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Goodspeed's History of Southeast Missouri
Biographies of Scott County, 1888


William Ward

William W. Ward, surveyor of Scott County, and dealer in real estate, was born in Underhill, Vt., in May 1837. He is a son of Dexter and Cecelia (Woods) Ward, both natives of Vermont. The family removed to Wisconsin in 1842, when it was but a territory, and the subject of this sketch but five years old and located in Grant County, in which county Dexter Ward afterward served as sheriff. He was a carpenter by trade, at which he worked in connection with farming. He died at his home in Lancastor on September 20, 1881. His widow still owns the home property, but makes her home with the subject of this sketch. To her and husband were born five children: William W., Henry (engaged in farming and lumbering in Oregon since 1864), Eleanor M. (Mrs. Michael Woodard), Sarah A. (who died at the home of her brother, William W., in 1888) and Mary A. (Mrs. Charles Angus), residing near Lancaster, Wis. William W. was reared at his parents', and received his education in the schools of Lancaster and at Mount Morris, Ill. In 1854 he made a surveying tour with G.R. Stuntz, city engineer of Duluth, and others. In 1860 he went overland to California on a prospecting and mining tour, and remained until 1866, when he returned to Wisconsin via Panama and New York, after which he was engaged in the livery business until 1869. He then sold his interest in that business, and was engaged in government surveying in Minnesota and Dakota until 1874, at which time he came to Southeast Missouri. Locating in Scott County, he has since taken an active interest in everything that tended to promote the welfare of its citizens. For the past twelve years he has served as county surveyor, and is also engaged in the real-estate business, having charge of about 42,000 acres of land for Charles P. Chouteau, of St. Louis. In August, 1874, Mr. Ward wedded Mrs. Laura M. Watson, a daughter of Isaac L. and Valencia L. (Lane) Benham, natives of Vermont, who removed to Wisconsin in 1852. Mrs. Ward finished her education in 1860-61, and went to Louisiana to teach school. While there she was married to James Watson, a native of Mississippi. Soon after their marriage they visited the wife's parents in Wisconsin, and in 1867 came to Southeast Missouri and located. Mr. Watson died in December 1872, aged forty-two years. He left two boys: William E. and George W. Mrs. Ward's mother died in 1869, aged fifty-seven years and her father, in 1873, aged sixty-one years.

Irvin A. Wilson

Irvin A. Wilson was born in 1844, and is a son of James and Parmelia (Vincen) Wilson. James Wilson was born on the way from Ireland to America and his wife was born in Mississippi. They came to Southeast Missouri about 1834, and located on a farm among the hills of Scott County, where the father died in 1845, aged forty-five. The mother died in 1868, aged fifty-two years. They are the parents of three children living and three dead. The former are: Jasper, Jane (Mrs. William Boutwell) and Irvin A. The latter are: Amanda, Sarah and Matilda. Upon attaining his majority, Irvin A. began work for himself on a farm in Richwoods, near Sikeston. He afterward resided about two years in Sikeston, and in 1882 came to his present location in Morley Township, on the east bank of Little River. His farm consists of 185 acres, 150 of which are under cultivation, with good improvements. He first married Mary Vaughn, by whom he had six children, viz: Jasper (deceased), Aspisa, James (deceased), Laura (deceased), Charles and Edwin.

After the death of this wife, Mr. Wilson married Frances Batts, who bore him four children: Benjamin (deceased), Emma, Ettie and an infant (unnamed). The mother of these children died in 1884, after which Mr. Wilson was united in marriage with Anna (Riggis) Matin (the widow of Albert Matin). She had one child by her first marriage, who is now at home. To her and Mr. Wilson have been born two children: an infant (deceased) and Gertrude. Mr. Wilson is a member of Lodge No. 358, I.O.O.F. of Sikeston.

Hansford T. Wray

Hansford T. Wray, a farmer of Scott County, Mo., was born in Middle Tennessee, in 1817, and is a son of Archibald and Nellie (Thompson) Wray. Archibald Wray was born in Knox County, Tenn., in 1793, and Nellie Thompson was born in Pennsylvania in the same year. They were married near Lebanon, Tenn., in 1816. Mr. Wray was a farmer and carpenter, and died in Hickman County, of his native State, in 1863. His wife died in 1866. Their union was blessed by the birth of nine children, all of whom grew to maturity: Hansford T., Harmon, Hiram, John A., Edward H., Lucinda J. Dorothy E., Louisa C. and Richard D. Harmon, Hiram, John and Edward were in the Mexican War, and Edward and Richard were in the Rebellion. Those living are the subject of this sketch, Hiram (residing near Nashville, Tenn.) and Richard (in Dixon County, Tenn.). Hansford T. remained with his parents until his marriage in 1842 with Adaline Erwin, a native of South Carolina, who was reared in Tennessee. He then came to Missouri and engaged in farming near Cape Girardeau, but in 1859 removed to Scott County and located in Kelso Township, where he remained until 1877, when he removed to his present farm in Commerce Township. To Mr. Wray and wife were born Lucy, Charlotte E., Amanda A., Archie, Theodrick, William and Samuel. Those living are Charlotte, Amanda, Theodrick, William and Samuel. Amanda is the wife of Lindsey DeLashmutt; the others are at home with their father, their mother having died on April 23, 1883. Mr. Wray is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. His wife was also a devoted member of the same church. Theodrick is a member of the A.F. & A.M. and of the Wheel. Mr. Wray has charge of the government lamps on his place at Grand Chain, on the Mississippi River.

Alexander Wright

Alexander Wright, a farmer and stock raiser of Scott County, was born in New Madrid County, Mo., February 24, 1835, and is a son of John and Drucilla (Hannah) Wright. The grandparents were from Pennsylvania, and were among the early settlers of Cape Girardeau County, Mo. John Wright went to New Madrid County about 1820. He and wife had a family of ten children, but were not permitted to live to see them reach maturity. The father died when Alexander was but two years of age, after which the latter lived with his mother until her death, he being at that time about thirteen years old. Remaining in New Madrid County until he attained his majority, he went to Scott County and located in the Richwood country, four miles north of Sikeston, and resided until the braking out of the Civil War. He then enlisted for six months in the Missouri State Guards (Confederate), and in the fall of 1862 enlisted in Col. Jeffrey's regiment, and was commissioned captain of a company of men mostly from Scott County. In 1863 he resigned his commission and returned home on account of failing health. Soon after he went to New Madrid County, and remained until the close of the war, when he returned home and resumed farming. He purchased his present farm in 1875, and removed to it in 1879. In 1881 Mr. Wright engaged in merchandising at Oran, Mo., but after three years returned to his farm. In 1874 he was elected sheriff and collector of Scott County and served two terms. He was married in 1857 to Margaret Wright, who died on January 1, 1858, leaving one child, Benjamin L., now married and residing on the home farm. Afterward, Mr. Wright married Elizabeth Nealey. She died on March, 1861, having borne one child, Christopher L. (also deceased). On March 13, 1862, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Hinton, a native of Scott County, born December 7, 1835 and is a daughter of John and Pentha (Payne) Hinton, natives of North Carolina and Kentucky. To this union have been born six children: Eliza E., Robert J., James A. (deceased), Una (deceased), Charles (deceased), and Joseph S. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Wright has a fine farm of 320 acres of which 250 are under cultivation. He is a member of the Agricultural Wheel.

B.F. Wyatt

Dr. B.F. Wyatt, an intelligent and enterprising young physician of Sikeston, Mo., was born in Johnson County, that State, in November, 1859. He is a son of Benjamin B. and Sarah A. (Mansfield) Wyatt, both of whom were natives of Caldwell County, Ky. Benjamin B. Wyatt was a farmer and slave-trader, and spent the most of his life in his native State. He removed to Johnson County, Mo., and resided several years. He died in 1873, and his wife in 1867. The subject of this sketch being young when his parents died, was cared for by John B. Bowman, ex-mayor of East St. Louis, who was assassinated in November 1885. Mayor Bowman gave Dr. Wyatt all the advantages of a good education. He graduated at the St. Louis University when he was seventeen years of age, after which he began the study of medicine, and graduated from the medical department of the University of Louisville, Ky., in 1881. He immediately came to Sikeston, where he has since been located in the practice of his profession. His practice is now large and lucrative and is increasing each year. In September, 1884, he was united in marriage with India Carpenter, a native of Ripley, Tenn.

Silvanus B. Wylie

Silvnus B. Wylie, a farmer of Sylvania Township, Scott County, was born in South Carolina, on June 25, 1841, and is a son of James and Rosanna (Hopper) Wylie, natives of South Carolina and North Carolina, respectively. James Wylie's parents were both born in Ireland, and came to America when children. The Hopper family came from England. James Wylie died in his native State in 1847, leaving a widow and six children, all now deceased, except the subject of this sketch and a brother, William P., who lives on a farm near the old homestead in South Carolina. The mother died in Cape Girardeau County, Mo., at the home of her son, Silvanus B., in 1862, aged fifty-four years. Silvanus B. remained in his native State until November, 1859, when he, with his mother's family, removed to a farm near Moscow, Ky., but, in the fall of 1860, came to Southeast Missouri, and located in Cape Girardeau County, and resided until 1863. He then, with a younger brother, who was left to his charge, came to Scott County, where he has since resided, engaged in farming. His marriage with Miss Jane Byrne was celebrated in 1860. She was born and reared in Scott County and is the daughter of William and Serena (Calhoun) Byrne, natives of Cape Girardeau County, Mo., and Kentucky, respectively. Mrs. Byrne was born in 1820, and is now living with Mr. Byrne, her only living son, her husband having died when Mrs. Wylie was a small child. He left seven children, only two of whom are living: Mrs. Wylie and William Byrne, residing in Scott County. To Mr. and Mrs. Wylie have been born seven children, one of whom died in infancy. Those living are: Cora A., Roxia May, Loretta, James Claude, Thomas Arthur and Myrtie. Mr. Wylie and wife are active members of the Missionary Baptist Church, of which he has been a member since 1856. He is a deacon in the church, has served as clerk for several years, and also clerk of the Charleston Baptist Association eight years.