Francis M. Wayland, of the firm of James & Wayland. dealers in general merchandise, is another name that will be remembered for years to come as belonging to a public-spirited and progressive man of this community. He was born in Lawrence County October 7. 1846, and is a son of Rev. Jonathan Wayland, of Virginia, a noted preacher of that period. who came to Arkansas in 1815, and settled in what is now Lawrence County. with his father. Nevil Wayland. Grandfather Wayland died soon after his arrival in Arkansas, and Jonathan was thrown on his own resources; but though the prospects ahead of him at the time were very dark, he was never daunted in the least, and through the troubles and privations of his early life he grew to manhood with the proud consciousness of having overcome all obstacles that had been thrown in his path. He was married in Lawrence County. to Miss Amy A. Eddy. of Indiana, whose parents were among the pioneers of Arkansas, and located with his wife on a farm near Powhatan, where he resided until his death. He was a noted minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in that section. and his sermons were often the occasion for drawing hundreds of people from the surrounding country. His loving and faithful wife died about the year 1870, some fifteen years before his own death, leaving besides her husband, two sons and a daughter to mourn her. The eldest of these children was Francis M. Wayland, who remained with his father until he reached his majority. He received a good education at the common schools of Lawrence County, supplemented by a course of study at the Academy High School, of Iron County, Mo. When through with his schooling he commenced teaching in Lawrence County, and continued at it until induced by the offer of a lucrative position at Powhatan, to go to that city. In 1879 he entered into mercantile life on his own responsibility, and his enterprise, honesty in all transactions and untiring energy have built up for him a large and well established business. This firm carry one of the largest and best selected stocks of general merchandise in Lawrence County, besides dealing in lumber, and operating a cypress shingle mill, having a capacity of 80,000 per day. They do a business of $60,000 annually, with the different branches combined, and are well and favorably known throughout the entire county. In the month of October, 1868, Mr. Wayland was united in marriage to Miss Sarah E. Matthews, of Georgia, and this happy union has given them three children: Charles M., assisting in his father's business, Katie and Nettie. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. South, and Mr. Wayland is superintendent of the Sabbath school, a position he has held for the past five years. He is also a Royal Arch Mason, and is Warden of his lodge. Mr. Wayland is one of those men who can look back from his assured and substantial position in the world to that time when, as a young man struggling through life with nothing but a stout heart and an honest character to sustain him, he fought his way upward. like the hero of Longfellow's Excelsior, never stopping until he had reached the summit of his ambition. His career has been one that can be pointed out as an example for the younger generation to follow, in order to be placed upon as solid a foundation, and it is of such men the nation should be composed, in order to draw the admiration of the world upon us.
John P. Webb was born and raised on
a farm in Coffee County, Tenn. His parents, John B. [p.828] and Mary (Pearson)
Webb. were natives of the same State, who moved to Arkansas in the fall
of 1858, and settled at a point seven miles west of Powhatan, where they
continued to reside until the death of Mr. Webb's father in 1865. two years
before the mother. Mr. Webb is the seventh of ten children, all of whom
lived until their maturity, when four have since died. He remained on the
farm with his parents until the disruption of the North and South, and
gave up the plow and rake for the more deadly implements of war. In 1862
he enlisted with Newton's regiment of cavalry. and thereafter fought on
several battlefields before the surrender. He took part in the battles
of Helena and Alexandria on the Red River, and also at Little Rock. and
was one of the followers of Gen. Price on his raids through Missouri. After
the war had ended, he once more sought the peace of his home, and remained
with his mother on the farm until his marriage, in the fall of 1866. He
then located near the home place, where he resided until 1882. when he
removed to Black River Bottom, near their present home. Here he put his
energies into saw-milling for three years, and after that venture engaged
in cotton ginning. He moved to his present home in 1887, and commenced
farming and has also established a thriving business in general merchandise.
Mr. Webb was married to Miss Asenath Denton, of Tennessee, who died in
1871 after a happy wedded life, leaving seven children to mourn a mother's
loss. Since then three of them have died. He was married a second time
to Miss Rebecca Johnson, a young lady also from the State of Tennessee,
who is now the mother of three children. The names of those by his first
wife are William F., Charles (deceased). Wiley J., John R., Chesley N.,
Mary (deceased) and Harvey (deceased). The children by his second marriage
are Henry P., Matilda and Elisabeth. Mr. Webb and his wife are members
of the Missionary Baptist Church, of which Mr. Webb is a deacon. He has
also been a member of Dry Creek Lodge No. 453, A. F. & A. M., for the
past sixteen years, but was a member of Rock Care Lodge No. 347, this county,
when Dry Creek Lodge was organized in 1886. Mr. Webb is a generous, public
spirited citizen, and one of the foremost to assist in pushing his county
to the front. He takes an interest in all public and private enterprises,
and is one of this section's most valued citizens.
John H. S. Weir, a well-known resident
of Dent Township was born in North Carolina in 1842. The parents of Mr.
Weir moved west, and settled in Arkansas in 1845, locating at Old Jackson,
December 24. From there they moved to a point in Black River Township,
where they have resided since 1846. James A. Weir, the father, has been
one of the foremost citizens of this county, and a leading spirit in its
affairs. He is one of the best posted men in Northeastern Arkansas, and
now, after a busy and useful life, is living quietly with his children.
The mother died, May 23, 1885. a firm believer in the Seceder Church. Out
of eight children six are living. The first four born were twins. Mr. Weir
came to Arkansas with his parents when three years old, and has always
remained in that State, excepting the time he spent in the late war. In
1862 he enlisted in Wells company, and soon afterward was discharged. He
re-enlisted in R. C. Newton's Cavalry Regiment. of Little Rock, Ark.,
and served until 1865, when he was paroled in Drew County. He took part
in the battles at Mark's Mill and Poison Springs, in this State, but was
principally sent out on skirmish duty. After the war he returned home,
and worked on the farm until 1867. when he accepted a position with William
Jones, of Powhatan, who owned a general merchandise store, which was then
sold to the firm of Stuart, Cravens & Balfour. On leaving the above
business Mr. Weir entered school, where he studied diligently for ten months.
At the end of his student days he met and married Miss Thirsey J. Moore,
a daughter of Robert W. Moore, of Tennessee, who came to Arkansas in 1832,
with his mother and stepfather. Mr. Moore was a representative citizen
of this county in his day, and one of its most popular men. He died at
the age of sixty-six years. When Mr. Weir first purchased his present place
it was heavily covered with timber, but since that time he has put upwards
of seventy-five acres under cultivation, all of which has been done by
the labor of his own hands. His mother-in-law is still living, and is a
member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which she has attended
ever since her girlhood. She was born near Huntsville, Ala., in the year
1819, and her first marriage was with Hezekiah Darter, of Virginia, by
whom she had one child, Charlotte Mr. Weir and his wife have had seven
children, two of them deceased. Their names are: Margaret E. (wife of Henry
H. Rainwater), Robert S., Mary L., Burett S., Moses N., Clay C. and Laura
B. They are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and
are zealous workers. Mr. Weir has been one of the school directors for
a number of years, and is an active leader in public and private enterprises.
George F. Weir, of Imboden, Lawrence
County, was born in this county, in 1846. He is the son of James A. and
Elisabeth (Sloan) Weir, who were among the earlier settlers of this State,
locating here in the year 1845. Mr. Weir was born and reared on a farm,
and remained at home until his twenty-fifth year, when he enlisted in the
Confederate army in 1863, under Capt. Butler, and served until peace was
established. He was one of the foremost in the raids through Missouri,
under Gen. Price, and was engaged in some of the hottest work of that time.
After the war was over he returned to his home, and has since followed
the occupation of a farmer. He was married, in 1871, to Miss Martha J.
Smith, but lost his wife in December, 1884; she had been a member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, for fifteen years. Six children were
born to them–all of them living: Margaret R., James F., William H., George
R., Julia E. and Lenora L. Mr. Weir's second marriage was with Mrs. Charlotte
Nation. They have one child, a stepdaughter of Mr. Weir's, Ella V. Nation,
and Mrs. Weir has one daughter married, Mrs. John Starr, residing in Dent
Township. Mrs. Weir is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Mr. Weir is a Democrat. He has upwards of 100 acres of land under cultivation,
and can be counted as one of the successful men of this county.
Burett S. Weir, postmaster, of the firm
of Weir & Matthews, is a native of Arkansas, and was born in Lawrence
County, on the 21st day of December, 1856. He is the son of James A. and
Sarah E. (Sloan) Weir, both of North Carolina, who moved west and settled
in Arkansas in 1845, locating at Old Jackson, in what is now known as Randolph
County. From there he moved seven miles south, now in Lawrence County,
where Mr. Weir established a home for his family, and lived until the death
of his wife, in 1885. Mr. Weir, the elder, served with distinction through
the late war, holding the rank of first lieutenant, and took an active
part in that portion of our country's history. After remaining with his
father until he reached the age of twenty-eight years, Mr. Weir started
upon a career of his own. He received the greater part of his education
from the public schools, and is a self made man in the true sense of that
phrase, being a strong representative of what pluck and perseverance will
do. On the 7th of June, 1883, he was united in marriage to Miss Eudora
Perry, daughter of William and Elisabeth Perry, and removed to Black Rock,
where he occupied a position of trust in a general store. In 1885 he entered
into the grocery business on his own account, and continued in that business
until 1889, when the present firm of Weir & Matthews was organized.
Mr. Weir has held several local positions, and was appointed postmaster
of Black Rock on the 14th of December, 1888, but has had charge of all
business connected with the postoffice since it was established in 1884.
He is a member of the Knights of Honor and holds the office of Past Dictator.
Dr. John R. Wells, a successful and
well-known physician and surgeon of Powhatan, comes from a family of Arkansas
pioneers. He was born in Lawrence County, Ark., September 5, 1838, and
is a son of G. W. Wells, of the same State, whose father was one of its
earliest settlers, coming here in the year 1807, and locating at what is
now known as Ravenden Junction, in Lawrence County. G. W. Wells grew to
manhood, and was married, in what is now Lawrence County, his wife being
Miss Nettie Stubblefield, of Cape Girardeau County, Mo., whose father C.
S. Stubblefield, was [p.830] also one of the pioneers of this State, and
represented Lawrence County at an early day. After his marriage Mr. Wells
settled on a farm across the river, in this county, where he resided until
his death, in 1840. He was a farmer and stock dealer, and shipped his stock
to the Southern markets. His wife died in 1887, at the age of seventy-five
years, after rearing her family with all the care of a gentle Christian
mother. Dr. Wells grew to maturity on the farm at home, and received a
good common school education. He subsequently attended college for two
years, at Springfield, Tenn., and in 1857 began the study of medicine at
Jacksonport, Ark., under the care of Drs. Kirkwood and Matlock, both noted
physicians of that period. He took his first course of lectures at the
Memphis Medical College, in 1858-59, and the following year completed his
course at the University of Louisiana, one of the most celebrated schools
of medicine in the South. He graduated from the latter place, in the spring
of 1860, and came to Powhatan, where he commenced to practice his profession.
Dr. Wells has kept unceasingly at his practice, from the time of obtaining
his diploma, to the present day, excepting the period when he enlisted
in the Confederate army during the war. He entered as a private, in the
First Arkansas Regiment of Riflemen, but was soon after detailed as steward
on the medical staff. In 1862 a new company was organized, of which he
was made captain and assistant surgeon, and in that capacity served in
Col. Baber's regiment until the close of the war. When the war was over,
he returned home and resumed his practice, and has succeeded in building
up a reputation in that section that is second to none. The Doctor was
married, November 24, 1864, to Miss Nettie Stuart, of this county, a daughter
of C. F. Stuart, and now has a family of five children: Laura G. W., John
L., Ada, and Frank Stuart, besides three children, who died in infancy.
Dr. Wells and his wife are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
South, and the Doctor is a member of the Masonic order, being a Master
Frederick W. Westphal, the leading
butcher of Walnut Ridge, was born in Pomvaigne, Germany, November 7, 1844.
He learned the tanner's trade in his native country, and in 1869 came to
Baltimore, Md. Mr. Westphal was desirous of seeing something of the country
of his adoption, and shortly after his arrival at Baltimore, he went to
Illinois, and thence to La Porte, Ind., where he settled down for awhile,
and worked on a farm. He then came to Chicago and worked at his trade,
and afterward moved to Effingham, Ill., where he remained three months.
His next visit was made to St. Louis, in the spring of 1878, and from there
he came to the then small village of Walnut Ridge. In the second year of
his arrival, he bought 160 acres of land, and has since that time homesteaded
160 more. He has also purchased enough additional land to make in the aggregate
420 acres. His homestead is three miles due west of Walnut Ridge, and has
on it a fine fruit orchard, and at least 125 acres under cultivation. In
the fall of 1887 he started in the meat business, and has succeeded in
building up a good trade. He is a member of the Knights and Ladies of Honor,
and Odd Fellows, and also of the Protestant German Church. Mr. Westphal
has always remained a bachelor, as the lady has not yet appeared to capture
his heart. His mother resided with him until her death, January 5, 1887.
He is a much respected citizen.
Samuel Williams was born in Lawrence
County, in 1845, and was reared in the same county. He is the son of James
and Sally (Rose) Williams, also natives of this State. Mr. Williams lost
his mother when still very young, and his father died in the year 1883,
leaving two children to survive them: Samuel Williams, and his sister Leah,
the wife of George W. Goodwin, but now deceased. The father married again
after the death of his first wife, his second bride being a sister to the
first. This union gave them five children – three of them now dead, and
those living are Margaret and Nancy, who are both married. Mr. Williams
reached his maturity in this county, and, in fact, has resided here ever
since. He is a man of liberal ideas, and has traveled extensively through
the South, but, in the face of all his wanderings, still believes there
is no place like home. He was [p.831] a gallant soldier during the war,
and did some excellent work in Coleman's regiment, which, as the advance
guard, always brought on the engagement. He escaped without injury, the
closest call he ever had being at Kansas City, where his horse was shot
from under him. He surrendered at Jacksonport, June, 1865, and then returned
home, where he commenced farming and trading in stock. In 1872 he was married
to Miss Sally Brandon, of Tennessee, who came to Arkansas, a girl of eight
years, with her parents. Mr. Williams and his wife have had eight children,
three of them now dead. Those living are: Rebecca, Ashley, Clay, Roxien,
William. The children who have died are Addie, George, and James Lacy.
He and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, and are strong adherents
to its teachings. Mr. Williams has eighty acres of fine land under cultivation
which is the work of his own hands, besides 180 acres of timbered land,
in all 260 acres. He is a Democrat.
John E. Willmuth, elder of the Baptist
Church at Hazel Grove, was born in Graves County, Ky., in the year 1840.
He is the son of Edmund and Mary (Edwards) Willmuth, of Tennessee, who
lived in that State until their marriage, and from there moved to Kentucky.
Edmund Willmuth gave the greater portion of his attention to farming, but
was also a carpenter by trade, and sometimes worked at shoemaking. He died
when his son, John E. Willmuth, was a child, and his wife survived him
but a few years after, consequently, young John knew but little of parental
authority. This couple had ten children born
to them, nine of them living until they had reached maturity, and four yet remaining. John E. continued on the homestead until his twenty-third year, and then married and located on a farm of his own. Since then he has always lived within a radius of three miles from his present home. In 1861 he enlisted in the Confederate army, becoming a member of Harrington's company, in McCarver's regiment, and served two months. His wife was Miss Lucinda Campbell, of Tennessee, a daughter of Alex. Campbell, a native of that State, and their marriage has been blessed with seven children, namely: William R., Sidney G., George W., Lawrence F., John W., Henry C. and Mary E. All of them are single, and reside with their parents, making one of the happiest homes in Arkansas. Elder Willmuth and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, and are among the most faithful workers in the fold. He has a splendid farm, and is the owner of a cotton-gin, built in 1887, that ginned some 269 bales of cotton the following year. He is a man of sound common sense, whose word is always considered as good as his bond, and possesses the qualities that go to make up a valued and influential citizen.