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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 J. FULKS. Among the agriculturists of Johnson County who through indefatigable energy and indomitable perseverance have achieved considerable success in life, we make mention of Mr. Fulks, who is one of the prominent residents of township 45, range 25, where he owns one hundred acres of finely improved land. He located in this county over twenty-five years ago and in its improvement and development has been no unimportant factor.

Mr. Fulks was born in York County, Pa., eighteen miles from Lancaster, August 4, 1842. He is the son of Benjamin G. and Sarah (McSherry) Fulks, natives, respectively, of Ohio and Pennsylvania, the father’s birth occurring near the city of Zanesville, March 4, 1804. The maternal grandparents of our subject were of Scotch and Irish descent, and on his father’s side he is of German ancestry. Mr. McSherry, who was the proprietor of a hotel in York County, Pa., had ten children, of whom Joseph J. is the only one living in this county. He resides in Warrensburg.

The father of our subject removed from his native state to Pennsylvania when a young man and there met and married Miss McSherry. Soon after that event he purchased a farm here and was engaged in its operation until his sons were old enough to assume the responsibility of its management, when he left it in their charge and went to work in the lumber camps. He was thus engaged for a number of years, when he returned to the old homestead, where he is now living with his aged wife. He is eighty-seven years old and she seventy-nine. He was successful in life and has plenty to supply them both with comforts during the remainder of their lives. Mr. Fulks was Collector of his county for one year, and in various ways took an active part in local affairs.

The parental family of our subject included thirteen children, seven of whom are now living. Of those deceased two died in infancy, and the others were named, respectively, Fred, Susan, Alvin and Amy. Those living besides Joseph J. are Lysander, who married Annie Norris, and now lives with his father; Annie, who married J. E. Lightner, and is a resident of Warrensburg; Sarah Martha, Mrs. William Barton, who makes her home near her father; John, who married Frances Torbid, the latter of whom is now deceased; Tolitha, Mrs. John Adkins, who lives on a farm near her father; and William E., who married Janet Finley, and makes his home in York County, Pa. They all were given good educations in the common schools of Pennsylvania, and some members of the family are now engaged in teaching.

The original of this sketch was only thirteen years of age when he began to make his own way in the world. His first employment was on the Pennsylvania Canal, where he held a position for over six years. About this time the war broke out, and in February, 1862, he enlisted in Company B, Ninth Pennsylvania Artillery, for a period of one year. On the expiration of his term he re-enlisted, this time being assigned to the same company in the One Hundred and Ninety-fifth Infantry. He remained in the service until February 13, 1866, when he was mustered out at Lancaster, Pa., having been on the field of battle for four years to a day.

After his army experience our subject remained at home for a time, working for his father, when he again went on the canal, this time being employed for two years. His next occupation was that of a hunter on the Alleghany Mountains, and as smallpox prevailed in that region he was compelled to remain for seven months at one time.

April 7, 1870, Mr. Fulks came to Johnson County where a sister was living, and went to work on a farm for a Mr. Lightner. He remained in his employ for two years, and then was married, on Washington’s birthday, 1872, to Miss Mary J., daughter of Ebenezer Jones, whose sketch will appear on another page in this volume. Soon after establishing a home of his own, Mr. Fulks rented a tract of land west of Warrensburg and lived upon it for seven months, when he purchased forty acres of land three miles east of where he now lives. On this he made improvements and lived for seven years. At the expiration of that time, in 1881, he sold out at a good profit and purchased his present farm. He has made all the improvements on the land, and in addition to this tract of one hundred acres is the proprietor of nine acres of timber. He is entirely a self-made man, for when he landed in Johnson County he had but $20 in money.

To Mr. and Mrs. Fulks there were born five children. Mamie, the eldest, married Jacob Neidler, and is living on a farm north of Warrensburg; Cora married William Primm, and their home is near that of our subject; Bessie and Ethel are at home; and the youngest member of the household died in infancy.

Mr. Fulks has never desired to hold office, nor has he done so, with the exception of serving on the School Board. He is a Republican in politics, and with his wife belongs to the Baptist Church. He has been the witness of the development of this section, and by his enterprise has done much to promote its progress.

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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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