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Below is a family biography included in The History of Sumner County, Tennessee published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  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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J. B. Donelson, of Gallatin, is a native of this county, his birth occurring in November, 1850. His father, Gen. Daniel S. Donelson, was born in 1801 in Sumner County, Tenn., and at the age of fifteen years was appointed to the West Point Military School through the influence of Gen. Jackson, graduating with the first honors of his class when in his twentieth year. Declining an appointment in the army he returned to the “Hermitage,” his home in his native State, and lived with Gen. Jackson until his marriage with Miss Margaret Branch in 1830. He farmed extensively, acquiring a homestead of 1,139 acres, and several times was elected to the State Legislature, at one time serving as speaker of the Lower House. On the breaking out of hostilities between the North and the South he was appointed adjutant-general and in erecting the fort near Dover it was named Donelson in his honor. Later he was appointed brigadier-general and assigned a command in West Virginia. He distinguished himself in the battles of Perryville, Cheat Mountain and Murfreesboro, at the latter engagement having a horse shot dead from under him. By exposure he brought on illness so that a part of the time he was not in active field duty. He was, however, promoted to major-general for bravery and meritorious conduct. He died, lamented, April 17, 1863. A brother of Gen. Donelson was a candidate for vice-president on the Fillmore ticket in 1856, and was United States minister to France under President Jackson. His wife was born in 1814, and was a daughter of John Branch, a governor of North Carlina. She died in 1871 after bearing eleven children, nine of whom are yet living. J. B. Donelson, the immediate subject of this sketch, was educated in his native State and Florida. He began clerking in a boot and shoe house in Nashville in 1873 and in 1875 embarked in the trade on his own responsibility. Two years later he came to Sumner County and began farming and has continued at that and stock dealing until the present. He is a Democrat and a member of the K. of P. and Iron Hall fraternities and he and wife belong to the Missionary Baptist Church. To his marriage with Miss Alexander, which occurred in 1874, two children have been born: Rebecca and Alexander.

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This family biography is one of 115 biographies included in The History of Sumner County, Tennessee published in 1887.  The History of Sumner County was included within The History of Sumner, Smith, Macon & Trousdale Counties of Tennessee. View the complete description here: History of Sumner, Smith, Macon and Trousdale Counties of Tennessee

View additional Sumner County, Tennessee family biographies here: Sumner County, Tennessee

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