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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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Rev. Thomas Toney, A. M., M. D., ex-president of Ozark College, now real estate, loan and insurance agent, Greenfield, Mo., was born in Warren County, Ky., November 3, 1836. His parents were Jesse and Mary (Elliott) Toney. Jesse Toney was a native of Virginia, born in the year 1795, near Richmond; and his mother was named Susan Putnam before her marriage to Joab Toney. Jesse Toney was a professional teacher, but engaged in merchandising before his death. He died in 1837. His wife, Mary Elliott, was a native of Virginia, and the daughter of Maj. William C. Elliott, who was a soldier in the War for Independence and 1812. Maj. Elliott married Miss Phoebe Porter. Both were born in Scotland. Dr. Thomas Toney, the subject of this sketch, is of Scotch descent, and is a fair type of the American Scotchman. He received his education principally at the Mt. Mary Seminary, in Kentucky, and Glenville College, in Alabama, and received the degree of B, S. from the latter institution. The degree of A.M. was conferred on him by Cumberland University. He graduated in the medical department of the University of Nashville, and was also one of the first graduates in the medical department of Vanderbilt University. The subject of this sketch is strictly a self-made man, having been left an orphan when but a child, and had to work his way through every department, and that without assistance. He commenced teaching very young, at Walnut Grove, Ky., in the same house where he learned his alphabet, and here among the friends of his childhood he taught for the money that carried him through school, until the breaking out of the war. In 1862 he volunteered in the First Kentucky Cavalry, of the Southern army. He was forced to this, as he thought, by threats made against him if he did not join the United States army. He was opposed to secession, but he was also opposed to being driven or dictated to by any man or set of men. He was in the battles of Gallatin (Tenn.), Bacon Creek, Munfordsville, Perryville, Crab Orchard, Lexington, Lancaster, Augusta, in Kentucky; and Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and about 150 other smaller engagements. He was paroled as captain with 184 men, on the 24th of May, 1865, at Albany, Ga. He was wounded several times, but not so as to be permanently disabled. While in the army he led an active and vigorous life, and had perfect control of men, even in the midst of “shot and shell.” The life of Dr. Toney has been a laborious one. He has always worked hard, and has been devoted to teaching and preaching. He was instrumental in founding the Tullahoma (Tenn.) Masonic Institute, the Beach Grove College, the Wartrace (classical) Academy, and the Lebanon Business College and Telegraph Institute. While engaged in teaching he usually preached every Sunday. He has been pastor of the following congregations of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church: Tullahoma, Shelbyville, Mt. Hebron, Green Hill and Chattanooga. To some of the above he preached several years. While principal of the Lebanon Business College, which was a department of Cumberland University, he was also president and superintendent of the Lebanon and Nashville Telegraph Company, which position he held for years. He has always been a strong temperance man, yet very many of his strongest friends have been of the opposite party. In 1880 he moved from his home in Nashville, Tenn., to Fredonia, in Kansas. He took part as temperance lecturer in the great temperance wave that swept over that State soon after his arrival there, which resulted in the prohibitory amendment to the constitution. Dr. Toney was elected president of Ozark College, December 26, 1883. He served as such until June, 1887, when he resigned. The college under his administration was a great success, there being the largest attendance during the last year the institution has ever had. He is a Master Mason, also Royal Arch, Council and Sir Knights Templar. He is an Odd Fellow, having taken the highest degrees in that order. He is a member of the K. of H., also of E. A. W. Though he was in the Confederate army, yet his best and most intimate friends have been among the ex-Federal soldiers. He has waited upon many of them in their afflictions, and preached their funerals, mingling tears of sympathy and sorrow with their bereaved. Dr. Toney is a public-spirited, educated Christian gentleman, of large means, always willing to do his part in every enterprise that tends to advance society and better the condition of his fellow-men. He is a logical, fluent speaker, a popular lecturer, and a skillful presiding officer. He has had the honor of presiding over many noted public assemblies, such as the Southwest Missouri Immigration Association, which met in Springfield in 1888; the Railroad Extension Convention at Stockton, and many other important assemblies. He married Miss Mintie Truitt, of Warren County, Ky., who still lives. In closing this little sketch of Dr. Toney, it will not be out of place to say that he is a man of strong convictions; as a friend he is faithful and loving to the last; as an opponent he is fair, yet pushing, persevering and unfaltering; as an enemy he is fearless and undaunted. Such characteristics will usually stir up some enemies, but their friends will be many, and of the class known as “true and tried.”

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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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