Govenor Dockery — A Great Missourian

Words are not adequate to express the remarkable life of Alexander Monroe Dockery, called a great Missourian. Only a few facts of his life would be worth remembering.

Words are not adequate to express the remarkable life of Alexander Monroe Dockery, called a great Missourian. Only a few facts of his life would be worth remembering.

A.M. Dockery died in Gallatin at the home of Mrs. E.S. Gregory on Dec. 26, 1916. His wife and children preceded him in death. He was born Feb. 11, 1845, five miles south of Gallatin. Dr. Dockery went to several medical schools and practiced medicine at Linneus in Linn County and at Chillicothe. He gave up medical service in 1874 and returned to Gallatin, his hometown.

In March, 1874 Dockery became director and cashier and secreary of the Farmers Exchange Bank. Cashier Dockery served with T.B. Yates for 13 years. Yates was bank president from 1874 to 1892. John W. Meade took the cashier’s job in July 1886 and became president in July, 1899.

Cashier Dockery began his national career in 1882 when he was elected to Congress from the 3rd Congressional District. Congressman Dockery served 8 terms in the House of Representatives (16 years). In 1900 Congressman Dockery was elected governor and served 4 years. In 1913 Gov. Dockery served President Woodrow Wilson as Assistant Postmaster General throughout both terms of Wilson’s administration.

Gov. Dockery served in other modes of public service and was known in Gallatin for his dignified yet simple bearing. He had a charming personality, an unforgetable smile and wink, a warm hand clasp, high ideals and outstanding ability. He had a great love for children, despite losing all of his own.

Alexander Dockery was the son of the Rev. Willis E. and Sarah McHaney Dockery. His father was a distinguished minister of the Methodist Church. Alex continued on that faith and his funeral service was conducted at the Gallatin Methodist Church. His body was placed at the Edgewood Cemetery, Chillicothe.

Dr. Dockery married Miss Mary E. Bird on April 14, 1869. All of the seven children born of this union died in infancy. Mrs. Dockery died at the State Executive Mansion in Jefferson City in January, 1903. She was the daughter of Greenup Bird of Daviess County.

Gov. Dockery was active as a Mason and in May, 1883, was elected Grand Master of Missouri. He was elected Grand Master of Missouri Odd Fellows in May, 1910 — then the only person in Missouri to hold both places of honor.

In a 1926 editorial in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the following description was given to the first Missouri Governor of the Twentieth Century: “He was an honest and well-intentioned as well as able man… his humorous wink and the high-top boots he always wore are minor symbols of a vanishing political era in Missouri and may be called to mind longer than much more important things associated with other leaders.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch spoke of the late A.M. Dockery as “a great Missourian. For more than 40 years, then, he was a man of consequence in the Democratic party, and one whose qualities were esteemed by all citizens familiar with public affairs… Those qualities were substantial rather than striking. Mr. Dockery possessed an abundance of common sense and a scrupulous honesty against which no breath of suspicion was raised… A politician of the old school, who loved the game in all its aspects, a citizen of worth and character, his name belongs in the list of Great Missourians.”

The Farmers Exchange Bank had passed away a few months earlier (March, 1926) followed in less than a week by the Faremrs Bank of Jameson and the Bank of Jameson. All closed by the Missouri State Finance Commissioner.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin. December, 1994