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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pulaski 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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Thomas J. Oliphint, conceded to be a prominent member of the legal fraternity of Little Rock, was born near Murfreesboro, Tenn., March 22, 1842. In 1844 his parents moved to West Tennessee, and to White County, Ark., in 1854, where he was given excellent educational advantages, which he improved to the utmost, as is clearly demonstrated by his brilliant career as a subsequent practitioner of the law. Entering the Confederate service as a volunteer in 1861, he served until the close of the war, Gen. Pat Cleburne being his first colonel. After the battle of Shiloh he was transferred, and joined the Trans-Mississippi department of the cavalry service, and was lieutenant in one of the most dashing companies in the service. He was with Price on his famous raid through Missouri, where he was captured, then, becoming imprisoned at Little Rock until the close of the war. Being left destitute, in common with so many of his comrades at that time, he pluckily went to work and learned the photographer’s art. In the meantime he read law, and was licensed to practice, which he successfully followed in White County for two years, when in 1875 he located in Little Rock, where he has since resided. He now carries on a general practice, but makes a specialty of railroad cases. As to his prominence and standing as a lawyer, it is only necessary to state that on the present circuit court calendar (October, 1889), there are 278 cases, of which he has twenty-eight, besides a fine practice in the chancery, supreme and United States court. The fact is presented in its full significance when it is known that there are about seventy-five resident and practicing lawyers in Little Rock. Mr. Oliphint does not especially pride himself on his practice, for, as monuments to his untiring industry, are Oliphint’s “Digest of the Supreme Court Reports.” He now has ready for the press Oliphint’s “Revised, Rearranged and Annotated Edition of Rose’s Digest,” for which there is a great demand among the profession. In addition to his other works, he has in preparation a supplementary digest, covering the ten reports subsequent to Oliphint’s, and for which he has a large list of subscriptions in advance of its publication. He loves law books above all others, and has the satisfaction of knowing that he possesses one of the finest libraries in the State. One of his peculiarities is, that he makes it a rule to expend a certain amount for books each month, and as this amount is never less and often more than $20, it is seen that the collection in a few years must certainly be a very fine one. Being thoroughly imbued with the love for his profession, never tiring in his labors, he enjoys the fruits of an extensive and lucrative practice, and the confidence and esteem of the bench and bar of the State. The year 1867 witnessed his marriage to Miss Georgia Maxwell, of Searcy, White County, who was the daughter of the Hon. David Maxwell. David Maxwell was prominent for many years in State politics. For nine years Mr. Oliphint was happy in his wedded life, but Death, the grim destroyer, robbed him of his beautiful wife just in the zenith of their happiness. A few years later, he met and became acquainted with Miss Eva Kimberling, of Point Pleasant, W. Va. The acquaintance ripened into an engagement, and their marriage was celebrated, in July, 1878. In his marriage relations Mr. Oliphint is exceedingly happy and fortunate. Olive branches numbering five boys have blessed their union, four of whom are living; and of his boys he is perhaps prouder than all else in this world. The oldest is ten, and the youngest one year old. His aspiration is to live long enough to educate and transmit to them his profession and his library. He is a member of the Eighth Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and his habits are such as any young man would do well to, at least, endeavor to imitate. Pleasant and genial in his manner, never intentionally wounding a friend, he is a gentleman whom one always likes to meet, nothing but pleasure resulting in such a privilege.

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This family biography is one of 156 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pulaski County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Pulaski County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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