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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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Oliver Elswick was born in Rush County, Indiana, on November 27, 1828, and is a son of Andrew and Elizabeth (Cassel) Elswick, natives of West Virginia. When a child Andrew Elswick was taken by his parents to Greene County, Tenn., where he married in 1820, and settled on a farm, remaining until 1826, when he removed to Indiana, settling in Rush County. In 1844 he removed to Monroe County, Iowa, and resumed farming, making a specialty of stock raising. He was an active member of the Democratic party, and served as judge of Monroe County Court for six years, during the last two years as presiding judge. He was a successful business man, and at his death in 1876 left his family in comfortable circumstances. His wife died at the home of her son, Oliver, in April, 1880. They were the parents of thirteen children, eleven of whom lived to be married and have families of their own. Oliver Elswick was educated in the common schools of Indiana, and went with his parents to Iowa. On January 1,1850, he was united in marriage with Margaret Wells, of Monroe County, Iowa. She was born in Illinois in 1829, and was a daughter of Nathan Wells. She came with her mother to Monroe County, Iowa, in 1845. She died in January, 1863, leaving four children: John R., Elmira, wife of James Drysdale, of Bates County, Mo.; Perry and Albert. Mr. Elswick chose for his second wife America F. Dent, whom he married in June, 1864. She is a daughter of Samuel Dent, and was born in Owen County, Ind., in 1842. Her father now resides in Wayne County, Iowa. By this marriage Mr. Elswick is the father of four children: Sarah M., Mrs. James Patterson, of Labette County, Kas.; Luella, Rachel and Frank. After his first marriage Mr. Elswick entered 160 acres of wild land in Monroe County, on which he resided nine years, at the end of which time the farm was well improved, it having good buildings, fences and orchards. Selling his farm in 1859 he settled on an unimproved farm near Butler, Bates Co., Mo., and turned his attention to raising stock. When the order was issued in 1862 for all persons living more than four miles from a military post to leave the country, he sold what loose property he had and took his family to Iowa. He, however, returned to Bates County in 1863, and after burning the prairie grass around his improvement, located in Gentry County for a short time, when he went to Andrew County, and remained until the war was over. Returning to Bates County in October, 1865, he found that his house had been used as a rendezvous for guerillas, and was the only house standing for many miles around. During the following winter he was taken sick, at which time his cattle were driven on by the Indians, and his eldest son, John R., then but twelve years of age, followed them into Kansas, returning in a short time with all the cattle except two, which the Indians had killed. In 1880 he started with his family to Arkansas, with the intention of spending the following winter there; but upon his arrival in Barry County, he was so favorably impressed with Washburn Prairie that he purchased a small farm and planted a crop. He, however, went on to Eureka Springs, but returned to Barry County during the winter. He later sold his property in Bates County and purchased 280 acres in Barry County, which he has converted into a beautiful home. He has three large fish ponds well stocked with German carp, and is making arrangements to enter largely into the fish business. The family are communicants of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

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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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