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Below is a family biography included in The History of Sebastian 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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Benjamin J. H. Gaines, ex-judge of the county court of Sebastian County, Ark., is a native of Rhea County, East Tenn., and was born in 1817. His father, James S. Gaines, was of Welsh descent, and was born in Culpeper County, Va., in 1767. He was married in his native State to Miss Judith Easley, and after a short residence in North Carolina returned to Virginia, and in 1800 moved to Rhea County, Tenn., and in 1820 took up his abode in Southern Alabama, where he died two years later. His wife was born in Virginia, and also died in 1822. Benjamin J. H. is the youngest of their thirteen children, and was only five years old when his parents died. From that time until he was sixteen years of age he resided with his brother, John S. Gaines, and then became salesman in a store in Knoxville, Tenn., but at the end of one year returned to Southern Alabama, and engaged in pedagoguing, and also did some clerking in the courts. From 1839 to 1840 he taught school in the “Lone Star” State, and at the latter date returned to Alabama, and was married in 1848, to Miss Sallie Inge, who was born in Fayetteville, Lincoln Co., Tenn., in 1827, by whom he became the father of four children: Helen, wife of J. L. Duke, a jeweler of Fayetteville, Ark.; Thomas W., a merchant; Marshall S., a merchant, of Greenwood, Ark.; and John H., who clerks for his brother, Marshall. In 1849 Mr. Gaines was elected clerk of Sumter Count, Ala., but the following year the law was changed and he was deprived of his office. At the same time, however, he was elected probate judge of the same county, serving in this capacity six years. In 1856 he moved to Monroe County, Tenn., and in 1859 took up his residence in Fayetteville, Ark., for the purpose of educating his children. He had commenced the study of law in 1848, and the following year was admitted to the bar, practicing his profession in Fayetteville until 1880, when he became a citizen of Greenwood, Ark. Two years later he was elected judge of Sebastian County, being re-elected in 1884 and 1886. He has always rendered his decisions with judicial fairness, and has made a capable and popular public officer. Previous to the late lamentable war he was a Whig in politics, but since that conflict has been a supporter of Democratic principles. He is a Royal Arch Mason, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. His wife belongs to the Christian Church. His son, Marshall S. Gaines, a prosperous young merchant, of Greenwood, Ark., was born in Monroe County, Tenn., in 1857, and was educated in the schools of Fayetteville, Ark. At the age of sixteen years he began clerking in a store in Fayetteville, continuing four years, and then engaged in merchandising on his own responsibility in Greenwood, and in 1883 formed a partnership with Thomas E. Little, and the firm was known as Little & Gaines. In December, 1887, they dissolved partnership by mutual consent, and the firm has since been known as M. S. Gaines & Co. Their stock, which is valued at $15,000, is the largest stock of general merchandise in Greenwood, and is bringing in Mr. Gaines a handsome annual income. He is a man of sterling worth and of exceptionally good business qualifications, and commands the confidence and esteem of the citizens of the county. May 25, 1877, he was married to Miss Rebecca A. Hodgins, who was born in Mississippi in 1861, and died on March 20, 1887, having borne a family of four children: J. Bennie, Edmund P., Bessie and Helen. September 9, 1888, Mr. Gaines married Miss Sallie Whitworth, a native of Texas. He is a Democrat, and has been a member of the school board of Greenwood for six years; is a Master Mason, a K. of H., and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

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This family biography is one of 217 biographies included in The History of Sebastian County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Sebastian County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Sebastian County, Arkansas family biographies here: Sebastian County, Arkansas

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