History Of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade And Barton Counties,
Missouri 1889, published by Goodspeed,
Polk County Biography Section

page 620, 621

    John B. Appleby (deceased).  Among the early settlers of Polk County, Mo., stands the name of the above mentioned gentleman, who was born in what is now Marshall County, Tenn., August 6, 1828.   When but a boy his parents moved to Springfield, when that city consisted of only a blacksmith shop and a small store.  Soon after they moved to Walnut Grove, and in about 1836 to this county.   He was reared on the old Appleby homestead, one and a half miles southeast of Morrisville.  Having "bached" for a time, he went across the Greene County line to woo Miss Lydia Ann Sumners, to whom he was married April 22, 1852.  She was a native of Middle Tennessee, born June 14, 1833, and, when about a year old, her parents moved to Greene County.  After marriage Mr. Appleby and wife settled on the old homestead, and remained there during life.  While growing up he had learned the blacksmith trade, at which he would work days and attend school at nights.  He began life in poor circumstances, but by good management he became one of the substantial and representative citizens of his community.  He was a prominent Mason, a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.  His wife was also a member of the same church.  She died November 15, 1883.  May 27, 1885, he married Mrs. Nancy Wetzler, and December 2 of the same year he received his final summons.  No people of this community were of a higher social and Christian standing than were Mr. and Mrs. Appleby.  In their family were fourteen children, four sons and ten daughters, of whom six are now living: S. Antine, Nannie A., Gola R., Minnie S., S. Bell and L. Zula.  Miss Antine has been a teacher in the public schools for several years; Miss Nannie is principal of the preparatory department of Morrisville College, and the eldest three are graduates of the above college.  Mr. Appleby was one of nature's true nobleman.  He took an active part in every improvement and especially in the education of his children; and be it said to their praise, his desires in that direction are being carried out.

page 621, 622

     Judge Benjamin W. Appleby, farmer and stock-raiser, is the son of James and Cynthia S. (McMurry) Appleby, natives of Georgia and Tennessee, respectively. James Appleby was of Irish descent,  born in 1801. He was nine years of age when his parent moved from Georgia to Middle Tennessee, and there he met Miss McMurry, whom he afterward married. They settled in Bedford (now Marshall) County, and remained there until 1833, when they came to Greene County, Mo., and located in Springfield, which was then a village.  Here James Appleby followed the blacksmith trade during the winter, and tilled the soil during the summer months. In 1836 he and family moved to this county and located one and a half miles   southeast of Morrisville. At that time deer and wolves were plentiful, but Mr. Appleby never killed but one deer. He came to this county with very little means, but, by hard work and with  the determination to succeed, became one of its well-to-do farmers. He was a quiet, industrious citizen, and one universally esteemed.   Both he and wife were members of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church. After the death of his wife, which occurred in 1839, he married Mrs. Nancy Bond, who bore him eight children.  He died in 1869. He was a Democrat in politics before the war, but after that became a Republican. Of the seven children born to   his father's first marriage, Judge Benjamin W. Appleby is the only living son, and the fourth child in order of birth. He was born in Bedford (now Marshall) County, Tenn., January 30, 1832, and was chiefly reared and educated in Polk County. His early school advantages were poor, but, after reaching manhood, he attended school and prepared himself for teaching, which profession he  followed for about five years. When very small his father put him to striking at the anvil, and, as he was too short to reach the same, a box was made for him to stand on while striking, and it was also used for him while blowing the bellows. August 26,  1858, he married Miss Rebecca A. McClure, a native of Alabama, and the daughter of Judge D. M. McClure. After marriage he turned his attention to the blacksmith trade, at which he worked until 1880.   Toward the last of the war he shod horses for the Government for about a year, and, all in all, worked at the trade for about  twenty-five years. In connection with this he also carried on farming, at which he was quite successful. When township  organization was instituted he was elected assessor, and held the position one year. For eight years he was a member of the county court, the last four years being presiding justice. He is a  Democrat in politics, a member of the Masonic order, and is a  member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1873 his wife died, and the same year he married Miss Susan E. Hamilton, who died in 1882. The following year he wedded Mrs. Bettie Logan, nee Misemer. To his first marriage were born five children: Frances B., Homer O., Jerome M., Anna L. and Mack; and to his second marriage were born four children: Troy, William M., Truckee, and an infant (deceased). No children were born to the third marriage. Beginning with nothing, the Judge has, by his own exertion and energy, acquired a good fortune, and is now the owner of 400 acres of valuable land.

page 622, 623

G. B. Austin, a successful liveryman at Bolivar, Mo., was born in Dallas County, Mo., September 7, 1861, and is the second of six children born to Elijah and Louisa (Randles) Austin, the father a native of North Carolina, and the mother of Dallas  County, Mo. The latter's parents came from Tennessee. When still but a child, the father came with his parents to Dallas   County, Mo., and attained growth in that county, there being  married. Elijah Austin was an extensive farmer and stock-dealer, which occupation he carried on all his life. He was a member of  the Masonic fraternity; was a Democrat in politics, and during  the late war he served in the Union army. Both he and wife were members of the Baptist Church. He died January 31, 1889, at the age of fifty-three, and she died November 11, 1887, at the age  of forty-eight years. G. B. Austin was reared on a farm, received his early education in the common schools of Dallas County, and   in 1881 came with his parents to Bolivar, where he took a commercial course in Southwest Baptist College, graduating from that institution in 1883. In December of the same year he married Miss Ella Hunt,  a native of Dallas County, born near Buffalo, Mo., and this union resulted in the birth of two children: Essie and Otta. Mrs. Austin is a member of the Baptist Church. He, like his father, is a Democrat  in politics. In 1885 he became a partner with his father in the  livery business, which, after the death of his father, he resumed.   He runs a livery, feed and sale stable containing about thirteen head of horses and nine vehicles, and has all the requisites for   a first-class stable. He also runs the "bus" line.

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page 623, 624

Alvin A. Ayers, who is another prosperous farmer of Marion Township, is the son of Baker W. and Elizabeth (Clark) Ayers, the father born in Georgia, in 1804, and the mother in North Carolina, about fifteen years later. He is of Scotch and she of French descent. When young, they moved with their parents to Middle  Tennessee, and were married in Lincoln County. In 1845 they  moved to Carroll County, Ark., where the mother died in 1857, leaving seven children, three sons and four daughters. After her death, the father married Mrs. Louisa Golston, nee White.   During the war they lived in Illinois, but upon the establishment of peace they moved to Polk County, Mo. The father died here in 1872.   He was a member of the Baptist Church, was a farmer by occupation, and, prior to the war, was a Democrat, but after that a Republican.   He had little education, having picked up what he had after having  grown up. In the days of militia drill he filled the position of major, and was one of the prominent men of the county.    He  represented Carroll County, Ark. two terms in the Legislature.  Previous to the war he had accumulated a good property, which was swept away during the exciting times following. The youngest child born to Mr. and Mrs. Ayers was Alvin A., whose birth occurred in Lincoln County, Tenn., September 4, 1843. He was reared on a  farm and attended school about three months altogether. June 9, 1862, he enlisted in Company K, First Arkansas Calvary, United States Army, and served until July, 1865, being in the battle of Newtonia, Prairie Grove, Springfield and many others.   In Searcy County, Ark., he was wounded in the left leg.  After the war he came to Polk County, Mo., and was united in marriage to Miss Lucinda Sims, a native of Jefferson City, Texas, who bore him six children, five now living: Lester L., Adella A., Lizzie M., George S., and Lillian A. Mrs. Ayers is a member of the Baptist Church. After marriage Mr. Ayers moved to Barry County, but returned to this county in 1868, and has since made it his home, owning 280 acres of land, with 150 under cultivation. He is a Republican in politics, and a member of the Wheel.

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page 624

Judge J. B. Barnett, cashier of the Farmers' and Merchants' Bank at Humansville, Mo., was born on Blue Grass soil, near Bowling Green, in Warren County, Ky., on the 28th of February, 1843, and  there grew to manhood. In 1861 he came to Missouri, and located on Twenty-five Mile Prairie, in Polk County, but the same year  joined the Home Guards of Missouri, serving about four months,  until the battle of Wilson's Creek, after which he enlisted in Company C, Eighth Missouri State Militia, and was in active service until the close of the war, the most of the time being on detached duty at Springfield, Mo. After peace had been declared  he returned to his home and was married to Miss Susan Tillony,  and, after spending about two months in Kentucky, he returned to Missouri, and farmed in Polk County until 1870, when he came to Humansville, and was a successful merchant until 1882. In the meantime he had become interested in the banking business, and formed a partnership with O. W. Fisher, with whom he has since been connected. Mr. Barnett has been in public life a great deal, and from 1868 to 1870 served as justice of the peace, and from 1870 to 1874 was justice of the county court. He is a  prominent member of the Southwest Missouri Emigration Society, of which he is third vice-president, and is one of its directors from Polk County. He is a member of the G.A.R., a Chapter Mason,  and he and his wife are members of the Baptist Church. To their union three sons and five daughters were born: Emma, wife of   D. A. Murphy; Alice, wife of T. M. Callahan, of Washington;  Hattie, wife of C. H. Ramsey; Carrie, a student of Baird College, Clinton, Mo.; Jennie, Willie, Harry and Charles. Judge Barnett's parents, Elisha and Emeline (Skaggs) Barnett, were born in Kentucky.  

page 624, 625

Richard B. Beck, farmer and ex-county collector, was born in Osceola, Mo., March 12, 1852, and received his education in the public schools and at Bolivar High School. He is the son of James W. and Sarah F. (Divan) Peck, [sic] the former of whom was born in  Virginia, and when young removed with his parents to Tennessee.  He remained in this state until 1841, and then moved to St. Clair County, Mo. Later he went to Polk County, and was there married to Miss Divan, who was born in Tennessee in 1831, being the  daughter of William R. Divan. She was a member of the Christian  Church. The father was a teacher, and this calling followed for some time. He held the office of county court clerk, circuit   court clerk, recorder and probate judge, and was in official life about thirteen years. He was a Democrat in his political views, and was a prominent Odd Fellow. He died in 1862, but the mother is still living. In their family were seven children, six sons   and one daughter. While growing up Richard B. Beck learned the  printer's trade, but at the age of twenty years began teaching  school, which he continued for two years. He then turned his attention to farming and stock trading. December 18, 1881, he married Miss Susan M. Runyan, a native of Polk County, Mo., born February 28, 1865, and the daughter of Abraham M. Runyan. Both Mr. and Mrs. Beck are members of the Christian Church. They are the parents of two children: James A. and Willie B. Mr. Beck is a Democrat in politics. In 1884 he ran for the office of county collector, and was elected by about 150 majority, though the  county goes about 300 Republican. In 1882-83 he was chairman of the county central committee. Mr. Beck has made his property by his own exertions, and is now the owner of 150 acres of land.   His grandfather Beck was a Primitive Baptist minister. 

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page 625, 626

S. J. Blair, postmaster at Fair Play, Polk County, Mo., was born in Mercer County, Ill., in 1857, and is the son of Solomon and Mahala (Baily) Blair, and grandson of James Blair, who was born in Indiana, was of Irish descent, and became a pioneer of  Clay County, Ill., where he passed the remainder of his life.   He was a veteran in the Revolutionary War. The maternal grand-father, James Baily, was a pioneer of Clay County, Ill., and  died before the subject of this sketch was born. Solomon Blair was born in Indiana in 1825, and attained his majority in Clay County, Ill. He was a farmer by occupation. He was married  in the last named county, and afterward went to Schuyler County, Ill., where he remained for twenty-two years, and then removed to Audrain County, Mo., in 1877. He is still one of the respected citizens of that place. His wife was born in Clay County, Ill., in 1828, and is still alive. They were the parents of seven  children, five sons and two daughters, of whom S. J. Blair was third in order of birth. He was reared in Schuyler County, Ill., received a good common school education, and worked on the farm until twenty-two years of age, when he entered a general merchandise store as clerk, and there remained for three years, when he became a partner in the firm for which he had previously clerked. He was proprietor of the general merchandise store of Blair & Co. for  four years, after which he sold out his interest and went to  Polk County, Mo. He followed various pursuits until September, 1888, when he was appointed postmaster at Fair Play, it being a fourth-class office. He was married in 1882 to Miss Josephine Elzea, a native of Audrain County, Mo., born in June, 1859.   They have one child, Ray E. Mr. Blair is in the employ of the  Ewart & Train Charcoal Company, is the owner of a house and some land in Fair Play, and aside from this is the owner of considerable other property. He is a Democrat in politics; is a member of the Baptist Church, and is a member of the I.O.O.F., being Noble Grand of Lodge No. 55. Mrs. Blair is a lady of good business  capacity, and has full charge of the postoffice.  

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page 626

Benjamin H. Bond, an enterprising farmer and stockraiser of Looney Township, Polk County, Mo., is the son of Benjamin and Martha (McClure) Bond, both natives of Tennessee. The father and mother remained in their native State until the death of the father, which occurred in December, 1836. He was a farmer by occupation, a Democrat in politics, and he and wife were members of the Methodist Church. In 1837 Mrs. Bond and two children, the first child having died in Tennessee, came to Missouri and settled in Polk County, and here passed the remainder of her days. After the death of her first husband she married Stephen Mitchell, and by him had seven children. Benjamin H. Bond, the youngest  child by the first marriage, was born in McMinn County, Tenn.,  April 23, 1837. His father had died prior to his birth, and he was taken and reared by his paternal grandparents, with whome [sic] he came to this country in 1837. They lived on a farm, and on the same our subject spent his boyhood days assisting his grandparents in tilling the soil, and received his education in the common  schools. December 7, 1854, he married Miss Sarah Mitchell,   daughter of George Mitchell, one of the early settlers of this county. She was born in Roane County, Tenn., September 7, 1836, and the following year came with her parents to this county.   After farming until July, 1862, he enlisted in Company F,   Twenty-sixth Enrolled Missouri Militia, and in the following year reorganized and served in the Seventh Provisional. In October, 1863, he joined the Fifteenth U.S.A., and was discharged at Springfield in July, 1865. When he first entered the service he was chosen first lieutenant, and held that position until the close of the war. While skirmishing near Carthage, Mo., his horse fell with him, dislocating his ankle, and from the effects of which he has never fully recovered. From 1860 to 1862 he was deputy sheriff under William B. Mitchell; is a Democrat in politics, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church,  South. He is the owner of 160 acres of land with about 135 under cultivation, and is also engaged in raising stock. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity for thirty years, and is also a member of the A.O.U.W.

pages 626, 627

Hugh Brittain is the son of Robert and Margaret (Cain) Brittain, the father a native of Guilford County, N.C., born in 1802, though his father, William Brittain came from Wales. The mother was born in Hawkins County, Tenn., in 1803, but came of Irish ancestry.  When a lad Robert Brittain moved with his parents to Tennessee and was there, later in life, married to Margaret Cain. After marriage they settled in Roane County, and here he died in 1837.  The father was a successful tiller of the soil; was a Whig in politics, and was a soldier in the Creek War. Both parents were members of the Methodist Church. In their family were six   children, four sons and two daughters. After the death of the father, the mother married Ezekiel Alexander, and with him came to Missouri. She died in Webster County, in 1861. Hugh Brittain was born in Roane County, Tenn., April 18, 1832, was reared on a farm, and educated in the old subscription schools. At the age of seventeen he began for himself by working on a farm for wages.  In 1850 he and a brother came to this county, and in December,  1861, he went into Government service as teamster in the commissary  department, being with Gen. Curtis most of the time. He operated in Missouri, Arkansas, Minnesota and Dakota, being out about three years. He then remained at Springfield, Ill., until 1867, when he returned to this county, and for some time traded in  wagons, mules, etc., in Kansas and Texas. In 1869 he married Miss Tinie Lane, a native of Polk County, Mo., and the daughter of John W. Lane. Four children were the result of this union, two now living: Thomas W. and Mary E. In 1871 they moved to Grayson County, Texas, remained there for about ten years, and then, after a visit with his family to California, settled in Polk County, Mo., buying the farm where he now lives. He owns 278 acres of land, with 180 under cultivation. Politically, he is a Republican.  He and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Brittain has made all his property by his own exertions and is in very comfortable circumstances. He has traveled in twenty-three States and six Territories.

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pages 627, 628

Henry Brown. Intimately connected with the farming and stock raising interests of Polk County is the above mentioned gentleman, who was born in Broome County, N.Y., July 21, 1831, and is the  son of James and Martha M. (William) Brown, the former born in Dutchess County, N. Y., in 1800. Grandfather Brown was cast away from an English vessel, it is supposed, off the coast of Rhode Island, and was picked up by a kindhearted man by the name of Godfrey Brown, who named the child Caleb Brown. James Brown followed a seafaring life along the coast of New York for some time, and at last, in Broome County, N. Y., met and married Miss William, who was born in that county in 1811. After marriage they lived there for some time, and then moved to Susquehanna  County, Penn. Afterward they visited their son in Polk County,  Mo. The father died in 1879, and lies buried in the Bolivar graveyard. The mother is still living, and is a resident of  Auburn, N. Y. She is a member of the Methodist Church, as was also her husband. He was a farmer; a Democrat in politics, and was captain during militia days. In their family were twelve children and the only son now living, Henry Brown, worked during his boyhood  days on the farm, and, although he had fair opportunities for an education, did not realize the benefit to be derived from a good schooling, and neglected these opportunities to a considerable extent. At the age of twenty-one he began for himself by hiring out, and for fourteen years was engaged in operating mills. In 1868 he, in company with others, came to this county, and February 10, 1876, he was united in marriage to Mrs. Louisa Tanner née Cordell, a native of Sangamon County,  Ill., born February 24, 1839. By her previous marriage she had five children, three living: Jacob, Frances S. and William H. By the second union three children were born, one now living named Lillie.  When he began life Mr. Brown had nothing, but with determination and pluck he went to work, and is now one of the leading farmers of his community, being the owner of 360 acres of land. He is also considerable of a stockman.   Politically he affiliates with the Democratic party, and he is a member of the Wheel.

page 628

John W. Burks, attorney at law at Humansville, Mo., was born in Miller County, Mo., in 1854, and is the son of William G. and Louisa (Granstaff) Burks. William G. Burks was born in Wilson County, Tenn., in 1809, and was a farmer and stockraiser by occupation. He attained his growth in Tennessee, and was there married to Miss Granstaff, who was a native of Middle Tennessee, born about 1831, and who is now living in Bolivar, Polk County, Mo. Mr. and Mrs. Burks emigrated to Missouri in 1853, and settled in Miller County, there remaining until 1855, when they moved to Callaway County, Mo., and her the  father died April 7, 1886. He had been a member of the Baptist Church for many years. In their family were six children,  three of whom died in infancy. John W. Burks passed his boyhood days in Callaway County, Mo., and received his literary education at Westminster College, Fulton, in which he took an irregular course. He then entered the teachers' profession followed this successfully for three years, and then began the study of law, which he continued for two years, with Hon. I. W. Boulware, of Fulton, Mo., after which he was admitted to the bar at Fulton in 1880. He then practiced law there until 1887, when he came to Humansville, Mo., and formed a partnership with C. W. Hamlin, of Bolivar, and remained one year, since which time he has practiced his profession alone. He was married in February, 1888, to Mrs. Johanna C. (Emmons) Key, a native of Callaway County, Mo. Mr. Burks has quite an extensive law  practice, and confines his attention to this and to collections.  He is now city attorney at Humansville; a member and agent of the board of trustees of the Southwest Baptist College,  Bolivar, Mo., and is clerk of Freedom Association of Baptist Churches, composed of Dallas, Hickory and Polk Counties.  
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pages 629, 630

William F. Burnes deserves honorable mention as one of the prominent citizens of the county, for it is but just to say that his good name has been above reproach, and that in business as well as in social circles he has won the confidence and esteem of all who know him. He was born in Greenville County, of the "Palmetto State," February 15, 1829, his parents being Thomas J. and Rebecca (Childress) Burnes, who were of Irish and Scotch  descent, and born March 6, 1801, and September 16, 1803, and died April 13, 1876, and about 1863, respectively. They were married in their native State, and about 1831 removed to Georgia, locating first in Hall County, and later in Whitfield County, among the Cherokee Indians, where they made their home until 1855,  at which date they took up their abode in Polk County, Mo.   They were active members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and throughout life the father was a farmer and stock-raiser by occupation. He was first an old line Whig in politics, but  afterward became a Democrat. His father, Edmund Burnes, was born in Scotland, it is supposed, and married an Irish lady,
Miss Owens.   Thomas J. Burnes and wife became the parents of five children, who lived to be grown and married; Martha Ann (deceased), wife of G. S. Pitner; William F., James W., Thomas J. (deceased), and Mary N., who died on the old homestead, the wife of Ira O. Parish. William F. Burnes, our immediate subject, had about thirty-six days' schooling as the principal part of  his education, the facilities of Whitfield County, Ga., at that time being very poor as far as schools were concerned, and he learned to read at Sunday-school. He resided with his parents until August 20, 1848, when he was married to Malviney A., daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Singleton. She was born in Greenville County, S. C., January 1, 1830, and died in Polk County, Mo., April 10, 1858, having been a zealous worker in the Methodist Church for many years. Four of their five children are now living: Mary J., wife of Thomas Davidson; Wesley J., a  school teacher and farmer; Galloway W., a physician of Polk County, Mo.; and Elizabeth, the wife of L. Laramore. John Albert died at the age of five years. September 16, 1860, Mr. Burnes   wedded Mary Jane Parish, a daughter of Barnett P. Parish, one of the first residents of Polk County from Indiana. She was born in Polk County, March 13, 1841, and her union with Mr. Burnes has resulted in the birth of seven children, four living: Hazeltine, wife of W. W. Higginbotham; Orlenea, wife of Dr.  William Nicholas; Darinda A. Burnes, aged eighteen years;  I. V., tilling his father's farm; and De Lacey at home. Those  deceased are: Ann, who died October 23, 1883, aged nineteen years; Edward and Frank, the two last dying in infancy. In 1854 Mr. Burnes moved to Waco, Texas, where he lived until 1857, then came to Polk County, and began working at the carpenter's trade,  which he continued until the commencement of the Civil War, and since that time has been engaged in farming and stock raising exclusively. On coming to Missouri he had but twenty-five cents, but by economy, industry and good management he is now well-to-do.   He has been a Mason in good standing for thirty years; is a Democrat in politics, having served as justice of the peace one year, and for many years has been a member of the  Missionary Baptist Church.  

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