With the exception of eight years spent in Jackson County, Mo., prior to the late Civil War, Mr. Dewees has been a resident of this county since 1829. He served in the Mexican War, but saw little active fighting. He was born in Barren County, Ky., Nov. 22, 1824, and is the son of Southern parents - Nimrod and Elizabeth (Murphy) Dewees, who were natives of North Carolina, where Grandfather Cornelius Dewees, it is believed, was also born, reared and married. When Nimrod was but a child they removed to Kentucky, where they sojourned for a number of years, and where the mother of Nimrod died when quite old.
In Barren County, Ky., the father of our subject was married to Miss Murphy, who was born in Virginia. After the birth of four children, one of whom died, the parents with their three living children came to this county, and the father entered a tract of Government land on section 1, in township 15, range 11, now owned by William Patterson (a sketch of whom appears on another page in this volume). This tract embraced 168 acres, and Mr. Dewees was obliged to go to Vandalia to secure his title and pay for his claim. It remained the home of Nimrod Dewees until 1846, and there his wife, Elizabeth, died. Subsequently he was married a second time and removed to a farm near Alexander, a few miles east of Jacksonville. In 1852 he changed his residence to Jacksonville, where he died, in 1866, at the age of sixty-five years, having been born in 1801. The name of his second wife was Eliza Sanders, and after her death he was married to Miss Mary E. Talbert, who is now a resident of West State street, Jacksonville.
Our subject is the second of nine children born to his mother, who died when he was in his boyhood. He attained to his majority in this county, in the meantime acquiring a common-school education, and becoming familiar with farm pursuits. Then desirous of seeing something of the world he started out on the 10th of April, 1849, with a company of men designing to cross the plains to California, and arrived in the Sacramento Valley on the 26th of November following. For some months thereafter he was in the employ of one man in the city of Sacramento, then engaged in mining and later began farming in the valley of San Jose, not far from the bay, and was thus occupied until the 1st of January, 1853. He now started homeward by the water route and New Orleans, and came up the Mississippi as far as Cairo, Ill., where he engaged in farming until 1863.
Mr. Dewees in the meantime was married, in 1856, in Pettes County, Mo., to Miss Mary Goodwin, who was born in Tennessee in 1831. Her parents were James B. and Mildred M. (Powell) Goodwin, who were natives of Virginia, and closely allied to the F. F. V's. Mr. Goodwin was a farmer by occupation, and both he and his wife, leaving their native State in their youth, removed to Wilson County, Tenn., where later they were married. Mrs. Dewees was their first and only child born there, as when she was an infant they removed to Morgan County, Mo., during its pioneer days. Mr. Goodwin died in 1838 when a man in the prime of life. His father, Francis Goodwin, was a patriot of the War of 1812, having enlisted in his native State of Virginia. He also migrated to Morgan County, Mo., where he died in 1855, when over seventy years of age. His wife, Elizabeth, was a native of Virginia and died when her son, James B., was a child of three years. He was the only one of her two children who lived to mature years.
Mrs. Mildred M. Goodwin, the mother of Mrs. Dewees, after the death of her first husband was married to Joshua Harrison. They, with their two children started for Texas, and while on their way there the mother died Oct. 1, 1870, after she had nearly reached her threescore years. She, with both her first and second husband, was a member of the Methodist Church. Mrs. Dewees, after the death of her father, remained with her mother until her marriage. Of her union with our subject there have been born eight children, four of whom died young, viz: Anna, Lou K., Frank L. and James R. The latter died at the age of twenty-eight years; Mildred E. is the wife of James A. Powell, and they reside in Bates County, Mo.; Ernest G. married Miss Nettie Patterson, and they live on the farm of our subject; Cora B. and Mary A. also remain with their parents. Mr. and Mrs. Dewees, with their children, are active members of the Christian Church, and our subject, politically, is an uncompromising Democrat.