My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of Dent County, Missouri 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.

* * * *

Eben Blachley Sankey, division superintendent of Salem Branch of the ‘Frisco Line, with residence at Salem, and superintendent of the Missouri Iron Company’s mines, in Dent County, is a native of New Castle, Penn., where he was born in 1837, being the son of Ezekiel and Sarah (Jones) Sankey, and grandson of Maj. Ezekiel Sankey, who was born in Mifflin County, Penn., in 1772, and moved to Lawrence County, of the same State, in 1798, being one of the first settlers of Western Reserve Harbor. He was sheriff of Mercer County; was a man of sterling integrity and great influence. He died in 1813. Maj. Ezekiel Sankey, Jr., was born near New Castle, Penn., in 1806, and at the age of sixteen hired out to work on a farm at $6 per month, taking his pay in store trade as he needed it, and working thus for three years. At the age of nineteen he began serving an apprenticeship at the shoemaker’s trade, which occupation he followed some five years. He ran the first canal-boat, the “Alpha,” between New Castle and Beaver, in 1834. One year later he erected the first warehouse in New Castle, and the same year was elected major of a volunteer battalion of Mercer County, and served several years. He was engaged as contractor on public works of several States, among which were the New York & Erie Railroad, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Sandy & Beaver Canal in Ohio, and subsequently figured prominently in projecting the Pittsburg & Erie Railroad. In 1861 he entered the employ of the United States Government in repairing railroads that had been destroyed by rebels. He was engaged in merchandising for a few years in New Castle, and was at one time proprietor of the old “Mansion House.” In 1863 and 1864 he was proprietor of the Leslie House. Maj. Sankey was a man of decidedly progressive ideas, and always took an earnest and active interest in all matters pertaining to the improvement and upbuilding of his surroundings. He was a man of more than ordinary talent, had great originality and inventive powers, of unusually clear discernment and remarkable shrewdness, which elements, combined with irrepressible will and energy, revealed the secret of his success. To these characteristics must be added his genial, social nature and his open-hearted benevolence. He was married in 1832 to Miss Sarah S. Jones, and they reared ten children. Mrs. Sankey died September 11, 1861, and Maj. Sankey died November 20, 1888. Eben B. Sankey was educated in the public schools in New Castle, Penn., and as early as 1854 engaged in railroad work, first as chainman and afterward as rodman and assistant engineer, until 1857. Railroad building for a period being nearly suspended, he followed various other pursuits, until 1862, when he was employed as assistant engineer in the construction of the New Castle & Beaver Valley Railroad from New Castle to Homewood, continuing with the company as engineer and road master until 1865, when, the oil excitement being at its height, he resigned and went to Petroleum Center, Venango Co., Penn., where he opened and carried on for about two years a land surveying office. In 1868-69 he superintended the building of the Etna Iron Furnaces, at New Castle, Penn., and in 1869-70 the Vigo Furnace, in Terre Haute, Ind. In 1870-71 he built the Hubbard Branch of the Ashtabula & Youngstown Railroad. On September 29, 1868, he married Miss Julia E. Woodward, of Taunton, Mass., who by her marriage became the mother of four children: Bessie P., Paul H., Ruth V. and Eben Wallace. In February, 1872, Mr. Sankey moved from New Castle, Penn., to Missouri, for the purpose of taking charge, as chief engineer, of the construction of the St. Louis, Salem & Little Rock Railroad, completing the same in July, 1873. After this he was general freight agent of the same up to February, 1879, at which time he became superintendent and general freight agent. He continued in this service until December 1, 1886, when the road was purchased by the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway Company, and afterward operated by it as the “Salem Branch,” he being appointed division superintendent of same, which position he now (1889) occupies. From 1873 to the present time he has been superintendent of the Missouri Iron Company’s ore mines, opening up the Simmons Mountain, Jamison, Preston & Clark mines, of Dent County, and the Smith & Clinton mines, of Phelps County. For the past eight years Mr. Sankey has been president of Dent Iron Company. He moved to Salem in 1874, and is one of the influential citizens of the county. He is a Republican in politics; is chairman of the Republican County Committee, a member of the school board and city alderman, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention which met at Chicago, Ill., in 1884, from the Eleventh Congressional District, and was one of five from Missouri who voted for James G. Blaine on the first ballot, continuing to do so until nominated. He is a Mason, and a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Sankey is first cousin to Ira D. Sankey, the noted singer of Moody and Sankey fame. Mrs. Sankey is a devoted Episcopalian.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 82 biographies included in The History of Dent County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Dent County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Dent County, Missouri family biographies, click here

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.