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Below is a family biography included in The History of Barry County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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 L. Morton, proprietor of Morton’s Roller Mills, at Cassville, Mo., is a native of Grant County, Ind., born in 1853. He is a son of John and Mary (Harder) Morton. The father is of English, Scotch and Irish descent, was born in Preston County, Va., in 1811, and is a mill-wright by trade. His father, William Morton, was a brother of the grandfather of Indiana’s war governor, Oliver P. Morton. When a young man John Morton learned his trade, which he has pursued for over forty years. In 1845 he removed to Darke County, Ohio, and the following year to Grant County, Ind. In 1856 he went to Jefferson County, Iowa, and at the end of two years to Adams County, Iowa, where he resided for nine years. In 1867 he came to Barry County, Mo., settling on Shoal Creek, where he erected a grist-mill known as Springboro’ Mills. In 1885 he purchased the Granby Mills on Shoal Creek, in Newton County, and is now proprietor of both. Having had much experience at his trade, he is considered a superior miller. His wife, who was of German parentage, was born in Preston County, Va., in 1818, and died in 1878. They were the parents of thirteen children, ten of whom are living. John L. is the ninth child. He received a limited education in Missouri, not having attended school more than three months in his life. At the early age of thirteen years he was placed in charge of his father’s mill. He remained with his father until he was nineteen years of age, when he went to Saline County, Mo., and took charge of Blosser & Bro.’s mill, on the Missouri River, for a term of two years. In September, 1874, he caught his right leg in a belt and was so severely injured that amputation was necessary. He then came to Barry County and erected the Pioneer Mills at a cost of $10,000. In 1879 he sold out, and went to Cowley County, Kas., and erected two mills at a cost of $5,000 and $7,000. In 1882 he returned to Barry County and was engaged in erecting mills until 1887, when he erected his present mill in 103 days, at a cost of $15,000. The mill has ten sets of rollers, and has a capacity of eighty barrels per day. Mr. Morton has three choice brands of flour, viz.: “Morton’s Patent,” “Morton’s Favorite” and Morton’s Fancy.” He possesses much energy, is a skillful mechanic, has an unblemished character, and his mill is one of the best in the county. In 1872 he was united in marriage with Miss. M. J. Skinner, who was born in Illinois in 1853, and to them have been born eight children: a daughter who died at the age of eleven months; John A., a son who died at the age of eight days; Ami O.; Rosa D.; Mattie Lee; Mary May and Bessie B. Mr. Morton has a beautiful home in Cassville. Both he and wife are members of the German Baptist Church, he having been a member since he was fifteen years of age. Politically he has independent views, and is a member of the I.O. O. F.

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This family biography is one of 103 biographies included in The History of Barry County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Barry County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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