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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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John W. Burks, attorney at law at Humansville, Mo., was born in Miller County, Mo., in 1854, and is the son of William G. and Louisa (Granstafif) Burks. William G. Burks was born in Wilson County, Tenn., in 1809, and was a farmer and stock raiser by occupation. He attained his growth in Tennessee, and was there married to Miss Granstaff, who was a native of Middle Tennessee, born about 1831, and who is now living in Bolivar, Polk County, Mo. Mr. and Mrs. Burks emigrated to Missouri in 1853, and settled in Miller County, there remaining until 1855, when they moved to Callaway County, Mo,, and here the father died April 7, 1886. He had been a member of the Baptist Church for many years. In their family were six children, three of whom died in infancy. John W. Burks passed his boyhood days in Callaway County, Mo., and received his literary education at Westminster College, Fulton, in which he took an irregular course. He then entered the teachers’ profession, followed this successfully for three years, and then began the study of law, which he continued for two years, with Hon. I. W. Boulware, of Fulton, Mo., after which he was admitted to the bar at Fulton in 1880. He then practiced law there until 1887, when he came to Humansville, Mo., and formed a partnership with C. W. Hamlin, of Bolivar, and remained one year, since which time he has practiced his profession alone. He was married in February, 1888, to Mrs. Johanna C. (Emmons) Key, a native of Callaway County, Mo. Mr. Burks has quite an extensive law practice, and confines his attention to this and to collections. He is now city attorney at Humansville; a member and agent of the board of trustees of the Southwest Baptist College, Bolivar, Mo., and is clerk of Freedom Association of Baptist Churches, composed of Dallas, Hickory and Polk Counties.

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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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