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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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Hon. J. W. Farris, attorney at law and insurance agent at Lebanon, was born in Marion County, Ill., January 20, 1846, and is the son of Hiram K. and Abigail Farris, the father a native of Kentucky and the mother of Indiana. Hiram K. Farris was a resident of Marion County, Ill., for many years, and came there from Indiana in 1840. He was a very prominent man of both Marion and Clay Counties, being elected county clerk of the former county and county judge of the latter. He died in Clay County, Ill., in June, 1865. J. W. Farris remained in Marion County, Ill., until five years of age and then moved with his parents to Clay County, of the same State. He received his education in the common schools, and October 23, 1861, with the consent of his father, he enlisted in Company K. Forty-eighth Illinois Regiment, and served until 1865, being discharged August 31 of that year. At the time of enlistment he was quite young, and was very anxious to go to the war. His father, thinking of course that he would be rejected when applying, gave his consent, but the lad was so enthusiastic and courageous that he was mustered in. He participated in the battle of Shiloh, where he was slightly wounded in the head with a gunshot; was at the siege of Corinth, siege of Vicksburg, Jackson, Miss., Missionary Ridge, Atlanta, and was with Sherman on his march to the sea. At Scottsborough, Ala., on April 22, 1864, he was promoted to second lieutenant, and April 11, 1865, he was commissioned adjutant of his regiment, which position he held until his discharge. He was mustered out at Little Rock, Ark., and discharged at Springfield, Ill., August 31, 1865. He then returned to his home, and remained there until January, 1867, when he moved to Lebanon, Mo. After moving to Lebanon Mr. Farris engaged in the newspaper business, which he continued for one year. In 1870 he was elected county assessor, and in 1874 he was elected circuit clerk, holding the office for four years. He was appointed probate clerk, and held the office from 1872 until 1880. In 1882 he was elected to the State Senate from the Twenty-second District, and served four years. He was admitted to the bar in 1883, and has since been engaged in the practice of his profession, together with the insurance business. He represents the “American Central Insurance” of St. Louis, “Springfield” (Mass.), “Phenix” of Brooklyn, “North British and Merchants’” of Liverpool, “Fireman’s Fund” of San Francisco, “Phoenix” of London, “Connecticut” of Hartford, “Hibernia” of New Orleans, “Southern” of New Orleans, “Liverpool” of London, “Globe,” of Liverpool, “Queen” of England and “ Fire Association” of Philadelphia. Mr. Farris has been and is a prominent man of the county, and his character is without a stain. He is a Mason and a member of the Blue Lodge, Chapter and Commandery; has also served as Worshipful Master and High Priest of the Chapter. He is at present Eminent Commander of the Commandery, and has been a member of the Grand Lodge since 1876. He is also a member of the G. A. R.

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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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