My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Greene 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.

* * * *

John M. Highfill, a prosperous farmer and stock-raiser of the county, is the tenth of eleven children, and was born in Hardeman County, Tenn., in 1850, being a son of Hezekiah and Temperance B. (Rook) Highfill, who were also Tennesseans, and were married in their native State. The father was a farmer and miller by occupation, and was also a local minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1858 he removed with his family to Greene County, Ark., and settled on 160 acres of land, about eight acres of which were cleared, and on which was erected a little log cabin. He began immediately to clear his land from timber, erect better buildings and otherwise improve his property, and became in time one of the well-to-do citizens of the county. During this time he continued his ministerial labors, and was instrumental in saving many souls. His death occurred in 1886, and his wife’s in 1872. John M. Highfill was reared to farm labor, but never attended the public schools, the most of his education being acquired at home. When about twenty-one years of age he began farming for himself, purchased his father’s old home, and was married to Miss Sarah L. Norton, a native of Alabama. He was engaged in general farming for some time after his marriage and did considerable speculating and trading, and in 1886 erected a good frame residence and made other valuable improvements. He has cleared about forty acres, and has some ninety under cultivation and fence, nearly all of which is excellent bottom land. In 1887 he bought eighty acres of fine bottom land, and now, taking his property all together, it is one of the finest bodies of land in the county. He has a good young orchard of about 200 trees. In 1886, in partnership with J. H. Thomas, he bought an interest in a general mercantile store at Bethel, and continued this business until the spring of 1888. At the present time he is dealing quite extensively in horses, but also gives his attention to the propagation of other stock. In April, 1888, he went to Florida, where he purchased land suitable for orange orchards, and has twelve acres improved, and has also purchased a house and lot in the town of Umatilla, Lake County, Fla. In 1881 he had a contract to clear the right of way and furnish the ties for five miles of the Knobel Branch of the Iron Mountain Railroad. He has always taken an active interest in politics, being a Democrat in his party affiliations, and in 1874 was elected justice of the peace, and after serving four years was elected sheriff of Greene County, in September, 1885, serving a term of two years, but was defeated for re-election by a small majority. On the 30th of October, 1886, in his official capacity as sheriff, he was compelled to execute William H. Hopper, the only man ever hanged by law in Greene County. He is Past Master in Paragould Lodge No. 368, of the A. F. & A. M., and he and wife are the parents of the following children: Henry N., Lovy A. (who died at the age of five years), Hezekiah, Joseph B. (who died when five years old), Eliza L., Benjamin Franklin and Delia Frances. Mr. Highfill had two brothers in the Confederate army: Isaac E., who was killed at the battle of Shiloh, on the 7th of April, 1862, while serving under Joe Johnston; and Hezekiah, who was with Hood in all his campaigns, and was wounded at the battle of Murfreesboro; he died March 22, 1880.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 120 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Greene County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Greene County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Greene County, Arkansas family biographies here: Greene County, Arkansas Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.