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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Dallas County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  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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William J. Proctor, general merchant, Fordyce, Ark. The trade carried on general merchandise is of very great importance and constitutes a leading factor in the commercial fabric of the smaller towns and villages. It is a line of business requiring special qualifications of a high order, and only those possessed of these succeed in that somewhat precarious undertaking. Prominent among those engaged in this line in Fordyce is William J. Proctor. The specific business carried on by this gentleman was established in 1887, and he has a large and excellent stock of goods. He owes his nativity to Marion County, S. C, where his birth occurred in 1836, and his parents, Jesse and Kittie E. (Graves) Proctor, were born in North Carolina in 1782 and South Carolina in 1786, respectively. They both died in the last-named State, the father at the age of ninety-two years, and the mother when eighty-two years of age. Both were for many years members of the Methodist Church, the father since the time he was seventeen years of age, and he was a successful tiller of the soil. His father, Shadrick Proctor, was probably born in Edgecombe County, N. C., resided for some time in South Carolina, but spent the latter part of his life in his native State. He was of English parentage, and was a farmer by occupation. The maternal grandfather, Thomas Graves, was born in South Carolina, and there passed his last days. He was of Scotch-Irish and Dutch descent, and was also a farmer. William J. Proctor, was one of four children born to his father’s second marriage, and was reared and educated (rather limited) in his native county. He was married in 1859 to Miss Esther A. Coleman, a native of Marion County, S. C, who died in Dallas County, Ark., in 1868. To his union two daughters were born, one now living. Mr. Proctor’s second marriage occurred in October, 1869, to Miss Mary F. Henry, a native of Mississippi, and the daughter of James and Mary Ann Henry, natives of Alabama. Her parents came to Dallas County. Ark., in 1858, and there the father died in 1884. He was a merchant. His widow is living at Holly Springs. To Mr. and Mrs. Proctor were born five children —four sons and a daughter— all of whom are having the best advantages for an education. In 1859 Mr. Proctor came to Dallas County, and farmed until after the war, and in 1866 removed to Holly Springs, where he was engaged in merchandising, until his removal to Fordyce. He has over 2,000 acres of good timber land, has a good residence and business building in Fordyce, all the result of his own exertions. He was justice of the peace for two years, and was postmaster at Red Bird post-office during the war. In politics he has been a Democrat all his life, and his first presidential vote was for J. C. Breckinridge, in 1860. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity for twenty-nine years, and is now of Em Lodge No. 363, Fordyce, Ark. He is worshipful master of the lodge. He and wife have been members of the Methodist Church for many years.

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This family biography is one of 55 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Dallas County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Dallas County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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