In the case of John Tooley, one of the prominent, enterprising and successful
farmers of Middlefork township, Macon county, desire and duty, the positive
and negative poles of our being, have worked harmoniously and enabled him
to pursue, in the main, the vocation he wished and win the results he sought.
He has tried his hand at various occupations, but never had to be driven
to any, and found enjoyment and profit in all. The experience has given him
breadth of view and self knowledge, and each pursuit has helped to make him
more capable for the next.
Mr. Tooley is a native of this county and was born on July 7, 1860. He
is a son of Stephen and Louisa E. (Walker) Tooley, the former bon in Shelby
county, Kentucky, and the latter in Macon county, Missouri.
The father's life began in 1829, and he came to Missouri in the fifties,
locating in Macon county. Here he was busily occupied in general farming
until 1868, when he moved to Clarence in Shelby county and became a dealer
in tobacco, buying and selling extensively, making large shipments to the
eastern markets and supplying a considerable local trade. He built the first
tobacco barn in Clarence and continued his operations in handling the staple
article of merchandise of almost universal use which claimed his attention
until 1872. He then saw better opportunities for profit and advancement in
handling live stock, and he turned his attention to the commodity, in which
he dealt actively until 1893. He then moved to this county, and retiring
from business, has made his home with his son John ever since.
For a quarter of a century he was interested in general merchandising
at Clarence being for a time a member of the firm of Chinn, Tooley and Company
and afterward of that of Tooley and Bishop. Mr. Tooley's parents were married
in 1856. His mother's maiden name was Louisa E. Walker, and she was a daughter
of Isham M. Walker, one of the revered pioneers of Macon county, a brief
account of whose useful life will be found elsewhere in this work. Of the
seven children born of the union only two are living, John and his sister
Nannie, who is the wife of Thomas Boulware of Louisville, Kentucky. In politics
the father has always been an energetic and loyal Democrat, interested in
the triumph of his party and on all occasions doing what he could to make
it victorious. His business career is greatly to his credit and gave him
high rank in mercantile circles, and his elevated citizenship touching all
the relations of life has won him the respect and regard of all classes of
John Tooley's education was limited to what he could get in the curriculum
of the district schools in Shelby and Macon counties, except what he learned
in the stern but thorough school of experience. When he finished his scholastic
studies he went to California, where he remained until 1885, doing whatever
he found to do, and doing everything as well as he could. He mined some,
helped to build bridges, and found profitable employment in other lines of
endeavor, being always willing to perform any labor that was at hand and
making the most he could of it.
In 1885 he returned to Macon county and bought eighty acres of land,
the nucleus of his present farm of 330 acres, and here he has been vigorously,
diligently and successfully engaged in farming and raising live-stock ever
since. He is enterprising and prosperous, and occupies a position of prominence
and influence in the civil and social life of the township and county. He
has given close and intelligent attention to the needs of the section of
the state in which he lives, and his service in promoting its advancement
are highly appreciated by all its people.
Mr. Tooley was married on November 27, 1888, to Miss Catherine Graves,
a native of Macon county and a daughter of William R. and Permelia (Reynolds)
Graves, an account of whose lives appear on another page of this volume.
The union has resulted in five children all of whom are living and still
at home with their parents. They are Lulu, Riley, Marie, Eva, and Isham.
The father takes an active part in local politics as a Democrat firm in the
faith and of unwavering loyalty to his party. In its behalf he exerts himself
with energy and effectiveness, and is known throughout the county as one
of the men of influence in his township whose counsel is warmly welcomed
and whose services are highly esteemed in the county organization and all
the undertakings of the party. He and his wife are zealous and devoted member
of the Christian church and earnest and energetic workers in its behalf.