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Goodspeed's Biographies

James Houston Peacher, editor and proprietor of the Calhoun Courier, was born in Brandon, Mississippi, September 21, 1865, the fourth in a family of eight children, born to William Andrew and Mara Ella (Hicks) Peacher, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Mississippi. The maternal grandfather, Maj. Hicks, of Jackson, was a well known Mason, and one of the leading men of his time. His father has been engaged in the mercantile business at Brandon for the last twenty years, where the family still reside. He came to Arkansas in 1885, began work on the Columbia Record, published at Magnolia, Columbia County, remained on this paper about two and one-half years. Then after a short trip to his home, he returned to Arkansas, settling in Hampton in August, 1888, and engaged with the Calhoun County Courier as printer. October 11, of the same year, he assumed editorial charge of the paper under Pickett & Tomlinson, and held this position until December, 1889, when he purchased the office and paper, changed the name to the Calhoun Courier, and is now conducting the paper with force and skill, doing good work for Calhoun County and the Democratic party. On the evening of May 8, he was married to Miss Lou Titia Silliman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Silliman, who reside in Polk Township, this county. The couple have begun housekeeping, and save the continued illness of the husband, there are no visible marks to check their progress and happiness. Although still a young man, Mr. Peacher is inspired with energy and progressive spirit that is rapidly paling him in the front ranks of Calhoun County's enterprising citizens. The county's welfare is the subject of his study and research, and tot he accomplishment of that end in the briefest time, he is using his best judgement. As a consequence his subscription list is growing steadily and the people of this section seem to appreciate his endeavors in promoting all worthy enterprises.[NEXT]


W. R. Pearson is the owner and proprietor of the most extensive saw and planing mill at this place. His mill, which was erected in 1986, at a cost of about $25,000, has a capacity of 30,000 feet daily, and has five miles of narrow gauge railway, of thirty-five-pound steel rail, named the Calhoun County Narrow Gauge Railway, connected with it, and employs a gang of over sixty-five men. Mr. Pearson is a native of New Hampshire, and is a genuine Yankee. He first saw the light of this world May 25, 1845. He has been in a saw-mill ever since he was a small boy, and has become thoroughly familiar with all phases of business. In 1859 he came to Washington County, Missouri, from New Hampshire, and engaged in the saw-mill business in that county until 1885, when he came to Dallas County. He remained there one year, and then came to Thornton, where he has since resided. Mr. Pearson has a family of four children, viz: Orin F. (is his father's book-keeper at the present time), Mande, Blanche and Corrine. The three latter reside in St. Louis, and Mr. Pearson and his son reside at this place. Mr. Pearson owns 4,000 acres of timber land, and values the land, mill and mill equipment at $70,000. He is an energetic business man, and is highly esteemed by all who know him.[NEXT]


Hugh A. Pickett is another of Hampton's young and enterprising business men, and was born in this county in 1855. His parents, W. J. and Mary W. (Harris) Pickett, natives of North Carolina, had a family of seven children, our subject being the youngest. His father moved to Alabama and was engaged in farming until 1849 when he came to Arkansas, settling in Union County, when he bought a farm and made his home for three years. He then came to this county and bought a farm of 320 acres of wild land and at once commenced an extensive scale of improvements, clearing 200 acres. He soon had a comfortable home. He enlisted in the Old Man's company, Confederate army in 1865. In 1867 he moved to the town of Hampton and engaged in merchandising, opening a general store. He had one of the largest stores in the county, and did a very extensive trade for several years. He continued here about six years, and then, in 1872, was elected county and probate judge, in which capacity he served for four years, and in 1876 returned to his farm, where he died in 1878. The subject of this sketch was reared in the town of Hampton, and received his education in the public schools here, and also at Clark's Academy, Berryville, Carroll County, which he attended for one year. He then engaged as book-keeper until 1884, when he was elected to his present office (circuit clerk of Calhoun County), was re-elected in 1886 and in 1888 without opposition. In 1889 he started a drug and grocery store, and in 1889 Mr. Tomlinson joined under the firm name of Pickett & Tomlinson. Mr. Pickett and sister owned a good farm of 300 acres, which adjoins the town; about seventy-five acres are under cultivation. He was married in 1875 to Miss Virgie Tobin, a native of Clark County, Arkansas and this union has been blessed in the birth of five children, viz: David, William, Francis, Lennie, and Hugh and Virgie (twins, born in February, 1889). The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South of which Mr. Pickett is steward and recording secretary.[NEXT]


John Calvin Pierce, a prominent farmer of Calhoun County, Arkansas was born in La Fayette County, Mississippi, August 19, 1848, the first child born to the union of C. J. and Lucretia Pierce, the former a native of Georgia, and the latter of Alabama, and both residents of Mississippi for some time. The immediate subject of this short sketch was reared and schooled in Mississippi, receiving a limited education in the common county schools of his native State. At the age of nineteen years he began doing for himself, choosing farming as his occupation, at which he has been unusually successful, and now owns 240 acres of fine land, with about 100 acres under cultivation. He was married in 1870, to Miss Eveline L. Orr, youngest child of William and Margaret Orr, old and respected settlers of Arkansas. To this union were born five children, viz: Franklin H., Dora A., William R., Walter L. and Asbury J. All except Dora A., who died at the age of four years, are living at home. Mr. Pierce enlisted in the late war, at the age of fifteen years, as private, under Capt. Fomby, in the Twenty -second Mississippi Regiment, and served under different captains until the close of the war, participating in a great many skirmishes, but no important battles. He takes considerable interest in politics, and votes with the Democratic party. He served as bailiff of Polk Township for four years, and served in the same capacity in Huey Township two years. In 1886 he was appointed deputy sheriff. He is a member of the Laborer's Union, which he joined in 1885, and is a liberal contributor to all worthy public enterprises.[NEXT]


John M. Plunkett, a resident of Calhoun County, Champagnolle Township, Locust Bayou post office was born in Perry (since Decatur) County, Tennessee, on April 3, 1832, first child of H. W. and Dicey Plunkett, natives of North Carolina. They moved to Tennessee while quite young and here the father died in 1849. The mother then moved to Union County, Arkansas in January, 1851, and lived there until 1856. She then moved to Calhoun County, where se resided until her death which occurred in 1863. Our subject was principally raised in Tennessee, where he obtained a limited education in an old log school house among the hills of Tennessee. At the death of his father, he began doing for himself and mother. July 8, 1858, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary H. Hollis, daughter of Jeremiah and Sarah Hollis, an old and respected family of Calhoun County. To this union were born eleven children: Dicey E. E., Lou M., Jerry, John H., and infant (who died before naming), William G., Charles M., Lewis, Mary A., and James N. and Harriet H. (twins), Jerry is unmarried; William G. and Harriet H. are dead; Emma married Mr. John Midlay and Lou married James H. Neeley, and are living near their father. Mr. Plunkett enlisted in the Confederate army in 1862, in Radford County, and served about three weeks , when he was discharged. He then returned home, where he remained about twelve months, when he re-enlisted in Company H., Second Arkansas Cavalry, and continued to serve as a private until the close of the war. He was in several skirmishes; also in the famous Missouri raid under Gen. Fagan. Mr. Plunkett takes an active interest in politics, and is an Independent. He is a a member of the Farmers' Union, which he joined in 1886. He is a farmer by occupation, and owns 280 acres of land, ninety acres of which are under cultivation and has erected a cotton-gin on his farm, and does his own ginning.[NEXT]


J. B. Ponder, M. D., the well-known physician and surgeon of Locust Bayou post-office, River Township, Calhoun County, is a native of Georgia, born in Oglethorpe County, April 4, 1820, the fifth child born to James H. and Elizabeth Ponder, natives of Georgia, who moved to Arkansas in 1840, settling in Ouachita County, where they resided until their death in 1855 and 1854, respectively. The subject of this sketch was principally reared in Montgomery County, Alabama, and came to Arkansas with his parents. He received his education in Alabama, and at the age of eighteen entered New Orleans Medical College and graduated from there at the end of two years. He then returned to Ouachita County, Arkansas and began the practice of his profession, and here he continued to practice until the breaking out of the war. In 1861, he went from Ouachita County to Frederkisburg, Virginia, and in the latter part of 1861 was detailed as surgeon at the batteries on the Potomac, where he remained until the spring of 1862, where he participated in the battle of Shiloh for two days (April 6 and 7). After this battle he received a discharge and returned to his home in Ouachita County. In July, 1862, he received an appointment as an enrolling officer, in which capacity he served until the first part of 1863, when he resigned the position. He then resumed the practice of his profession in Camden, Arkansas, until the winter of 1865, at which time he moved to Smithland, in Columbia County, Arkansas, where he practiced medicine until the fall of 1867. From Smithland he moved to Calhoun County, and located permanently at this latter place. He owns a fine farm of 160 acres, with about six acres under cultivation. The Doctor was married July 15, 1864 wedding Miss Susan Webb, daughter of John and Elena Webb, natives of Georgia, who moved to Arkansas in 1856, settling in Camden, Ouachita County, where they resided for some time. Dr. Ponder is a member of the Masonic fraternity (which he joined in 1844) also of the Farmers' Union since 1888. He does not take an active interest in politics, but is a staunch Democrat and takes a deep interest in the public welfare. He is a good physician and enjoys a large and lucrative practice, as his father, who was one of the first physicians in Camden, Arkansas and practiced there for many years, did before him.[NEXT]


J. A. Primm, is another of the successful and enterprising farmers of Calhoun County, Hampton post-office, Champagnolle Township, and was born in Shelby County, Alabama on July 16, 1847, the fifth child born to the union of John T. Primm and Nancy Abbott, the former a native of South Carolina and the latter of Mississippi. The marriage took place in Shelby County, Alabama about 1830, from where they moved to Union County, Arkansas, in 1847, where they continued to reside until the death of the father in 1862. The mother then resided with her son (our subject) until her death in 1878. At the age of twenty-one our subject began doing for himself, engaging in farming, which has since been his occupation. He now owns 160 acres of land with fifty-five acres under cultivation. In October, 1869, Mr. Primm was married to Miss E. E. McClanahan, who died tow weeks after her marriage. November 23, 1871, he was again married, this time to Miss T. H. Dunn. Her parents, Allen and Harriet Dunn, were married in Alabama and moved to Arkansas settling in Calhoun County about 1845. To this second union were born seven children, viz: Lucy M., John T., Cornelius B., Charlie N., James D., Allen D. and Elias O. With the exception of Lucy M., who died October 4, 1872, the children are all living at home. Mr. Primm enlisted in the Confederate service of the late war in the latter part of 1863 in Company A, Bird's Battalion, First Trans-Mississippi Cavalry, and served as private under Captain Ed Crawford until the close of the war, most of the time on detached duty. Mr. Primm is a member of the Masonic fraternity, which he joined in 1872; he is also a member of the Agricultural Wheel, which he joined in 1886. He is a stanch Democrat, but does not take a very active part in politics. Both he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, since 1881, of which Mr. Primm is also steward; he is also steward of the Bearden Circuit. He is a good citizen, and is respected by all who know him.[NEXT] [NEXT PAGE]