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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Johnson County, Arkansas published by Southern Publishing Company in 1891.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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James M. Laster is a native of the county in which he is now residing, his birth having occurred in the month of November, 1840, to Abram and Nancy (Pucket) Laster, the former of whom was born in North Carolina, and there lived until he was about six years old, when he was taken by his parents to Tennessee, where he grew to manhood and was married in 1824, the State of Tennessee being his wife’s birthplace. In 1831 they removed to Arkansas Territory, being among the pioneer settlers of the country, and Mr. Laster was one of the commissioners that located the county seat when Johnson County was organized. He was a worthy tiller of the soil for many years, and the farm on which the immediate subject of this sketch is now residing is the old homestead. To them eleven children were born: James, Melissa, Hester Ann, Mary, Thomas, Frances, Washington, Jane, Robert, James M., and one child that died in infancy, unnamed. The father of these children died in 1862, and his widow in 1865. In 1859 James M. Laster was married to Miss Sarah, a daughter of Mrs. Nancy Sarles of Sebastian County, and in time their children numbered ten: Elizabeth (became the wife of Dr. J. W. Ogilvie, and lived nineteen months after her marriage, bearing one child, a boy, Benton L.; she died on August 20, 1888), Anna (was married in 1887, to Hugh Wilson, who was killed in 1888, by being caught in a cotton-gin; seven months after his death his wife gave birth to a little daughter whom she named Hughie after her father, and after the child had lived to be three years old she was taken ill and died), Robert, Frank, Thomas, Lou, Augusta, Fanny, Earl and Conley. Mr. Laster went into the Confederate Army, under the conscription law, June, 1862, serving until the summer of the following year, and in the following September joined the United States Army, becoming a member of Company A, Second Arkansas Infantry, under Col. Stevenson, and was on duty in his own State during the remainder of the war. He was on the Camden raid with Gen. Steele, and in a number of quite important engagements. He was mustered into the army as orderly-sergeant, and in June, 1862, was promoted to second lieutenant. He was discharged at Clarksville in August, 1865, after which he immediately returned home and resumed farming, for the past ten years being also engaged in operating a cotton-gin, owning a half interest in a gin with J. K. Baskin. He is the owner of 265 acres of land with 100 under cultivation, and has always been one of Johnson County’s most highly-respected citizens and successful farmers. He is a member of the Royal Arch degree of Masons at Clarksville, and the Blue Lodge at Harmony. He and his wife are members of the Eastern Star Lodge that meets at Harmony, and both belong to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and are generous givers to enterprises of a worthy nature.

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This family biography is one of 65 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Johnson County, Arkansas published in 1891.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Arkansas family biographies here: Johnson County, Arkansas

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