Tattered top buggy is auctioned
by Herschel Fincher
The old buggy with its one-horse shaft and tongue and tattered convertible top found a new owner today.
It was auctioned for $175 as part of the estate sale of the Sheedy family, which lived just north of the city limits. The family once owned 1,240 acres in Greene County.
All of its members are gone now. The last one, Helen Sheedy, died Jan. 28 and left the estate to nieces and nephews.
Hundreds and hundreds of people jammed Farm Road 165 north of Greenlawn Cemetary to get to the auction today. Many older people went out of pure nostalgia, as they remembered the days when their families drove their buggies or wagons out to Springlawn horse track for an outing when the estate belonged to the Headleys.
When Mike Sheedy and his wife, Mary Gorman Sheedy, bought the farm around 1915 it was considered a real showplace, Springfield attorney John Hulston, executor of the estate, said.
It had huge horse barns, facilities for pure Jersey cattle, the large main house and a number of smaller houses. An old log cabin near the entrance is now half collapsed.
The old buggy was among thousands of antiques and other items which were offered in today's sale. Some of the artifacts had belonged to family members since before they bought the sprawling property.
Mike Sheedy was born in Ireland and came to Springfield in 1872 to help build tracks for the extension of the old Atlantic and Pacific Railroad from Rolla to Springfield, Hulston said.
He first homesteaded by the old Ingram School on the old Strafford road, then acquired several hundred acres of property in the area. The R. T. French Co. is built on some of the property formerly owned by the Sheedys.
They moved into the Headley estate in 1923 after doing extensive renovations and remodeling, Hulston said.
Members of the family living together then included sons Emmett, Simon, Mike, and James, and daughters Margaret, Helen and Agnes. A son, John, had married and moved to Chicago and a daughter Kate, also had married.
Kate was the only one whose children survived, and they are the nieces and nephews who have inherited the estate, Hulston said.
Hulston said the huge farm began declining about 15 years ago when Mike, the last son, died. The women were forced to rely on hired help from then on, he said.
Remember that they had four other farms in the area, too," Hulston said. "So it was no easy task for them."
They sold 550 acres they owned elsewhere to the Frisco Industrial Development Corp., which later sold some of the property to R. T. French Co., he said.
Springlawn itself has 338 acres and extends from Greenlawn Cemetary to the Sac River, Hulston said, and is over a half mile east to west. "It's the last of the large farms bordering Springfield," he said.
"In the 1890's the public came out here to race, ride horses or just generally enjoy themselves," Hulston said.
"That old buggy belonged to the Headleys and came with the farm when the Sheedys bought it," he said.
"Helen Sheedy used to drive it from here up to where the city's streetcars stopped at National and Turner and pick up some member of the family or get groceries," he said.
"They were hardworking farm people," Hulston said of the Sheedys. "The basis of the second generation's fortune was hard work and the family's real estate."
Among the items in today's auction, besides farm machinery and equipment, were what looked like about 50 old quilts, the family upright piano, a Victoria and records, gas light fixtures, old library tables and all the household utensils.