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Below is a family biography included in The History of Dallas County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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Hon. M. L. Reynolds. No worthy history of Dallas County could fail to make honorable mention of the Reynolds family, prominently identified with its earliest settlement. Mark Reynolds, grandfather of the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, a native of South Carolina, was reared principally in Georgia, and as a soldier in the War of 1812 participated, among others, in the battle of New Orleans, also serving in the Florida War. Subsequently he resided near Nashville, Tenn., rearing a family of five sons and five daughters, with all of whom, except the oldest son, John (who became a resident of Illinois), he moved to Pulaski (afterward Polk) County, Mo., in 1831; and afterward he settled on the place now occupied by his grandson, M. L. Reynolds, at the Buffalo Nurseries, in Dallas County. [Mention is made of this elsewhere in the present volume.] For thirty years he was a member of the Baptist Church. He was the first assessor of the county, and served for eighteen years. His children have mostly married. Elizabeth married John Wells, who was famous as being one of the best millwrights of his day, and building Brice’s, Bennett’s, Edwards’, Hamilton’s and Haynes’ mills, on Niangua, and many of the Sac River mills; Dianna married Charles Self, who died soon after; Nancy married Peter Self, father of William J. Self; Charlotte married Eaton Tatum; Ailie remained single until her death; William Reynolds married Darcus Wisdom, sister of Rev. Colum Wisdom, of whom Elizabeth Reeser, wife of Solomon Reeser, this county, is their only child; Cyrus, his youngest son, married Theodosia Wisdom, also a sister of Rev. Colum Wisdom; Mark Reynolds married Margaret Cox; they had born to them six sons and five daughters, of whom John J. Reynolds, near Buffalo, James K. and Mark B., near Urbana, Mo., are the only surviving sons, and Sarah Brush, widow of the late B. L. Brush, of Howard, Kas., Nancy L., wife of James B. Garrison, and Margret, J., wife of John Thomas, all of Urbana, Mo., are the surviving daughters. Robert D. Reynolds is mentioned farther on. These children are well known by the early settlers of this country as being prominent among its pioneers. It was largely by the assistance of their strong arms and determined will that the giants of the forest stubbornly succumbed, and the then wild and desolate prairies were converted into broad, fertile fields and comfortable homes. Many were the obstacles that had to be surmounted, and many the hardships endured. At the period when they first came no mills were in existence save a wooden mortar and pestle, in which the grain was beaten. Springfield contained the nearest and only store and a blacksmith shop. There were no roads, nothing but trails made by Indians and buffalo. R. D. Reynolds, father of M. L., was quite young when brought here. He assisted his father in opening up his farm, and during the summer season managed a large team of cattle, turning the prairie sod. In 1843 he was married to Eliza Adams, daughter of William Adams, who had a few years before moved from Tennessee, and one among the early settlers of this country. After living one year with his father-in-law he settled a claim adjoining his father’s, where he remained one or two years, and then moved to Fort Smith, Ark. One year later he returned to his former home, but upon the breaking out of the Mexican War he enlisted in Col. Gilpen’s battalion of Mounted Dragoons, and was elected and served as orderly sergeant of Capt. Jones’ company, serving as escort and keeping the line of communication open from the States through the Indian Territory and New Mexico, wintering at Santa Fe. After peace was restored he returned to his former home, and in 1850 bought his father’s farm, and moved upon it, where he resided until his death. He was a Whig until the party went down, when he voted with the Democratic party. In 1860 he voted for Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, and when the war clouds began to hover over the nation, he was one of the first to gather around the flag of his country. In January, 1861, he assisted in raising the first flag for the Union in Dallas, afterward serving conspicuously in organizing Home Guards and militia companies for the preservation of the Union. He was first lieutenant of one of the Home Guards companies, and after the retreat of the troops from Springfield to Rolla, Mo., he re-enlisted in the Twenty-fourth Regiment of Missouri Volunteer Infantry, in which he served until November, when he was taken with measles, suffered a relapse, and was discharged on account of disability. After the close of the war he resumed the nursery business, which he had begun in 1857. In 1864 he voted for Abraham Lincoln; in 1868, for Ulysses Grant, and again in 1872, and in 1876 for Peter Cooper; in 1880 his last ballot was for James B. Weaver. In the year 1873 he made a profession of religion, and joined the Missionary Baptist Church, of which he lived a consistent member until his death, in 1858. He joined the Masonic fraternity, and was a devoted and consistent member. He was patriotic, public spirited and charitable, and lived to be a useful citizen, and died on the 17th day of October, 1883, regretted by all. His widow, who survives him, lives at Nichols Junction, Mo., with her youngest daughter, Mrs. Tippin. They had born to them eight children, four sons and four daughters; four are dead, two sons and two daughters. Those who are living are Sarah A., wife of T. J. Normon, who now lives at Rome, Iowa; Margaret J., wife of G. T. Tippin, who lives at Nichols Junction; George W. Reynolds, unmarried, lives with his brother, M. L. Reynolds, near Buffalo, Mo., and M. L. Reynolds, the eldest of the surviving children. He was born January 9, 1846, in Dallas County, Mo., the educational facilities of the country during his rearing being very limited, and his parents being poor, he received only such an education as the common schools, which were of a poor grade, would afford. At the early age of fourteen his father put him forward in the business transactions of life as salesman and collecting agent for his nurseries. At the early age of fifteen he enlisted in the first companies of Home Guards, and after they were disbanded enlisted in the Seventh Missouri Cavalry, where he served about five months, re-enlisting in Battery K, Second Missouri Light Artillery, where he served until the close of the war, eleven months of the time serving as clerk in the commissary department. After the war closed in the States, he went with an expedition, against the Indians, into the Yellowstone country, and after returning home in December, 1865, he went to school for a short time at Buffalo, Mo , following which he engaged in the mercantile business. In December, 1866, he was married to Susanna Vanderford, daughter of R. M. Vanderford, of Polk County, Mo. Sixteen months after their marriage, to them was born a son, but their happiness, like all things earthly, came to an end, for in one short month both mother and child were consigned to the grave. After this he took an interest with his father in the Buffalo Nurseries, which the latter had founded in the year 1857. In January, 1870, he married Sarah A. Cowden, daughter of W. O. P. Cowden, of Polk County, Mo. They have had born to them, and now living, five children: Eliza J., aged eighteen years, and the wife of E. L. Yarbrough; William D., aged sixteen; Mark W., aged fourteen; Eugene H., aged twelve years; Lillie May, aged eight years. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds and their two eldest children are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. In the year 1879 he was elected as a member of the Thirtieth General Assembly of the Legislature of the State of Missouri, and assisted in the revision of the statutes of the State. He was a member of the national nominating convention assembled at Chicago, Ill., June 9, 1880, which nominated Gen. James B. Weaver for President. His politics were Republican until the year 1876, since which time he has voted the Greenback and Union Labor tickets, his vote and influence always being cast with what he considered the best interests of the whole people. In 1883 he purchased his father’s interest in the Buffalo Nurseries, since which time he has conducted the business alone, having about 120 acres of land engaged in the growing of fruit, shade and ornamental trees. In the year 1886 he also bought of Mr. Holemon the Springfield Nurseries, situated at Nichols Junction, three miles west of Springfield, Mo., and has now about sixty-five acres there engaged in propagating trees. The two nurseries require about thirty hands in propagation of trees, and about thirty traveling salesmen, making some sixty men constantly employed by him. He has always been an earnest and constant promoter of horticulture and agriculture, and especially the former. He has always been an earnest supporter of and liberal contributor to schools and churches, as well as all public enterprises. To say the least, he has never allowed himself to be second in aiding and encouraging public movements.

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This family biography is one of 74 biographies included in The History of Dallas County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Dallas County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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