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Biography of James C. Chilton

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JAMES C. CHILTON. As a follower of the primitive occupation of man-farming-this worthy “son of the soil” has become widely known and has accumulated a fortune, and the prosperity which he enjoys is but the result of worthy qualities rightly employed. He is a native of Grainger County, Tennessee, and was born on the 2d of May, 1831, a son of Thomas and Rebecca (Daniel) Chilton, who were born, reared, educated and married in Tennessee, and there made their home until 1836, when they came by boat to the Mississippi River, and thence by wagon to what is now Shannon County, Missouri, locating two miles below the mouth of Jack’s Fork, where they improved a good farm. There Mrs. Chilton was called from life about 1859, and her husband afterward removed to Blair’s Creek, where he died about 1866. He was a lifelong and successful farmer, and was assessor of Shannon County for over a quarter of a century, the section over which his duties lay being very extensive and included what is now several adjoining counties, and at that time was very thinly settled. He was one of the first to settle in this section, and the thickly wooded country, peopled with bears, wolves, panthers, deer, and wild turkeys, afforded a paradise for the knight of the gun. The nearest market was Potosi, eighty miles away, and thus the people were often forced to make their own clothing, including shoes, etc. They depended on the merchants for nothing but groceries, and although their lives were full of deprivations and hardships, yet they had their enjoyments and were usually happy and contented. The paternal grandfather, Thomas Chilton, is supposed to have died in Tennessee, while the maternal grandfather, John Daniel, and his wife, also died in that State, a farmer. To Thomas and Rebecca Chilton five sons and five daughters were born: Ibbie, who died in Shannon County, the wife of Samuel Davis; Polly, who died in Shannon County, the wife of Thomas Chilton; Elizabeth, the wife of Joshua Chilton; Cytha, wife of John Chilton (all brothers); Thomas died in this county; John is a farmer of Phelps County; Anna is the wife of John Woods, of Reynolds County; James C.; Louisa is the widow of Benjamin Sinclair; and William, who died in boyhood.

James C. Chilton was reared on a farm in the wilds of Shannon County, and as there were no schools during his boyhood, he received no schooling. In 1855 he was married to Miss Charnelcy Huddleston, whose parents came from Tennessee to Missouri in an early day, the father’s death occurring in Oregon County. His widow still survives and makes her home with her children. Mrs. Chilton was born in Oregon County, and died in 1864, having become the mother of five children: Laura Jane, wife of Jabe Smith; William; Martha, wife of John Chilton; Rebecca, wife of Shadrack Chilton, and Mary P., wife of Thomas Johnson. In 1870 Mr. Chilton took for his second wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Smith, who located in Dent County, Missouri, from Tennessee, but later located in Shannon County, where he died. Mrs. Chilton owes her nativity to Tennessee. Mr. Chilton has resided in Shannon County for sixty years and has witnessed and aided in almost the entire development of the section. He has improved three good farms and has lived on his present farm for nearly twenty-two years. His estate comprises 160 acres, of which about seventy acres are under cultivation, and his property is exceptionally fertile and valuable. He well remembers the hardships and privations of pioneer life and says that he was nearly grown before he ever saw a yard of calico or any kind of factory goods, for all the wearing apparel of the family was of home manufacture. He testifies that to the best of his knowledge he has seen a thousand turkeys fly up from a field at one time, and has killed many of them while driving them away from the corn shocks and other grain. In 1861 he enlisted for six months in Company B, which was commanded by Capt. Shadrack Chilton (Second Missouri Infantry), of Price’s army, and operated in Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas for about three months. He was then taken sick at Lexington, Missouri, and was not again in the service. He was in the engagement at Springfield, Dry Wood and Lexington, and during his service was neither captured nor wounded. He has always been a Democrat and his first presidential vote was cast for Pierce in 1852.


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