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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 Heagerty, a retired farmer of Turnback Township, Lawrence County, Mo., who is now living in Aurora, was born in Moore County, N. C., in 1831, and is the son of John and Mary (Cameron) Heagerty, natives of Cork County, Ireland, and Moore County, N. C., respectively. The mother was of Scotch descent, and her parents came from Scotland to the United States some time previous to the Revolutionary War. With the Camerons came the Furgesons and the McDonalds, all being connected. Grandfather Cameron was the father of five children, two sons and three daughters. The two sons served under Gen. George Washington in the Revolutionary War, and both died during that struggle, one being killed during service. Mary Cameron was the youngest child of this family. John Heagerty, father of the subject of this sketch, was a native born Irishman, his birth occurring in 1780. After growing up to his majority he came to the United States, where he lived several years before he was married. He was reared a Catholic, but died a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He first located in Cumberland County, N. C., and was married to Miss Cameron in Moore County, of the same State. In 1840 he and family removed by wagon to Southwest Missouri, settling in Greene County, now Christian County, where he followed agricultural pursuits. He was general superintendent for the government in clearing out Cape Fear River, North Carolina, for navigation, and was a stone cutter and brick mason by trade. He was a man of education, and died in 1850 in his seventieth year. To him and wife were born six children, three sons and three daughters, all supposed to be living at this date, September, A. D. 1888: William, Catherine James, Richard, Mary and Christian. The mother of these children died March 8, 1843, in her thirty-seventh year. She was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and a good woman. Their son, William Heagerty, was in his tenth year when his parents moved to Southwest Missouri. He had attended school a short time in North Carolina, and availed himself of every opportunity that the country afforded in order to secure a good education. In 1857 and 1858 he taught public school, and when the war broke out he served his country by organizing a company (Home Guards) of which he was made captain. He soon after withdrew from this company and organized and was commissioned by the government as second lieutenant of another company. After the battle of Wilson’s Creek the army retired to Rolla, in Phelps County, Mo., and all the Home Guards were disbanded by special orders of the war department; Mr. Heagerty then enlisted in Company A, Eleventh Missouri Cavalry Volunteers, and was first sergeant. He was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, and held this position until the close of the war. He was discharged at Little Rock, Ark., after which he returned home and resumed his farm work. He held the office of supervisor of registration of this (Lawrence) county, and also many minor offices. He was married in 1852 to Miss Julia G. Nicholass, a native of Alabama, who bore him five children, two now living, William G. and John R. The former is married and lives in Arkansas, and the latter lives in Lawrence County, Mo. The children who died are named as follows: Eliza, Mary and Jane, all of whom died young. The mother of these children died February 2, 1885, and Mr. Heagerty then married Mrs. Rebecca E. (White) Ryker, the widow of Jared S. Ryker, by whom he had three children: Evaline A., Ellen and Samuel J., all living. Mr. Heagerty is the owner of 280 acres of land, with about 125 under cultivation. He has three dwelling-houses on this farm. He moved to Aurora in August, 1886, and here he has since resided. He is a Republican in politics, and he and wife are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Russell B. Nicholass, father of Mr. Heagerty’s first wife, was a captain in the Black Hawk War, and was commissioned by the governor of Illinois. He was one of three appointed by the county court, and held several important offices. He was born in Kentucky, and moved to Alabama, where he married Miss Jane Franklin and became the father of ten or eleven children, Mrs. Heagerty being the third one of those children.

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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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