Biography of Hon. James L. Powell

James L. Powell is a native of Washington County, Indiana, and was born July 5, 1818. When he was three years of age his parents moved to Putnam County, in the same State, and, after seven years, to Montgomery County. This was when that country was a perfect wilderness. All his early education was obtained in a little log school-house with greased paper for windows. At sixteen years of age he chopped wood and. did chores for his board in order that he might be able to attend the first session of the Iniana Asbury Institution of Learning, at that time in the charge of the celebrated Bishop Simpson. Here he became qualified for the profession of a teacher, which he followed steadily for seven years. He has been married three times; first, on December 19th, 1839, to Miss Mary Wilson, who was born January 24, 1824. She was a daughter of Henry N. and Lucy Wilson.. When she was quite young her parents moved to Putnam County; Indiana; her father was a noted elder in the Christian Church from its earliest organization up to the time of his death; her eldest brother, O. B. Wilson, is an eminent Christian divine, and her second brother, John Wilson, a noted physician in Indiana. Two children were born by this marriage: Henry, born November 3, 1840; was educated in Monroe, Green County, Wisconsin, and studied medicine at Ann Arbor, Michigan, but the education that made him eventually a prominent man was obtained while he was but a lad of fifteen in his father’s real estate office in Wisconsin, where he was taught that precision and accuracy in business for which he became noted; he was a well known business man and physician in Daviess County, and died April 10, 1870. The other child, a daughter, Sarah Frances, was born July 3, 1842, and is now the wife of G. R. Allen, of this county. Mrs. Powell died October 11, 1846. She was a woman of more than ordinary intelligence; but her crowning virtues were in her domestic relations, for she was all that constitutes a noble wife and mother. Mr. Powell was married, January 4, 1849, to Elizabeth, daughter of Judge Asa Brown, of Green County, Wisconsin. By this marriage they had three children: Oliver E., James F., and Charles Elbert. Mrs. Powell died October 7,1859; she had lived a devoted Christian and died the death of the righteous. His third marriage was December 9, 1860, to Miss Mary Ann Hanna, a native of Ray County, Missouri, born August 15, 1833. Her parents came from Tennessee to Missouri in 1831. They have six children; namely, Maggie A., Rebecca J., Barney H., Frederick, William, and Mary L.

After the death of his first wife Mr. Powell went to Green County, Wisconsin, and was soon elected register of deeds, which office he held four years. He was also extensively engaged in the land and mercantile business and was very successful, but, owing to the failure of his banker, was financially wrecked. July 11, 1858, he landed in Daviess County, Missouri, and planting. four poles in the ground and poles overhead, lie covered them with prairie grass and thus began his life in our -county, but his ability could not be hidden and lie was soon appointed deputy sheriff, which position ‘he filled with’ ability and credit during the perilous times of 1865; in 1867 he was elected representative of the county to the State Legislature and served two years. He has been an almost life-long and earnest laborer in the Christian Church and for many years an elder in the same. While living in Wisconsin he bought a church edifice, hired a minister and provided him a house to live in and all at his own expense. He now can think of it with pleasure, as it is one of the most flourishing congregations in southern Wisconsin. His farm of 190 acres is one of the finest and best improved of any in the county.



The History of Daviess County, Missouri. Daviess County, Missouri: Birdsall & Dean. 1882.

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