Hon. James H. Requa, Vernon Co, MO USGenWeb Project



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From the 1887 History of Vernon County, Missouri, p. 527-528:

Hon. James H. Requa

(Retired Farmer, Section 3, Post-office, Ellis).

   To put a stop to all persecutions, on account of religious belief, Henry the Fourth, king of France, issued in 1598 the famous “Edict of Nantes,” decreeing that Protestants should enjoy the same rights and privileges in all respects as Catholics. But Louis XIV revoked that edict in 1685 and a severe persecution of Protestants, or Hugenots, as they were called, was at once set on foot. To escape this many fled to other countries, some coming to America, and among these was James Requa, the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, who settled at New Rochelle, N. Y.  He was a man of family. Among his grandchildren was one Elijah, born in Westchester county, of the Empire State. The latter, after attaining to manhood married Miss Eustatia Combs, a lady of Scotch ancestry, and she afterwards became the mother of James H. Requa, whose name appears above. Young James’ birth occurred in the same county as that of his father, though in the year 1808; he grew up in his native State, learning from time to time the duties of farm life, an occupation which he subsequently closely followed in connection with teaching for many years. About 1837 he moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., living there until 1840, when he chose a settlement in the then sparsely inhabited territory embraced in the present county of Bates, in this State. While located there he taught the first school started in the vicinity of his home. Soon after becoming a resident of the county he was elected county judge, and in 1846 represented the people in the State Legislature, at which time he voted for the joint resolution to organize the territories west of the Missouri river, which were then unorganized. The first steps in Congress looking to this result were also taken about this period. Mr. Requa also held the position of school commissioner of Bates county (which then included Vernon), and at one time knew and had been at the home of every householder living in the two counties. In 1856 he came to Vernon county, selecting and improving a valuable farm, which he has since sold; his present homestead is in section 3, of this (Deerfield) township. Judge Requa’s residence in this county has been marked by a number of calls to official positions of trust and honor. Besides holding the office of county judge, he was elected to the State Legislature in 1866, and in 1868 was re-elected. It requires no empty words of compliment to say that his duties were discharged in a manner above reproach. Among other acts of his while a member of this body, one, especially, to which he can now point with just pride, was the introduction of a bill, which subsequently passed, restraining the passage of Texas cattle through Missouri. The good resulting from this cannot ever be too highly estimated. Until late years he has been an active partisan, his political preferences being Democratic, but never has he sacrificed manhood by voting for one whom he deemed unworthy to fill official positions. Though past the age of three score years and ten, he is now enjoying the best portion of his useful and well spent life. His acquaintance is extensive and those who know him best warmly prize his friendship, sincerely admiring his integrity and honor and upright Christian character. The judge’s wife was formerly Miss Mary A. Norris, also of New York nativity, and to them six children have been born: Edward N., Lewis C., John J., Albert G. and William H., now living, and Austin, deceased. In religious belief Judge Requa is a Presbyterian.

   In presenting in the present work this brief sketch of the life history of Judge Requa, it is eminently fitting that mention should be of his two sons, who are now actively engaged in farming in this township—Edward N. and John Jay Requa, worthy representatives of an honored father. The former was born in Indiana, June 18, 1838, and was the second son in his parents’ family. The greater portion of his life has been passed within the borders of Missouri, not far from his present home, for it was in 1841, as stated above, that he located in Bates county, and in 1854 he came to Vernon. Reared as an agriculturist, he has continued to follow that calling, and some idea of the success which has attended him may be inferred when the fact is mentioned that he is now the owner of 656 acres of land, devoted to general farming and stock raising. This place bears evidence of good improvement, and is cultivated in an excellent manner. As one of the township’s progressive citizens, Mr. Requa is accorded prominence by all, and this fact is well known to our many readers. He has been twice married. First, in 1863, to Miss Mary Rule, of Franklin county, Mo., who died in 1869, leaving three children: Annie, wife of Frank Parker; Emma, wife of George Westfall and Edward. In 1871, Mrs. Hannah Maxey, née Clinton, of Camden county, Mo., became his second wife, and they have had two children: James and Florence.

   John Jay Requa, a younger brother to Edward N., is engaged in tilling the soil upon his farm of 120 acres located in section 3. His career thus far has been very similar to that of his brother, as just given, his attention principally being devoted to the chosen channels of farm life. In growing up he was favored with good school advantages and in more recent years has had an experience which has contrived to give him a pretty general knowledge of persons and things, thus rendering him above one of ordinary learning and intelligence. Still comparatively a young man, his future is bright with promise, and judging from the past the coming years will contribute largely to his success as an agriculturist. This he merits, for as a man no one is more deserving of success. Mr. Requa was born April 24, 1851, in Bates county, and has lived here since the family first came to the county. His marriage to Miss Zula Spurgeon was consummated December 233, 1879. She was born in North Carolina, of the marriage of A. R. and Anna L. Spurgeon, and was there reared until moving to Saline county, Mo., when above twelve years old. After remaining there some three months she settled in this county. Mr. and Mrs. Requa have one little son, Jay Vest.

[Transcribed by Becky Siple]



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