Biography of Hon. James D. Gideon

HON. JAMES D. GIDEON. No better citizens have come to Christian County, Missouri, than those who crossed the Mississippi River from Tennessee, and who brought as their inheritance the traits of character and life which has ever distinguished them. Hon. James D. Gideon, who is one of the foremost farmers and stockraisers of Union Township, Stone County, first saw the light in Hawkins County, Tennessee, in 1833.

His parents, John and Polly (Evans) Gideon, were also natives of that State, the father born in Hawkins and the mother in Jefferson County. Both were fairly well educated for those days, and made their home in Tennessee until 1843, when they removed to Lincoln County, Kentucky Six years later, or in 1849, Mr. Gideon came on foot to what is now Christian County, and being a clock tinker he made the trip to work at his trade. He remained in this State until 1853, having in the meantime taken up a claim in what is now the southeastern part of Christian County (then Taney County), and then returned to Kentucky to get his family. He then settled on his claim, improved a good farm, but during the war he sold this and moved to Greene County. After the war, in 1866, he returned to this county and located on Bear Creek, where his death occurred in 1870, when sixty-six years of age. For many years he was a Baptist in his religions views. In connection with his trade he also carried on farming, and was fairly successful. A Democrat in early life, he later advocated the principles of the Republican party, with which he remained until close of life. During the war he was a Union man. Physically he was large and muscular, weighing 318 pounds, but he was very quick and active. He was possessed of great strength, and never found his equal in a wrestling match. His father, James Gideon, was a farmer and died in Hawkins County, Tennessee Our subject’s maternal grand-father, Jacob Evans, died in Jefferson County, Tennessee, prior to 1843. He also tilled the soil. The mother of our subject, who was a member of the Baptist church, died on Bear Creek about 1872. Thirteen children were born to her marriage: Preston, was in the Home Guards during the war and died in Springfield in 1861 ; William, deceased, was a farmer of Dallas County, and was all through the war, enlisting in the Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry; James D., subject; Andrew J. and George Washington, twins, the former residing in McDonald County and the latter in Christian County. During the war Andrew J. was in the Sixteenth Missouri Cavalry, and George W. was in the Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry; Adeline, was the wife of E. Smith and died in Taney County; Mary, was the wife of Jacob Horn, and died in Stone County; Fannie, the wife of Jasper Keithley, died in McDonald County; Martha, resides in Taney County; Eliza, married, resided in Christian County; Nancy, wife of Samuel Stanfield, died in Carroll County, Arkansas; John enlisted in the Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry, but was transferred to the Sixteenth Missouri Cavalry, and died while in service, and Daniel, died in Christian County when a young man.

When called upon to select his occupation in life, our subject decided to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors and till the soil. At an early age he became familiar with all the duties of farm life, but, as his parents were poor and he had to assist on the farm, he secured but a limited education. He was married first in 1856, to Miss Minerva, daughter of William and Elizabeth Carpenter, and a native of Stone County. She died in 1857, and in 1859 Mr. Gideon wedded Miss Mary Ann Berry, daughter of Patrick and Nancy Berry, and a native of Stone County, Missouri Mr. and Mrs. Berry were natives of Illinois and Tennessee, respectively. Grandfather Berry was killed in one of the early wars. Mr. and Mrs. Berry came to Stone County, Missouri, after marriage, and here passed the remainder of their days, the mother dying in 1863, during the war, and the father in 1886. He was a farmer, and in his religious views a Baptist.

To Mr. and Mrs. Gideon have been born ten children: Cordelia Josephine, wife of Nathanel Galloway of Stone County; Franklin, of Stone County; John, died when young; Nancy; Minerva Adline Jane, wife of Charles Wolf, of Christian County; William; George, died in infancy; Julia; Mollie Lillis and an infant died unnamed. Mr. Gideon lived in Stone County until after the death of his first wife, when he moved to this county. In 1877 he came to his present farm, consisting of 293 acres, eighteen miles north of Galena, and now has 200 acres under cultivation. In connection with farming, he is also engaged in stockraising, and everything about his place indicates to the beholder that an experienced hand is at the helm. In the fall of 1863 Mr. Gideon enlisted in Company C, Sixteenth Missouri Cavalry, as bugler of the company and served in that capacity until the close of hostilities, principally in southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas. He was in many severe skirmishes, but was never captured nor wounded. He was mustered out at Springfield. Early in the war Mr. Gideon joined the Home Guards and served until enlisting in the regular army. He was justice of the peace for two years, and in 1884 was elected county judge for the North District of Stone County, serving two years. Since then he has directed all of his attention to his farm. Socially he is a member of Marionville Post, G. A. R. His wife is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church.

Her maternal grand-father, William Gideon, was born in Wilkes County, N. C., June 4, 1791, and the latter’s wife, Mahala (Woods) Gideon, was also a native of that State, born in 1792. They were married in 1812, and about 1816 removed to Hawkins County, Tennessee, where they made their home until 1836, when they came to what is now Christian County. There they passed the closing scenes of their lives, he dying in 1871 and she the following year. He was a hatter by trade, and one of the first settlers of the county. Patrick Berry, Mrs. Gideon’s father, had three brothers, David, Joseph and Alex., all of whom came with their mother to Stone County, and all died here. Their mother, whose name was Hettie Day, was a native of Illinois, but one of the early settlers of what is now Stone County, where she died. Patrick Berry was married three times. His second wife was Rebecca Thomas, who bore him several children. His third wife’s maiden name was Mary Barnett. The children born to his first union were named as follows: Sophia (Mrs. Gideon), Perlina, William, Jane, Green (deceased), Mahala, and Emeline, (deceased).


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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