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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 Abraham Miller, of Tennessee; and Barbara, who died in Jackson County, Tennessee The maternal grandfather, Jacob Brown, was an early settler of Jackson County, Tennessee, from Virginia, and died there in 1848, after having followed the life of a carpenter, his wife also passing from life there. They reared a large family. The mother of Jacob B. Reaser is still living at the age of seventy-six years, and makes her home in Shannon County. She is a member of the Southern Methodist Church, and is an excellent and kind-hearted woman. She is now living with her fourth husband, P. R. Simpson. The subject of this sketch is the eldest of six children: Jacob B.; John B., who was a soldier in Price’s army during the war, and died at Lexington, Missouri; Elizabeth, wife of D. J. Butler, of Birch Tree, Missouri; James M. was a soldier in the Missouri State Guards, lost a leg at Wilson’s Creek, and died in Oregon County after the war; Alex. E. died in Oregon County, leaving a family; William H. was instantly killed in Oregon County by a runaway team hitched to a plow. Mr. Reaser has one half-brother, T. B. Brockman.
The most of the education which Jacob B. Reaser received was acquired by the light of pine knots at his parents’ fireside, but he also attended school for a short time. At the death of his father, he assumed control of the family affairs, which he successfully managed until his marriage, which occurred in December, 1857, to Miss Frances R., daughter of Christopher and Nancy Ann Brockman, natives of Smith County, Tennessee, who came to Oregon County, Missouri, in 1855, where the mother died soon after, and the father in 1862, a farmer. Mrs. Reaser was born in Smith County, Tennessee, in 1840, and after her marriage she and Mr. Reaser resided in Oregon County until 1865, when they came to Shannon County, settled in the woods and improved a farm. For the past fourteen years they have resided on their present farm near Birch Tree, consisting of 347 acres, and besides this he owns 156 acres of the old farm, both places being exceptionally well improved. Mr. Reaser has acquired his property by his own good management and energy, and for some time past has been quite an extensive feeder. He has been postmaster of Birch Tree for six years, held the office of justice of the peace a like length of time, and has been notary public for a good many years. He was prosecuting attorney of Shannon County from 1882 to 1884, for he had read law for some time, and did a successful neighborhood practice.
In 1880 he was licensed by the late Judge J. R. Woodside, and is now a practitioner of the Circuit Court. He has made quite a study of criminal law, is remarkably well posted in his profession, and in his management of the cases that have come to him he has shown the best of judgment and a comprehensive knowledge of law. He has been a lifelong Democrat and worker for that party from a youth, and gained quite a reputation as a “stump speaker ” when but twenty years old. In June, 1861, he joined the Missouri State Guards, and after participating in the battle of Wilson’s Creek, he joined Company C, Fifth Missouri Infantry as a private, and was soon commissioned a recruiting officer. After raising a company he was elected first lieutenant, and was later promoted to captain, afterward receiving orders as major and commanding a battalion. His regiment, the Fifth Missouri Cavalry, was the last to surrender, at Shreveport, La., June 15, 1865. While a captain he was in command of Company H, and operated in Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana and Texas, and was in the engagements at Pilot Knob, De Soto, Jefferson City, Boonville, Big Blue, Jenkins’ Ferry, Camden, Pine Bluff, Jacksonport and others. He was not captured or wounded during his service, made a brave soldier and a capable and fearless officer, and gave valuable aid to the Confederacy.
He is a man of remarkable will power, has always been a close observer, and is possessed of extended and varied information. He was drawn into the practice of law by the merest accident, for, knowing his intelligence and sound judgment, he was often called upon for advice by his neighbors, and to arbitrate in disputes arising among them, and he began to plead in behalf of his friends in petty cases in the justice court, and it finally led to his taking out a license. He and his wife have long been members of the Southern Methodist Church, and he is justly regarded as one of the most intelligent and public-spirited citizens of his county. In 1894 he was nominated by the Democracy of Shannon for presiding judge, a position he is eminently qualified to fill.