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LEWIS R. PUMPHREY, of the well-known firm of Pumphrey & Cantrell, general merchants and cotton dealers, of Lead Hill, Arkansas, was born in Cannon County, Tennessee, in 1839, to the marriage of Thomas and Margaret (Holt) Pumphrey, also natives of Tennessee.
The parents were reared and married in their native State, and about 1839 moved by wagon to Ozark County, Missouri, where they were among the first settlers. There they resided for six or seven years and then moved to Fulton County, Arkansas, where Mr. Pumphrey died soon after. Mrs. Pumphrey then moved to what is now Boone County, Arkansas, where she died about 1859. Mr. Pumphrey was a successful and enterprising farmer and a man of conservative views and habits. He was one of seven or eight sons and daughters born to the marriage of Lewis Pumphrey, who also came to Missouri in 1839, but subsequently settled in Fulton County, Arkansas, where he died when quite aged. He was also a farmer. The maternal grand-father, William Holt, was a native Tennessean, but in 1838 he came to Ozark County, Missouri, subsequently settling in what is now Boone County, Arkansas, where he followed farming and stockraising successfully until his death in 1859. He was a pioneer of the Ozark Region and a man universally respected. His wife died at Lead Hill about 1888. They were the parents of thirteen children, three of whom served in the Confederate Army: R. S., William and James. After the death of her husband the mother of Lewis R. married William Coker, by whom she had six children. Three children were born to her first union as follows: Lewis R., William, now of Fall River, Kan., and Joseph R., of West Plains, Missouri. Mr. Pumphrey’s half-brothers and sisters are: George, William, Edward, Nina and two who died in infancy.
Amid the wilds of Missouri and Arkansas he grew to manhood, and as there were no free schools his education was limited. After the death of his father he made his home with Grandfather Holt until grown, and then engaged in farming for himself. He was married in 1860 to Miss Jane Magness, a native of Marion County, Arkansas, of which her parents, Joseph and Patsey Magness, were very early settlers, being obliged to cut their way through the cane to locate on White River. There they improved a good farm and spent the remainder of their lives, dying before the war. They reared twelve children.
To Mr. Pumphrey and wife was born one child, a daughter, now Mrs. Thomas R. Cantrell. During the war most of Mr. Pumphrey’s time was spent at Springfield, Missouri. He was not subject to military duty, as he had had poor health for five or six years. After the war he returned to Arkansas and lived in Marion County, on White River, where he followed farming and stockraising until 1872. He then came to Lead Hill and engaged in the mercantile business under the firm name of Pumphrey & Coker. continuing this for a number of years. They then took in William A. Pumphrey, and in 1881, the present firm was established, since which time a flourishing business has been done, this being one of the strongest firms of the county.
Aside from this Mr. Pumphrey is engaged quite extensively in farming and stockraising. He started in life with little else than a pair of willing hands and a determination to succeed, and is now one of the substantial men of the county. He is also a member of the firm of Cantrell, Magness & Co., general merchants, cotton buyers, etc., at Western Grove, Newton County, Arkansas, and is doing an annual business of $35,000. He is very conservative in politics, voting for the man regardless of party, and has never cared for office. He is a member of the A. F. & A. M. Polar Star Lodge No. 224, at Lead Hill.