Biography of Hon. Stephen C. Herndon

HON. STEPHEN C. HERNDON. During the seventy-two years that have passed over the head of the gentleman whose name stands at the head of this sketch he has been an active observer of the trend of events, but has been not merely a “looker on in Venice” but a citizen who has, through his enterprise, his integrity and his public spirit, contributed his full share to the magnificent development of the section in which he resides. He comes of an honored ancestry, for the well-known old pioneer, George Herndon, was his father, from whom he inherited many of his most worthy characteristics. He was born in east Tennessee in 1822, but his father was a Virginian by birth, and his mother, Hannah (Cox) Herndon, is supposed to have been born in North Carolina. They were married in east Tennessee and from there removed to Lincoln County, Tennessee, and later to Hopkins County, Kentucky In 1850 they became residents of Ozark County, Missouri, where they passed from life some-time after the close of the war, having been members of the General Baptist Church for many years. The father was of English ancestry, was a farmer and cooper by occupation and was a soldier in one of the early wars in which this country was involved. He was one of ten brothers. The maternal grandfather, Henry Cox, died in Lincoln County, Tennessee.

Hon. Stephen C. Herndon was one of nine children born to his parents, their names being as follows: Jane, wife of Joseph Williams, of Tennessee; Margaret, wife of Anthony Williams, of Kentucky; Stephen C.; William was a resident of Alabama, but nothing has been heard of him since the war; Henry died in Ozark County, Missouri, while on a visit to this section; Nathan was a Federal soldier and was killed in Arkansas during the war; Isaiah was killed in Webster County; Mary became the wife of William Piland, of Ozark County, and Minerva became the wife of Samuel Stone, of Ozark County.

The early life of Stephen C. Herndon was spent on a farm, in the vicinity of which he acquired a practical education in the common schools. In 1843 he was married in Kentucky to Miss Phoebe Frederick, who was born in the Old North State and died in 1862 in Ozark County, Missouri, having become the mother of eight children: Henry William; Susannah, widow of John McCracken; George; Hannah, widow of James McGowan, of Texas County, Missouri; James W., also of that county; Philip, who resides in the Indian Territory; Lucretia, wife of Samuel Williams, of West Plains; and Rebecca, wife of John Davis. In 1863 Mr. Herndon married Mrs. Lucinda McHowan, and by her has five children: Melissa, wife of John H. Piland; Alonzo; Delilah, wife of Thomas A. Kay, of Douglas County; Joan, wife of John Eddings, and Nellie, wife of Stonewall J. Frazier, who resides with Mr. Herndon.

In 1845 Mr. Herndon became a resident of Barre County, Missouri, but in 1851 took up his residence in Ozark County on a woodland tract on Spring Creek, four miles from any other settlement. He at once set to work to improve this place and has resided on the same ever since, being the owner of a fine farm of 200 acres, which is well improved and exceedingly fertile. He is one of the best known and most highly respected residents of the county, and during the forty-three years that he has resided here he has shown himself to be very public spirited. Being a stanch Union man, he joined the Home Guards at the opening of the Civil War and after a short service became a member of the Seventy-third East Missouri Militia and was later in the regular Federal service, operating in Missouri and Arkansas for some time.

He was then made provost marshal, but at the end of six months he resigned this office and started to rejoin his family, but on the way met a body of the enemy and in a slight skirmish with them had his left arm shot to pieces. He has served his county in various capacities at different times, was presiding judge of Ozark County before the war, was county and circuit clerk by appointment for some time during the war and has since been associate and probate judge of the county. He is a member of Robert Burns Lodge No. 496 of the A. F. & A. M. at Gainesville, and politically is a Republican He has been an active and industrious man all his life and up to within the last two years his health was exceptionally good, but since that time he has been unable to perform much manual labor. He is very widely and favorably known and he fully deserves the esteem in which he is held.


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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