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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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Henry Ham, now seventy-three years of age, one of the prominent farmers and stock-raisers of Johnson Township, Polk County, Mo., and one of the old and much-esteemed citizens of the county, was born September 6, 1816, and is the son of John and Mary (Dibret) Ham, both natives of Maryland, where they grew up and were married. The father was a soldier in the War of 1812, was a tanner by trade, and, after moving to London, Ohio, he still continued his trade. To his marriage wefe born eleven children, two now living. The paternal grandfather, Peter Ham, was a native of Pennsylvania, and moved to Maryland, where he followed the tanner’s trade for many years, He died in that State. The great-grandfather Ham was a native of Ger many, who emigrated to America at an early day, and settled at Germantown. The maternal grandfather of our subject was a native of Germany, and emigrated to America, where he passed his declining years. He was a cooper by trade. Henry Ham left Maryland at ten years of age and went to Ohio, where he grew to manhood. He was married there to Miss D. J. Gragg, who bore him two children, both deceased, and his wife also is deceased. After her death he went to Illinois, remaining there ten years, and then, in 1860, came to Missouri, bought a farm, and engaged in agricultural pursuits. Eight years later he settled on his present farm, where he has remained ever since, and where he has 1,100 acres of land. He also owns a house and lot in Bolivar, valued at $600, besides possessing $2,000 worth of personal property. His second marriage was to Miss Mary Watson, who bore him one child, John H. After her death he married Miss Mary J. Kennedy, and one child, Martha J., was the result of this union. He is a Republican in politics, and his first vote for President was for Henry Clay. Mrs. Ham is the daughter of John Y. and Martha P. (Dunnegan) Kennedy, both natives of Tennessee, and both died in Cedar County, Mo. They were the parents of ten children. After marriage Mr. Kennedy moved to Missouri, locating in Morgan County, but moved to Cedar County, afterward to Polk County, and then to Dade County. He died in Cedar County in 1875, and was sixty-three years of age. The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Ham was a pioneer of Missouri from Tennessee, and her maternal grand father settled in Polk County, Mo., near Dunnegan Spring, and it was after that family the spring was named. Mrs. Ham received her education at an early day, and taught eleven terms of school in Cedar County. She owns forty acres of land in that county, and is an intelligent, well-educated lady. She was married at the age of thirty-nine years.

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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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