Biography of William H. May

WILLIAM H. MAY, who since boyhood has resided in this part of Missouri, was born in Morgan County, this State, January 30, 1831, and was the youngest but one of a family of ten children born to John and Mary (Ford) May, natives, respectively, of Tennessee and Missouri, the former born in White and the latter in Morgan Counties. The grandfather, John May, was also a native of Tennessee, and there passed his entire life. The father of our subject came to Missouri when a single man and took up his home in Morgan County, where he married and resided until about 1844. He then moved to Taney County, Missouri, and located eight miles west of Forsyth, where his death occurred about 1853. He was a soldier in the Indian War in Florida, serving as sergeant, and was a man of courage and endurance. In politics he was a Democrat. Mr. May owned several farms on White River, in Taney County, and was one of the most prominent farmers of his day. He resided where Walnut Shade is now located. Mrs. May’s father, Elisha Ford, was one of the earliest pioneers of Morgan County, Missouri, where he and his wife passed the closing scenes of their lives. Mrs. May died in Taney County in 1866. She was the mother of ten children, our subject being the only one now living. The others were: Silas, John D., Martin, Calvin B., George G., Elizabeth, Alvira Lucinda, and one whose name is unknown. Three of the sons served in the Civil War, one of them dying in St. Louis in 1863.

On a farm in Taney County our subject spent his youth, and the principal part of his education he acquired by his own exertions, for he received no schooling. As he had early been taught the duties of the farm it was but natural that when starting out for himself he should choose that as his occupation in life. He first tilled the soil on White River, in Taney County, and in 1872 came to the farm where he now lives. He bought 277 acres on Raily Creek, about two miles from Galena, and has since been actively engaged in farming and stockraising, meeting with unusual success. When the Civil War broke out he joined the Home Guards, and also served in the State Militia, participating in a number of skirmishes. During this time he had much of his property destroyed by bushwhackers, but was thankful to escape with his life. In politics he has always been with the Republican party, and he was elected by that party to the office of county assessor a number of years ago. His wife, who was formerly Miss Nancy Stockstill, was born in Taney County, Missouri, to the union of Austin and Sarah Stockstill, residents of Taney County, where the father died before the war. The mother passed away in 1892, when ninety years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Stockstill were among the early pioneers of Taney County, and made their home on Bean Creek.

To Mr. and Mrs. May have been born twelve children, ten of whom are living at the present time: James B., a farmer on Pine Run; Vicey, wife of Jeff Scott, of this county; Isabel, who died in 1889, was the wife of William F. Holt; Bell, wife of Frank Taylor, of this county; William A., who resides on Wilson’s Creek, Stone County; Samuel, who resides southeast of his father; Patrick, single, at home; Mary M., John, Birdie and Martha and an infant died young. Mr. May and family attend the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mrs. May is a member, and they are well respected in the community. Mr. May devotes his time and attention to farming and stockraising, and what he has accumulated in the way of this world’s goods is the result of his own industry and good management.


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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