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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  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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DAVID A. BEST, an early settler and enterprising citizen of Bertrand Township, Berrien County, Mich., has been a leading business man of this part of the State for a period of forty-six years. A native of Columbia County, Pa., and born twenty-five miles northeast of the Susquehanna River, January 18, 1822, he was a young man full of hope and energy when he came to the West. His father, John Best, a native of New Jersey and reared in the State, removed early in life to Pennsylvania, where he married and settled on a farm. The paternal grandfather, John Best, was supposed to be by birth a Hollander. Sarah (Allen) Best, the mother of D. A. Best, was born and reared in the same old house which sheltered our subject on the day of his birth. The maternal grandfather, Capt. John Allen, was but five years of age when he emigrated to America with his parents and was reared on a farm, afterward serving bravely in the War of the Revolution as a Captain. At the close of the struggle for independence he settled upon a piece of land in the woods of Columbia County, and, surrounded by Indians, was employed by the Government as a scout and was active and courageous in his persistent efforts to protect the settlers from the depredations of the savages.

An excellent mechanic, and by trade a wheel-wright. Grandfather Allen manufactured spinning-wheels and made guns of excellent workmanship, many of which may yet be found in Columbia County. He lived to be ninety years of age and drew a pension from the Government. The father and mother of Mr. Best were married in their early home and remained for some time in Columbia County, removing thence to Michigan in 1848. In 1851, they bought a farm in St. Joseph County, Ind., where they spent the remainder of their lives. The father survived to reach seventy-six years. The mother died when sixty years old. John and Sarah (Allen) Best were the parents of eleven children, two daughters and nine sons. Two of the family died young, the others lived to mature age. Our subject was the second child and the second son and received his education in the little subscription schools of the neighborhood, and at the age of nineteen years learned the blacksmith trade. After a three-years apprenticeship he worked as journeyman for four years and helped to build the first railroad in Schuylkill County. He also assisted in the steel work of the Doubre Locks, on the canals in the last-named county. Arriving in Niles, Mich., in 1846, he worked at his trade for six months and then started in business for himself in company with William C. Armstrong, fitting out emigrants for their trip to California. They made shoes and nails by hand and in a comparatively brief time received $100 for the shoeing of the horses destined to go on the long journey.

Mr. Best has received employment from the Michigan Central Railroad and has done various kinds of work for the corporation, including an immense amount of horse-shoeing. He is an expert in steel work and has given valuable service to the railroad as well as to private individuals. Soon after the completion of the Michigan Central Railroad, our subject was taken ill and was unable to attend to business for some months. In about 1850, he bought ten acres in Milton Township, Cass County, and on this land erected shops and some other buildings and again engaged in his trade in connection with his farming. In 1856 he sold out and, removing to his present homestead, devoted himself entirely to the duties of agriculture. There was a log shanty on the farm and but few improvements when our subject settled there. Mr. Best was married in Elkhart County, Ind., in 1847, to Miss Elmira Lemon, who became the mother of twelve children, eight of whom are now living. John L., deceased, was the eldest born; James A. was the second son; Emma J. is the wife of Levi Button; Jerome T. and Henry L. were twins; David B. is next; Afretta died in infancy; Orrin T. and Artha are deceased; Wellington is next; Luzella is now Mrs. Price; and Nettie May is the youngest child. The homestead contains two hundred acres located in Bertrand Township, and forty-one acres in Buchanan Township. The valuable farm long since brought up to high cultivation, is now rented, Mr. West, after many years of useful industry, having retired from active business. His first wife having passed away, our subject was wedded to Catherine Griner, the widow of Peter Griner, an old resident of Pennsylvania. Mr. Best is a Democrat and has held various offices of the township, having served with ability as Highway Commissioner and Township Collector. He has for many years been associated with the business and social enterprises of Bertrand Township and enjoys the high regard of a host of friends.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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