Bradley County, Arkansas Biographies

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H. B. VanValkenburgh, county clerk of Warren, Ark. A glance at the lives of many representative men whose names appear in this volume will reveal sketches of some honored, influential citizens, but none more worthy or deserving of mention than Mr. H. B. VanValkenburgh. On his father's side he is of Dutch extraction, his ancestors emigrating from Holland to America and settling in the Eastern States many, many years ago. Our subject was born in Steuben County, N. Y., November 4, 1843, and is a son of William M. and Emily (Allis) VanValkenburgh, natives of New York. In November, 1848, the parents moved to Little Rock, Ark., and in the spring of 1850 they located at Warren, in Bradley County, of that State. The father bought the place where the depot now stands and embarked in merchandising which he carried on until his death, which occurred in 1866. He was one of the first merchants of Warren and a very successful one. He had studied medicine in his youth, but never practiced. The mother died in 1886. Their family consisted of seven children, three of whom are now living: Frank D., H. B., and Mrs. E. L. Holmes. H. B. VanValkenburgh was only about seven years of age when he came with his parents to Bradley County, and here he grew to manhood, receiving such education as the schools of that day afforded, which was very poor indeed compared with the school advantages of today. He was reared to mercantile pursuits, and after the war was in partnership with his father. Since that time he has been engaged in various pursuits, and although he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1876, he practiced but little. He was postmaster for about two years; ran a steam saw-mill and manufactured lumber for some time; was also justice of the peace for some time. He was also engaged in tilling the soil, and, in fact, has tried most every thing to make an honest living, deserving much credit for his enterprise. In 1881 he was elected to his present office, and this position he has held continuously ever since, to the satisfaction of all. He was city recorder of Warren for two or three years and proved himself a man of sound judgment and unusual ability. He was married in 1879, to Miss S. C. Smith, by whom he has five children: Fay H., Henry L., Horace B., Jr., William M., and Carrie E.

William S. Veazey is a North Carolinian by birth and bringing up, and has inculcated in him the sterling principles of the better class of citizens of the Old North State, as well as those of his Scotch and Irish ancestors. He was born in Granville County, November 23, 1845, and as soon as the attained a suitable age he was placed in school, where the somewhat meager advantages he received were improved to the utmost. He was brought to Bradley County, Ark, when he was fourteen, and upon reaching the age when it became necessary for him to choose some calling in life to which he should afterward adhere as his chosen occupation, he at once wisely adopted agricultural pursuits, and this has continued to receive his attention. His parents, Fielding and Nancy D. (Howard) Veazey were born in North Carolina, December 18, 1815 and 1824, respectively, and they were married there on May 24, 1843, removing to Arkansas in 1860, and settled on a farm in Bradley County. Here the father's death occurred July 19, 1884, having lived the life of a farmer. His father William Veazey, died in North Carolina. William S. Veazey is one of eight surviving members of a family of eleven children, and is now residing with his mother and sister on the farm of 440 acres in Bradley County, which is situated about seven miles southwest of the county seat. Upon the breaking out of the war his farming operations were disturbed somewhat, for in 1863he enlisted in the Confederate Army, in Company H., Twentieth Arkansas Infantry, and served until the final surrender, participating in the fight at Mark's Mill. He is a Democrat, and his mother and sister are members of the Missionary Baptist Church, his father having also been a worthy member. Mr. Veazey is unmarried.

W. R. Watson, sheriff and collector, Warren, Ark. There are some men in the county at present day in whose lives there are but few thrilling incidents or remarkable events, yet whose success has been a steady and constant growth, and who, possessed of excellent judgment, strong common sense and indomitable energy, have evinced in their lives and character great symmetry, completeness and moral standing of a high order. To this class belongs Mr. Watson, who owes his nativity to Lowndes County, Miss., where his birth occurred September 14, 1848. His father, Finis Watson, was a native of Kentucky, and was married to Miss Mary Bell, a native of Tennessee, after which, in 1838, they moved to Mississippi, and here the father cultivated the soil. In 1854 they moved to Arkansas, located in Union County, near Mount Holly, and there both passed the closing scenes of their life. They were the parents of seven children, five of whom are living at the present time: John B., Ann (wife of J. R. Rogers), William R., Alonzo E., and Dora (wife of W. F. Culbuth). At the age of eight years W. R. Watson came to Arkansas with his parents, and received his education in the common schools of Union County. He was early initiated into the duties of the farm, and assisted his father on the home place until eighteen years of age, after which he started out for himself as clerk in a store. In 1871 he began merchandising for himself at Moro Bay, and continued business until 1886, when he sold out. In 1888 he was elected to his present position, and removed to Warren, where he now resides. By his marriage, which occurred in 1872, to Miss Ella V. Richardson, he became the father of two children, Larkin T. and Mary L. Mrs. Watson died in 1879. Mr. Watson is a member of the K. of P, and Master at Arms. He is one of the most prominent men of Bradley County.

Hon. W. H. Wheeler, merchant and planter, Warren, Ark. Eminent success achieved through honorable endeavor affords one of the greatest sources of pleasure to him who, in a retrospective view of life, traces his progress by such tokens as deserve admiration and esteem. Such an enjoyment is afforded in the fullest measure by Hon. W. H. Wheeler, who is not only one of the prominent merchants and planters of the county, but is a man universally liked and esteemed. His birth occurred in Campbell County, Tenn., on December 23, 1833, and he is the son of Nimrod B. and Kittie (Wheeler) Wheeler, both natives of the Old Dominion. The paternal grandfather, Nathaniel Wheeler, emigrated to that State at an early day, and there received his final summons. He was of Scotch-Welsh descent, as was also the maternal grandfather, who was an early settler of Kentucky, in which State he died. Nimrod B. Wheeler emigrated from his native State to Georgia, and thence to Arkansas in 1848, locating in Bradley County, about five miles northeast of Moro Landing. There he entered a tract of land, which was in a wild state, and there he continued to reside until his death in 1853. The mother had died the year previous. They reared nine children, three of whom are now living: Mrs. Camp (in Georgia), Mrs. D. A. Weir (of Warren), and W. H. (our subject). The latter was but fourteen years of age when he moved with his parents to Arkansas, and his early life was passed in active labor in trying to clear the home place. Although obliged to labor hard, young Wheeler enjoyed himself most thoroughly in his new home, for game was plentiful and he had a keen taste for hunting. He received the principal part of his education in Georgia, and after coming to Arkansas remained with his father until about grown. In the spring of 1862 he organized a company and was organized into Col. King's Regiment, Twentieth Arkansas. Mr. Wheeler went out as its captain, but below Corinth they disbanded and Capt. Wheeler returned home. He then followed farming for some time, and later again enlisted, serving in the quartermaster's department until after the surrender in 1865. Returning home, Capt. Wheeler embarked in the mercantile business, which he has since carried on. He is the oldest merchant in žBradley County, beginning in 1856, and has continuously carried it on, paying 100 cents on the dollar. In 1879 and 1890 he served as a member of the State Legislature, has been mayor of the town several times, and is one of Bradley County's most eminent and enterprising citizens. He a thorough business man, and is one of the largest real estate owners in Southern Arkansas. He has been president of the school board for twelve or fifteen years, is now president of the M. & P. Bank, of Warren, and has always taken an active part in every public enterprise for the interest of the county. He was married, in October 1865, to Miss Amelia C. Ederington, who bore him two children, daughter, who died in infancy, and a son, John N., who is now a member of the senior class at the State University and will graduate this fall. Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler are prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

S. W. Wheless is a prominent citizen of Warren, Ark., and is at the present time giving his attention to the stave business. He was born in Georgia in 1829, and was the youngest of seven children born to Sim and Elizabeth (Sturdevant) Wheless, natives, respectively, of North Carolina and Georgia. After the mother's death, which occurred about 1830, Mr. Wheless removed to Alabama in 1847, and in 1853 settled in Mississippi, being a pioneer of both of these States, but died in the latter in 1857. The maiden name of his mother was Drake, and he was in all probability a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, the early English explorer. S. W. Wheless remained on the farm until about fifteen years of age, after which he served three-years apprenticeship at the boot and shoemaker's trade, this occupation receiving his attention up to the breaking out of the Civil War. In 1853, however, he came to Arkansas, and in connection with following his trade, he was engaged in the timber business at Monticello. Dropping this work, he enlisted in Company B, Monroe's Regiment of Cavalry, Trans-Mississippi Department, and followed the fortunes of that command through all the vicissitudes and hardships, until detailed to the manufacturing department of the army, and worked at his trade until the close of the Rebellion. The only engagement of importance in which he participated was Fayetteville. Soon after his return to Bradley County, he opened a store, and up to the year 1882, was in the general mercantile business, at which time he sold out, and in 1889 began shipping staves to New Orleans on flatboats, down the Saline River. He owns several hundred acres of valuable land, besides considerable town property, which brings him in enough annually to keep him in comfort the rest of his days. In 1859 he married Miss Mary R. C. Cathey, a native of North Carolina, and a daughter of A. P. Cathey, who came to Arkansas at an early day. To their union six children have been born: Cora I. And Dixie (who died in infancy), Mary Ida (who died at the age of twenty-two, the wife of W. N. Adkins), Walter C., Oscar W., and Lena May. The family are members of the Presbyterian Church, and Mr. Wheless belongs to the Masonic fraternity, Warren Lodge No. 33. Although not an active politician, he votes with the Democratic Party, and has served in the capacity of township constable.

James T. Whiteside, farmer, Warren, Ark. Originally from York County, S. C., where his birth occurred on June 17, 1836, Mr. Whiteside is now one of the first-class agriculturists of Bradley County. His parents, James and Hettie (Ferris) Whiteside, were also natives of York County, S. C., and the father emigrated to Arkansas in 1853, coming through in wagons, and being six weeks on the road. He located where James Burnett now resides, purchasing and entering 160 acres of land, with but few improvements, and here the parents died, the father in 1878, and the mother in 1862. In their family were eight children, three now living: Ann J. (wife of W. H. Waters), Sarah E. (wife of Altamon Tempest), and James T. The latter passed his boyhood days in South Carolina, received his education there, and was but seventeen years of age when he came to Arkansas. In 1861 he enlisted in Company C, Fifth Arkansas Regiment, and served until the close of the war. He was captured at Franklin, Tenn., on December 5, 1864, and taken to Camp Douglas, at Chicago, where he was confined for six months, or until after the surrender. He participated in the battlers of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, the Atlanta campaign, and numerous others. After his release from prison he returned home and resumed farming, which vocation he has since followed. He owns 320 acres of land, with about 100 acres under cultivation, and deals some in stock, raising hogs, cattle and sheep. He is also quite a horticulturist and raises some very fine fruit, having a number of acres in orchard. He was married in 1867 to Miss Catherine P. Singer, a native of Bradley County, Ark., and she bore her husband six children: Minnie (wife of Hunter Berry), Flora, Nellie (wife of Thomas St. John), Mary E., Hettie and Irene. Mr. Whiteside is an enterprising citizen, and takes much interest in advancing the interests of the county.

Daniel E. Wilfong is a wealthy land holder of Bradley County, and is also joint owner in a grist, saw-mill and cotton-gin at Johnsville. His birth occurred in Catawba County, N.C. July 10, 1836, and was the youngest child in a family of four sons and two daughters, only three sons now living, born to Daniel George and Ann (Ramseaur) Wilfong, both of whom were born in North Carolina, the former's birth occurring in February, 1799, and the latter's November 10, 1803, their death occuring November 15, 1836, and November 21, 1850, respectively. Peter Wilfong, the grandfather, was of German descent, a native of Pennsylvania, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Daniel E. Wilfong was reared to farm life in his native State, and there also received his education. When a young man he removed to South Carolina, and in that State was married, January 27, 1857, to Miss Susan I. Crawford, who was born in York County, S.C., June 9, 1837, but after a married life of nineteen years she passed from life on the 31st of May. She was a daughter of Alex and Sarah (Culp) Crowford, and became the mother of eight children-seven daughters and one son-three daughters and one son being now alive: Sarah A. (wife of George P. Spencil), Ella, Mary J. and Daniel E. From South Carolina Mr. Wilfong removed to Bradley County, Ark., in December, 1860, and here has since made his home. In 1861 he entered the Confederate service, becoming a member of Company I, Second Arkansas Regiment Infantry, and served until the close of the war, participating in nearly all the engagements in Tennessee. He returned to his farm after the cessation of hostilities, and now has about fifty of his 500 acres of land under cultivation. He and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and he has always been a Democrat in his political views.

Charles P. Williams. Among the representative families of Bradley County, Ark., none are more favorably known or more highly respected than that to which the subject of this sketch beongs. he was born on the farm where he now lives, June 3, 1840, and is a son of James Williams, who was born in North Carolina in 1796, emigrating from there to Alabama, thence to Tennessee, and about 1836 came to White River, Ark., and two years later settled on the farm where his son, Charles P. now resides. The first year of his settlement here he and his two son, Hamilton and Marmaduke, killed 760 deer, 160 bears, 60 wolves and 30 panthers. Twelve deer were killed in one day while on his way to Camden. He was one of the first settlers in this section, and although perservering in his determination to make a home for his family, he had to suffer many privations and hardships to accomplish his desires, and for a number of years barely kept the wolf from the door. To say that he bore the inconveniences of pioneer life without flinching would be stating the case very mildly indeed, for to the courage and intrepidity of such men as Mr. Williams, is due the credit of opening the way to civilization hereabouts. He was married in Alabama to Miss Mary Owens, and after her death, which occurred in Tennessee, he wedded Miss Jane Brown, a native of North Carolina, her death occurring on the old homestead in Arkansas in 1877. Mr. Williams also died here in 1867, beloved and respected by all who knew him. Of six children born to them, Charles P., the subject of this sketch, is the only one now living, but his father's first union resulted in the birth of nine children, three being now alive. Charles P. was married in 1863 to Miss R.E. McKinney, who was born in Mississippi in 1842, and to them was born one daughter, Martha J., wife of Thomas A. Fowler, by whom she has three children, and makes her home with her father. Mr. Williams served in the Second Arkansas Cavalry, Confederate States Army, for four years as a private, and was in the engagements at Shiloh, Water Valley, was in all the engagements in which Price participated while on his raid through Missouri, and in numerous skirmishes. Since the war he has quietly followed the occupation of farming and, has been an honest and worthy citizen having the county's welfare at heart. He as held the office of justice of the peace for nearly eight years, and has been a school director eleven years. He is a Democrat, and has been a member of the Masonic lodge for the past twenty-five years. He and wife have been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, for eighteen and twenty years, respectively.

T.J. Word, farmer, Warren, Ark. This enterprising and much respected citizen owes his nativity to Coweta County, Ga., where his birth occurred June 25, 1836, and is the son of John and Elizabeth (Summons) Word, natives of South Carolina. The parents emigrated to Georgia at an early day, and there the father died. He was a mechanic and also carried on farming. The mother and children afterward came to Arkansas in 1857, located in what is now Cleveland County, and there she died in 1877. To her marriage were born twelve children, six of whom are now living: Samuel S., Thomas J., Robert M., Mary (wife of William Howard), Lizzie (wife of Burt Cram), and the wife of Linn Waldruff. T.J. Word was reared and educated in Georgia, and was twenty one years of age when he came to Arkansas. He worked on a farm for wages until the breaking out of the war, when he enlisted in Company C, Fifth Arkansas Infantry, and served until the surrender. He was wounded at the battle of Perryville, Ky., by a gunshot in the right thigh, breaking and shattering the bone. He was captured at Harrodsburg, taken to Camp Chase and Johnson Island, where he remained for ten months. He was then exchanged, and again joined his command. Returning home after the surrender, he remained in Cleveland County, Ark., until 1872, when he moved to near Warren, and is now the owner of 500 acres of land, with seventy-five acres under cultivation. He raises and deals in stock to a considerable extent, and raises some of the finest horses to be found in Southern Arkansas. In fact his principle business is raising and selling stock, and taking premiums on his fine horses. In 1868 he was married to Mrs. Margaret A. (Bennett) Hagan, by whom he has seven children: Marshall, Lela, Mary, Eula, Cassie, Ella and Ruth. his wife had three children by her previous marriage: James, Eddie and Maggie (wife of Robert E. Stollings. Mr. Word is a Mason, is a Democrat in his political views, and he and Mrs. Word are members of the church.

Nelson B. York, a prominent old resident of the county, residing near Johnsville, Ark., was born in Lincoln County, Ga., December 12, 1811, being a son of James and Jane (Florence) York, both of whom were born in Georgia, and died in Bradley County, Ark., in 1865 and 1864, respectively, whither they had come in 1849. They were the parents of six daughters and two sons. Nelson B. York was reared and educated in the State and county of his birth, receiving the advantages of the common schools, but in December, 1844, was married in the State of Mississippi, to Miss L.J. Watson, a Kentuckian, born in 1825, and to them a family of nine children were born four of whom are living: Lownds E., Charles C. (who began merchandising in Johnsville in 1886, and carries a stock of goods valued at $1,500; he is a young man, possessing excellent business qualifications, and is married), L.J. (wife of F.L. Jackson), and Eugenia (wife of Samuel W. Godfrey). Mr. York has been one of the "sturdy sons of the soil" throughout life, and by the sweat of his brow has attained his present valuable property, and is now the owner of 1,400 acres of timber land, and has fifty acres cleared and undercultivation. He and wife are honored residents of Bradley County, and have long been members of the Baptist Church. Although seventy-nine years of age, he is yet hale and hearty, his memory especially showing no indications of the ravages of time. He has always been a Democrat in politics, and his first presidential vote was cast for Van Buren in 1832.


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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