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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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William Fairburn. Among the many brave men who risked their lives and health in the service of their country may be mentioned Mr. Fairburn, who, when Lincoln made his first call for 300,000 men, promptly responded to that call, and enlisted in Company D, Fifteenth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in 1861, as a private, serving through the entire war, participating in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg and Atlanta, and was promoted to sixth corporal after the battle of Shiloh, and rose to the rank of captain, filling the intermediate offices. He was with Sherman on his celebrated march to the sea, and participated in all the battles of that memorable campaign. He was also on the return march to Washington, and was present at the grand review in that city. He was mustered out and honorably discharged at Louisville, Ky., August 3, 1865. He was neither sick nor wounded during his entire service, and was in all the battles and marches of the Fifteenth Iowa, on whose war-scarred banner is proudly inscribed forty-one battles and skirmishes—one of the grandest records of the war. This regiment lost more men in killed and wounded than any other Iowa regiment, and was commanded by Col. Belknapp, who was afterward Gen. Belknapp. The heroes of the great Civil War are fast passing away, but honor and respect should be shown those who remain, whose courage and daring helped to preserve the Union. Mr. Fairburn is of Scotch-Irish descent, his father, Moses Fairburn, being a native of the North of Ireland. He (Moses) came to the United States, and settled in Wapello County, Iowa. His wife was Mary McFadden, also of the North of Ireland. He was a Methodist Episcopal clergy man in his native country as well as in the United States, and was the father of eight children: Hugh, William, Mary, Isabel, Sallie, Thomas J., Alexander and Ann Jane. The father died in Wapello County, Iowa, in 1871, at the age of sixty-eight years. He was industrious, in comfortable circumstances, and assisted his children to a start in life. He held the office of county judge in Iowa. William, his son, received a common-school education, and after serving in the late war returned home, and in 1865 was married to Mary E. Smock, a daughter of Rev. Abraham Smock, who was of German descent, and a minister in the Baptist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Fairburn are the parents of six children: David J., Chloe M., Bertha E., William W., Loren B. and Emma. Mr. Fairburn remained on a farm in Iowa until 1872, when he came to Lawrence County, Mo., and engaged in the grocery and provision business in Mount Vernon, continuing the same about eight years, when he sold out and purchased a farm of 460 acres. In 1886 he was elected county recorder on the Republican ticket, for four years, with a majority of 476 votes, and has since held the office to the entire satisfaction of all. He is a stanch Republican in his political views, and is a member of the G. A. R. He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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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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