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Below is a family biography included in The History of Dade County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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 A. Davis, circuit clerk of Dade County, Mo., was born in Ripley County, Ind., in 1842, and is the son of William and Lydia (Shook), Davis, and the grandson of George Davis, who was a native of Wales. George Davis came to the United States with his two brothers, and all located at Lancaster, Penn. George was a carpenter and blacksmith by trade in early life, but afterward followed farming. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. In 1836 he emigrated to Ripley County, Ind., and died there in 1853 at the age of eighty-six years. His wife, Nancy Davis, was a native of Scotland. She died in 1869 at the age of ninety-five years. Her father was an aid-de-camp on General Green’s staff in the Revolutionary War. William Davis was born in Lancaster, Lancaster County, Penn., in 1816, and came to Indiana in 1836, where he was married, and where he lived until 1857, at which date he moved to Fayette County, Iowa, and there died in 1887. He was a soldier in the Mexican war. His wife, Lydia, was born near Baltimore, Md., in 1829, and died in 1871. They were the parents of five children, two of whom are now living. John A. Davis is the elder child, and received his education in the common schools of Indiana, and also attended the Upper Iowa University, at Fayette, Iowa. In 1860 he engaged in the teacher’s profession, and followed this for nine terms in district schools. He was a strong Union man during the war, and, July 4, 1861, enlisted in Company E, Fifth Iowa Infantry Volunteers, for three years. He was in the fights at New Madrid, Iuka, Corinth, Fort Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, and at Champion’s Hill, in which action he was severely wounded in the right thigh by gunshot. He was taken to Vicksburg, and remained four weeks in a hospital at that place, after which he was taken to Memphis, and remained three months, when he was sent to St. Louis, and there received his discharge in December, 1863. He then returned home, where he improved so rapidly that, on October 10 of the subsequent year, he enlisted in Company F, Fifth Iowa Cavalry, and immediately went to the front. He was at Columbia, Tenn., Maury’s Mills, Franklin and Nashville, in which action of the first day’s fight, November 15, 1864, he was shot in the right foot, the wound being so severe that in two days amputation was necessary. He remained in Nashville until February, when he was sent to Keokuk, Iowa, and, in July, 1865, he was discharged and sent home. After the war Mr. Davis was in the lumber business; in 1868 was elected sheriff of Buchanan County, Iowa, being re-elected in 1870. He was also city marshal of Independence, Iowa, but, in 1880 he removed to Nevada, Mo., and was proprietor of the Central Hotel. In 1885 he became a citizen of Greenfield, Mo., and in 1886 he was elected circuit clerk of Dade County, which position he is now holding. He is a Republican in politics, casting his first presidential vote for Lincoln in 1864. He is a member of the Masonic order, Greenfield Lodge No. 446, and is also a member of the G. A. R., Greenfield Post No. 75. In January, 1869, Mr. Davis married Miss Ellen Long, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1849, and who became the mother of four children: William, Frank, Harry and Karle. He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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This family biography is one of 68 biographies included in The History of Dade County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Dade County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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