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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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William T. Hastings, farmer and notary public of Rock Prairie Township, was born in Jackson County, Ala., in 1826. His father was John H. Hastings, born in North Carolina in l793, who married Margaret Gentry, a native of Tennessee, who died when the subject of this sketch was three weeks old. Mr. John H. Hastings married the second time in Tennessee, and in 1846 came to Greene County, Mo. He was of a roving nature, and lived in Texas at the breaking out of the war, and afterwards went to Kansas, where he died in 1866. He was a son of John Hastings, who was born in England, and served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, dying in Tennessee about 1831. William T. was the last of four sons and one daughter. He was raised by an aunt in Tennessee till he was twelve years of age, and received but little education. He afterward lived with his father in Alabama and Mississippi. He was married in 1844 to Isabella Massengale, who was born in Madison County, Ala., and died in 1874 in Dade County. They had a family of ten children, of whom four sons and one daughter are living. He married the second time, December 8, 1874, Serena C. Cotner, daughter of Daniel and Minta Cotner, early settlers of Dade County, where Mr. Cotner, a saddler, lived till his death, Mrs. Cotner dying in Newton County. By this wife he had two children. Mr. Hastings came to Greene County, Mo., in 1851, and in 1853 to Dade County, where he has 240 acres of land near Everton, and where he has since lived. He has acquired this land by his own efforts and hard work. He served about twelve months, in 1862 and 1863, in Company L, Seventy-second Enrolled Missouri Militia, then twenty months in Company I, Fifteenth United States Missouri Cavalry, traveling all over Southwest Missouri as commissary sergeant, employing many scouts. He served as justice of the peace from 1874 to 1886, with satisfaction, with but two appeals to higher courts, and they were compromised before trial. He has been notary public since 1886. He has been a Democrat in politics all his life, the first president he voted for being Polk, in 1844. He is a member of Washington Lodge No. 87, A. F. & A. M., at Greenfield, having been made a Mason in 1850, in Mississippi. He is, and for about fifty years has been, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, both his wives also being members. When quite young Mr. Hastings learned the trades of blacksmith and stone mason, following them many years in connection with farming.

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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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