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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
Isaac Harbison Vertrees
(Reprinted from the History of Macon County, 1910)
The really strong elements of character in American manhood which have given it complete success over every form of difficulty in the conquest of nature, in political progress, in industrial achievement, in adapting means to ends without regard to obstructions, and even in social life—which have formed its vigor at home and won it distinction abroad—are oftenest to be found in the men of sturdy independence and self-reliance, who have been obliged to make their own way in the world and have been in all essential particulars the architects of their own fortunes. One of these among the progressive and enterprising rural population of Macon county who must always challenge attention by his success and ability in his chosen lines of endeavor, and who has won universal esteem by his worth as a man and his usefulness as a citizen, is Isaac Harrison Vertrees, of Easeley township, near Elmer, where he has passed almost all the years of his life to this time (1909).
Mr. Vertrees was born in Illinois in 1854 and came with his parents to Missouri when he was but two years old. He is a son of William B. and Elizabeth (Mossberger) Vertrees, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter also of Kentucky. They were the parents of six children, but all of them are dead but the interesting subject of these paragraphs. The father enlisted in the army in 1861 for the term of the Civil war and served valiantly in that memorable sectional conflict. He faced death without flinching on a well-fought field, and was commended by his comrades and superiors for his bravery and unwavering gallantry. His service in the army was short, as brain fever caused his death shortly after enlisting. After his death his widow was married to the late Judge Easeley, whom she still survives. She now has her home with her son.
Isaac H. Vertrees passed his boyhood and youth under the terrible shadow of the Civil war and the disasters it wrought. His opportunities for academic acquirements were therefore limited and confined wholly to the facilities afforded for the purpose by the public schools, and even these he was able to attend only at irregular intervals in the winter mouths for a few years. The needs of the family were such that he was compelled to aid in providing for them, his own training in special lines for the battle of life, and his own advancement being secondary considerations. But he made the best use he could of the chances he had and laid a good foundation for the fund of general information he has since gathered in the stern school of experience and from reading, observation and reflection.
After leaving school Mr. Vertrees worked at various occupations for a time, doing whatever his hand found to do and doing all with enterprise, skill and a view to his elevation to higher functions in life. At the age of nineteen he turned his attention to farming for himself, and to this exhilarating but exacting and often exhausting calling he has ever since devoted himself. He now owns and farms 182 acres of excellent land and also carries on an extensive industry in raising cattle and other live-stock. He has made his farm a model country home, both in the manner in which he has cultivated and improved it and the liberality with which he has provided it with the necessary appliances for advanced modern farming and stock-raising and the comforts and attractions of domestic life. In addition, he is a stock holder and director of the Farmers Exchange Bank of Gifford and extensively interested in real estate transactions of magnitude.
The varied interests which Mr. Vertrees controls and manages are many and engrossing, but they have not obscured his vision as to public affairs or diminished his zeal in helping to promote the substantial and enduring welfare of the township and county in which he lives. To every commendable project for their advancement he has given willing and serviceable assistance, and, in connection with the progress of the region, he is accounted one of the useful and reliable forces. He has been a valued member of the school board more than ten years, and all the schools have felt the impulse of his ciuickening spirit and the guidance of his strong practical mind. In politics he is a Republican, always interested in the success of his party and energetic in helping to bring it about. His religious alliance is with the Baptist church, and in its welfare he has shown an abiding and helpful interest. In fraternal affiliation he belongs to the Order of Fraternal Yeomen and to his lodge in the order he also gives a due share of his attention and enterprise.
In 1876 Mr. Vertrees was united in marriage with Miss Nancy Mason, a native of Indiana. Of the seven children born to them six are living: Martha Elizabeth, the wife of Edward Wolfe; Electa Belle, the wife of Douglas Thompson; Sarah Anne, the wife of Burr Boring; Eosa Etta, the wife of E. B. Seamon; Alfleeta Ellen and Maude Emiline. The influence of the family on the social and business life of the community has been potent for good, and its aid in building up the moral and mental forces at work among the people has been felt and appreciated. Wherever they live and whatever line of action they are engaged- in the members of the household are esteemed as persons of great worth and radiating centers of wholesome and productive stimulus for everything that is good in the locality of their homes.