Walker accepted the position of county supervisor of schools, for which
he was amply fitted, and filled it most acceptably until January 1, 1911,
when he entered upon the duties of his present office.
On February 29, 1904, Mr. Walker was united in marriage with Mary
West, a daughter of the late Jackson West, of Plattsburg. Her mother
still lives in Plattsburg. Mr. and Mrs. Walker have one child, a daugh-
ter named Emily. They are identified by membership with the Metho-
dist Episcopal Church, South, and are active in its Sunday school work.
John A. Asher, M. D. More than thirty years in the active mem-
bership of the medical fraternity of Northwest Missouri has brought
Doctor Asher all the better distinctions that come to the physician and
surgeon, and his success has been in proportion to the length of his
practice. For many years he has practiced at Trenton, is one of the
1932 HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI
best known physicians of Grundy County, and his family have been
known in that vicinity nearly half a century.
John A. Asher was born on a farm near Zanesville, Muskingum
County, Ohio. His father, Solomon Asher, was born in Muskingum
County, November 24, 1827. The grandfather was John S. Asher, also
a natiVe of Muskingum County, and the son of Luke Asher, who was
born either in the north of Ireland or in this country of Scotch-Irish
parents. Luke Asher was an Ohio pioneer, and identified himself with
that new country probably about the time Ohio was detached from the
original Northwest Territory and made into a state. Luke Asher mar-
ried Rachael Scott.
John S. Asher bought a farm in Muskingum County, five miles a
little southeast from Zanesville, and there spent the rest of his life. He
married Jane Shumaker, a daughter of Adam and Rachael Shumaker,
who were probably born in Germany, or were at least of German par-
entage. John S. Asher and wife reared two sons and four daughters,
namely: Solomon, Caroline, Sarah, Catharine, Rachael and William,
while of two other children, a daughter Mary died in early childhood,
and another daughter died in infancy. Of this list of children, William
was a soldier and was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness during the
Solomon Asher, father of Doctor Asher, was reared on the Ohio farm,
and when ready to start out for himself his father gave him two horses
and two cows and a little furniture. With that equipment he bought
on time sixty acres from his father, and he and his wife began house-
keeping in a log cabin, and from that humble beginning they eventually
achieved success. After farming for a few years, he bought a portable
sawmill, and moved from place to place sawing up tracts of timber.
That work was carried on in the intervals of his farm labor. After the
death of his father he returned to the old homestead, but in the fall of
1868 sold out his Ohio interests and moved to Northwest Missouri, set-
tling in Grundy County. He bought a farm in Lincoln and Trenton
townships, and remained there until his death in 1905. On December
27, 1848, he married Elizabeth Ellen Birch. She was born on a farm
in the northeast part of Muskingum County, Ohio, February 26, 1827.
William Birch, her father, was an early settler of Muskingum County,
a farmer, and married Emily Wickham. The latter was born in Ohio,
a daughter of Ebenezer and Sarah Wickham. Ebenezer Wickham came
from England. After the death of William Birch, Emily, his widow,
married Elijah Eaton, and by that union had one son, Elijah Eaton, Jr.
After the death of Mr. Eaton she married for her third husband John
Emmons, and died a few years later, leaving a son John W. Emmons.
Her last years were spent on a farm about six miles east of Zanesville.
Elizabeth Ellen Birch was the only child of her first marriage.
Solomon Asher and wife lived together fifty-seven years, and cele-
brated among their children, grandchildren and friends their golden
wedding anniversary. Both joined the Baptist Church when they were
young, and for many years he continued a deacon and active worker
in that denomination. Their eight children were named as follows:
Milton Clarence, Howard Benton, John Alvin, Alice Jane, Edwin F.,
Benjamin Franklin, Arthur E. and Solomon Scott.
Dr. John A. Asher received his early training in the rural schools
of Ohio and of Grundy County. Later he was a student in the Grand
River College. One term of school teaching was a feature of his early
experience and he took up the study of medicine with Dr. Thomas Kim-
lin. Later he was a student in the medical department of the University
of Iowa at Iowa City, and then entered the medical school of the Uni-
HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI 1933
versity of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and also attended the University
Medical College of New York City, where he was graduated M. D. in
1881. Returning to Trenton he took charge of Doctor Kimlin's drug
store, and was a druggist and physician in combination until 1894. Since
that time he has devoted his attention strictly to his large private prac-
tice in Trenton and vicinity.
On January 18, 1888, Doctor Asher married Sallie M. Graham. She
was born at Gentryville, Gentry County, Missouri. Her father, Dr.
George D. Graham, was born in White County, Illinois, in 1836, a son
of John M. Graham, who was a White County farmer and on coming
to Missouri settled in Grundy County, buying land near Edinburg,
where he operated his farm with slave labor and lived until his death.
John M. Graham married Rebecca Phillips, who died two months after
her husband. They reared six sons and one daughter : James, William,
Emily W., John M., Alfred, George D. and Oliver. Dr. George D. Gra-
ham attended Grand River College and graduated from the Missouri
Medical College at St. Louis in 1857, beginning practice at Gentryville,
where he lived until his death in 1883. Doctor Graham married Martha
Dobbins. She was born in Sullivan County, Missouri, in 1838, and
her father, Thomas E. Dobbins, came from the vicinity of Springfield,
Illinois, and settled in Sullivan County in early days. He bought large
tracts of land on the line between Sullivan and Grundy counties, and
was a prominent farmer and stock raiser there before his death. Thomas
E. Dobbins married Sarah Kirkpatrick, who was the mother of fifteen
children, thirteen of whom grew to maturity. Mrs. Doctor Graham died
in May, 1913. She reared five children, namely: David T., Emma J.,
Sallie M., Leota and James. Doctor and Mrs. Asher have two children,
Vera and Arthur Graham.
Doctor Asher has membership in the Grundy County and the Mis-
souri State Medical societies, and fraternally he is affiliated with Grand
River Lodge No. 52, I. 0. 0. F. He is a director in the Citizens State
Bank at Trenton. Reared on a farm, he has never lost his fundamental
interest in agriculture, and is the owner of a fine place three miles east
of Trenton, and takes much pleasure in its cultivation and management.
Doctor Asher was elected coroner of Grundy County in 1906, and again
elected in 1912, in the meantime having served two years as deputy
coroner. In 1888 he was appointed a member of the pension examining
board, and with the exception of four years served to the present time.
Mrs. Asher is a member of the Daughters of Rebekah, and is also con-
nected with such representative social organizations as the Ninety-Nine
Club, the Shakespeare and the Sans Souci clubs.
John Stephens. A home of comfort, thrift and enterprise is that
of John Stephens in Lincoln Township of Caldwell County. Mr.
Stephens has spent practically all his life in this section of Northwest
Missouri, learned the details of farming when a boy, and has applied
his experience and industry to the making of a good home. His farm
comprises 160 acres, and is devoted to general agriculture and stock
raising. Their residence is a substantial seven-room house, all well fur-
nished, and with surroundings that indicate the taste and thrift of the
owners. Mr. Stephens has as the business department of his farm a
large barn, 30 by 40 feet, for horses, cattle and hay, and has all his fields
well fenced and improved, and the general management of the place
indicates a high order of farm management. One department of his
farming is the raising of fine chickens, and he keeps a flock of some of
the best white Leghorns and white Wyandotte fowls in Caldwell County.
John Stephens was born on the old homestead forty years ago, a son
of Edward and Eliza Stephens. Both his parents were natives of Wales,
1934 HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI
grew up and were married there, and in 1870 came across the ocean on a
sailing vessel to find homes in the New World. Edward's brother,
Thomas, had been the first of the family to come to Missouri and acquire
a homestead. Edward and Eliza Stephens were the parents of nine
children, as follows : Mary Jane, deceased ; John ; Edward ; Sarah ; Wil-
liam; Thomas R., who is a lawyer; George; Ann Eliza, and Matilda
Ann. Edward Stephens, the father, was a man of marked intelligence
and industry, was a republican in politics, and he and his wife were
members of the Baptist Church.
John Stephens grew up on the home farm, learned the lessons of
industry while attending the local schools, and as the years gave his
body strength was able to assist in cultivating and keeping up the old
farm. Mr. Stephens has always kept in touch with the movements of
the world and of politics and affairs, and has read especially along the
lines of history and is a well informed and pleasant man to meet.
On March 10, 1897, he was married in Cowgill, Missouri, to Lydia A.
McClellan. She was born in Saline County, Missouri, a daughter of T. W.
and Matilda (Lynn) McClellan, her father a native of Johnston County,
Missouri, and her mother of Kentucky. Her father was born November
14, 1839, a son of a Tennesseean who located early in Missouri. T. W. Mc-
Clellan married his wife in Saline County, and she died at the age of
fifty-seven. In the McClellan family were two sons and seven daughters,
named as follows: Ruth F. ; Kate Murphy; Lydia Stephens; John L. ;
Lucy Kelly; Florence Norton; Taylor; Sarah Couch, besides one that
died in infancy.
Mr. and Mrs. Stephens had one child, J. W., who was born April 19,
1903, and died August 17, 1910. He was a bright boy, the life of the
home and the joy of his parents. Mr. Stephens is affiliated with Cowgill
Lodge No. 561, I. O. 0. F. He and his wife are active members of the
Baptist Church and are people of the highest standing and esteem in
H. K. Miller, The substantial character of a family can in no better
way be indicated than through long residence and a constant progres-
siveness in its work and influence. For half a century the Miller family
has lived in Liberty Township of Holt County, and the homestead now
occupied by H. K. Miller is the same which his father bought when he
first came to the county, and which has been under the management of
three successive generations.
H. K. Miller was born in Liberty Township, of Holt County, Sep-
tember 19, 1882, and is a son of Frank and Jennie (Kay) Miller. He
was the only child, and after the death of his father on the old home
farm he continued to live with his grandfather, Henry C. Miller, and
wife, and was under their care from the age of two years. After the
death of his grandfather Mr. Miller continued on the farm and his
grandmother lived part of the time with him and part of the time in
Kansas. She is now eighty-three years of age. Mr. Miller received his
education by attending the public schools of Liberty Township.
Grandfather Henry C. Miller located this farm in Liberty Township
in 1864. It was land that at that time had practically no improvements,
and the plowed fields, the fences, the substantial buildings, and all other
evidences of material progress represent the enterprise of this one
family. The farm comprises 230 acres of land, and his grandfather first
bought 190 acres. Grandfather Miller died on this homestead, and
it was also the home of Mr. Miller's father.
Grandfather Miller was a member of the Lutheran Church. He had
started his career as a machinist in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was at that
HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI 1935
time regarded as an expert in the handling of tools and the operation of
machinery. Politically he was a republican.
Mr. H. K. Miller married Mary Lambert, daughter of David and
Fannie (Price) Lambert. To their marriage have been born two children,
Irene and Bonita, both of whom were born on the homestead in Liberty
Township. Mr. Miller is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows, and politically his relations have been with the republican party
since casting his first vote.
John W. Hyder. An experienced and practical journalist, editor,
litterateur and churchman, John W. Hyder has long occupied a high
position in the estimation of the public, particularly at Excelsior Springs
and vicinity. His energy, enterprise and desire to please the public have
been liberally rewarded, both as to his reputation among Missouri news-
paper men and also from a financial standpoint.
John W. Hyder was born in Clay County, Missouri, September 6, 1862.
His father, John B. Hyder, a native of Tennessee, came to Missouri
when only ten years of age. He became a farmer, and though with
little or no capital to start with, through his own efforts and with the
aid of his industrious and economical wife acquired a competency. John
B. Hyder married Miss Caroline Spearro, who was born in 1844, a short
time after her parents arrived in this country from Germany. John
W. Hyder was the eldest of their twelve children, five of whom died in
infancy, the others being mentioned as follows : Lula F., now the wife of
G. W. Lord of Excelsior Springs; Mollie, the wife of R. L. Beckett of
Excelsior Springs; Ida M., wife of Frank Campbell of St. Joseph;
Tena ; Henry H. ; and Sadie Zula, the wife of Jesse L. Myers of Kansas
Unfortunately the early life of John W. Hyder was almost wholly
without opportunities for obtaining an education, and eight months
comprised the sum total of his school days. This is largely due to the
fact that his services were so badly needed on the home farm, on which
he spent many a day in hard manual labor. During this time, while
his mind lay fallow, his constitution was strengthened by outdoor life,
and his powers of eager observation supplied him with a useful fund of
general information. It was his steadfast ambition that enabled him to
break down the barriers of circumstance and to elevate himself beyond
his opportunities. Many hours usually wasted by other boys were spent
by him in reading every book, paper and periodical that came in his way.
At the age of eighteen young Hyder procured an amateur outfit of
printers ' type, and that was the beginning of his career as a printer and
journalist. Using his father's residence as an office, with characteristic
energy he began soliciting job work, and did all the work alone. In a
short time he commenced the publication of his first paper, a monthly
journal called Glad Tidings, which was a four-page 7 by 10 inch sheet.
The liberal patronage received encouraged him to persevere in the enter-
prise, and it was soon necessary to move the "plant" to more convenient
and commodious quarters.
At Excelsior Springs, in 1883, Mr. Hyder began the publication of a
six-column weekly paper called the Sentinel of Truth, which was con-
tinued until 1887. Mr. Hyder then inaugurated the Daily Phunn, a
spicy, newsy and entertaining paper, printed four columns on a page
12 by 17 inches and issued daily. Though Excelsior Springs at that
time was a restricted rural community, the success of the paper is
evidenced by its circulation of over five hundred copies daily. For
thirty years or more Mr. Hyder has been an energetic Clay County busi-
ness man, and always ready to lend a helping hand to any worthy
1936 HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI
enterprise. He has been connected with every newspaper in the city,
and in connection with Doctor Flack is the founder of the Christian
Union Herald, a non-sectarian weekly, and since 1906 has been sole
editor and publisher of this religious journal.
Having sold the Daily Phunn in 1893, Mr. Hyder in 1894 established
the Daily Call and conducted it until selling out his interest in 1903.
Later a partnership was formed with the purchaser, and they also
acquired the Journal, a weekly publication. Mr. Hyder 's partner played
a one-handed game and the partnership was dissolved. Mr. Hyder re-
tained the Journal plant, to which, in the meantime, he had added a
standard linotype, one of the first one-machine plants in the West.
Mr. Hyder now devotes his entire time to the publication of his
own papers, to his literary work, and to a large book and job trade. In
1889 be began writing short stories and sketches for eastern papers, and
his productions were soon accepted and published by such leading journals
as the Boston Globe, New Orleans Times-Democrat, Epoch, Comfort,
San Francisco Wasp, West Shore and others. He has written a few
serial stories, one of which, "The Fair Enchantress," was published in
book form in 1893.
In politics Mr. Hyder is a stanch prohibitionist, with strong progres-
sive republican tendencies. For a number of years he has been an active
member and supporter of the Christian Union Church, and has been
identified with church work since 1878. In 1890 he was appointed a
delegate to the general council of the church held at Crawfordsville,
Indiana, and proved one of the most useful and influential members of
the council. In 1898 he was again a delegate to the general council at
Holt, Missouri, in 1906 was sent as a delegate to Homer, Indiana, again
in 1910 at the council in Excelsior Springs, and in 1914 at West Union,
Ohio, was elected assistant secretary of the general council. During the
past twelve years Mr. Hyder has been regularly elected secretary of the
Missouri Council, and in eight years has visited nine different state
councils each year, serving as secretary of several of these.
Personally Mr. Hyder possesses a suave and polite manner, is modest,
unselfish and careful of the feelings and opinions of others, is a pleasant
conversationalist, always approachable and of prepossessing appearance.
He has long been one of the most useful and best known citizens of Clay
George Edwin Girdner. Among the families whose activities and
lives have been distinctive contributions to the communities of Harrison
and Mercer counties, probably none deserve more credit than that of
Girdner. It has been established in this section of Northwest Missouri
for fully sixty-five years, and from that time to the present the name
has been associated with the best virtues of manhood and social character.
They came into the country in time to do their share of the hard work
involved in the clearing of the forests and the laying of substantial
foundations of civilization. To an unusual degree material success has
been their lot, and they have also stood in important relations with the
civic affairs of the locality.
George Edwin Girdner, who represents the third generation of the
family residence in this section of Missouri, has lived in the Mount
Moriah community since childhood, and he grew up on the farm he now
owns, situated on Rural Free Delivery Route No. 3 out of Ridgeway.
His birth occurred in Mercer County, near Princeton. June 23, 1874.
His grandfather was James Girdner, who came from Kentucky to Mis-
souri, and spent his life as a farmer. He was one of the men of extensive
interests in Mercer County and widely known as a good citizen. His
HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI 1937
death occurred at the age of seventy-six. He married a Miss Prichard,
who died about six years before him. Their children were : James Brit-
tan; Polly Ann, the wife of Morris Perry; Andrew Jackson; Frank,
who was killed during the war ; Joseph, who died in Oklahoma ; John R. ;
Sarah, who is the wife of John Boyd and lives on the old Girdner home
John R. Girdner, the father of George E., was born November 28,
1848, and it was about that time that the grandfather settled near Prince-
ton. John R. Girdner is now a resident of Princeton, but was brought
up on a farm near there and has spent all his active life as a farmer. He
was successful, did a large business as a stock man and was able to
provide liberally for his children. He was too young to serve in the army
during the war, has been little identified with politics except as a demo-
cratic voter, and was brought up in the Christian Church, though his
tendencies are now toward the Methodists. John R. Girdner married
Miss Maria Isabel Granlee. Her father, Joseph B. Granlee, came to
Missouri about the close of the war from near Spraggs, Pennsylvania, and
was distantly related to the numerous Spragg family of that locality, many
representatives of which are found in Northwest Missouri. The children
of John R. Girdner and wife are : George Edwin ; Jennie A., the wife of
Stoton Boxley, of Princeton ; Charles, of Cainesville, Missouri ; Bessie M„
wife of Fred Clemands, of Princeton ; and Cleo L., of Princeton.
George Edwin Girdner while growing up on his present farm acquired
an education in the country schools, also attended school at Cainesville and
Edinburg, Missouri, and finally at the old Stanberry Normal. From
school he graduated at once into the work of the farm, and continued at
home with his parents until past his majority. He was married February
26, 1899, to Miss Elizabeth Leazenby. Her father is "William V. Leazenby,
of Ridgeway, Missouri, a nephew of Wesley Leazenby, one of the pioneers
of Harrison County. William V. Leazenby was reared in Pickaway
County, Ohio, and came to Missouri in the '80s. He married Sarah
Keys, and their children were : Mrs. Girdner, who was born January 29,
1880 ; Etta, who died at the age of fifteen ; Ethel, wife of William Nor-
wood, near Ridgeway; Minnie, wife of Max Burgin, of Maryville,
Missouri ; Ola, who died at the age of four years ; Wilda, wife of Herman
Waswo, of Ridgeway; and Miss Laura. William V. Leazenby by his
second wife, whose maiden name was Mary Harrison, has two children :
Truman and Ray. Mr. George E. Girdner and wife have four children:
Forrest W., Charles Dorrell, Lois May and Elizabeth Lee.
Recently Mr. Girdner has engaged in the lumber business at Caines-
ville, Missouri, having joined his brother Charles in purchasing the prin-
cipal lumber yard at that place, that of C. F. Fransham & Son. Both as a
farmer and a citizen 1 Mr. Girdner has had an important part in local
affairs. He is now serving as township trustee and has held that office
to the benefit of the community for five years. A democrat, he cast his
first vote for William J. Bryan in 1896, and has voted for all the demo-
cratic candidates in the past eighteen years. As a delegate he was
present at the judicial convention in St. Joseph in 1904. Fraternally he
is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is a past Noble
Grand in his local lodge, and his household centers its religious interests
in the Methodist Church.
As a man of affairs Mr. Girdner owns a farm of 368 acres, and like
most successful farmers in Missouri he obtained his profits from stock.
His progressive enterprise is shown in the various improvements of his
farm. He is also known in local banking, and was one of the original
stockholders of the First National Bank of Cainesville, but has since with-
drawn his connection with the institution.
3938 HISTORY OF NORTHWEST MISSOURI
Jonathan Townsend. Andrew County has its full quota of men
who have stepped aside from participation in active affairs to let pass
the younger generation with its hopes and ambitions, and in this class is
found Jonathan Townsend, who is now living in retirement after many
years passed in agricultural pursuits. Mr. Townsend was born in Morgan
County, Indiana, June 17, 1827, and is a son of William and Mary
( Voyles) Townsend, born within fourteen days of each other, in February,
1797, in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. William Townsend, the
grandfather of Jonathan, was also born in that county, and was about
seventeen years of age at the outbreak of the Revolutionary war.
Although he belonged to an old English family, his heart was with the
colonists, and during the entire period of the war he served as a private
under General Greene. He died in Indiana about the year 1837.
William Townsend was ten years of age when he accompanied his
parents to Morgan County, Indiana, and there he was living at the time of