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HENRY OSWALT. This gentleman, who resides on section 1, William Township, owns a fine farm, which attests by its value and productiveness the excellent qualities of thoroughness and system which mark the owner. The prudent ways and careful methods of the Teutonic farmer are conspicuous in this county, where so many representatives of the German race have settled and Henry Oswalt is no exception to the rule.
His great-grand-parents on the paternal side were natives of Germany, and came to this country at an early date, settling with many others of that nationality in the Keystone State. Our subject was born in Mercer County, Illinois, April 27, 1840, and was second in order of birth of ten children born to H. and Rachel (Flora) Oswalt, natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively. The grand-father, Hagle Oswalt, was also a native of Pennsylvania. The father of our subject grew to manhood in his native State, but then went to Ohio, where he remained until 1838, going from there to Illinois. He took up Government land and carried on farming through life. While residing in Ohio he married Miss Flora, a daughter of Jonas Flora, who was an early pioneer of the Buckeye State, and also of German origin. This young couple made the trip from Ohio to Illinois by wagon, were early settlers there, and experienced many hardships and privations. They reared a family of ten children, all but three of whom survive. In 1869 the family emigrated from Illinois to Missouri, and located in Barton County, where the father bought a farm and tilled the soil until his death in 1876. He was a Democrat in politics. The mother is still living, is seventy-six years of age, and makes her home in Barton County. Their children were named as follows: John, a carpenter of Mercy County, Illinois; Henry, our subject; Michael, killed in the Civil War; Rachel, married and resides in Barton County, Missouri; Samuel resides at Leavenworth, Kan.; Lydia, widow, resides in Barton County; Catherine, married and lives in Barton County; Franklin, a farmer of Barton County; Mary J., married and a resident of Barton County, and Edward, who died young.
Our subject spent his early life in the Prairie State, received but a common-school education, and was twenty-four years of age when he came to Missouri. While under the parental roof he was drilled in the duties pertaining to farming, and as a natural consequence when starting out for himself he selected that as his occupation in life. He selected his wife in the person of Miss Felesha Raker, a native of Missouri, born in 1848, and the daughter of Joseph Raker, who was a native of Missouri. After coming to Missouri young Oswalt bought a farm in Barton County and entered actively upon his career as an agriculturist. About 1888 he came to Stone County, where he has since continued to till the soil, and where he has met with good returns. He has good buildings on his place, especially his residence, which is one of the best in this part of the county, and he is giving much of his attention to stockraising, his farm being well adapted to that. He is considered one of the representative farmers and citizens of the county, and his family is well respected. To his first marriage were born four children, three of whom are living: Finley, married, resides on a farm on White River; Luther, married, resides on the farm with his father; Annie, single, at home, and Stella, who died young. Mrs. Oswalt died in 1876. Our subject’s second union was with Miss Viola Van Gundey, a native of Illinois, born in 1860, and daughter of Nelson and Lucinda (Frankenberger) Van Gundey, formerly from Ohio but early settlers of Illinois. Three children have been born to the second union: Minnie, Roy and John.