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Below is a family biography included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas 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 Christopher Sheffield, farmer and stock raiser, was born in Henry County Va., May 24, 1819, and is a son of Leonard and Lucy (Wooten) Sheffield, both of whom were born in the “Old Dominion,” where the mother is still living. Leonard Sheffield was a cabinet workman and carriage-maker by trade, and was a soldier in the War of 1812. He belonged to the Free Masons, and died in Henry County, Va., in 1839, aged about sixty years. His father, Joseph Sheffield, was born in England, and at an early day came to America, serving in the Revolutionary War. Thomas C. Sheffield was reared and educated in his native county, and at the age of twenty-one years was married to Martha N. Martin, also born in Henry County, September 14, 1821, and a daughter of Stephen and Sally (Fisher) Martin. The father was a farmer and shoemaker, and a son of Joseph Martin, who was a soldier throughout the Revolutionary War, and served as first lieutenant. His wife was born in Virginia and was a daughter of John Fisher, a farmer. After his marriage Thomas Sheffield spent three years as overseer on the plantation of Col. A. B, Staples, in Patrick County, Va. The following year he was overseer in Stokes County, N. C., for David Dalton. He then entered the employ of Sam Hairstin, who owned 1,500 slaves, and was overseer on his plantation for five years. He then served in the same capacity for two years for Robert Matthews, three years with William Poindexter, one year with William Lash, three years with his brother, William A. Sheffield, who owned fifty slaves, then one year with his uncle, Jesse Wooten. At this time he quit overseeing and engaged in farming and tobacco growing, which he made a success. He erected the first tobacco barn in Benton County, Ark. In I860 he removed to Dallas County, Tex., where he was successfully engaged in farming and stock raising. Since 1860 he has resided in Benton County, Ark. He commenced life without means, but by industry and good management has accumulated considerable property, reared a large family, and has assisted all his children in making a start in life. He has a farm of 200 acres, with 160 under cultivation. His marriage was blessed in the birth of thirteen children, six of whom are living: Lucy, wife of Fred O’Dell; George, Thomas, Mary, wife of William Walker, and Jesse. His sons, Leonard, George and Thomas, were Confederate soldiers in the late war, and during that time Leonard died in Mississippi. Thomas was Kirby Smith’s orderly-sergeant.

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This family biography is one of 240 biographies included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Benton County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Benton County, Arkansas family biographies, click here

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