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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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Jesse Ashburn is recognized as a careful, energetic agriculturist of this community, and by his advanced ideas and progressive habits has done no little good for the farming interest hereabout. Originally from Huntsville, Ala., he was born in the year 1823, and is the son of Byrd Ashburn who, shortly after the birth of his son Jesse, loaded his family and effects on a flatboat at Huntsville and floated down the Tennessee River to the Ohio, on that river down to the Mississippi, and thereon to the mouth of the Hatchie River. He then sailed up that river to the mouth of Indian Creek, where he disembarked and took up land in Tennessee. Here he opened up a fine farm, but later sold out and moved to near Randolph, where he remained one year. He then moved with his family, consisting of his wife and four children, direct to Frenchman’s Bayou, settled about a fourth of a mile from where his son Jesse now resides, and there remained until his death, which occurred in 1847. His wife survived him eleven years. Jesse Ashburn has lived in this settlement ever since, with the exception of about five years spent in Missouri, whither he had moved in 1863. During the war he took part with neither side except to suppress a few guerrillas who were plundering indiscriminately in Missouri. For many years after his residence in Arkansas, there was no market, and but two settlements on the Bayou — one family by the name of McClung and another by the name of Owens — but they left no descendants here. The first school taught was at Owens’ house, and McClung’s son taught the first term. Mr. Ashburn attended, and the only book used was the spelling book. This was about the year 1836. The few settlers lived on corn bread and bear meat, this being the regular diet. The woods were full of animals, and privation and hardship were the order of each day. Once in a while a little coffee was secured from the boats on the river, but it was scarce and high. Most of their clothing was homespun, although they sometimes secured a little shirting from the boats, and their shoes were made of leather tanned by themselves. Caps were made of otter hides. The first cotton was raised about 1849 or 1850, but was not cultivated as a crop until a few years before the war, after which it was raised with great profit along the river front. It has been noticed that as the land is improved and cleared up the whole surface becomes dryer. Even in the last ten years there has been a very noticeable improvement. Mr. Ashburn has in his field now, under a fine state of cultivation, land that the water used to stand on as high as his waist. His marriage with Miss Emily Adkinson occurred in 1846. She is the daughter of John B. and C. A. (Watts) Adkinson, the father a native of Georgia, but who passed his last days in Missouri, and the mother a native of Tennessee. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Ashburn were born six children: Andrew J., John David, who married Miss Higgins, of Mississippi County, Ark., and is the father of six children; Savannah, who married Joe N. Hays, and now lives on the Chickasawba, they have two children; Lavina J., married to J. R. Music, of Mississippi County, Ark.; Thomas J. and A. Forrest, at home. Mr. Ashburn is a member of Masonic Lodge No. 251, of Frenchman’s Bayou, and has been a member and a main pillar in the Missionary Baptist Church for the past nine years.

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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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