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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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John Thomas Teel is an able lawyer and prominent citizen of Lawrence County, Mo. He has always taken a deep interest in enterprises pertaining to the public weal, and as a breeder of short-horned cattle and fast trotting horses ranks among the first in Southwest Missouri. He has spent many thousand dollars for standard stallions and mares, which has greatly assisted in improving the horse-flesh of his region. He is a man of broad literary culture and has an excellent library, and is the owner of one of the best fancy stock farms in Southwest Missouri, and a visit to his stables and pastures would well repay any lover of good horses. One of his stallions, Trumpeter, has a record of 2:30 1/2, and is seven years old. He stands fifteen and a half hands in height, and has a fine action. He is probably the best bred stallion in Southwest Missouri. Pilot Golddust is ten years old, and is fifteen hands and three inches in height, color a dark iron gray. Membrino Denmark, dark brown, stands sixteen hands high, and has taken first prize wherever he has been exhibited for style, action, beauty, breeding and speed. Monitor Temple is three years old, a bright bay with black points, and stands fifteen hands two inches in height, very promising and quick in action. Eugene Teel, registered, a yearling stallion, very finely bred. Royal George is also a yearling stallion. In addition to this splendid line of stallions he has as many as thirty brood mares running at large in the pastures, which, with their colts, present a fine sight. His horses are under the management of skillful men. Mr. Teel has also a fine herd of short-horned cattle, of which he is justly proud. Mr. Teel is a great-grandson of John Teel, who was a successful farmer of Eastern Pennsylvania, and a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He lived to be ninety years of age. His son John was a mechanic by trade, and also owned a good farm near Pittsburgh, Penn. He was married to Huldah Haines and reared a large family of children. He served in the War of 1812, and finally immigrated to Ohio and settled in Muskingum County. His son, Henry P. Teel, the father of our subject, was born near Pittsburgh, Penn., and received a limited early education. He was a farmer and mill-wright, and was married to Martha Ann Matthews, a daughter of James Matthews, who was born on the ocean while his parents were crossing from the old country to America. He was a Mason of the thirty-third degree, and attained the age of eighty-seven years. His daughter Martha was born in the State of Delaware. She and her husband, Mr. Teel, became the parents of nine children: James A., Huldah A., Josephine, Clara Ann, Amanda A., John Thomas, William D., George H. and Ewing Cass. In 1835 Mr. Teel, with his family, which then consisted of his wife and two children, James A. and Huldah A., moved to Fort Madison, Iowa, where he remained for one year, and then moved to Rushville, Schuyler Co., Ill., and engaged in the carpenter trade and tilling the soil. Here he lived until his death, which occurred when he was seventy-seven years of age. He was a stanch Democrat in politics, and was a member of the I. O. O. F., holding all the offices of the subordinate lodge. He was a strong Union man during the war, his opinions being in accord with those of Stephen A. Douglas. He possessed an active mind and was a great reader, being well informed on all the general topics of the day. John Thomas Teel was born in Washington County, Penn., November 23, 1841, and was reared on a farm. He was educated at Monmouth, Ill., and is a graduate of Monmouth College, and was a member and a graduate of the Philadelphia Literary Society of the college at that city. After reading law with Pinkney H. Walker, of Rushville, Ill., he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of Illinois, and April 10, 1866, engaged in the practice of his profession at Rushville in partnership with Judge E. J. Pemberton. Two years later he moved to Springfield, Mo., where he practiced law with Maj. James F. Harden until 1869, when he located in Mount Vernon, Mo., and until the last twelve years was a law partner of Col. Nathan Bray. Since that time he has practiced alone. He has the confidence and respect of the legal fraternity of Lawrence County, as is shown by his being elected three times as prosecuting attorney, and at the expiration of his third term was elected a member of the State Legislature. In 1886 he was a candidate for the State senatorship in opposition to Hon. Joseph C. Seaburn, who ran upon both the Republican and Greenback tickets. The latter was elected by about 1,300 majority, which would have been much more had it not been for the great popularity of Mr. Teel. In 1884 he was an alternate delegate to the National Democratic Convention at Chicago, and in 1888 was a delegate to the same at St. Louis. He was selected to propose for nomination the name of Hon. John O’Day as a member of the committee on platforms and resolutions. His speech was forcible, clear and eloquent, and was received with applause. Mr. O’Day was elected by a handsome majority. Mr. Teel has had for many years nearly all the important criminal practice of Lawrence County, and his conduct of his cases has been marked with signal success. Some of the most important are as follows: The State vs. John Simons, for murder. The case was tried at Mount Vernon, and resulted in the acquittal of the prisoner. Mr. Teel and Gov. Charles P. Johnson were for the defense. The next case was that of William M. Horner. Mr. Teel was again assisted by Gov. Johnson, and also Hon. A. L. Thomas, the State’s attorneys being Hon. William B. Skinner, Judge R. H. Landrum and Hon. J. C. Craven. His latest case was that of the State vs. Charles R. Carter, for murder. Mr. Teel assisted the prosecuting attorney in this case, and the verdict was murder in the first degree. Mr. Teel was also attorney for the State against Kelton. December 13, 1871, he was married to Mary Frances Scott, a daughter of Thomas W. and Catherine (Fitzgerald) Scott, of Rushville, Ill., formerly of Kentucky. The former was a first cousin of Gen. Winfield Scott, who presented them with a large silver urn at the time of their marriage. Thomas W. Scott was worth about $500,000; his daughter, Mrs. Teel, is a lady of culture and refinement, and possesses that kindness of heart which is the correct attribute of the true woman.

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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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