Biography of John W. Garrett

JOHN W. GARRETT. Howell County, Missouri, is fortunate in her farmers and stockmen, who are, almost without exception, men of energy, thrift and enterprise, and prominent among these is John W. Garrett, who is a native of Overton County, Tennessee, where he first saw the light in 1845.

His parents, Jacob and Mary (Chapin) Garrett, were also born in that county, the former in 1819 and the latter in 1821, and were married in the State of their birth. In 1852 the family came by wagon to what is now Howell County and entered a tract of land, which now composes a portion of the farm owned by John W. Garrett. On this farm the father died October 6, 1856, after a long life spent in tilling the soil, and by hard work gained a comfortable fortune. He was one of fourteen children born to John Garrett, who died in Overton County, Tennessee, in 1840, at the age of forty-five years, although he was a native of North Carolina. He was a German by descent and a farmer by occupation. His wife, whose maiden name was Jane Henshaw, was born in 1799 and died in Overton County, Tennessee John Garrett’s father, who bore the name of Jacob Garrett, removed from North Carolina to Georgia, thence to Overton County, Tennessee, and there he was called from life at the advanced age of ninety years. His wife, Elizabeth Pfeiffer, lived to be over one hundred years of age and breathed her last in Overton County. She was born in Germany and came to the United States with her father when about two years old. Her mother having died on the ocean during the voyage to this country, she was reared to womanhood by an aunt.

The maternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, Paul Stillman Chapin, was born in North Carolina in 1799. His mother, whose maiden name was Elsie Arnett, died when he was a few weeks old and he was brought by his father, Capt. Paul Chapin, to Ten-nessee, and in Overton County of that State he was reared and educated and finally married. He later moved to Sangamon County, Illinois, then returned to Tennessee, where he died in 1842, having devoted his attention to farming throughout life. Capt. Paul Chapin was born in Massachusetts, and when a young man went to North Carolina, where he married, later moved to Georgia, and in an early day removed to Overton County, Tennessee, where he died about 1845, having followed the calling of a blacksmith. When quite young he served as a member of the Colonial Army during the Revolution and was wounded in the right arm in an engagement. He was a justice of the peace for some years and was captain of a company of militia in Tennessee. He was married twice and had two sons and a daughter by his first wife: Hiram, who died in Illinois; Paul Stillman, and Mary, who died in Arkansas, the wife of George Moore. His second wife was Mrs. Rebecca Waters, who bore him one son, John, who died in Overton County. Capt. Paul Chapin was a son of Jehosephat Chapin, who is supposed to have spent his life and died in Massachusetts. The maternal grandmother of the subject of this sketch, Sarah Chapin, came to Greene County, Missouri, in 1852, and died here in 1864, having been a Methodist of many years’ standing. Her father, Eli Harrison, was born in North Carolina, but many years of his life were spent in tilling the soil in Overton County, Tennessee, where he died in 869. He was of Irish and Welsh descent. His wife, Martha (Moore) Harrison, died in Overton County, Tennessee, in 1850, but her parents, Charles and Martha (Hedgepeth) Moore, lived and died in North Carolina. James Harrison, the father of Eli Harrison, died in Kentucky, where he had lived for several years, having served this country in the Colonial Army during the Revolution. His wife, Winnie, was born in Wales and died in Overton County, Tennessee, at the age of one hundred and ten years. The mother of John W. Garrett is still living and for many years has been a worthy member of the Methodist Church. By her first husband she became the mother of seven children: Stillman, who was a soldier during the war; M. M.; John W.; Levi, who was a teamster in the Federal Army during the war; Sarah, wife of Henry Moore, a farmer and trader of West Plains; Mary, the deceased wife of Thomas Moore; and Martha, wife of David Collins, of Oklahoma Territory. The mother of these children afterward married Riley Cox, by whom she had two children: John, deceased, and Jasper, who is a resident of Howell County.

John W. Garrett was principally reared on the farm on which he now lives, but owing to the scarcity and quality of the schools of his boyhood days, obtained but a meager education. During the Civil War he served over two years as a teamster and on post duty for the Government, from Rolla to Springfield, Missouri, and northern Arkansas, and, although not regularly enlisted, did noble service for his country. After the war was over he turned his attention to tilling the soil, and in 1875 was married to Laura, daughter of Ephraim and Hester Daniels, who went from Indiana to Iowa, and later to Missouri, the father dying in Greene County where he was engaged in farming, and the mother passed from life in Howell County. Mr. Daniels was a soldier in Phelps’ regiment, fought at Pea Ridge, and was wounded in the engagement at Springfield. Mrs. Garrett was born in Springfield, Missouri, and is the mother of eight children: Jacob, Stillman, Lyman, Mary, Levi, Benjamin, Lampson (deceased) and an infant unnamed.

Since his marriage Mr. Garrett has lived on his present farm, three miles northwest of Brandville, consisting of 903 acres, about 200 of which are under cultivation. He is one of the thriftiest and most successful farmers in the county, is one of the most extensive grain and stock growers in this section of the country, and nearly all his property is the result of his own hard labor and good management. In his youthful days he was very fond of hunting, and has killed many a deer and various other kinds of game. He has seen the most of the development of his section and has done not a little to aid in this development and improvement. Although a stanch Republican in politics, he has never been an official aspirant, but had preferred to devote his attention to his business interests. In the fall of 1862 he was in Springfield when Fort No. 4 was being built, and the following incident is given to show the determination with which he carried everything to a successful termination. At the works there was a pole about 200 feet high from which floated the American flag. The rope controlling the flag broke and became fast in the pulley which made it necessary for some one to climb the pole that the flag might be brought down. A purse was made up for anyone who would bring the flag down, and after several unsuccessful attempts had been made, Mr. Garrett, who was then but a boy, but an active and daring one from the backwoods of Howell County, volunteered to make an effort, little thinking that he would be successful, as the flag was about 180 feet from the ground. His early training in climbing the forest trees after nuts and squirrels stood him in good stead, how-ever, and after a toilsome effort he reached the flag and brought it to the ground amid the applause of the assembled crowd.


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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