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J. E. WICKERSHAM. The evolutions in the industrial world and the improved modes of manufacturing things have been marvelous in the past half century, and scarcely an industry exists that has been left untouched by the spirit of reform. The demand of the age is for labor-saving machinery, improved tools and appliances, and short cuts generally to desired ends. The general hardware store is an excellent means of supplying the demand. An excellent establishment of this kind is owned by J. E. Wickersham, of Yellville, of which city he is a native.
His parents, James and Narcissus (Hamblet) Wickersham, have resided in the vicinity of Yellville for over fifty years, the birth of the former occurring in Marion County, Kentucky, November 1, 1824. His parents were Daniel and Susannah (Martin) Wickersham, the former a native of Kentucky, and the latter of Virginia. The great-grandfather, Samuel Wickersham, was born in the East, but removed to Kentucky at an early day. Daniel and Susannah Wickersham first moved from Kentucky to Indiana, thence to Arkansas in 1848, and engaged in milling and farming in the vicinity of Yellville, accumulating a goodly fortune. When he had reached the age of seventy-five years his house was attacked by robbers, and in order to make him tell where his money was concealed they took him from his home and hung him to a tree, but still he would not tell when let down. He was then left with a guard and the other robbers went to the house to force his wife to tell where the money was concealed, but Mr. Wickersham managed to make his escape from the man who guarded him, although he was shot by the latter, and later died from the effects of the wound. He was a worthy and law-abiding citizen, was a mechanic of no mean order, but gave the most of his time to his mill. His wife died in 1855, having borne him ten children: Elizabeth, Nancy, Rachel, Rhoda, Susan, John, Jesse, Sally, James and Cassie, J. E. Wickersham being the only one now living. After the death of his first wife, Daniel Wickersham married again, Elizabeth Dozier becoming his wife, and to them four children were given: George, Newton, Jasper and Marion, all of whom reside in this county, except Newton, who was drowned in Crooked Creek. Daniel Wickersham was a worthy old pioneer and first came to this country on horseback, purchasing the mill which he afterward operated. He then went back to Indiana for his son Jesse and another hand; returning to Arkansas he ran the mill for one year, then returned to Indiana for his family.
James Wickersham was but a lad when he came to this county, and his early educational advantages were limited. He began doing for himself in 1846, he then being about twenty years of age, when he married Miss Hamblet, whose parents, Abner and Sarah (Inge) Hamblet, came to this section about 1842, locating on a farm on which they died in 1864 and 1867, respectively. Their children were as follows: Chesley, Edwin, George, Mary J., Richard, Narcissus and William, and only the two last mentioned are living. Immediately after his marriage James Wickersham located on a farm one mile from Yellville, but in 1853 moved to the farm on which he now resides. In addition to tilling the soil he has followed the occupation of a carpenter to some extent and has erected many substantial buildings. He is the owner of about 600 acres of good farming land and has raised considerable stock. In 1863 he went to Missouri, where he made his home for two years, then returned to Arkansas, and has since been one of the most substantial citizens of Marion County. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, in which he is a deacon, and in that faith they have reared their children, who were named as follows: Daniel, a farmer of this county; Abner, an architect of Seattle, Wash.; Mary, who died in childhood; Sarah, who also died young; John, a farmer of this county; Jesse, who was killed while working on a bridge, at the age of twenty-three years; Martha, wife of Jacob Noe, of this county; James E., who is living in Yellville; George, a merchant of Bruno, Arkansas; Rachel, wife of F. G. Huddleston, of Bruno; Belle, wife of William Lewallen, M. D., of Indian Territory; Ellen and Elgada. Minnie M. died at the age of six years.
George Wickersham was born in Yellville, October 22, 1862, and was educated in the schools of Yellville. At the age of nineteen he began learning the blacksmith’s trade in Yellville, and after working at the trade for five years, he formed a partnership with F. G. Huddleston, and opened a general mercantile business at Bruno, and in 1893 became sole proprietor and has since done a prosperous business alone. He has a stock of $2,000 and does an annual business of $6,000. He was married to Jennie Massey, and by her has two children: Jesse C. and Anna. M. Mr. Wickersham is a Republican, and he and his wife are members of the Christian Church.
J. E. Wickersham, whose name heads this sketch, was born August 18, 1859, grew up on a farm, and attended the schools of Yellville and Harrison, Arkansas He embarked in business life in 1880, as a clerk in McChesney & Son’s store, at Batesville, Arkansas, and for five years later was with J. H. Berry & Son, in Yellville. In 1890 he was appointed postmaster of Yellville by President Harrison, and held the office until July 12, 1893, when he embarked in the hardware business in a building owned by his father. He carries an excellent line of stoves, tinware and some hardware. Being a practical tinsmith, he has a shop in connection with his store and is making a specialty of roofing. He was a teacher in the public schools of the county for some time, and has never hesitated to turn his hand to any honorable employment he could find to do, and as a result he is making money. He has always been a strong Republican, is a member of Yellville Lodge of the K. of H., and is one of the public-spirited young citizens of the county. He was married to Miss Nellie E. Jeffries, a daughter of Robert E. Jeffries, of Springfield, Missouri; she was born in Greene County, Missouri, and has borne her husband three children: Daisy P., Homer E. and Roy J. Mrs. Wickersham is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and she and her husband are very highly regarded in Yellville.