Judge Henry Dooley


History of Monroe and Shelby Counties, Missouri
Published 1884
By St. Louis: National Historical Company
p. 479-482

Judge Henry Dooley
(Farmer and Stock-raiser, and General Business Man, Stoutsville)
It was a saying of Kant, the greatest of German philosophers, and
without question one of the greatest minds humanity has ever produced,
that the abilities and character of men should be measure with reference particularly to their opportunities or environments. He often said that he estimated the force of a man by the distance he had come, the difficulties he had to overcome, and the individuality that marked his

One, in favorable surroundings and forwarded by altruistic
help, may attain a high degree of success in life, and still be
essentially devoid of the stronger and better qualities of a successful
manhood; while another, who may not reach so high a station as the
former, may show by the rise he does make, far greater strength of mind and character than the first, having come up without assistance from those around him, but by his individual exertions and personal worth. Those views of Kant, old and well known as they are, are vividly brought to mind by contemplating the records Judge Dooley has made. Without any early opportunities whatever, and in the face of the greatest difficulties, he has risen to a position by his own efforts and mental force, alone, equaled even by that of but few citizens in the county, or throughout the surrounding country, who advantages were of the best.

Not a man of State prominence, or whose name has been sounded by the
trumpet of fame, he is yet a man of such solidity of character, such
strength of mind and sterling intelligence, and such vigor and success
in affairs, that by the intelligent observer he can not but be
recognized as a man of remarkable and superior individuality. The
impression at a glance in unavoidable that if his earlier opportunities
had been at all favorable, eminence would have come to him as a matter
of course. Left an orphan in childhood, and practically friendless, and
brought up where schools were not in reach, long after his marriage he
was able neither to read nor write; yet to-day, he is, and for years
past has been, accounted one of the most successful men in Monroe
county, indeed, the most successful, as well as one of the leading
property holders in North Missouri, his landed estate numbering over
2,500 acres, and for a number of years he occupied with ability the
bench of the county court, esteemed one of the most capable and
efficient judges who sat upon the bench, showing the same vigor and
forcible comprehension of duties administering the affairs of the county
that he has always shown in the management of his own interests.

Whilst he has exhibited the mental force and the perseverance to accumulate a handsome fortune from worse than no beginning, he has at the same time not neglected the improvement of his mind, and has become, first, through the instruction of his wife and the teaching of a hired hand on his farm, and then by his own reading and untiring investigations, a man of wide and thorough general information, and a business man of superior qualifications. Nor has he become successful in the accumulation of property or in advancement among men of education and information, by selfishness or a sordid care only for his own personality. On the contrary, he has ever shown his heart to be as large and his generosity as unlimited as his mind is broad and liberal and his industry untiring.

There are many to bear witness to the kindness of his heart
and the liberality of his hand. The smallest voice of distress or the
most diffident plea of the worthy find in his breast a responsive echo
and his hand is not less generous to help such a one than his heart is
sympathetic. Among the many instances which illustrate this noble and
humane quality of the man, is one where a little girl came to him
penniless, and with tears asked him to buy her a book that she might
attend the neighboring school. His heart was touched. He not only
bought her a book, but sent her to school, and educated her, paying her
board, and other expenses throughout, although he himself, had never
learned a letter within the walls of a school-room.

And the record of his candidacies show in a generous light how he is regarded by those who have known him for a lifetime. Although the candidate of the opposite party for office of judge was considered one of the strongest men in the county, Judge Dooley was elected almost unanimously. Of a large vote in his own township he received all but four and his re-election to the same office was even more complimentary to him. The life record of such a man is eminently worthy of an enviable place in the history of the county where his long and worthy record has been made.

Judge Henry Dooley was born in Madison Co., Ky., January 20, 1831, and two years afterwards his parents removed to Monroe County, settling in Jefferson township. The father died when Henry (the Judge) was quite young, he being the youngest in the family of children. From this forward the future was to be only what he himself could make it. But generous
nature had given him a good mind and a vigorous constitution, and above
all an inflexible purpose to rise in the world by honest methods, untiring industry, blameless habits, and good management. He had no chance to attend school but had to work from early morn till dewy eve at
farm labor, and when night came he was wise enough to know that
refreshing hours of sleep would be of more value to him in the end than
what little knowledge of books he could pick up when wearied with the
day’s work.

Coming up to farm employments, he of course became a farmer, and
subsequently married Miss Nancy Nolen, who was born in Kentucky. He soon became able to buy a small piece of land, which he improved, and with this as a nucleus he afterwards made a large farm. With farming he combined stock-raising and feeding. In 1854, now thirty years ago, he was able to start a small store, carrying a stock of general merchandise and his business, like his farming, greatly prospered. His house became on of the leading establishments of Paris. In 1883 he built a fine brick hotel in Paris, a handsome structure, which is a substantial improvement to the town. Judge Dooley has always taken a commendable interest in public affairs. Years ago he accepted the office of constable and discharged its duties to the great satisfaction of the public.

Afterwards, as has been noted above, he was elected county judge,
holding the office for several years from 1874, being re-elected. He has been a delegate to county conventions a number of times and also to State senatorial and congressional conventions, and for over 20 years he has served with more or less regularity on the grand and petit juries of the county. Judge Dooley has never been identified with any church, but believes earnestly in the great fundamental principles of religious truth. He is bound to no sect, and in the confusion of jarring doctrines, where –
"You can and you can’t

You will and you won’t
You’ll be damned if you do,
You be damned if you don’t"
He prefers to take the plain road to Heaven marked out by his own
conscience –
Slave to no sect, who takes no private road,
But looks through nature up to nature’s God."

Judge and Mrs. Dooley have eight children living, namely: John W.,
Alonzo G., James H., Lulu M., Annie L., Eva L., Charles E., and Samuel
Tilden. He is a member of the A. F. and the A.M.