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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Independence 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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Judge William Byers (deceased). Pennsylvania has given to Independence County many estimable citizens, but she has contributed none more highly respected, or, for conscientious discharge of duty in every relation of life, more worthy of respect and esteem than was the subject of this sketch. He was born on the 4th of March, 1810, being a son of Dr. John and Sarah (Bonner) Byers, also natives of Pennsylvania. Dr. John Byers was of Irish descent, and had seven brothers, all of whom were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Judge William Byers remained in his native State until about eight years of age, after which he moved with his parents to near Mount Vernon, Ohio. There he grew to manhood, receiving a limited education, so far as the facilities of schooling were concerned, and might be called a self-made man in every sense of the word. Early in life he commenced the study of law under Mr. Delno, a very famous lawyer, and was admitted to the bar, at Mount Vernon, Ohio, where he practiced a short time. He was married the first time at Fredericksburg, Ohio, and came with his family to Batesville, Ark., in about 1838, where he practiced his profession. He soon became very prominent, and was sent to the legislature, where he served one term. He was next elected circuit judge, and served on the bench for a number of years. After this he was elected to Congress, but, owing to some fraudulent circumstances, never took his seat. He never sought office, but was pushed and urged by his friends to accept, and was ever after a public man. He always filled every office with honor and to the satisfaction of his constituents. Although commencing life with limited means, he became very wealthy, until the late war, when he lost all his property; but it was characteristic of the man that he took everything with the utmost calmness and composure. His first wife was Miss Lucy Manning, of Ohio, by whom he had three children, only one living, Mrs. Hugh Stewart, of Memphis. He was married the second time, in 1850, to Mrs. Emily (Burton) Wilson, a daughter of Dr. P. P. Burton, a very prominent physician. Six children were born to this union, four now living: John, in Texas; Clayton, a civil engineer, in Old Mexico; Wren; and Nellie, wife of Dr. McMurtle. Mrs. Byers is a cousin of old Judge Clayton, of Mississippi, who is one of the prominent men of that State. By her marriage to Mr. Wilson, Mrs. Byers became the mother of two children, George, and Nannie, wife of Carroll H. Wood. George Wilson went through the late war. Mr. Byers was a prominent Mason, and was the father of that secret organization in Batesville. He was for a number of years editor of the Batesville News. He died of paralysis at the home of his daughter in Memphis. Mrs. Byers owns the block where she lives, and is a very wide-awake, energetic lady. She is a member of the Episcopal Church, and is much respected by all who know her. She is of Scotch descent. Her maternal grandmother was born, reared and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland, and spoke very fluently some seven languages. When nineteen years of age she came to America, and located at Lynchburg, Va. She died near Sandusky, at the age of one hundred and five years. The grandfathers on both sides came from England, and also settled in Virginia. They were all Revolutionary officers during the war. The father of Mrs. Byers first moved to Mississippi, and, being a graduate of the old Jefferson Medical College, of Philadelphia, practiced his profession for a number of years. He then came to Batesville, practiced a short time, and then moved to Little Rock, Ark., where he passed his last days. He is said to have been the handsomest man in that city. He had been married three times, and was the father of twenty-six children — three now living by the first marriage, three by the second, and three by the third.

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This family biography is one of 158 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Independence County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Independence County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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

View a map of 1889 Independence County, Arkansas here: Independence County, Arkansas Map

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