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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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Lewis Walters, a farmer and stock raiser of Morrow Township, was born in 1886, and is the eldest of eleven children of William and Jerusha (Lay) Walters, both natives of East Tennessee, born in 1817 and 1818, respectively. They were married about 1835, and in 1841 moved to what is now Adair County, locating first northeast of Kirksville, and the year following settled on Spring Creek, Morrow Township, where William became one of the substantial and successful farmers, living there until his death in 1873, which occurred during the vigor of his manhood. He was a man of no education. His father, John, was a Virginian by birth, and came of Welsh ancestors, and served in the War of 1812. Mrs. Walters was a daughter of Lewis Lay, a native of Virginia, who afterward located in Morrow Township, where he lived until 1878, when he immigrated with his son to Gallatin County, Mont., where he died in 1879, being eighty-two years of age. Mrs. Walters died in 1868. Her grandfather, Thomas Lay, was also a Virginian, and an old Revolutionary soldier, who came to Adair County in 1841. Our subject was born in Grainger County, Tenn., but was reared at home in the woods of Morrow Township, when the country was filled with wild and ferocious animals. His school life did not exceed nine months, and was passed at the rudest of log houses in the forest. Mr. Walters is truly one of the pioneer boys of the county, and nearly all the changes and improvements which have been made have passed under his observation. In his boyhood days it was the custom of the people to make an annual trip on the Mississippi River, taking the products of their region, such as hides, pelts, honey, beeswax, venison, hams, etc., and upon their return bringing the next year’s supply of groceries. The milling was done at a distance of about thirty miles, in some of the other counties. He was married in 1854, to Miss Mary Ann Wirtman, and they have one child, Martha Jane (wife of Franklin Bain, of Dubuque, Fergus County, Mont.). Mrs. Walters died in 1855, and in 1858 he married Miss Rachel Jane, daughter of Thomas B. and Lear Cook, a native of Dearborn County, Ind., and they have had sixteen children, ten of whom are living. They are Elizabeth (wife of J. W. G. Sloan), Louisa E. (wife of J. R. Sloan), James M. (of Montana), Jonah W., Andrew L., Phoebe M., Henry Lee, John S., George M. and Nellie L. Since his marriage he has been a resident of his present farm, with the exception of the two years between 1878 and 1880 spent in Montana Territory. He now has 320 acres in Section 2, on Spring Creek, Morrow Township, twelve miles northwest of Kirksville, making a good sized farm, all the result of his own hard labor. He at first purchased but eighty acres from the Government, and farming and stock raising have been his sole occupations. In 1864 he joined Company B, Thirty-ninth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, and after about eight months’ service in Northeast Missouri was discharged, in 1865, on account of disability. He has been a Democrat all his life, and cast his first presidential vote for Douglass in 1860. He and his wife are members of the old Regular Baptist Church. He distinctly remembers seeing the Sioux Indians when a child.

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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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