Cass County MOGenWeb



By: Allen Glenn
Publisher: Historical Publishing Co.
Topeka Cleveland 1917
Pages 642-645 appear as written.

Copied by Jean Shay, descendant of Rev. Samuel G. and Jane Laughlin Porter, parents of Hugh Alexander Porter, their youngest son, who lived in Jackson County, Missouri.

Burton L. McFerrin and Rev. Samuel G. Porter

Berton L. McFarrin and Rev. Samuel G. Porter were each early settlers of Van Buren (Cass) County. The lives of these two worthy pioneers and early associations were so closely interwoven that we consider them together. These men with their wives came from Rutherford County, Tennessee, settling in what is now Cass County as early as 1832. They were both of Scotch-Irish ancestors, coming to America in 1750. They first settled in New York state and were foremost in the early wars for the liberation of the colonies from European domination. After the struggle of 1776, the ancestors of these subjects moved to Old Virginia, thence to Tennessee.

These men were not dependent on cheap homes and frontier life, for in their veins ran the blood of the Scotch aristocracy and they were men of means and force of character from whence they came. They preferred to build new homes in the then western plains of American country and there to impress their personalities upon the formation of this new and growing empire. Berton L. McFarrin brought with him the name of Judge, and was referred to by his neighbors as "Judge" Berton L. McFarrin. In 1832 he entered and bought lands well up on Sugar Creek, in the present township of Dayton. Here he made his homestead until the date of his death in 1862. Nearby settlers today refer to this tract of land as the Judge McFarrin homestead. On this farm he reared his family, all of whom became useful members of society and good citizens of the country.

Judge Berton L. McFarrin from his earlies settlement here held high place in the council of his pioneer country men. His judgment was valuable. His experience was extensive. On the establishment of Bates County, the Missouri General Assembly by resolution designated Berton L. McFarrin as one of the commissioners to locate the seat of justice for Bates. County. Samuel G. Porter was a Methodist minister and coming to the county about the same time with the McFarrin and from the same neighborhood in Tennessee, settled close to the McFarrin Homestead, about four miles northwest of the McFarrin's on the head waters of what is now known as Eight Mile Creek. In early settlements people thought it was not best to settle so close to one another, so as not to cramp or congest the settlement. For this reason these old neighbors put four miles between their homesteads. The Porter homestead was south and a little east of the present railroad town of Daugherty. What is now called the Reed cemetery is located on part of the old Porter homestead and contains the remains of Porter, McFarrin and several of their children and their descendants. Two of the Porter boys took McFarrin's daughters to wife and one of the McFarrin boys married Porter's daughter. Some of the descendants of these two families of steady pioneers now reside in the county.

All of these people were intensely religious. The elders were Methodist, belonging to what is now called M. E. South church. The elder Samuel G. Porter was a minister of the church. The duties of a pioneer minister were countless and varied. There were no church buildings in the country. Preaching was done altogether at private homes of some brother or sister, a class organized and set to work with a leader. These classs assembled sometimes twice a week at different homes sometimes widely separated. The class leader would serve the purpose of preacher in exhorting at these meetings. People were intensely religious and strong adherents to their several denomination. This man Porter did his hardest and most arduous work before the advent of the circuit rider. From these McFarrin and Porter families have sprung some of the strongest preachers and most useful Christian workers. Rev. Samuel G. Porter, after ten years of arduous work among these people died in 1843.

These people, coming from the south, naturally sympathized with the Southern cause and suffered much for their bold stand as marauder bands passed through the country. Jackson B. McFarirn was murdered. Their homes were burned and their families were driven into exile. The circuit rider always received a hearty welcome and hospitable entertainment at their homes and when they departed took not only the blessings of the entire families, but a financial contribution for the cause of the Master. These pioneer laymen were ever ready to assist their ministers to bear the burden of their works. The useful work of these people in the cause of Christ had an enduring effect upon succeeding generations and is felt in out county to the present date.

Jackson Benton McFarrin, son of Berton L. McFarrin, and his wife Elizabeth Jane Porter McFarrin, daughter of Rev. Samuel G. Porter, have been dead many years. Samuel Benton McFarrin, son of Jackson Benton McFarrin and Elizabeth Jane Porter McFarrin, and grandson of both Berton L. McFarrin and Rev Samuel G. Porter, now reside in Butler, Missouri, and to him we are largely indebted for this sketch. In him is focus the blood of these two pioneers. Samuel B. McFarrin and John B. McFarrin, are the sole surviving children of Jackson B. McFarrin. Samuel B. McFarrin and John B. McFarrin, and James A. J. McFarrin, son of John Orr McFarrin, son of Berton L. McFarrin, deceased, is the only other grandchild of Berton L. McFarrin not represented by the living ancestors. James A. J. McFarrin, Samuel B McFarrin and John B. McFarrin are the sole surviving grandchildren of Samuel G. Porter. Jackson B. McFarrin was the father of Samuel B. McFarrin. Nancy Jane Summers, now deceased; Sarah Ellen Slaughter, now deceased; and Victoria J. McDonnell, late wife of Judge James McDonnell, are brother and sister of Samuel B. McFarrin, and children of Jackson B. McFarrin.

Words fail to properly portray the rugged honesty, sincere piety of these old time Methodist families. Such generous hospitality and Christlike spirit are fast fading from among us. It is too sadly true, the late rescuing of the memory of such pioneer characters from oblivion is shamefully neglected. Samuel Benton McFarrin, now past seventy-four years of age has been a warm friend of the writer of this book for more than half a century. Both are descendants of the very earliest settlers.

Originaly Submitted January 2, 2001 and © 2001 by Gloria Jean Hubbs Shay ggg granddaughter of Samuel G. Porter, all rights reserved. This information may be used by individuals for their own personal use,libraries and genealogical societies, however, commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior written permission. If copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information.

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