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Biography of John H. De Priest

JOHN H. DE PRIEST was born in Thomasville, Oregon County, Missouri, October 5, 1844, but grew to manhood in this county and is one of its representative citizens. His father, Isaac C. De Priest, was a native of Smith County, Tennessee, but when a small child was taken to the Hoosier State, where he grew to manhood. From there he went to southern Illinois, and thence to south Missouri about 1839 or 1840. He located near Thomasville, probably in the woods on upper Eleven Points, and made his home there until 1856, when he moved to Birch Valley, a short distance from where the town of Birch Tree now stands. In 1863 he moved from there to Jefferson County, Illinois, but returned two years later and located again in the same neighborhood. There he died in 1878 when seventy-two years of age. For many years before the war he was assessor of Oregon County, and after the war he was appointed assessor of this county and held the position four years. He was also justice of the peace for some time. For the most part Mr. De Priest followed farming, but for a number of years before his death he sold goods on his farm. In politics he was a Democrat. He was married in south Illinois to Miss Elizabeth Buffington, a native of Blenerhasset Island, where Aaron Burr was said to have formed the conspiracy against the United States. Mrs. De Priest died in 1884, when seventy-eight years of age. Both were for many years members of the Methodist Church. Born to their marriage were nine children, of...

Biography of James K. P. Conner

JAMES K. P. CONNER. The subject of this sketch is a gentleman of ripe intelligence, and a man of large benevolence and broad sympathies. He is a citizen of Jobe, Missouri, and the most efficient postmaster at that place. Mr. Conner is a native Hoosier, born in Dubois County, December 23, 1844, and the son of Rial and Clara (Berry) Conner, natives, respectively, of Tennessee and Illinois. The parents were married in Indiana, and the father died in Dubois County, that State, in 1861. The mother is still living and finds a comfortable home with her children. All his life Mr. Conner was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and met with substantial results. Like many of the representative citizens of the county Mr. Conner was reared to farm life, and remained engaged in the duties on the same until August, 1862, when he joined the Ninety-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Company G, as sergeant, and served three years lacking eighteen days. During the war he was in the Southern States, and participated in the battle of Vicksburg, Jackson, Franklin and Nashville, Guntown, Holly Springs, and other battles and skirmishes. June 10, 1864, he received a gunshot wound in the right side, which at the time was pronounced a fatal wound. He was in the hospital at Memphis three months. This was the only wound he received, and he was never taken prisoner. After being wounded he rode 130 miles on the back of a mule to escape being made a prisoner. After the war he engaged in the mill business in Dubois County, Indiana, but four years later went to Washington,...

Biographical Sketch of Willard Sitton

WILLARD SITTON. Although Oregon County, Missouri, is well known for the energy, enterprise and push of its farmers, Willard Sitton stands at the van in this industry, and has shown much wisdom and good judgment in the conduct of agricultural affairs, and, through his own endeavors, has won an enviable reputation. He is a prominent resident of Johnson Township, this county, and is deservedly ranked among its successful farmers and stockmen. Mr. Sitton was born in Washington County, Missouri, October 14, 1856, and received a fair education in the common schools of the same. His youthful days were spent in assisting his father on the home place and in the mines, and he remained with him until twenty-three years of age, after which he worked at the black-smith’s trade in The Dalles, State of Oregon, and Ventner, Idaho. He was also in Glendale, Mont., two years, engaged in the blacksmith’s trade, but he came East and located in Oregon County, where he embarked in merchandising, with his brother, Capt. J. J. Sitton. Three years later he commenced farming here, on the river, where he now owns 360 acres of land, 160 acres on the river. He also owns a farm on Frederick Creek, and is one of the most enterprising, industrious citizens of the section. In the year 1892 he led to the altar Miss Mittie George, daughter of David George. She is a lady of education and a worthy member of the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Sitton is a Mason and a Democrat. He is a young man yet, in the vigor of his manhood, and, much as...

Biography of George R. Norman, M. D.

GEORGE R. NORMAN, M. D. One of the noblest professions, one of the most beneficial to mankind, the profession of all professions, which, while it is prosecuted for gain is in its very nature nearest to beneficial charity, is that of medicine. At the same time it is one of the most exacting upon its devotees. Shannon County, Missouri, is very fortunate in the number and character of its physicians and surgeons, and among those who have already been prominent in that calling is Dr. George R. Norman, who is a native of this State, born in Oregon County February 21, 1861. He is a son of Maj. M. G. and Mary A. (Wait) Norman, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. In his native county Dr. Norman received his education and when eighteen years of age he entered the store of T. J. Boyd & Co., as salesman. One year later he took charge of the store at Garfield for a year, and then engaged in the drug business at Alton. This he continued from 1882 to 1884, when he was elected collector and served two years. In 1886 he commenced farming, but soon after engaged in the mercantile business, taking charge of Boyd’s affairs at Garfield. During this time he studied medicine and in 1889 came to Winona where he served as clerk for the Ozark Lumber Company. In 1890 he went to St. Louis and attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons, graduating from that institution in March, 1893. After practicing at Alton a short time he came to this place where he has already built...

Biography of George W. Couch

GEORGE W. COUCH, one of the county’s most worthy citizens, is descended from substantial Virginia stock, for in that State his father and grandfather were born. The family afterward moved to North Carolina, thence to South Carolina, from there to Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri, in which State the grandfather, Lindley Couch, passed the closing scenes of his life, after a long and useful career. Simpson Couch, father of subject, was born in Virginia and was there married to Miss Rebecca Roberts, who is still living although seventy years of age. Mr. Couch died in 1868. After his marriage he went to Illinois and later to Missouri where he located a number of years before the birth of our subject. He entered land, the same our subject now owns, and as it was all in the woods, on the head of Frederick River, he went immediately to work to clear and make a home. He followed farming for the most part, but in an early day he erected a store and embarked in merchandising, meeting with good success. He held the position of judge two or three terms and was a prominent man in the county. In politics he was a Democrat, and in religion a Baptist. His marriage resulted in the birth of ten children, of whom Judge Couch of this county is the eldest and our subject fourth in order of birth. The latter was born in Oregon County, Missouri, March 6, 1847, and here gained a fair education. In 1864 he joined Freeman’s command and served until the surrender, May 5, 1865. He was in all...

Biography of Evan D. Roberts

EVAN D. ROBERTS, a prominent citizen of Jobe Township, Oregon County, Missouri, was born in Hamilton County, east Tennessee, June 19, 1847, and was third in order of birth of an old-fashioned family of twelve children born to Joseps M. and Mary (Davis) Roberts, natives, respectively, of east Tennessee and North Carolina. The parents made their home in east Tennessee until 1870, and then came to Missouri and located in Texas County, near Houston, where they reside at the present time. For the most part he has been engaged in the blacksmith’s trade, and many years ago he was postmaster at Zion Hill in east Tennessee. Both parents are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. On his father’s farm in east Tennessee our subject grew to mature years and learned the blacksmith’s trade. He also received his scholastic training there and after growing up started out for himself as a farmer. He came to Missouri with his parents in 1870, and made his home in Texas County for about nine years near Houston. From there he came to Oregon County and located on Frederick Creek, three miles above the mouth, where he bought a farm, part of which he still owns. Where he now lives he owns 145 acres, some of which is under cultivation, and he built the mill near the Blue Springs. This is the best water-power mill in the county. He established the office at Bill More and was appointed postmaster. In the year 1880 Mr. Roberts was married to Miss Martha Jane Thomason, a native of Alabama, and the daughter of W. J. Thomason. Two...

Biography of James M. McGhee

JAMES M. MCGHEE. This gentleman, well known in Carter County, is at present the most efficient county clerk of the same. He came originally from Georgia, his birth occurring December 17, 1854, and he no doubt inherits much of his vim and enterprise from his Scotch-Irish ancestors. His grandfather McGhee was an early pioneer in east Tennessee, and there John F. McGhee, father of subject, was born and reared. He was trained to the duties of the farm at an early age and received but a limited schooling, as his father died when he was young. When grown he moved to Georgia, and there married Miss Nancy Harris, a native of Georgia and a daughter of a pioneer of that State. About 1856 he and his wife moved to Wayne County, Missouri, and settled near where Piedmont is now located, buying a farm and making their home there until 1860. From there they moved to Oregon County, Missouri, and located in the southeast part of the same, where they made their home during the war. In 1865 they moved back to the old home in Wayne County, and in that county Mr. McGhee died in 1881 and his wife in 1884. During the war he was a lieutenant in the Confederate Army for a short time. After living on the farm in Wayne County for some time Mr. McGhee moved to Greenville, the county seat, and was elected to the responsible position of county treasurer. He served one term and was filling his second term when his death occurred. In politics he was a strong Democrat. He was well...

Biography of William H. Payne

WILLIAM H. PAYNE. One of the best known and generally admired Democrats of Alton, Missouri, is William H. Payne, who is now the most efficient and capable collector of Oregon County, that State. He has earned deserved prominence and an enviable reputation as one of the leading citizens of the county. Oregon County cannot claim him as an original son, but he was only ten years of age when he came here. Mr. Payne was born in Giles County, Tennessee, in 1847, and he is the son of John and Martha (Williamson) Payne, natives also of that county and State. The parents were married in that county, and there passed their entire lives, the mother dying in 1847, when nineteen years of age, and the father in 1851, when twenty-four years of age. He was a farmer. His father, Charles Payne, died in Tennessee. After the death of his father William H. Payne was taken by his Grandmother Payne and reared in Giles County until ten years of age. The grandmother brought him to Oregon County, Missouri, then, and here received her final summons. The most of his educational training our subject received in the common schools of Tennessee, for after coming to Missouri he tried to make a living for his grandmother, and his schooling was neglected. The grandmother located near Garfield, and our subject still lives there. He rented land until 1871, when he bought 200 acres, mostly in the woods, and it took many years of hard labor and economy to get a start. He has been farming and stockraising ever since, and owing to his...

Biography of Capt. John James Sitton

CAPT. JOHN JAMES SITTON, one of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of Oregon County, Missouri, has been prominently identified with the best interests of the county for many years, and no worthy movement is allowed to fail for want of support on his part. He is now located at Garfield, where he has a fine residence, and where he is highly esteemed. Capt. Sitton was born in Washington County, Missouri, at Palmer, July 5, 1842, and he is the son of Harvey and Martha F. (Wingo) Sitton, natives respectively of South Carolina and Virginia. Harvey Sitton was a young man when he went to Washington County, Missouri, and he there met and married Miss Wingo, who was left an orphan at an early age and who was brought to Missouri by her guardian. She is still living and resides on the old homestead where she has made her home for the past sixty-one years. Mr. Sitton died in 1893, when seventy-seven years of age. All his life he was engaged in farming and mining, and was unusually successful, working in the lead mines in his own interest for twenty years or more. He was of Scotch descent, his ancestors coming to America and settling in South Carolina in 1747 or ’48, on account of political persecuctions. There were three brothers came over from Scotland and they changed the name from Setton to Sitton. The great-grandfather of our subject was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, fought under Marion, and was in service a long time. His grandfather Sitton came from South Carolina to Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, and...

Biography of R. I. January

R. I. JANUARY. Youth is not a bar to promotion, for the American people have learned that ability is not measured by the length of time man has spent upon earth. Some men might live a thousand years and not know anything, and others are bright and able to take their places among men long before they have arrived at mature manhood. The subject of this sketch belongs to the latter class, for he was bright at school, brilliant as a student of law, and now that he is a member of the bar, has a good practice, which rapidly increases from year to year, R. I. January is a native of this State, born in Oregon County October 26, 1850. Son of Joab and Amanda M. (Ward) January. The father was a native of Tennessee and of French origin. For many years he lived in Memphis, but in 1846 he came to Oregon County, Missouri, and there followed farming and stockraising until his death in 1860. His wife also passed away in that county. She was of Irish descent. Mr. January was a soldier in the Mexican War. Seven children were born to this estimable couple: George W., of Graniteville, Missouri; Sallie, wife of Gentry Moyer, of Iron County; R. I., subject; Annis, wife of William H. Shy, of this county; Joseph F., who is living at Lesterville, is a minister; Emma, wife of Giles Henderson of Iron County; and Mary, who died young. Mr. and Mrs. January attended the Baptist Church and she was a member of the same. He was a Democrat in politics and a...
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