W. C. Cantrell – A Webster County Original

The City Marshal in the photo below is my Great Grandfather Woodson Collins Cantrell. Although Collins Cantrell passed away two years before I was born, I was raised with many tales and stories of this stern, yet loving man.

Woodson Collins Cantrell & son Earl, ca. 1910

Woodson Collins Cantrell & son Earl, ca. 1910

Raised in and around Cantrell Creek, he spent most of his life in Webster County, MO. Collins knew most people by their name and the rest he knew by their face or their family.

Driven in life by a strong sense of family, he was surrounded by the large Cantrell clan from the beginning. His father John James Cantrell had 17 (or 19? don’t quote me) children with two different wives and Collins would have a large family of his own with 11 children. When he passed in 1966, he was survived by 34 grandchilren, 59 great-grandchilren and five great-great grandchildren.

This explains why, when I was young, family gatherings were so huge and I never did know everyone there.

Street Commissioner Note

He was a Webster County farmer his whole life, but also owned a livery stable (I believe it may have been the Stigall-Cantrell Barn in the notice) in town for many years. Around the turn of the century, Collins worked as a Street Commissioner for the city of Marshfield and later, around 1910 as a City Marshal.

It appears Street Commissioner was more than just a desk job, it looks as though payment could be expected either through a couple of dollars or labor at the rate of 66 cents a day working on the streets and alleys of Marshfield, MO. Not a bad idea for some of our cities that are feeling the tax crunch.

Just a reminder, there was probably not that much actual trash. You know, the kind of stuff we call trash – like McDonald’s cups and Wal-Mart bags. But there were a lot of horses then…just sayin’

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