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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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William C. Best, Dota, Ark. There are many incidents of peculiar interest presented in the life of Mr. Best which cannot be given in the brief space allotted to this sketch. He is known over a large region of the country tributary to Dota, his reputation being that of a man honorable and reliable in every walk of life, and it may be said, without the least arrogance, that he is a self-made man. His birth occurred in Georgia, on the 9th of April, 1826, his parents, Thomas and Nancy Best, also being natives of the same State. The father was born in Lincoln County, and the mother in Wilkes County, in 1797; he was a tiller of the soil for many years, of quiet demeanor, and universally respected by all who knew him. The mother died in Alabama, in 1862, and the father survived her until 1880, when his death occurred at the home of his son, William C. Best, in Arkansas. Both parents were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the mother having belonged for forty years, and the father for sixty years. The paternal grandparents were natives of North Carolina. William C. Best grew up on the farm with his father and mother, and received his education in the schools of Alabama, having moved to this State in the year 1840, at the age of fourteen. When twenty-one years old he began his own career, and for three years worked on the farm. On the 5th of December, 1850, he was married to Miss Mary J. Pope, in Macon County, Ala., and the fruits of their marriage are ten children, five sons and five daughters. James S. Best, the oldest son, was born on the 17th of December, 1851, in Macon County, Ala., and is now a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He was married to Miss Mattie J. McDonald on the 6th day of October, 1873. Sarah J. Best was born in Macon County, Ala., on the 19th of March, 1854; was married to Joseph G. McDonald on the 28th day of March, 1871, and died September 13, 1875, leaving two children, a boy and girl. Mary E. Best was born in Macon County, Ala., April 27, 1856; was married to Angus C. Baker September 6, 1878, and died on the 19th of November, 1887, leaving four boys. Emma J. Best was born in Macon County, Ala., April 16, 1858, and departed this life September 13, 1885. Andrew Thomas Best was born in Macon County, Ala., July 27, 1861; was married to Miss Etter Sorrells, January 22, 1885, and is now living on a farm adjoining his father. William C. Best, Jr., was born in Macon County, Ala., on the 21st of November, 1862, and is well educated, having attended some of the best normal institutions of learning in the State of Mississippi. He is now engaged in teaching in the public schools of his own county. Lovda Best was born in Tallapoosa County, Ala., August 18, 1866, and died March 25, 1882. John W. Best was born in Lee County, Miss., on the 30th of August, 1869, and is now living with his parents. He is a bright and studious young man. Burrilla A. Best was born in Independence County, Ark., on the 22d of March, 1872; was married to Angus C. Baker December 20, 1888, and is now residing at Sulphur Rock, Ark. Alonzo Best, born in Independence County, Ark., February 23, 1875, is the youngest of the family, and consequently is a great pet. When the war broke out Mr. Best was engaged in farming in Macon County, Ala. In 1862 he was occupied in making salt at the Central Salt Works, in Clark County, Ala., and about the middle of December returned home. Immediately following this he was employed by the government to go to Mobile, Ala., with a company of hands to help to fortify the town. Remaining there something over three months, he reached home about the 1st of April, 1863, and at once joined the Sixty-first Alabama regiment, Company A, under Col. W. G. Swanson, Clanton’s brigade. They were then ordered to Montgomery, and later to Pollard, being stationed there until 1864, when they were sent to Virginia and attached to Gen. Battle’s brigade, Rhodes’ division and Early’s corps. The following engagements were participated in: Battle of the Wilderness, May 5, 1864; Spottsylvania, on the 12th of same month, and Winchester, September 19, 1864 — made famous by Gen. Sheridan’s ride. Here he was severely wounded by a gun-shot, and was captured, made prisoner of war, and held at Winchester until the 10th of December, when he was sent to Baltimore, remaining there until January 8, 1865. Upon being sent to Point Lookout he was held there until June 5, 1865, when he was discharged, and again joined his family, whom he found living in Tallapoosa County, Ala. He remained there until the fall of 1867, when he moved to Lee County, Miss., but not being satisfied here, moved to Independence County, Ark. He found himself in possession of $180, a team of horses and wagon, a few household goods, and eight children. He rented for two years the same farm which he purchased in 1871, giving his note for the amount. By the closest economy and industry he succeeded in paying for it. To the original 160 acres he added from time to time, until he is now owner of 360 acres, nearly 200 of which are under cultivation, and about seventy of it he has cleared himself. When he first settled on the farm the only buildings on the same were two unfinished log rooms. Now he has a well-completed house of six rooms, good barns and out-buildings, a fine orchard; raises his own stock, and has some of the best of work horses and mules. His principal crops are cotton, corn, oats, wheat, etc., and he is known as a fine melon raiser, having this fruit early and late. In 1878 he erected a large gin house, which he has conducted ever since, with unusual success. He spends the autumn months engaged in ginning, and has averaged 250 bales each year for eight years. He votes with the Democratic party, and finds much of interest in local politics. He takes a great interest in conventions, and has once been a delegate to the Democratic State Convention. He has been a member of the Temperance Council Grange and Agricultural Wheel. Mr. Best and family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he is a steward and trustee of the same.

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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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