Biography of James W. Robertson

JAMES W. ROBERTSON (deceased). There is little need to portray the virtues or defend the memory of this gentleman, for he lives in the affection of his family and friends as a devoted husband, kind neighbor and public-spirited citizen. During the many years he resided in Christian County he was to the people all that is required in good citizenship, public enterprise and sympathetic friendship. In the love of his estimable wife he found his cares lightened, and in the respect of his fellow-citizens received the reward of his faithfulness. Mr. Robertson was born in middle Tennessee May 15, 1830, to Lindsey Robertson, whose ancestors came from England at an early date. The first member of the family to cross the ocean was Thomas Robertson, who located in the Old Dominion.

The original of this notice left his native State and came to Greene County, Missouri, in 1837, locating near Republic with his parents. There he grew to mature years and assisted his father in clearing a tract of Government land, for they were among the pioneers. He obtained such educational advantages as those days afforded, and when about twenty-two years of age branched out for himself. He and his brother, T. E. Robertson, went to the mouth of the Finley Creek and bought the old Lochmer Mill, following milling from 1854 until 1861, when the war put a stop to the business. Our subject enlisted in Company F, Fourteenth Missouri Cavalry, and was appointed captain of the same, serving about a year in that capacity. He was then discharged on account of disability, and after returning home took his family and moved to Iowa, residing in Washington County for about a year and following farming for the most part. In 1864 he returned to Christian County and located at Ozark, where he opened a store and engaged in general merchandising. The business was first conducted under the title of Robertson, Adams & Co., but in a year or so this was changed to Robertson & Yoachum. Business was conducted under this title down to 1878, when Mr. Yoachum retired, and T. L. Robertson, the eldest son of our subject, came into the firm, the name being changed to J. W. Robertson & Son. Again the firm name was changed in 1884, the next elder son, W. L. Robertson, coming in, and it has since continued as J. W. Robertson & Sons.

Our subject was well and favorably known all over the Ozark region, and had the confidence of a long and steadily increasing line of patrons. He accumulated a good property, and by his upright, honorable career won a host of warm friends. In 1886 he was one of the organizers of the Christian County Bank and the first president of the same, holding that position at the time of his death. He owned a large tract of land in this county, and was largely engaged and deeply interested in agricultural pursuits. He was also interested in the lead and zinc mines of the district. He was ever interested in political matters, being a stanch Democrat, and held a number of public offices, among them being county judge. Fraternally he was a member of Friend Lodge No. 352, A. F. & A. M., and was at one time master. This esteemed and most worthy citizen passed away on the farm near Ozark in August, 1887.

He was married in Greene County, Missouri, to Miss Martha J. Payne, a native of that county, born in 1835, and the daughter of Larkin and Rebecca Payne, who came to Greene County at an early day. Mrs. Robertson is now residing in Ozark, and is a lady who is highly esteemed. She and family are members of the Christian Church, in which the father was deacon for many years. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Robertson, as follows: T. L., W. L.; Mary E., who died when two years of age; Sarah A., who was the wife of Dr. A. M. Smith, died August 27, 1893; Lucy J. is the wife of Len Walker, of Springfield; Anna M. is the wife of Rev. W. F. Turner, of Lexington, Kentucky; Rebecca B. resides with her mother in Ozark; John W., who is also with the mother; and James A. is a student in Drury College. Honest, industrious and enterprising, Mr. Robert On will long be remembered in the county.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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