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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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Capt. William A. Chaney, prominently identified with the mercantile interests of Cotton Plant, and one of the leading planters of the county, is a native of Tennessee, his birth occurring in Tipton County, in 1838, as the son of Capt. Joseph E. and Nancy (Shelton) Chaney. They were natives of Virginia, and born in Petersburg, where they were reared and married, but in an early day moved to West Tennessee. They died in Tipton County, Tenn., Mr. Chaney passing away when William was only three or four years old; Mrs. Chaney’s death occurred in 1870, at the age of seventy years. Both were members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and he served in the War of 1812, with Jackson at New Orleans, wearing the title of captain. He was of Irish descent, and possessed of great educational attainments. Grandfather Thomas Shelton was a native of Virginia, one of the early settlers of Tennessee, and moved from there to Brandon, Miss., where he died very wealthy. Capt. William A. Chaney, the youngest of eleven children, and the only one now living, remained with his mother until grown to maturity, and received liberal advantages for an education, all of which he was careful to improve. In March, 1858, he was married to Ann J. Versur, a daughter of Dr. William Versur, of Tennessee (who died in Lonoke, Ark., having come to that place in 1858). Subsequently removing to Arkansas he settled in Lonoke, where his wife died in 1859. In 1861 he joined a company of the First Arkansas Cavalry of Fagan’s army, and gave his efficient service until the close of the war, being in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Kansas, in various ranks. He was mustered out as captain, and served in nearly all the engagements with great credit. In March, 1865, Capt. Chaney was united in marriage with Miss Emma, daughter of J. K. Crossett, a prominent physician in White County. There he died in 1887, having made it his home from 1858. Mrs. Chaney was born in Mississippi. To their union have been given seven children, three daughters and two sons now living. Soon after the war the Captain returned to Tipton County, Tenn., where he farmed until 1871, and then came to Cotton Plant, since being engaged in farming and merchandising. He owns a large amount of property (improved) in Tennessee and Arkansas, and a very nice residence in town. He is a Democrat and voted for Bell in 1870. The K. of H. Lodge at Cotton Plant counts him as a member, and he was formerly an Odd Fellow. Capt. Chaney is sparing no pains or expense to educate his children, and is giving them every opportunity to become accomplished. His wife is an earnest worker and member of the Methodist Church.

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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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