Bradley County, Arkansas Biographies

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Peter Moseley (deceased). In September, 1887, when in his seventy-seventh year, Peter Moseley, for many years intimately associated with the county's interests, died at his home in Bradley County, Ark., and in his death the county keenly felt the loss of one of her pioneer citizens, a man who had taken part in and witnessed its growth, and development from a primitive condition. He was born in Georgia, in 1810, and was partially reared, and educated in that State. His parents were, Elijah and Susannah (Hubbard) Moseley, and his father was a Primitive Baptist preacher, having followed his ministerial duties the principal part of his life. Both father and mother died in Alabama. The father was a soldier in the War of 1812. Peter Moseley moved to Alabama, and was married in Autauga County, in 1826, after which he moved to Arkansas, locating on a farm in Bradley County. He bought a tract of land entered some which was unimproved, and then erected a little log house with two rooms, inwhich he lived for two years. He then erected a more commodious structure, followed agricultural pursuits, and was in ordinary circumstances at the time of his death. The mother died many years previous. The father was married twice, and to his first union were born nine children, five of whom are living: Mrs. James Bradley, Mrs. Mary A. Kemp, Mrs. Suisan Jolly, Mrs. E. A. Parrott and John. To his second marriage were born six children: David, Joseph, Marion, Egbert, Anna and Blanche. Mrs. M. A. Kemp is the second eldest child of the first marriage. She was born in Alabama, in December, 1829, and came with her parents to Arkansas, in February 1848. She was married first in 1855, to Mr. J. C. Clary, by whom she had five children, two living: Laura E. and Julius C. Mr. Clary died in 1864. He was a farmer by occupation. His widow was again married in 1870, to M. H. Kemp, a native of Georgia, and who came to Arkansas, in 1849. He was a farmer and also a surveyor. His death occurred in 1887. He was a member of the Methodist Church, and a man universally respected. Socially he was a member of the Masonic fraternity. Mrs. Kemp has been keeping hotel for about twenty years, and keeps a first-class house. She is a thoroughly business-like lady, and has other accomplishments which are reflected in her success. Her table is always supplied with what the market affords, and no better table can be found in Southern Arkansas. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Daniel W. McClain is the owner of an estate comprising 901 acres, with 200 acres under fence, and in addition to looking after his farm is engaged in ginning cotton for his neighbors, his fine steam cotton gin being erected in 1887 at the cost of $1,200, it having a capacity of about six bales per day and thirty per week. Mr. McClain was born in York County, S. C., May 31, 1850, his father, A. D. McClain, having also been born there in 1814, and so was his mother, Margaret Muskelly, in 1815. A. D. McClain was a mechanic and wheelwright by trade, but died in 1882, from the effects of a wound caused by a grapeshot at the battle of Gettysburg. His wife passed from life in 1876, in Yorkville, S. C., having borne a family of five children - four sons and a daughter now living. The paternal grandfather, Obe McClain, was born in Scotland. Daniel W. McClain was reared and educated in his native State, and after remaining with his parents until about twenty-one years of age, he came to Bradley County, which place has since been his home. In 1872 he married Miss Mary Ferill, a native of the same county and State as himself, but he was called upon to mourn her death in 1884, she having borne him five sons and a daughter: Alemoth, Pinkney M., Margaret, Edward, Baxter and John. In December, 1884, he married Miss Mary Martin, who was born in Mississippi, but was reared in Bradley County, Ark., and of two children born to them only one is now living, Gus M. Mr. McClain is a Democrat, casting his first presidential vote for Greeley, and his first as well as his present wife was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

John Diarmied McLeod was born in Cumberland County, N. C., December 1, 1858, and since the year 1878 has been fighting the battle of life for himself, and in his operations has been very successful, being now the owner of 200 acres of land, of which fifty-five are in an excellent state of cultivation. His early schooling was received in Bradley County, but was of a rather limited description, as he was compelled to assist his parents on the home farm, and good schools were also very few and far between. He has become well versed in the business affairs of life, and is an intelligent and well-posted man on all public matters, and in his political views a strict Democrat. He says that if he could not vote the Democratic ticket he would not vote at all. He is a patron of all feasible enterprises, and has filled the office of constable of Clay Township, to which position he was elected in 1882. His marriage with Miss Mollie Wall was consummated February 13, 1882, she being a daughter of Washington (who died in service in the Civil War) and Eveline Wall, and by her he has an interesting little family of three children: Samuel W., Rora B. and Jesse M. He is a son of Malcom McLeod, an native of Cumberland County, N. C., who moved to Bradley County, Ark., in December 1858, and is there residing still. He was a soldier in the late war, and himself and wife became the parents of eight children: John D., Daniel W., Angus A., William F., Norman, Nancy R., Walter L. B. and Robert C., all of whom are living, with the exception of William F.

William Wallace Maroney. It is a well known fact that industry, perseverance and energy, when intelligently applied, will achieve almost any result, and Mr. Maroney is an example of what can be accomplished when the spirit of determination is exercised in connection with the every-day affairs of life. He was born in Monroe County, Ala., November 22, 1849, but was reared principally in Bradley County, Ark., whither the father, John W. Maroney , moved in 1860, but owing to the opening of the war about that time he received very limited educational advantages, but these he did not fail to improve. He started out in life for himself at the age of twenty-one years, and has succeeded well in acquiring property, being now the owner of 242 acres of land, of which 100 acres are under cultivation, yielding him large crops annually. He is a Democrat, a public-spirited citizen, and any feasible enterprise receives his hearty support, both morally and financially, and he commands the universal esteem of the community in which he resides. He was joined in marriage to Miss C. E. Childs, a daughter of C. C. Childs, and old and respected citizen of Bradley County, in 1881, and the following children have been born to them: Hattie A., Ella L., Christopher C. and William H., two of these children being deceased. Mr. Maroney's father and mother were born in Orange County, N. Y., and South Carolina, respectively, and the former's death occurred in Bradley County, Ark., August 30, 1886.

Dr. J. W. Martin, merchant, Warren, Ark. Dr. Martin is one of the pioneers of Bradley County, and during his eventful life has probably experienced more hardships than any other man in the county. He was born in Harrison County, Va., on June 8, 1819, and was the son of James and Edith (Wilson) Martin, natives of the Old Dominion, where they passed their entire lives. The father was of English descent, and a farmer by occupation. They reared a family of twelve children to maturity, and six are now living. Both grandfathers were soldiers in the Revolutionary War, and James Martin had in his possession a pair of forceps which his father used in pulling the teeth of soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Dr. J. W. Martin is the eldest living child born to his parents. He was reared and educated in his native State, remained on the farm until he was twenty-one years of age, and subsequently began the study of medicine under Dr. Clark, of Parkersburgh, Va. In 1844 he emigrated to Arkansas, came down the river to Lake Providence, thence on horseback to his designation. He located at Warren, the territory then consisting of Drew, Ashley, Cleveland and Calhoun Counties, and in the winter of 1845 he took a course of lectures in medicine at New Orleans. He began practicing in Warren in 1846, and continued at this until 1868, when he embarked in the mercantile business, which he has since carried on. During the four years of the war his practice was all charity, and he was obliged to turn his attention to his present business. The firm is now Martin & Goodwin. The Doctor has been a citizen of Bradley County for over forty-five years, and although he has been through a great deal of exposure, etc., he has lost but few days' business on account of sickness. He is the owner of considerable real estate, and is a wide-awake business man. He was married, in 1849, to Miss Mary E. Franklin, by whom he has had twelve children, eight now living: Columbia, Edgar, Charles, Alfred, Anatolia, Benjamin, Edith and Willis. The Doctor and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church.

J. R. S. Meek, retired, Warren, Ark. This much respected and honored citizen was born in York County, S. C., on September 13, 1827, and is the son of Eli Meek, and the grandson of James Meek, who was a soldier in the Revolution, lived near King's Mountain, and participated in that battle. He died in South Carolina, as did also the grandmother. The paternal great-grandfather was a native of the Emerald Isle. Eli Meek was a native of South Carolina and many years after his marriage to Miss Martha Starr, a native also of South Carolina, he moved to Arkansas, and settled twenty-five miles south of Warren on a farm. There his death occurred in 1866. The mother died in 1862. They were the parents of three sons and two daughters, only one now living: J. R. S., Marion (was killed at the battle of Chickamauga), Edward S. (killed at the battle of Atlanta, and held the command of lieutenant, captain and major), and Amzi (killed at Franklin, Tenn., in the latter part of 1864). J. R. S. Meek was reared and educated in South Carolina, and in 1860 he came to Arkansas, traveling through in wagons, and locating in Bradley County, in the neighborhood of his father. In 1862 he enlisted in Company I, Second Arkansas Infantry, and served until the surrender, after which he returned home and resumed the cultivation of the soil. This he continued until 1870 when he moved to Johnsonville [may be Johnsville], and embarked in the mercantile business carrying on the same until 1888, a period of eighteen years. He then removed to Warren, where he has since been practically retired. He was married in 1855 to Miss Martha Caldwell, a native of South Carolina, and the fruits of this union were nine children, five now living: Samuel B. (a merchant in Warren), Sallie, Susan, Nannie and Rufus. Mr. and Mrs. Meek are members of the Presbyterian Church, and are universally respected.

James Franklin Neely is a substantial farmer of Moro Township, and resides nine miles west of Warren, which place has been his home since 1859. He was born in York County, S. C., June 26, 1836, and is the seventh of eight children born to William and Cynthia (Sturgis) Neely, who were born in the Palmetto State on June 15, 1795, and June 3, 1800, respectively, and were there reared and married. The father died in his native State February 12, 1838, and in 1859 his widow in company with three sons and two daughters came to the State of Arkansas, and here the mother died at the home of her son James F., in 1886. The paternal grandfather, David Neely, was born in Ireland, and there spent his life. James Franklin Neely was reared in South Carolina, and there received a fair education in the schools near his home. Upon coming to Arkansas his mother entered land, and with the help of her sons became, in time, the owner of 960 acres of fine land, which is now occupied by the subject of this sketch and his two sisters: Elizabeth and Mary Jane. They have fifty acres under cultivation, and on the farm in 1870 they erected a good cotton gin which brings them in a fair annual income, as they do much of the ginning for their immediate neighbors. He is an enterprising and intelligent agriculturist, and so far has made life a decided success. Socially he belongs to the K. of P., Hampton Lodge, and during the years of 1887 and 1888 he held the office of county sheriff, and was a brave and faithful officer in the discharge of all his duties.

J. W. Pierce, planter and stock raiser, Warren, Ark. Bradley County is acknowledged by all to be one of the best agricultural regions of the State, and as such its citizens are men of advanced ideas and considerable prominence. A worthy man among this class is found in the person of J. W. Pierce. He was originally from York County, S. C., where his birth occurred on March 26, 1841, and is the son of James T. and Mary B. (Garrison) Pierce, natives also of York County, S. C. There were but two children born to this union: J. W. and Mary (wife of W. T. Barry, of Bradley County, Ark.). The father died in his native county in 1842. J. W. Pierce was reared in York County, and was favored with such educational advantages as the district schools afforded. On April 13, 1861, he enlisted in Company B, Fifth South Carolina Infantry, and served until the surrender at Appomattox. He was wounded in the right arm by sharp shooters near Richmond. After the surrender he returned home and in the fall of 1870, he with his mother came to Arkansas, and located in Bradley County, nine miles south of Warren, where he yet resides. He purchased 300 acres of raw land, began making improvements, and now has 130 acres under cultivation, and has good buildings and all modern improvements. He is one of the substantial farmers of Bradley County, who by his systematic and careful, thorough manner of work has attained to a success justly deserved. He uses fertilizers, and never fails on a crop. Aside from his farming interest he is also considerably interested in the raising of stock. He was married in 1865 to Miss Mary J. Miller, who bore him nine children: Nettie E., James M., Mary J., Julia E. W., Anna B., William H., Maggie J., Freddie and Joseph. Mr. and Mrs. Pierce are members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and in his political views Mr. Pierce affiliates with the Democratic Party. He has been school director for a number of years, and is interested in educational matters. He has a steam cotton gin and grist mill, with which he does a good business, and he has taken premiums with cotton at nearly all the fairs for several years. He is doing all he can to assist in developing his section.

Rev. T. I. Pirtle. One has most appropriately written:

Our grandsires passed, a brave, determined band, Driven by hard fate - as men were driven of old. Whose story hath been told in lofty epic strain - To plant with toil and pain, Upon a distant shore, and in a strange, wild land, A new and glorious State.

Among those who possessed the hardihood to brave the perils, danger and hardships of life in a new and wild country, was the sire of our subject, James Pirtle, a Kentuckian, who when but a boy, removed from his native State to Tennessee, thence to Arkansas in 1850. He first entered a tract of eighty acres in Bradley County, but soon after moved to a farm of 180 acres near his former location, where he has ever since made his home and is now living. His farm is in excellent condition with 100 acres under cultivation, and affords him with abundant means to use as he chooses during his declining years. Having been a public spirited man all his life, and honest in all his business transactions, he is highly esteemed by all, and being yet hale and hearty, bids fair to live many years. His wife, whose maiden name was V. E. Morton, a Virginian, passed from life in 1878. Their son, T. I. Pirtle, did not receive many advantages of the common schools in his youth owing to the cruel war, and was engaged in farm work until the breaking out of the Rebellion, at which time he quit the plow to take up arms in defense of the cause which he espoused. After joining the Confederate Army, he served in the Trans-Mississippi Department, but although he took part in a number of minor engagements, he was in no regular battles. Upon his return home he took up farming, where he had left off and purchased 160 acres of land near his father's place, but soon after moved to Eagle Township, where he made his home for two years. In 1870 he purchased his present farm of 520 acres, and with the exception of 150 acres of land which he has in an excellent state of cultivation, his land is heavily covered with timber. The same year of his purchase he erected him a good residence, and in other ways has made extensive improvements and is now considered by all to be one of the leading agriculturists of this region. He was married in 1865 to Miss A. S. McClendon, a lady who only lived until 1869, and in the latter part of the same year he was united in marriage to Miss Martha E. McClendon, a sister of his first wife and a daughter of Marvel McClendon, a farmer of this section. To them have been born the following family: Emma S., William I., Leila T., Tempy V., Henry Graves (who died at the age of seven months), Mary Ida, Hattie U., and Hettie Ruth. Although Mr. Pirtle did not receive good educational advantages in his youth, he is exceptionally well read, and attended school part of two years with his children. In 1874 he felt impressed to preach the gospel, began studying for the ministry, and on July 4, 1875, was ordained a minister of the Baptist Church, and has ever since been pastor of Antioch, his home church, with the exception of two years. He has served in the same capacity for Canaan Church, Calhoun County, for twelve years , Ebeneezer Church, Emmons Church, Green Hill Church and others, and during the time of his ministerial labors has baptized some 350 persons, among whom was his own father and two children at the same baptizing, and has married over fifty couples. Although not an active politician, he votes the Democratic ticket, and served as justice of his township during 1874 - 75. He has been school director for the past fifteen years, and has been postmaster of Gravel Ridge since 1883, his father having served in the same capacity from 1850-1861.

Silas James Pope, an old and highly esteemed resident of Bradley County, Ark., has been identified with its material affairs and its progress and development for the past thirty five years, having come to this county in the year 1855. He was born in Cumberland County, N.C., August 14, 1822, and is a son of Stephen and Jennie Pope, who were also born in the Old North State, and died in Bradley County, Ark., and Mississippi, aged nearly one hundred, and eighty years, respectively. After their marriage, which took place in their native State, they removed to Alabama and three years later to Mississippi, where they made their home for twelve years, and in 1857 the father removed to Bradley County, where he spent the rest of his days, having been a farmer throughout life. His father was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Silas James Pope was the fourth of fourteen children, eight of whom lived to be grown, and seven now living, and in his youth received no educational advantages whatever. After removing to Mississippi with his parents, he was married there, in 1846, to Miss Sarah Ann Forrest, a native Alabamian, born in 1828, and by her he became the father of four chidlren, one now living, named James W., who is married and resides on a farm near his father. As above stated, Mr. Pope came from Mississippi to Bradley County, Ark., in 1855, and now has fifty acres of a 332 acre farm under cultivation. He is regarded as an excellent and honorable citizen, and is much esteemed by his acquaintances. In 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate army, in Hawthorne's regiment of infantry, and served faithfully until the close of the war. He is a Democrat in politics, and his first vote was cast for James K. Polk for the presidency. He and wife have been members of the Missionary Baptist Church for twenty years, and he has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since 1867, being a member of Pattsville Lodge No. 264.

R.F. Powers, of the mercantile firm of Meek & Powers, is a native of Dallas County, Ala., and the son of John S. and Josephine (Peaster) Powers, natives of Alabama and South Carolina, respectively. The father is still living in Alabama, but the mother died August 5, 1876. To their marriage were born nine children, four of whom are now living: Robert F., William E., Ina F. and Josephine. The father was a successful tiller of the soil. R.F. Powers was favored with fairly good educational advantages in the district schools of Alabama, and was early taught the duties of farm life. In 1878 he came to Arkansas, located in Warren on the 16th of December, and was engaged in farming here until 1879, when he entered the store of Martin & Goodwin, as clerk. After filling the position of salesman for three years he was given the charge of their grocery department, and remained in their employ until September 1, 1889. Having accumulated considerable money by his economical and industrious habits, he ventured out in the mercantile business for himself, in September of the last named year, and under the firm name of Meek & Powers. They carry a full line of groceries and furniture, and already have built up a good trade. Mr. Powers is one of the enterprising and public-spirited young men of the county, and is sure to make his mark in the world. He is a member of the K. of P., is past chancellor commander, and has passed all the offices. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church.


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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