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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Yell County, Arkansas published by Southern Publishing Company in 1891.  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 W. Blevins, Dardanelle P. O., Yell County, one of the prominent lumber merchants of this county, was born in Meigs County, Tenn., October 13, 1845, and is the son of Thomas and Elvina (Gourley) Blevins, natives of the same State. The father, who died in 1865, was born in 1815, carried on farming through his entire life in his native State. The mother is still living in the old homestead in Tennessee. Our subject was reared to manhood in his native State, receiving a good common-school education. There he followed farming until the year 1874, when he came to Yell County, bought eighty acres of raw land, and started to improve it, but wishing more room, he sold this and bought ninety-seven acres on the river below Dardanelle. In the fall of 1881 Mr. Blevins engaged in the lumber business, and opened mills valued at $10,000 near Chickalah Village, and in this undertaking he was assisted by Mr. George H. Cravins and H. S. Cline. Shortly after they erected another mill a mile and a half in the valley from the first, these mills being connected by a railway on which they haul their logs and lumber. This is one of the first of the kind ever introduced in this section of the country, and shows the enterprising spirit manifested by the firm. The first mill consists of a grist, cotton-gin and lumber-dressing department, while the latter has two dressers and shingle machinery. They are capable of turning out 20,000 feet daily, but average about only 12,000 daily. The firm also owns about 500 acres of pine timberland and has purchased the timber of a large number of acres of dead land. Mr. J. W. Blevins owns about 300 acres in Delaware Township, of which 150 acres are in a good state of cultivation, and the rest covered with lumber, which he has deadened with a view of making it good for cultivation. In 1889 our subject married Miss Ella Sills, daughter of William Sills, native of Kentucky. He is a member of Bright Star Lodge No. 213, A. F. & A. M., and is a Democrat, politically, supporting all enterprises of public nature of benefit to his country. At the opening of the war he enlisted in Company I, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry under Capt. W. W. Lillard and Col. G. W. McKenzie. Although but fifteen years of age he kept with his company, and took part in the battles of Chickamauga, Atlanta and a large number of skirmishes. He was wounded in the limb, but did not leave his regiment, remaining in the army in all about three years, being paroled in May, 1865. After the war Mr. Blevins returned homeand began his farming pursuits, which he has carried on so successfully. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are esteemed by all who know them.

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This family biography is one of 124 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Yell County, Arkansas published in 1891.  For the complete description, click here: Yell County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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