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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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William Armour Cantrell, M. D. In every community, the career of some one man may be traced by a thoughtful observer as an influence for good or evil in that especial community, elevating the standard of morals and manners or degrading it, and so acknowledged as the blessing or bane of his fellow citizens. The subject of this sketch is justly accorded a conspicuous and honored place among those whose course of action has gone to promote the welfare and moral excellence of Little Rock, the city of his adoption and the field of his manhood’s achievements. Forty years of citizenship have tested the worth of principles of integrity, habits of regularity, moderation, foresight, the beauty of dignity, virtue and courtesy, and no clearer proof is needed than that given in the result to show that the peculiar characteristics of the individual go far to promote the prosperity of the multitude. In life as in nature, all streams may be traced to their source. If that be pure, no turbid tributaries can permanently pollute the parent stream. Dr. William A. Cantrell is one of a host of grandchildren of Stephen Cantrell, Sr., who seems to be the earliest progenitor of the family on record in this country. He was born in 1758, near Abingdon, Va., where he was brought up, with one brother and two sisters older than himself. His father died during his boyhood. On approaching manhood he wandered into North Carolina, where he was employed in the service of the continental commissioners of the State. For his zeal and perseverance in the performance of these services, he received a grant of 640 acres of land in Tennessee, as shown by the records of Davidson County, April, 1788. He went to Tennessee either with, or shortly preceding the astounding expedition of Col. John Donelson, a brave and wealthy old Virginian surveyor, the destined father-in-law of Gen. Andrew Jackson. This company of emigrants, with their dauntless leader, to avoid crossing the wilderness between Jonesboro and Nashville, then infested with 20,000 Indians, the most warlike and intelligent of their race, attempted and accomplished the journey “down the river Holstein to the Tennessee, down the Tennessee to the Ohio, up the Ohio to the Cumberland to a new home.” During the years of 1795 and 1796, Stephen Cantrell commanded as captain a company of sixty-three men, in the famous Nickajack expedition against the Indians. He was known to have said, in those days of early adventure, that he “prized a lump of salt or bread as large as his fist, more than he would have prized a lump of solid gold of equal size.” About 1782 he married Mary Blakemore, daughter of Capt. John Blakemore, who, with his family, accompanied the Donelson expedition to Nashville. Stephen Cantrell, Sr., and William Montgomery were the first representatives from Sumner County to the first legislature of Tennessee, which convened at Knoxville, March 28, 1796. He died at his place in Sumner County, February 5, 1827, aged sixty-eight years and some months. His wife, Mary Blakemore, born March 8, 1765, died August 2, 1849, aged eighty-four years. The family numbered eleven children, viz.: Stephen, Sarah, Otey, Alfred, John, William, Zebulon P., Mary, Darby H., James M. and George Clinton Cantrell, nine sons and two daughters, besides an adopted son, John Cantrell, who became a wealthy salt manufacturer and merchant on the Kanawha River, W. Va., and an influential man and member of congress. Stephen Cantrell, Jr., the eldest son (father of our biographical subject), was born in Sumner County, Tenn., at his father’s place, March 10, 1783, and was brought up there, receiving an education as ample as the country afforded. When a young man he entered the store of George Michael Deaderick, with the view of qualifying himself for mercantile pursuits. In the course of time he became interested with Mr. Deaderick as junior partner, and so continued until the death of the latter, in 1816. Perhaps this partnership opened the way for another life long one, with the lovely niece of his business associate, for this notice appeared in The Impartial Review, of Nashville of date, January 17, 1807:

Married, on Thursday evening last, Mr. Stephen Cantrell to the agreeable and justly admired Miss Juliet Wendell, both of this place.

Some years later Mr. Cantrell engaged in merchandise with Mr. Hinchey Petway, of Franklin, Tenn. They had stores in Nashville and Franklin, and interests in cotton planting near Florence, Ala. During this period he served as commissary and quartermaster in the Creek War, pension agent of the Government, mayor of the city of Nashville, magistrate of the county and president of the Bank of Nashville, successor of his former partner, George Michael Deaderick. About 1825 he withdrew from business pursuits entirely, and retired to his farm five miles west of Nashville. This place subsequently became the property of Mark R. Cockrill, the celebrated sheep raiser and wool grower. Some years later, he was induced again to embark in the cotton commission and steamboat trade of Nashville and New Orleans. From heavy ventures in cotton a disastrous failure ensued, involving the labor of a life-time. The death of his wife, in 1839, was the climax of these misfortunes, and in 1843 he retired to a small cotton farm near Pine Bluff, in Jefferson County, Ark., separated from his friends and the companionship of his children, except that of the youngest surviving, Dr. William A. Cantrell, who went to live near him, and attended him at the time of his death, in 1854. Mr. Cantrell’s wife was the direct descendant of David Diedrich, of Wurtemburg, Germany, who may have been the identical hero whose old saddle bags supplied the charming Knickerbocker “History of New York,’’ edited by Washington Irving, and who was the progenitor of the Deaderick and Cantrell family, here under consideration. The Kingdom of Wurtemburg, Germany, of which Stuttgart is the capital, suffered much in consequence of the “Thirty Years’ War” and Roman Catholic intolerance, being almost entirely Lutheran. The emigration from that place to our shores needs no further explanation than that offered in our motto, “Peace and Liberty.’’

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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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