A. S. LAYTON. “The banking business is a clean and honorable one, and most astute and able minds of the country find in that line the most congenial work. No branch of business in America can make a stronger showing of solid thinkers, brilliant financiers or more subtle organizers, and A. S. Layton, the founder of the Bank of Yellville, Arkansas, is regarded as one of these. He was born in Greene County, Missouri, January 11, 1843, a son of Augustus S. and Ellen (Scott) Layton, the former a native of Spottsylvania County, Virginia, born in 1813, and a son of John and Elizabeth Layton, who were of Scotch lineage, the grandfather being a soldier of the War of 1812. He left Virginia and emigrated to Greene County, Missouri, in 1847, settling in the vicinity of Springfield, where he lived until 1854, then located in Christian County, near Ozark.
Dr. Augustus S. Layton, the father of the subject of this sketch, grew to manhood in Virginia and received a liberal education for his day. He was married in that State, after which he removed to Mississippi, and made his home in the vicinity of Coffeeville until 1842, at which time he removed to Greene County, Missouri, and there made his home until 1846, with the exception of a short time spent in Texas and Mississippi. He then went to Forsyth, Taney County, Missouri, and began the practice of medicine, following it with success up to 1852, when he established the Layton saw mills fourteen miles south of Forsyth, which was in successful operation until the opening of the Civil War. He and his family then went South, and after the close of the war returned to Arkansas, and took up their home at Yellville, Marion County, in quite reduced circumstances. He had been wealthy and quite an extensive slave owner. He once more took up the practice of medicine, continuing it up to 1877, in which year his death occurred in Yellville. He was a man of more than ordinary prominence in the different counties in which he lived, was a strong Democrat, active in all public matters, but was never an aspirant for public preferment. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. At his death, which occurred when he was sixty-four years of age, he left a small property. His wife, was also a Virginian by birth, and she and the Doctor became the parents of eleven children, eight of whom they reared: Leonidas, who died in Texas, in 1871, was a Confederate soldier; Licurgus was killed in the early part of the war; John died at the age of sixteen; Amanda is the wife of Mr. Masey of South Dakota; Elizabeth, who died in 1876, was the wife of R. Jeffries, of Greene County, Missouri; A. S.; Ellen is the widow of Dr. Hart, of this State; G. W. is living in Oakland, Arkansas; Sadie is the wife of J. B. Wilson, of Yellville; and Austin, who is a resident of Yellville. The mother died in 1885, at the home of her son, A. S. Layton, in Yellville.
He whose name heads this sketch passed his boyhood days in Greene and Taney Counties, attending the common schools of the county, and gained a good practical education by close application. In 1861, when about seventeen years old, he entered the army, as a member of Company 1, Fourth Missouri Regiment, and was in the engagements at Wilson’s Creek, Elkhorn, Corinth, Iuka, Holly Springs, Baker’s Creek, Vicksburg and Fort Blakely. He was twice wounded by gun shot, once at Fort Blakely and again at Baker’s Creek. He was taken prisoner at Vicksburg. After the war he located in Taney County, Arkansas, refitted the saw mill which had been erected there by his father, and he and his brother Leonidas operated it successfully until 1868 or ’69, when he entered school at Berryville, Arkansas, after leaving which he came to Yellville and began clerking in the store of L. S. Layton. He soon after opened a general store of his own, which he operated up to 1890, having a liberal patronage and doing a large business. The most of the time he was in business by himself, but at one time he and W. C. McBee were associated, and at another J. S. Cowdrey, was his partner. During the twenty years that he was in the mercantile business he never lost $500 in bad debts. He is a far seeing and practical man of affairs, honorable and upright in every particular and of a genial and kindly disposition. He has been engaged in the banking and brokerage business for the past eight years, and in June, 1892, opened up the Bank of Yellville, a private concern with a paid up capital of $25,000, and has dealt largely in county bonds and papers and school script. He owned lands to the amount of 1,400 acres, a portion of which is valuable mineral land and nearly all of which is available for farming. Mr. Layton is quite an extensive operator and has several good mines in operation, one of which is Sugar Orchard Mine, in the northwest part of the county near Dodd City. Mr. Layton is a Democrat, and has been a delegate to State and national conventions, but is not an office-seeker, his extensive business operations fully occupying his time and attention. He is a member of Yellville Lodge of the A. F. & A. M., and has always taken much interest in the progress of the schools of his section.
He was married in this county in 1871, to Miss M. Wilson, a daughter of J. C. Wilson, who lives two miles east of Yellville, and to them a family of seven children have been given, six of whom are living: Edna E., wife of J. C. Berry; William, who died at the age of fourteen months; Virgie L., who is the wife of Dr. W. W. Walton, of Oakland, Arkansas; Flora A.; Walter; Lonnie; and Willie, a daughter. Mr. Layton and his family are attendants of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and are well known and highly regarded in Yellville. They have a pretty home on Main Street, and the Bank building, erected in 1892, is a model of perfection in appearance and structure. Mr. Layton is one of the public-spirited men of the county and is justly considered a valuable acquisition to the town in which he has so long made his home.