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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  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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JAMES WALKER SUDDATH is one of the most influential citizens of Johnson County, and for some years has been engaged in the practice of law at Warrensburg. He was elected Prosecuting Attorney in 1888, on the Democratic ticket, receiving a good majority; was re-elected in 1890, with a majority of eight hundred and fifty votes, and was again offered the position on the expiration of his term, in 1892, but refused the honor. That year he was made Presidential Elector by acclamation and canvassed the district under the auspices of the State Democratic Committee. When he resigned this position he had the privilege of naming his successor. In the state convention of 1894 he was a member of the Committee on Resolutions and Platforms from the Sixth Congressional District. A great campaign worker, he has received more invitations to speak than he could ever conveniently fill, his services being in great demand.

The parents of the above-named gentleman are Rev. W. W. and Minerva M. (Stapp) Suddath. The father, who was born in Fairfax County, Va., in August, 1826, was a graduate of the Lebanon (Tenn.) University, and later entered the ministry of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. When he was only two years old his parents moved to Lafayette County, Mo., where he attended Chapel Hill College, graduating therefrom before going to Lebanon. About 1851 he was married, and four years later took charge of his Alma Mater, Chapel Hill College, where he remained for two years, afterwards becoming Professor of Languages in the Masonic College at Lexington, Mo., for a like period. While on a tour lecturing for the purpose of raising money to build a mission church in St. Louis, he suddenly died and was buried at Lexington, Mo. A very fine scholar, he read and wrote in seven different languages, and possessed unusual oratorical ability. Senator Cockrell says, that without exception he was the finest speaker to whom he ever listened. Col. John T. Chrisp, of Independence, Mo., and Judge Pendleton, now of the Supreme Court of Montana, also frequently speak of Mr. Suddath’s wonderful talents and exceptional qualities. During the great discussions between the Pedo and Immersion Baptists, he was always brought forward as the principal debater for the former sect. Among the rare books which he left to our subject, one known as the “Peshito-Syriac New Testament” is said to be one of the two books of the kind extant. The father of Rev. Mr. Suddath was Capt. James G., who won his title in a militia company, and who was also a native of Virginia. He moved to Lafayette County, Mo., in 1828, and passed the remainder of his days in that section, dying at the age of seventy-four years, in 1874. His father, in turn, was a native of Ireland. Mrs. Minerva Suddath was born in 1824, in Lafayette County, Mo., being a daughter of Judge John M. and Mary (Walker) Stapp. She was well educated, being a graduate of Chapel Hill, and was a great reader, being especially well versed in history and in Shakespearean studies. She became the mother of three children, two of whom died in infancy, and her own death occurred in 1885.

James Walker Suddath was born at Bone Hill, Jackson County, Mo., May 12, 1857, and received a public-school education in Lexington. In 1873 he entered the State Normal, spending five months in arduous studies, when, on account of his health, it became necessary for him to try an out-of-door life for a time. Therefore, from May, 1874, until October, 1875, he was employed as a herder on a cattle ranch in Colorado, deriving great benefit from the pure air and change of occupation. Resuming his interrupted education, he remained in school until June, 1876, then returning to the ranch for three summer months. Coming back to Johnson County, he taught a district school until February, when he re-entered the normal, and the following June graduated from the four-years course, receiving a diploma and also a state life certificate. The following winter he taught in Burdett, Bates County, after which he was Principal of Parish Institute, at Bunceton, Cooper County, from 1878 until June, 1881. Though he was re-elected for another term, he resigned in order to devote his whole attention to legal studies. During his vacations he had read law in the office of T. T. Crittendens, of this city, who afterward became Governor of Missouri. For a year Mr. Suddath was under the instruction of J. J. Cockrell, and was admitted to the Bar in 1882, being then taken into partnership with his preceptor. The latter is the eldest son of General Cockrell, who moved to New Mexico in 1885. On account of this the partnership was necessarily dissolved, and Mr. Suddath has since conducted an office alone.

In 1882 our subject married Miss Nellie, daughter of Edward L. and Mary (Schmidlapp) DeGarmo. She was born in Hope, Ind., July 16, 1860, and graduated from the complete course in the State Normal Class of 1880, and also took much of the Chautauqua course, receiving eight seals. She taught successfully in the public schools of Warrensburg for one term, and at this time became acquainted with her future husband. To them were born two children, William Edward, February 26, 1883, and Mary M., March 26, 1885. Mrs. Suddath and both of her children are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where the husband and father is a regular attendant.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

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