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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Monroe County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  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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Capt. J. W. Whitfield, a general merchant of Roc Roe Township, was born in Davidson County, Tenn., in 1839, and is a son of Capt. Thomas J. and Sallie L. (Dillyhunt) Whitfield, the former a Virginian, and the latter born in Davidson County, Tenn. Their marriage took place in this county, and here they made their home, with the exception of about one year spent in Texas, the father’s death occurring in 1873 and the mother’s in 1882, she being a member of the Baptist Church at the time of her death. Mr. Whitfield was brigadier-general of the Tennessee militia in early days, and was all through the Rebellion, being a member of the Forty-second Tennessee Infantry, Confederate States army, and was captain of Company H. He was captured at the battle of Fort Donelson and was kept a prisoner at Johnson’s Island for seven months. He was then taken on a gunboat to Fortress Monroe, thence to Richmond, where he was liberated or released at the close of the war. He was a member of the A. F. & A. M. and was of English descent. The maternal grandfather, Dillyhunt, was a German and died in Davidson County, Tenn., having been a soldier in the War of 1812. Capt. J. W. Whitfield was the fourth of nine children, five sons and four daughters, and received but little schooling in his youth. Upon the opening of the war he joined the Confederate army as captain of Company I, Forty-second Tennessee Infantry, and he and his brother, Capt. Silas D. H. Whitfield, and two younger brothers, were all in the same regiment with their father, the latter and his two eldest sons, each commanding a company. They were all captured at Fort Donelson and taken to Johnson’s Island, and our subject was exchanged at Vicksburg, and soon after assisted in organizing Company G, becoming a member of Wheeler’s cavalry, and operated with his regiment in Tennessee and Mississippi. In the fall of 1863 he was captured on the Tennessee River, but a few hours afterward made his escape and rejoined his command and captured the Federal who had a short time before captured him; this was in Humphreys County. From that time until the final surrender he operated in West Tennessee, and surrendered at Brownsville of that State. The most important engagements in which he participated were Fort Donelson, Fort Hudson, Johnsonville, and some spirited skirmishes. After the war he began farming in Madison County, Tenn., then returned to Middle Tennessee and was engaged in merchandising for five years, and in 1873 removed to Texas, where he followed the same occupation and also managed a cotton plantation for three years. After returning to Tennessee and residing there until 1880 he came to Lonoke County, Ark., and at the end of one year settled in Aberdeen. Since October, 1888, he has resided in Roc Roe Township, and is carrying on the mercantile business with success and also managing a farm of 100 acres. He has a good plantation in Madison County, Tenn., and a store which nets him a comfortable annual income. He is one of the prominent business men of the county, and is a man who commands the respect and esteem of all who know him. He is very fond of hunting, and much of his spare time is spent in the woods with his gun. Mr. Whitfield has always been a Democrat and voted for Jefferson Davis in 1860. He is a member in good standing of the Christian Church, and his wife, whose maiden name was Delia Scott, and whom he married in 1862, was a member of the Methodist Church. She was born in Fayette County, Tenn., and died in June, 1887, being a daughter of George R. and Hester A. Scott, natives respectively, of Davidson and Madison Counties, Tenn. The father was a wealthy farmer, and both he and wife died in Madison County, his death occurring in November, 1887, and hers in the winter of 1865.

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This family biography is one of 86 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Monroe County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Monroe County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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