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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 R. Harley, of Mount Vernon, Mo., is of Scotch-Irish descent, and is a son of Basil C. and grandson of James Harley, who was a merchant in Virginia and reared a family of two sons and one daughter: William R., Basil C. and Louisa, the daughter being by a second wife. The youngest son, Basil C. was born in Virginia, and was there reared and married, his wife being Mary A Thompson, a daughter of Henry Thompson. Nine children were the result of their union, eight of whom lived to maturity: Claiborne W., James H., DeWitt C. and Edward L. (twins), Virginia A., Margaret R, William R. and John T. Soon after his marriage Mr. Harley moved to Mississippi, where he engaged in farming. He was a member of the State Legislature a number of terms. After residing there fifteen years he moved to Arkansas, and in 1849 purchased several thousand acres of land. He was also a slave-holder. He was a prominent Democrat and was State senator two terms, and was elected president of the Senate. He also served a short time as lieutenant-governor. He was special mail agent for Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, and was candidate for the Confederate States Congress, but was defeated. During the war he remained in Arkansas and operated salt works. He was a man of great force of character, energy and intelligence, and was essentially a self-made man. He died in 1863. His papers and valuables were cared for by a colored servant, Edmond Nave, and were delivered to his sons on their return from the army. William R. Harley was born July 7, 1846, and received a common-school education. At the early age of fifteen he enlisted in the Confederate army in Company C, Sixth Arkansas Volunteer Infantry. He was badly wounded at the battle of Shiloh, and was taken to the field hospital and afterward to Corinth, Miss., and twelve days after the battle was discharged on account of his wound. After remaining home over a year he enlisted in Shelby’s Brigade, Company D, Sixth Missouri Cavalry, and was in all the battles of this raid from Camden to Kansas City, Mo. The principal battles were Pilot Knob, Osage River, Battle of Blue, Westport and Newtonia. After the war he located in Johnson County, Ark., and engaged in tilling the soil, but later embarked in merchandising, and there remained until 1879, when he came to Lawrence County, Mo., and was appointed deputy recorder and circuit clerk, and about the same time engaged in the abstract business. He was married to Clementine May, who died one year after her marriage, and in 1882 he was united in marriage to Emma Sloan, a daughter of Dr. Daniel Sloan, and by her is the father of three children: Mila,Vesta, and Earl Kenneth. Mr. Harley is a Democrat; he is a Royal Arch Mason, and has filled all the chairs in Odd Fellowship, including Noble Grand. He is well known in Lawrence County, and has a wide experience in the abstract business.

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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

To view additional Lawrence County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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