Biography of William H. Paine

WILLIAM H. PAINE. Mr. Paine is accounted a prosperous farmer and stockman of Lincoln Township, Christian County, Missouri, and like the native Tennesseean he is progressive in his views and of an energetic temperament. He was born in Warren County in the year 1820, the fourth of eleven children born to Larkin and Rebecca (Huddleston) Paine, natives it is thought of Georgia and South Carolina.

When both were young they moved with their parents to Tennessee and were married in Claiborne County of that State. Later they removed to Warren County, where they continued to make their home until 1829, when they made another move, this time to Independence County, Arkansas In 1831 they came to Greene County, Missouri, and located in the woods on James River, six miles southeast of Springfield. There they improved a good farm, but in 1834, on account of ill health, they moved to Kickapoose Prairie, six miles southwest of Springfield, and there Mr. Paine died in 1857. He had followed farming all his life, and as a citizen and neighbor was highly esteemed. He was with Gen. Jackson in the Creek War, and at an early day was elected by the Legislature as president of the bank at Springfield. A self-made man, with but limited education, he was a good calculator and seldom failed to unravel a complicated mathematical problem. He delighted in reading, and by his own perseverance and love of books became well posted on all the topics of the day. Mr. Paine was one of the very first settlers of Greene County, and experienced all the privations incident to pioneer life.

His father, Daniel Paine, removed from Tennessee to Illinois, when the subject of this sketch was but a boy, and probably died there. He reared a large family. The mother of our subject died about 1887, near Ozark. She was a member of the Christian Church. Her father, David Huddleston, was a farmer and died in Claiborne County, Tennessee Our subject’s brothers and sisters were named as follows: Anderson, died in Arkansas during the war, and left a large family; Daniel, a farmer of Greene County; Gavin, died when two years of age; William H., subject; Col. John W., of Texas, was in the Confederate Army in a Missouri Cavalry as colonel under Gen. Price (he is now a retired lawyer of considerable repute); Houston R. is a farmer of Greene County; Martha Jane is the widow of James Robinson; David M. died at Ozark about 1891, where he was engaged in the practice of law (he was quartermaster in the Confederate Army during the war;) Lucy was the wife of Levin McNatt; Mary A. was the wife of Lafayette Britton, and died in this county during the war; and Thomas Benton died during the war (he was a solder in the Eighth Missouri Cavalry, Federal Army).

The original of this notice grew to manhood principally in Greene County, but his educational advantages were limited, as he never attended school over three months all together. This was on account of the pioneer times, for he was reared in the wilds of this county when they beat their corn meal with a pellet, and when there u ere no public schools. He well remembers when the Indians were thick in this section, and when the woods swarmed with wild animals. In those days our subject with other pioneers would haul goods from Boonville and St. Louis with five yoke of cattle, and was generally two weeks or more on the road, camping out at night and doing his own cooking. He took hides, etc., as did his neighbors, and traded them for groceries, etc. Nearly everything they wore was made at home. The first pair of pantaloons our subject had made in Missouri was made from the fiber from nettles he had gathered in the bottoms. The finer fibers were made into shirting and the coarser in other articles. These ambitious pioneers made boxes for family use by taking the bark of the buck-eye tree and setting it together with strings of bark, etc. People went ten miles visiting, and often fifteen miles to church. To walk five or six miles to church was considered nothing. During one fall four of the family killed fifty-two deer and one wolf. Great delight was taken in hunting in those days. Indians were plenty then and Mr. Paine can say: “My footsteps press where, centuries ago, The redmen fought and conquered, lost and won, And where whole tribes and races are gone like last year’s snow.”

In the year 1848 Mr. Paine was married in Madison County, Arkansas, to Miss Almira Harp, a native of Warren County, Tennessee, and the daughter of Hardy and Ruth A. Harp, the former dying in Tennessee and the latter in Arkansas. To Mr. and Mrs. Paine were born an old-fashioned family of thirteen children, as follows: John, of Franklin County, Arkansas; Hardy K., of this county; Lar-kin, of Stone County; Jane, wife of L. L. Phelps, of Greene County; Houston, of this county; William, justice of the peace, of Stone County; Thomas, of Greene County; Lincoln, of Christian County; Frank, of this county, as are also D. Burden, Rebecca and Joseph D. Mr. Paine made his home in Greene County until about 1856, but since then he has resided in Christian County. He has a farm of 180 acres seven miles east of Billings, and has ninety acres under cultivation. With the exception of a few months when he was in the grocery trade in Billings, Mr. Paine has farmed all his life. In April, 1862, he enlisted in Company F, Fourteenth Missouri State Militia, and operated in southwest Missouri until April, 1863. He was then transferred to the Eighth Missouri State Militia and was in the Marmaduke fight at Springfield. He was also at Jefferson City, and was captured there, but was paroled four days later. In April, 1865, after three years’ service, he was mustered out at Springfield. He was lieutenant of the Home Guards in 1861, was wounded in the leg in July of that year, and has never fully recovered. His wife died May 1, 1893. She was a devout member of the Christian Church, and Mr. Paine holds membership in the same.


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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