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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Lonoke 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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Dr. T. J. Reiff, one of Carlisle’s noted physicians, was born in Lancaster County, Penn., in 1834. The Reiff family came from Switzerland to the United States in the latter part of the seventeenth century and settled in Lancaster County, which was organized in an early period of the eighteenth century. The grandfather of the Doctor was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and his own father served in the War of 1812. He was a farmer by occupation, and died within a half mile of his birthplace, in 1881, at the age of eighty-four, his wife dying the year before, in her seventy-seventh year. They were members of the Mennonite Church, also the parents of fourteen children, six of whom died in infancy, eight still living. Dr. Reiff lived at home until after he became of age, helping his father on the farm. He commenced the study of medicine when quite young, and entered college in 1853, graduating the next year. In 1857 he commenced practicing near the old homestead, remaining there till 1865, when he moved to Woodford County, Ill., where he practiced two years, then moved to Iroquois County, where he remained four years, here continuing in his practice and busying himself farming. In 1871 he traveled in the South for his health, and the following year located in Grand Prairie, where he now resides, spending the first year on a farm which he bought, and since residing in Carlisle. Dr. Reiff was married in January, I860, to Susan Vance, a resident of his native State. She was born in 1835 and died May 15, 1887, leaving two children: Lizzie (wife of B. D. Muzzy, postmaster at Carlisle), and Jacob A. L. (a telegraph operator). Mrs. Reiff was a member of the Methodist Church. The Doctor is a member of the A. F. & A. M., and also of the Knights of Honor. He was the third Northern man who located in Grand Prairie, and though a strong Republican, was elected county judge of Prairie County, or rather president of the board of supervisors, which is now the same as county judge, which office he held two terms; was twice appointed postmaster of Prairie Center, a position which he declined, although he served as postmaster of Roanoke, Ill., in 1866 and 1867, before coming to Arkansas. Though but little interested in politics, he is one of the leading Republicans of the county. He was elected mayor of Carlisle in the spring of 1885, and re-elected in the spring of 1886.

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This family biography is one of 143 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Lonoke County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Lonoke County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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