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Below is a family biography included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  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. A. DAVIS, farmer. Sec. 34; P. O. Downs; born in Greene Co., Ill., Oct. 13, 1840; he is a son of Ransom Davis, who was born near Salisbury, N. C., and emigrated to Greene Co., Ill., when quite young, where he followed school-teaching, merchandising and farming until 1857, when he located in Bloomington, some two years, when he removed to Sec. 29, Old Town Township, until the fall of 1861, when he enlisted in the 33d Ill. Regt., and served three years in the Union army; he then returned to McLean Co., and, in 1865, removed to Minnesota, where he now lives. The subject of this sketch lived with his parents and attended the common schools in Greene Co., until 1857, when he located in McLean Co., where he followed farming until December, 1861, at which date he enlisted in the 26th I. V. I., and went forward to battle for the Union; he was forwarded to the Army of Tennessee, and was in many severe battles, of which were Mission Ridge, siege and capture of Vicksburg, siege and capture of Atlanta, and with Sherman during his march through Georgia to the sea, arriving at Savannah to spend Christmas of 1864; he then marched north through the Carolinas and near Raleigh, N. C., Sherman received the surrender of Johnston; he then marched through Petersburg and Richmond to Washington, where, after the grand review of the army, he was sent to Louisville, Ky., where he was mustered out of service, and received his discharge at Springfield in July, 1865, having served in the Union army three years and seven months; he then returned to McLean Co., and farmed until 1871, when he engaged in the merchandise trade at Downs, and in 1872 was appointed agent of the I., B. & W. Railroad, at this place, which office he held some four years; he then engaged in the merchandise trade some three years, during which time he was Postmaster. In March, 1879, he sold out his store and removed upon his present place, where he is now engaged in farming. His marriage with Nancy Mickel was celebrated Feb. 18, 1863; she was born in Ohio June 30, 1843; they have two children — Carrie V. and Ralph J.; Mrs. Davis is a daughter of William Mickel, one of the old settlers and prominent farmers of Old Town Township.

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This family biography is one of 1257 biographies included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  View the complete description here: The History of McLean County, Illinois

View additional McLean County, Illinois family biographies here: McLean County, Illinois Biographies

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