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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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Mrs. M. J. (Byrd) Thomas, an enterprising and successful lady farmer of Sebastian County, Ark., was born in Hardin County, Tenn., October 17, 1840, and is one of ten children, seven living, born to the marriage of Thomas Byrd and Maria Smith, and is a granddaughter of William Byrd, who was born in the “Palmetto State,” and who removed with his family to Tennessee at an early day. His wife’s maiden name Lovey Cherry. John Smith, the maternal grandfather, was a farmer, a soldier in the War of 1812, and died in Tennessee in 1854. His father was a Revolutionary soldier. Mrs. Thomas’ parents were born in South Carolina in 1812, and Tennessee in 1814, and died in the latter State in 1884, and 1864, respectively. The names of their children who are living are as follows: William R., Emeline (Bryson), Susan (Counts), Calvin C., Thomas J., Elizabeth and M. J. (Thomas). The last named was reared in Tennessee, and was there married in 1856 to James Thomas, a native of the State, born in 1837, and a son of James and Adaline (Young) Thomas, who were early immigrants to Tennessee. James, the son, was a farmer by occupation, and in 1863 enlisted in the Confederate States army, and served until the close of the war, when he returned home and resumed the peaceful pursuit of farming. In 1875 he came to Sebastian County, Ark., where his death occurred in 1881. He was a Mason, a Democrat, and cast his first presidential vote for John C. Breckinridge. He and wife became the parents of seven children: Newton S., Walter E., Mattie M., James A., Maude, Claude and Nellie.

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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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