FINIS ELIHU BONE. The stock-raising industry of Jackson county has only been developed within a few short years, but during that time its progress has been remarkable. It is true that for a number of decades farmers have, in a desultory manner, raised stock of an indifferent breed, but the genuine, thoroughbred, prize-winning animals which are now being raised in this section, and for which fancy prices are paid in the leading markets, made their advent here only comparatively a short time ago. The man to whom the credit for the present desirable condition of the stock-raising business may be given is Finis Elihu Bone, of Ava, who has stimulated interest in this line to such an extent that several stock shows have been largely attended here and have been voted unqualified successes. Finis Elihu Bone was born in Menard county, Illinois, December 12, 1855, and is a son of Robert Smith and Nancy (McCoy) Bone, and grandson of Elihu Bone, at one time a member of the Illinois state legislature.
Robert Smith Bone was born in Tennessee, and as a young man left home to seek his fortune in Menard county. Engaging in farming and stock-raising, he became one of the successful men of his day, was known as a judge of cattle, and for years was engaged in raising fancy cattle for the market. He was just as well known as a leader in the work of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, and could always be counted to do his full share, both with his influence and means, in forwarding movements which had for their object the advancement of religion in his community. Mr. Bone married Miss Nancy McCoy, and they had a family of five sons and three daughters, Finis Elihu being the third son. The second son was David McCoy Bone, famous in his college days as stroke of the Yale varsity crew, and now a well known Kansas banker. Both Robert S. and Nancy Bone are deceased.
Finis Elihu Bone spent his early life in Menard county, assisting his father in the work on the home farm and attending the public schools. His father was a great believer in the value of education, giving his children the best of advantages along this line, and Finis E. was sent
to Lincoln University, Lincoln, Illinois, preparing himself for Yale. His health gave away, however, and instead of attending the famous university he returned to the home farm and continued to engage in agricultural pursuits. Becoming interested in the breeding of thoroughbred stock, Mr. Bone turned his attention to it, and after considerable study began to experiment. His success soon convinced him that the standard of cattle in this section could be raised considerably and soon began to demonstrate his views. In 1903 he came to Jackson county, to endeavor to interest the agriculturists of this section. The work was slow at first, and the farmers hard to convince, but when they had once seen the result of his work they became enthusiastic, and he soon had a following of no inconsiderable size. Several years ago he concluded it would stimulate interest in the business to promote a stock show, and largely on account of local capitalists being afraid to furnish the backing necessary to finance such a proposition, he went into the enterprise almost alone, and the success he achieved fully justified his foresight. During 1911 the Ava Live Stock Show had become such an institution that it created a great interest in the surrounding country, and in this, of course, Mr. Bone was very influential. He has himself been an exhibitor at the expositions, and has also won prizes for his Chester White hogs at the national stock shows, and is at present holder of the first prize for dressed hogs, which he won from several international shows. As a pioneer in this kind of work, Mr. Bone deserves the greatest credit, and his enterprise and progressive spirit have been the means through which a new and extensive industry has been opened up in this section. Thoroughly conversant with every detail of the business, he is being continually consulted as to the best methods to apply, and through his excellent advice has assisted others in becoming successful.
Mr. Bone is a member of the Presbyterian church, in which he has been a faithful worker for a number of years, and at present has the largest Sunday-school class in Ava. His politics are those of the Republican party, but his private interests have demanded all of his time and attention and he has never entered the political field.