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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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J. D. Driver, like so many of the representative citizens of Mississippi County, Ark., is a Tennessean by birth, having been born in that State in 1830. At the age of four years he was brought to Arkansas by his parents, Abram and Sallie (De Moss) Driver, who removed from their old home in Tennessee by flatboat down the Cumberland River, and during a storm were blown up against the landing at Council Bend, in Crittenden County. After a little investigation Mr. Driver discovered a fine body of land at this point, and here decided to make his home, purchasing from the government a tract of land consisting of 1,000 acres, at $1.25 per acre. Here he settled with his family, consisting of his wife and seven children (four being afterward born to them), and they set bravely to work to improve their land, the result of their united efforts becoming plainly perceptible. On this farm, where he had labored so earnestly and faithfully to provide a competency for his family, he died in 1845, leaving his wife to carry on the work he had left uncompleted. This she did for four years, when she, too, died. J. D. Driver, whose name heads this sketch, was the sixth child born to his parents, and as there were no public schools in those days, his early opportunities for acquiring an education were of the most meager description. His two elder brothers and his sisters were, however, sent away to school by the father during his lifetime. After the death of the mother the family became scattered in all directions, and for about two years J. D. Driver drifted aimlessly from one point to another without settled occupation. Being brought up to a farm life he chose that as his calling, and after remaining some time in Phillips County he moved to Lauderdale County, Tenn., where he purchased a farm and made his home from 1858 to 1872, giving much of his attention to the raising of cotton subsequent to the year 1865. In 1860 he was married to Miss Sarah Gilespie, a daughter of James Gilespie, of Lauderdale County, Tenn., and granddaughter of John Gilespie, a North Carolinian, whose wife was a Miss Minerva Nelson, a daughter of Edward Nelson, of South Carolina. Mr. Driver purchased the farm where he now lives, the place being then known as the Hardin farm. It is situated about two miles below Osceola, Ark., and by proper management and strict attention to his calling, he has vastly improved his property and is now accounted one of the leading agriculturists of his section. Up to 1880 he was largely interested in the culture of cotton, to which he devoted from 1,000 to 2,000 acres annually, but since that time he has been renting his land, which amounts to 14,000 acres, 11,000 being in Mississippi County, of which 3,500 are under cultivation. He is in every respect a self-made man, for the money he realized from his father’s estate, amounting to $3,500, he invested in slaves a short time prior to the Rebellion and consequently lost all. Just before the fall of Fort Sumter he had bought five negroes, paying for one $1,600, for another $1,300, for another $1,100, and for a negress and child $1,300, she afterward becoming the mother of two more children. These he lost in addition to twenty head of horses and mules, which crippled him financially, but with the energy and determination to succeed, which have ever characterized his efforts, he set bravely to work to retrieve his fortunes, and is now one of the wealthiest planters in Mississippi County, being the heaviest tax-payer. His residence is beautifully situated, facing the river, and his lawn and buildings show unmistakable evidence of taste and refinement. Around his home is ornamental shrubbery of many varieties; and immense forest trees of sycamore, box elder and elm assist largely in making his home one of the loveliest in the county. During the war, before the Federal troops reached Osceola, Mr. Driver sent his slaves to Alabama for safe keeping where they, in time, became free, but to his credit be it said that the colored people, with one exception, made their way back to him and are now working on his plantation. A short time ago he received a letter from the one who remained in Alabama, in which he expressed a wish that he too could come back to his old home. The names of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. Driver are as follows: John Lee, who died at the age of sixteen years; May, who lived to be twelve months old; Abner, who resides on his own farm of 300 acres near his father, is married and has two children, Harry and Ida May; Minerva Tennessee, who is the wife of B. F. Hale, and is residing on one of her father’s farms across the river in Tennessee; James Skelton, who resides on his father’s place about three miles from home, is married and has two children, Cecil and Savilla May; William Walter, at home attending school; Eli Edward, Jettie, and Lillie, an infant. Mr. and Mrs. Driver are worthy and respected members of the Baptist Church at Osceola, and he is a member in good standing of the Masonic fraternity.

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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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