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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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Col. J. W. Fletcher, speculator, of De Soto, was born in Jefferson County, Mo., in 1819, and is a son of Clement B. and Margaret S. (Byrd) Fletcher. Clement B. Fletcher was a native of Maryland, and there married, in Somerset County, in 1817, Margaret S. Byrd, a member of one of the earliest families of Maryland, the maternal great-grandfather of our subject having been a member of Lord Baltimore’s colony, which settled in Maryland in 1634. The year following his marriage, or in 1818, Clement B. Fletcher came to Missouri and located at Herculaneum, in Jefferson County, at about the same time the Byrd family removed from Maryland to Missouri, settling in Jefferson County, and then went to Washington County, in the neighborhood of Caledonia. Mr. Fletcher did an extensive mercantile business for many years in Herculaneum, and several other places; he moved to Hillsboro and afterward to De Soto, of which latter place he was the first postmaster. He died in November, 1870, at the age of seventy-eight years, the father of nine children, one of whom, Thomas C., is ex-Governor of the State of Missouri, having been elected in 1864. Col. J. W. Fletcher was educated in the schools of his native county, and at Marion College. In early life he was engaged as a clerk on a steamboat, and in 1849 went to California and Mexico, where he was engaged in mining and speculating two years; in 1852 he returned to Missouri, remaining but six months, when he again turned his face toward the “Eureka” State, whence, after four years, he sought his home. He erected a large sawmill at De Soto, purchased several hundred acres of land, and did a large and prosperous business. During the late war he was a strong Union man, and in May, 1861, organized the first company south of St. Louis, known as Company B, Sixth Missouri Infantry, of which he was elected captain, and the following November made major; he participated in the siege of Corinth and numerous other severe skirmishes, when he resigned, returned home, and organized the Thirtieth Missouri Regiment, of which he was made lieutenant-colonel. He took part in the siege of Vicksburg and Arkansas Post, when he again resigned and returned home; and in company with his brother Thomas Fletcher, ex-Governor of Missouri, organized the Forty-seventh Regiment, of which Mr. Fletcher was made lieutenant-colonel, in which capacity he served until the close of the war. In the fall of 1865 he was elected delegate to the State Convention, and since that time has been engaged in speculating in real estate and mining; he owns the Old Ditch Lead Mine, one of the best in the State. In 1845 Mr. Fletcher married Miss Kate B. Taylor, who was born in 1822 and died in 1882. Col. Fletcher is a Republican in politics, and a member of the Masonic order.

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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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