J. H. WALTERS. To attain happiness we strive for the acquisition of wealth or position, and, if one is possessed of the first and has native ability and ambition, the second falls to him as his natural heritage. In the acquirement of wealth fortune smiles on those alone who are watching for the opportunity she offers, and J. H. Walters is one of those who has shown himself to be a wide-awake, systematic business man, and has made the most of every opportunity that has presented itself. He was born in Virginia, October 26, 1823, a son of William and Tally (Ingram) Walters, who were of Irish and English descent, the former a native of Virginia. The paternal grandfather was a captain in the Revolutionary War.
J. H. Walters spent his youthful days on a farm, was married in the State of his birth, and in 1847 moved. to Yalobusha County, Miss., where he made his home until after the war, in which struggle he participated, and during which time he lost the handsome fortune which he had accumulated. He has devoted his attention to merchandising the greater part of his life and is still to some extent engaged in this occupation, his home being in Bellefonte. He has been largely engaged in the buying and selling of cattle and mules, and is the owner of about 15,000 acres of land, a large portion of which is under cultivation. He is one of the wealthiest men of Boone County, and what he has has been earned through his own good judgment and energy. Although he received no schooling in his youth he is a man of keen intelligence, and actively interested in the public affairs of his section. He was married in Virginia at the age of twenty-four to Martha Dodson, to which union three children were given: Alexander J.; William S., and Martha A., wife of John Eagel. William S., the youngest son is a man of brilliant mind, with a warm heart and patriotic nature. He married Miss Cora Perkins, of Springfield, Missouri, and with his accomplished wife and their four bright children, lives on one of the best cultivated farms in the county.
Mr. Walters has been a Democrat all his life, is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, in which he is a deacon, and he is a Royal Arch Mason. His first wife died in this county, and he afterward married Miss Virginia Harrison, daughter of Rev. Robert L. and Mildred Harrison, of Irish and English descent; she was born in North Carolina. With her Mr. Walters resides on one of the finest improved places in the county. Although he has passed the allotted age of three-score years and ten, he is yet actively engaged in business and looks after his valuable property. Mr. Walters and his wife attended the World’s Fair at Chicago in 1893, and also traveled over many of the southern and eastern States, enjoying their trip very much.His son, Alexander J. Walters was born in Virginia, September 2, 1848, but was reared in Yalobusha County, Miss., and has been a resident of Boone County, Arkansas, since 1868.
During the war he was a soldier in the Home Guards, enlisting in 1864 at the age of sixteen, and serving until the close. In 1868 he became a resident of Bellefonte, or rather settled on the site of that place, for the town was not then known, and purchased a tract of land in the vicinity, on which he at once began the labors of the agriculturist. In 1870 he embarked in the mercantile business with the best stock of goods ever brought to Boone County, and he has made it a point to always keep an excellent line of goods. In 1874 Matt Tyson became a member of the firm, and it was conducted under the name of J. H. Walters & Co. for two years, at the end of which time the business was suspended for a time. For some time thereafter Mr. Walters clerked for I. Eoff, but at the end of one year he became a member of the firm, which became known as Eoff & Walters.
In September, 1878, this partnership was dissolved, and in October of the same year J. H. Walters & Sons opened up a well-appointed establishment, which continued until 1880, when the younger son retired, the entire management of the house now falling on the shoulders of Alexander J. A business of from $15,000 to $30,000 is done annually, and they keep on hand a stock valued at about $5,000. Alexander J. Walters has entered heart and soul into this business and has clearly proven to all that he is a thoroughly capable business man. He is an expert book-keeper, is shrewd, practical and far-seeing in the management of his affairs, and, as a result, can-not fail to be successful. He has held the office of justice of the peace and has been appointed chairman of the Democratic Central Committee several times. He is a Royal Arch Mason, has taken a deep interest in the success of the order at Bellefonte, and is active in all enterprises of a public nature. He is the owner of a large tract of land and has a pleasant and comfortable home.
In 1870 he was married to Miss F. B. Hart, who was born in Tennessee, a daughter of D. G. Hart, and to their union two children have been given: Virgie and Alexander J., Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Walters are members of the Missionary Baptist Church, as are also their children, and the daughter is a graduate of the Bluett School in St. Louis and is now engaged in teaching elocution and music in Yellville College. The son is a clerk in his father’s store and is a young man of excellent business qualifications.