The gentleman whose name we now give was for many years identified with the best interests of Shannon County, Missouri, and although he has now passed from earth’s activities it is but just and satisfactory that his life’s narrative be recounted among those who have done excellent service in subduing the wilderness and bringing it into its present fine condition physically, mentally and morally. Mr. Chilton was born in Wayne County, Tennessee, September 28, 1818, and was a son of Thomas Chilton, who was a native of Maryland. Thomas Chilton was partly reared in his native State and then moved with his parents to east Tennessee and thence to Missouri, while that State was yet a Territory inhabited by Indians. He represented his county in the Legislature when the county formed nearly half the State, and here he died in 1865, when eighty-two years of age. He was in the Black Hawk War.
The original of this notice never attended school a day in his life, but he learned to read and write and became a profound student, all by his own exertions. During the latter part of the forties he located on Current River, twelve miles below the present town of Eminence, and entered actively upon his career as a pioneer, clearing and improving his place. The first money he made was rafting cedar to Devall’s Bluff in Arkansas, and he also took lumber of all kinds down the same way. In that way he made his start and as the years passed by he became quite wealthy, although he lost heavily during the war. He represented Shannon County thirteen different times in the Legislature and was elected State senator in 1860, but was never permitted to serve. He was killed near Rolla, in Phelps County, Missouri, August 26, 1862. He was a natural speaker fluent, forcible and convincing, and served on many of the most important committees, being on the Committee of Navigation and chairman of the same. He was also Speaker protem of the House for a time. Mr. Chilton was a strong character in his day and wielded a wide influence. Socially he was a prominent Mason, and politically a Democrat. In 1840 he married Miss Elizabeth Chilton, a distant relative and a native of Roane County, Tennessee.
Her father, Thomas Chilton, was a native of Jefferson County, Tennessee, and came to southeast Missouri in 1836 by flatboats. He then crossed overland with ox teams from the river to this neighborhood. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Chilton, eight of whom are living: Perry Chilton, the eldest, is the present representative of Shannon County; James is a farmer on Current River; Francis M. is the present collector of this county; Thomas is on the old farm one mile north of Eminence; Nelson was killed during the war, when twenty-seven years of age; Rebecca is the wife of John Counts, a farmer near Eminence; Susan Jane, wife of Henry C. Jones, also near Eminence; Annie, wife of William M. Freeman, ex-sheriff and collector of this county, resides on Current River, this county; Martha Bell, wife of J. S. Orchard, resides on the river near town; and Mark, who died when a child.
Francis Marion Chilton was born in this county June 8, 1857, and spent his school days in Eminence. He assisted on the home place until twenty-three years of age and then engaged in agricultural pursuits for himself. For one year he tilled the soil in Randolph County, Arkansas, and then returned to this county, where he farmed until 1881. He was then appointed deputy sheriff and constable, held that position six years and in 1890 was elected collector of the county and reelected in 1892 and 1894. On September 7, 1879, Mr. Chilton was married to Miss Louisa Hammond, daughter of James Hammond, and a native of Illinois. Seven children have resulted from this union, three sons and four daughters. Mrs. Chilton is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Chilton is a Master Mason in Lodge No. 74, at Winona, and in politics is a Democrat.