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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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John S. Burns, Deputy United States Marshal for the Western District of Missouri, was born in Dallas County September 6, 1844, and is a son of Foster and Elizabeth (Tiller) Burns, and grandson of John Burns. The latter was a native of North Carolina, and located in Tennessee when a young man, where he was married to Margaret Wilson. They located on a farm in Maury County, and in 1836 came to Missouri, locating in Polk County, where he continued farming until he became one of the leading agriculturists of that region, and was an extensive slave-holder. He served in the War of 1812, and was wounded at the battle of New Orleans, and being unable to make his escape was captured by the British soldiers, but was released after a short time. He was a leading politician, and served in the county court, and also represented Polk County in the State Legislature several terms. He was a consistent member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and died September 20, 1863, aged seventy-seven years. His wife was born in Tennessee, and became the mother of a large family of children. She was noted for her piety and hospitality, and died in 1878, at the age of eighty years. Her brother, Gen. Anderson Wilson, was one of the prominent citizens of Tennessee. Foster Burns, the father of the gentleman whose name heads this sketch, was the eldest of the family, and was born in Maury County, Tenn., in 1812, and was reared to manhood and educated in his native State. After attaining a suitable age he engaged in teaching school, which occupation he followed until 1840, and was the author of an arithmetic of considerable merit, but never had it published, and his death occurred just as it was ready for the press. He was married in 1840, and settled on a farm in Polk County, Mo., and in 1844 located in Dallas County, near Buffalo, where he became one of the leading citizens. He was elected sheriff of the county in 1850, but died the same year. He was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and his wife, who was born in Kentucky in 1814, was a member of the same. She was a daughter of James Tiller, who was a farmer by occupation, and located in Polk County in 1838. Mr. and Mrs. Burns became the parents of six children, two of whom are living: John S. and Joseph. After the death of Mr. Burns the mother continued to reside on the farm, and succeeded in giving her children a good education. James, the eldest son, received a high-school education, and in 1861 entered the Confederate army, and was on active duty until November, 1864, when he was killed at the battle of Franklin, Tenn. He entered service at the age of nineteen, and after the battle of Iuka was promoted to the rank of captain for gallantry, and was serving on Gen. Cockrell’s staff when killed. The youngest son, Joseph, served in the Union army, in the Fifty-first Missouri Infantry. John S. Burns was reared to manhood in Dallas County, and in 1863 enlisted in the Federal army, in the quartermaster’s department, and served until the close of the war, being in the Trans-Mississippi Department during the latter part of his service. He returned to his home in Dallas County, and in September, 1866, was married to Miss Nancy Maddux, who was born in Giles County, Tenn., in 1845, and is a daughter of Nathaniel Maddux, an old 1812 soldier. Mr. and Mrs. Burns are the parents of the following family: Foster, Deputy United States Marshal; James, William, Denean, Archibald, Wilburn, Eva, wife of Terrell Bruton, and Florence. In 1878 Mr. Burns was elected sheriff of Dallas County, serving three terms, being, re-elected in 1882 and 1884. He made many notable arrests during his term of office, and succeeded in running down and capturing the noted horse thieves, the Crawford brothers, and since being elected to his present office has captured a number of counterfeiters. In March, 1887, he located in Conway, where he has since resided. He is a member of the A. F. & A. M., and is a Royal Arch Mason, Lebanon Commandery, Past Master of the Blue Lodge, and is Master Workman in the A. O. U. W.

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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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