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John B. Davis

John B. Davis, farmer, was born in New Madrid County, Mo., in October 1831. In April, of the first year of this century, there was born in South Carolina Joseph B. Davis, who was but a child when his parents embarked in "the ship of the plains" and finally located in New Madrid, Mo. Here he spent his life as a farmer, and with his estimable wife, Eliza (Bartlet) Davis, reared a family of eight children, four of whom have survived. These are Lucinda (now Mrs. Willis), Maynor, Nancy J. (now Mrs. J. Jackson), Cloussy E. (now Mrs. John Emerson) and John B., the subject of this sketch. The father died in 1875. Young Davis lived at home until he reached the age of twenty two years, and in April 1853, was married to Lucinda Tankesley. The union has resulted in twelve children, only four of whom are now living, viz: Joseph, Sarah E., Hop Ross, Eliza H. (now Mrs. Franklin Ott) and Emma. Mr. Davis' war record covers about four years. He entered the army under Gen. Watkins in 1861, and about two months later was transferred to Gen Thompson's command, where he served until 1865. After his discharge he resumed rural life in Stoddard County, and afterward entered his present home of 164 acres of raw land, which he has subdued partly so that he now cultivates about sixty acres. It is fine bottom land, and the adjacent acres are owned by his two sons-in-law. Mr. Davis is a member of order of the Wheel, and his wife is a member of the Baptist Church.


Thomas J. Davis

Rev. Thomas J. Davis. In the war of the Revolution, under the immediate command of Washington, was a man named Wheatley, a Pennsylvanian, who also served under Gen. Marion in the famous Black Hawk War. It was his daughter, Eliza, who became the wife of George Davis, a Virginian, born in 1806 into an old family of the "Old Dominion". The young couple moved to Western Tennessee, where, in Weakley County, on January 23, 1840, was born to them the subject of this sketch. In 1847 they set out for the West in wagons, crossing the Mississippi River at what is now Hickman, then traveling by way of Cape Girardeau to Stoddard County. Five miles west of Bloomfield they entered eighty acres of land, but in 1854 removed to Dunklin County - the last of his homes on earth, for his death occurred there in 1868. But three of a large family of ten children have survived him: William A., Louisa J. (now Mrs. R.M. Hatley) and Thomas J. Rev. Davis lived at home after his marriage, and cared for his parents, but after the death of his father took his mother to his own home to cheer her declining years. It was on the 6th of October 1862, that Miss Augustine Hodges became his wife, and to them have been born the following children: Caroline (now Mrs. J.W. Snyder), Louisa E. (now Mrs. J.B. Higginbotham), Minerva, Nancy J., Pleasant R., Dora A., Amanda and Thomas D. In September 1868, he joined the General Baptist Church, and the following year was ordained a minister, by the Liberty Baptist Association. Although Rev. Davis purchased a farm of eighty acres near Dexter, and is active enough in its cultivation to have placed twenty acres under cultivation, he has labored extensively and with marked results in his pastorate. In twenty years of ministry he has baptized 811 persons, established eight churches, and traveled 2,700 miles in a single year to attend to such duties. At the present writing he has charge of three churches, Essex, Malden and Beechwell, the last of which has been under his charge for twenty years. In a single year he has had control of seven Churches. His wife and two daughters are members also. Rev. Davis is a member of several fraternities: F.& A.M, I.O.O.F., A.O.U.W. and the Agricultural Wheel, of Essex, of which latter he is charter member.


Leecil B. Day

Leecil B. Day, whose birth occurred May 22, 1844, in Walker County, Ga. Is the son of Lot and Deborah (Shew) Day, who wee natives of Virginia. The father was born about 1798, and died November 3, 1854, in Cherokee County, Ala., where he was then living. They were married in Alabama, April 29, 1843. Mr. Day followed the occupation of a cooper in the winter and farming in the summer. He was justice of the peace for many years, and he and his father were in the War of 1812 and at the battle of New Orleans. His wife died in Arkansas, in 1877. They were members of the Baptist Church. The grandfather, Nicholas day, who, with his son, was a soldier in the War of 1812, was also a Revolutionary soldier, and was at the battle of Bunker Hill and Brandywine, where he was slightly wounded. Leecil B. Day, at the age of twelve, moved to Arkansas. Leecil then began working for himself as a farmer, with very limited means. November 18, 1865, he married Miss Mary Jane Shook, who was the daughter of Hiram Shook. She was born in Stoddard County, Mo., March 15 1846 and died November 20, 1868. By this union two children were born, Thomas M., and Martha, who died when an infant. March 18, 1869, Mr. Day married Orinda Rauls, a native of Madison County, Mo., born February 9, 1848, who died October 17, 1871. One child Susannah, was born to this union, and died when an infant. October 30, 1873, Mr. Day married his third wife, Mary E. Wookey, a native of Stoddard County, Mo., born December 10, 1832, and died January 21, 1876. The result of this union was the birth of one child, Alexander, who is now living. Mrs. Day was the widow of Thomas C. Wookey, by whom she had three children: George H., Mary E. (deceased) and Andrew J. June 5, 1877, Mr. Day married L.A. Hammond, daughter of T.G. Hammond. She was born in Union County, Ill., February 28, 1857, and by her marriage became the mother of five children: O.M., N.J., D.A., O.C., and J.H., who died in infancy. Immediately after the war, Mr. Day began traveling and visited most of the States in the Union, and when first married had barely enough money to pay the preacher. He now owns 360 acres of good land. He is a member of the Masonic lodge, a member of the Wheel, and is a hearty supporter of the Democratic party. He and wife are members of the Baptist Church.


Risten DeFord

Risten DeFord, farmer, postoffice Bloomfield, was born in Talbot County, Md., in 1819, and is the son of Risten and Nancy (Davis) Ford. The father dying early left his wife with eight children, seven of whom she reared, all marrying and settling in different States. Risten DeFord, in 1875, immigrated west and settled in Monroe County, Ill., where he stayed two years farming and merchandising. At the end of that time he had concluded to go further west and came to Stoddard County, Mo., and located at Dudley, from there moving to Bloomfield, but finally he purchased the place he now owns and occupies. He married, in 1845, Eliza Jane Bannister, who bore two children, George Washington and Ida L. His wife dying, he married again, in 1875, Nancy Williams, now also deceased. His third marriage was in 1886, to a widow, Frances A. Watley. In 1862 Mr. DeFord joined the Union army and served under Col. E.G. Allen. He was lieutenant, and resigned in 1863 on account of having contracted rheumatism. Coming home, he followed engineering at the public works and saw mills until he purchased his present home and then settled down to farming. He owns forty acres of very valuable bottom land. Mr. DeFord is an ordained minister of the Christian Church, and has occupied theat position three years. He belongs to the Agricultural Wheel.


James W. Denny

James W. Denny, retired farmer, and one of the pioneer settlers of Stoddard County, Mo., was born in Pike county, of the same state, April 24, 1824, and is the son of John M. and Rosa (Walker) Denny. The father was a native of Kentucky, and the mother of Virginia, and both were of Irish descent. The paternal grandfather, William Denny, immigrated to Kentucky at a very early date, and was there during the War of 1812. John M. Denny immigrated from Pike County, Mo., with his family, in 1838, to Stoddard County, and stopped at Bloomfield, May 24, of the same year, when there were but few houses. He was a farmer by occupation and also a surveyor, making the first survey of the swamp lands donated to the county. He was County Surveyor from 1846 up to the time of his death, which occurred September 21, 1851, at the age of fifty-four years. He located one mile north of Bloomfield, in 1841, and settled in the woods on government land. He was justice of the peace for a number of years, and was one of the very early settlers of the county. His wife died August 7, 1861. They were the parents of five children, two now living: James W. and Rhonda (wife of M. Walker). James W. was in his fifteenth year when he came to this county. He remained with his parents until 1845, when he married Miss Mary A. Reed, who bore him six children, four now living: John M., Elizabeth, Samuel A. and Nancy R. (wife of w.D. Scism). After marriage Mr. Denny settled close to Bloomfield, where he remained a short time. In 1854 he moved to the place he now owns, where he has since resided, with the exception of a few years during the war, which were spent in Cape Girardeau and New Madrid Counties. In 1862 he enlisted in the State Guards, or Militia, and served a few months, when he was dismissed. When the second call was made he enlisted, and served four months. He was in one skirmish at Bloomfield, and was captain of the entire militia of Stoddard County. In 1884 he was elected County Judge of the First District, and served one term. He now has eighty acres of excellent land, and is one of the prominent men of Stoddard County. He had the misfortune to lose his wife September 1, 1887. She was a consistent member of the Missionary Baptist church, as is Mr. Denny and all his children. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Blue Lodge and Royal Arch, being a high Mason. He is now quite aged, but possess a remarkable memory and talent in conversation. May his days yet number many.


John M. Denny

John M. Denny, son of James W. and Mary A. (Reed) Denny, was born in Stoddard County, Mo., February 6, 1847. His parents were natives of Missouri and Tennessee, respectively. They were early settlers of Stoddard county and settled near Bloomfield. The father is still living, but the mother died in 1887. They were the parents of six children, four now living: Sarah (wife of Robert Jenkins), John M., William (deceased), Charles (deceased), Samuel and Nancy (wife of W.D. Scism). John M. Denny was reared to farm life, and assisted his parents on the farm until he became of age. In 1865 he enlisted in Company C, Second Missouri Artillery, but afterward enlisted in the Seventy-ninth Missouri cavalry, where he remained until the close of the war. He was married in Cape Girardeau County, Mo., in 1869, to Miss Sarah C. Ferrell, a daughter of Levi and Sarah Ferrell. By this marriage Mr. Denny became the father of three children, only one now living, Lelier I. In 1872 Mr. Denny located where he now lives, after living three years in Cape Girardeau and four years in New Madrid County. He has a good farm of 100 acres, sixty under cultivation. He also deals somewhat in stock. In 1876 Mrs. Denny died, and in 1871 he married Nancy Reed, by whom he had two children, one now living, Robert. Mrs. Denny died September 7, 1887. She was a member of the Missionary Baptist church, of which Mr. Denny is also a member. Mr. Denny is a member of the Agricultural Wheel, of which he is president, and is one of the substantial farmer of Stoddard County.


James H. Dodson

James H. Dodson, M.D. a well known physician and surgeon of Bloomfield, Mo., was born in Ballard County, Ky., June 24, 1831, being the eldest of four children in the family of his parents, Dr. Jesse and Elisabeth R. (Hardin) Dodson. The former was born and reared in the Old Dominion, and subsequently located in Kentucky, where he devoted his life to his profession. When a young man he was commissioned surgeon in the War of 1812, but did not serve; his death occurred in 1840. Hardin County, Tenn., was named after his wife's father. James H. Dodson was brought up in his native State to the age of fifteen, his limited opportunities for acquiring an education being greatly improved by instruction received from his mother, a woman of rare domestic virtues and intellectual worth. In 1846 he came with her to Stoddard County, Mo., and resumed his studies with a determination and assiduity which soon enabled him to engage in teaching a country school. Later on he went to Bloomfield, and under the valued instruction of William G. Phelan, a highly accomplished scholar, he pursued a classic course for eighteen months, when Mr. Phelan turned his attention to the practice of law, in which he afterward achieved a wide reputation. Young Dodson again resumed teaching, having charge of a three-months' school, after which he entered Pleasant Hill Academy, became assistant teacher, and at the same time pursued three studies. Returning to Bloomfield he obtained about $100 per month by teaching three sessions of school, when, having determined to follow the profession of his honored father, he commenced the study of medicine under Dr. J.D. Smith, with whom he remained some time. Just before his majority he was appointed school commissioner of the county, at a time when numerous irregularities in the official conduct of this office made the position an unenviable one. But with rare wisdom and faithfulness he so conducted himself as to win universal commendation and favor, the support given him indicating the esteem in which he was held. In 1857 he entered the medical department of the University of Louisiana, at New Orleans, and in the spring of 1858 located in Jackson County, Ill., where he practiced medicine with Dr. E. H. Dodson until 1860. Then entering the St. Louis Medical College he was graduated from that institution, and subsequently returned to Illinois, taking up a location at Dongola, where he practiced until 1863. Feeling the necessity of still greater professional knowledge, Dr. Dodson went to New York City and attended Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1863-64, taking private instruction under Profs. Austin Flint, Sr. and Jr., and under Prof. Stephen Smith. In the spring of 1864 he resumed his professional practice at Dongola, enjoying a most extensive and successful patronage, but at such loss to his health that he returned to his native county in Kentucky. In 1876 he attended a course of lectures at the Missouri Medical College. In 1868 he became permanently located at Bloomfield, where his subsequent professional career has been an enviable one. The doctor is a man of liberal ideas in his profession, deeming it to be the physician's duty to avoid as well as to cure sickness. He is a great friend of the free school system of education, supports all worthy enterprises tending to the good of the community, and is ever found ready to lend his influence in behalf of measures honorable and beneficial. His wife was formerly Miss Allie Malaskey, of Dongola, Ill., an accomplished lady, who has proven to be to the Doctor what a great governor Missouri said of wives - that they were good advisors and safe. Their family consists of ellen E., Mary A., Allie, Elsie and Ida Bedford Dodson. Dr. Dodson has passed the various degrees of Masonry up to and including the Royal and Select Masters.


Thomas N. Doherty

Thomas N. Doherty, merchant at Dexter, was born in Carroll County, Tenn., July 26, 1845. That same year his father, Thomas Doherty, died, leaving his wife, Mary (Peoples) Doherty and her children, of whom John P. and Thomas N. are the only survivors. The elder Doherty and his wife were both natives of Tennessee, where he was engaged in farming and dealing in merchandise, and where for several years he was a large slave holder. Mrs. Doherty followed her husband to his last resting place in 1858, and left the subject of this sketch an orphan at an early age. Thomas N. lived with a relative until 1861 and attended school at Newburn Academy, Dyer county, Tenn. He then came to New Madrid County, Mo., and until 1865 was engaged in farming for J.T. Cannon, but returning to Tennessee he became a salesman at Gardner Station, and for a year followed his duties in a grocery store. For the next five years he was located at Union City, Tennl, as the clerk in the Metropolitan Hotel of that place. Since 1875, however, he has been settled in the mercantile life at Dexter, and with excellent results. For the time before 1878 he was a partner in the firm of Bracken & Son, general merchants, but at that date, purchased both partners' shares, and has since conducted the business alone. His stock is now valued at from $6.000 to $10,000, and occupies two large store-rooms. He is also merchant for the Agricultural Wheel order. December 9, 1880, he married Mary L. Roberts, of Missouri, and the family embraces three children: Alice, Evaline and William T. Both Mr. and Mrs. Doherty are members of the Christian Church, and two fraternities (the I.O.O.F. and K. of H.) Claim Mr. Doherty as one of their number.


William P. Dowdy

William P. Dowdy, farmer, was born in Stoddard County, Mo., in 1858, and is the son of Judge C.M. and Mary (Antony) Dowdy. The father was born in Middle Tennessee about the year 1808 and resided there and farmed until he moved to Kentucky, where he lived six or seven years. Subsequently he moved to this county and located about seven miles southeast of Bloomfield. He was justice of the peace in his district for a number of years, and in 1876 was elected Judge of the county court, which office he held for two years. He died in 1881. He had eleven children, five living, viz: James P., B.F., Frances, Albert J. and William P., all of whom are married except Albert J. and Frances. The subject of this sketch remained with his father until he was twenty-one years old, when he married, and shortly afterward commenced farming. He married Amanda Galloway in 1884, and they have had two children, little May being the only one living. Both Mr. and Mrs. Dowdy are members of the Baptist church. Mr. Dowdy is a member of the Agricultural Wheel.


William Durham

William Durham, farmer, was born in Obion County, Tenn., and is the son of Ezra and Nancy (Vincent) Durham, who were both born in Tennessee, and died when the subject of this sketch was quite young. After his parents' death, William was compelled to work out for a living, receiving no education and not even ordinary advantages for his chance through life. He came from Tennessee when quite small and located in Pemiscot County, Mo., where he remained about three years, following farming, after which he moved to Stoddard County, locating about one mile north of Essex. At first he farmed on several farms in the vicinity, and now lives two miles south of Essex, where he has made his home for five years. He has been married four times; first to Nancy Smith, by whom he had three children, one living - Laura Elizabeth. His second wife was Sophia Hooks. Again losing his wife, he married the third time Mary J. Murphy, and had one child, William P. Eveline Johnson became his fourth wife, and they have had one child, James A. Mr. Durham is a member of the Agricultural Wheel and belongs to the Baptist Church. His wife is a Methodist.


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