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Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Adair County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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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Benjamin F. Lamkin, the subject of this sketch, is one of the oldest and best known dry goods merchants in Adair County. If any class of men deserves success, it is the hard-working business man, whose life is one of unremitting toil, constant familiarity with all the details of business, and an assiduous effort to please, together with the careful study of the wants of his trade. These must be combined with upright dealings and strict integrity, in order that permanent success may be assured. The establishment of Mr. Lamkin is of recognized prominence in Kirksville and throughout the surrounding country, both on account of the magnitude of the business transactions, and the able manner in which its affairs are conducted. Founded at Kirksville seventeen years ago, it has since occupied an advanced position in introducing the latest novelties and best standard goods that the market affords, and such as are known to give satisfaction; this course has contributed largely toward sustaining the tone and standard of commercial integrity, and more than maintaining such a high rank as one of the very foremost houses in this part of the State. The stock carried embraces a full line of dry goods, fancy notions, fine dress goods, clothing, boots and shoes, carpets, oil cloths, rugs, etc.; is so arranged as to show goods to perfection in the substantial two-story brick building, 25x108 feet, which he occupies, a perfect flood of light admitting a close inspection of every article. Not less than twice each season he visits New York and other eastern markets, personally selecting goods best suited to his trade. This house is an acknowledged center of a vast patronage for from thirty to forty miles around. In this connection it is fitting that a brief mention of such a substantial citizen should be made. Mr. Lamkin was born in Ohio County, Ind., January 7, 1836, the son and eldest child of Judson and Mary E. (Dyer) Lamkin, worthy people of New Hampshire and Indiana, respectively. He remained with them until eighteen years old, when he left home and attended a high school until of age, acquiring a good, practical education. In company with a cousin he subsequently wended his way westward, to seek a fortune in the gold mines of the Pacific coast. Upon arriving at New York City in December, 1857, they learned that the steamer “Washington” was advertised to make a voyage (something of a pleasure trip) to San Francisco by way of Cape Horn and around South America, touching at the principal ports of that country and the West Indies. Upon this steamer Mr. Lamkin and companion took passage, passing seven months in making the trip, and finally landing at San Francisco July 2, 1858, after having visited many places of interest along the route. After three years spent in mining in various parts of California, with considerable success, he was engaged for two years in mercantile pursuits, but in the spring of 1863 he sold out his interests in that State, organized a party at Marysville, which he equipped with necessary articles, and started overland for the celebrated gold mines in Washington (now Idaho) Territory, traveling through an unexplored section of country inhabited only by treacherous bands of Indians, who frequently met the little company, and often engaged them in numerous fights and skirmishes. One-half of the mules and all provisions except flour were captured 150 miles from a civilized settlement, which necessitated subsistence on flour alone for nearly a week. At Walla Walla, Washington Ter., new supplies were purchased, and finally Lewiston was reached. Here Mr. Lamkin settled, and at the organization of Idaho Territory was appointed to the office of territorial auditor by Gov. William H. Wallace, September, 23, 1863. This position he continued to occupy until February, 1866, the capital being removed to Boise City in 1864, by act of the Legislature. During these years he was engaged in the wholesale and retail mercantile business. In 1866, resigning his position as territorial auditor, he was soon appointed postmaster, and discharged the duties of that office until 1870. During these years success had crowned his many efforts, but in January, 1870, he sustained severe loss by fire. By no means discouraged, however, he immediately contracted for the replacing of his burned property, during the erection of which he returned home (in October, 1870,) to visit those whom he had left thirteen years before. While in Indiana he formed the acquaintance of Miss Aleatha A. Learned, whose birth occurred at Anderson, Ind., in 1844, and they were married at her native place in April, 1871. To them five children have been born: Alta, Benjamin Franklin, Claude, Gail and Ina. In December, 1871, Mr. Lampkin settled at Kirksville, where his subsequent well-known career has been noted. He is universally respected in commercial circles throughout the country, as well as in the social world, and justly merits the success he has achieved and the confidence and patronage which have been accorded him by the entire community.

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This family biography is one of 150 biographies included in the Adair County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Adair, Sullivan, Putnam, and Schuyler Counties, Missouri published in 1888 by Goodspeed Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Adair County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Adair County, Missouri family biographies here: Adair County, Missouri Biographies

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