Biography of Judge Alfred Perry Couch
JUDGE ALFRED PERRY COUCH. The gentleman whose name heads this sketch has always been a potential element in the growth and development of Oregon County, Missouri, and as a representative citizen stands second to none in the county. He was born in what is now known as Couch, in Oregon County, Missouri, November 28, 1842, and is the son of Simpson and Rebecca (Roberts) Couch.
It is thought that the father came originally from Virginia, but the family lived in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois, and long years ago, in the thirties, came to Fulton County, Arkansas Soon after this family moved to what is now Oregon County, Missouri, and made the journey in a truck wagon, with wheels sawed from the end of a log, and oxen for motive power. On coming to Missouri the family located on Town Fork of Frederick River, and here the grandfather of our subject put up a little store that gave the creek the name of Town Fork. The grandfather, Lindley Couch, afterward went to Dade County and located in Rock Prairie, where he died soon after the war, when sixty years of age. All his life his principal occupation had been farming, although he had been engaged in other enterprises. The father of Judge Couch was not yet grown when he came to the wilds of Missouri, and here he finished his growth and received a limited education. When a man he located at what is now Couch, on a farm that had few improvements on the upper Frederick. He married Miss Roberts and ten children were born to their union, seven of whom are now living, five in Oregon County and two in Saline County, Arkansas Mr. Couch with the assistance of his eldest son, our subject, and the remainder of the family, cleared up a fine farm and he became a wealthy man. The war, however, made great havoc with his property, and left him in straitened circumstances. He was county judge ten years, and after the war was elected to the same office by an overwhelming majority, but through some fraud he was prevented from taking the office. At his death, which occurred in Oregon County in 1868, when forty-nine years of age, he was a worthy member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and was deacon in the same for many years. His widow, who is now living and seventy-three years of age, is also a member of that church.
Judge Alfred Couch spent much of his time up to the age of fifteen years in the schoolroom, but after that turned his attention to farming, and continued this up to the breaking out of the war. In June, 1861, he joined the State troops under McBride in the Second Regiment, but subsequently enlisted in the regular Confederate service. This was in August, 1862, and he joined Coleman’s regiment of dismounted cavalry, but later was in Col. Slein’s regiment for a time, or until the fall of Vicksburg, 1863, when he came home. He enlisted in Col. Wood’s cavalry regiment, with which he remained until the surrender. He participated in the battles of Wilson’s Creek, Lexington, Jenkins’ Ferry, Pine Bluff, Poison Springs, and was in a number of skirmishes. He started on Price’s raid, but was taken sick and left behind. Judge Couch was never wounded to amount to anything and was never taken prisoner. He surrendered at Jacksonport June 5 or 6, 1865. Following the war Judge Couch farmed until 1871, when he commenced working at the blacksmith’s trade in Lawrence County, Missouri, continued the same occupation in Webster County for two years, and then moved back to Oregon County. For about a year he resided at Alton and then moved to Couch. In 1874 he was elected probate judge and held that position until 1878. During the time he was in office he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in February, 1883. In November, 1884, he was elected prosecuting attorney, held that position two years, and was then elected presiding judge, which position he held four years. Later he was elected county and probate judge, which position he still holds. He is prominent in official circles and is a true and tried Democrat. His entire career has been upright and honorable, and he is in every way worthy the respect in which he is held.
On the 15th of March, 1860, he married Miss Martha Ann Boze, a daughter of James Boze, who was a pioneer of this county. To this union five children were born: Litha Jane, Lucy and Eliza (Litha is the wife of Samuel W. Braswell, a farmer of this county; Lucy married R. A. Oliver, residing near Couch, and Eliza became the wife of Robert A. Young, a farmer of this county). Those dead are Mary T., who was nearly fourteen years of age at the time of her death, and Matilda, who was but eight months old. Judge and Mrs. Couch are worthy members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and he is a deacon in the same. He is also a member of the A. F. & A. M.