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Below is a family biography included in the Woodruff County portion of Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern 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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J. P. Penn, one of the foremost in the ranks of Augusta’s prominent and enterprising business men, and a citizen of good repute, was born in Maury County, Tenn., October 8, 1833, and from his earliest youth has been familiar with farm work, and by his own pluck and indomitable will has acquired the property he now owns, being one of the largest real-estate holders in the county. He was sixteen years old when he came to the State of Arkansas, receiving the larger portion of his education in his native State. Upon his arrival in this county his sole possessions consisted of the trunk which contained his clothes. He immediately sought employment and hiring out to a farmer worked on a farm for some years. By strict economy he soon laid by some money, and in 1852 he began clerking for Hamblet & Penn, his brother being a member of this firm. After remaining with them two years he began clerking for Purssell & Bro., and upon this firm selling out he continued in the employ of their successor one year. He and his brother, Thomas H., then became proprietors of the establishment and the business continued under the firm name of T. H. Penn & Bro. until the breaking out of the Rebellion. In 1861 J. P. enlisted in the service and served the cause he espoused faithfully until the final surrender. He clerked one year after his return home and then formed a partnership with John T. Hamblet in the mercantile business, remaining in the firm until 1882, when he sold out and engaged in the real-estate business. He was first married to Lucy Bland, by whom he had three children, all deceased. Again he was married, taking for his second wife, Martha H. Hall. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity. His parents, Philip and Louisa (Brisco) Penn, were born in Prince Edward County, Va., and removed to Tennessee during the early history of that State. Here the father’s death occurred, but the mother died in Woodruff County. To this couple were given ten children, five of whom are now living.

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This family biography is one of 69 biographies included in the Woodruff County portion of Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Woodruff County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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

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