Biography of J. D. Melton
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J. D. MELTON. The question of food supplies is one that agitates the whole human family, and is the first with which they have to grapple. Without doubt the well-appointed grocery establishment furnishes the best solution of feeding the masses, and in this connection due reference is made to that over which J. D. Melton presides and of which he is the proprietor. He was born in the neighborhood of Galena, Missouri, December 6, 1842, a son of Austin and Elsie (Haley) Melton, and grandson of Ansel Melton, who was one of the pioneers of Tennessee.
In that State Austin Melton was born in 1805, and from that region he came to Polk County, Missouri, in 1834, and there made his home for some three or four years. He then came to Stone County and settled about one mile south of where Galena now stands, on 100 acres of Government land, which he entered. Oh this land he built a log house in which he lived until 1858, when he moved to the town of Galena. After the death of his wife there he moved to Laclede County and from that time until his death, which occurred in 1892, he resided on a farm about eight miles from Lebanon. All his life he was a Democrat and held a number of township offices. His wife, a Tennessean by birth, bore him eleven children, seven sons and four daughters: Elizabeth, John, Catherine, Elisha, Emeline, James A., George, Martha, William, J. D. and Thomas, of whom five are living. The second wife was Mary Dennis, by whom he became father of one child, Nancy.
The boyhood days of J. D. Melton were spent on his father’s farm in Stone County, but in 1858 he became a resident of Laclede County, where he made his home for two years. He then returned to Stone County, and in November, 1861, enlisted in Company B of the Sixth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, with which he served three years one month and thirteen days. He entered the service as a private, was later promoted sergeant, and was in a number of hard-fought battles; among which may be mentioned Sabine Cross Roads, Pleasant Hill, Vicksburg, the siege of that place, the engagement at Jackson, Miss., and in all was in forty-two engagements. Fortunately, he was not wounded or taken prisoner during his service, but he was disabled for some time by his horse falling on him. He came to Galena after the war was over and was here engaged in the mercantile business for a time.
On February 4, 1866, he married Mrs. Elizabeth Nichols, the widow of Sam Nichols, who was killed in the battle of Wilson’s Creek while serving in the Confederate army. In September, 1871, Mr. Melton located in Butler County, Kan., but three years later returned to Stone County, Missouri, and was engaged in tilling the soil until 1883. The three succeding years he carried the mail from Galena to Marionville, Missouri, but prior to that, in 1881 and 1882, he held the position of assessor of Stone County, and for two years also held the position of county treasurer. After retiring from office, he clerked for some time in the store of Mr. Porter, and in 1889, began discharging the office of postmaster of Galena, to which office he had been appointed and which he held until October 27, 1893. Since that time he has devoted most of his attention to the grocery business, in which he is doing well, and has a large and constantly increasing patronage. Mr. Melton has always been a Republican politically and has been a liberal and active supporter of enterprises tending to benefit the town and county. He is a member of the G.A. R. of Galena and is at the present time commander of the post. His children are as follows: America, wife of John Carr of Stone County; Ailey, who was the wife of Charles Standridge, died in 1891, leaving two children; Katie died in infancy; Minnie makes her home with her parents, and Harold is also at home. As a business man Mr. Melton has been successful and the host of friends that he has gathered about him speaks eloquently as to the upright and honorable life he has led.