Leroy Jeffries came to Monett, then called Plymouth or Plymouth Junction, in November, 1882. Except for 8 years spent in Cassville as county clerk (1915-1922), he remained an active merchant in Monett for 68 years, until his death in January, 1951. From 1882 until 1914, he owned three general stores and dealt in local farm produce by the train car load. After he returned to Monett from Cassville, he owned two automobile service stations. He was joined in Monett by his parents, Dr. T. H. Jeffries and Mary Jane Ricketts, in February, 1883. He married Mary Emilie Turpin on December 23, 1888, and they were the parents of four children.
Below is a sampling of early Monett items, mainly from the Jeffries family archives. The Banks and Jeffries families are not related, but my father Robert Banks Sr. worked for Mr Jeffries before and after World War II and became an informal member of the family. A few items are from the Banks family, and a few related items of special interest have been contributed by others. News clippings are mainly from the Library of Congress Chronicling America website, which has placed online the Monett Times from 1909 to 1922.
For additional items from this collection, see Part II.
||Leroy Jeffries, early 1880s. Leroy Jeffries was born in Benton County, Arkansas, on September 1, 1861, and died in Monett on January 13, 1951. His family moved from Arkansas to Cassville during the Civil War, then to Corsicana about 1868 and finally to Washburn about 1875. This image is from a tintype taken around the time Jeffries moved to Monett in late 1882. 1930 Newspaper Profile of Leroy Jeffries.|
||Mary Turpin. Mary Emilie Turpin was born in Barry County near the future site of Monett on January 18, 1871, and died in Monett on March 29, 1941. She married Leroy Jeffries December 23, 1888. This image is from a cabinet card photograph marked "Will F. Simes Art Studio, Opera House Block, Monett, Mo." Simes opened his studio in Monett in late 1894.|
||A Successful Young Merchant & His Family. In a refreshingly informal family portrait for the era, Leroy and Mary Jeffries posed on their porch for a traveling photographer from Little Rock, Arkansas. The children are Earl, Letha and Guy Byron. Guy Byron died in infancy. This photograph was taken before the birth of the Jeffries' last child Lalah (called "Trink"), who was born in October, 1894, so it dates to about 1893.|
||Dr. T. H. Jeffries and wife Mary Jane Ricketts, about 1870s. Thomas Hampton Jeffries, called "Hamp," was born November 18, 1837, in Clinton County, Kentucky, and died August 12, 1902, in Monett. He married Mary Jane Ricketts in Bentonville, Arkansas, on October 27, 1858. She was born in Tennessee on April 23, 1839, and died in Monett January 19, 1921. Early in the Civil War, Hamp was forcibly conscripted into the Confederate army, but deserted to join the Union army. For a time, Mary Jane was forced to fend for herself and her young children and helped bury the dead at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Later the family moved to Barry County, Missouri, where Hamp became a pioneer druggist and physician, living in Corsicana, Washburn and Monett. He served on Monett's first city council in the late 1880s and as Barry County coroner in the early 1890s. Mrs. Jeffries ran a boarding house in Monett which catered to Frisco train crews. This image is from a tintype probably taken in the 1870s. Goodspeed's Biography of Dr. Jeffries & Newspaper Obituary for Mrs. Jeffries.|
||Jeffries' Frisco Boarding House. In 1883, Dr. T. H. Jeffries and his wife took over the Withers House in Plymouth Junction and ran this small ad in the Peirce City Empire of March 1, 1883. After the Withers House burned in September, 1886, they built the house shown in the photograph at the corner of Euclid & Main, just across the street from the present V. B. Hall building. When Mrs. Jeffries died in 1921, her obituary in the Monett Times noted, "The older railroad men remember the excellent meals served by this industrious woman." This image is from a mounted photograph by an unidentified photographer and shows Mrs. Jeffries and her granddaughter Trink sitting at the corner of the house about 1905-1910. This house burned about 1953.
||Attaway Hotel, 1888 to 1922. Harrison Attaway was an entrepreneur who followed the railroad across Southwest Missouri opening a series of hotels. Under changing names, the Attaway Hotel was a fixture on Monett's Broadway from 1888 to 1922, when it was replaced by a new building under the name Broadway Hotel. Drawing on experience from her parents boarding house, Nolia Jeffries (Mrs. L. B . Jones), a sister of Leroy Jeffries, ran the Jones Hotel in the building in 1915. The photo link leads to a full page on Harrison Attaway's interesting career.
|| Leroy Jeffries' First Store in Monett (Plymouth), 1883-1886. This store was located near the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Main Street. It and most of the town burned on September 8, 1886, and Jeffries rebuilt at the same location. Leroy is standing just to the left of the entrance way, hatless and holding a white package. His father, Dr. T.H. Jeffries, with the white beard, is standing just to the right of the entrance way next to a man who appears to be black. Lloyd B. Jones, who married Leroy's sister Nolia Jeffries, is driving the delivery hack. The man at the extreme left is Charles McBride. The man standing at the door of the little shack at right is Dick Brite of Pierce City. The others are unknown. ID's are from the Monett Times, which reproduced this photograph in a 1930 article on Jeffries as a pioneer merchant.
||Jeffries' First or Second Store in Monett, Mid-to-late 1880s. This appears to be the same store as in the photograph above, but Leroy Jeffries is now bald, the building to the right in the earlier photo is gone and the sign has changed. Since stores in this era were sometimes built from kits, this may be Jeffries' second store (1886-1892), rebuilt from the same kit after the town burned. Faded handwriting on the photo mount identifies the persons in the photo as, left-to-right, Viode Rogers on the sidewalk; Sam Alk (?), T. Clinton and Frank Coatney (?) in the hack; Gene Saxe and Mr. Saxe on the sidewalk between the horse and hack; and Geo. G., Leroy Jeffries and Geo. B. on the sidewalk to the right. The elder Saxe owned a butcher shop in Monett.
||Jeffries' Third Store in Monett, 1892-1914. This store was located on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Main Street, just across the street from Jeffries' first two stores. Before highway 37 was built in 1929, Central Avenue was the main road into Monett from the south. Leroy built this store in 1892 and remained there until he went to Cassville as county clerk in 1915. He is shown with his daughter Trink. The photo is about 1905-1910.
||Store Inventory, January 1, 1893. The Jeffries' papers include an 8-page inventory of Leroy Jeffries' grocery store on January 1, 1893. He valued his stock on hand at $1,703.89 and was owed $2,397.45 for groceries sold on credit, of which he estimated $511.75 was uncollectable. He owed his creditors $1916.05, but this included $600 payable to his wife. He had on hand 900 pounds of flour, 225 pounds of rice and 180 pounds of sugar, plus 171 pounds of stick candy, 65 pounds of raisins, 60 pounds of soda crackers, 27 pounds of cheese and 8 3/4 pounds of shredded coconut. There were canned fruits and vegetables as well as canned oysters, salmon and sardines. He carried an inventory of 18 brands of tobacco totaling over 300 pounds, plus 850 cigars. There were wash boards, brooms, lamp wicks, stove polish, axle grease and fly killer. The only brand names still recognizable today are Arm & Hammer soda and Ball fruit jars. He valued his two acres of land at $125 and his two horses with hacks & harness at $175. Pages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
||Lawson Jeffries, Monett's First Fire Chief, around 1905-1910. James Lawson Jeffries, Leroy's brother, was born in Corsicana, Missouri on August 11, 1870 and died in a car wreck south of Rolla on November 12, 1930. He married Mary Woolsey of Monett on April 30, 1901. He was Monett's fire chief for 18 years. The photograph was taken at Spracklen's Studio in Webb City, MO. The emblem on the hat says "Chief" and the ribbon says "Annual Meeting, Southwestern Firemen's Association, Webb City."
||Lawson Jeffries' Hauling Business. Between 1901 and 1910, Lawson Jeffries owned a grocery store and pool hall in Monett and managed the town's semi-professional baseball team. Around 1910, he entered the coal business, which eventually expanded into a substantial hauling concern. In this 1930s photograph, his chief driver Charles Doennig stands by a Jeffries truck on Front Street, just east of Central, in Monett. Photo courtesy of Randy Doennig, Charles' grandson. Lawson Jeffries Ads.
The Barnsley Brothers Cutlery Company was a Monett business in the early 1900's. A stock prospectus published in the Monett Times in July, 1909, said the firm did "nearly $57,000 worth of business during the panic year of 1908 on a capital of $14,700." In today's dollars, that would be almost $1.6 million of business on a capital of slightly more than $400,000. More information on Barnsley Brothers.
|The DeChenne, Monett's Aeroplane. From about 1908 through 1911, Monett investors led by L. B. Durnil and U. S. Barnsley sought to build an airplane and were involved in at least three projects with different inventors. One project, the DeChenne, was a success and gave its first public demonstration flight at Monett on July 4, 1911, flown by Monett druggist Logan McKee. It then made an exhibition tour in Oklahoma and Texas. The link leads to a full page on the DeChenne, including newspaper articles and more photographs.
||Stock Certificate, Holbrook Helicopter Aeroplane Co., Monett, 1911. After abandoning its own airplane project at Joplin, this company became the corporate vehicle for building the DeChenne. This stock certificate was issued to Leroy Jeffries and signed by L. B. Durnil as President and U. S. Barnsley as Secretary. The vignette on the stock shows horse drawn wagons bringing ore to a mining smelter -- apparently the best the printer could do to represent the airplane and modern times. Durnil was a former Monett mayor and Barry County probate judge. He or his family owned a Monett dry goods store. Barnsley and his family manufactured cutlery in Monett.
||Anti-Horse Thief Association. When its state convention was held in Monett in 1912, the AHTA claimed 40,000 members in eight states and described itself as a "protective and detective organization" devoted to safeguarding the lives and property of its members. Its state president that year was J. F. Mermoud of Monett, and the Monett Times published a special issue for the convention. The local chapter was organized in Monett in December, 1904, and was probably best known for the very popular annual picnic it sponsored at Bethel Springs southeast of Monett. Hundreds of people came in wagons, camped around the springs and enjoyed a day of speeches and amusements such as pie-eating contests and fat men's races. Nonetheless, the group took seriously its pursuit of criminals and probably also enforced community norms against men who abused their families and the like. "Any respectable citizen" was eligible for membership, but "drunkards, debt-dodgers and loose mouth people" were not wanted. There was a whiff of vigilantism about the group, and contemporary newspapers sometimes referred to its "secret business." My grandfather Alba E. Banks was secretary of the local chapter for a time and wrote an occasional column for the Monett Times on its public activities. Here is a 1922 newspaper story about the group's pursuit of a bacon thief, which was probably fairly typical of its activites.
||Theodore Roosevelt in Monett, September 23, 1912. In the 1912 presidential election, Theodore Roosevelt ran as independent on the Progressive or "Bull Moose" ticket against President William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson. This postcard shows his whistle stop campaign appearance in Monett. My grandfather Alba Banks is standing in the right center foreground wearing a dark hat with crossed suspenders showing against the back of his white shirt.
|| Earl Jeffries. Earl Jeffries, Leroy and Mary's oldest child, was born in Monett November 27, 1889, and died in Monett April 3, 1914. He was working as a Frisco switchman at the time of his death and was killed when he fell under a moving train. This image is from a postcard. Newspaper Account of Earl's Death. Earl Jeffries Photo Gallery.
||Martin's White Sox, 1908. Earl Jeffries is in the center of the back row with the Monett park hill in the distance behind him. The others are unidentified. This image is from a postcard. More Monett Baseball & Other Sports.
||A Photographic Fad. Earl Jeffries poses on a crescent moon. The Jeffries papers have two other photographs with different young men on different moons. Apparently every photographer had his own variation of this set, which may have been especially popular in arcades at fairs and carnivals. Ralph Turpin and Bant Roderick are on the right in their respective photographs. The other young men in the photos are unidentified. These images are from undated postcards. Ralph Turpin on the Moon.
Bant Roderick on the Moon.
|| Frisco Yard Crew, Monett, May 27, 1912. Earl Jeffries is at left. The other three men are unknown, although a note on the back says "compliments of Paddy Clinton 5/27/12." This image is from a postcard. More Frisco Crews.
||Letha Jeffries. Leroy and Mary Jeffries had two daughters. Letha Jeffries was born in Monett July 31, 1891 and died in Monett May 16, 1968. She married Wiley Wayne O'Banion May 15, 1924 in Benton County, Arkansas. This is a studio portrait by Jenks, Monett, about 1905-1910. Letha Jeffries Photo Gallery
||Rock Quarry, City Park Ca. 1905-1910. Monett's current South Park was the Meador farm purchased by the city in 1923 and seen from the north in the background of this photograph of the 1908 Martin's Baseball Team. The east-facing slope above today's soccer fields, often used for snow sledding, was created by fill over a rock quarry and reputed cave entrance. In this photograph with identifications and the note "City Park" on the back, Letha Jeffries is sitting at right with George Roderick beside her and Charles Woosley behind her. The boy at left is Guy Miller. The other girls are Lena Roderick and Pearl Miller in unknown order. Here is another Jeffries photograph, poorer in quality, labeled "Old Rock Quarry City Park." The girls in it appear to be Ruth Roderick, Letha Jeffries and Trink Jeffries. Also, Elaine Orr's book Monett, page 109, has a 1913 photograph of a boy scout troop that appears to have been taken in the quarry. These quarry photographs were taken when it was still private land but already a favorite spot for local outings.
||Wayne O'Banion, Mahutska Mining Co., 1923. Wayne O'Banion was born near Aurora, Missouri, March 20, 1898, and died in Springfield December 28, 1958. He married Letha Jeffries May 15, 1924, in Bentonville, Arkansas. He is shown here, at right, working for the Mahutska Mining Company in Picher, Oklahoma, in 1923. He later worked for the Railway Ice Company in Monett and managed the Jeffries garage. More Wayne O'Banion.
||Ku Klux Klan, Monett, 1924 Membership Card. Wayne O'Banion's 1924 membership card in the KKK, with a pencil rubbing of the embossed seal. Reportedly, Letha Jeffries put an end to this. The membership wasn't renewed. Originally organized in the South after the Civil War, the KKK returned to national prominence in the early 1920s. A chapter was organized in Monett in late 1921 and held a parade on Broadway of about 50 hooded men led by a fiery cross on November 24, 1922.
||Trink Jeffries. Lalah Irene Jeffries, called Trink, was born in Monett October 6, 1894 and died in Monett June 28, 1980. She married Cecil Long in Monett March 20, 1929. This snapshot shows her with an unidentifed WW I soldier, probably in Cassville about 1917-18. Trink Jeffries Photo Gallery
||Cigar Factory Girls, Monett, 1913. William Fredrick opened his cigar factory in Monett in July 1909 and for many years advertised for girls over 16 to work there. In January, 1914, the Monett Times reported that he employed 20 people and sold over a million cigars a year. In April, 1918, the paper said he employed 60 people but didn't give a production figure. This image is from a postcard with "cigar factory girls 1913" penciled on the back. Ruth Roderick, a friend of Trink Jeffries, is the girl in black at front left; the others are unknown. Fredrick's Cigar Tin. Fredrick's Cigar Box. Fredrick Ads.
||Monett Boys in a Brass Era 1911 Overland Roadster. This postcard view looks north up fourth street across Broadway with the First National Bank on the far corner at left and the sign for Durnil's dry goods store on the near corner at right. Bill Kenney, an early boyfriend of Trink Jeffries, is the boy in back. The other occupants are unidentified. The car is an Overland roadster from about 1911. Cars from this era are referred to as "Brass Era" cars because much of the trim would have been gleaming brass. From a New Zealand museum via the internet, the photograph at right shows a somewhat higher-priced version of the same basic car. Note the "Overland" name on the side of the hood, which is barely visible in the Monett photo. John Meyer, editor of the Horseless Carriage Gazette, identified the car for me. More Monett Street Scenes.
||City of Monett Stationary, 1932-34. Monett's offical stationary for 1932-34 carried a full page promotion for Monett on the back, emphasizing Monett as a railroad division point and as a center for stock raising and the small fruit industry. It also added the racist comment that Monett had "6000 good citizens -- all white." This same stationary design was apparently also used by some Monett businesses. I have seen it with a Callaway Furniture letterhead.
||Letterhead, City of Monett Stationary, 1932-34. Cecil Long, Trink Jeffries' husband, was city clerk and treasurer at the time this stationary was issued. L. H. Ferguson was mayor. Note the Monett advertising symbol, Magnet of the Southwest. The Monett centennial book shows it in a photograph as early as 1925 but with a strawberry rather than a map in the center.
||Cecil Long, 1937. Cecil Long was born in the Waldensian community near Monett on October 5, 1901 and died near Eureka Springs, Arkansas, August 30, 1969. He was the son of Henry Long and Catherine Courdin. He married Trink Jeffries March 20, 1929 in Monett. After working as a fireman on the Frisco railroad, he was Monett city clerk in the early 1930s, Barry County Recorder of Deeds from 1935 to 1950 and state representative from Barry County from 1951 to 1957. He was a member of Monett's legendary 1921 football team and a locally noted outdoorsman active in the Barry County Hunting and Fishing Association and Monett Sportsman's League. Cecil Long Photo Gallery.
||Trink Long and Congressman Hall, About 1960. As the daughter and wife of public officer holders, Trink Jeffries Long was active in Republican politics for many years. Here she is second from right, standing beside Congressman Durward G. Hall in the center. Undated, but probably 1960. The others are unknown. Another 1960 Political Photograph.
||1914 Monett City Directory. Monett was a railroad town. In April, 1918, the Monett Times reported that the Frisco employed 1150 people in Monett. If there's any doubt, glance through the pages of this city directory published in 1914. It lists hundreds of men in railroad jobs: engineer, brakeman, fireman, signalman, switchman, conductor; station master, dining car chef, ticket agent, claims agent, postal clerk, express messenger; car inspector, coach cleaner, boilermaker, machinist, hostler, steel gang, section hand; works in yards, shops, round house, freight house, cinder pit. The photo link leads to a discussion of the directory in the context of related information and individual scans of all 60 pages. Here is the complete directory in PDF format.
||Future Bank Robber Mearl Turpin, About 1917. Mearl Turpin was Mary Turpin Jeffries' nephew. He received a serious head injury working for the Frisco before World War I, which the family believed explained his later turn to crime. About 1920, he robbed a train in Kansas and spent 12 years in the federal prison at Leavenworth. Then, on July 17, 1937, he was shot to death by highway patrolmen near Marshfield, Missouri, after robbing a Springfield bank. Under a banner headline, the Springfield newspaper ran ghoulish photos of his body and the crowd staring at it in a Marshfield funeral home. More Mearl Turpin.
||Barry County Oil and Gas Company, 1921. For over a year in 1921-22, Monett dreamed of becoming "a real oil town." This company set up headquarters on Monett's Broadway in July, 1921, and drilled a test well near Jenkins. The Monett Times regularly touted its stock, and about 600 local residents invested some $30,000 (over $400,000 in today's dollars), but the story kept changing. The geologists were hopeful of finding oil between 700 and 1000 feet, then chemical tests on cuttings at 1300 feet gave a nice showing of oil, then "almost pure crude oil" was bailed from the well. Then, finally, nobody had ever expected to find oil above 2000 feet. By December, 1922, the dream was over, and a Monett law firm filed suit on behalf of local stockholders to place the company in receivership.
||Leroy Jeffries' First Gas Station in Monett, 1923-29. After serving as Barry County Clerk, Jeffries returned to Monett in 1923 and built this gas station and garage on the northwest corner of Central Avenue and Main Street, the location of his third grocery store. He became a Sinclair dealer on May 1, 1924. The view here looks north up Central. When highway 37 was built in 1929, he built a new station on the highway.
||Jeffries at the Pumps of His First Station.
Apart from its Jeffries connection, this building has an interesting history. On September 21, 1931, after Jeffries had moved his station, Monett night watchman E. L. Hagler was shot by burglars in the building, then the Hildreth garage. Hagler died October 21, 1931, and was the only Monett police officer ever killed in the line of duty.
||Jeffries' Second Gas Station in Monett, 1929-1960s. This station was located at the north end of the Burlington Northern overpass on highway 37, about 1/4 mile north of the junction of highways 37 and 60. It opened July 3, 1929, and remained a service station into the mid-1960s. The last member of the Jeffries family to run the station retired about 1963. This photo is around 1950.
||Leroy and Mary Jeffries at the Pumps of their Second Station, 1930s. The sign in the window advertises Junge's Bread. Jeffries Motor Company Photo Gallery
||Strawberry Crate Label, Ozark Fruit Growers Association, Monett. The Ozark Fruit Grower's Association was listed in the 1914 Monett City Directory but this label may be considerably later. I have seen the slogan "The Land of a Million Smiles" used on Ozarks brochures as early as 1930, but it may have continued in use for many years.
||Strawberry Crate Label, Growers Mutual Distributing Company. Over the years, Monett was home to a number of rival fruit growers associations. Aroma was a variety of strawberry plant often favored by growers in the early 1920s. (Image courtesy of eBay seller labelman).
|| Jesse James Movie Train in Monett. The year 1939 may have been the greatest movie year ever, giving us The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind and Stagecoach, which made John Wayne a star. Another important western that year was Jesse James starring Henry Fonda and Tyrone Power, which was filmed in Southwest Missouri and in which Monett played a small part. The cover of The Railway Conductor magazine for March, 1939, featured a photograph of the train used in the movie's train robbery sequence leaving the Monett yards on September 1, 1938. A brief article described its history. My father Robert Banks, then 18, and some of his friends piled in a car and went to McDonald County to watch the film being shot, where he particularly remembered meeting Jane Darwell, who played Frank and Jesse's mother, and where he acquired this souvenir book (PDF).
|| Hatcher's Cafe, About 1951. From left: Bessie ???; Wanda Banks; Edith Kenney; Harry Hatcher; Mrs. Hatcher; Elsie Hawkins; Clara Mae Witt; Unknown; Unknown.
The Jeffries Collection, Part II.
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