Biography of William A. Merritt
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WILLIAM A. MERRITT. One of the honorable old pioneers of southwest Missouri is William A. Merritt, who was born January 24, 1837, a son of Audrey and Jane (Porter) Merritt, who were among the first white people to marry in Christian County, Missouri The paternal grandfather died in Kentucky, after which his son, Audrey Merritt, went to Christian County, Missouri, which section he helped to survey. He was a hunter and farmer and died in 1839. The mother died about 1845, after having borne her husband three children: Joseph P., who is living in Marionville, Lawrence County, Missouri, was a soldier in the Union Army during the war, and William A. being the only ones living. The eldest died in early childhood.
William A. Merritt was reared in Christian County and in early manhood began clerking in a store, but in 1857 embarked in the mercantile business on his own responsibility and was in business until the opening of the Civil War. He then closed his business and in 1860 crossed the plains to Leadville, where he engaged in mining, and was later hired to cut timber in the Government service on the frontier and helped to build Fort Garland. He remained in the West until the war closed, then opened a lumber yard in Texas, and at a still later period was engaged in driving cattle across the plains. In July, 1868, he returned to Missouri and built a saw mill on White River, which he operated successfully for a year and then sold and went to farming. In 1875 he was married to Miss Louise Greer, a daughter of David V. and Frances (Hart) Greer, who removed from Tennessee to Texas at an early day, the father’s death occurring in the Lone Star State. The mother came to Missouri about 1853 and settled in Christian County, where she was called from life in 1879. Mrs. Merritt was a child when she came to Christian County, Missouri, having been born in San Augustine County, Tex., in 1847. She has borne her husband four children: William R., born November 19, 1875; Ella M., born May 1, 1879; Lillie J., born June 15, 1882, and Fred, born February 18, 1886. In politics Mr. Merritt has always sympathized and supported the measures of Democracy, and socially he has for some time been connected with the A. F. & A. M. Throughout life he has followed the honorable occupation of farming, has been successful, and is now the owner of a fine and well-tilled farm of 273 acres in the southwest part of Douglas County.