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«R Torrey, Jay Linn, 1852-1920. 218 Scrapbook, 1893-1920. One volume. MICROFILM This collection is available at The State Historical Society of ...»

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Information Sheet

R Torrey, Jay Linn, 1852-1920.

218 Scrapbook, 1893-1920.

One volume.


This collection is available at The State Historical Society of Missouri. If you would like more information,

please contact us at shsresearch@umsystem.edu.

This is a scrapbook of Jay L. Torrey of Howell County, Missouri. Torrey was a rancher, politi-

cian, veteran of the Spanish-American War, and promoter of southern Missouri. The scrapbook in- cludes material on the Missouri Immigration Society, the State Fruit Experiment Station, the “Good Roads” movement, relocation of the state capitol, Fruitville Farm and the proposed village of Torreytown, and the campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1918.

Jay Linn Torrey was born on 16 October 1852 at Pittsfield, Illinois. He grew up in Louisiana, Missouri, and St. Louis, where he graduated from Washington University in 1876. He set up a prac- tice in commercial law in St. Louis, specializing in bankruptcy cases. Years of work in the field led him to formulate a new code which was ultimately adopted by the U.S. Congress. Known as the Torrey Bankruptcy Act, it remained in effect for many years. Torrey was also involved in a plan for establishing the appellate court system in Missouri. He was prominent in St. Louis civil, fraternal, and Republican Party circles, and was president of the St. Louis Mercantile Club.

At the invitation of his older brother, a retired Army captain, Torrey moved to Thermopolis, Wyoming, to manage a large cattle and cavalry horse ranch. His work there led to U.S. patents on improvements in branding irons and saddle blankets in 1890. He was elected to the Wyoming legislature on the Republican ticket and served as speaker of the lower house. He attracted na- tionwide attention at the beginning of the Spanish-American War with a proposal to enlist western cowboys and stockmen for cavalry service. His concept for “Rough Riders” was accepted by the War Department, and Torrey was commissioned Colonel of the 2nd Regiment U.S. Cavalry Vol- unteers. The regiment organized and trained at Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming, but never reached Cuba. En route to Florida, the troop train derailed at Tupelo, Mississippi, killing and injuring several Rough Riders and crushing both of Col. Torrey's feet. As a veteran and Rough Rider, Torrey was prominently mentioned as a running mate to William McKinley on the Republican ticket in 1900.

He was passed by when Theodore Roosevelt accepted the nomination.

Torrey amassed considerable wealth in Wyoming, and in 1905 he returned to Missouri. He acquired the “White Farm” southeast of West Plains in Howell County, adding to it to create a 10,000-acre tract which he named Fruitville Farm. He became known in Howell County as a slightly eccentric philanthropist and civil organizer, and a tireless booster of southern Missouri and the Ozarks, particularly concerning the possibilities of fruit-culture. He was very involved in progressive campaigns for civic improvements in Howell County and West Plains, and was a director of the statewide “Good Roads” campaign in 1912-1913. Through his Republican Party connections, he was appointed to several state posts. Gov. Herbert S. Hadley named him to the Board of Visitors of the University of Missouri and the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy at Rolla. He was also appointed a trustee of the Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station at Mountain Grove, Missouri, and was elected president of the Missouri Immigration Society in 1912.

Torrey’s most ambitious project was the “ideal” village of Torreytown, which he hoped to establish at Fruitville Farm. Designed after the European model, residents were to be urban farmers, living in a central town surrounded by outlying farmsteads. Progressive and patriotic themes were included in plans for Torreytown, whose ritual was to include programs of patriotic ethics and flagraising on specified days. With generous purchase plans and statewide advertising, Torrey expected to attract “desirable,” industrious individuals to inhabit his proposed village. Although there were a few tenant farmers at Fruitville, the ideal village never caught on and development never got underway.

(R0218) Torrey, Jay Linn, 1852-1920, Scrapbook, 1839-1920 2 Torreytown was central in a well-publicized feud between Col. Torrey and Gov. Hadley in 1910 after the state capitol in Jefferson City burned. As discussion went on concerning funding its reconstruction, Torrey offered a thousand acres and a million dollars for the capitol to be relocated near Fruitville Farm. The debate grew acrimonious when Torrey alleged fraud on the part of Jefferson City’s backers and the bond issue they proposed. Gov. Hadley countered that Torrey was more concerned with promoting his real estate development at Torreytown. The highly public controversy was settled when Missouri’s voters approved the bond issue in favor of Jefferson City.

Torrey and Hadley staged a widely-reported reconciliation at the Ozark Land Congress at Springfield in 1911.

Col. Torrey entertained lavishly at Fruitville and other locations in the state, befitting his various capacities. Politicians, educators, Rough Riders, and suffragettes were guests at his table, and a Wyoming equestrienne made headlines in 1913 as she made her circuit of Missouri riding on a mule loaned from Fruitville Farm. An active member of the United Spanish War Veterans, Torrey hosted statewide encampments at Fruitville in 1913 and 1918. Torrey’s most elaborate affair was the celebration of Memorial Day in 1918. Thousands came from all over southern Missouri and northern Arkansas to attend the public events, which included a display of torpedoes by the U.S.

Navy, a flyover by a U.S. Army aviator, the filming of an historical motion picture of Howell County, and music by W. L. Handy and band from Memphis.

Later in 1918, Torrey launched a whirlwind campaign in the Republican primary for U.S.

Senator. He ran well in southern Missouri despite a late start and little backing from the party, but he was defeated by Selden P. Spencer. The campaign was the last great public enterprise of his career. He visited his land holdings in Wyoming and traveled to Central America, and was no longer the central figure in southern Missouri that he once had been.

A longtime bachelor, Torrey married Mrs. Frances Reiley, businesswoman and widow of a physician in West Plains, in October 1920. He lived only six weeks afterward, succumbing to Bright’s disease at West Plains on 4 December 1920. After ceremonies at West Plains, Louisiana, and St. Louis, his remains were interred in his hometown of Pittsfield, Illinois. His estate, estimated at one hundred thousand dollars, was divided between his widow and his old friend, Rough Rider, and manager of Fruitville, Wallace B. Hodge. The newspapers of West Plains eulogized Torrey as a man of visionary ideals whose motives were altruistic, not mercenary. Although many of his plans were never put into effect, Torrey was clearly one of the most energetic spokesmen ever to represent southern Missouri.

Torrey’s scrapbook consists largely of newspaper clippings and miscellaneous printed material from 1910 to 1920. Most of the clippings were extracted from newspapers in Missouri, although a few earlier items from Wyoming are included. There is a large collection of Torrey’s personal papers at the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center.

The materials in the scrapbook touch on most aspects of Torrey’s career, with the greatest coverage of his work with the Missouri Immigration Society, the Good Roads movement, the fight over restoration of the capitol at Jefferson City, and the development of Fruitville Farm. There is also a considerable amount of coverage of agricultural advancements suitable for the Ozarks, Torrey’s career with the Rough Riders and involvement with the United Spanish War Veterans, civic developments in Howell County, and Torrey’s futile senatorial campaign in 1918. His attempt to create the ideal village is covered only lightly, but the scrapbook does include a proposed plat of the village, and examples of several promotional brochures describing the plan for Torreytown. A guide to the materials in the scrapbook is available.

–  –  –

Shelf List This is a scrapbook of Jay L. Torrey of Howell County, Missouri. Torrey was a rancher, politician, veteran of the Spanish-American War, and promoter of southern Missouri. The scrapbook includes material on the Missouri Immigration Society, the State Fruit Experiment Station, the “Good Roads” movement, relocation of the state capitol, Fruitville Farm and the proposed village of Torreytown, and the campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1918.

(R0218) Torrey, Jay Linn, 1852-1920, Scrapbook, 1839-1920 3 Page Description 001 Casper (Wyo.) Masonic Lodge, 20 December 1893.

002 National Good Roads Congress, 1911; Torrey Appointed Delegate.

Mr. & Mrs. J. N. White -- 40th Anniversary, 1911.

Hadley, Grace T., editor of the St. Louis Electric Magazine, visits Fruitville, 1911.

003 List of Premiums donated for the Road Work in Howell County.

004 Jefferson City, Capitol Restoration.

005 Missouri at Springfield Land Congress, 1910 - Missouri Board of Immigration.

006 Swiss Maltese Goats (advertisement).

007 Tolerton, Jesse A.; Capitol Restoration; Herbert Hadley; Brandsville (Mo.) Peach Festival, 1911.

008 Torrey Resigns as head of Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station & University of Missouri Board of Visitors, 1911; Capitol Restoration.

009 Torreytown (Mo.), 1912; Chillicothe (Mo.), Missouri Immigration Society, 1912; Pearl Mitchell, Missouri Immigration Society, 1912; Joplin (Mo.), Missouri Immigration Society, 1912.

010 Howell County Road Work, 4 July 1911; Bee Keeping at Fruitville, 4 July 1911.

011 Missouri State Immigration Society, 1912.

012 West Plains (Mo.); Howell County Road Work, 11 May 1911; Fruitville (Mo.);

Missouri, Arkansas & Gulf Railroad, 11 May 1911.

013 Missouri State Immigration Society, 29 March 1912; University of Missouri Board of Visitors at Columbia and Rolla, 3 March 1912.

014 Missouri State Immigration Society, 1912; Spanish Maltese and Improved Swiss Goats (advertisement).

015 Capitol Restoration, Jefferson City -- Dispute Between Gov. Hadley & Judge Evans, St. Louis; Missouri Land Congress, Springfield (Mo.), 1912; Missouri State Immigration Convention, Sedalia, 14 February 1912.

016 Swiss Maltese Goats; Missouri State Immigration Society, Annual Tour, 1 May 1912.

017 Immigration Society Organized at Sedalia, February 1912, Col. Torrey elected President; Frisco Lines Seed Agricultural Give-a-way Program for Demonstration Farms, February 1912.

018 Thayer (Mo.) Commercial Club Meeting.

019 Missouri State Immigration Society Tour, 1912.

020 Capitol Restoration at Jefferson City -- Bond Issue Approved; A Visit to Fruitville Farm.

Page Description

021 Missouri State Immigration Society Tour, 3 May 1912; Masonic Temple Association of Louisiana (Mo.), 3rd Annual Report, 8 May 1912.

022 Fourth of July Celebration at Fruitville (advertisement).

023 Missouri State Immigration Society Tour Schedule for April 29 to May 4, 1912.

024 Capitol Restoration, Jefferson City.

025 Fruitville Farms (advertising brochure); Missouri State Immigration Society Tour, 1912.

026 Capitol Restoration.

027 Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station, Mountain Grove, Missouri, June 1911.

028 Fourth of July Celebration at Fruitville, 1911; Motion Pictures Made at West Plains, Missouri, July 1911.

029 Hadley and Torrey Reconcile Differences; Fruitville Post Office Established.

030 Hadley-Torrey Feud, July 1911; Missouri State Immigration Society, 1912; Capitol Restoration Bond Issue, “A Legal Opinion” (Cont’d. page 32), 12 July 1911.

031 West Plains Bids for Drury Preparatory School, 28 December 1911.

032 Capitol Restoration Bond Issue (Cont'd. from page 30).

033 Missouri Land Congress, Springfield, 1911; Missouri State Immigration Society, 1912;

Sham Battle of Spanish-American War Veterans at Fruitville, 1913.

(R0218) Torrey, Jay Linn, 1852-1920, Scrapbook, 1839-1920 4 034 Capitol Restoration Bond Issue, Bond Issue Opinion (Cont'd. on page 36).

035 F. S. White’s Discussion of Johnson Grass; Howell County News; Missouri State Immigration Society Invites all former Missourians to return, March 1912.

036 Capitol Restoration Bond Issue (Cont’d. from page 34); Appeal by Torrey for Betterment of all State Institutions, July 1911.

037 Biographical Sketch of Cyrus P. Walbridge, 1912; West Plains Commercial Club, January 1912.

038 Fourth of July Celebration at Fruitville, 1911; Miscellaneous Fruitville News.

039 Angora Goat Raising, 29 July 1911; Hadley-Torrey Feud Reconciled, 1911; Thayer Y.M.C.A. Building Photo.

040 Bee Keeping, 1911; Miscellaneous pictures.

041 Frisco Good Roads Train, 1912; Thayer, Missouri Y.M.C.A. Dedication, 1912.

042 “Clean-up Day” at West Plains, April 1911; Road Work Postponed in Howell County, 1911; Fruitville Post Office, 1911; Fourth of July Celebrations at Fruitville, 1911.

043 Howell County Exhibit at Ozark Land Congress, 1911; Spanish-American War Vets meet at Fruitville, 1911; Meeting of the West Plains Commercial Club, 24 May 1912.

044 Tent City at Fruitville, 1911; Fruitville News, 1911; Peach Crop at Fruitville, 1911.

045 West Plains-Fruitville Road Work, 1912.

046 West Plains-Fruitville Road Work, 1912; Bee Keeping; “Clean-up” at West Plains.

047 West Plains-Fruitville Road Work, 1912.

048 Angora Goats, May 1911.

049 West Plains-Fruitville Road Work, 1912.

050 Goat Raising, 1911; Missouri State Immigration Society Tour, 1912.

051 Spanish-American War Veterans Meet at Springfield, 1912.

052 West Plains/Willow Springs Commercial Clubs Endorsement of Ozarks.

053 Warranty Deed (Blank) for Fruitville Farm; Memorial Day Observances, 1914.

054 Capitol Restoration at Jefferson City (continued from page 58).

055 Plat of the Village of Torreytown; Plat of Fruitville Farms.

056 Capitol Restoration at Jefferson City (Cont'd.).

057 Letters Testifying to Desirability of Fruitville Farms.

058 Capitol Restoration Brochure (begins).

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