My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Lewis County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  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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Hon. Oliver C. Clay, A. M., prosecuting attorney, was born in this county May 27, 1849, the son of Little Berry and Barbara Clay, whose sketch appears elsewhere. Our subject, the third of seven children, had charge of his father’s farm during the war, and after that conflict entered Christian University, and acted as janitor to pay his expenses. He graduated in June, 1871, with the degree of A. M. In his sophomore year he had two or three classes in mathematics, and the senior year he was a teacher of Greek and Latin. During a greater part of the course he boarded himself, as he was unable to do otherwise, and the small hour of 2 o’clock at night often found him at work. He became a teacher in 1871 in the country, but soon became assistant principal of the high school in Canton, and the following year was made principal. He became professor of mathematics in Christian University two years later, where seven years before he had begun as janitor. He resigned this chair three years later. June 25, 1877, he married Charlotte, the daughter of James Biggs. She is a native of Canton County. She also graduated from this university, and was valedictorian of her class, being the only lady who ever received the degree of A. M. in this institution. She taught in the schools of Canton several years. Their children are William G., Roxana, Horace B. and Mary. He went to Sedalia the day of his marriage, and delivered before the State Teachers’ Association his address “The Public Schools our only Safeguard.” He began law in 1874, was admitted in 1875, and has opened an office in Monticello. From 1883 to 1885 he was a partner of J. T. Lloyd, and since that time R. W. Ray has been his partner, and the firm have had marked success. He is a Democrat, and has served in his present office since 1882. He is a Mason and an Odd Fellow, having taken all the degrees of the latter. He and his wife are members of the Christian Church, of which he is Sunday-school superintendent.

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This family biography is one of 293 biographies included in the Lewis County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Lewis, Clark, Knox and Scotland Counties, Missouri published in 1887.  For the complete description, click here: Lewis County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Lewis County, Missouri family biographies here: Lewis County, Missouri Biographies

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