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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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John Shearer. Although America cannot claim Mr. Shearer as one of her native-born citizens, De View proudly and justly claims him as one of her most prosperous merchants. He is a native of “Bonny Scotland,” his birth occurring in Edinburgh in 1840. His father, John Shearer, Sr., first saw the light of day in the highlands of Scotland in the year 1815. His occupation was that of a ship carpenter, which he followed for a livelihood until his death, in 1852, on board a ship that was wrecked. He was married in 1840 to Miss Jane Heslop, and by her became the father of one child, John, Jr., the subject of this sketch. John Shearer, Jr., sailed from Scotland in 1844, landing in New York, and went from there directly to Montreal, Canada, where he remained twelve years, then traveled through several States and came to Arkansas in 1860, located in this county, and in 1870 he was united in marriage with Miss Hettie E. Brown, by whom he had five children, only one of them now living, Ruth. Mrs. Shearer was born in Lauderdale County, Ala., in 1852, and came with her parents to Arkansas, from Tennessee, in 1861. Her father, Mr. Brown, was born in North Carolina, in 1820, and her mother owes her nativity to Franklin County, Tenn., where her birth occurred in 1822. Mr. and Mrs. Brown were married in 1844, and to them a family of eight children were born: Andrew J., William, Abigail, Hettie and Lena, the others having died in infancy. Mr. Brown died in 1879, and his wife in 1865, both dying in Augusta, Ark. They were members in good standing in the Methodist Episcopal Church. When John Shearer, Jr., first came to this State, he worked for $1 per day on the White River levee, then was employed by a Mr. Allen, a blacksmith of Augusta, this county. Subsequently he worked for Dr. Leach as chore boy and errand boy, and later for James Ferguson as a farm hand on his plantation on Cache River. At the breaking out of the late war Mr. Shearer, Jr., enlisted in the artillery service, under Capt. McGowen, of Jacksonport, Ark., in 1861. He participated in all the principal engagements, serving with great bravery until the final surrender. At the close of the war he found himself penniless and almost destitute of clothing. An old boot leg served him for shoes, a crownless hat sheltered (?) his head from the weather, and the few articles that comprised his clothing were all in rags; he was indeed a picture of dispair. But possessing an unbounded amount of pluck and energy he came out all right, and in the year of 1869 he was able to engage in farming on a small scale, in connection with a mercantile business at White Church. In 1873 he came to De View and again embarked in the mercantile business with a stock invoicing about $8,000, also has a store at McCrory, Ark., of about the same value. His career is an illustration of what can be accomplished by perseverance and determination of purpose. Today he stands one of the wealthiest men in the county. He owns 880 acres of land with 260 cultivated, and owns real estate valued at $3,000, in McCrory, and $1,500 worth of property in DeView. This he has accumulated by his own individual efforts, and all since the war. Mr. Shearer is a member of Lodge No. 45, F. & A. M., being initiated into that order in 1867, Chapter 37, Council 22, at Augusta, and Hugh De Payne Commandery No. 1, at Little Rock. He also belongs to the K. of H. and K. & L. of H., of De View. Politically he is a Democrat, and though a stanch adherent to his party, is not a political enthusiast. He stands high in this community, both socially and financially, and this sketch shows him to be, what he certainly is, a shrewd financier. Mrs. Shearer is a favorite in social circles, entertains largely in her easy, graceful manner, and is an earnest worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which she belongs.

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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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