Biography of John May

JOHN MAY. The grandfather of our subject, Caswell May, was a native of the Keystone State, but at an early date came to Tennessee, and was among the pioneers there. He descended from prominent Dutch stock, and became one of the representative men of Tennessee. His son, Adam May, father of subject, was born in Tennessee, and was married in that State to Miss Elizabeth McGinnis. After his marriage he located on a farm in Washington County, and there he and wife passed the remainder of their days. The following children were born to them: Mary, Anna, Emaline, Elizabeth, Caswell, David, John (subject), Catherine, Jesse, Martin, Amanda and Adam. Of these, Caswell, John, Jesse, Emaline, Elizabeth and Adam came to Missouri, settling in the southwest part of the State. All married and all reared families.

The original of this sketch was born in Washington County, Tennessee, November 7, 1825, and was a young man when he came to this State. He resided one year in Greene County, and then came to Taney County, where he worked on a farm. During the Mexican War he enlisted in Rall’s regiment at Springfield, and served about eighteen months, fighting Indians in the mountains for the most part. Returning from the war, he was married in 1848 to Miss Amanda Morgan, daughter of Washington Morgan, who lives on Beaver Creek above Kissee Mills, and who was an early pioneer of Taney County, locating in the county some time in the fifties. After his marriage Mr. May settled on a farm on Beaver Creek, and took up a homestead on which he resided for eight years. He then moved to the farm where he now lives, a tract consisting of 200 acres in Cedar Township, on White River, about seven miles from Forsyth, and here he has made his home since. At one time he owned a farm of 115 acres on White River, near Forsyth, and he now owns a farm of 160 acres in the south part of the county, on White River. He is one of the largest land owners in the county, and is a man of sound judgment, uprightness and integrity. During the Rebellion he enlisted in the Confederate Army, but served only for a short time. During that time he was with Gen. Price in his raid through Missouri. Mr. May lost nearly all his accumulations during the war, was wounded at his home by a guerrilla, and after cessation of hostilities was obliged to start from the beginning again. Farming and stockraising has been his principal occupation in life, and the thorough man-ner in which he has taken hold of all advanced ideas has had a great deal to do with his success in life. From the age of twenty-one he has advocated the principles of the Democratic party, and he is a public-spirited, enterprising citizen, who extends a helping hand to all laudable enterprises. He is a member of the Baptist Church. Mr. May’s first wife was born in Kentucky in 1832, and died September 5, 1861. To this union were born nine children: Samuel M., married and residing in Lawrence County, Missouri, died January 25, 1888; Elizabeth A., wife of James Coulter, died leaving one child; David H., married, resides on a farm in Taney County; Mary, wife of James Roat, resides near Kirbyville, Taney County; Frances E., wife of Charles Clayton, died leaving one child; Amanda C. died young; Martha E., deceased, was the wife of Greene Stallcup; William I., single, died in 1877, and one died in infancy. In 1870 Mr. May was married to Mrs. Fraker, widow of John F. Fraker, who lived in Dodge County, Arkansas, and who died during the war. One child was born to that union, John V., who is now deceased. Mrs. May was born in Knox County, Tennessee, May 24, 1841, and is a daughter of George W. Hensley and Laura (Henson) Hensley, both natives of Tennessee, who came to Dallas County, Missouri, in 1856. About 1868 Mr. and Mrs. Hensley moved to Taney County and settled on White River, above Forsyth, where he followed farming until his death about 1884. A year later the mother too passed away. They reared eight children to mature years: Susan E., Augustus C., who is living on a farm on White River; Charity, wife of S. Maddux; Marcus, residing in Taney County; Lucy A., deceased, was the wife of Jasper McMillen, of Taney County; William P., a farmer of this county; Sarah M., deceased, was the wife of William Howard, and Mary C., who is the wife of John Rollen. Mr. and Mrs. May have reared three children, as follows: Laura M., wife of William Merideth, is the mother of three children-Martha F., Georgianna and John A.; George J., single, and John M. B. Mrs. May is also a member of the Baptist Church, and is a lady well liked by all. They have one of the pleasantest rural homes in the county, and are classed among the foremost citizens of the same.


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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