Bradley County, Arkansas Biographies

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J. H. Abernathy, farmer, Warren, Ark. No worthy reference to the agricultural affairs of this county would be complete without mention of Mr. Abernathy, among others, engaged in tilling the soil. Besides enjoying to an unlimited extent the confidence and respect of all who know him, he comes of a family of children who have done credit to the name they bear. Mr. Abernathy was born in Jefferson County, Ala., December 2, 1839, and is one of twelve children, six now living, born to the union of Sterling G. and Elizabeth (Ware) Abernathy, and who are named as follows: James H., John W., Samuel C., Sterling G., Jr., Sarah M. (wife of Richard Ainsworth), and Saletia (wife of A. A. Smith). The parents of these children were natives, respectively, of Lincoln County, N.C., and Jefferson County, Ala. The Abernathy family is of English descent, and five brothers were early settlers of Petersburg, Va. The paternal grandparents emigrated to Mississippi in 1839, located in Pontotoc County, where both passed their last days. The maternal grandfather of our subject died in Alabama. Sterling G. Abernathy moved to Arkansas in 1861, settled in Calhoun County, and there followed agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred February 29, 1887. The mother died July 15, 1864. J.H. Abernathy divided his time in youth between assisting on the farm and in securing an education in the common schools of Mississippi. Perhaps it was but natural that, when starting out in life for himself, he should choose as his calling agricultural pursuits, for that had been the principal occupation of his ancestors. In 1859 he came to Arkansas, located in Calhoun County, and there tilled the soil until 1882, when he moved to Bradley County and located south of the town. He owns 504 acres of land, with 250 acres under cultivation, has a handsome residence, good substantial outbuildings, and deals considerably in stock, keeping some thorough bred cattle and merino sheep. In 1861 he enlisted in Company C. Eighth Confederate Cavalry, composed of Mississippi and Alabama troops, and served until the surrender. He was wounded slightly at the battle of Murfreesboro, and his horse was shot and fell on him. He was captured, taken prisoner to St. Louis, but there managed to make his escape and joined his regiment at Middleton, Tenn. He was married, December 24, 1865, to Miss Sallie Wood, native of Mississippi, who born him seven children, five living: Hettie, Howard, Inez, George C. and Anna M. The two deceased were named Joseph and James D. Mr. Abernathy is a member of the K. of P., K. & L. of H. and also of the Agricultural Union. Mrs. Abernathy is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Thomas B. Bailey is one of the prosperous general merchants of Bradley County, Ark., and by his superior management and rare business ability and efficiency, he has done not a little to advance the reputation the county enjoys as a commercial center. Thomas J. Bailey, his father, was born in Alabama, and when a young man removed to Georgia, and while following his trade of carpenter and wheelwright in Hancock County, met and married Miss Mary White, who, on July 21, 1850, bore him the subject of this sketch. In 1860 they removed to Bradley County, Ark., and here Mr. Bailey passed from life in 1866, his widow still surviving him and making her home with her son, J.M. She and her husband became the parents of eight children, two daughters and three sons now living. Thomas B. being their fifth child. Bradley County has always been his home, and he has always resided in the vicinity of Warren, in which place his education was received. He remained with his parents until he attained his majority, then worked at the carpenters trade for six years, then began clerking in a mercantile establishment in Warren continuing ten years. On August 23, 1888, he opened his present establishment, and with his stock valued at about $5,000, he does an annual business of about $12,000. On December 25, 1884, he was united in marriage to Miss Beatrice Weir, who was born at Lanark, Bradley County, Ark., in 1867, she being a daughter of Rev. B. C. and Lorinda Weir, the former being a pioneer Methodist preacher of this vicinity. Mr. and Mrs. Bailey have two sons and a daughter: Ernest M., Edward C. and Maude E. Mr. Bailey is a Democrat, casting his first presidential vote for Horace Greeley, and belongs to Warren Lodge No. 35, of the K. of P. He and wife belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are worthy citizens of the county.

D. H. Balfour, a prominent resident of Washington Township, Bradley County, Ark., was born in Tallahatchie County, Miss., December 5, 1845, and was the eldest child born to John and Elizabeth (Harton) Balfour, natives, respectively, of North Carolina and Tennessee. The father was married twice, and by each wife became the father of twelve children, only five of whom are now living. He was a planter, and at an early day became identified with the interests of Marshall County, Miss., and during the war with Mexico held the rank of colonel. In 1859 his sight began to fail him, and he was compelled to retire from active business life, and is now making his home in the city of St. Louis. Although a resident of the South, he was a strong Union man during the late Rebellion, but did not serve on either side on account of his defective eyesight. On one occasion Gen. Grant and a portion of his staff, while passing near Mr. Balfour's plantation, stopped and took dinner with him. In 1862, with the most of his family, he started for Europe with the intention of going to Paris for medical treatment for his eyes, but upon reaching New York City stopped there and consulted the noted occulist, Dr. Agnew. His wife, the mother of our subject, passed to her long home in 1870. D. H. Balfour was reared on his father's estate in Mississippi, receiving the greater part of his education at Holly Springs, but in 1862 went North with his people and was placed in the public schools, remaining until 1864. During all this time his sympathies were strongly with the South, so much so that in 1864 he left home and kindred, went South and joined the Confederate army, becoming a member of Company I, Third Mississippi Cavalry, and was on active duty for several months, during which time he was in a number of skirmishes but in no regular battle, as the war was almost over in that locality. He surrendered at Gainesville, Ala., in April 1865. He had three half brothers in the Confederate service, one of whom, Andrew, raised a company and he became its captain, serving as such throughout the entire war. He was severely wounded several times, but is still living in Marshall County near the old estate. After the war, D. H. Balfour came to Arkansas, and after teaching school for about a year, went to the Lone Star State to see about locating, but liking Arkansas best, he returned in October, 1869, and purchased 160 acres of land in Bradley County, it being partially improved. He immediately erected good buildings of all kinds, made other valuable improvements, and here continued to make his home until September, 1888, when he cdame to Simpson and became bookkeeper for the firm of Glasgow & Roddey, general merchants of that place. He is an active and enterprising citizen, seeking in all ways to advance the interest of the county in which he makes his home, and is courteous and agreeable in his intercourse with his fellow men. He was married in 1869 to Miss Elmira E. Gross, a daughter of William Gross, an old pioneer of this section from Kentucky, and to them have been born a family of six children, only two of whom are living at the present time: David and Jeppie. Calista E. died at the age of two and one-half years, Zula Ione died August 18, 1887, when five years of age and two children died in infancy.

W. T. Barry, farmer and stock raiser, Warren, Ark. Mr. Barry, who is also numbered among the substantial and representative citizens of Eastern birth in Bradley County, came originally from York County, S.C., where he was born on May 1, 1838, and is a son of William A. and Eliza A. (Watson) Barry, both natives also of South Carolina. The paternal grandfather was a Revolutionary soldier, and participated in the battle of King's Mountain. The maternal grandfather was a native of Pennsylvania, and emigrated to South Carolina at an early date. He was of Scotch-Irish descent. He had six sons, all of whom he educated. The eldest entered the ministry and preached for forty years to one congregation. An uncle before him preached for forty years in the same place. Two other sons were physicians, and one a blacksmith. William A. Barry was a farmer by trade, and was also interested in agricultural pursuits. He owned several slaves. He died in South Carolina and the mother also died in that State in 1871. They were the parents of seven children, three now living: Mary M. (wife of Joseph M. Chote), John H. (in South Carolina), and W. T. The latter was but three years of age when his father died, and as a consequence his educational advantages were limited, being obliged to work hard as soon as large enough. In May, 1862, he enlisted in Company H, Eighteenth South Carolina Regiment, and served until April 9, 1865, or until Lee's surrender. He was a sergeant, and was never sick or wounded during service. In 1871 he came to Arkansas, located nine miles south of Warren, in Bradley County in the woods, and now is the owner of 160 acres, of which 100 acres are under cultivation. He is one of the prosperous farmers of the county. He is also engaged in milling, He and Mr. Pierce being the owners of a cotton-gin and grist-mill. He has good improvements and is doing well. He was married on December 15, 1859 to Miss Mary J. Pierce, and the fruits of this union were seven children: John J. (in Texas), Charles H. (at home), Margaret W. (wife of A.W. Garrison), Watson B. (at home), Anna B. (at home), Nettie F. and Vance D. (both at home). Mr. and Mrs. Barry are worthy members of the Presbyterian Church.

John T. Beasley has been a resident of Bradley County, Ark., since his infancy, and it is but justice to say that there is not a man in the county who possesses greater personal worth, or who is more substantial or progressive in his views than he. Born in Alabama, August 12, 1835, he was the same year brought to Arkansas by his parents, William and Melinda (Germany) Beasley, who were born in South Carolina and Alabama in 1811 and 1840 respectively [Note:  Dates appear on web site as they do in Goodspeed's.]. The father was reared in his native State, and was married there, but moved afterward to Alabama and from there to Arkansas. He was of Irish-English descent, his wife being of Dutch lineage, and their union was blessed in the birth of twelve children, five of whom are living. John T. Beasley was their eldest child, and in this county he was reared to a farm life by his father, who had been a tiller of the soil all his life. After remaining with his parents until he was twenty-four years old, receiving a limited education in the meantime, he began making his own way in the world, and in 1861 was united in marriage to Miss Mary Forrest, who was born in Alabama in 1844, being a daughter of John and Martha Forrest, both native Alabamians, who died in Bradley County, Ark., whither they had emigrated in 1853. Mr. Beasley and wife have reared five of their nine children: Mary (wife of Ed St. John), Frances, Susan, Letha, Joe Nettie, Lavira, James W., Rebecca S. and Ira D. By industry, good business ability and honorable, upright dealing, Mr. Beasley has become the owner of 800 acres of land, about 100 acres being under fence. This farm has been his home since 1860, with the exception of the time he was in the army, and during 1866-67, when he was in Louisiana. He is a member of the Agricultural Wheel, a Democrat in politics, and he and wife are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. In 1861 he joined Company B Nineteenth Regiment of Infantry, and was a brave and faithful soldier for two years.

Hugh Bradley, farmer, Warren, Ark. A native born citizen of Bradley County, Ark., Mr. Bradley has become one of its most enterprising agriculturists, and has done much in a quiet, un-assuming way to advance the farming interests in this community. He was born on October 21, 1832, and is the son of Capt. Hugh and Martha (Hunter) Bradley, both natives of Tennessee. The parents were married in their native State, and in 1818 emigrated to Arkansas, coming down the river on a flatboat, and locating on Red River, where they remained until 1826. From there they moved to Bradley County (then a territory), located two miles northeast of the present town of Warren, and were the very first settlers of this section. Mr. Bradley was obliged to chop down the trees in order to build his little cabin in the woods, and covered the roof of this simple structure with clapboards weighted down poles. The floor was made of hewed puncheons. He entered a large tract of land, became the owner of a large number of slaves, and although he had made farming his principal occupation during life, he was also interested in other pursuits, and was a first class business man. Neighbors were few and far between, and Capt. Bradley did nearly all of his trading at Monroe, La., going down the Saline River in a dugout, and bringing back supplies. He was a great hunter, kept a number of first-class bear dogs, and his cabin was always supplied with bear-meat. Deer and panthers were also to be found in great numbers, and other wild animals were numerous. Capt. Bradley was known for many miles around as the pioneer settler of what is now Bradley County, and was a man of great courage, fearing neither man nor beast, but was always pleasant and agreeable in his intercourse with his fellow men. There were no roads, only a few trails made by the Indians, who were still inhabitants here, and the pioneers had to cut their way through the timber. All their wagoning was done with oxen, and of these the Captain always had his share, using them often for the saddle. He received the title of captain from hold that rank in the War of 1812, and remained on the farm where he first located on coming to the county, until his death which occurred in 1854. Bradley County was named in his honor, and he was the first representative from that county under the Territorial Legislature. Pennington Township, in which the county seat is situated, was named for his son-in-law, J. H. Pennington, and Warren, the county seat, was named for the Captain's colored body servant. Politically the captain was a stanch Democrat, always taking an active stand but never seeking office. His wife died in 1856. They were the parents of eleven children, only one of whom, Hugh, is now living. The latter was reared on the farm, assisted his father in clearing the forest and inherited from that gentleman a decided taste for hunting. Many a bear and other wild animals have fallen a prey to his unerring rifle. His education was very limited, owing to the fact that no schools of any consequence existed at that time, and when not assisting his father in clearing the home place, might be found on the trail of some luckless animal. He is now living on the old homestead, where his father first settled, and he has never lived off the place. He owns 200 acres of land and has about 150 acres under cultivation. In 1861 he enlisted in Company D, Ninth Arkansas Infantry, and served until the close of the war. He participated in all the principal engagements of his regiment, and although he experienced many hardships, he was never wounded nor captured. He was married in 1854 to Miss Amelia V. Blankenship, a native of Virginia, and they have one child, Martha H. (wife of P. W. Martin). Mr. and Mrs. Bradley are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he is Democratic in his political views.

W. B. Brooks is a prominent planter, engaged in the stave business at Warren, and although he was born in Mason County, Ky., in 1842, he has been a resident of Bradley County since 1874. He is the fourth of twelve children born to John T. and Elizabeth (Anderson) Brooks, native Kentuckians, who moved to Audrain County, Mo., in 1857, where he became well known as editor of the Mexico Ledger, which he conducted up to the time of his death, in 1876. He was also a minister in the Christian Church for many years, and was instrumental in bringing many souls to the feet of Christ. His wife's death occurred in 1885. Their eldest son, John A. Brooks was the Prohibition candidate for Vice-President from Missouri in 1888, and is now a minister of the gospel in Kansas City. W. B. Brooks, the immediate subject of this biography, spent his days up to the age of twenty years in farm work, during the summer months, and in attending the district schools during the winter seasons, but in 1866 he moved to Arkansas, and settled on Bayou Bartholomew, where for about seven years he was engaged in following the plow. In 1874 he married Miss E. T. Hughey, a daughter of Judge Hughey, one of the pioneer settlers of Bradley County, and in time a family of eight children was born to them: Carrie, John, Mary, Tiner, Mittie, Willie, Fannie and Louise, all intelligent and healthy children, a speaking illustration of the healthfulness of the Arkansas climate. Mr. Brooks has been more than ordinarily successful in his farming operations, and is the owner of 710 acres of fine land, three and one half miles from Warren, sixty acres of which are cleared and under good cultivation, and the rest in timber land. His wife is a Baptist, while he belongs to the Christian Chruch, and is an earnest advocate of temperance, having helped clear the saloons from out of Warren. He is not an active politician, but usually votes the Democrat ticket. He belongs to the K. of P., Hampton Lodge No 34.

John Ragin Broughton has been a resident of Bradley County, Ark., since December, 1859, although his birth occurred in Sumpter District, S. C., October 3, 1841. He is one of three children born to Edward N. and Epsie E. Broughton, their names being: Letitia B. (who died in November, 1879), Maggie L. (who is living in Ouachita County, Ark., with her husband H. F. Richardson), and John Ragin ( who first settled in Arkansas in Ouachita County, in January, 1859). The principal part of his rearing was received in Greene County, Ga., and there he received a good English education. At the age of sixteen years he began doing for himself, and that he has succeeded is amply proved, when the fact is known that he owns 427 acres of land, 100 acres of which are under cultivation, exceedingly fertile and will average one bale of cotton to the acre. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate army, in Blankenship's Company, Ninth Arkansas Regiment, and served as a private and non-commissioned officer, until being moved to the Indian Territory. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Broughton resulted in the birth of two children: William E. and Epsie L. Mrs. Broughton died August 7, 1889.

Christopher Columbus Childs has passed the uneventful life of the farmer, and although progressive and enterprising in his views, has continued steadily to "pursue the even tenor of his way," and is now accounted, and deservedly so, one of the leading farmers of the county. He was born in Pike County, Ala., May 11, 1835, and is a son of William and Nancy (Hathhorne) Childs, the former of whom was born in Jones County, Ga., in 1801. To them a family of six sons and two daughters were born: Emeline E., Nathan M., Edward W., James L., Francis J., Robert H., John B. and Christopher C. Mr. Childs was an Old Line Whig in politics and in 1844 removed with his family to Bradley County, Ark., and here his son, Christopher C., was reared but did not receive many opportunities for attending school, consequently his early education was quite limited. In 1865 he began doing for himself, and during 1866-67-68 was engaged in merchandising, but has since given his attention to farming, and is now the owner of 640 acres of fine farming land, 150 acres being under cultivation, well improved with good buildings, fences and orchards. He has always voted the Democratic ticket, and is at present a director in School District 6, Clay Township. He is a liberal supporter of all enterprises of a public nature, is closely identified with the material affairs and associated with the progress and development of Bradley County. He served as a private in the Confederate army, from January, 1864 until the close of the war. He was married June 3, 1860, to Miss Emile L. Gannaway, a native of Mississippi, and in due time a family of ten children gathered about them: Fanny B., Mary E., Don C., Ruth I., Henry E., Mittie and Minnie (twins), Druscilla C., Lula H. and Emma E. Three daughters and one son are married, and all are doing well in homes of their own.

John Ederington Childs is a native born resident of Bradley County, Ark., and as such is looked upon with pride by the people of the locality as a proper representative of a progressive and refined commonwealth. His birth occurred in Clay Township January 12, 1856, he being the second son of James L. Childs, who moved to Bradley County, Ark., in 1844, and died here June 19, 1880. His relict survives him. John E. Childs learned the rudiments of farm life in his youthful days and acquired a fair knowledge of books in the common schools near his home. In 1879 he began business for himself and first engaged in merchandising, which business proved quite remunerative, but in connection with this work he shortly after engaged in the saw and planing mill business, and also manages an excellent farm which he owns. His merchantile establishment yields him an annual income of $20,000, his stock of goods being valued at about $4,000, and his thorough knowledge of the details of this work, together with necessary and natural qualifications for its successful carrying on, have given him the reputation of being one of the reliable business men of this section. His marriage to Miss Anna Godfrey took place in 1889, she having been born in Drew County, Ark., and principally reared and educated there. In due course of time a family of two sons and two daughters gathered around them: James L., Mattie N., Willie M. and another daughter. Mr. Childs has always been a stanch Democrat, and in social and business life is kind, courteous and affiable in his demeanor to all classes, and being public spirited and enterprising, the patron of all worthy enterprises, he is respected and esteemed by his fellowmen.

Dr. S. M. Davis, of the firm of Gannaway & Davis, physicians and druggists, of Warren, Ark., is a native of Lowndes County, Ala., where his birth occurred February 14, 1839, and the son of John and Mary (Pevey) Davis, natives of Georgia. The parents emigrated to Alabama, thence to Bradley County, Ark., in 1842, and located ten miles north of Warren, where the father carried on agricultural pursuits. He died in Jefferson County, Ark., in 1861, at White Sulphur Springs, and the mother died when Dr. Davis was an infant. He was reared on the farm until sixteen years of age, and then taught school, but in the meantime studying medicine. He attended the Louisville, (Ky.), Medical College in 1868 and 1869, and afterward began practicing in Bradley County, Ark. This he has since continued, and is one of the successful and popular physicians of the county. He was married in 1866 to Miss Florence A. Turner, daughter of Judge A. A. Turner, and the result of this union has been three living children: Ina, Aubert and Zena. The Doctor enlisted in the army in 1861, Owen's Battalion, and served until the close. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.


Biographial and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas:   A Condensed History of the State, a number of Biographies of its Distinguished Citizens, a brief Descriptive History of each of the Counties mentioned, and numerous Biographical Sketches of the Citizens of each County. Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis:  The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1890

(Reprinted From an Original Edition in the private Library of Mrs. Mary Woodward Lewis, Magnolia, Arkansas)

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