|Willard B. Rariden, postmaster at Farmington,
Mo., is a native of St. Francois County, Mo., born July 3, 1860, being a son of Theodore
F. Rariden and Mary (Patterson) Rariden. The father was born in the state of Indiana and
when a young man came to St. Francois County, Mo., and began teaching school. He was
married in this county and taught school the remainder of his life. He died in 1871. He
resided near French Village and was the owner of 125 acres. His wife was born in St.
Francois County, Mo. and after the death of her husband Theodore, she married Pleasant
Becket who now resides near French Village. She was the mother of ten children by her
first marriage to Theodore Rariden and one by the second, Pleasant Becket. The names of
the children from the first marriage to Theodore are as follows: Alexander (farmer),
Maggie (Mrs. William Offer), James, Willard B., Kennett T., Mattie, Sallie, Wesley and
Nanie. The child by the last marriage is named Clark Beckett.
Willard B. Rariden was left fatherless at the age of eleven. Two years later he
left home and began business upon his own responsibility. He worked on the farm of B. I.
Morris for seven years and received from $8 to $16 per month compensation. In 1881 he
began trading in stock and followed this business four years. In 1885, he began clerking
in a store in Farmington, Missouri and in February of the following year he was appointed
postmaster of that city by Postmaster General-General William F. Vilas. December 29, 1885,
he married Miss Mary A. Highley, daughter of Robert Highley, of Washington County. She was
born in the last county named in 1858 and is the mother of one child, Walter. Mr. Rariden
attends strictly to his postoffice business and makes a first class postmaster. He is a
Democrat, politically and his first presidential vote was for Cleveland in 1884. He is a
K.P. and his wife is a member of Methodist Episcopal Church South.
GOODSPEEDS HISTORY OF SOUTHEAST MISSOURI
Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1888.
February 24, 1934
Willard B. Rariden
Former Sheriff, Postmaster; School Board President, Dies
Willard B. Rariden was born near French
Village, Missouri, July 3, 1860, and died at his home near Farmington February 19, 1939,
aged 78 years, seven months, and 16 days.
He was married to Miss Mollie A. Highley in December 1885. To
this union three children were born -- Walter, who died when only two and one-half years
old, R. Lynn and Lee, of Farmington. Two grandchildren, Lynn Bowman Rariden and Billy Lee
Rariden, also survive. Mr. Rariden had four brothers and three sisters, and two brothers
and two sisters survive him. They are: Mrs. Sallie Highley, of Farmington, Mrs. Nannie
Shaw, of Seattle, Washington; Wesley Rariden of Oklahoma, and Kennett, of St. Francois
His entire life was spent in this community. He had served his
community as Postmaster, appointed in 1886, and Sheriff, elected in 1894. He also served
on the local school board for 24 years. In addition to these activities he was a dealer in
livestock and acted as special agent for the Missouri Pacific Railway for many years.
A good citizen, a loyal husband, and a father who was a friend to
Services were held at the home, Tuesday, February 21, conducted
by Rev. A. C. Johnson, of the M. E. Church, South, with interment in the Masonic Cemetery
under the direction of Cozean Funeral Service.
ONE OF FARMINGTON'S BEST KNOWN CITIZENS DIES
Willard B. Rariden, on of this
community's best known citizens, passed away at his home one mile north of Farmington at
11 o'clock Sunday night. Death was caused from pneumonia. It was believed on last Thursday
that he was very much better and had passed the crisis. However, on Friday afternoon he
suffered a sinking spell and from that time until the end his condition gradually grew
Willard Rariden was 78 years, 7 months and 16 days of age and had
enjoyed a long, active and useful life in this community. He was one of the best known
stockmen in all Southeast Missouri and had during a period of half a century bought and
sold thousands of head of livestock. He had also been a life-long active Democrat and had
been honored by his party of many occasions. He was first recognized by his party during
the first Cleveland Administration when he was appointed postmaster. In 1894 he was
elected Sheriff of St. Francois County. In later years he was elected a member of the
Democratic State Committee and served his party in this capacity for a number of years.
His activities were not entirely confined, however, to his political party. He took a keen
interest in the civic welfare of the community and served as a member of the Farmington
School board for six terms, giving unselfishly of his time and means to the improvement of
our public schools.
Willard Rariden was born near French Village on July 3, 1860, son
of Theodore F. and Mary Patterson Rariden. He was united in marriage to Miss Mary A.
Highley on Dec. 29, 1885. To this union were born three children, one son dying when about
2 1/2 years old. The other two children, both sons, R. Lynn and Lee, and Mrs. Rariden
survive and all live here. He is also survived by two grandsons, Lynn Bowman and Billy
Lee; also two sisters, Mrs. Sallie Highley, of Farmington, and Mrs. Nannie Shaw, of
Seattle, Wash., and two brothers, Wesley Rariden, of Oklahoma, and Kennett, of near
Funeral services were held at the home on Tuesday, Feb. 21st, and
conducted by Rev. A. C. Johnson, pastor of the Murphy-Long Memorial Church. Interment was
in the Masonic Cemetery.
[ The above was contributed by Rebecca Highley May ]