FLETCHER A. TROUSDALE. A resident of Metropolis since 1875, Fletcher A. Trousdale, who is associated with the Journal-Republican of that city, has devoted his energies to various activities, mercantile, journalistic, industrial and political, his life being so interwoven with that of Metropolis as to render him a part of the urban fabric. He was born January 15, 1846, in White county, Illinois, and grew up on a farm near Enfield, being a descendant many generations removed from the immigrant ancestor of the Trousdale family, who came from county Antrim, Ireland, to America in early colonial days, locating in South Carolina.
The Trousdales of the earlier regime were men of moment in their times, noted for their patriotism and ability. Two of the family, at least, served in the Revolutionary war, James Trousdale and William Trousdale, one of whom was the founder of the family from which Fletcher A. is sprung. Soon after the close of the war these two soldier brothers removed to Tennessee, taking up the land grants given them by the Government for their services during the heroic struggle for independence, the grants being located in the vicinity of Clarksville. There they spent their remaining days, and there reared their children to lives of usefulness, many of their descendants becoming prominent in public and professional life. One of them, James Trousdale, a great uncle of Fletcher A., served as governor of Tennessee; Leonidas Trousdale was at one time state superintendent of Public Instruction in that state; while others acquired note in ministerial and other professions. William McCoy Trousdale, father of Fletcher A., was born September 23, 1823, in White county, Illinois, where his father settled on leaving his Tennessee home. With the exception of a short time spent in the pioneer schools of his day he was a self-educated and self-made man. Choosing for his work the occupation to which he was reared, he spent a quiet life on his farm, but as a man of strong personality he exerted a marked influence for good in his community, and was noted for his ability to tell a good story. He died in September, 1888, his death being mourned as a loss to the neighborhood. He married Jane Miller, a daughter of Peter and Susan (McCleary) Miller, the former of whom was of Scotch-Irish descent, while the McCleary family came from Scotland to this country, and took an active part in the Revolution. She died aged forty-four years.
The only member of the parental household to grow to years of maturity, Fletcher A. Trousdale spent his boyhood days in a semi-frontier country, and in the district schools acquired a practical education, becoming fitted for the teacher's profession, which he followed for a short time. Early in the seventies he became traveling salesman for Evansville and Cincinnati houses. Leaving the road, Mr. Trousdale was for a few years engaged in mercantile pursuits in Metropolis, and was
later associated with the Massac Iron Company, an industry formed for the purpose of manufacturing cast iron water pipe, and which for several years was a flourishing concern, going to the wall in 1893, when it was sapped of its nourishment by the influence of the trust. While connected with that company Mr. Trousdale entered the field of journalism, his first association in that line having been with the Metropolis Democrat, which was sold to A. N. Starkes, and his second venture with the Metropolis Herald, which later became the property of A. T. Barnes. On January 1, 1911, Mr. Trousdale, in association with County Superintendent W. A. Spence and Senator D. W. Helm, became identified with the Journal-Republican, which is one of the old landmarks of the city, having been founded in 1865. This paper is strongly Republican in politics, and a vigorous advocate of temperance and good morals.
In his political beliefs Mr. Trousdale is a Democrat, and acts with his party in national and state affairs, where the principles of pure Democracy are uppermost, but he has ever lined up with the movement for nation-wide prohibition. His fight against liquor is eternal, and his antagonism of that interest and of the business of selling poison to our citizenship, under license, or otherwise, has a permanent place in his make-up. During the first administration of President Cleveland, Mr. Trousdale served as postmaster of Metropolis, and in 1896 he was elected to represent his district in the General Assembly for one term. This service opened his eyes to many things hitherto unknown to him in regard to the acts of many of the legislators, and it sufficed to cure him of the office habit. Party affiliation means less to him than the standing and character of the candidate for public office, and he supports men rather than party in both local and state affairs.
While in the Legislature Mr. Trousdale introduced the question of draining the swamp lands of Massac, Union and Johnson counties in a bill calculated to bring the subject under agitation rather than with a hope of securing legislation favorable to such a move. Since that time he has persistently and consistently kept this matter before the people, with the result that some eighty thousand acres of hitherto submerged land will soon be drained, and new farms and new homes will spring up in places formerly inhabited by snakes and frogs. So, after a score of years of hammering through the press and by his voice, Mr. Trousdale sees the culmination of a movement that will add great wealth to his county and create a new agricultural district that will challenge in fertility the richest garden spots of our national domain.
Mr. Trousdale has been twice married, his first wife, whose maiden name was Mary Shelby, having died, in Metropolis, leaving no children. He subsequently married, in 1892, Mrs. Grace McCartney Smith, a daughter of the late Captain McCartney, to whom reference is made elsewhere in this volume. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Trousdale, namely: William, Virginia, Dorothy, Frances Blessing, and Stewart, who died in childhood. Mr. Trousdale and his family belong to the Methodist church, and he is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons.