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Below is a family biography included in The History of Pulaski 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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James M. Mays, farmer and stock raiser, of Liberty Township, was born in Hawkins County, East Tenn., in 1828, being a son of William and Crotia (Miner) Mays, who were born, reared and married in Halifax County, Va. They afterward removed to Hawkins County, Tenn., and there spent the remainder of their lives, the father dying at the close of the war and the mother six years later. The father was a farmer and stock raiser, and was a soldier in the War of 1812. His father, Beverly Mays, was a Virginian, and resided in his native State for many years, but during the latter portion of his life removed to Tennessee, where he spent the remainder of his days, and is now resting in the family burying ground in that State. James M. Mays is the eighth of thirteen children, three of whom are living in Pulaski County, two in Tennessee, one in Kentucky, two in California and one in Oregon. Two sons served in the Federal army during the late war, and two in the Confederate army. One of the latter, the youngest of the family, Charles T. H., was killed at Altoona Pass, Ga., near the close of the war. James M. was educated in the common schools of East Tennessee, and at the age of twenty began life for himself, coming to Pulaski County, Mo., in October, 1847, and was engaged in clerking for his brother-in-law in Waynesville until 1850. In the latter year he, in company with eighty persons, started on the overland trip to California, driving ox-teams, and after a seven-months’ journey reached their destination. He mined successfully for three years, and then went to the valleys, where he invested his means in cattle, and was engaged in stock raising until 1857, when he returned to Waynesville via the Isthmus of Panama and Cuba. He soon after made a visit to his parents in East Tennessee; then he and a brother-in-law, J. A. Rayl, engaged in the mercantile business in Waynesville. About a year later Mr. Mays established a store in Camden County, which he continued to conduct until the breaking out of the war, and since that time has been engaged in farming. In 1860 he was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Judge William and Mary Gillespie, who were natives of North Carolina, and were among the earliest settlers of Pulaski County, locating on the farm, which was then densely covered with woods, now owned by Mr. Mays. The mother died about 1853, and the father several years later. Mr. Gillespie was a man of prominence and influence, and was one of the judges of the Pulaski County Court. Mr. Mays became the father of four children, but only three of them are now living. He resided on a farm until about 1883, and then came to Richland to educate his children. He owns 340 acres of land, the greater portion of which is rich bottom land, and all this he has obtained by his own exertions and the aid of his worthy and intelligent wife. He was formerly a Whig in politics, but now supports the principles of the Democratic party. His wife is a member of the Christian Church, and one daughter is a member of the Methodist Church.

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This family biography is one of 80 biographies included in The History of Pulaski County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Pulaski County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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