R. I. JANUARY. Youth is not a bar to promotion, for the American people have learned that ability is not measured by the length of time man has spent upon earth. Some men might live a thousand years and not know anything, and others are bright and able to take their places among men long before they have arrived at mature manhood. The subject of this sketch belongs to the latter class, for he was bright at school, brilliant as a student of law, and now that he is a member of the bar, has a good practice, which rapidly increases from year to year, R. I. January is a native of this State, born in Oregon County October 26, 1850.
Son of Joab and Amanda M. (Ward) January. The father was a native of Tennessee and of French origin. For many years he lived in Memphis, but in 1846 he came to Oregon County, Missouri, and there followed farming and stockraising until his death in 1860. His wife also passed away in that county. She was of Irish descent. Mr. January was a soldier in the Mexican War. Seven children were born to this estimable couple: George W., of Graniteville, Missouri; Sallie, wife of Gentry Moyer, of Iron County; R. I., subject; Annis, wife of William H. Shy, of this county; Joseph F., who is living at Lesterville, is a minister; Emma, wife of Giles Henderson of Iron County; and Mary, who died young. Mr. and Mrs. January attended the Baptist Church and she was a member of the same. He was a Democrat in politics and a man well and favorably known in south Missouri in his day. He received a land grant for his services in the Mexican War.
The original of this notice passed his boyhood and youth in Oregon County and he attended the schools of Union and Johnson Counties, Illinois In 1870 he began the study of law in this county and in 1882 he was admitted to practice. For many years he taught school, and in 1877 he was elected to the office of county school commissioner. In 1882 he was elected to the office of county clerk and in 1888 he was made prosecuting attorney, holding that office two years. At the present time he is giving his attention to the practice of law and is one of the leading attorneys of the county. During the time he was in office he was in the real estate business, and he now has three farms of 600 acres in this county. He is possessed of excellent business acumen and is a self-made man, all his accumulations being the result of industry and good management on his part. He has a handsome residence in Centreville and has made money by buying and selling lands. Mr. January is deeply interested in the iron mines in Reynolds County. In the year 1877 he was married to Miss Belle C. Shy, a product of Reynolds County, Missouri, and the daughter of Alfred and Sarah J. Shy of this county, where Mr. Shy was county and circuit clerk for eight years. He died in 1884, but Mrs. Shy is living and makes her home in Centreville.
Mr. and Mrs. January’s marriage resulted in the birth of five children: Minnie, Ella, Alfred, Otto and Carl. Otto, a bright boy, died when three and a half years old. They attend the Baptist Church and contribute liberally to its support. He is a stanch Democrat in politics and takes a deep interest in all worthy enterprises, schools, etc. Socially he is a Mason and master of Reynolds Lodge No. 385, at Centreville.