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Below is a family biography included in The History of Lawrence County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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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James F. Hopper, one of the oldest and most influential citizens of Lawrence County, Mo., was born in Bedford County, Tenn., on the 21st day of December, 1816. He is the son of Thomas Hopper, who was born in North Carolina in 1790, and Mary Penn, who at the time of her marriage was living in Tennessee. Thomas Hopper spent his youth in Granger County, Tenn., and received such education as the schools of that county afforded. There he was married when about twenty-three years of age, and soon after located in Bedford County. In partnership with two other men he purchased some land, his share amounting to 160 acres. Upon this he located and spent the remainder of his life, passing away at the age of eighty-seven years. The portion of Bedford County in which he settled was afterward mapped out as Marshall County From family tradition we learn that Mary Penn is a distant relative of the famous William Penn. She also lived and died on the old homestead in Tennessee, and was eighty-five years of age at the time of her death. The record of our subject’s family in both lines is remarkable for longevity. Thomas Hopper and wife were the parents of ten children, of whom Passa (Mrs. Henry R. Hay, of Tennessee), James F., William H. and Elizabeth J. (Mrs. Thomas Baxter, of Tennessee), are living. Those dead are John R., Charles, Joshua, Jackson, Richard and Rufus. James F. Hopper received his education in the common schools of Tennessee, and when he was twenty-four years of age was united in marriage with Mary S. Williamson, a daughter of John and Mary Williamson, by whom he is the father of four children. Those living are John W., Thomas P., of Texas, and Martha J. Saten, of Lawrence County. After his marriage Mr. Hopper resided in Tennessee on rented land for a number of years, devoting the summer months to farming and the winter to teaching school. In 1853 he came to Missouri, and settling in Green County, remained there about one year. Thence he removed to Dade County, and remained there not exceeding four years, when he came to Lawrence County and settled where he now resides. He has devoted his whole time to farming and has worked very hard during his life. He has met with deserved success and now owns considerable property. The farm on which he resides contains 271 acres, and he has a farm in Dade County of 160 acres. All the family are Christians and members of the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Hopper is a very active member, and has held various offices in the church. At present he is deacon and clerk. Mr. Hopper is highly respected by all who know him, and in the community in which he lives is generally known as “ Uncle Jimmy.” He is in his seventy-second year, and enjoys extremely good health, often riding to Mount Vernon, a distance of sixteen miles, and returning the same day. Since 1863 he cannot recall a day on which he has been compelled to remain indoors on account of sickness. His wife died in the spring of 1888, aged seventy years. Our subject takes little interest in politics and has never sought official honors, but he endorses and supports the Democratic party. His son, John W. Hopper, has served as probate judge of Lawrence County for the last fourteen years. The county has a Republican majority, and he has always been elected on the Democratic ticket with a flattering majority.

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This family biography is one of 272 biographies included in The History of Lawrence County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Lawrence County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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