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Biography of Kemmer F. Cantrell

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Kemmer F. Cantrell
Kemmer F. Cantrell

The general mercantile firm, of which this gentle-man is a member, Cantrell & Angle, is well-known throughout Marion County, and enjoys a liberal patronage. Mr. Cantrell is a member of one of the pioneer families of Arkansas, and was born November 8, 1853, a son of William P. and Elizabeth (Payne) Cantrell, and grandson of Abner and Mary (Maxey) Cantrell.

In 1830 the grandfather’s family emigrated from Alabama, taking up their abode in Madison County, Arkansas, but in 1854 removed to Boone (then Carroll) County, and located on a farm three miles from Lead Hill, but settled eventually in Marion County. There the grandfather died in 1889, at the advanced age of ninety-seven years, being probably the oldest man in the county at that time. He enjoyed remarkably good health all his life, was active and energetic, and was a thrifty and highly-respected farmer. To him-self and wife, who died in 1870, a large family of children were given, of whom William P. Cantrell was the eldest, the others being Thomas, Henry, Marian, John, Edward, Caroline, Adaline, Melissa, Jane, Catherine and Elizabeth. Edward is the only son living and Caroline is the only daughter who is dead. William P. Cantrell was fourteen years of age when he became a resident of Arkansas. He was married in Madison County. In 1854 he came to Marion County, and on the farm near Lead Hill he lived during the war. He was for a short time in the Confederate service, was captured by the Federals, and after taking the oath of allegiance he moved to Pulaski County, Missouri He returned to Arkansas in 1867, but in 1875 moved from his farm near Yellville to the farm on which he died in June, 1893. His death was sudden, occurring while he was sitting in a chair reading, and resulted from heart disease. He had held the office of justice of the peace, was deputy county clerk, but for a long time prior to his death he had been retired from active public life. He was a local minister of the Baptist Church, was a successful farmer, was a Mason of Yellville Lodge, and was a highly-respected citizen. His widow is living on the old home farm near Yellville, and is now about sixty-two years of age. She became the mother of fourteen children: Mary A., Eliza, Amanda, Lydia, Kenner; Alonzo, who died in infancy; Martha, Charles E., John, George, Alice, Ambrose, who died young; William W.; Elizabeth, who died at the age of one year. Mary is the wife of L. Bench; Eliza is Mrs. T. M. Rea; Amanda is Mrs. J. G. Dillahunty; Lydia is Mrs. N. Estes; Martha is Mrs. Dr. J. M. Coker; Alice is Mrs. Jesse Horner.

Kenner F. Cantrell was reared and educated in Marion County, and after finishing his education in the schools of Bellefonte and Yellville he became a school teacher and followed this occupation for some time in Marion County. In 1878 he was elected to the office of county clerk, a position he held four years. He is a Democrat, has been active in the public affairs of his section and interested in all good works, and for a number of years was very successfully engaged in the stock business in the southern part of the county. He was appointed postmaster at Bruno during Cleveland’s first administration, resigned when Harrison was elected, was reappointed under Cleveland’s second administration, which position he now holds. In 1887 he engaged in merchandising in Bruno, in partnership with John Angle, and has successfully operated in that line ever since. He carries a stock of goods worth $5,000 and does an annual business of $20,000. These gentlemen are also cotton dealers and handle from 300 to 600 bales per year. Mr. Cantrell is a Mason and a member of Jefferson Lodge No. 317, and has held nearly all the offices in that lodge. He is in every sense of the word a self-made man, and has every reason to be proud of the success which he has achieved. He was married March 24, 1878, to Miss Sarah J. Hudspeth, a native of this county, and to them a family of eight children has been given: John G., Daisy E., Elizabeth, Ollie, Walter T., George, Melburn G., (who died in infancy) and Effie C., all of whom are attending school except the two youngest.


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