Will E. Spiva

WILL E. SPIVA, a successful attorney of Galena, was born in Fredericktown, Missouri, August 11, 1871, and is a son of J. C. and Mary (Anthony) Spiva.

J. C. Spiva was born in Madison County, Missouri, and is a son of Elzah and Mariah (Craddock) Spiva, his father being of Dutch and his mother, of Scotch stock. He has been very successful as a mining operator, and was among the first in Galena when ore was discovered here in 1877. He first mined and prospected on "Bonanza" ground, and later got a piece of ground on East Galena Hill, where he mined successfully. Prior to coming to Galena, he had been identified with silver and gold mining in Colorado, California and Oronogo and Mine La Motte, Missouri, and understands mining in all its details. In 1886 he moved from Galena with his family and purchased his old homestead in Madison County, Missouri, where he now lives. His wife, Mary Anthony, is of German and French ancestry; by their union they became the parents of 10 children, nine of whom now live. The record is as follows: Edward, who is mining at Galena; Will E.; George, who is married and connected with a powder factory at Joplin, Missouri; L. A., who is married and lives at Aurora, Missouri; the fifth child died at the age of 18 months; Olive, wife of Lawrence Matthews, of St. Louis, Missouri; J. A., who is in the employe of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway; and Lena, May and Frank, who live at home.

Will E. Spiva lived with his parents in and about the Joplin-Galena mining district until 15 years old, and attended the district schools and the first public school in Galena. Upon returning with his parents to their old home in Missouri, he entered the schools at Fredericktown. During the fall and winter of 1893 he taught a country school, and in 1894 completed a course of study in a business college at Quincy, Illinois. Immediately thereafter he returned to Galena, Kansas, and remained two years, then returned to Fredericktown, in 1896. He had read law at times during these years and from 1896 to 1898 read at home, being admitted to the bar in March of the latter year by Hon. J. D. Fox, now one of the Supreme Court judges of Missouri. He remained in Madison County for the September term of court, and on February 25, 1899, settled permanently in Galena for the practice of his profession. He began without capital, and during the first six weeks worked as bookkeeper for Rush & Kennedy. When he opened his office, his library consisted of the Kansas Statutes, and he is steadily gathering a very fine working library. His success in practice was assured from the start. On April 6, 1901, he was elected justice of the peace on the Democratic ticket, an office he filled until August 16, 1904, when he resigned. He is an enthusiastic Democrat and works hard for party success, frequently representing his precinct as a delegate to county conventions.

On January 1, 1902, Mr. Spiva was united in marriage to Beatrice Harrison at Sulphur Springs, Texas. She is a daughter of I. H. Harrison, a second cousin of Benjamin Harrison, ex-President of the United States, and comes of old Kentucky stock. Two children were born to them: Mary Gladys, and Will E., Jr. Fraternally, our subject is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and has served as venerable consul.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thomp son Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 5/5/97.


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Tom & Carolyn Ward
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