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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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Dr. Robert M. West has, by his assiduous attention to all his patients, acquired a large and steadily increasing practice, and has gained the confidence of all as a clever and scientific practitioner. He is a member of the firm of West & Thomas, of Clarendon, and was born in Henderson County, W. Tenn., July 6, 1832, being the youngest of seven sons and five daughters born to Easton and Mary E. (Simmons) West, born in North Carolina in 1775 and 1782, respectively. After their marriage, which took place in their native State, they removed to Virginia, and a few years later to West Tennessee, where they were among the early settlers. He was very active in clearing the forests, and settled on twenty-two different farms in as many years, being a resident of different counties. Both he and wife died in Humboldt, Tenn., in 1866, members of many years’ standing in the Baptist Church, of which Mr. West was a deacon for seventy-two years. His father was an Irishman, and served in the Revolutionary War from North Carolina. A. L. Simmons, the maternal grandfather, was of Irish-Scotch descent, a Virginian, and also a Revolutionary soldier. Dr. Robert M. West is the only one of his father’s family who is now living, to his knowledge. After remaining at home and assisting his father until he was fourteen years of age, he began working for himself as a farm hand, but at the end of two years, seeing the need of a better education, he attended a five months’ term of school, working seven months for a farmer of the region to pay for his schooling. He then concluded to try how teaching the young idea suited him, and finding that his first term was a success, and liking the work, he followed it three years in West Tennessee, in the meantime devoting his spare time to the study of medicine. In 1860 he graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Louisville, Ky., but had previously begun practicing in Tennessee, in 1858. He returned there after graduating, but in April, 1862, he joined Company H, Tenth Tennessee Cavalry, of Gen. Forrest’s army, but at the end of seven months was made assistant-surgeon of the Fifteenth Tennessee Regiment, and in 1864 was transferred to the examining board of conscripts, in which capacity he served until the cessation of hostilities. He resumed his practice in Tennessee, but in 1871 came to Clarendon, where he has since practiced his profession with much success. He has been president of the Monroe County Examining Board since its organization; is Senior Warden of Cache Lodge No. 235, A. F. & A. M.; is Past-Chancellor in the K. of P., Cowan Lodge No. 39, and is Examiner in the K. of H. and K. of P. Politically he is a Democrat, his first presidential vote being cast for James Buchanan. He is accounted one of the substantial men of Monroe County, and is the owner of 240 acres of land three miles from Clarendon, and 320 acres seven miles from the town, and also owns an elegant house in the town. He was married in October, 1860, to Mary F. Conner, who was born in Tennessee, and died in 1872, having borne two children, both now deceased. Dr. West’s second marriage was consummated January 10, 1874, his wife being Miss Celena, a daughter of Lewis Wahl, a German by birth, now a resident of Milan, Tenn., aged seventy-four years. Mrs. West was born in New Albany, Ind., was reared in Kentucky, and received her education in Columbia, Tenn., being a graduate of a female college of that place. She and the Doctor have two children: Nora C. and Julius M.

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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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