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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

SEMO Title Co.: Celebrating a century of service

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Founded in 1911, SEMO Title Co. has been a part of Scott County for 100 years. Pictured from left are the company's owners, Tracy Sutton, Jon Gilmore and Carol Gilmore. Jill Bock, Staff
SIKESTON - Tracey Sutton pulls out a well-worn book. Inside are pages darkened with age and covered in ornate cursive writing. Here is the history reaching back 100 years of SEMO Title Company, today owned and operated by Sutton; her mother, Carol Gilmore; and her brother, Jon Gilmore.

Begun on Jan. 21, 1911, as Scott County Abstract Co. Inc., the company was founded by W.H. Stubblefield Jr., H.D. Rodgers and Harold Stubblefield. The business, which tracked the legal activities associated with parcels of land, was located at the county seat in Benton.

In the 1920s E.R. Tirmenstein joined the abstract company, followed by Orland Bollinger Sr.

Tirmenstein and Bollinger, Carol Gilmore's uncles, introduced her to the business.

"I'd go visit them at the abstract company," Mrs. Gilmore recalled. "They were so funny."

Funny, and frugal, she added. Mrs. Gilmore said in those early days, the men decided not to patch the building's roof. On rainy days when her aunt went to the office to collect bills she carried her umbrella inside to keep the water from dripping on her head, she recalled with a laugh.

As the years rolled by, the business was purchased by Bollinger and E.R. "Ed" Tirmenstein in the 1950s. The next generation took over in the 1974 when the business was sold to Mrs. Gilmore's husband, Thomas, and his uncle, Weber Gilmore.

Reading from the minutes of the book, Sutton noted a merger in 1979 with another title company, gave the business its current name, SEMO Title Co. The Gilmores decided then to more their headquarters to Sikeston while continuing to maintain a location in Benton.

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They are also active in their profession and their community. In addition to belonging to area Chambers of Commerce, SEMO Title Company is a member of the Missouri Land Title Association and the American Land Title Association. Sutton and Gilmore served as officers in the MLTA.

Sutton summed it up: "You have to love this kind of work. It isn't a get-rich-quick business but it is an enjoyable profession."