Biography of Reuben C. Pew

Reuben C. Pew was left an orphan at a very early age. According to the custom of those days he was “bound out” for his living, and got a very poor one. His master treated him badly, worked him hard, and gave him no education. When he was sixteen years of age he could not read or write, and his master, desiring to get rid of him, induced him to sign the muster roll of a company that was recruiting for service in the revolutionary war, telling him it was only a common piece of writing, and could do him no harm. The consequence was that he had to go into the army, very much against his will. He was captured soon after his enlistment, and held as a prisoner for several years, during which time he experienced all the horrors of the British prisons of those times. After the war he married a Miss Smith, and settled in North Carolina, where he and his wife died, leaving seven children, viz.: Reuben P., Benjamin F., Anderson S., Frances, Jemima, Polly, and Zilphey. Reuben P. was born in 1789. In 1810 he married his cousin, Sarah Park, who died in Kentucky in 1818, leaving four children Erasmus D., Permelia H., James S., and William H. When the war of 1812 began, Mr. Pew enlisted, and was taken prisoner at Dudley’s Defeat, but afterward exchanged. After the death of his wife he came to Missouri, and made a contract to haul a lot of tan bark to St. Louis. He returned to Kentucky, got his team, came back to St. Louis, fulfilled his contract, and cleared $1,200. He then returned to Kentucky, and removed his family to Montgomery Co., Mo., where he settled in 1819. Here he married Nancy Yater, by whom he had eight more children Anderson J., George W., Amanda C., Frank M., Sally, Frances S., Mary J., Judith E., and Nancy E. Mr. Pew built the first horse-mill in the northern part of the County, and made good flour, which was a rarity in those days. He put the flour into sacks, and sent his boys on horseback to peddle it out over the country, at the rate of one cent per pound. They frequently went as far as thirty miles from home to sell a few pounds of flour. Benjamin F. Pew married Elizabeth Clark, of Kentucky, and settled in Audrain County. Andrew S. married Anna Betheuram, and settled in Montgomery County in 1836. They had William D., Reuben C., Mary A., Jane H., Eliza A., and David A. Mr. Pew and his wife died at the same time, in 1844, and were buried in the same grave. Frances and Jemima married and settled in Grundy Co., Mo. Polly married Simpson Stewart, who came to Missouri in 1821, but afterward removed to Illinois. Zilphey married a Mr. Polk, who settled in Indiana.


Bryan, William Smith A History of the Pioneer Families of Missouri: With Numerous Sketches, Anecdotes, Adventures, Etc., Relating to Early Days in Missouri. Also the Lives of Daniel Boone and the Celebrated Indian Chief, Black Hawk, with Numerous Biographies and Histories of Primitive Institutions. Bryan Brand & Company. 1876.

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