My Genealogy Hound

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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Noah Bray, a wealthy retired farmer, and one of the early residents of Dallas County, Mo., was born in Gallia County, Ohio, January 29, 1819, and was there reared and educated. In 1840 he concluded to seek his fortune in the West, and came down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers on a steamboat to Boonville, Mo., and from there walked to Dallas County, a distance of 110 miles, in three days. He had a brother who had previously located here, and he made his home with him and immediately engaged in farming. He raised one crop, then married Elizabeth Darby, of Polk County, and purchased the farm on which he now lives, which consisted of 160 acres, on which he erected a little log house, and continued to live in this manner until he could make better improvements, which he soon did. The country was in a very primitive state at this time, and they raised their own cotton and flax and made their own clothes. Mr. Bray has resided in Dallas County for nearly half a century, and has seen the country grow from a wilderness into highly cultivated farms, and handsome residences take the place of the little log cabins of early days. He organized a company of militia during the war, was elected its captain, and while visiting at home was captured by the “Johnnies,” but succeeded in eluding their vigilance and made his escape. On December 24, 1840, his marriage occurred, and his union has been blessed in the birth of six children, three of whom are living: Elizabeth J., wife of William Alford; Mary M., wife of M. D. L. Jones, and Frances A., wife of W. A. Southard. Mrs. Bray died January 21, 1851, and September 18, 1851, Mr. Bray married Mary Baker, who has borne him five children: William E., Noah J., General F., Naomi, wife of M. Alford, and Margaret, wife of J. L. Austin. Mr. Bray owns 500 acres of land, with about 250 acres under cultivation, and has also been extensively engaged in stock dealing. He held the office of justice of the peace six years, public administrator six years, deputy sheriff of the county two years, and was also county commissioner two years. He and wife are members of the Baptist Church, and he is a member of the Masonic fraternity. His parents, William and Elizabeth (Denny) Bray, were born, reared and married in Surry County, N.C., and immigrated to Ohio in 1811, being among the early settlers of Gallia County. They entered 167 acres of unimproved land, and there spent the remainder of their days. The father was a soldier in the War of 1812, and he and wife became the parents of twelve children, nine sons and three daughters, but only three of the family are now living: William, Noah and Reuben.

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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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