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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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JOSEPH ATKINS is one of the old residents of Johnson County, where he has lived for over eighteen years. He was born in Town Ed Street, Sheffield, England, July 17, 1845, and lived there until he was five years of age. He can recollect crossing the Atlantic, and remembers embarking on the ship at Liverpool, and a couple of severe storms that occurred during the voyage. His parents were William and Mary (Olbrey) Atkins, also natives of England. The father, with his eldest daughter and one of his sons, preceded the rest of the family a few months and established a home in New Philadelphia, Ohio, where he afterwards followed his trade of boot and shoe making.

Young Joseph had but poor chance for an education, and grew to manhood in New Philadelphia and New Cumberland, Ohio. August 22, 1861, he enlisted in the army, when but seventeen years of age, becoming a member of Company I, Thirtieth Ohio Infantry. He started from Camp Chase, went to Columbus, Ohio, thence to Benwood, Va., under Capt. George Hilt and Col. Hugh Ewing. From there he went to Clarksburg, then to Sutton, being assigned to Rosecran’s army in West Virginia. He fought in the battles of Carnifax Ferry, Second Bull Run, South Mountain and Antietam. From there he was ordered back to Clarksburg, W. Va., thence took the same route as before, from Sutton went to Golley River, from there to Kenelton, and built winter quarters, but stayed in them only one night. Later he was sent to Young’s Point, and from there to the siege of Vicksburg. In the battles of South Mountain and Antietam he was in the Ninth Army Corps, under Burnside. At Vicksburg he was in the Fifteenth Corps, under General Sherman, with Grant in command of the forces.

After the second capture of Jackson, the troops went back to Vicksburg, from there the corps was ordered to Memphis, thence to Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge, where the battle was fought. From there Sherman was ordered to Knoxville to relieve Burnside, then back to Chattanooga, and later to Bellefontaine, at the beginning of 1864. Thence the troops marched to Larkinsville, Ala. January 31, 1864, Mr. Atkins was veteranized, and in April he was granted a furlough of thirty days, which he spent at his Ohio home. Subsequently he went on the Atlanta campaign in the Fiftieth Corps, commanded by General Logan, and after following Hood a short distance went on the memorable march to the sea, and was at the capture of Ft. McAllister; then went on the Carolina campaign to Columbia and Raleigh, and was in the fight at Bentonville.

During his entire service Mr. Atkins was never wounded nor taken prisoner. In the charge of Kenesaw Mountain he had a narrow escape, a hole being shot through the brim of his hat, close to the crown. When on the way to Vicksburg he received a sunstroke, but did not give up and go to the hospital. He marched to Washington and was present at the Grand Review, after which he was sent to Louisville, Ky., and started for Mexico, but was mustered out at Little Rock, Ark., August 13, 1865. He returned to Columbus, Ohio, and received his final discharge at Todd’s Barracks.

March 15, 1866, Mr. Atkins married Rebecca J. Hoopingarner, who was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, September 2, 1847, her parents being George and Christina (Steese) Hoopingarner. About two weeks after their marriage the young couple, in company with Mr. Atkins’ father and mother, moved to Owen County, Ind., and bought forty acres of land. Soon afterward the father moved to Bowling Green, Clay County, Ind., and our subject, after ten years of farming in the Hoosier State, sold out his possessions and came West. Three of the five children were born in Owen County. The eldest, Sherman, whose birth occurred January 26, 1867, is married and has one child. The next younger, Lydia Ann, was born October 27, 1870, and Mary C. May 9, 1872.

For a few months after coming to Missouri, Mr. Atkins rented a farm, and in November, 1877, he bought eighty acres on section 24, township 45, range 28. As the years have passed he has continued to make valuable improvements on the farm, putting up a new barn, and in many ways increasing its value by judicious investments. He is a practical and progressive agriculturist, and has made a success of his business enterprises in most instances. Two of his children were born in Missouri: Dora May, October 27, 1877; and Earl Edward, April 12, 1886.

William Atkins was a Union Democrat, but his son Joseph has always been a Republican and cast his first Presidential ballot for Lincoln, when in the Union ranks near Marietta, Ga. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to the lodge at Holden, and is also a Grand Army man, having had the privilege of attending the re-union at Topeka, Kan.

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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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