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William Nelson Barron

Biography

William Nelson Barron, born December 1859 in Reading, Berkshire, England, was a lawyer from who settled in Poplar Bluff, Missouri in about 1894.

In 1900, he became the plant manager and president of a factory that manufactured barrel staves and headers, known as the Brooklyn Cooperage Company after 1910, a subsidiary of the American Sugar Refining Company. The unassembled barrels were shipped to Cuba and other sugar-producing countries. Barron oversaw the construction of the Butler County Railroad connecting Piggott, Arkansas to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, which was used primarily to haul lumber before being sold in 1928 to the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. Barron named the towns along the railroad, which included:

Piggott, Arkansas, named after his sister's married name in England (Sarah Ann Barron married John Piggott).

Broseley, Missouri, after his wife's hometown of Broseley, England.

Tipperary, Missouri, after the song It's a Long Way to Tipperary. Workers had to walk a "long way" to install a railroad switch here.

Batesville, Missouri, constructed on Horace Bates' farm.

Spread, Missouri

Fagus, Missouri. Fagus is the Latin botanical genus for the European Beech native to his home country of England. Barron was surprised to actually find Beech trees growing nearby.

Quercus, Missouri. Quercus is the Latin botanical name for Oak.

Nyssa, Missouri. Nyssa is the Latin botanical name for the Tupelo or Sweetgum tree.

Celtis, Missouri. Celtis is the Latin botanical name for the hackberry tree.

Ilex, Missouri. Ilex is the Latin botanical name for the American holly tree.

Platanus, Missouri. Platanus is the Latin botanical name for the American sycamore tree.

Ulmus, Missouri. Ulmus is the Latin botanical name for the Elm tree.

Barron stated that he used Latin botanical names for the towns instead of the monotonous English tree names which were overused in Missouri.

After exhausting the timber in the area, Barron became president of what would be called the Inter-River Drainage District, which drained thousands of acres of cut-over swamp land in Butler County, Missouri, by the construction of 200 miles of ditches and 50 miles of levees, starting in 1919.

Barron Road in Poplar Bluff is named after him.

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