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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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David A. Ely, born in December, 1854, one of the most prominent and successful farmers and stock raisers in Adair County, and a native of that place, residing in Polk Township, is the fifth of the nine children of Judge David A. and Mary A. J. (Jones) Ely, both natives of Kentucky, and born in 1815 and 1822, respectively. The father, Judge Ely, was of Scotch, Irish and English origin, the son of Isaac Ely, a native of Virginia, and a volunteer in one of the early wars, serving under Gen. Anthony Wayne. When a boy Isaac Ely went to Kentucky, where he married and lived until 1821, when he moved to Ralls County, Mo., thus being one of the early settlers of that State. He remained there until his removal to Adair County, a short time before his death, which occurred in December, 1858. David A. Ely, Sr., accompanied his parents when they came to Missouri, and in 1832 married Miss Rebecca Goodwin, a native of Virginia, by whom he had three children, two of whom are still living. Soon after his marriage he located in Iowa, living but a short distance from the famous Indian Chief, Black Hawk. Losing his wife a few years after, he moved to Adair County, taking up his abode at the present site of Nineveh, where he erected a saw and grist mill, which was the first built in that section of the country, and which was patronized by the people within a radius of forty miles. In 1850 he sold his property, and went to California, where he lived two years, devoting his time to mining interests. Returning to Adair County, he purchased a large tract of land, on which he located and made his home for a long time, dealing extensively in real estate, at one time owning over 5,000 acres of land, and being the largest tax payer in Adair County. In 1888 he returned to California with the intention of making it his home. He purchased 2,400 acres of land, and entered largely into agriculture, but in 1886 once more returned to Adair County, living there until his decease, which took place October 14, 1886. He was a man of great energy and endurance, very progressive and ambitious, and spared no trouble or pains toward the improvement of the country. He assisted greatly in laying out the town of Kirksville, and during the early times was justice of the peace for some years, subsequently becoming county judge, which office he held several terms. He is recognized as the father of the Masonic Order at Kirksville, and was also a prominent member of the I. O. O. F. “Ely Commandry” K. T., located at Kirksville, was so named in his honor. The mother of our subject became his wife in 1841, and is still living on the old farm in Polk Township. David A. Ely, Jr., the subject of this sketch, was reared under the parental roof, receiving his education at the common schools, the North Missouri State Normal at Kirksville and Quincy Business College. In 1879 he entered the Missouri Medical College at St. Louis, intending to follow the medical profession, but after about three years of study abandoned the idea. In 1880 he married Miss Nannie E., a daughter of Thomas B. and Frances DeWitt, natives of West Virginia, where Mrs. Ely was born on February 2, 1855. They have three daughters; Mary F., Dixie and Esther. He is now living on the old farm, and is one of the foremost men of the county always ready to lend a helping hand in all educational projects, and working for the general welfare and prosperity of the country. In politics he is an active and earnest Democrat, casting his first presidential vote for S. J. Tilden, in 1876, and is a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity.

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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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