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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Jefferson County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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T. J. Ormsby, a well-known attorney and justice of the peace in Jefferson County, was born in Petersburg, Va., on November 2, 1843, being a son of Joseph W. and Mary S. (Heath) Ormsby, the former a native of Wells River, Conn., and the mother from Petersburg, Va. The Ormsby’s are of Scotch origin, whose forefathers came over in the Mayflower and landed at Plymouth Rock, afterward settling in Connecticut, and in later years spreading throughout New York, New Jersey and other States. The family have always been people of prominence, the father having been one of the most notable lawyers of his day, and practiced with such men as Douglas and Lincoln, the one a great statesman and the other our martyred President. In 1845 Joseph W. Ormsby moved to Illinois and settled in Exeter, Scott County, where he practiced his profession, and became one of the best criminal lawyers in the State, representing his county in the legislature for several terms. His death occurred in Adrian, Mich. On the mother’s side the family were of equal prominence in Virginia. They were the parents of only one child, T. J. Ormsby, who remained with his mother until her death at Pine Bluff. T. J. Ormsby first came to Arkansas in 1858 and located in Ashley County. In 1861, when seventeen years of age, he enlisted in the First Arkansas Regiment, with the rank of first lieutenant, and served three years through the war. He was wounded at Murfreesboro by a rifle ball in the right hand, and between Chickamauga and Atlanta received a bullet in his left hand. He was captured a short distance below Corinth and confined, but daringly made his escape one night amid a shower of lead from his guards. He afterward took part in the battles of Farmersville, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Atlanta, Ga., Ft. Mumford and Perryville. In 1807 he came to Pine Bluff and was engaged by F. G. Smart as book-keeper, remaining with him for one year. He was then connected with various firms in the same capacity for five years, and for six years following embarked in general merchandise on his own account. During this time he diligently studied law, and in November, 1880, was licensed to practice in the circuit court. In November of the following year he was admitted to the United States court, and in April, 1888, to the supreme court. Mr. Ormsby has served as county judge on special occasions, and for fourteen years has held the office of justice of the peace, filling that position with dignity and wisdom. During the Brooks-Baxter troubles he received a commission from Gov. Brooks as first lieutenant of State militia, and afterward was promoted to the rank of captain, in which capacity he commanded two companies. For the past five or six years he has made the profession of law his entire study, and today stands without a peer in Jefferson County. Mr. Ormsby has accumulated considerable real estate in Pine Bluff from which he derives a good income. He has never been married, and from all appearances is too well contented with his life of bachelor ease to part with it for connubial bliss. In secret societies he is a member of the I. O. O. F., and has represented his lodge at the grand lodge, besides having passed all the chairs. He also belongs to the Masonic fraternity and takes quite a prominent part in the affairs of that order.

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This family biography is one of 136 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Jefferson County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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