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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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R. W. Friend. The life-record of him whose name here appears has been one of more than usual interest, and his career has been of such benefit and influence to the people, not only of Mississippi County, but throughout the State, that a sketch of his life will be of more than passing interest; which, though brief, will convey something of an idea of his usefulness in different walks of life. He is the proprietor of Pecan Point, one of the largest, richest and also best-kept plantations along the river from Memphis, Tenn., to Cairo, Ill., and although he has been the owner of the property only a few years he has by his tact, skill and energy converted it from almost a wilderness into well-tilled fields of cotton and corn. Shortly after the close of the war he settled a few miles below his present place in the State of Tennessee, where by close economy and industry he became in a few years the owner of 160 acres of land. This land he sold in 1872, and purchased in one body 2,000 acres of his present estate, which now amounts to nearly 4,000 acres, a large portion of which is under cultivation, extending about a mile along the river and several miles inland. All the land is well fenced and laid off in well cultivated fields of cotton, of which material Mr. Friend ships 1,000 bales annually. The village of Pecan Point, which he founded and owns, consists of one store, one blacksmith-shop, one saw-mill, a grist-mill, a cotton-gin, four churches (two of which, the Methodist and Presbyterian, are attended by the white residents, and the other two by the colored population) and two schools, the white school having an attendance of twenty pupils and the colored school an attendance of 100 pupils. There are also about forty dwelling houses, all the property of Mr. Friend, with the exception of one dwelling-house, which belongs to his son-in-law, A. M. King, who is the able assistant and business manager of the mercantile establishment at Pecan Point. He is a gentleman well qualified by education and experience for the responsible position he is now filling. Mr. Friend’s assistants, servants and tenantry comprise a population of nearly 1,000 people, and he also owns a large estate of rich bottom-land, comprising 3,000 acres in Phillips County, near Helena, which is under the supervision of his brother, E. B. Friend. Mr. Friend is one of the few men in this section who realizes the importance of using the best tools and the latest improved machinery on his plantation, and, as one of his men tersely puts it, “He uses nothing but the best, either in tools, mules or n*****s,” and the results have shown his judgment to be sound. In personal appearance he is prepossessing and in disposition is genial and liberal, distributing his wealth with an unstinted hand wherever it is essential to the pleasure or welfare of himself and family or those around him, and as a result he commands the respect and liking of all with whom he comes in contact. He is a native of Missouri, having been born near Jefferson City in 1839, but was taken shortly after his birth by his father, F. C. Friend, to Bolivar, Mo., where he grew to manhood; and here his early scholastic advantages were enjoyed, though only such as the common schools of that day afforded. By his own individual efforts, and at the expense of diligent study and hard practical experience, he has attained his present enviable position. When the war broke out his sympathies were naturally with the South, and in 1861, in company with his two brothers, Edward and Daniel, and his father, he entered the Confederate service under Sterling Price, and was on active duty until 1864, when he was captured at La Mine River, his brother Daniel being killed a short time afterward on Price’s last raid into Missouri. Mr. Friend was taken to Alton, Ill., where he was held a prisoner, being afterward released on taking the oath of allegiance. He resided for some time in Edwardsville, Ill., and afterward went as far north as Ottumwa, Iowa, at which place he made his home for about six months, then returned to Missouri. In 1868 he settled in Tennessee, nearly opposite where he now lives, but in 1872 came to his present plantation, as above stated. His residence is by far the finest and most substantial in the county, and is built in the shape of a T, having a frontage of fifty feet. It is painted white, is two stories in height, with porches above and below, and covers an area of 5,000 square feet. It commands a beautiful view of the river, situated as it is on a bold point of land and only 100 yards distant, and can be plainly seen from steamers as they round the bend from the north, ten or twelve miles distant, or from Island No. 36, many miles below. The lawn surrounding this ideal home is several acres in extent, and is dotted over with lovely forest trees of elm, oak, cottonwood, sycamore, pecan, magnolia, etc.; while back of the house is a fine apple orchard, and nearby is the residence of his son-in-law, Mr. King, which is the second best house in the county, covering an area of 4,000 square feet. All the buildings in the town are painted white, and present a lovely picture from the river. In 1860 Mr. Friend was married near Bolivar, Mo., to Miss Nancy Payne, who died in 1866, leaving two children: Miss Virginia, who is a graduate of St. Vincent Academy, at Cape Girardeau, Mo., and is now at home, and Emma, who was educated in the same school and is now the wife of A. M. King, and the mother of three children. Mr. Friend married his present wife in Tennessee, her maiden name being Miss Melissa Carr, of Shelby County, Tenn., and a daughter of G. L. Carr. Their union has been blessed in the birth of three children: Miss Nettie, just returned from McMinnville, Tenn., where she had been attending school; Charley, a lad in his teens, whom Mr. Friend expects to give a thorough collegiate education, and Roberta, a little girl at home. The family attend the Methodist Church, and Mr. Friend is a member of the Masonic and I. O. O. F. fraternities, having joined the latter organization in 1866.

*original offensive racial term removed

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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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