This article, by Marylin France, on the Kilby family is one of hundreds of historic, and family stories printed in The Taney County, Missouri Histories & Families book.
KILBY—Richard Kilby (1846–1919) chose to come to the United States for a chance to have his own nursery some day. He boarded a ship on March 11, 1871, the same day that he married Mary “Mercy” Matilda Marshall [1847–1935); he sailed from Bristol, England and landed at N.Y. (13 May 1871) on the SS Arragon He sent word for Mercy to join him, her ship landed on Oct 10, 1872 in NY—she was listed on the Great Western II Ship-then went on to the north Great Lakes area. He met her in Chicago. Their first home was in Navoo, Illinois, where Florence and Nellie were born. It was on to Wilson County, Kansas where Emily, Lilly and Rosie were born. Richard farmed, raised small fruit to sell, and worked in a nursery. They then moved into Chanute, Kansas and built a house and he worked year round for Truett’s Nursery. John William, Violet, and Alice were born there. Being a frail man and in poor health the doctors suggested he try the Ozarks. He came and stayed around Springfield and Nixa, improving in health and strength and hearing of an English Colony north of Forsyth, rented a rig, drove down and found out from the Probate Judge, Mr. John T Dickenson that farm land was for sale; and liked it so well he bought the one Harry Bennett later owned. He was not a member of the Eglinton English Colony, but was intrigued when he learned that they were from his homeland. He went back to Chanute, Kansas, to load up two covered wagons to bring their belongings, while his wife and youngest children came by train. He went to the Chadwick Depot to claim the furnishings that he had shipped by railroad. The Stout boys were at the Burger Store at Swan, when Richard came through in March 1892; and when Thomas Bert Stout saw their daughter, Ellen Eliza “Nellie”, he said, “That one is mine”! Yes they were married in 1896. Earlier, from Chadwick, Mercy and the youngest children took the mail hack to John T. Dickenson’s store at Eglinton. When Richard came by the Helphrey Cemetery March 14, 1892, they were burying the Deputy Sheriff Williams. The lynching of John Bright and murder of Deputy Sheriff George Williams took place on March 12, 1892. The farm Richard Kilby had bought had a double log house and very little chinking. It was in March and that first night snow blew through the logs onto their beds. Richard sold this farm in 1895 and moved into Taneyville and had a successful orchard. Grandpa Richard Kilby at last realized his dream, “a nursery of his own,” and lived to finish rearing his children, also three granddaughters whose parents both died very young.
—By Great-Great Granddaughter, Marilyn Stuart France.