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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  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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John F. Davis, merchant and farmer, Murfreesboro, Ark. In the business of merchandising Mr. Davis is second to no other merchant in this portion of the county. There are but few residents who have carried on merchandising and farming and have made a success of both as has our subject. He is a native-born resident of this county, his birth occurring where he now lives in 1850, and is the fifth of seven children, the result of the union of Abijah and Lucinda (Dixon, nee Brewer) Davis, natives of Illinois and Missouri, respectively. Abijah Davis moved with his parents to Arkansas in 1822, and in growing up in that day and time received no advantages, so that in starting out for himself at the age of nineteen he was absolutely penniless. He engaged in farming, and was married in 1839. About this time he bought a small farm of 160 acres, three-fourths of a mile west of Murfreesboro, which he improved and added to, until at the time of his death, which occurred in 1873, he was the owner of 680 acres, with 150 acres under cultivation, all the result of his honest, earnest labor. He took an active interest in all enterprises for the good of the county and was willing to lend a helping hand. John F. Davis worked industriously on his father’s farm and attended the public schools of the county until twenty-one years of age, when he began farming in Muddy Creek Township. He was married in 1871 to Miss Emily S. Haynes, a native of Georgia, and after his father’s death returned to the old homestead. He bought considerable land, inherited some, and now has 500 acres, 150 under cultivation, all of which he has cleared himself. His land is very productive, and much of it will make over a bale of cotton to the acre. He has an excellent orchard and a good place in all respects. In 1884 he bought the mill and gin in town and after two years sold it. In December, 1889, he engaged in merchandising in Murfreesboro in partnership with Owens & Stevens, but soon bought his partner out. In February, 1890, Mr. Stevens purchased an interest again. They carry a complete stock of general merchandise valued at $3,000, and are doing a good business. To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Davis have been born eight children, all of whom are living: Martha and Mary (twins, born in 1872), Abijah (born in 1874), Eletha, Cora Lee, Beulah May, Ida and Joe Florence. Mr. Davis is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his wife is a member of the Baptist. He is active in his support of churches and schools, and is director in his school district. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Pike Lodge No. 91, and is senior warden in the same.

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This family biography is one of 71 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Pike County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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