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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Perry 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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John S. Massy, one of the extensive planters and stockmen of Perry County, was born November 8, 1840, in Tipton County, Tenn., and is a son of James and Patsey (Miller) Massy, natives of the same State, of Irish and Scotch descent, respectively. The parents settled in Yell County, Ark., where the father died when John was little less than a year old, and the mother followed him with in a month’s time, leaving John S. and the elder brother, Nathaniel A., to be provided for by John Miller, a brother of the mother’s. This protector died when John was twelve years old, and they were then taken charge of by another uncle, Joshua M. Miller, with whom John remained until his twenty-first year. In 1861 he rented a tract of land and put in a crop of cotton and corn, and after securing his crop in a safe place, he enlisted in Company B, of the Fifteenth Northwestern Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, and served until 1865, taking part in the battles of Elkhorn or Pea Ridge, Corinth, Hatchie Bridge, besides a number of hot skirmishes and a battle on the retreat from Corinth. Then followed a number of other engagements, and on May 17, 1863, he was captured at Black River and taken prisoner to Indianapolis, where he was confined seven months and eleven days, then to Fort Delaware and kept between three and four months, and from there to Point Lookout, where his prison experience ended, as he was paroled and went to Richmond, Va. He next joined the Twenty-first Regiment of Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, in which he served until the regiment was disbanded at Marshall, Tex., about June 5, 1865. On the 10th of that month he returned home and resumed his farm work, and on July 26, 1866, was united in marriage to Miss Henrietta A. Huffaker, daughter of Cristy Huffaker, of Tennessee. In 1870 Mr. Massy purchased 120 acres of unimproved land, which he commenced cultivating and resided upon until December, 1886, when he removed to Perryville for the purpose of educating two children he was rearing: Edward L. and John W. Bowie, orphans of a married sister, Ellen O. Bowie. Mr. and Mrs. Massy have had the care of five orphan children: Sarah Prior (whom they took at the age of thirteen and cared for two years), Lewis Harrison (at the age of twelve years), Thomas E. Holmes (whom they took at the age of fourteen) and the two above mentioned, this worthy couple giving them a father and mother’s care, and putting them in a good position in after life. Mr. Holmes rose to an eminent position, and is now the mayor of Perryville. Mr. Massy now owns 123 acres of land, and has placed sixty acres under a high state of cultivation. He had 193 acres at one time, but sold seventy of these in 1885. In politics he is a strong Democrat and a firm supporter of his party. In 1872 he was elected to the office of justice of the peace, which position he held for eight years, and in 1884 was elected county assessor, serving four years. He was initiated into the Masonic fraternity in 1869, in Perryville Lodge No. 220, in which he took the third degree of Ancient Craft Masonry, and he also belongs to Aplin Lodge No. 444, at Aplin, Perry County. He has held the office of Junior and Senior Warden, and serves in the latter capacity at the present time. Mr. and Mrs. Massy are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the former is steward of Pleasant Grove Congregation. He is a liberal supporter of all religious and educational enterprises, and an influential as well as a valuable citizen to the community.

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This family biography is one of 53 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Perry County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Perry County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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