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Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Putnam County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  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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Hon. James B. Harper was born in Champaign County, Ohio, August 16, 1833, and is a son of Samuel Harper, a native of Virginia. The father came to Champaign County, Ohio, with his parents, when an infant, and there grew to manhood, and married Charlotte Sargent, also a native of Virginia, and reared in that State. Samuel Harper was a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church, in which he officiated as deacon several years. Both he and his wife died in 1876. The subject of this sketch lived upon his father’s farm until twenty-two years of age, receiving a good education at the common schools of the neighborhood, which was supplemented at the Urbana High School. While living in Ohio he taught school about fifteen months, and, after coming to Missouri, taught from 1856 to 1864, nine terms in St. John. In the winter of 1879 he again taught in St. John, and also in 1878-78 taught in his own district. After coming to Missouri from Ohio, in 1856, he resided in St. John, Putnam County, until 1868. In August, 1862, he enlisted in the Thirty- third Missouri Volunteer Infantry, under Col. Clinton B. Fiske, serving until his discharge for disability in 1863, when he returned home. He was commissioned major of the Forty-fifth Regiment Enrolled Militia, and afterward colonel of the Thirty-ninth Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia in 1864, and did some effective service for his State in the Enrolled Militia. While a resident of St. John, in connection with teaching he also engaged in carpentering. He moved upon his present home place in 1868, which consists of 400 acres of valuable prairie land, all fenced and mostly meadow land. He has a good house and outbuildings and thirty-five acres of timber land in another tract. He is an active Republican, and, ever since he cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, has canvassed during every campaign for his party. He was nominated and elected representative of his county in 1864, and re-elected in 1866 and 1868. In 1872 he was nominated again and elected, his opponent being Hon. H. D. Marshall, of Unionville, the representative of 1870, the contest being very close and exciting. In 1880 he was again nominated and elected, and in all has served his county in the Legislature five terms with honor and distinction. In 1886 he was nominated judge at large, and elected by a nice majority. In May, 1859, he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah C. J. Caul, daughter of Thomas Caul, an old pioneer of Putnam County. Mrs. Harper is a native of Virginia, but spent most of her youth in Putnam County, Mo. She is the mother of four daughters: Charlotte S. (wife of J. H. Gunn), Mary E. (young lady at home), Sarah E. (deceased September 17, 1885, aged twenty years and three months) and Effie A. (twelve years old). The Judge, his wife and one daughter are members of the Presbyterian Church. Judge Harper is a member of the G. A. R., Mansfield Post, No. 181, at Wyreka, Putnam County, Mo.

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This family biography is one of 139 biographies included in the Putnam County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Adair, Sullivan, Putnam, and Schuyler Counties, Missouri published in 1888 by Goodspeed Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Putnam County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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

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