Elmer, Missouri - Early History
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The Hunsaker Family
(This family history reprinted from Elmer Community History, 1976)
Eltha LeRoy and Arie E. Hunsaker were born and raised in Macon County and lived their entire lives there, raising their family of five children, all born in the same house. They moved into a new house which had previously been occupied a short time by the man who built it. They lived there until their deaths. The children were Ruth, Vera Jo, Earl, Harold and Kathryn. As a young man, Mr. Hunsaker was a mail carrier. He won an honor for the highest grade of 99 given by the Civil Service. He was a mail carrier for 25 years or more until his health broke due to bad weather, bad roads, and a long route. Later he took up the carpenter trade until his retirement.
The first house that he built was the family home for his parents, two sisters, Carrie and Rebecca, and a brother, James. It is now known as the Martin Hall farm west of Elmer. He also helped build the old brick hotel that stood where the Elmer Clinic now stands. He built the Blackledge home, the Gilbert Epperson farm home, the Charlie Bailey farm home, the Willard Gunnels home and many others in LaPlata, Missouri.
Ruth Hundaker married Alayse Monach, a civil engineer, in St. Joseph, Missouri. She lives int eh same house that she did as a bride. Mr. Monach surveyed the big drainage ditch to stop overflows (of the Chariton River) in the Elmer area. Vera Jo Surbeck married John L. Surbeck, a rancher and lived all her married life on the Surbeck Ranch. Recently she bought a home in St. Joseph. Kathryn married a lawyer, Chas. Pinner, also an accountant and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Earl (deceased) lived with his parents. He never married. Harold married Doris Green and lives in Randolph, New York. He went to Chillicothe Business College and learned telegraphy. He was a young agent on the AT&SF. Later he went to New York and worked on the New York Central Railroad. All the children graduated from the Elmer High School.
Arie Hunsaker was born in a log cabin which still stands. She rode horseback to the schools that she taught. She taught eleven years. Schools that she taught were the Hayes, the Bell and the Star. She received her education at Kirksville Normal. She graduated with Helen Keller and learned the sigh language perfectly. Several of her pupils were still living at the time of her death and when attending her funeral, they recalled what a great teacher she was. The Surbeck, Hunsaker and William Robinson families are some of the oldest families in Elmer. Some are still living.