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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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JOHN O. WHITSETT was long one of the most esteemed and public-spirited men of Johnson County. At the time of his decease, April 4, 1880, he owned a well improved farm, pleasantly located on section 29, township 48, range 25. He was a very progressive agriculturist, and was not averse to accepting new and practical ideas in regard to the management of his farm, though he did not neglect any of the tried and established methods. He always resided in this state, and was born in Lafayette County, January 6, 1827.

The parents of our subject were James D. and Nancy (Horn) Whitsett, the former of whom was born across the seas, in Germany, and the latter in Tennessee. Grandfather Whitsett emigrated to America many years ago, and, making his way to this state, located in Lafayette County, where he farmed for the remainder of his life. The Horn family also came to this section in an early day, and, like the ancestors of our subject on his father’s side, chose Lafayette County as their future home.

The parents of James O. were married in Lafayette County and there lived until 1841, when they came to Johnson County, purchasing land near where the widow of our subject now resides. The father departed this life in 1842, but the mother lived until 1866, when she, too, passed away. They were the parents of a family of nine children, only two of whom are now living. In referring to them in the order of their birth we give the following: Sallie married Porter Rice, but both are deceased; William C. was married, but he and his wife have passed to their long home; Robert M., who chose for his wife Nancy Whitehead, is deceased, but his wife makes her home in St. Joseph, this state; Lucy, who became the wife of Henry Powell, and is now deceased, was formerly a resident of California; Mack married Elastina Rollins, and is living at the present time in Odessa, Mo.; Samuel, who married Annie Palmer, is now deceased, and his wife is living in California; Ellen became the wife of Henry Gossett, but both are deceased; and Melinda became the wife of James Sweicegood, and they make their home in Lawrence County, this state.

Our subject remained an inmate of the old home until his marriage, which occurred November 6, 1856. His wife, formerly Mrs. Rebecca (Craft) Clark, was born in Brooke County, Va., January 23, 1834, and was the daughter of David and Margaret (McConnell) Craft, both of whom were born in the above county. There they lived on a farm until the year 1843, when they came to Missouri and settled in Johnson County. They owned a valuable piece of land in the Old Dominion, and as Missouri was a new state and sparsely settled, they hoped to add to their possessions by removing hither. They lived for eighteen months on land near the home of Mrs. Whitsett, and then removed to Lafayette County, making their home there from February, 1845, to 1877. In the latter year they disposed of their property and became residents of Butler County, Kan., where the father is living retired at the home of his son, being eighty-six years of age. His wife died August 5, 1877. To Mr. and Mrs. Craft there were born seven children, namely: Rebecca, William, Ewing, Robert, Clarinda, Edgar and Emery.

Mrs. Whitsett was twice married, her first union uniting her with James Clark, of Lafayette County. After their marriage they lived on a farm near Concordia, where he died, March 18, 1854. After her marriage with our subject the couple lived for a year on rented land, two miles east of the property which Mrs. Whitsett now occupies. Mr. Whitsett took great pride in beautifying and improving his property, making it his home until his death, in 1880.

To our subject and his estimable wife there were born nine children, only five of whom are now living. Lou Alice, who was born December 2, 1859, and married Amos Groom, makes her home in Higginsville. William Dobson was born January 22, 1862, and died five days later. Sallie was born February 14, 1863, and married Shade Nettle, a resident of California. Cora, who was born March 13, 1865, departed this life August 28 of the following year. George Washington was born February 22, 1867, and died January 7, 1870. Charles, who was born November 25, 1870, is unmarried, and lives with his mother on the home farm. Ella was born March 2, 1873, and married Lee Wyre; they now live on a farm near Valley City. Florence B., who was born July 24, 1876, married Maynard Higgins, and they are at present living with Mrs. Whitsett. Almanza, who was born October 1, 1857, died October 24, 1858.

Mrs. Whitsett has continued to reside on the old place since the death of her husband, and with the aid of her son and son-in-law manages affairs in a most praiseworthy manner. They were both members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and took great interest in all benevolent work of the neighbourhood. During the late war our subject was not permitted to enter the service on account of ill-health. His sympathies, however, were with the Union cause. He was School Director of his district for some time, and was well known and highly esteemed by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance.

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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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