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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  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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AUSTIN M. SANKEY, one of the influential young business men of Holden, is a member of the firm of S. R. Sankey & Bro., buyers and sellers of real estate, negotiators of loans, and representatives of well known insurance companies. Our subject was born in Harrison County, Ohio, December 5, 1859, and was reared on a farm until after reaching his majority, in the mean time receiving a good general education.

The parents of the above-named gentleman, natives of Harrison County, Ohio, are Samuel F. and Eliza J. (McGee) Sankey. They were married in Ohio, and resided there until 1870, when they came to this county and lived on a farm until 1886. Mr. Sankey still owns eighty acres in this place, on which he now lives retired. His family numbered six children, but one is now deceased.

With an uncle, A. M. Sankey learned the plasterer’s trade, and followed the business for about three years in Nortonville, Kan., making good wages. About 1883 he began clerking in a grocery in Holden, filling the same position for seven years. Then, in partnership with his brother, he bought an interest in the business which they have since conducted, and in which they have been quite successful. Following his father’s example, he is a Democrat, but not a politician.

February 19, 1883, occurred the marriage of Mr. Sankey and Laura J. Dick, who was born in Iowa. They are both members of the Presbyterian Church of Holden, our subject being honored with the positions of Treasurer and Trustee of the same.

The Sankey family is of very ancient origin, so much so that in a genealogy of the family printed in Europe, it is related that, according to tradition, they are descended from St. Peter, to whom were given the Holy (Sane) Keys, but at any rate there are branches of the family in Wales, Scotland, England and Ireland. The Irish branch, from which our subject is descended, was founded in the Emerald Isle by a Sankey who went with Cromwell in 1649, helped to conquer the island, and was awarded a tract of land and a coat-of-arms separate from the one held by the English branch. The name has been variously spelled. As early as 1207 there is mention of one Gerard de Sanki, and his son is spoken of as Ralph de Sanchi. The modern orthography is Sankey, Sinky or Senky. While some authorities believe that all the American Sankeys are descendants of one William Sankey, who came to these shores from Ireland in 1735, the accounts differ. Our subject has copies of wills made by Thomas and William Sankey, from the former of whom it is certain that he is descended, and both are natives of Ireland. They settled in Delaware and afterwards moved to Mifflin County, Pa., their wills being recorded at Lewistown.

Samuel Farmer Sankey, father of A. M., was a son of Samuel and Hannah (Farmer) Sankey, the former of whom was a son of James and Jeanette (Milligan) Sankey. The father of James Sankey was a son of Thomas, who was undoubtedly the brother of that William Sankey who moved from Ireland to America in 1735, and died about 1794. Another brother, Rev. Richard Sankey, died, leaving no children. James, son of Thomas, was born in 1771, near Lewistown, and, moving to Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1798, died there in 1821. Our subject’s grandfather was born in the same county, March 13, 1813, and died there September 12, 1851. His son Samuel was born August 12, 1836, in Jefferson County, and moved to Harrison County, Ohio, and from there, in 1870, to Holden, Mo. He is a distant relative of Ira D. Sankey, the great Evangelist, who is a great-grandson of William, brother of Thomas Sankey. The mother of our subject, Eliza Jane (McGee) Sankey, was a second cousin of her husband, as her grandmother, Mrs. Shaw, was a daughter of Thomas Sankey, before mentioned.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

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