Biography of John S. May
JOHN S. MAY. The energy and perseverance of a man’s character have nowhere a better field for manifestation than in agricultural pursuits and stock-raising, and from small beginnings often become wealthy and influential citizens. The original of this notice is a native of Missouri, born in Taney County in 1843, and is a son of John D. and Elizabeth (Sittsworth) May, natives respectively of Tennessee and Arkansas. When a boy John D. May went to Arkansas, where he married and soon after removed to Taney County, Missouri, locating in the woods on Bear Creek, where he improved a good farm. In December, 1861, he joined Company 1, Twenty-sixth Missouri Infantry, enlisting at Jefferson City, and died at St. Louis in the winter of 1861-62. He held the office of constable at one time and was a thoroughgoing, wide-awake farmer all his life. In political matters he affiliated with the Democratic party. Honorable and upright in every walk of life, he was highly esteemed in the community where he made his home. His father, John May, was a Tennessean by birth and bringing up, but at an early day came to Taney County, being among the first settlers of that county. The Indians were there in great numbers and Mr. May became a great hunter, killing many bears, wolves, deer, etc. He was also quite a bee hunter and gathered many barrels of wild honey. He was a soldier in the Mexican War and died when our subject was but a boy. The children born to his marriage were named as follows: Silas, died in Barry County in 1893; Calvin B., died in Stone County; John D.; William H., of Stone County; G. W. G., died in Taney County in 1893; Elvira, wife of James Clenenger, died in Taney County and Lucinda, wife of Peter Berrv, died in Barry County. The father of these children was of Irish descent and the mother died in Taney County. The maternal grandfather, David Sittsworth, was quite an early settler of western Arkansas, where he died many years ago. To the parents of our subject were born the following children: Martha J., died in Taney County; Ellen, deceased, was the wife of Benjamin Myers, of Taney County; Nancy, wife of Jasper Weatherman, died in Taney County; Lucinda, wife of R. J. Barnett, of Stone County; subject; Calvin G., of Galena, and George B., of Stone County. The mother of these children died in Stone County in 1891.
John S. May was reared on his father’s farm and received but a limited education in the common school of Taney County, the principal part of his education being obtained after he was grown, and by his own efforts. When nineteen years of age he started out to fight life’s battles for himself and in July, 1862, he enlisted in Company D, Sixteenth Missouri Cavalry, and was mustered in at Nashville. He operated in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas, was in the fight at Booneville and many skirmishes, and in the Price raid of forty-five days without change of clothing. Although in many battles and skirmishes, he was never captured or wounded, never missed roll-call on account of sickness and was always ready for duty. He held the rank of corporal and was mustered out on June 30, 1865, after nearly three years of hard service for his country. Returning to farm life, he has followed this successfully ever since. In March, 1873, he married Miss Isabenne Isabella Stocksdale, a native of Taney County, Missouri, and the daughter of Austin and Sarah Stocksdale, who emigrated from Illinois to Taney County, Missouri, at an early day. The father was a farmer and there both received their final summons. To Mr. and Mrs. May have been born four children: Josephine, Effie, Frederick and Charley. Mr. May lived on the old home farm in Taney County until 1875 and then came to Stone County, where he rented land for two years. He then purchased his present farm across the river from Galena, where he now has 220 acres of fine land. At that time there were only twenty acres cleared and on it was a small log cabin. Now nearly all is under cultivation, the buildings are in first-class condition and everything is kept in systematic order. In connection with farming Mr. May is also engaged in stockraising, and is one of the foremost men of the county. For four years he served as deputy sheriff under T. L. Viles and in 1886 he was elected sheriff and tax collector, and reelected in 1888, serving four years with credit and honor. Socially he is a Mason, a member of Galena Lodge No. 515, of which he is worshipful master, and a member of Galena Post No. 223, serving as 0. D. Politically he has always been Republican and his first presidential vote was cast for A. Lincoln in 1864.