Biography of John A. Gideon

JOHN A. GIDEON. Among the prominent citizens of Galloway Township, Christian County, Missouri, stands the name of John A. Gideon, who was born in Greene, now Christian County, Missouri, March 4, 1837.

His parents, William and Matilda (Woods) Gideon, were natives of North Carolina, the father born in Wilkes County June 4, 1791, and the mother in Morganton, Burke County, June, 1792. Both were liberally educated at Morganton, and were married there March 11, 1812. About 1816 they removed to Hawkins County, Tennessee, and remained there until 1836, when they crossed the Mississippi River to Missouri, and settled in the woods of Greene County, twelve miles south of Springfield, in what is now Christian County. In 1857 the father removed to the farm where our subject now lives, four miles southwest of Highlandville, where his death occurred in June, 1871. He was a hatter by trade and followed that occupation, his wife and sons managing the farm. For three months during the Civil War he was a member of Capt. Day’s Home Guards. He was a member of the Missouri Baptist Church, and an industrious, honorable citizen. He had a wonderful constitution and was seldom or never sick. In politics he was a conservative Free Soiler and a Douglas Democrat until 1860, after which he affiliated with the Republican party until his death. He was one of the first settlers of what is now Christian County, whither he came with an ox team, and found it inhabited by Indians and wild animals. His father, James Gideon, was a native Virginian, and when a boy went with his parents to North Carolina, where he subsequently married Miss Patty Mills. From there they removed to Hawkins County, East Tennessee, and there passed the remainder of their lives, engaged in farming.

Our subject now has a Bible owned by his grandfather 100 years ago. The great-grandfather was an Irishman who came to this country at an early date, first settling in Virginia and later in North Carolina. James Gideon and wife were the parents of the following children: James, Edward, Hardy, Isom,John, Elizabeth and Sarah, all now deceased. The mother of our subject died in 1872. She was the daughter of Joseph Woods, who was of Scotch origin, and who, with his wife, passed his entire life in North Carolina. Mr. and Mrs. Woods had one son, Joseph, Jr., who was killed at home by the Confederates during the Civil War. Of the ten children born to his parents our subject is youngest in order of birth. The others are named as follows: James H. was in Price’s army during the war, and previous to that, in 1858, represented Taney County in the Legislature, which by his efforts formed Christian County (he died in Brown-wood, Tex., and at the time of his death was clerk of the Northern District of Texas, having held office for many years); Col. Joshua A. served as lieutenant-colonel of the Confederate Army during the war (he died near Austin, Tex.); Elizabeth died in Benton County, Missouri (she was the wife of William Carpenter, a Confederate soldier); Nancy died in Stone County, Missouri (she was the wife of Patrick Berry, a Union soldier); William was also a soldier and died on the home place December 17, 1863; Greene B. died at Rolla, January 8, 1862, while in the Confederate Army; Francis H., now of Galena, was hospital steward of the Fourteenth Missouri Militia, and later revenue assessor of several counties (he represented Taney County in the Legislature in 1864, and is now a prominent lawyer); Woodson T. died on the home place in 1893 (he was in the Missouri State Militia, and was assessor of Christian County one term).

Our subject’s youthful days were passed on the farm and in the district school, where he obtained a fair education. When twenty years of age he started out for himself as a farmer, and in the year 1856 he was married to Miss Elizabeth Hancock, daughter of Thomas and Nancy Hancock, natives, respectively, of Maryland and Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Hancock were married in Tennessee, where Mr. Hancock was accidentally killed by a wagon running over him. Mrs. Hancock subsequently married John Wall, and about 1852 came to Christian County, where she received her final summons. Mrs. Gideon was born in Giles County, Tennessee, and by her marriage to Mr. Gideon became the mother of five children, as follows: Alexander C., a teacher; Albert A.; Felix W., a teacher; Samantha J., and Laura R., wife of John R. Phillips. She was a teacher. Mr. Gideon has lived on the old farm for thirty-six years, and now has eighty acres after giving each of his children homes. On May 21, 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Seventy-second Missouri Infantry, as first sergeant, and for six months was in southwest Missouri. During the Springfield fight he was captured, but was paroled the next day, January 9, 1863. After his term of enlistment had expired he joined Company H, Sixteenth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, as second lieutenant, and served until July 1, 1865, operating in Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas, and was a scout most of the time during the Price raid. He commanded his company nearly all through that raid. In 1863 he was made provost marshal and located at Lebanon, Missouri, serving until July 1, 1865. He was a brave and fearless soldier, and discharged his duties with tireless energy. After being mustered out at Springfield he was at once engaged in Holland’s wholesale dry goods store, where he remained one year. He then returned to his old home, where he has since resided. From 1868 until 1872 he was county judge of Christian County and was notary public for ten years. In politics he has always been a Republican and voted for Lincoln in 1860. He is uncompromising but liberal, and is the leading politician of the county. Only a few years ago he knew every man in the county and knew his politics. Nearly every year he makes a thorough canvass of Christian, Stone and Taney Counties for the congressmen of those counties. There are few men better or more favorably known in the old thirteenth district than John A. Gideon. Although an ultra-Republican he has many friends among the Democrats. He is a prominent member of the G. A. R., is adjutant of Sergeant Welch Post No. 534, at Ponce De Leon and Stone County, and is one of its most active members. He joined Finley Lodge, I. O. O. F., No. 206, of Ozark, in 1866, and was secretary two terms. In October, 1891, he organized Highlandville Lodge No. 331, and was secretary two terms, and V. G. one term. At present he is N. G. In religion he and family are strictly independent.


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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