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Below is a family biography included in The History of Laclede County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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D. R. Diffenderfer, banker at Lebanon, Mo., and son of Michael and Mary (Esterly) Diffenderfer, was born in Lancaster County, Penn., in January, 1821. The Diffenderfer family are of German descent, were originally from Hanover, Germany, and came to America in the celebrated ship “William and Mary” in 1727, which brought over the refugees. Michael Diffenderfer received a grant of land from William Penn, which was called “Michael Diffenderfer’s Reserve.” He was a farmer, and followed this occupation all his life. He died in Lancaster County, as did also the mother. They were the parents of five children, three now living: David R., Mary (wife of A. G. Sutton), and Frank R. (who is now associate editor of the Lancaster (Penn.) New Era). D. R. Diffenderfer received a fair education in the common schools, and at the age of sixteen he went to Pittsburg, Penn., where he learned the drug business. At the end of six years he went to St. Louis, where he again engaged in the drug business, and in 1849 he went to El Paso, Mexico, where he followed the mercantile business until 1861. In 1852 he was appointed by President Millard Fillmore as United States Consul, and continued under President Buchanan’s administration. At the time of the firing on Fort Sumter Mr. Diffenderfer was in New York City buying goods, and experienced great trouble in getting through. He was captured in Texas, and imprisoned at Fort Bliss, but only retained a short time. In 1862 he came home, and in 1864 he was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Dunham, a native of New Jersey. To them were born seven children: William, Mary, David, Henry, Jane, John and Grace. After the assassination of President Lincoln Mr. Diffenderfer returned to El Paso, where he was engaged in merchandising until 1871. He then returned to Lancaster, Penn., embarked in the banking business, and this he carried on until after the panic of 1873. In 1876 he came to Lebanon, Mo., and was engaged in railroad contracting until 1886, since which time he has been in the banking business. Mr. Diffenderfer is a Mason, a Knight Templar, and is one of the prominent and leading citizens of Laclede County. His paternal grandfather, David Diffenderfer, served as ensign in the Revolutionary War; was at Valley Forge, and crossed the Delaware River at Trenton with Washington. He was also at the battles of Princeton and Monmouth, and received a wound at the last named place. After recovering from his wounds he re-entered the army, and was captured at the battle of Long Island. He died in Lancaster County, Penn., in his ninety-fourth year.

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This family biography is one of 99 biographies included in The History of Laclede County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Laclede County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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