JAMES B. SEARCY. This young gentleman is numbered among the members of the legal fraternity located in Palmyra, and has entered upon his professional career in such a way as to give promise of becoming one of the prominent lawyers of this locality. He has been in practice but a few years, yet is already doing well financially speaking, and becoming known as a young man of ability and sound knowledge of the law. He was born on a farm in Boone County, Mo., August 15, 1858, and was an infant when his parents removed to New Mexico. When he was ten years old they made their home in this county. His early education was obtained in the district school and he advanced his knowledge by attendance at Blackburn University from which he was graduated in the Class of ‘83. He entered the Bloomington Law School and after studying there for a time continued his reading in the office of Rinaker & Rinaker in Carlinville. He was admitted to the bar in Mt. Vernon in 1885 and at once opened an office at Palmyra.
Mr. Searcy was married in 1879 to Miss Anna E. Richie, who was born in this county in 1859 and was the daughter of Eli and Sarah Richie. The happy anticipations of the young couple were doomed to be unfulfilled, as the young wife died the year after her marriage. Mr. Searcy lived a widower until 1886 when he made a second marriage. His bride on this occasion was Mrs. Mary E. Duncan nee Fansler, a native of this county, born in March, 1861. She was the widow of Allen C. Duncan, who died during the year after their marriage, and is a daughter of Endimon and Amanda (King) Fansler. Mrs. Searcy received her education at the district schools and at Shurtleff College in Alton, and is a member of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, graduating with the Class of ‘91. This union has been blest by the birth of three children, who form a bright and interesting group around the family fireside. Their respective names are Earl B., William E., and Evan L.
Tracing the ancestry of Mr. Searcy back a few generations we find that the family lived in Virginia. From that State the grandfather of our subject went to Kentucky when a young man and during the War of 1812 he served in a Kentucky regiment. He was one of the few survivors of the Dudley massacre. He removed from the Blue Grass State to Missouri, and was one of the first settlers in Boone County, where he bought a tract of land and improved a farm. His death occurred there early in the ‘60s. Lemuel B. Searcy married Mildred Conley; her father, John Conley, was in the Revolutionary War, and in their family was a son, Benjamin P., who was born in the same county as his son, our subject. That gentleman grew to manhood amid somewhat primitive surroundings, as for many years after his father settled in Boone county there were no railroads there and St. Louis was the nearest depot for supplies, while the journey to and fro was performed with wagons drawn by oxen, or at later period by horses.
Benjamin Searcy married Nancy E. Ridgway, who was born in Boone County, Mo., December 25, 1838, and in 1860 they went to New Mexico, traveling with teams via the Santa Fe trail. They located in Mora County, where at that time there were very few settlers, as indeed whites were but few in the entire territory. Mr. Searcy and his cousin, Enoch Tipton, established their homes near the present site of Watrous, a station on the Santa Fe Railroad, and were the first settlers in the Boone Valley. Mr. Searcy bought a portion of the Lajunta grant, and engaged in stock raising and farming. He found it necessary to irrigate his land, as is generally necessary in the Rocky Mountain region. For some time Ft. Union, nine miles from his ranch, was the nearest point of any importance and the principal military post in the territory. Mr. Searcy died in 1868, and in November of that year his widow came to this county with her three children and bought a farm in South Palmyra Township. After living in widowhood more than a decade, she married Capt. J. S. Chiles, and she still occupies her farm.
The maternal grandfather of our subject was John D. Ridgway, who was born in Clark County, Ky., but whose father, Ninian Ridgway, was a Virginian who had gone to the Blue Grass State after attaining to his majority. In 1823 the family removed to Missouri, taking up pioneer work and improving a tract of considerable extent. Their first home was in Boone County and thence Ninian Ridgway went to Calloway County, Mo., and made his home with his son Dudley until his decease. John Ridgway was married in 1831 to Sophia Wiggington, a native of Boone County, Ky., and a daughter of Badger and Parthena (Greene) Wiggington. After his marriage he entered Government land in Calloway County, improved it and resided there some years, then changed his place of abode to Boone County. There he bought land on which he lived until 1857, when he went to Arkansas. In 1860 he came to this State and he is now living in Palmyra, at the age of eighty-two years. His wife died September 29, 1888. Their daughter, the mother of our subject, reared three children, of whom James B. is the eldest. The second is Sarah F., wife of Lincoln Chiles, and the youngest is William N., who is now studying law in the Bloomington Law School.
Mr. and Mrs. Searcy of this notice have made many friends since they established their home in Palmyra. Mr. Searcy belongs to Palmyra Lodge, No. 463, F. & A.M., and Palmyra Camp, No. 149, M.W.A. His political sympathy and interest is with the Republican party. He belongs to the Christian Church, while his wife is connected with the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church at Barr's Store. It is the aim of each to act in accordance with the Christian profession they have made, to bring up their children aright, and to do good as they have opportunity.