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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Logan 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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Hon. Matt Hixson, merchant, Shoal Creek, Ark. Mr. Hixson, a prominent business man of Shoal Creek, was born in Tennessee on Christmas day, 1842, and is the son of James and Milley (Wheeler) Hixson, both natives also of the Big Bend State. The parents came to Arkansas in 1852, purchased, the same year, 160 acres of land and soon had 50 acres of this under cultivation. Matt Hixson was but ten years of age when he came with his parents to Arkansas, and during his boyhood he attended the subscription schools two or three months each summer, being obliged to go about three miles to get his education. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate Army as corporal, and served in that capacity until the reorganization at Corinth, when he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant, and afterward made first lieutenant. He took a prominent part in the battles of Elk Horn, Corinth, Port Hudson, and was in numerous minor engagements. At the battle of Port Hudson, after a siege of forty-two days, Mr. Hixson, with his command, was captured and taken to Johnson Island, Ohio, where he was kept about ten months, during which time he had small-pox. Later he was taken to Point Lookout, Md., to be exchanged, but for some reason was not, but was taken to Fort Delaware. He was sent from there to South Carolina to be exchanged, but instead was put in a stockade, where he, with his companions, were kept during the battle and subject to fire from both sides. He was kept in this stockade for forty days, and was then transferred to Fort Pulaski, where he remained for some time and then returned to Fort Delaware. There he was paroled at the close of the war and returned home. He was twice hit during the war, once on the breast by a spent ball, which did not penetrate the flesh, and again by a piece of bomb in the leg. While at Fort Delaware Mr. Hixson, with his companions, captured a dog belonging to a visitor, and after the owner had left they smothered the animal with blankets and cooked him in a tea kettle. His regular fare while at Fort Delaware was a small piece of corn bread, one-half pint of pickles per day, and occasionally a piece of light bread. Many laughable incidents occurred, notwithstanding their suffering, among which is the following: Some of the guards were ex-slaves, and frequently recognized their old masters among the prisoners who were allowed, just so often, to pass out through the gates to bathe. By diving to the bottom they could secure oysters. One of the negro guards, pacing along the parapet with all the dignity possible for a colored soldier in uniform to assume, called out to his old master, who was diving for oysters, “Hello, Massa, w’at yo’ doin’ down dar?” to which the prisoner replied, explaining his occupation. The guard then exclaimed, while pointing to himself, ‘‘I used to be bottom rail, now bottom rail on de top.” Those oysters formed a very pleasant addition to the prison fare. After the war Mr. Hixson began clerking in a general mercantile store in Little Rock, continued there for about two years and then returned home, where he followed farming on his father’s land for one season. He then began clerking in a dry-goods and grocery store at Spadra, in which place he remained for about four years, attending school in summer and clerking in the winter. In 1879 he embarked in business with J. A. and T. R. Sadler in general merchandising at Shoal Creek, and later Mr. Hixson purchased the entire stock of the firm with the store building. This building has a basement and is 24x70 feet in dimensions. He carries a stock of goods valued at about $5,000, and is doing a good business. He is owner of 3,000 acres of land, and has expended between $15,000 and $20,000 in improvements. Upon two of his farms coal has been found (outcroppings) which is used in the blacksmith forges of the neighborhood. No attempt has yet been made to develop these mines. Mr. Hixson’s principal crops are corn and cotton, and he also gives considerable of his time and attention to the raising of livestock, mules and cattle. On December 25, 1870, Mr. Hixson was married to Miss Belila A. Sadler, a native of Arkansas, born Christmas day, 1844, and the daughter of Rufus and Elizabeth Sadler. Three children were born to this union, two of whom are living: Gracie C. (born in 1872), and Matt. S. (born in 1878). Mr. Hixson represented what is now Logan County in the Legislature in 1874-75. He is a member of the A. F. & A. M. Lodge at Ellsworth, Ark.

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This family biography is one of 92 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Logan County, Arkansas published in 1891.  For the complete description, click here: Logan County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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

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