REUBEN S. BRANSON. This gentleman, who is the ex-county clerk and recorder of Taney County, occupies a conspicuous place among those who have achieved eminence solely by excellence of character, without any of the modern appliances by which unworthy persons gain undeserved and transient popularity. He is a native of Missouri, born in Gasconade County in 1853, and the son of Valentine and Alpha M. (Sherrill) Branson, natives of Bledsoe County, Tennessee, the former born in 1810 and the latter in 1819.
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The parents were married in that county, and soon after removed to Gasconade County, Missouri This was about 1844, when they located in the woods, and improved a good farm, on which Mr. Branson died in 1876. Mrs. Branson, who was a Baptist in her religious views, died in Greene County in 1885. The father followed farming all his life, and became quite well-to-do. He was a soldier in the Mexican War and served in the militia during the Rebellion. In politics he was a Republican, and was quite prominent in supporting his party.
His father, Andrew Branson, came to Gasconade County, and died there before the war. He was a farmer, and inherited a great amount of push and energy from his Dutch ancestors. Our subject’s maternal grandfather, Samuel Sherrill, came from Tennessee at an early date and located in Maries County, where his death occurred before the war. He was also a farmer. The thirteen children born to our subject’s parents are named in the order of their births as follows: Alfred P., who resides in Mansfield, Tex., was captain of the State militia during the war; Olivia C. was the wife of Joseph H. Barbarick, of Gasconade County; Galba E, was killed at Kirbyville July 4, 1889, while sheriff of the county, he was also in the State militia during the war; Hannah M., deceased, was the wife of J. H. Barbarick; Lewis F., a farmer of Taney County, served three years in the Tenth Missouri Cavalry with Gen. A. J. Smith; Thomas J. is a farmer of Greene County; Mary, deceased, was the wife of Nicholas Young; Valentine, a farmer of Gasconade County; Reuben S.; William H., of Springfield; Samuel K., of Dent County; Louisa C., wife of Ernest Lloyd, died in Springfield; and Chrissa A., died when young.
Our subject, who was ninth in order of birth of the above-mentioned children, became familiar with the duties of farm life at an early age. He received a common-school education and, being a student naturally, and a great lover of books, he applied himself at every opportunity to study, and in this manner obtained a superior education. He attended school at his own expense after attaining his majority, and subsequently taught school in Osage and Gasconade Counties. In the year 1877 he celebrated his union with Miss Mary T. Cooper, a native of Osage County, and the daughter of John B. and Lucy Cooper, who were, probably, natives of Gasconade County. Later, Mr. and Mrs. Cooper removed to Osage County, and there both passed the closing scenes of their lives many years ago. Mrs. Branson is the only one of the family now surviving. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Branson: Lucy M. deceased, and James M. They raised a niece, Mary E., daughter of Valentine Branson, who married A. L. Parrish in 1890. After his marriage Mr. Branson went to Brookline Station, Greene County, and was in the drug business there for a few months. He then brought his stock of goods to Taney County, and located about seven miles above Forsyth, where he established a general store, and the same year also established Branson post office, of which he was postmaster for some time.
He continued in business there until 1884, when he was elected assessor of the county, serving in that capacity one term. After that he was elected county and circuit clerk and recorder, and served four years with credit to himself and profit to the people. After this he was in the Forsyth distillery, which he operated one year, and then engaged in milling at that place for the same length of time. A boarding house next occupied his attention, and he continued this until 1893, since which time he has been residing in Oliver Township, where he owns an interest in a tract of land. He also owns 160 acres in Newton Township, about forty acres of which have been cleared. Socially he is a member of Forsyth Lodge No. 453, A. F. & A. M., and is politically a Republican, and an active supporter of his party.