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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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James M. Brasfield, a well-known, influential and popular citizen of Putnam County, was born in Garrard County, Ky., July 7, 1814, and, when about six years old, moved with his parents to Madison County, Ky., where he lived upon a farm until about twenty years of age, and then accompanied his parents to Rockcastle County, Ky., where, November 20, 1834, he married Mary Ann Ballard, a native Kentuckian. He followed agricultural pursuits in that county until February, 1839, and then came to Missouri, and purchased property at Shelbyville, Shelby County, to which place he moved with his family in the fall, arriving there October 29. He came overland, and drove, bringing with him the first fine cattle ever introduced in that vicinity. He resided in Shelby County until March 1, 1841, and then located upon the farm which he soon after entered-Section 21, Township 65, Range 16, Putnam County. An idea of the privations, hardships, customs, and habits, of the early pioneers of Putnam County can be gained from the following extracts of an article prepared by our subject, and read at the old settlers’ meeting at Unionville, Saturday, August 25, 1882: “I came to Putnam (then Adair) County from Shelby County in the spring of 1841, with my wife and three children. Our wagon was our house for three days. By that time I had a log cabin up, with a chimney up to the arch, and moved on a hill where there had never been a survey. The wolves were plenty, and watched my hog-pen day and night, compelling me to build it adjoining my house. As hemp and flax were soon sown, my wife made linen and tow clothes, and I went on with my farming, using rope traces, corn-husk collars, etc. The night I landed a bee-tree was found, and from that time honey was plenty, as was also deer and turkeys. I had to go twelve miles to a blacksmith, with no roads to travel over, and it was fifteen miles to the post office, where we had to pay 25 cents postage before receiving a letter. My first mill was a mortar, made by burning the top of a stump, and then scraping it out bowl-shaped. In this we would place soaked corn, and then pound it with an iron wedge, fastened to the end of a pole. We sifted the meal made in this unique manner, using the fine for bread and the coarse for hominy. The next was the hand-mill, similar to the coffee mill, soon followed by small buhrs, run by hand, and then came the horse-power. I went to Palmyra (seventy-five miles) to mill a few times – drove cattle to the Mississippi River, and sold them at $7.50 per head.” Mr. Brasfield resided upon the old home place, mentioned above, until 1882, and then retired from active agricultural life, and moved to Unionville, where he still resides, a highly honored and respected citizen, but he is still one of the largest land holders in the county. By his first wife he has five surviving children – two sons and three daughters. One son is deceased. The three sons all served in the State Militia. The mother of these children died in 1851, and Mr. Brasfield afterward married Narcissa C. Haynes, a native of Giles County, Tenn. To this union five sons and two daughters have been born. Anna P., a highly accomplished and estimable young lady, died in her eighteenth year, while attending school at the State Normal, at Kirskville, Mo. Mr. and Mrs. Brasfield are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. James L., the father of James M., was born in Virginia, May 7, 1780, and married in Kentucky, to Mary Moberly, May 22, 1806. This lady was born March 3, 1787. They moved to Putnam County several years subsequent to the date of our subject’s locating in that county. Their deaths occurred in Putnam County, December 25, 1859, and April 11, 1869. Mr. Brasfield is the second child of a family of two sons and three daughters, all of whom lived to maturity. His sisters are all dead, and the brother, John J., resides at Hartford, Putnam Co., Mo. He has never used tobacco in any form, nor any kind of intoxicants, and is a faithful advocate of temperance, and a living example of the benefit it affords in that now, in his seventy-fourth year, he is enjoying good health, with a well preserved constitution, and a vigor and activity equal to those of most young men.

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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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