J.P. Leggett came to Carthage in 1873 from Pennsylvania with his family where he was born in 1856. At the time of his death in 1921 he was president of Leggett & Platt Spring Bed Manufacturing Co. here, with branches in Louisville, Ky. and Windsor, Canada. He was also president of the Bank of Carthage and the Jasper County Fair Association. He was politically minded and a Democrat. He had been mayor of Carthage for 3 terms from 1906 to 1912, and never wanted any higher office despite his contemporaries urging him in that direction. He was known as a kind man, astute business person, and was quite active in city affairs and service organizations.
J.P. Leggett had worked closely with his brother-in-law C.B. Platt since 1888 in the spring business. He held many patents on his inventions and improvements both to bed springs and the machinery to build them. He and his wife, Ida May (Eagan) were the parents of four children.
He and his brother-in-law C.B. Platt had formed the company, Leggett & Platt that is now a Fortune 500 Company. When they began manufacturing bedsprings C.B. Platt and another brother-in-law, Martin Leidy, would load a wagon with bedsprings, go to Lamar, Neosho, Sarcoxie and any town that had a hardware or furniture store and sell their springs from the wagon. When the wagon was empty, they’d go with another load.
The company flourished under their leadership with J.P. Leggett inventing and C.B. Platt handling the manufacturing part of the business. Together they did everything right and the company continues to flourish today.