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Below is a family biography included in The History of Wilson 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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WILLIAM W. DONNELL, clerk of the Circuit Courts of Wilson County, Tenn., was born October 25, 1850, and is one of twelve children born to Robert P. and Cleopatra (Hearn) Donnell. The father was of Scotch-Irish descent, born in Virginia, and came to Tennessee in his youth. He was a farmer and owned about 200 acres of land. He was one of the early settlers of the county, and died in March, 1862. The mother was born in North Carolina and after the death of her husband made her home with our subject. She died in 1876. When William W. was but twelve years old his father died. His elder brother being in the army the burden of supporting the family fell upon William. He has only attended school about fifteen months, but in spite of this disadvantage he has a good, practical business education, acquired through study and early contact with business life. He early began speculating in stock, and when eighteen years of age hired out as a clerk in the general merchandise store of C. C. Hancock, and remained with him seven years. In 1870 he purchased Mr. Hancock’s entire stock, and same year the building in which he did business caught fire, and was consumed with the entire contents. He and Marshall Young opened a similar store, but in 1881 disposed of the stock. A year later Mr. Donnell was elected to his present office by the Democratic party for a term of four years, and is now filling the duties of that office very efficiently.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in The History of Wilson County, Tennessee published in 1887 by Goodspeed.  The History of Wilson County was included within The History of Maury, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford & Marshall Counties of Tennessee. For the complete description, click here: History of Maury, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Beford and Marshall Counties of Tennessee

View additional Wilson County, Tennessee family biographies here

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