Biography of John W. Hess

JOHN W. HESS. Stone County, Arkansas, can well be proud of the amount of brains and energy possessed by her representative citizens, for, taken as a whole, there are none brighter, more intelligent, or with more ability or push in any direction, and among the number is John W. Hess. He was born near Batesville, in Independence County, April 2, 1840, a son of James and Elizabeth (Wells) Hess, natives of Arkansas and Franklin County, Tennessee, respectively.

James Hess was born within two and a half miles of Batesville in 1814, and died in Stone County, Arkansas, in 1874. His father, Samuel Hess, was born, it is thought, in Illinois, near Cairo, and finally located in Arkansas with his brothers Solomon and William and were among the first to settle near Batesville. Samuel Hess moved to Boone County when the subject of this sketch was a lad and afterward came to Richwoods, and died in this county after having spent a successful career in farming. The widow of James Hess is now about seventy years of age and is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, of which she and her husband were among the very earliest members in this section. The father was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and a Democrat. He became the father of seven sons and four daughters, of whom John W. is the eldest.

He received his education in Boone County, and in 1862 joined the Third Arkansas Cavalry, U. S. A., and was quartermaster sergeant of Company A throughout the war. He received his discharge at Norristown, Pope County, Arkansas, in the spring of 1865, and returned home with the consciousness of having performed his duties faithfully and well. He was in the battles of Camden and Saline, and at the last-mentioned place was wounded in the face by buckshot, had his hip broken and his horse shot from under him. He was wounded near Mount Ida while carrying dispatches from Gen. Steele to Gen. Blount, and on another occasion had a horse shot from under him. He was on scouting duty during his entire service and had many thrilling experiences and many narrow escapes from death. In 1867 he came to Richwoods and located on the farm which he now owns. This place was then totally unimproved, but by many days of hard labor he at last succeeded in clearing it, and now has one of the finest farms in the county, well improved and well cultivated.

April 4, 1867, he was married to Elizabeth Cottrell, of this county, by whom he has four sons and two daughters: Gilbert R., who is a farmer of Johnson County, Texas; Lena, wife of Robert Brewer; James; Nancy, wife of John Maloy; John B., and Samuel. Mr. and Mrs. Hess are members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and he belongs to the Blue Lodge of the A. F. & A. M. at Mount View, and has been a life-long Democrat.


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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