In this country where so many young men are thrown upon their own resources at an early age and are often obliged, while yet inexperienced and unfamiliar with their own tendencies and inclinations, to choose their occupation in life, it can not be expected that the most suitable or congenial pursuit will be selected. Consequently it should be impressed upon the minds of youth that they ought to begin at an early age to practice introspection and seriously study the famous Delphic oracle, ” Know thyself.” They will thus find as suitable an occupation as did Fenton T. Stockard, who from an early age evinced a strong liking for law, which was apparently just suited to his qualifications and desires. Mr. Stockard is now one of the prominent attorneys of Billings, and has been a resident of that city for the past twelve years. He came originally from Gibson County, Tennessee. his birth occurring December, 16, 1867, and is one of a family of six children born to C. H. and Patience E. (White) Stockard.
The father is also a native of Gibson County, Tennessee, and is now a prominent farmer and highly esteemed citizen of Christian County, residing near Billings. The Stockards are of Irish origin, and our subject’s great-great-grandfather was born on the ocean while his parents were coming to this country. William Stockard, grandfather of our subject, was one of the very early settlers of est Tennessee, and was a soldier and officer in the War of 1812. He was also in the Seminole War and lived to be eighty-six years of age. The father of our subject came to Christian County in 1879, and has since been identified with the interests of this county. Public-spirited and progressive, no man in the county is more highly esteemed. He enlisted in a Wisconsin regiment under Gen. Thomas, served through the entire war and was in a number of severe engagements. He received a gunshot wound in the head while in service and has never fully recovered from the effects of the same. The mother of our subject died in 1884. She was born in Tennessee and was a daughter of M. White, who came originally from North Carolina, and who was one of the first settlers of the Big Bend State. The White family is of French descent, as were also the Bryants, Mrs. White being a Bryant and a relative of William Cullen Bryant. Some of the early members of the latter family were prominent in the Revolution and War of 1812, and were very wealthy when they settled in Tennessee. The six children born to our subject’s parents are named in the order of their births as follows:
- Fenton T. Stockard, subject:
- William J. Stockard, died in 1892;
- John S. Stockard, attending the Missouri State University and studying for the ministry;
- Sarah Elizabeth Stockard, at home;
- Rutherford H. Stockard, attending school;
- James P. Stockard, also attending school.
The mother was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and the family still cling to the same. The father is active in political matters and is an ardent supporter of Republican principles. The early members of this family were Whigs. Clement H. Stockard has a well-improved farm two and a half miles from Billings and is a substantial farmer of his section.
Our subject assisted his father on the farm and attended the district schools of his native county until 1879, when his parents moved to Christian County. Here he attended the district schools, but supplemented this by attending Marionville Collegiate Institute, Springfield High School and Northern Indiana Normal at Valparaiso, Indiana In the year 1890 he began the study of law with Hon. H. E. Howell, of Springfield, and was admitted to the Springfield bar in 1891. He began practicing at Billings and Ozark and has offices at both places. He has taken part in some important cases, is well posted in his profession, and, although still in the dawn of a successful career, has already won an enviable reputation.
Mr. Stockard was married at Republic, June 21, 1893, to Miss Mignonette Gregory, daughter of George A. and Ellen (Marple) Gregory, of Republic, Greene County, Missouri, where Mrs. Stockard was born. The Gregory family came to Missouri from Canada, and Mr. Gregory was a soldier and a naval officer in the Civil War. His father, Thomas B. Gregory, was captain of the “St. Clair” and other ships of the navy during the Rebellion. The mother of Mrs. Stockard came from the Buckeye State. She was the mother of four children, of whom Mrs. Stockard was the eldest. The others were: Rosie, who died in infancy; Maggie, who died when five years of age, and Olive. Mr. Gregory is a farmer and fruit grower of Republic, and a man well and favorably known. In political matters Mr. Stockard is a strong advocate of Republican principles. He is a public-spirited and promising young man.