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1933: J.B. Jeffries dies at Hannibal, was noted publisher

Prominent Editor had been GOP leader and civil worker

Jefferson City Post-Tribune

Dec. 4, 1933

Stricken at dinner, he failed to rally

Attended every state and national Republican meet since 1908

Hannibal, Mo. Dec. 4 (AP) – John Biggs Jeffries, 71, publisher of the Hannibal Courier-Post, and president of the Missouri Associated Press Association, died in a hospital here today following a paralytic stroke last Tuesday night.

Mr. Jeffries was stricken at dinner last Tuesday night. He had recently undergone an operation and had recovered to the extent that he was able to spend a part of each day at his office in the Courier-Post.

He was taken to a hospital where he was unconscious until his death this morning. Funeral arrangements have not been made.

John Biggs Jeffries, newspaper publisher and tireless civic worker, entered the newspaper profession after spending his early years as a school teacher.

Becoming an employee of the Hannibal Courier-Post in 1905, he soon deserted the circulation department, interested himself in the news field, and in 1907 was named editor when the paper became a member of the Lee Syndicate.

He continued in this capacity until 1916 when he became publisher. In 1918 his field was further extended when the Courier-Post purchased the Hannibal Morning Journal.

A native Missourian

Born Sept. 1, 1862, in Lewis County, Mo., he lived his active life in his native state. He was a son of the late Thomas B. and Lucilda Biggs Jeffries.

After receiving preliminary schooling in the public schools of Monticello, Mo., he entered LaGrange, Mo., and received the degree of bachelor of arts in 1882.

Upon graduation he became a school teacher. His interest in educational matters never waned, even after he embarked upon a journalistic career. This interest was manifest in 1928 when he was a leader in agitation which resulted in the removal of his alma mater, La Grange College, to Hannibal.

Mr. Jeffries immediately was elected a member of the board of directors of the school which was re-named Hannibal LaGrange college and offered two years of college subjects.

Always interested in the work of the Associated Press, Mr. Jeffries was named president of the Missouri member group in 1925. He was re-elected for eight consecutive years.

Republican politics occupied an important place in the publisher’s interests. For 26 years he was a delegate to state conventions. As a representative of the Courier-Post he attended every national convention of both major political parties since 1908.

Prominent Republican

He never sought public office, but for 12 years was chairman of the Hannibal

Republican Central Committee.

The publisher was a member of the Baptist church, as were other members of his family. He also was a member of the Missouri state historical society.

His local interests included active participation in affairs of the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce. He was president of the organization in 1922.

For years he was a member of the board of directors, and chairman of important committees. Road improvement was once of his hobbies and he was instrumental in obtaining many of the state’s hard surfaced roads. A medal was awarded him in 1920 for his work in the campaign for a $60,000,000 state bond issue.

He also was a member of the Hannibal board of public works which controls the municipal light and water plants.

Survivors include three sons, Thomas B. Jeffries, Hannibal; Frank S. Jeffries, member of the reportorial staff of the Denver, Colo., Post, and John G. Jeffries, connected with the editorial department of the Courier-Post.

His wife, the former Miss Nannie E. Smarr, died in 1930. A daughter died in infancy.

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