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Below is a family biography included in The History of Miller County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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 Birdsong. Among all classes and in every circumstance in life are those who excell at whatever they undertake, whether of a professional, agricultural or commercial nature. Such a man is Mr. Birdsong, who is one of the prominent farmers and one of the pioneer settlers of Miller County. He was born near Memphis, in Lafayette County, Tenn., July 1, 1828, and is the son of Josiah and Nancy (Huddleston) Birdsong. The parents were natives of Alabama, and immigrated to Tennessee at an early date. In 1835 they immigrated to Missouri, coming through with an ox team, and located in what is now Maries County, Mo. They only remained there about a year and then moved to what is now Miller County, locating in Iberia, but after remaining here a short time moved to Tuscumbia (in 1838), where the father started a hatter’s store, which was the first in the county. He carried on this business here for several years, when he bought what is now the county poor farm. This was then but little improved, but he went to work and soon had a good farm. The country was at that time a comparative wilderness, and wild game of almost all kinds was in abundance. The father died on this farm. He was major of the Mustered Squads, was afterward promoted to the rank of colonel, and was always known as Colonel Birdsong. He was county treasurer for one term of four years. The mother also died on the old homestead. They were the parents of ten children, four now living—Lucinda, wife of Edward Gibson, attorney; Malinda, wife of Owen Biggs; William, and Nancy, wife of Daniel Welcharms. William Birdsong was only about seven years of age when he was brought to Miller County, Mo., and has thus been identified with the interests of Miller County all his life. His education was limited, owing to the scarcity of schools, but he attended about three months in a little log cabin with split poles for seats. He ran away to go to school at Spring Garden, and when eighteen years of age he entered a store in Tuscumbia as clerk. He remained there three years, and then went on the river building freight boats and as a pilot, which he followed for about four years. He then engaged in farming, which occupation he has since followed. In 1863 he enlisted in Captain Brown’s company, and served one year. He was in Price’s raid for twenty-one days. After the war he first located on the farm where J. L. Blackburn now lives, and partly improved the place. In 1868 he moved to where he now lives and bought the farm of 120 acres, with about ninety acres under cultivation. He was married in September, 1853, to Miss Mary A. Stapp, by whom he had eight children, seven now living—Martha, wife of Nicholas Weitz; Nancy; Lucy, wife of John Bassman; William F., Lizzie, Theresa and Charles H. The one deceased was named Josiah. Mr. Birdsong is a member of the Agricultural Wheel. In 1871 he was bitten by a rattlesnake, which he killed. It measured three feet and two inches and had eleven rattles. The country was full of them in the early days, but as settlers poured in they gradually disappeared.

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This family biography is one of 120 biographies included in The History of Miller County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Miller County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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

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