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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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Among the prominent men of the early settlers in Polk County appears the name of Col. James W. Johnson. He was of English descent, having been born August 24, 1811, in Virginia. In an early day he emigrated to Tennessee, and located near Nashville, where he married, in 1883, Miss Nancy Piper, a native of Middle Tennessee, born September 28, 1814. Her father was a native of Ireland, and in an early day came to this country. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, and the second person buried in the Bolivar graveyard. In 1834 Col. Johnson and wife came to Polk County. Though a farmer by occupation, he took an active part in all the affairs of his county. In 1852 he was elected sheriff and collector of Polk County, in which capacity he served two years. In the Constitutional Convention of 1861 he was the chosen delegate from this district. The same year he received the commission of colonel of the Fifteenth U. S. Reserve Corps, and in September, 1862, he was honored with the commission of colonel of the Twenty-sixth Enrolled Missouri Militia, and served till March, 1864, when he resigned and retired to private life. In 1888 he was called from the toils of earth. In his death the county lost one of its most useful and highly esteemed citizens. He was a stanch Democrat, and an active member in the Christian Church, as was also his wife. She died August 13, 1883. Their family consisted of eight children, of whom five survive: Delilah P., Richard M., Samuel R., James W. and Abraham L. Samuel R. was born in this county July 28, 1850, being reared upon the farm. While growing up he received a good English education in the schools of the county. Having prepared himself in the Bolivar Academy for the profession of teaching, he followed it some three years. September 1, 1872, he married Miss Emma Stewart, daughter of George W. Stewart. She was born near Madison, Ind., May 26, 1854, and came to this county with her parents in 1869. Having resided on the old homestead until 1884, Mr. Johnson moved to his present home, a mile and a quarter northeast of Bolivar. He owns 200 acres of good land, with about 125 under cultivation. His family consists of four children: Llano, Daisy, Nannie and Nettie. He is a member of the Christian Church. He is an advocate of the principles of the Union Labor Party. The Johnson family is an old and highly respected family, and deserves an honorable mention in the history of Polk County.

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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

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

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