Elmer, Missouri - Early History
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Samuel L. Gash
(Reprinted from the History of Macon County, 1910)
The personal history of American citizenship in all parts of the country, but particularly in the Middle and Farther "West, is a succession of stories of men who have risen to consequence, and in many cases to celebrity, through their own efforts, because they have been quick to see, alert to seize and resourceful in using their opportunities to their own best advantage and for the benefit of the community around them. Fortune has not smiled upon them except as they have forced her to, and they have not needed her smiles. All they asked was a fair field and freedom of opportunity, and their own native ability has done all the rest. In many instances, even when circumstances have been unfavorable, they have compelled the adverse conditions to minister to their progress and become wings or weapons for their advancement.
A striking case in point is the life-story of Samuel L. Gash, which it is the purpose of these paragraphs to briefly record. Mr. Gash is a native of Macon county and has passed the whole of his life to this time (1910) with its borders. He was born in Easeley township on May 6, 1858, and is a son of Thomas and Maria J. (Dale) Gash, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Missouri. The father came to this state when he was a young man and located in Elmer, this county. He was a miller and wrouglit industriously and profitably at his trade during the years of his activity. In politics he has always been a Democrat and has been firm and faithful in the service of his party, but has never held a political office of any kind. The mother, who died in 1905, was a daughter of Abraham and Effie Dale, long residents and highly esteemed citizens of Macon county. Mr. and Mrs. Gash had five children, all of whom are living. They are : Laura, the wife of W. H. McDavitt of Mercyville; W. W., a resident of Elmer; Samuel L., the immediate subject of this review; A. D., who lives in Chicago, and J. L., who, also is a resident of Elmer. The father is still living and has his home with his daughter, Mrs. "William H. McDavitt.
Samuel L. Gash obtained a limited education in the district school of Mercyville, and after completing that worked as a farm hand until 1879. when he began farming on his own account. He had no capital for his enterprise but his own courage, ability and determined spirit, but these were of a fruitful kind and contained the elements of success within themselves when managed with prudence and good judgment, the directing qualities which he applied to them. He continued farming with success and progress until 1907, when he retired from activity in this line of effort and turned his attention to real estate, insurance and loan business, in which he is still extensively and profitably engaged. He is a stockholder and one of the directors of the Farmers' Exchange Bank of Gifford and has been its president since 1906. He is also a member of the committee on construction of the Inter-Urban railway between Palmyra and La Plata, Missouri, and has been one of the most active and useful men in connection with the enterprise, promoting it by every means at his command and through the forces he has been able to invoke and bring to its aid through his influence and the force of his example.
In many other ways Mr. Gash has been of great and appreciated service to his township and county, and in the domain of public affairs has at all times been very active and zealous in behalf of the best interests of the region in which he lives. He is an active, working Democrat in politics, but except a membership of more than eight years on the school board, has never been induced to accept a public office of any kind. But when business interests are at stake, he is all energy and enterprise. He has been president of the La Plata and Western Telephone company for the last five years, and its present high state of development and efficiency are largely due to his progressiveness and skill in the management of its affairs. He owns and has farmed under his supervision a fine farm of 315 acres and possesses in addition extensive holdings of valuable city property- in La Plata. Beginning the battle of life for himself without a dollar, and now being one of the most substantial citizens of Macon county in a worldly way, his career has been successful from the beginning and furnishes a fine example of what enterprise, ability and persistent and intelligent industry can accomplish in a land where opportunity only waits the commanding might of mind to yield up its treasures to its master.
In fraternal life Mr. Gash is an Odd Fellow and a Modern Woodman, and in religious association a member of Missionary Baptist church. He was married in 1879 to Miss Mary J. Evans, a daughter of Allen and Hojjey (Morris) Evans, who were born and reared in Kentucky and came to Missouri in early life. Of the five children born of the union only three are living: Abraham H., of La Crosse, Missouri ; Minnie E., the wife of Emory Enterline, also a resident of La Crosse, and Sanford N., who lives in La Plata.