A citizen whose sterling worth and integrity, as aligned with exceptional business ability, have won for him the important and responsible position of superintendent of the Illinois division of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Company, is Walter E. Merrifield, who maintains his business headquarters and residence at Chester, Illinois. Mr. Merrifield was born at Great Bend, Pennsylvania, on the 9th of November, 1867, and he grew to manhood under the influence of a railroad atmosphere. His father, Conductor James K. Merrifield, who runs a Missouri Pacific passenger train between St. Louis and Kansas City, has spent forty-two years in the service, beginning at Scranton, Pennsylvania, soon after the close of the war coming to the Mississippi valley country. Conductor Merrifield was born in the old Keystone state of the Union in 1844, and at the time of the outbreak of the Civil war he was in Illinois, where he enlisted as a soldier in the Eighty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in La Salle county. He was with Sherman's army that divided the Confederacy with its Atlanta campaign and then returned with Scofield in pursuit of General Hood and fought the battles of Franklin and Nashville, two of the momentous engagements of the war. Returning to his home in Pennsylvania after the close of hostilities, Mr. Merrifield, Sr. entered the field of railroad work, as already stated, and he was married at Great Bend, that state, to Miss Rhoda Crandall. He settled in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, many years ago, and as a Republican made the race in 1890 for railroad commissioner as the nominee of his party. Missouri had not then turned its back upon the Democratic party and the whole ticket met defeat.

Walter E. Merrifield is the only child of his parents. His education was obtained in Sedalia, Missouri, and his career in the railroad service began before he had attained his legal majority. He grew up in the Mississippi valley, is a product of the common schools and as a youth learned telegraphy at Sedalia, under the supervision of the Missouri, Kansas & Topeka Railway. His first position was as an operator on the above road at Pleasant Grove, Missouri. Subsequently he worked for the Wabash Company at various points in Missouri and eventually entered the employ of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company as operator in Kansas. His first promotion came from the last mentioned company, when he was made train dispatcher at Nickerson. Later he was appointed trainmaster at Dodge City and he finally left the service at Raton, New Mexico, whither he had been transferred. He subsequently accepted a position with the Missouri Pacific Company as


chief dispatcher at Hoisington, Kansas, and later he went to Concordia as trainmaster. From the latter place he was sent to Sedalia, Missouri, and thence he went to Atchison, Kansas, as superintendent of the company's central branch division. In 1908 he was selected for the supervision of the Illinois division of the Iron Mountain road, and from East St. Louis to Cairo comprises the line under his management. Long association with railroad work of various kinds has made Mr. Merrifield an expert in his particular line, and in his present position he has done a great deal for the progress and improvement of the section of road under his management.

At Nickerson, Kansas, on the 7th of September, 1887, Mr. Merrifield was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Frease, a daughter of Captain Cyrus Frease, an old soldier of Canton, Ohio. This union has been prolific of one child, Josephine. In politics Mr. Merrifield is a stalwart Republican, and his fraternal connections are with the Masonic order at Newton, Kansas, where he is a past master of his lodge.

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