Our subject is a man whose business career is a decidedly interesting one, showing the shrewdness, executive ability and competency which can be attained when one is so determined. Among all the industries that are carried on in the flourishing city of West Plains none succeeded so well as the ones that are conducted by practical men. An instance in mind is the success attained to by S. G. Ramsey, one of the prominent and influential citizens of that city. Mr. Ramsey was born in Franklin County, Missouri, October 20, 1836, and his father, J. A. Ramsey, who was a native Kentuckian, was one of the pioneers of Missouri.
The grandfather, John Ramsey, was a native of Scotland, who came to this country and first settled in Virginia. Later he moved to Kentucky and from there to Missouri, where he died in 1845. Some of the early members of the Ramsey family served in the Revolutionary War. The father of our subject was a single man when he came to Missouri in 1830, and he first located in Franklin County, and tilled the soil for many years. He was an influential citizen and was county surveyor at one time. His death occurred near New Haven, that county, in 1852. Mr. Ramsey married Miss Naoma Miller, who was a native of Franklin County, where she was born in pioneer days. Her father, Phillip Miller, was a native of the Keystone State and an early pioneer of Franklin County, where he settled long before there was a steamboat on the Missouri River. The town New Haven was called Miller’s Landing for many years. Mr. Miller had a good farm on the Missouri River, and there he passed the closing scenes of his life. The mother of our subject died in Franklin County in 1878. She was born in the same county in 1816. Of the nine children born to her marriage all were sons but one, viz.: B. A., a resident of Missouri; S. G., subject; L. A., a soldier in the Confederate Army, resides in Kansas; J. W., a merchant in Missouri; J. P. resides in West Plains; Rachel died after marriage and the others died young. Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey held membership in the Christian Church.
Amid the rude surroundings of pioneer life our subject passed his youthful days. Of course there were few schools at that time and his educational advantages were limited. Early in life he started out for himself as a business man, and although he had not heard Greeley’s advice as yet, he turned his face toward the great West in 1857 and located at a trading post on the Old Santa Fe trail. About the time of the breaking out of the Civil War he returned to Missouri and settled in Franklin County, where he engaged in the lumber business and handled railroad ties. In 1864 he began merchandising at New Haven, Missouri, continued this for four years, and then bought a large flouring mill. During the financial panic of 1873 he lost nearly all his property and he subsequently engaged in the railroad tie business on the Gasconade River. Again he lost all. After this he went to work on a salary and continued this from 1876 to 1887, when he was made one of the company for whom he was working–the Sedwick, Phillip & Co.-dealers in railroad ties and lumber. This company is now operating all along the Gulf Railroad in Missouri and Arkansas. Mr. Ramsey sold out his interest in that business in 1894 and is now interested in the West Plains Bank of the city. Since he came to West Plains in 1883 with small capital Mr. Ramsey has met with signal success. Much of his good fortune is due to his good judgment and fine executive ability. He is a man of sterling integrity and deserves his success. Politically he is a Democrat.
In August, 1860, he married Miss Hutton, who died in 1876, leaving five children: Bell, Emma, Alice, Richard and Nellie. Mr. Ramsey has given his daughters good educational advantages. He was again married in 1879 to Miss Anna Hull, of Osage County, Missouri, and three children have been given them: Stanley, Bessie and Irene. These children are still at school. Mr. Ramsey has ever been active in political matters and for six years was chairman of the County Central Committee. He has ever been active in all public matters, is upright and honorable, and no better citizen finds his home in the county. He is the owner of an orange orchard in California, where he is now preparing to move, probably to spend the remainder of life.