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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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William J. Self may properly be mentioned as one of the leading farmers of Dallas County, of which he is a native. His parents, Peter and Nancy (Reynolds) Self, were born, reared and married in Tennessee, and about 1835 immigrated to Dallas County, Mo., coming in covered wagons, and located on the land now owned by J. J. Reynolds. Here he erected a very primitive log cabin, and as soon as the Government put the land on the market he took a claim, and began clearing his land. Indians and wild game of all kinds were plentiful in the region at that period, but they were little troubled by either. They did their marketing at St. Louis, but all their clothing was home made. In 1859 the parents moved to Arkansas, where they both died, the former’s death occurring in 1863. Five of their eight children are living at the present time, whose names are as follows: Polly (wife of James Hatfield), William J., Charlotte (wife of Col. John D. Allen), Eliza (wife of Jacob Mendenhall) and Ruth (wife of L. D. Little). William J. Self, whose name heads this biography, was born on the 26th of January, 1838, and has always resided on a farm in Dallas County, in which he was the third child born. His early educational advantages were very meager, and he never entered a school-room until after ten years of age, and that was a little log cabin with a dirt floor and no windows. He has always been noted for his energy and thrift, and is now the owner of a valuable farm of 240 acres, all under fence, and with 125 acres under cultivation. He has a handsome and commodious residence, substantial out-buildings, and is an extensive dealer in stock. He enlisted in the Home Guards for three months in 1861, and after serving about two years with the Rangers he enlisted in Company D, Fifteenth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, and was mustered out in July, 1865. After the war closed he returned home, and bought the land where he now lives, which was then heavily covered with timber. He has been married four times, his first marriage being to Miss Sarah Cox, in 1857, who died six weeks later, and in 1859 he espoused Elizabeth Cowden, by whom he had three sons: James H., Francis M. and William R. This wife died in July, 1863, and in August, 1865, he wedded Mary McGinnis, who also bore him three children: Mary E., Mark L. and Nancy J. The mother of these children died in 1873, and a year later Mr. Self was married to Sarah Shaw, by whom he has four children: Albert J., Minnie P., Lulu E. and Edward W. Mr. and Mrs. Self are members of the Baptist Church, and are much esteemed as citizens and neighbors.

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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

To view additional Dallas County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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