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Biography of John H. De Priest

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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 whom our subject is one of the youngest. Only three are now living: Greene, a farmer of Oregon County, and Mrs. Hess, of this county.

John H. De Priest grew up in Shannon County, received a fair education in the schools of the same, and in the spring of 1862 joined the Fourth Missouri Confederate Infantry, Company D. His brother, Abraham, was lieutenant of this company. Our subject participated in the battles of Corinth, Iuka, Port Gibson, and Vicksburg, where he was captured. He was paroled and came home, and later went with his father to Illinois, where he followed farming until 1867, when he returned to Shannon County, Missouri Here he commenced farming near Birch Tree where he bought land, but sold his farm in 1884 and bought another place near the town. He has 193 acres, the principal part under cultivation, and although he started with limited means, by industry and good management has become one of the substantial men of this section. In the year 1866 Miss Lydia Gregory, of Jefferson County, Illinois, became his wife. Seven children have been born to this union, two sons and five daughters. Mr. De Priest is both a Mason and an Odd Fellow. He was assessor in 1872, 1874 and 1884, is a Democrat in politics, and is now candidate for sheriff of Shannon County, a position he is in every way qualified to fill.


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