Residents of Missouri Hall

Many prominent Nevada citizens were involved in Missouri Hall's history. Below are the histories of Dr. C.A. Rockwood, A.B. Cockerill, Dr. J.M. Yater, and Dr. V.O. Williams.

Dr. Charles Ainsworth Rockwood

Dr. C.A. Rockwood moved to Nevada in 1870, where he was assistant surgeon for the Missouri Pacific Railway.3 He was one of the first residents of the town, and built Nevada's first modern hotel on the northeast corner of the square in 1879.12 The "Hotel Rockwood" hosted many social events in the late 1800s, and is the oldest building on the square today.

Dr. Rockwood built his home, which would later become Missouri Hall, around 1888.15 Later, he served as a representative of Nevada's city council and was frequently asked to be mayor. (He always declined.)

Rockwood died suddenly from a brain aneurysm in 1896,4 and is buried in Deepwood Cemetery in southern Nevada.

Dr. C.A. Rockwood
Dr. C.A. Rockwood.3
Rockwood House, c. 1890
Rockwood House, c. 1900.7
Rockwood Hotel, c. 1900
Hotel Rockwood on Nevada town square, c. 1900.12

Almond Boswell Cockerill

A.B. Cockerill came to Nevada to head the local lead-zinc smelter operation in 1888.3 By 1896, he owned his own business, the Cockerill Zinc Company.

In 1900, Cockerill was forced to close the Nevada zinc smelter due to rising coal prices.5 This did not stop him from donating the clock for the new Vernon County courthouse in 1908, though.3 The arrival of natural gas to Nevada in 1911 was the final straw for coal burning smelters like Cockerill's. He died a poor man the same year, and is buried in Deepwood Cemetery in Nevada.

Cockerill family
A.B. Cockerill & family, c. 1910.6 Back: Missouri "Zoula" McIlhany Cockerill, A.B. Cockerill. Front: Henry Clay Cockerill, Missouri Robinson.
Cockerill House, c. 1910
The Cockerill mansion, c. 1910.6 (Courtesy Damon Waring)
Cockerill smelters, c. 1910
The Cockerill Smelters, c. 1910.12

Dr. Joseph Mason Yater

Dr. J.M. Yater cofounded Vernon Sanitarium with Dr. V.O. Williams in 1912.

In the early twentieth century, Dr. Yater was a director of Thornton National Bank.6 In 1919-1920, he served on the Board of Managers and the Honorary Medical Advisory Board of State Hospital No. 3 (the insane asylum) in Nevada.9 He was also a general practitioner in Nevada, holding office in the Yater building on the square.

He married Edna Smith Yater and they lived at 612 West Cherry Street.13 They had twin girls in 1918, Marye Adams and Jane Hays.14 Both girls attended Cottey College, and Marye later worked at Cottey for 28 years in food service. (Marye passed away recently, in October of 2008.)

Dr. Yater died on February 6, 1947, just days past his 80th birthday, and is buried in Deepwood Cemetery.13

Dr. Vincil Orsino Williams

Dr. V.O. Williams cofounded Vernon Sanitarium with Dr. Yater in 1912, but died a mere four years later.13 His death remains a bit of a mystery, as no conclusive cause is given on his death certificate. He was apparently found dead in his "motor car" on June 24th, 1916 at the age of 36. (It seems that no doctor examined him before he was interred — only the coroner, M.E. Ferry.)

In a strange coincidence, six months before his death, Dr. Williams examined the body of Mary Innis after she committed suicide at Radio Springs Park. (Mary was a student at Cottey College at the time.)

Vernon Sanitarium
Postcard of Vernon Sanitarium, c. 1912.8
Yater building, 2008
The Yater building on Nevada town square, 2008.
Yater building, 2005
"Yater" engraving on the building, 2005.

Works Cited:

  1. Campbell, Elizabeth McClure. The Cottey Sisters of Missouri. Parkville, MO: Park College Press, 1970. Print.
  2. Troesch, Helen DeRusha. Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard. Wayside Press, Inc., 1955. pp.37, 259, 261. Print.
  3. Brophy, Patrick. "Where the Ancestors Sleep." Nevada, MO: Vernon County Historical Society, 1997: 27. Print.
  4. Conard, Howard L., ed. "Charles Ainsworth Rockwood." The Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, Vol V. New York: Southern History Co., 1901. 388-89. Courtesy of the University of Missouri Digital Library. Web.
  5. "Zinc Works Shut Down." Tri-County Chronicle. 21 Dec 1900. Cass City, MI: Landon & Klump. Courtesy of the Rawson Memorial Library. Web.
  6. "Nevada Souvenir." DamonWaring.com. 1910: 36. Web.
  7. Owens, Linda. "Picture Post Cards From Vernon County, Missouri." Web.
  8. Irwin, Lyndon. "Vernon Sanitarium." LyndonIrwin.com. Web.
  9. Graden, Debra, comp. Missouri State Offices Political and Military Records, 1919-1920. Web.
  10. "Missouri P.E.O. Elects Officers." Monitor-Index and Democrat. Moberly, MO. 7 June 1929. Ancestry.com. Web.
  11. "Residence Hall At Cottey College Destroyed by Fire." The Kokomo Tribune. Kokomo, IN. 30 Dec. 1940. Ancestry.com. Web.
  12. Sterett, Betty. Scenes From the Past (of Nevada, Missouri). Ed. Donna Logan. DGL InfoWrite: Boulder, CO, 1985.
  13. "Missouri Death Certificates, 1910-1957." Missouri Digital Heritage. Web.
  14. "Marye Adams." Nevada Daily Mail. Nevada, MO. 25 Oct. 2008. Web.
  15. "Missouri Hall." The P.E.O. Record. Apr. 1934: 13-14. Print.
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