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Location: Shannon County MO

Biography of George M. Follett

GEORGE M. FOLLETT. The creditable condition of business life in West Plains, Missouri, is due in a great extent to the enterprise, energy and intelligence of her prominent merchants and manufacturers. Among these may be mentioned the firm of Holt & Follett, manufacturers. George M. Follett was born and reared just outside of the city of New York, his birth occurring February 25, 1852, son of D. B. and Eliza (Mason) Follett. The father was a farmer and resided on the Delaware River. Our subject passed his boyhood and youth on the old home farm and received but limited educational advantages. Early in life he started in the lumber business, working in the lumber fields of West Pennsylvania and those of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and continued there until 1883, when he came to south Missouri. Here he took a position with the South Missouri Land Company, and had charge of a planing mill at Willow Springs. A year later he took charge of the Burnham Mills as engineer. He is a practical engineer and electrician. He remained at the Burnham Mills until September, 1888, and then went to Winona, Missouri, where he took a position with the Ozark Lumber Company, holding the same one year. Following this he bought a saw mill south of Winona and continued this until 1891, when he came to West Plains and opened...

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Biography of John H. De Priest

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...

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Biography of Lewis Harvey De Priest

LEWIS HARVEY DE PRIEST, sheriff of Shannon County, Missouri, is a young man, but there is not one in the county more capable of discharging the duties of that position or better qualified in every respect than he. He was born in Jefferson County, Illinois, near Mount Vernon, in 1865, and is a son of Abraham and Elizabeth (Aden) De Priest. The father first saw the light in south Missouri, probably Shannon or Oregon County. He was married in this State to Miss Aden, who died May 3, 1882, when fifty-three years of age. His second marriage was with Mrs. E. J. Gardner, who is still living. Mr. De Priest was a farmer by occupation, but for a number of years he sold goods at Eminence. After the war he handled a great deal of stock and resided at Eminence most of the time. In 1862 he went to Illinois, but returned to this State in 1869. Following the war he was circuit and county clerk, also served as assessor several terms and held other positions. He was a prominent and substantial citizen. He was both a Mason and an Odd Fellow, and in politics supported the Democratic party. His death occurred June 2, 1891, when sixty-one years of age. Of the five children born to his first marriage four are now living, three in this county and one...

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Biography of Levi L. Munsell

LEVI L. MUNSELL. Among Shannon County’s younger business men are many whose interests in this section of the Ozark Region are going to make it a few years hence what it is today as compared with a generation ago. Many of these have already made their mark, but few have attained the distinction that Levi L. Munsell can justly claim and is proud of. He is a live and enterprising citizen, and is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, posted real estate dealers in the county. Mr. Munsell was born at Centerville, Gallia County, Ohio, in 1850, to the union of Rev. Levi W. and Mary T. (Dean) Munsell. Rev. Levi W. Munsell was born in Mason County, W. Virginia, November 13, 1817, and was a son of Levi and Lucretia (Oliver) Munsell, natives, respectively, of Connecticut and Massachusetts, the former was born in 1864 and the latter in 1772. Levi Munsell went to Ohio in 1785 among the early settlers of the then Northwestern Territory, and settled at Marietta, where he was married in 1789 to Miss Oliver, a daughter of Alexander Oliver, a native of Massachusetts, but who was one of the original settlers of Marietta, on April 7, 1788, when the first settlement was made in what is now the State of Ohio. He died about 1828, and was a colonel...

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Biography of John Goldsberry

JOHN GOLDSBERRY. The parents of this much esteemed citizen, William H. and Elizabeth (Fouts) Goldsberry, were natives of the Old North State, born in either Davidson or Randolph Counties. In 1836 or 1837 they left their native State and came to Missouri, locating on Gasconade River, in Pulaski County, where they made their home until 1846. From there they moved to Polk County and after living there a short time moved to Hutton Valley, Oregon County, before Howell had become a county. From Hutton Valley they moved to the place where Mountain View now stands, and there the mother died in 1870, when about sixty-three years of age. The father afterward lived with his children until his death in July, 1893, when eighty-one years of age. He was a minister in the United Baptist Church from the time he was a young man. He had a severe attack of the gold fever in 1849, which a trip to the Pacific coast alone would allay, and he crossed the plains with ox teams. At the end of six months, on account of sickness, he returned home by the Isthmus, New Orleans and Mississippi River. He helped to organize a great many of the pioneer churches and became one of the best known and best respected citizens in the section. Goldsberry Township, in Howell County, was named in honor of him....

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Biography of Hon. George Washington Shedd

HON. GEORGE WASHINGTON SHEDD. He whose name heads this sketch has been successful in the various occupations to which his attention has been directed throughout life, and at the present time he is not only successfully engaged in tilling the soil and raising stock, but he also practices law, in which profession he has attained prominence. He was born in the county in which he now lives April 17, 1847, a son of William C. and Mary A. (Sinclair) Shedd, who were born in Reading, Vt., in 1800 and Washington County, Missouri, respectively. The father spent the early part of his life in a store in his native town, but until he was seventeen years of age he was an attendant of the best schools of his native State. He left home at the age of sixteen years, and soon after finishing his education he spent a few years in New York, then came to Missouri and was married in Washington County. He soon after located in Shannon County, and began selling goods at Blue Springs, but a few years later opened a store at the mouth of Jack’s Fork, later four miles below Blue Springs and then in Spring Valley. He also improved a good farm at this place, but when the war came up, he dropped all former occupations in 1862, went to Rolla and was in...

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Biography of George Haden Thompson

GEORGE HADEN THOMPSON is a thoroughgoing, wide-awake citizen of Shannon County, Missouri, and no doubt inherits much of his industry and perseverance from his Scotch ancestors. His parents were Robert and Susan (Carson) Thompson. Before reaching his twenty-first year Robert Thompson came to America and located in Canada. Previous to leaving Scotland he had married Miss Carson, and after residing in Canada for a time he moved to the Empire State where he and his worthy companion passed the remainder of their days. Mr. Thompson dying at the age of seventy years. Farming had been his principal occupation and he had been fairly successful in it. Both were members of the Presbyterian Church, and he was a Republican in politics. George Haden Thompson, the second child born to the above mentioned couple, is a native of the Empire State, born in Monroe County, February 24, 1849. He attended the schools of his native State and when eighteen years of age began learning the blacksmith’s trade, serving an apprentice-ship of six years in his native county. After following his trade for a time he went to the oil regions and worked at different occupations for a while. From there he went to Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Tennessee, and in 1881 he came to south Missouri, where he was engaged in lumbering and mining for some time. After this he followed...

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Biography of D. F. Martin

D. F. MARTIN, circuit clerk of Howell County, Missouri, is closely identified with the welfare of West Plains, widely known as a politician, popular as a citizen and who hasbeena resident of south Missouri since 1851. Born in Lincoln County, Tennessee, December 9, 1833. He is a son of St. George and Emaline (Gaither) Martin, natives of Virginia, the former born in 1806, and the latter in 1807. The grandfather, George Martin, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and a friend of George Washington. He was born in the Old Dominion, but moved from there to Georgia, and thence to Tennessee, and was an early pioneer of that State. Settling in Lincoln County, he practiced medicine there the remainder of his days, and in connection carried on farming. He reared a family of four sons and two daughters, and all the sons became physicians. The Martin family is of English origin. St. George Martin was reared in Georgia and Tennessee, secured a medical education, and practiced this profession all his life. In 1851 he emigrated to Oregon County, Missouri, and resided there until the breaking out of the war, when he moved to the Lone Star State. In the year 1868 he started to move back, but died in Arkansas while on the way. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and was a man...

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Biography of Hon. William Alexander Ramsey

HON. WILLIAM ALEXANDER RAMSEY. This able associate  the Shannon County Court, from the Western District, is a native of Stanley County, N. C., born in 1845, and a son of Sanders Taylor and Leah (Light) Ramsey, who were also born in the Old North State, where they lived until 1846, when they removed to Tennessee, and four years later to Alabama, and two years from that time to Iron County, Missouri, where Mr. Ramsey died in January, 1894, aged about seventy-five years, and his wife in 1866, both having been members of the Southern Methodist Church. Mr. Ramsey was a farmer, a mechanic, and was an exceptionally skillful wheelwright and chairmaker. He led a very active life, made a good living for his family, was honest and upright, and although an uneducated man, was naturally intelligent. His second wife was Martha Howell, who still survives him. The paternal grandfather, Nathaniel Ramsey, is supposed to have been a North Carolinian, but nothing is positively known of him. Christopher Light, the maternal grandfather, came to Iron County, Missouri, about 1852, and finally settled in Dent County, where he died about 1879, a farmer and blacksmith by occupation. His wife died in Iron County in 1879. William Alex. Ramsey was the fifth of eight children born to his parents: John Franklin was a soldier for two years under Price, and died in...

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Biography of Jefferson Beauregard Searcy

JEFFERSON BEAUREGARD SEARCY, county clerk of Shannon County, and one of the most popular officials of the county, is a product of Boone County, Missouri, born December 30, 1858, and the son of George N. and Amanda J. (Cochram) Searcy, both natives of Boone County, Missouri In this county the parents were married, and here passed the remainder of their days, dying when comparatively young people, the father in 1865, when thirty-three years of age, and the mother in 1868, when thirty years of age. The grandfather, Lemuel Searcy, was an early settler of Boone County, Missouri, from Kentucky. The Cochram family also came here at an early date, the grandfather, William Cochram, locating here as early as 1812. He was also from Kentucky. The father of our subject was a teacher in Lathrop Academy, and just prior to the war he was in the University at Columbia. He was a graduate of the University of Missouri in 1856 or 1857, and was a man of unusual intelligence. After the death of his parents our subject was taken by an uncle, B. F. Cochram, and by him was reared. In 1876 he went to Boonville and attended Kemper’s School three years, after which he returned to Boone County and attended the State University part of two years. From there he went to Audrain County, Missouri, and after remaining there...

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Biography of James Franklin Norton

JAMES FRANKLIN NORTON, merchant and farmer of Eminence, Missouri, is a native of the Blue Grass State, born in Lawrence County, in 1839. His father, David Norton, who was reared in Virginia, moved to Kentucky at an early date and when our subject was but an infant came to Audrain County, Missouri, where he passed his last days. He was a prominent farmer and stockraiser, and while a resident of Audrain County held the office of justice of the peace. Politically he was a Democrat, and fraternally a Mason. His death occurred in 1852 when about forty years of age. His wife, whose maiden name was Emily Davidson, was a native of Virginia. She died in 1859 and was an exemplary member of the Methodist Church. They were the parents of nine children, seven of whom are now living, four sons and three daughters. Our subject, who was one of these children, attended school in Audrain County, and took care of the family until all the children were married. In 1858 he came to Shannon County, where he had previously bought a small farm of government land which he entered at the land office at Jackson, Missouri, and here he found very few settlers. He turned his attention to farming and black smithing, having learned the latter in Audrain County, and followed his trade for the most part for...

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Biography of Hon. Jacob B. Reaser

HON. JACOB B. REASER. This prominent and successful stockman and farmer of Birch Tree, Missouri, was born in Jackson County, Tennessee, in 1837. A son of Peter and Emeline (Brown) Reaser, who were natives of Virginia, but removed to Tennessee with their parents, where they were reared, received such education as the schools of that day afforded, and were married in Jackson County, Tennessee. In May, 1822, they came by ox team to Oregon County, Missouri, at which time that section was very wild and unsettled, and for a long time the most of their marketing was done at St. Louis, 210 miles away. Mr. Reaser became the owner of a claim in December of the same year, and followed farming and carpentering the remainder of his days. He was an active member and worker in the Protestant Methodist Church, and he was known far and wide as an honest and industrious man. Nothing is known of his father save that he was of German extraction. His mother died in Jackson County, Tennessee They were the parents of four sons and four daughters: John, who died at Duquoin, Illinois; Benjamin, who died in Jackson County, Tennessee; Abraham, who died in Texas; Jacob B.; Esther, who died in Texas, the wife of Abraham Hughes; Polly, who died in Illinois, the wife of L. J. Hale; Margaret is the wife of...

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Biography of Spencer Hugh Ware

SPENCER HUGH WARE. Efficient, capable and trustworthy would be the verdict passed upon the character and official standing of our subject by any one in Shannon County to whom the question might be asked. Spencer Hugh Ware, circuit clerk and recorder of this county, is a most ardent Democrat, and most loyally stands by and works for the nominees of his party. He is a native Missourian, born in Licking, February 10, 1851. The son of Henry and Martha (Mitchell) Ware, natives of Maryland and White County, Tennessee, respectively, the father born in the year 181I. Henry Ware left his native State when a young man and went to Georgia, where he remained a short time. From there he went to Memphis, Tennessee, thence to St. Louis, Missouri, and about 1836 came to Licking, Texas County, Missouri, where he died in 1854. He was a blacksmith by trade, but after going to Licking, Missouri, turned his attention to selling goods and farming. Mrs. Ware is now living at Salem, this State. The original of this notice was but three years of age when his father died, and he grew to manhood in Salem, Dent County. When grown he attended college at Alton, Illinois, afterward Rochester, New York, and finished at Columbia, this State. When but a lad he had medicine in view, but gave that up for law, and...

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Biography of Franklin Marion Chapin

FRANKLIN MARION CHAPIN. This prominent citizen of Winona, Missouri, owes his nativity to Overton County, Tennessee, where he first saw the light in 1837, his parents being Paul Stillman and Sarah (Harrison) Chapin (for parents’ history see sketch of John A. Chapin and John W. Garrett). He was the tenth of twelve children born to them, the other members of the family being: Mary (Garrett), of Howell County; Hiram, who died in Los Angeles, Cal.; Paul Stillman, who died in Hopkins County, Tex.; Elias H., who died in Howell County; Martha, who died in Overton County, Tennessee; John A., of Howell County; Josiah, who died in Randolph County, Arkansas; Silas J., a resident of Platt County, Missouri; Sarah, the twin sister of Silas, died in childhood; and Alsie A. and Catherine, of Howell County. The subject of this sketch received the rearing and education of the average farmer’s boy of his day; that is, he labored early and late on the farm and received very meager educational advantages, but later in life, when opportunity offered, he applied himself to his books and became a fair scholar. In 1851, at the age of thirteen, he removed to what is now Howell County, Missouri, and at the age of sixteen he began farming on his own responsibility. On the 19th of August, 1860, he was married in Greene County, Missouri, to...

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Biography of Judge Hezekiah Weaver

JUDGE HEZEKIAH WEAVER was unquestionably one of the ablest and most popular of Shannon County’s judges, and aside from this is a polished gentleman and a worthy neighbor. He is a Blue Grass Kentuckian, born in Laurel County in 1832, and in that county he received his scholastic training. When twenty-two years of age he married Miss Catherine Brock, also a native of Laurel County, Kentucky, and of the eleven children born to this union ten are now living. Mrs. Weaver died in 1890 and the Judge took for his second wife, in August, 1891, Mrs. Mary J. Willbank, and they have one child. After his first marriage Judge Weaver turned his attention to farming. He came to Missouri with his father in 1855, learned the blacksmith’s and wood-workman’s trades and continued this in connection with farming for some time. He first located in Birch Valley, three miles west of Birch Tree, on a branch of Spring Creek, and there farmed until the breaking out of the war. In August, 1861, he joined Woodside’s Home Guards, but later Freeman’s brigade, with which he remained until the close of the war. He was lieutenant in the Home Guards and while in the regular service was detailed to do blacksmithing. He was at Ironton, Pilot Knob, Little Blue, Big Blue and in the open prairie fight. He was also in the...

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