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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi 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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E. M. Ayres. It is a fact recorded in history that the first English immigrants to Virginia were a superior race, with most progressive views of government, liberty and laws, and who sought out homes in the New World in obedience, to impulse prompted by lofty ambition and an earnest desire to benefit the race. From these ancestors sprang men who subsequently became eminent in different localities. A worthy native of that State is Mr. Ayres, who is one of the prominent planters of Mississippi County, Ark., and resides two miles west of Osceola. He was born in Buckingham County, Va., in 1840, and is the seventh in a family of nine children born to John W. and Mary (Masey) Ayres. The parents were also natives of Virginia, where they spent their entire lives, the mother dying about 1848 and the father in 1857. The latter was a well-known planter in his native State, and the family was widely known and universally respected. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. The paternal grandfather was a farmer and miller, and was also a very prominent Methodist Episcopal preacher, having married every couple in his county for a period of twenty years. E. M. Ayres learned the rudiments of farming in his native State, and attended the common schools until sixteen years of age. He remained at home until the age of twenty-one years, and in 1859 went to West Tennessee, where he engaged as overseer for his brother-in-law, John W. Chambers. At the breaking out of the late war he threw down the implements of peace to take up the weapons of warfare, and enlisted in Capt. Dean’s command, afterward joined to the Fourth Tennessee Regiment of Infantry under Col. Nely. He was assigned to the Mississippi division, and soon secured permission to organize a company, which he at once did, namely Company A, united with the Forty-seventh Tennessee Infantry. He was in the battle of Shiloh, and during that most destructive engagement his company was almost totally annihilated, only eighteen out of the 108 returning. Mr. Ayres then joined the Henderson Scouts, under Capt. Tom Henderson, and operated in the Mississippi Valley. He was in the battles of Corinth, Parker’s Cross Roads, Franklin, Tenn., and Murfreesboro, where he received a severe wound in the hand. The company then made a campaign into Mississippi, and surrendered at Gainesville, Ala., in 1865. During his time of service Mr. Ayres had three horses shot from under him, was captured several times, but always succeeded in making his escape. He was in many close engagements, was a fearless and daring soldier, and saw a great deal of the war. In 1865 he came to Mississippi County, and engaged in the saw-mill business with Dr. Hardin, of Nashville. Here he sawed the timber to put up the first store-house built in Osceola after the war. Mr. Ayres continued this business in a successful manner for over twenty years, and supplied the lumber to build most of the frame houses in this county. He has made a great deal of money by strict application to business, and the energetic and thorough manner in which he has taken advantage of all methods, tending to enhance the value of his property, has had a great deal to do with his obtaining the competence which he now enjoys. His wife was originally Miss Sallie Bowen, whom he married in 1867. Her father, Arthur Bowen, is one of the well-known settlers in this county. From time to time Mr. Ayers has bought large tracts of land, and is now the owner of about 6,000 acres, 200 of which are under cultivation. He has made all the improvements on his place, and has assisted in opening 2,000 acres for cultivation. During his residence in Mississippi County he has seen many changes, and he speaks very highly of this section. The result of his marriage with Miss Bowen has been nine children, three of whom are deceased: Lizzie died at the age of two years; Charley died at the age of two years, and Lelah died at the age of fourteen years. Those living are Willis, who lives at home and is fourteen years of age; Arthur, twelve years of age; Clay, ten years; Louis, eight; Sallie B., six, and Eddy, two years in 1889.

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This family biography is one of 162 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Mississippi County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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

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

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