Mo., on November 24, 1857. He is a son of Celestine and Mary (Jeffords) Grojean, the former a native of France, and the latter of Scott County, Mo. Celetine Grojean Came to America with his parents in 1834, and located in Massillon, Ohio, where they remained until 1850, when they came west and settled near Hamburg, Scott co., Mo. After four years the parents went back to Ohio, where they died. Celestine Gorjean married and lived near Hamburg several years, when he removed to a farm near Sikeston. In 1866 he went to Kansas and remained until 1873, when he returned to Scott County where he is still living. His wife died in 1884. They were the parents of thirteen children, eight of whom are living: Sophia (wife of Frank Finley), Charles, John, Anna, James, Eugene and Maggie. Those deceased are Jane, Belle, Frank, Ella, and an infant daughter. David E. remained with his parents until he was twenty-two years of age, when he married Maggie Winchester, a daughter of Henderson and Rachel Winchester, of Missouri. After his marriage, he located where he now resides. He has 152 acres of land with 130 acres under cultivation, with good improvements, Mr. and Mrs. Grojean are consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They have had four children, three of whom are living: Edward W., Mary E. and Elizabeth. The one deceased is Jasper C. Politically Mr. Grojean is a Democrat.



Henry F. Grupe

Rev. Henry F. Grupe, pastor of Eisleben Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kelso Township, Scott Co., Mo., was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1848, and is a son of Frederick Grupe and Georgiene (Wiebrok) Grupe, both natives of Hanover. In 1854 Frederick Grupe set sail for America. Landing in New York he went to Crete, Will Co., Ill., and located. He was born on April 19, 1808 and when young learned the carpenter's trade. His wife died in 1879, aged sixty-nine years. They were the parents of five children: Frederick (on the home place in Illinois, engaged in farming), Fredericke (Mrs. Christopher Rust, of Illinois), Caroline (Mrs. Philipp Mueller, of Illinois), Henry F. and George H. (who died June 18, 1887 at Oak Park, Ill., aged thirty-eight years). The father is still living at Crete engaged in agricultural pursuits. Henry F. began his education in Crete and took a private commercial course while clerking in a store. His education was finished in the Concordia Seminary, of St. Louis, Mo., from which he graduated in the theological department in 1871. In August of the same year, he came to Southeast Missouri, and was ordained pastor of his present church on August 6, 1871. The church was organized about 1850 by D. Bhonhardt, Daniel Ruebel and others. It now has a voting membership of forty-nine, and has a school of seventy-nine pupils. In October 1871, Rev. Grupe was married to Miss E.D. Schweer, who was born in Germany, on February 2, 1850, and came to Crete, Ill., in 1865. Four children were born to this union, as follows: Gustavus, January 12, 1873, died in October 1875; Paul August 5, 1875; Otto December 3, 1876, died in August 1877 and Emilie July 25 1879. A few hours after of birth of this child Mrs. Grupe died. On the 30 of May 1880, Rev. Grupe married Miss Katharina Hoffmann, born in St. Louis, Mo., September 7, 1850. Two children have been born to this union: Arthur, April 23, 1881, and Henry, January 2, 1886. Rev. Grupe is an earnest Christian, who devotes his whole time to his church, and is beloved by his members.



Abner J. Gupton

Dr. Abner J. Gupton, a physician of Morley, Mo., was born in Montgomery County, Tenn., in 1841, and is a son of Robert T. Gupton, a native of Tennessee. The latter's father, Abner Gupton, was a native of North Carolina, and removed to Tennessee about 1800. He served as magistrate of Montgomery County, Tenn., for forty-eight years, from 1802 to 1850. He was a soldier in the war for independence, and was wounded at the battle of Guilford Court House. After a very active life, he died in 1858, aged one hundred and four years. He had never been sick a day in his life. Robert T. was one of a large family of children. He also led a very active life, and served as magistrate in the same county as his father from 1836 until the beginning of the Civil War. After the war he filled the same office until his death in 1866, aged fifty-six years. His wife, Henrietta Power, was a native of North Carolina, who, when an infant, came to Tennessee with her parents, and located in Montgomery County on a farm, where the parents remained until their deaths. Robert T. Gupton and wife had eight children, five of whom lived to be grown. Martha was married to Andrew J. Harrison, a native of Virginia. They are both dead, and their children: Henrietta, Robert, Allen, Virgin and John are living with the subject of this sketch. The other four are Abner J., Cave J. (who died in 1872), John J. (Mrs. John M. Duke, who died in 1886). The mother of these children died in 1863, aged forty-two years. Abner J. chose medicine as his profession. In 1861 he enlisted as a private in the Forty-second Tennessee Infantry, Col. (Afterward Brig. Gen.) W.A. Quarles, C.S.A., commanding, and was promoted to the position of assistant-surgeon on the battlefield, at Fort Donelson, by his colonel. He was examined by the medical board in 1863, who in passing him, recommended his commission to date from February 13, 1862. He was in every engagement with his command, and was never absent from duty but once during the war -when on a two weeks' furlough in April, 1865. At the close of the war he returned home and began practicing his profession. In November 1866, he removed to New Providence, Tenn., and resumed his practice. In 1875 he located in Morley, Mo., and is now the oldest practicing physician in the town. In July 1866, he wedded Mary F. Crow, a native of Alabama, born in 1845 and a daughter of Isaac F. Crow, a native of South Carolina. The Doctor and wife have had four children: Fannie B., Mary P., Harry (deceased) and Ernest (deceased). They have a nice home, and all are consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The Doctor is an active church worker, and is now one of the trustees, and Sunday-school superintendent.