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Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk 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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Judge Benjamin W. Appleby, farmer and stock-raiser, is the son of James and Cynthia S. (McMurry) Appleby, natives of Georgia and Tennessee, respectively. James Appleby was of Irish descent, born in 1801. He was nine years of age when his parents moved from Georgia to Middle Tennessee, and there he met Miss McMurry, whom he afterward married. They settled in Bedford (now Marshall) County, and remained there until 1833, when they came to Greene County, Mo., and located in Springfield, which was then a village. Here James Appleby followed the blacksmith trade during the winter, and tilled the soil during the summer months. In 1836 he and family moved to this county and located one and a half miles southeast of Morrisville. At that time deer and wolves were plentiful, but Mr. Appleby never killed but one deer. He came to this county with very little means, but, by hard work and with the determination to succeed, became one of its well-to-do farmers. He was a quiet, industrious citizen, and one universally esteemed. Both he and wife were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. After the death of his wife, which occurred in 1839, he married Mrs. Nancy Bond, who bore him eight children. He died in 1869. He was a Democrat in politics before the war, but after that became a Republican. Of the seven children born to his father’s first marriage, Judge Benjamin W. Appleby is the only living son, and the fourth child in order of birth. He was born in Bedford (now Marshall) County, Tenn., January 30, 1832, and was chiefly reared and educated in Polk County. His early school advantages were poor, but, after reaching manhood, he attended school and prepared himself for teaching, which profession he followed for about five years. When very small his father put him to striking at the anvil, and, as he was too short to reach the same, a box was made for him to stand on while striking, and it was also used for him while blowing the bellows. August 26, 1858, he married Miss Rebecca A. McClure, a native of Alabama, and the daughter of Judge D. M. McClure. After marriage he turned his attention to the blacksmith trade, at which he worked until 1880. Toward the last of the war he shod horses for the Government for about: a year, and, all in all, worked at the trade for about twenty-five years. In connection with this he also carried on farming, at which he was quite successful. When township organization was instituted he was elected assessor, and held the position one year. For eight years he was a member of the county court, the last four years being presiding justice. He is a Democrat in politics, a member of the Masonic order, and is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1873 his wife died, and the same year he married Miss Susan E. Hamilton, who died in 1882. The following year he wedded Mrs. Bettie Logan, nee Misemer. To his first marriage were born five children: Frances B., Homer O., Jerome M., Anna L. and Mack; and to his second marriage were born four children: Troy, William M., Truckee, and an infant (deceased). No children were born to the third marriage. Beginning with nothing, the Judge has, by his own exertion and energy, acquired a good fortune, and is now the owner of 400 acres of valuable land.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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