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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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JOHN K. EMMONS. Few of the citizens of Cass County have resided here for so long a period as the venerable man who forms the subject of our sketch, and who is an honored resident of Pokagon Township, living on section 10. He was born in Giles County, Va., on the 18th of August, 1808, and is therefore at the present writing (1893) four-score and five years old. His father, James Emmons, was born near Fredericksburg, Va., in 1760, and was of English parentage. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a resident of the island of St. Helena, but was kidnapped and brought to the Continent, where he passed the remainder of his life.

James Emmons served in the Revolutionary War, taking the place of a brother who had been drafted into the service. He participated in the engagements at Cowpens and Yorktown, and fortunately was never wounded, although in the battle of Cowpens his comrades both on the right and left were shot. He was a well-educated man, considering that early period in the history of our country, when advantages at best were meagre and opportunities few. Mr. Emmons married Miss Sarah Kirk, and after the death of his parents he emigrated to North Carolina, where he lived on rented property for seven years. Later he moved to Giles County, Va., and, purchasing three hundred and twenty acres of wild land, devoted his attention to its improvement and cultivation.

The parental family consisted of twelve children, all of whom grew to manhood and womanhood, married and reared families before there were any deaths in the family, and it is said that during all these years it was never necessary to call a physician. Mr. Emmons came to Michigan in 1834 with our subject, his youngest child, and here he remained until his death, in 1839, at an advanced age. His wife survived until 1853, when she passed away at the advanced age of ninety. Both were Baptists in their religious belief, and at the time of the division in that denomination identified themselves with the Missionary Baptists, continuing in that church until their demise. Politically, the father was a Democrat, stanch in his adherence to that party. His children were as follows: Ephraim, William, Tilman, Elmer, James, John K.; Elizabeth, wife of William Kirk; Margaret, who married Thornton Duncan; Nancy, wife of John Redick; Sallie, Mrs. William Kirk; and Elsie, who married Jacob Harlis. All are now deceased with the exception of our subject. The sisters were all buried in different States.

The boyhood days of our subject were passed in his father’s home, and at the age of nineteen he assumed the management of the farm. His marriage united him with Miss Elsie, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Duncan) Southern, natives respectively of France and England. Mrs. Emmons was born in North Carolina, and died in Michigan in April, 1888. She was the mother of nine children, as follows: Missouri, who married J. A. Bolton; James H.; Virginia, who married A. J. Myers; John P.; Ellen; Nancy, who became the wife of Thomas Crandell; Sarah, who married Henry B. Wesseld; Charles„ A. and Thomas. All are deceased with the exception of Mrs. Bolton, Mrs. Crandell and Charles A.

Upon coming to Michigan, Mr. Emmons entered one hundred and forty acres of Government land, which he cleared and improved. He was poor at the time of coming here, and as there were eight in the family he was forced to work diligently and untiringly in order to provide maintenance for his dependent ones. He was successful in his efforts and acquired the ownership of one hundred acres, which his grandson now farms. For fifty-two years he has been identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he has been an active worker, having served as Class-leader and Steward for many years. Politically, he is a Prohibitionist in principle and is an interested worker in the temperance cause. Now in the twilight of his useful existence, Mr. Emmons is nearing the bourne whence no traveler returns, but long after he shall have passed to his final reward his name will be treasured in the hearts of the people of Cass County.

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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 Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

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

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