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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Hempstead County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Rev. J. B. Searcy, D. D., pastor of Baptist Church, Hope, Ark. The personal example and influence which this humble but worthy minister of the gospel casts about him in everyday life cannot but be beneficial to those who enjoy the privilege of his companionship, for by no means the least of his gifts is the transcendent power of personal quality. He was born in Barbour County, Ala., in the town of Enfaula, on July 18, 1838, and was the sixth child and first son born to the union of Reuben and Isabella (McDonald) Searcy, both natives of Georgia. The parents emigrated to Alabama at an early day, and were there engaged in farming and stock-raising, and for some time also engaged in the saw-mill business. They were plain, but intelligent country people, and were members of the Baptist Church. In 1851 they moved with their family, consisting of ten children, to Mississippi, and here in September, 1855, their son, J. B. Searcy, professed religion, joining Mount Vernon Church in Newton County, of that State. In 1857 the family moved to Bradley County, Ark., and became members of Bethel Church in that county. In 1859 this church licensed J. B. to preach the gospel, and in 1860 he was ordained to the full work of the ministry, becoming pastor of Antioch Church in Bradley County, which he served with much success, more than doubling its membership in a short time. When the war broke out he entered the army and was commissioned as chaplain of the Twenty-sixth Arkansas Regiment, P. A. C, which relation he sustained until the close of the war. Mr. Searcy was first married to Miss Mary F. Killum, of Mississippi, who only survived a few months afterward. His second marriage was to Mrs. M. F. Atkins, in Drew County, Ark., on February 12, 1863. After the war he returned to his family, and in order to make a living entered the school room, where he taught five days out of the week and preached in country churches the other two days. His wife had two little boys, J. H. and W. N. Atkins, by her former marriage, and they were reared and educated by their step-father. The elder, J. H. Atkins, is now one of the most prosperous farmers in Cleveland County, and the younger, W. N., is one of the professors of Hope Female Institute, and stands very high as an educator. By his second marriage Mr. Searcy became the father of six children, two of whom died in infancy and one, Mollie J. L., died in her sixteenth year. She was a great lover of books, and was already developing into a sprightly writer. Reuben Searcy, the only son, was educated at the Southwestern University, Jackson, Tenn., and is now a successful businessman at Nashville, Ark. The second daughter, Theodosia A., was educated at Blue Mountain, Miss., and married Rev. W. T. Lowrey, who is now president of that college. She has been teaching in that college ever since her graduation. The youngest daughter, Effie Ruth, is now in her second year’s college course at Blue Mountain Female College. In 1869 Mr. Searcy became secretary of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, which position he held (with an interval of two years) for ten years. He also became correspondent for the Baptist, a paper published at Memphis, Term., by Dr. J. R. Graves, soon after the war. Mr. Searcy continued to write for that paper until 1880, when he was co-editor with Dr. Graves on the same for a year. In 1873 he traveled as State missionary, and in 1875 became pastor at Warren, Ark., subsequently at Monticello, Ark. The degree of D. D. was conferred on him at the Southwestern University, Jackson, Tenn. In 1881 he was elected by the stock company as one of the first editors of the Arkansas Evangel (now the Arkansas Baptist), and subsequently with Dr. B. R. Womack became owner of the paper. In 1884 he sold out his interest in the same and became pastor at Dardanelle, Ark. In 1887 he moved to Little Rock, and became general business manager for the Ouachita College at Arkadelphia. With two others he planned that college building and raised the principal part of the means to inaugurate and establish that school. In 1888 he became pastor of Hope Baptist Church, and is still in that charge. For seven years he has been vice-president for Arkansas of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest assembly that meets on the continent. For the last thirty-one years, whatever else he has been engaged in he has preached regularly, averaging over two sermons per week for that time. His last public enterprise was in raising the means to establish Hope Female Institute, by the organization of a joint stock company, to establish that school. Mr. Searcy is now fifty-two years of age, weighs 244 pounds and is in perfect health. His personal popularity is as wide as his acquaintance.

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This family biography is one of 131 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Hempstead County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Hempstead County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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