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Below is a family biography included in The History of McDonald 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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Jesse L. Elliff was born in Lawrence County, Mo., May 29, 1855, and is one of thirteen children born to the marriage of Constant P. Elliff and Mary J. Potter. Constant P. Elliff was born in Giles County, Tenn., in November, 1818, and moved to Missouri in 1851. He was an old-line Whig, anti-slavery and a temperance man. He entered the United States service in 1861, but was discharged in September, 1862. He followed agricultural pursuits until the time of his death, February 28, 1882. Of their twelve children eight are living, whose names are as follows: Rowan V. (Krespach), Overton C., Michael G., Sarah F. (Hire), Jesse L., A. C., Joseph D. and Daniel S. Jesse L. remained in his native county until 1863, when he went with his parents to Morris County, Kas., returning, however, to Lawrence County, Mo., in February, 1865. In November, 1866, they came to McDonald County and settled near where the subject of this sketch now resides. He worked on the farm in summer and attended school in winter, and had but little time to study, but that time was well improved. He was granted a certificate in 1874, and taught his first school in an adjoining district. With his father’s permission he supported himself by teaching in the winter, and attending the select schools of Pineville and at Drury College, Springfield, Mo. Since 1874 he has taught school every winter season and a part of the time during the summers, though he usually farms during the latter seasons. On July 29, 1877, he was united in marriage with Octavia Stewart, a daughter of Thomas H. Stewart, of McDonald County. Mr. and Mrs. Elliff are the parents of three children, two of whom, Anna May and Jesse Edward, are living. Mrs. Elliff’s father is a distant relative of Henry Clay and of Charles Stewart, Daniel Boone’s partner. He came to McDonald County in the fall of 1874. He and wife are the parents of nine children, four of whom are living, viz.: Octavia (Elliff), George S., William R. and Marcus L. Mr. Elliff has studied law, and is an enterprising and industrious young man, who takes much interest in educational affairs and literature. He is a Sunday-school worker and an earnest temperance man, both practically and theoretically. He owns an interest in the old home­stead. Politically, he supports the principles of the Republican party, and religiously is a Baptist. He is a member of various secret orders, viz.: K. of L., I. O. G. T. and Farmers’ Alliance.

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This family biography is one of 82 biographies included in The History of McDonald County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: McDonald County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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