JOHN BUNYON SERGEANT was born July 16, 1820, in Fayette county, Indiana. His father, Stephen Sergeant, was born
in North Carolina, and his ancestors came to America before the Revolution and participated in the Revolutionary
war. His mother, Susan (Mathias) Sergeant, was born in Tennessee. John's opportunities for education were limited.
On reaching manhood he located in Wisconsin and became a lead miner. In 1867 he removed to Minersville (now Oronogo),
Jasper county, Missouri, where he worked lead mines on the Granbys Company's lease, in partnership with E. R. Moffett.
In 1871 he and Mr. Moffett obtained mining leases at the site of Joplin, Missouri, and thenceforth the firm of
Moffett & Sergeant came to be widely known as successful business men. They organized and were principal stockholders
of the Lone Elm Mining & Smelting Company, and their mining operations for years were the most extensive of
all companies in Jasper county. Moffett & Sergeant also organized a bank in Joplin, and with Davis & Murphy
were founders of the town of Murphysburg, which became the center of the city of Joplin. Almost entirely unaided,
they built the first railroad to Joplin from Girard, Kansas, which was afterwards sold for about a half million
dollars. The Lone Elm Company, after the establishment of White Lead Works, became owner of the works. Afterwards
Mr. Sergeant built the first flouring mill in the city of Joplin, and built the first street railroad, a horse
car line. This last enterprise was a financial loss to its promoter.
Mr. Sergeant passed a busy, active life, was a man of rare judgment and foresight, especially as to the business
of mining, with which he was most familiar. He was an exemplary member of the Congregational church, and was at
all times a kindly, Christian gentleman, always ready to help forward every good cause; and no man ever had occasion
to doubt or question his honesty. The relation of friendship and confidence existing between him and Mr. Moffett
in almost a life time business partnership were most happy, and could be exceeded only by Mr. Sergeant's relations
with his faithful and devoted wife and his children.
Mr. Sergeant, in the year 1849, in Wisconsin, was married to Pluma J. Richards, with whom he lived over fifty years,
dying at his home in Joplin on the 17th of March, 1900. His wife survived him less than one year, dying March 12,
1901. They were the parents of eight children, viz.: Walter, W. G., Mrs. Helen Flagg, Mrs. Alice V. Campbell, Mrs.
Jessie C. Owen, Mrs. Alma Craycraft and Misses Blanche and Irene Sergeant, six of whom are still alive.
The Biographical History of Jasper County, Missouri
By Hon. Malcolm G. McGregor
The Lewis Publishing Co.
Jasper County, MO
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