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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi 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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F. R. Lanier. A lifetime of hard, earnest endeavor, in pursuing the various occupations in which he has been engaged, especially in his farming enterprises, coupled with strict integrity, honesty of purpose and liberality, has tended to place Mr. Lanier among the highly honored and successful men of Mississippi County. He was born in the city of Nashville, Tenn., in 1829, and is a son of Isaac H. and grandson of Isaac Lanier, the latter being one of a large family that were born in the State of North Carolina. The maternal grandfather, Bernard Vanleer, was an iron manufacturer of Pennsylvania, but afterward removed to Tennessee, where he followed the same occupation, and made a large fortune, his son-in law, Isaac H. Lanier, being associated with him in this business. When the latter had acquired sufficient means he came to Mississippi County, Ark., in 1832, and purchased a tract of land, consisting of 1,500 acres, on which he moved his family four years later, his children being Samuel B. and F. B. His landed possessions increased until they finally reached an extent of 3,000 acres, all of which was acquired by strict perseverance, and attention to business. His death, which was lamented by all who knew him, occurred in 1847, but, unlike many men, he left his wife and two sons well provided for. His eldest son, S. B., died in 1872, and his widow survived him until 1884, when she, too, died, having made her home with her son, F. R., up to the time of her death. The latter was favored with exceptionally fine educational advantages, which he improved to the utmost extent, and after attending the common schools of Nashville he went to school at Randolph, and also to the Mountain Academy at Covington, Tenn., becoming thereby well equipped to fight his own way in the world. At the age of twenty years he went to Brownsport, Tenn., and built what was known as Brownsport Furnace, it being the first hot-blast furnace built in the State, and was for many years one of the largest furnaces in the State. After managing this successfully for about four years he sold out, and moved back to the plantation, on which he remained until the breaking out of the war between the States. In 1861 he was elected to represent the people of Mississippi County in the convention that passed the ordinance of secession, which convened the 4th of March, 1861, and in which the State was withdrawn from the Union, and Mr. Lanier signed his name to this ordinance. Only two copies are in existence, one of which he has in his possession, and keeps in a safe in Memphis. In company with the late Dr. Luke P. Blackburn, who was afterward governor of Kentucky, he volunteered as aid on the staff of Gen. Sterling Price, and it was but a short time until he was appointed inspector of mines and furnaces for the Confederate States, which position he held until he was captured at Selma, Ala., in April, 1865, by Gen. Wilson, from whom he succeeded in making his escape. He then, after the surrender of the Southern army, made his way home, which he reached without any means whatsoever with which to improve his farm and clear it of debt, it having become badly involved for security debts. He settled in Memphis, and engaged in the real estate business, in partnership with Mr. Monsarratt and Maj. R. C. Wintersmith, the firm taking the name of Monsarratt, Lanier & Co. They did exceptionally well in this business for a few years, then Mr. Lanier embarked in the oil industry, establishing the Bluff City Oil Company, the oil being manufactured from the cotton seed. He remained in this business until he acquired sufficient means with which to clear his farm from debt — it being involved to the extent of $75,000 — and in 1885 settled on the old homestead, which he commenced to put in tillable shape once more, it having grown up to brush and wood during his absence. Since returning he has cleared about 300 acres in the home place and 130 acres in a farm adjacent. He employs about 100 people on his plantations. In 1882 he made a trip to Europe, in the interest of the cotton-seed oil business, and visited all the principal cities of Great Britain — Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Leeds, Hull, on the North Sea, and took a pleasure trip to Paris. He investigated many of the cotton-seed oil-mills of the old world, and says that they make much more oil in Europe than they do in the United States, although they get the most of their seed from this country, Egypt and India. In 1855 he was married to Miss Martha Norvell, a daughter of Moses Norvell, a merchant of Nashville, Tenn., who died there the year before his daughter’s marriage, followed by his wife a few years later. Mrs. Lanier died in Memphis, Tenn., in 1885, never having borne any children. Mrs. Lanier, the mother of our subject, died in 1884, at her son’s home in Memphis. Mr. Lanier has always been active in politics, and is a Democrat in his views. He also belongs to the I. O. O. F., and for many years has been a member of the Episcopal Church.

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This family biography is one of 162 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi County, Arkansas published in 1889.  View the complete description here: Mississippi County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Mississippi County, Arkansas family biographies here: Mississippi County, Arkansas Biographies

View a map of 1889 Mississippi County, Arkansas here: Mississippi County, Arkansas Map

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