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Below is a family biography included in The History of Maries 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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Thomas A. Felker, ex-county collector of Maries County, Mo., was born March 10, 1860, in Vienna, Mo., and is a son of John and Amanda M. (Anderson) Felker. John Felker died February 6, 1889. He was born in Hanover, Germany, March 8, 1830, and immigrated to this country in 1848, landing at New Orleans. After his arrival here he worked for a while at Cairo, Ill., as a deck hand on a steam boat. After this he went to Galena, Ill., and worked as a day laborer in the mines at that place. For some time after that he was employed in a retail store in St. Louis. In 1850, when the California fever was in its full flush, he shipped for the Pacific coast, where he remained a few years, and, having accumulated some means, returned to the States in the spring of 1853, and in that year came to Osage County, and in connection with the late C. W. Holtschneider bought up a large herd of cattle for the California market. September 20, 1853, he was united in marriage to Amanda M. Anderson, eldest daughter of the late Thomas Anderson, of Maries County. She was a lady of considerable mental culture, having received her education at a seminary for young ladies in Mississippi. His venture in California with his cattle proved a financial failure. In the spring of 1855 he and his wife returned from California to the States by water, and were passengers on the ill-fated steamer “Yankee Blade,” which was wrecked in the spring of 1855. Immediately after the location of the present site of Vienna, Mr. Felker erected the residence in which he died, and moved to the same in the fall of 1855, and early in the year of 1856 erected a small log house on the present location of the “Vienna Exchange,” and went into business, continuing the same until the fall of 1858, when he sold out to James G. Holman, and immediately afterward went into the general merchandising business in partnership with R. W. Anderson, in the property now owned and occupied by Judge Robert Rowden; in 1860 he and Mr. Anderson sold out to Dr. V. G. Latham, and from that time on, until about the year 1878, he was actively engaged as a dealer in stock and farming. Mr. Felker filled the office of county treasurer twice by election and once by appointment, and was one of the few officers of the county who refused to take the oath prescribed by the constitutional convention of Missouri, known as the vacating ordinance. Mr. Felker never moved or changed his residence from the time he settled on his homestead, thirty-four years ago, to the time of his death. Mrs. Felker died March 20, 1878. Prior to the death of his wife, Mr. Felker had buried two children, an infant, who sleeps over the distant mountains, and a daughter, who, with father and mother, lie-side by side in the village cemetery. He left surviving him three daughters and two sons, and since the death of his wife has resided with his children, to whom he was most devotedly attached. Being a man very positive in his convictions, filial affection was largely developed and a marked characteristic of his nature. His education was limited, but from observation and experience few were shrewder business men than he was. In adversity or in prosperity he was the same tireless worker. He always looked upon the bright side of whatever he was engaged in, and labored faithfully for success. His hospitality was extended to all alike, and friends, neighbors or acquaintances will often recall his many kindnesses indiscriminately bestowed. His son, Thomas A. Felker, received his early education at Vienna, and later spent eighteen months in the literary department of the State University at Columbia. Prior to his entering the university he had engaged in teaching in Maries County a short time. January 23, 1884, he married Millie Tyree, who was born September 1, 1862, and is a daughter of John Tyree, an attorney at law at Carthage, Mo. Three children have been born to this union, viz.: John Floyd, Lilian and an infant son. In 1881 Mr. Felker was appointed deputy collector of Maries County under J. M. Anderson, in which capacity he served four years, and in 1884 he was elected collector on the Democratic ticket, receiving a re-election in 1886. He has served the people faithfully, and with much credit. Mrs. Felker is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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This family biography is one of 37 biographies included in The History of Maries County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Maries County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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