Bradley County, Arkansas Biographies

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Thomas Quimby is a farmer of Washington Township, Bradley County, Ark., but was born in Gibson County, Tenn., in 1835, being a son of C.K. Quimby, who was a pioneer from East Tennessee. He settled on a farm, and after making a few improvements, came to Arkansas in December, 1851, and entered land in Bradley County, which he soon after sold, purchasing another in the same township, on which he lived until his death, April 27, 1889, at the age of eighty-one years, his wife dying in 1867. Thomas Quimby remained with his father on the farm until the Rebellion, and on July 9, 1862 enlisted in Company D Portlock's Regiment, and served in the Trans-Mississippi Department, taking part in the battles of Mansfield and Jenkins' Ferry. After surrendering at Marshall, Tex., in May, 1865, he immediately returned home, and began tilling his farm of 120 acres, which he had previously purchased. A short time after he sold this, and for some time farmed on rented land, but in 1882 purchased a farm of 160 acres, and now has thirty acres cleared, and has erected buildings, thereon. He is a Democrat, although not active, and has been justice of the peace five years, and has served as school director that length of time. Susan McKinnie became his wife September 3, 1857, but he was called upon to mourn her death in 1881, she leaving him eight children: Leona (wife of John Barker), Thomas D. (who is married and resides near Simpson), Samuel N., Lemmie, Edward, Susan, Willie (who died in 1877, at the age of nineteen years and three months), and Laura (who died at the age of one year). Mr. Quimby's second marriage was consummated in 1882, his wife being Miss Ophelia C. Russell, by whom he has one child, Clyde. Mrs. Quimby is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he belongs to the Agricultural Wheel No. 1613.

Wiley Rucker (deceased), a successful farmer, was cut down in the prime of life, May 8, 1867, at the age of forty-two years, his birth having occurred in Georgia, on October 14, 1825. He was reared in the State of Alabama, whither he was taken when a boy by his parents, and there he also received his education. He was married on August 18, 1848, to Miss Mary J. Cammack, who was born in Alabama, October 10, 1831, and after living in Alabama, until a short time prior to his death, he moved to Arkansas, and passed his last days in Bradley County. he was a Master Mason, and at the time of his death left an estate of 1,700 acres. His widow has retained 280 acres for herself, and has forty acres of open land in Ashley County, the rest being divided among her children, whose names are as follows: Augustus B. (now living in Texas), Thoda E. (wife of William H. Barringer), Mattie A. (wife of R.L. Hairston), Wiley B. (wife of J.W. Richardson), and the following children who are deceased: Lewis B. (who died August 26, 1857), and Margaret L. (whose death occurred in September, 1874.) Mr. Rucker was a son of Burdan Rucker. His widow is ably conducting her farm, and has shown herself to be a lady of sound judgment and of progressive views. She is a daughter of Lewis Cammack, who was born in Kentucky, about 1810, and died in Ashley County about 1868. He was married in Alabama to Miss Rhoda Coleman, whose birth occurred in 1814. In 1847 they removed to Arkansas, and in the early part of 1848, found themselves in Union County, where Mrs. Cammack died the following year. She left three sons and five daughters, all of whom lived to be grown, one son and two daughters only being now alive. Mrs. Rucker was the second of the family, and was reared in Alabama. She is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, as are her daughters, Mrs. Barringer and Mrs. Haristan, and is a lady whom all delight to honor, for she is intelligent, an excellent business woman, and a true Christian in every respect.

J. A. Simpson is a blacksmith and wheelwright, of Simpson, Ark., but was born in Jasper County, Miss., in October, 1833, being the second of eleven children born to William and Jane (Moore) Simpson, the father being also a blacksmith, which occupation he followed in Mississippi, until 1860, when he came to Arkansas, settled in Bradley County, and here passed away from life, in 1862. J. A. Simpson learned his trade of his father, but received very limited educational advantages. At the age of twenty years he began working for himself, and after his marriage which occurred three years later, he continued to do so. In 1862 he enlisted in Company D, Port Lock's Regiment, but was soon detailed for hospital duty, and remained thus engaged until November, 1863, when he was detailed as a mechanic in the shops of Louisville, where he remained until May, 1865, at which time he returned home. He opened a shop here and since 1867 has been conducting business at his present stand. Upon the establishment of the post office at this place, in 1882, the place was named in his honor, and he received the appointment of postmaster from President Arthur, and served five years. He has been very successful in his business operations, and his farm, comprising 240 acres, is all around the village of Simpson, that place having been built on his property. He has fifty acres under cultivation, and in 1878 erected his present residence, his house having served as a stopping place for travelers for years. Besides his home estate, he owns about 600 acres of fine timber land. He helped erect the first steam saw-mill and cotton-gin in the community, this mill having sawed the lumber for nearly all the houses in the village. His wife, who was formerly Miss Mary E. Turner, was born in Mississippi, and is a daughter of J. D. Turner, who was a well-known planter of that State, and came to Arkansas in 1859, dying in this State in 1865, his wife's death occurring in Arkansas County, in 1887. Mr. and Mrs. Simpson have had a family of eight children. Wiley G. (married and living on a farm in this vicinity), Richard H. (who is married and a practicing physician of Coryell County, Tex.), and Savilla S. (at present teaching in the public schools of Simpson) are the only ones living. Martha died in infancy, D. Drusey died at the age of four years, Emma F. died when young, and two children died unnamed. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and he belongs to the Masonic fraternity, Patsville Lodge No. 264, and has been master of his lodge for twelve years at different times.

James M. Singer was born on the farm where he now resides in 1858, being the third of thirteen children born to Jefferson and Susan (Quimby) Singer, natives of Ohio and Tennessee, respectively. The father moved to Arkansas, and settled in what is now Bradley County in 1840, they being almost the only settlers for some time, although Mr. Singer's brother Tom had previously made a settlement here. He afterward moved to near Warren, where he in time became a wealthy planter, owning some 800 acres of land. All his farm products were shipped from Moro Bay to New Orleans by steamboat. His death, which occurred in 1873, at the age of fifty-four years, was a source of much sorrow and regret to all who knew him, for he had always been very public spirited, was honorable and upright in all his transactions, and kind and friendly in his relations with all. His widow survives him, and makes her home with her son, James. M. The latter, from his earliest recollections, has been familiar with farm life, so that upon the death of his father, he was thoroughly capable of taking upon himself the management of the farm, and has been very successful in its conduct. One hundred acres are under cultivation, and about fifty are devoted to the raising of cotton, which will average one-half bale to the acre. The rest is devoted to corn and other grains. On the place is a large, steam cotton-gin, which is capable of turning out 200 bales per day, which was erected in 1875, the father having put up a horse-power gin at an early day. This property is some of the most valuable in the township, and the uncleared land is heavily covered with timber. James M. Singer was married in 1882, to Miss Fannie Baker, but she died after three years of married life, leaving one child, Una B., and in December, 1888, he wedded Miss Cora Reeves, who died in childbirth about one year later, her infant surviving her, named Cora Bell.

John C. Scobey, farmer, Warren, Ark. A native-born citizen of Bradley County, Mr. Scobey has become one of the most enterprising agriculturists, and has done much, in a quiet, unassuming way, to advance farming interests in this community. He was born October 9, 1846, and is the son of J. H. D. and Jemima (Campbell) Scobey, natives of Tennessee and Virginia, respectively. The father and mother were both reared in Hempstead County, Ark., on the Red River, and were early settlers in that region. The father moved to Bradley County, Ark., in 1832, located on the farm where our subject now lives, and entered a little over 1,000 acres of land, which was all in heavy timber. He moved to this county in a wagon, built a good log house, and was one of the first settlers of the section. He was one of the greatest bear hunters of Southern Arkansas, and became noted far and near for his fondness for this sport, and for his marksmanship. He picked cotton for Rev. C. H. Seay, who was also one of the first settlers of this section, and was sheriff when all the territory was Union County (1844). He was obliged to go beyond Ouachita River to make up a jury, at a time when there was but one house between Warren and the river. He was county and probate judge for a number of years, and also filled the office of justice of the peace. He was a man of small build, but very vigorous and active, and could undergo more hardships than nine-tenths of his sex. He purchased an immense steam-flouring mill at Memphis, Tenn., in 1856, and ran the mill until his death, which occurred December 9, 1879. He was a very prosperous man. The mother died December 8, 1886. They had nine children, seven of whom are now living: Elizabeth A. (wife of Dr. A. N. Bond), Jennie (wife of J. R. S. Burbridge), Fatima (wife of M. B. Garrison), Margaret J. (wife of G. M. Reynolds), Cora I. (wife of W. F. Price) and John C. The latter was reared, and secured a fair education in this county. He was reared to the arduous duties of the farm, and this occupation he has always continued, although during the war he was detailed as public miller. He is now living on the old homestead, where he has 640 acres of land with 125 acres under cultivation, and is one of the first-class farmers of the county. He is also running a corn-mill and gin. He sawed nearly all the lumber to build up Warren. His marriage nuptials were celebrated January 18, 1871, with Miss Mary B. Price, a native of Bradley county, and the fruits of this union have been nine children: Henry E., Robert H., John P., Charles L., Travis B., A. Inez, Mattie L., Mary E., and William F. Mr. and Mrs. Scobey are members of the Methodist Church.

David W. Sutton, farmer, and stock-raiser, Warren, Ark. Located in the midst of one of the finest agricultural centers of Bradley County, the farm which Mr. Sutton owns and occupies is conceded to be among the best in this vicinity, and this is saying not a little, for on every hand may be seen superior places, whose ownership indicate thrift and prosperity. This gentleman was born in Perry County, Ala., on November 22, 1825, and is of English descent. His father, John Sutton, was born in Wilkes County, Ga., in 1796, and there wielded considerable influence in agricultural affairs. He married Miss Mary Hay, also a native of Wilkes County, Ga., and later they emigrated to Alabama, thence to Mississippi, and finally returned to Georgia, where they passed the closing scenes of their lives. The father died at the age of eight-six years, and the mother in 1844. The former was a soldier in the Indian War of 1818. Of the ten children born to this union, five only are now living: David W., James F., John (deceased), Jackson (deceased), Wiley, William (deceased), Penina (residence in Louisiana), Elizabeth (in Texas), Malinda (in Georgia), and Sarah (deceased). Four of the sons were in the late war. It fell to the lot of David W. Sutton to grow up with a farm experience, and from the very first he has closely and energetically applied himself to the obtaining of a thorough knowledge of agricultural matters, which, it is almost needless to say, he has successfully acquired, as the surroundings of his place plainly indicate. He received a fair education in his native State, and in 1847 he emigrated to Arkansas, coming via Mobile and New Orleans. In February he arrived in Dallas County, where he worked for wages for a year, and in 1848 he dropped down to Bradley County, where he worked the farm of Judge Josiah Gould for four years. In 1856 he returned to Judge Gould's plantation, and was overseer on the same for a year. He then purchased 320 acres of land in Cleveland County, which was then all in timber, and now owns 720 acres of land, with 150 under cultivation, in that county. He resided there until 1872, when he moved to his present residence. He has, as above stated, one of the best farms in Bradley County, and his residence, barns, outbuildings, and in fact all necessary conveniences, indicate the quality of a farmer that he is. He owns in this place 1,000 acres, with 350 acres under cultivation, and also owns 300 acres in another tract. He is also a dealer in stock, raising, buying and selling. In 1862 he enlisted in Company B, Monroe's Regiment, Cabble's Brigade, and served until cessation of hostilities. He was slightly wounded by a bullet cutting through his upper lip, and was in some of the principal engagements west of the Mississippi. Mr. Sutton is the largest cotton grower in the county, and also raises considerable grain. The same systematic condition of affairs about his home is apparent in his course as a man. Thorough in all he does, he allows no worthy movement to drag for want of support, if in his power to help it. He was married in 1856 to Miss Lamira Allis, by whom he had three children, one living, William, now employed as a clerk at Cairo for the Cotton Belt Railroad. Mrs. Sutton's death occurred on May 20, 1862, and Mr. Sutton took for his second wife Mrs. Elizabeth Shadwick, whom he married in 1865. She died in 1874, and Mr. Sutton was married in 1876 to Mrs. Elizabeth Hawley. He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

James A. Thornton, planter. This respected citizen of Bradley County has been a resident of the State since January, 1861, during which time he has devoted his time to agriculture, and not without substantial results, as the following sketch of his life will show. His birth occurred in Cherokee County, Ala., in 1843, and he is the eldest of nine children born to John A. and Margaret A. (King) Thornton, who came to Arkansas and settled near Grand Ridge in 1861, and from here, in 1863, enlisted in the Confederate Army, serving in the Trans-Mississippi Department, but was taken ill and died in the hospital during the latter part of 1864. His wife died in 1862. The paternal grandfather, George W. King, was a soldier in the War of 1812. James A. Thornton received but few educational advantages prior to the war, and in October, 1861, joined the Confederate Army, becoming a member of Gaines' Battery of Arkansas, and with his command was soon ordered east of the Mississippi River, and was in both battles of Corinth and Iuka, and was in all the engagements of the Georgia campaign, and the close of the war found him in Alabama. His company was disbanded at Gainesville, May 10, 1865, and he at once started for home, which he reached on the twenty-second day of the same month. He set energetically to work to till the soil on a farm of 105 acres, which he soon purchased, and soon had eighty acres cleared and good buildings erected thereon. This place continued to be his home until 1880, when he sold out and bought his present property, consisting of 200 acres, but at that time the buildings, fences, and everything about it were in a very dilapidated condition, and everything in the way of convenient farming had to be prepared. He at once erected a neat and comfortable dwelling, built and repaired fences, and soon had sixty-five acres under cultivation. This is very good upland, and will readily produce one-half bale of cotton to the acre, and about twenty bushels of corn, as well as other farm products in abundance. Mr. Thornton takes considerable interest in political matters, and although a Democrat is not an office seeker. He held the position of postmaster of Grand Ridge from April, 1875 to 1883, and has been school director of his district ever since its organization. In 1866 he was married to Mrs. E. J. Brantley, a native of North Carolina, and a daughter of James Pirtle [see sketch of Rev. T. I. Pirtle], and by her became the father of five children: Mollie E. (wife of O. F. Neal, a merchant of Moro Bay), John J., Maggie, Harvey (who died at the age of four years), and Norah. The family are all members of the Baptist Church, and Mr. Thornton is a clerk and deacon in the same.

A. A. Turner, ex-county judge, Warren, Ark. Tennessee has given to Bradley County many estimable citizens, but she has contributed none more highly respected, or for conscientious discharge of duty in every relation of life, more worthy of respect and esteem than the subject of this sketch. He was born on November 10, 1820, in Wilson County, and is the son of James and Kesia (Hunter) Turner, the father a native of Virginia, and the mother of Tennessee. They were married in the last named State, but emigrated to Arkansas on July 3, 1832, coming through in wagons from Pine Bluff on a trail to Bradley County (then Union County). There were no roads at that day, and nothing but a few trails could be found. There was no settlement between Pine Bluff and the Saline River, and the reason of their coming down as far as they did was from the fact that Capt. Bradley, a relative was then living there. Mr. Turner located three miles east of Warren, the railroad now running through the old place, and there purchased 160 acres of land: which he immediately began to improve. Besides the little house on the place there was a horse mill used for grinding corn, the only one then in the county. There were about ten or twelve acres cleared, and after a few years Mr. Turner sold this place and moved about half a mile south, where he died in 1844. The mother died in 1834. By his first marriage he had five children, all of whom are deceased. To the second marriage were also born seven children, four of whom are living: Martha A. Stone (residing in Texas), Judge A. A., Samuel H., and Alexander B. Their marketing was done principally with Simeon Hiley, the father of Mrs. Judge Turner, who came to Arkansas in 1830, and started a little store on the banks of the Saline River, receiving pay from his customers in deer skins, etc. After accumulating a great number of skins he would take them on a keelboat to New Orleans, dispose of them, and in their stead bring back a stock of merchandise. The people had sometimes to buy their salt at Monroe, La, bringing it up in a dug out canoe. Wild game of all kinds was in abundance, and the cabins were always supplied with choice meat, brought down by the unerring aim of the hunters. The schooling facilities were very poor, being taught in log cabins, with split logs for seats and a fireplace in the end of the cabin. James Waters was about the first school teacher in this section, and was an Irishman. They were all subscription schools at $1 or $1.50 a head. Notwithstanding all the hardships undergone, the settlers enjoyed themselves and were peaceful, happy and contented. Our subject was only about twelve years of age when he came to Bradley County, and worked very hard on the farm to assist his father in clearing up the forest. His education, as might be expected, was rather limited and when twenty-four years of age he was elected circuit clerk, being the second one to fill that position in the county. At the expiration of two years he resigned, as the office paid but little and during the war he filled the office of justice of the peace two years. Previous to this, in 1841 and 1842, he was postmaster. In 1880 he was elected county judge, and held the office until 1888, when he refused to accept the position again. All this time he has been generally engaged in farming, and has been very successful in this pursuit. He has now divided all his property among his children, and is living a retired life. He cast his first presidential vote for Henry Clay. He was married in 1840 to Miss Drusilia Hiley, daughter of Simeon and Catherine (Wilson) Hiley, both natives of Ohio, and among the first settlers of Arkansas. Mr. and Mrs. Turner have had nine children, only two now living: Florence (wife of Dr. S. M. Davis) and Dudley M. (who married Miss Lucy A. Jones). Mrs. Turner is a member of the Christian Church. The paternal grandfather of our subject was an Englishman and settled on a little island in Virginia, yet known as Turner's Island, and there he died.

Samuel H. Turner, farmer, Warren, Ark. Mr. Turner, a respected resident of this county for many years, and a man of extensive and popular acquaintance, was born in Wilson County, Tenn., on April 5, 1823, and was but nine years of age when he came with his parents, James and Kazie (Hunter) Turner to Arkansas. As might be expected at that early period of the State's history, our subject's educational advantages were not of the best, and his youthful days were passed principally in assisting to clear his father's farm, and in hunting the wild game, with which the woods abounded. He delighted in the latter occupation, and has killed many a deer, panther and wild cat. In 1857 he bought a steam grist-mill from Dr. J. W. Martin, put in machinery for grinding wheat and making flour, and ran the mill until 1866, being detailed to still continue his milling operations during the war. This was one of the first steam mills in the county, and Mr. Turner operated the same for nine years. In March, 1837, he carried the first mail bags from Cabin post office to Monroe, La., a distance of 110 miles, with but one house for eighty miles, which was Thumbs Prairie, Ashley County. He had but one letter in the mail bag. He was but fourteen years of age, weight eighty-seven pounds, and as there were no roads, he had to follow an Indian trail through the forest. He carried the mail on this route for sixteen months, and received (1 2d a week, and the salary for contract being $1,400 per annum. Fifteen years of his life were spent in milling, and in 1867 he embarked in the grocery business in Warren. This he continued until 1875, and then returned to milling which he carried on until 1880, since which time he has been practically retired. He was deputy sheriff of two years, and filled this position in an able and efficient manner. He was coroner also for six years. His marriage occurred on August 30, 1846, to Miss Martha "Reeves, who bore him ten children, six now living; Henry, Martha (wife of John E. Bradley), Mary (wife of C. S. Wade), Samuel H, Jr., Stephen and Stella. Mr. Turner is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the K. of P. He has been a witness to the rapid growth of Bradley County, and is a substantial and enterprising citizen. His father was a native Virginian, and his mother was born in Tennessee.

A. B. Turner is a prominent farmer of Washington Township, Bradley County, Ark, and was born within one mile of the present town of Warren in 1834, being the youngest of a family of seven children born to James and Kissia (Hunter) Turner, who were born in Virginia and Tennessee, respectively, and were among the early pioneers of this part of Arkansas, the country at that time being a wilderness. Mr. Turner entered several hundred acres of land which he succeeded in improving to some extent and sold his produce at New Orleans, going to this city sometimes by steamboat but oftener on a flatboat. He died in 1844, and his wife shortly after the birth of the subject of this sketch. The latter was sent to Tennessee to his only sister, with whom he made his home until he was about seventeen years of age, then came back to his old home in Bradley County, and began farming for himself purchasing some time after 100 acres of land which he set energetically to work to improve. After clearing a few acres he sold the property and purchased his present farm of 302 1/2 acres, which was also practically wild land, when he took possession but he soon reduced it to a good state of cultivation, erecting a dwelling and putting up fences, etc. On the seventy-five acres which he now has under cultivation, he raises principally cotton and corn, but gives some attention to the raising of other products also. His cultivated land will average on-half bale of cotton to the acre, and that which is uncultivated is heavily covered with timber. In the spring of 1862 Mr. Turner enlisted in Company B, of an Arkansas Infantry Regiment, but was shortly after transferred to the Ninth Arkansas Cavalry, and was on duty principally in Arkansas, Missouri, and the Indian Territory, and was in the engagements at Cane Hill, Fayetteville, Pine Bluff, Mark's Mill, Port Gibson, Poison Spring and others. He was with Price in all the battles of his Missouri raid, but was never wounded nor captured. He was married in 1852, to Miss Nancy Davis, a native of Tennessee, and to them a family of six children have been born: James A., John H. (who died on April 12, 1878, at the age of twenty-three years), Martha A. (wife of A. C. Ivy), Charles B. (married to Florence Hampton, and lives on his father's farm, the father of two children named Charles H. and James Barton), Florence Alice (deceased), and Stephen (who died in infancy). The family are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Turner being a very active member in church work, and he belongs to the Masonic fraternity.


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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