Biography of Edward J. Monfore

Edward J. Monfore was born on March 13, 1828, in Delaware County, New York, to Garrett and Paty (Smith) Monfore. Raised in Broome County, he apprenticed as a wagon maker before moving to Warren County, Iowa, in 1864, where he became a successful farmer and community leader. In 1882, Monfore relocated to Springfield, South Dakota, where he played a significant role in the town’s development, owning 640 acres of farmland. Active in politics as a Republican, he served on the county board and local school board. Monfore married twice and had seven children, contributing greatly to his community’s growth and prosperity.

Edward J. Monfore is a native of the old Empire State, having been born in Delaware County, New York, on the 13th of March, 1828, so that he has now passed the psalmist’s span of three score years and ten, but is a man of marked mental and physical vigor, giving slight indication of the years which stand to his credit. He is a son of Garrett and Paty (Smith) Monfore, and is the eldest of their four children, all of whom survive, the others being as follows: Rebecca, who is the wife of Rodney Chichester, of New Canaan, Connecticut; Mary, who is the wife of Henry Monroe, of Council Grove, Kansas; and Elizabeth, who is the wife of John Waterman, of Broome County, New York. The maternal grandfather Smith was a Revolutionary soldier, and his widow drew a pension. The father of the subject was born in the state of New York, where the family was established in the early pioneer epoch, and there he passed his entire life. As a young man, he learned the blacksmith trade, which he followed for a number of years, after which he was engaged in farming during the remainder of his active business career, having removed from Delaware County to Broome County, where his death occurred in 1845. He was a Whig in his political proclivities and was an ardent abolitionist. He and his wife were both consistent members of the Congregational Church. The latter was likewise born in the state of Connecticut and lived to a very old age. They were persons of noble characteristics and lived lives of signal honor and usefulness.

Edward J. Monfore, whose name initiates this sketch, was reared under the sturdy discipline of the home farm, and after attending the common schools of Broome County, he continued his studies for some time in an excellent academy at Homer, New York. As a young man, he worked on the farm and at various other occupations, being signally energetic and ambitious and early exemplifying that good judgment which has conserved his success in later years. At the age of twenty-five years, he entered upon an apprenticeship at the trade of wagon making, becoming a competent workman, and to this vocation, he continued to devote his attention for about a decade, in the meanwhile carefully husbanding his resources and exemplifying the utmost thrift and perseverance. In 1864, he left his native state and came to the west, locating in Warren County, Iowa, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, as well as forty acres in the adjoining county of Marion. One year later, he disposed of both of these properties and purchased another farm of one hundred and sixty-five acres in Warren County, to which he subsequently added until he had a good farm of two hundred and five acres. There he continued to be successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits for nearly eighteen years, becoming one of the honored and influential citizens of the community. He there served two terms as clerk of Belmont Township, and one term as a member of the board of county commissioners.

In the spring of 1882, having disposed of his interests in Iowa, Mr. Monfore came to South Dakota and located in Springfield, Bon Homme County, where he has since maintained his home, being one of the founders and builders of this now prosperous and attractive little city, and having also been identified with the industrial development of this favored section of our great commonwealth. He is the owner of six hundred and forty acres of valuable farming land in the county, the same being divided into four farms, and he gives a general supervision to the property, which is well improved and under effective cultivation. He is also the owner of a nice residence and other property in Springfield.

In politics, Mr. Monfore gave his allegiance to the Whig party until the organization of the Republican Party, when he transferred his allegiance to the latter, of whose principles and policies he has ever since been an unswerving advocate, having been one of those who aided in the election of the delegates to the first Republican state convention in New York. In 1885, he was elected a member of the board of commissioners of Bon Homme County, in which capacity he served two terms, during which period he gave significant manifestation of his loyalty and intrinsic public spirit. He was also elected and served nine years as a member of the board of education at Springfield. He, with George W. Snow and J. L. Turner, constituted the committee having in charge the erection of its first normal school building here, the cost of which, ten thousand dollars, was donated by the citizens of Springfield, the subject himself contributing two hundred dollars. Fraternally, he is affiliated with Mount Zion Lodge, No. 6, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and the auxiliary organization, Springfield Chapter, No. 11, Order of the Eastern Star, of which his wife likewise is a member; and he is also identified with Springfield Lodge, No. 7, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Deborah Lodge, No. 52, Daughters of Rebekah, of which Mrs. Monfore is a member.

On the 15th of June, 1852, at Centre Lisle, New York, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Monfore to Miss Clarissa Chapin, who was born in Michigan and reared in Yorkshire, Broome County, New York. Of this union were born four children, of whom three survive: Edward C., who is a retired merchant of Springfield; George J., who is engaged in farming in this county; and Carrie, who is the wife of Charles Melick, a farmer of this county. Mr. Monfore’s first wife passed away October 8, 1864, dying of typhoid fever at Coloma, Iowa. He subsequently married, in Putnam County, Illinois, Miss Lottie Melick, who was born in New Jersey and reared in East Enterprise, Indiana. By the latter union were born three children, all of whom grew to maturity and were married. The eldest, Fanny, who was the wife of Dr. R. D. Melvin, now of Parker, this state, was caught in a folding bed and received injuries which caused her death. She had one son, Adney. The next child, Frank, is the proprietor of the Springfield House, at Springfield, this state, and the youngest, Stella, is the wife of George B. Mead, of Port Stanley, Washington.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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