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From the 1887 History of Vernon County, Missouri, p. 613-614:

Frank P. Anderson

(Railroad Contractor, Nevada)

Frank P. Anderson is by no means the least prominent of those to whom reference has been made within the present work.  On the contrary few men have manifested the energy and determination, or brought to successful accomplishment affairs with which they have been connected, that Mr. Anderson has.  The following brief outline of his life will serve to show, feebly it is true, something of what he has done during his eventful career.  Born near Jefferson City, Cole county, Mo., March 21, 1836, he commenced in life at the age of 15 first as a school teacher, having been favored with fair educational facilities in youth.  This he continued in connection with book-keeping until 1859 when he came to Nevada, and at once he entered upon an active, and what was destined to be an important career.  At first he taught a three months’ term of school, and then was employed in the office of the circuit and county clerk, and subsequently was appointed to assess the county in 1860, and after performing this duty he served in the county clerk’s office as deputy until the outbreak of the war.  In the winter of 1861-62, as elsewhere stated, Col. Hunter came up and took the county records to Arkansas.  Mr. Anderson now turned his attention to the stock business, trading in horses and mules, etc.; the winter of 1864 he passed in Illinois.  In November 1865, he returned to Nevada, soon embarking in the mercantile business, and after the reorganization of the county he was appointed its treasurer, but refused to qualify.  In 1866 he was elected to that office, and again in 1868, serving through two terms.  In 1869 he engaged in the real estate business with Maj. W. W. Prewitt, but in 1870 discontinued this to embark in railroad contracting, a calling for which he seemed to be peculiarly fitted.  In 1872 he went to Utah Territory and followed freighting during that and the two succeeding years.  In 1875 and 1876 his time was not as fully occupied as previously, but during 1877-78-79, he was made collector of this county, receiving an appointment from the county court.  In 1880 he resumed again the contracting business, remained thus occupied until 1883, during which time he built the Lexington and Southern division of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, from Rich Hill, Mo. to Joplin Mo., an enterprise which has proven to be of incalculable benefit to Nevada and Vernon county in general, and to which Nevada owes largely her past and present prosperity.  It was owing to Mr. Anderson’s untiring energy and never ceasing watchfulness that this great North and South thoroughfare was secured to Nevada instead of being diverted to Fort Scott, a rival town in Kansas.  In 1883 he engaged in coal mining at Rich Hill; he continued this during that and also the following year.  In 1885, Mr. Anderson succeeded in prevailing upon the management of the Missouri Pacific Railway to build the Nevada and Minden Railroad, from Nevada, Mo., to Chetopa, Kansas, an enterprise which he originated himself, and on which he spent much time and a large amount of money during its embryo stage.  For these two important lines of railroad Nevada owes much to Mr. Anderson as the building of them has brought Nevada prominently to the front as the first city of commercial importance in Southwest Missouri.  In 1886, he took the contract for building the St. Louis, Kansas City and Colorado Railroad through Franklin county, and to this he is now devoting his attention.  January 2, 1867, Mr. A. was married to Miss Julia R. Nelson, of Vernon county, a native of North Carolina.  They have four children: Prince A. Fountain, William Nelson, Minnie Scales and Charles Bruce.  It seems almost superfluous to attempt any empty words of comment to this plain statement of facts as here given.  That Mr. Anderson has labored under some disadvantages, physically, is known to all, for since 10 years of age he has been under the necessity of using a crutch, having been afflicted with white swelling at that age.  Notwithstanding this he has accomplished what many would have given up, and as a result stands to-day among the leading citizens of the county, enjoying a wide and growing popularity.

[Transcribed by Becky Siple.]




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