John W. Houpt, the father, was born in North Carolina before the
Carolinas were separated into states. He grew up in Roane County, and
in pioneer times came to Indiana, and lived there until most of his
â€¢ family moved on west to Kansas, and he then followed and died in
Graham County in 1902. He was married in North Carolina to Margaret
Correll, a daughter of Samuel Correll. The latter 's father was from
Scotland and a farmer, while Samuel was a wagon-maker in Indiana.
Mrs. John W. Houpt died in Sullivan County, Indiana. Her children
were: William W. ; Mary, who married William Adkisson and died in
Gove County, Kansas ; Eliza, who married P. G. Adkisson, of Oklahoma ;
James F., who died in young manhood in Indiana; Thomas S., who
lives in Graham County, Kansas; Harvey, of Nebraska; and Alvin, who
lives near his brother Harvey.
Harry M. Davis. Four generations of the Davis family have added
to the development of those communities wherein they had their resi-
dence, in so far as authentic record is available, and a fifth generation
is being reared to take its place in public and private life. That repre-
sentative of the family with which this review is most deeply concerned
is Harry M. Davis, a son of James A. Davis and grandson of Nathaniel
Davis. He was born in Richmond, Missouri, on a spot now occupied by
the Richmond Hotel, on July 25, 1857, and there was reared to the age
of twenty. His father, James A. Davis, was born in Ray County,
Missouri, on November 27, 1837, himself a son of Nathaniel Davis, born
July 31, 1807, in Washington County, Tennessee, where the family was
When Nathaniel Davis was five years old he removed with his par-
ents to Knox County, Tennessee, and there he spent his youth and was
reared to manhood. When he was twenty-two years old he entered the
University of East Tennessee and was graduated with honors from that
college in 1832. He then came to Ray County, Missouri. At that time
Ray County, and, indeed, the whole State of Missouri, was then regarded
as the far West, and by many the wild West. He was prepared for
hardship and his intention Avas to carve out his destiny in a new land.
How well he succeeded, the affection of his old friends and the respect
and esteem in which he was held by the people of the entire county
will bear eloquent testimony. His character was without taint and his
very name was a synonym for integrity, honor, hospitality and charity.
He was an eminently successful physician, skillful, prompt and always
to be depended upon. He was here through the exciting period of the
Mormon war, as the excitement of the time was designated,, and was
compelled to seek safety, for a time leaving his home.
In the fall of 1837 Nathaniel Davis married Miss Maria A. Allen, a
native of Pennsylvania, and she died in the year 1878, aged seventy-six
years. Of her six children, all are living, James A. being the father of
the subject of this review.
James A. Davis attended the common schools of his native com-
munity and finished his training in Richland College. In 1862 he
engaged in the mercantile business, in company with James F. Hudgus
and Thomas H. Bayliss, continuing until 1864, when he withdrew from
the firm and went to Salt Lake City, Utah. He remained there for a
year, then returned to Richmond and resumed business for five years.
At the end of that time he began to devote himself to farming activities,
and he was thus occupied for three years, when he was appointed to the
post of deputy county collector under Thomas Fowler. He also served
through the administration of A. M. Fowler, successor to Thomas
Fowler, so that his service in the office covered a period of five years.
HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI 1497
In 1878 Mr. Davis was elected on the Democratic ticket to the office
of county collector, in which he had shown his capability as deputy,
and he was reelected in 1880, in 1882 and in 1884, discharging the
duties of his office in a manner highly creditable to himself and to the
In 1887, following the expiration of his last term, Mr. Davis organ-
ized the Exchange Bank of Richmond, whereupon he was elected cashier
and served in that office until 1900, at which time he retired from active
business. He has since lived a life of practical retirement in Richmond.
In 1890 Mr. Davis built the Eagle Mill at Richmond, and he and
his son, Harry M. Davis, operated the plant for two years, when they
sold it to its present owner, 0. N. Hamsaler.
Mr. Davis married on May 15, 1861, Miss Mary Tripplett, a native
of Rappahannock County, Virginia. She died on November 26, 1864,
leaving one child, Carrie, now the wife of Frank Clark and living in
Ray County, Missouri.
On May 15, 1866, he again married, Miss Allen M. Hughes, of How-
ard County, Missouri,- becoming his wife. She was born in 1843, and
still lives. To them were born seven children : Harry M., whose name
heads this review; Frank, also a resident of Richmond. Missouri; Katy,
deceased; Lucy N., the wife of F. M. Hyffaker, of Chicago; Allie, who
married C. W. Harrison, of New York City; James A., Jr., of Rich-
mond ; and Estelle, the wife of Dr. E. M. Cameron, of Richmond.
When Harry M. Davis was twenty years old he went to Chicago to
add something to his education, and there he took a rigid course in busi-
ness training in the Bryant & Stratton Business College. Returning
home when he had completed his commercial studies, he soon after
went to Kansas City, and there he took a position as traveling salesman
for Barton Brothers, a wholesale shoe house, and for five years there-
after he worked for that concern. He then returned to Richmond and
during the next two years he was engaged in the milling business with
his father. In 1892 he joined a Mr. Bates in the purchase of a lumber
yard, and for the next seven years operated the yard under the firm
name of Bates & Davis. In 1899 Mr. Bates disposed of his share to
L. T. Child, and then Mr. Davis and Mr. Child incorporated the busi-
ness under the firm name of Davis & Child, with a capital of $10,000.
Mr. Davis became president of the firm, and they have since continued
in operation, increasing the capitalization as the demands of the business
grew. The business is now capitalized at $30,000, and the establishment
is making steady progress. Everything in the building line is carried
by Davis & Child, the yard itself being under the personal supervision
and management of Mr. Child.
In 1906 Mr. Davis was elected to the office of county collector and he
served for four years. At the end of. his term of office he turned his
attention to farming, and he is now operating a farm comprising a full
section of land, 380 acres of which he owns. He makes a specialty_ of
jacks, mules and hogs', and has been very successful in his breeding
It is not too much to say that Mr. Davis is a man who has the genuine
confidence and esteem of the public, and that he is one of the most
prominent and popular men in these parts. He proved an excellent
public official, and if he could be induced to enter the lists in political
conflict, it is morally certain that he would find continued favor with
the people as an official. Fraternally he is a member of the A. F. and
A. M. and of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
On December 30, 1891, Mr. Davis married Miss Edwina Menefee,
who was born in the house where she now lives in the year 1874. She
1498 HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI
is a daughter of Berrien J. Menefee, a native of Culpeper County,
Virginia, born there on January 22, 1832, and who died on December
30, 1890, at Richmond. His parents were early settlers in Missouri.
Mr. Menefee was twice married. His first wife was Cynthia Cole, who
died and left two children, Kate, the wife of James S. Lightner, and
Henry R., of St. Louis, Missouri. His second wife was Miss Elizabeth
Newland, a native of Pike County, Missouri. She is living and for
the past eighteen years has been housekeeper at Central College, this
state. There were five children of this second marriage: Newland
lives in the West; Mrs. Davis was the second born; Emma is the wife
of R. L. Tracy, of Albany, Oregon; Susie married M. W. Little, of
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma ; and Berrien is the wife of H. F. Blackwell,
of Lexington, Missouri.
Berrien J. Menefee was a soldier of the Confederacy, serving as lieu-
tenant in Company D, First Missouri Cavalry. In 1861 he went across
the plains in company with James A. Davis, father of the subject, return-
ing, together with Mr. Davis, in the following year. For twenty-five
years he was a merchant in Richmond, operating a hardware and imple-
ment store. He dropped dead of heart disease while busy about the
store one day.
Mr. and Mrs. Davis have no children, but they have reared the child
of a sister, Catherine Allen, now fifteen years of age, and attending school
at Lexington, Missouri.
Jodia A. Magraw, M. D. Owning a name that has been honorably
identified with Harrison County for sixty years, Doctor Magraw was
long known as an educator, but since 1902 has been a successful physi-
cian at Gilman City. Most of his life has been spent in the service of
others, and as a physician he is kindly, even tempered, and a skillful
counselor and friend to his widening circle of patients.
Doctor Magraw was born on a farm- in Adams Township, Harrison
County, November 22, 1859. There he grew up, had a farm training
and environment, an education from the district schools, later supple-
mented from the Kirksville State Normal and the old Stanberry Nor-
mal, where he was graduated in 1892. He had been teaching for some
years, and that was his regular profession for twelve years thereafter.
His country school work was done in his native county, and his last
teaching in a graded school was at Valparaiso, Nebraska, where he
located in 1894. He took up the study of medicine at Cotner University
in Lincoln, Nebraska, and was graduated M. D. in 1899. In that school
he was demonstrator of anatomy one year and during 1901-02 filled the
chair of diseases of children. After three years of practice at Pleasant
Hill, Nebraska, Doctor Magraw returned to Missouri, and located in the
same locality in which he had been reared. His office and home have
been in Gilman City since 1902. He has membership in the Harrison
County and the State Medical societies.
Doctor Magraw 's grandfather was John Magraw, who was born at
Germantown, Pennsylvania, the son of a Scotch father and. of an Irish
mother. When he was seven years old these parents died of yellow fever,
being victims of the only epidemic of that scourge which ever reached
as far north as Philadelphia. The three orphan children were reared
in different homes. The daughter married a Mr. Latta and spent her
life in Ohio. The other son became a resident of West Virginia, and
among his well known descendants still in that state is former Governor
Magraw, a grandson. John Magraw was reared in the East, served as
a soldier in the War of 1812, and afterwards moved west and died in
Fayette County, Illinois, at the age of eighty-five. He married an
HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI 1499
orphan girl, Elizabeth McGnire, and their children were: Eleanor
who married Samuel Sidener, of Fayette County, Illinois; James, who
died in Fayette County; John D., father of Doctor Magraw; Joseph,
who died in Fayette County, leaving a family ; and David, who died in
John D. Magraw, who was born in Knox County, Ohio, May 9, 1830,
began active life with only a country schooling, but all his life was a stu-
dious reader. In 1855 he came to Missouri and entered land in Adams
Township of Harrison County, and improved it and made the home where
his children grew up. He died in Gilman City March 31, 1905. In poli-
tics he belonged to the old know-nothing party that existed before the
war. and was one of the two men in his township to cast votes 'for
Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He volunteered for service in the Union
army, being rejected on account of a crippled arm, but had a place in
Company G of the Fifty-seventh Missouri Militia, being called out for
brief periods only. He was one of the party leaders among the repub-
licans of his locality, never aspired to office, and for about a dozen
years served as justice of the peace. He was an active Methodist.
John D. Magraw was married in Harrison County, March 13, 1857,
to Miss Matilda J. Miller. Her father. Dr. Benjamin C. Miller, was a
native of Ohio, and from the vicinity of Kokomo, Indiana, came to Mis-
souri in 1855. He had practiced medicine in Indiana, but in Harrison
County became a farmer until his death in 1876. His wife was Elvira
DeYore, and of their eight children the following are mentioned : Jack-
son Greene, who was named in honor of Gen. Nathaniel Greene : Matilda
J. ; Rebecca A., deceased, who married John T. Price and left a family in
Harrison County; Samantha E., who married John H. Myers; Alice,
the wife of Mandrid Hart, lives at Carlsbad, New Mexico ; John A., of
DeKalb County, Missouri; and Samuel J., of Ariekaree, Colorado. The
children of John D. Magraw and wife were : Walter G., a farmer in
Adams Township, Harrison County ; Dr. J. A. ; Altha, a teacher in the
high school at Maysville ; Naomi, wife of Charles McClary, a Gilman
City merchant. There are no grandchildren by any of these.
Doctor Magraw was married at Albany, Missouri, December 28,
1899. to Rose M. Selby. a daughter of Joshua J. and Mary E. Selby and
a sister of Columbus 0. Selby, mentioned on other pages of this work.
Doctor Magraw is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows, having filled all chairs in the lodge, and is past chancellor in the
Knights of Pythias. He is a member of the Christian Church. Besides
his profitable practice, he owns property in Gilman City and a farm
near by. Doctor Magraw is a man of excellent physical presence, is
alert, and full of life and hope.
â€” â– Â» Walter Clement Childers. While Walter Clement Childers, of
Grant City, is a newcomer in the ranks of Northwest Missouri journal-
ism, his accomplishments in other lines of business endeavor, and as a
public official, may be taken as an assurance that in his new venture he
will meet with a full measure of success. He has been a resident of Grant
City since his first election to the office of county clerk in 1906, a posi-
tion which he still retains, and has been owner and editor of the Worth
County Times since January, 1914, and is, all in all, considered one of
his community's stirring and helpful citizens. Mr. Childers is not a
native of Worth County, but has resided here since his infancy, having
been brought here from" Jay County, Indiana, where he was born Novem-
ber 8, 1876, a son of James" H. and Hannah fYanSkyock) Childers.
The paternal grandfather of Walter C. Childers spent his final years
in Jay County, Indiana, to which locality he had gone from Adams
1500 HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI
County, Ohio. He was of English stock, the first of the name in this
country having come from England early in our national history, and
while it is not definitely known where the progenitor settled, it is
established that his posterity early located in Ohio. James H. Childers
was born in Adams County, Ohio, and received a somewhat limited
education in the public schools. He was brought up in the same man-
ner as the majority of Ohio farmers' sons, and although a cripple spent
a busy life and achieved some success through his energy and perse-
verance. Coming to Missouri in 1877, he located two miles and a quar-
ter north of Isadora, in Worth County, where he established himself in
the nursery business and later also spent some years as a salesman.
Mr.- Childers held no political office, although he was a staunch and
lifelong democrat. He was identified with no religious denomination,
although he firmly believed in churches and contributed his share to
their movements. Mr. Childers' fraternal connection was with the Odd
Fellows. He died in Worth County in February, 1902. Mr. Childers
married Miss Hannah Van Skyock, daughter of Jonathan VanSkyock, a
member of a Dutch family of Jay County, Indiana, and sister of Wash-
ington VanSkyock, who was one of the early pioneers of that county.
She is still living, making her home among her children, and is seventy-
eight years of age. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Childers were as
follows: Dr. Allen G-. T., a practicing physician of Mullhall, Oklahoma;
John Calvin, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Worth County ;
Stephen M., who is carrying on operations on the old homestead farm
in this county ; and Walter Clement, of this review.
Walter Clement Childers lived in the country until attaining his
majority, and acquired an ordinary education in the rural schools.
Later he attended the Stanberry Normal School, where he prepared
himself for the vocation of educator, and engaged in work in the rural
districts, his first school being the Piatt Dell School. After three years
passed in the country, Mr. Childers became principal of the school at
Athelstan, Iowa, a position which he retained for a like period, and then
deciding upon a career in a profession, entered the Highland Park
Law School, at Des Moines, Iowa. After one year, however, Mr.
Childers gave up his legal studies and engaged with his brother in the
general merchandise business at Athelstan, Iowa, but in 1906 made the
race for county clerk of Worth County, and was elected to that office
in November of the same year, as the successor of W. P. Spillman. His
energetic, capable and faithful services during his first term earned him
repeated reelections and he has continued to serve his county in this
capacity to the present time, much to the satisfaction of his fellow
citizens. He has handled the affairs of his office conscientiously and
well, and his record is one deserving high commendation.
In January, 1914, Mr. Childers purchased the Worth County Times,
a democratic weekly and the only democratic paper in Worth county.
During the forty years of its life it has had several owners, chief and
oldest among whom is E. S. Garver, from whom Mr. Childers purchased
the plant. This is equipped with linotype, good imposing stones, mod-
ern press and all utensils and appurtenances to be found in an up-to-
date plant, and is operated by gasoline power. Mr. Childers is endeav-
oring to give to the people of Worth County a clean, reliable newspaper,
and to mold public opinion along the lines of advancement and helpful-
ness in education and good citizenship.
Mr. Childers cast his first presidential vote in 1900 for William Jen-
nings Bryan and has since consistently supported democratic principles.
His convention work has been confined to local matters, and he has
served as chairman of the democratic central committee, during the
HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI 1501
campaign of 1908, and has been also a member of the congressional
committee. Fraternally, he is connected with the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows, and is a Master Mason and a member of the Modern Wood-
men of America. His religious connection is with the Missionary Bap-
tist Church. He has been connected with a number of business inter-
ests which have contributed to the growth of Grant City's importance,
and at the present time is one of the owners of the city electric light
and power plant.
On August 4, 1901, Mr. Childers was united in marriage with Miss
Emma Weese, a daughter of Leonard and Nancy J. (Martin) Weese,
whose children were as follows: Edith, who is the wife of P. S. Round,,
of Hanson, Idaho; Dr. W. W., a practicing physician of Ontario, Ore-
gon ; Emma, who is now Mrs. Childers ; Elmyra, who became the wife
of R. B. Hill, and is a resident of Nampa, Idaho; and Guy, who resides
at Hanson, that state. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs.
Childers, namely : Tessie Helen and Vilas Evan.
B. L. Ralph. Now living quietly on his farm, which is partly within
the city limits of Savannah, B. L. Ralph has had a varied business career
which has taken him into all the states west of the Mississippi River, as
far north as Alaska, during the Klondike mining excitement, and as far
south as Old Mexico. He has done a great deal of work in a constructive
way, has prospered as a business man, and is a good substantial citizen.
B. L. Ralph was born near Albany in Gentry County, Missouri,
January 1, 1863, a son of George S. and Mary J. (Twedell) Ralph. His
father was born in Ohio, June 30, 1824, and his mother in Illinois,
February 15, 1829. Left an orphan, his father came out to the Platte
Purchase in Northwest Missouri in 1846, while his wife came with her
parents to St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1848, and they were married in
Gentry County, where the father spent his active career as a farmer.
The mother is still living at Albany. Their three children are B. L.
Ralph ; William, of Gentry County ; and Ida, wife of J. W. Worden of
B. L. Ralph spent the first twenty-three years of his life in Gentry
County, lived on the old farm with his parents, and in the meantime had
gained the fundamentals of an education in country schools. Among
other experiences of his lifetime he has done a considerable amount of
school teaching, teaching for two winters in his home district, and after
moving to Andrew County in 1884 taught a country school one winter.
In 1886 Mr. Ralph was married in Savannah to Amy M. Cobb. She
was born in England, August 25, 1870, and at the age of four years came
with her parents, Amos and Harriet (Brand) Cobb, who settled in
Savannah. After their marriage Mr. Ralph moved west, locating in
San Luis Park, Colorado, took up a homestead, and assisted in the build-
ing of irrigation ditches. After a year spent there he returned to Mis-
souri, and became foreman on mason work during the construction of the
Chicago Great Western Railroad through Savannah. His next venture
was in the wholesale and retail oil business at Maryville, and subse-
quently he was connected with the Standard Oil Company, and went
out to Kansas and was located at Salina for nine years. He was interested
there in the Lee Mercantile Company, a wholesale grocery firm. After
selling out, Mr. Ralph was one of the men attracted to the far North by
the gold discoveries in Alaska in 1897. He went over the Dyea Trail and
down the Yukon River to Dawson City. This was a trip fraught with
many difficulties and dangers. The party had to whipsaw the lumber
used" for the construction of boats, and there were times when provisions
were scanty and when all manner of difficulties threatened them. Mr.
1502 HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI
Ralph spent fifteen months in prospecting in the Yukon Territory, and
returned to Skagway, a distance of seven hundred miles, by dog team,
making that trip in twenty days. He arrived home in the spring of
1898. With his brother-in-law, Charles B. Cobb, he engaged in masonry
contracting along the line of the Chicago Great Western, and did all the
masonry contracting on that system. Since giving up his contracting
business Mr. Ralph has looked after his farming business. He has twenty-
two acres with his home partially in the corporate limits, and another
place of 220 acres outside.
Mr. Ralph is a democrat in politics, and is affiliated with both the
York and Scottish Rite branches of Masonry, including the thirty-second
degree and the Shrine. He and his wife are the parents of two children :
Mildred and Elizabeth.
William H. Richter. Here is a name which, introduced into Har-
rison County in 1855, has for sixty years been identified with some of
the most substantial improvements and activities in agriculture and
stock raising. Many people recall the old pioneer, James Richter, whose
equal as a hunter and trapper never lived in this section of the country.
The Richter Stock Farm near Gilman City has for a number of years
been the home of some of the finest Shorthorn cattle raised anywhere in
the country, and many farms not only in this state but elsewhere have
received the nucleus of their high-grade stock from this place.
James Richter was the son of German parents, and was born aboard
a sailing vessel while en route from a German port to the United States
in 1813. His parents located in Maryland, and while he was still a
child moved out to Wayne County, Indiana, where they were among the
earliest settlers in that old Quaker community. His father died there in
1819, and the widowed mother, whose name was Melcher, lived at
Hagerstown, Indiana, until her death. Among their children were: