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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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William Earle, one of the oldest and most highly respected citizens of Barry County, and once president of the board of directors of the Barry County Bank, at Cassville, was born in Ross County, Ohio, on May 23, 1806. He is a son of Grantham and Margaret (Hewitt) Earle, natives of Maryland and Pennsylvania, respectively. In his youth Grantham Earle followed the sea, and while yet a young man went into Ross County, Ohio, and worked at the brick-mason’s trade, and engaged in farming on a small scale. During the War of 1812 he was taken prisoner on a man-of-war, but escaped with only a part of his clothing. One foot being bare, and the weather very cold, his foot was so severely frozen that he remained a cripple for life, his death occurring near Lower Sandusky, Ohio, in 1853, at the age of ninety-six years. His wife was a daughter of Thomas Hewitt, who served in the commissary department in the Revolutionary War. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence and business capacity, and was a member of the Legislature of his native State. He died at the advanced age of one hundred and four years, in Ross County, Ohio. Mrs. Earle was twice married, and by her first marriage, with Jesse Funston, she was the mother of three children. By her marriage with Mr. Earle she was the mother of two children, the subject of this sketch being the only one living. He grew to manhood on a farm, making his home with his father until he was twenty-one years of age. He received his education by private instruction, and when he left his father’s house engaged in teaching school, which he continued for several terms. In 1834 he married Elizabeth Kile, who was born in 1814, in Ross County, Ohio, and soon after removed to Pike County, Ill., locating on a farm of 100 acres. In 1853 he removed to Bell County, Tex., and remained until 1866, when he came to Barry County, Mo., locating two miles north of Cassville. Mrs. Earle died in 1853. There are four children living by this marriage: Eliza (widow of Elisha Stubblefield, of Barry County), Mary (wife of George J. Elam, of Marlin, Tex.), George (a farmer, of Barry County) and Charity (widow of Elias Owens, who now resides with her father). In 1855 Mr. Earle married Susan Kile, a sister of his first wife, by whom he has one child, Charles, a farmer of Barry County. His second wife died in 1873, and the following year Mr. Earle married Mrs. Miriam Williams, nee Forbis, who was born in Barry County. She died in 1878. Mr. Earle commenced life as a poor man, working for $9 per month after leaving the parental roof, but he has been very active and industrious, and has been successful in all his business transactions, and has accumulated property that affords him a good income. In January, 1887, the Barry County Bank was established, and Mr. Earle was elected president of the board of directors. His honesty and integrity have never been questioned, and he is held in high esteem by all who know him. In politics he is a Republican, having been a Jackson Democrat before the war. His first vote was cast for Jackson, in 1828, and he has voted in every presidential election since. In religion he holds to the Methodistic doctrine. “Uncle Billy,” as he is familiarly called, reared and now owns a bald-faced sorrel horse, named “Ball,” thirty-three years old, and is yet a nimble and serviceable horse, They have grown old together, and are much attached to each other. Death alone will separate them.

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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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