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GEORGE WASHINGTON MCCASKILL. This gentleman is one of the leading farmers and stockmen of Shannon County, Missouri, and in the development of this section he has done heroic work, for here he was born in 1856, and has all his life devoted his attention to agriculture.
His parents, William and Mary (Blassingame) McCaskill, were born in Giles County, Tennessee, in 1827 and 1833, respectively, and were reared and married there. In 1855 they came to Shannon County, Missouri, and located in the woods several miles from any other settlement. Here he improved a good farm and lived until about 1879, when he removed to Texas County and there died soon after, in 1881, having been a very thorough going and successful man of affairs. He was for three years a soldier in the Confederate Army, for thirteen months was with Gen. Price, was with him on his raid through Missouri, and was at one time captured. His father, Allen McCaskill, was a South Carolinian by birth, but in 1855 he also came from Tennessee to this section, and was here called from life when about eighty-four years of age, his wife’s death occurring here at about the age of ninety. He was of Scotch descent and was a soldier of the War of 1812. The maternal grandfather, James Blassingame, was for a long time a resident of Tennessee, but during the war Mrs. McCaskill lost all trace of her people, and nothing has been heard from them since. She is still living, a worthy member of the Christian Church, and her union with Mr. McCaskill resulted in the birth of six sons and four daughters: Louisa is the wife of Adam Riley, of British Columbia; James is a prominent merchant of Summerville, Missouri, where he has recently erected a fine roller flour mill with a capacity of sixty barrels per day; George Washington; John, who is a prominent citizen of Winona; Lizzie was killed in May, 1894, together with her infant son, by a cyclone that passed near Summerville. The house and all adjacent trees were torn to atoms and all the inmates were killed or seriously injured. The hired man and hired girl were killed, and a little son of Mr. and Mrs. Keel was badly injured. Mr. Keel was caught in the storm while going from the barn to the house, and seeing the danger, threw himself on the ground and clung to an apple tree and thus escaped uninjured. This was the only tree in the yard that was not torn up by the roots and blown away or broken off at the ground; the next child was William Jackson; Zimri and Levi, twins; Alice, wife of J. R. Day, and Dora, wife of L. E. Cardwell.
The early days of the subject of this sketch were spent in farming, but unfortunately his school days were very limited. In 1881 he was married to Emily Jane, daughter of Isaac and Mary Winningham, who came from Tennessee to Howell County, Missouri, where the mother died and the father is still living. Mrs. McCaskill was born in Texas County, Missouri, where her people lived for a short time, and after her marriage she resided for five years in that county, Mr. McCaskill being engaged in merchandising at Summerville. From that place they moved to Eminence, but a few years later came to Winona, where he kept a store for some years. About 1893 he purchased the old Daugherty and Barksdale farm, about eight miles above Eminence, consisting of 660 acres, well improved with exceptionally fine buildings, and here he has just completed the erection of a fine rolling mill at the mammoth springs on his farm, where can be had the best water power in the county. He started in life with nothing save the capital with which nature had endowed him, but through good business judgment and energy he has become one of the wealthy men of the county. He was a Democrat politically, and in 1885 was appointed county treasurer to fill an unexpired term, was twice reelected and held the office nearly six years. Socially he is a member of Eminence Lodge No. 455, of the I. O. O. F., and he and his wife are Presbyterians.