Biography of William G. Pumphrey

WILLIAM G. PUMPHREY. This prominent citizen and retired farmer and stockraiser of Sugar Loaf Township, Boone County, Arkansas, was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, in 1824.

His grandfather, Larkin Pumphrey, was probably born in North Carolina, but at an early date moved to Kentucky, and from there to Tennessee, dying in Rutherford County, of the latter State, where he had followed farming. It is thought that he was a Revolutionary soldier. His marriage resulted in the birth of six sons and three daughters, of whom our subject’s father, Lewis Pumphrey, was one. The latter was born in North Carolina, but in after years went with his parents to Kentucky, where he finished his growth and married Miss Polly Thompson, a native of the Blue Grass State. From there he and family removed to Rutherford County, Tennessee, and in about 1835. Mr. Pumphrey came by wagon to what is now Fulton County, Arkansas, where his death occurred two or three years later. His wife had died in Tennessee, and he afterward married again, his second wife dying in Fulton County, Arkansas. Mr. Pumphrey was a well-to-do farmer and trader. Our subject’s maternal grandfather, Meredith Thompson, was probably a native of North Carolina, but was also an early settler of Kentucky. From the latter State he moved to Rutherford County, Tennessee, and followed farming until his death in 1836. His wife died there the same year. They had four sons and three daughters. The following family were born to the parents of our subject: Meredith, died in Fulton County, Arkansas, nearly fifty years ago; Nancy Jane, died in Tennessee when seventeen years of age; Franklin, of Fulton County, Arkansas; Matilda, of Fulton County, widow of James Baker; William G., subject; Eliza Jane, died in Springfield, Missouri, widow of George Thompson.

Like the average country boy our subject passed his boyhood days in assisting his father on the farm and in attending the common school, where he received the rudiments of an education. When still but a boy his parents moved to Arkansas, where there were no schools, and the limited scholastic training he received in Tennessee was all that he ever obtained, although by self-application and observation he became a very well-informed man. He was married in Ozark County, Missouri, about 1842, to Miss Fannie Holt, daughter of William Holt (see sketch of R. L. Holt). Mrs. Pumphrey was born in Cannon County, Tennessee, came with her parents to Missouri, and died April 19, 1846. By her marriage to Mr. Pumphrey she became the mother of two children: Mary, wife of Byron Wells, of Webster County, Missouri, and Lewis, who died when five years of age.

On the 7th of August, 1847, Mr. Pumphrey married Miss Elizabeth C. Hawkins, a native of Tennessee, and the daughter of Dennis and Hepsey Hawkins, who came from Tennessee to Fulton County, Arkansas, where Mr. Hawkins died a few years later. Mrs. Hawkins is still living. Our subject’s marriage resulted in the birth of six children: Benjamin, who died when about twenty-one years of age; Eliza is the wife of Thomas Brown, of Fulton County, Arkansas; George resides in Ozark County, Missouri; Sarah Ann, wife of George Hicks, of Ozark County, Missouri; Thomas, of Fulton County, Arkansas, and Willie, who died in infancy. In the year 1865 Mr. Pumphrey was married to Miss Phoebe M. Compton, a native of North Carolina. Five children were the fruits of this union: John, James, Jarrett, Fidell and Ollie I. The last two were twins, but Ollie I. is deceased. The first three are residing in this county.

In the month of September, 1873, Mr. Pumphrey married Mrs. Pemelia Casinger, daughter of John and Minerva Hawkins, who came originally from Tennessee. Mrs. Pumphrey was born in Ozark County, Missouri, and by her union with Mr. Pumphrey she became the mother of three children: Elijah Lee, Elbert E. and William W. After his last marriage Mr. Pumphrey located in Ozark County, Missouri, and made his home there until 1887, when he came to Boone County, Arkansas, and has since been a prominent farmer. He resided two miles northwest of Lead Hill on a well-improved farm of 320 acres, and although at one time he was the owner of 600 acres he gave a great deal of land to his children. He started in life with nothing, but by industry and strict attention to every detail, has been unusually successful. For thirty-eight years he lived on one farm in Ozark County, and agricultural pursuits have been his principal occupation. Mr. Pumphrey was opposed to secession, but otherwise remained neutral and took no part in the war. He and his wife have been members of the Christian Church for many years, and in politics he has been strictly independent, supporting whom he considered the best man regardless of their political affiliations. Honored and respected by all, Mr. Pumphrey is one of the county’s best citizens.



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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