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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson 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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J. N. Douglas, a merchant and farmer of Big River Township, was born in Shannon County, Mo., in 1847, and is the second of five children born to Samuel and Letitia (Davis) Douglas. The former was a native of Randolph County, Tenn., and when but a boy came with his father, Thomas Douglas, to Shannon County, Mo., where the father passed the remainder of his life. He was a farmer and stock-raiser, was a soldier in the Black Hawk War, and was one of the first to settle in Shannon County. Among the wilds of Shannon County was Samuel reared, with no educational advantages, and in a community where Indians and wild animals reveled. He was married about 1843 in Reynolds County, but located in the county in which he was reared, and twenty miles from where Mrs. Douglas’ people lived, there being but one house between the places. Mr. Douglas served in the Mormon War, at Nauvoo, and was a successful farmer and stock-raiser. In about 1854 he sold his property and intended going to California, but was taken sick and died just before the company was ready to embark. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church. The mother was born in Kentucky, but came with her parents to Missouri, where they settled in Reynolds County, and where they were among the first settlers. The subject of this sketch was reared by his mother, and received but meager educational advantages. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in Company D, Twenty-first Missouri Cavalry, was in the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. Thomas, was in the battle of Murfreesboro, also the last Nashville fight, and in a great many minor engagements. He was discharged at Nashville, Tenn., September 19, 1865. Just prior to the war his mother removed to Jefferson County, to which place our subject returned from the war. After about one year at school he spent two and a half years in the lead mines of Washington County, and during the night-time attended school. He then came to Jefferson County and took charge of the “Old Ditch Coal Mines” for about six years. While there, and in 1871, he married Miss Susan Isabella, daughter of James and Susan Cook, and a native of St. Louis, Mo. The fruits of this union were eight children, six now living: Anna, Walter, William, Malcom, Bertie and Cora. May and Mabel (twins) are deceased. Soon after his marriage Mr. Douglas resumed agricultural pursuits and also engaged in merchandising in Big River Township, where he remained until 1882, when he was elected collector of Jefferson County, and re-elected in 1884. In March, 1885, he resigned and soon after removed to Big River Township, and purchased a farm of 295 acres, all well improved and in a fine state of cultivation. He is also running a general store in connection with this. Politically a Democrat, he cast his first presidential vote for Lincoln, while in the service. Mrs. Douglas is a member of the Catholic Church.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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