Biography of James Wiley Salmon

JAMES WILEY SALMON. The following is a brief sketch of the career of James Wiley Salmon, a man whose present substantial position in life has been reached entirely through his own perseverance, and the facts connected with his agricultural and stockraising operations, and their results, only show what a person with courage and enlightened views can accomplish.

He was born February 7, 1826, in Hickman County, Tennessee, and was a son of James and Nancy (Storey) Salmon, natives of Scotland and Edgecombe County, N. C., respectively. It is thought that James Salmon came to the United States when quite young, and was the only one of his family to cross the ocean. He probably married in Tennessee and located in Hickman County, where he followed farming until his death, which occurred when James was six months old (1826). Very little is known of his people. Mrs. Salmon remained on the little farm in Hickman County until about 1846, when her sons brought her to Newton County, Arkansas, where her death occurred in 1859 or 1860. She was a Methodist in her religious views. Her father, Daniel Storey, was a native of the Old North State, but at an early date moved to Henderson County, Tennessee, where he probably passed the remainder of his days engaged in farming. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and had his right thumb shot off. James W. Salmon was the youngest of five children, two sons and three daughters: Margaret, deceased, was the wife of John Gray; Elizabeth, wife of James Hostettler, of Grayson County, Texas; John S. died in Barry County, Missouri, in 1862, and left a family; and Martha Ann, deceased, was the wife of Earle C. Taylor.

James W. remained with his mother until nineteen years of age, and although he received but very little schooling, he has by, his own efforts become a fair scholar. In 1843 he came alone and on horseback to Johnson County, Arkansas, through a new country, the trip lasting thirteen days. He joined his brother who had preceded him. In this State he was married, May 20, 1844, to Miss Sallie Hill, a native of Jackson County, Ala., who was two years old when brought to Arkansas by her parents, Mitchell and Nancy (Arnold) Hill. Mr. and Mrs. Hill came to this State (or rather Territory) from Alabama about 1833, and located in the woods where Clarksville now stands. This was at a very early day, and the principal inhabitants at that time were Indians. About 1845 he removed to Newton County and followed farming there until his death in 1868. His wife died at the residence of James W. Salmon. They lost three sons in the war, all in the Confederate Army: John, Henry and Robert, all single. Joseph, another son, was in the Federal Army, Company D, Second Arkansas Cavalry. He died in Polk County.

To Mr. and Mrs. Salmon were born thirteen children, as follows: John; Mitchell L., a practicing physician and surgeon, is a graduate of the Keokuk Medical College; Nancy E., wife of J. C. Baker; James Henty died when eighteen years of age; Sallie M., died when twelve years of age; Joseph A., a lawyer and mill man, is at present prosecuting attorney for Newton County; Crockett died when two years of age; Emeline died in infancy; Susan F., wife of James M. Dickey; William R.; Mary M., wife of John C. Dickey, and Thomas Benton. The eldest, Martha J., died when six months old. In 1845 Mr. Salmon came to Newton and located at Mt. Hersey, following farming for thirteen years on Cave Creek, and becoming the owner of 127 acres. He also built a mill, and is a stirring, pushing, energetic citizen. He was in public life for many years and at one time knew every man in the county. In the month of August, 1855, he was elected sheriff and served two years. After that he was deputy for four years and in 1860 was elected sheriff again, serving in that capacity until the breaking out of the Civil War. In 1860 he was census enumerator and visited nearly every house in the county. When he was first elected sheriff the entire revenue of the county was $299 and a few cents. This he carried to Little Rock on horseback. On May 4, 1864, he joined Company D, Second Arkansas Cavalry, U. S. A., and operated in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. He was mustered out and discharged at Memphis, August 20, 1865, after which he returned home and resumed farming. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Dodson Lodge No. 135, and is past worthy master, being the first to hold that position in the lodge. He and wife are members of the Christian Church, and he is a Democrat in politics.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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