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Below is a family biography included in The History of Washington 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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Peter Mankins is one of the oldest settlers and farmers now residing in White River Valley, Washington County, Ark., and was born in the “Blue Grass State” (Floyd County) August 1, 1813. His father, who also bore the name of Peter Mankins, was born in Maryland, September 19, 1770, and when he was about eighteen years of age went to North Carolina, where he was married to Mrs. Rachel (Bracken) Lewis, and soon after moved to Kentucky. He resided on the Big Sandy River, in Floyd County, until 1827, when he went to Vermillion County, Ill., but a year later returned to Kentucky. From 1832 to 1833 they were again residents of Illinois, and in the latter year came to Arkansas, landing near the head-waters of the White River, and shortly after located on the farm now owned by Mr. Mankins, whose name heads this sketch. Here the father resided until his death, having attained the extreme old age of one hundred and eleven years and five months. His death occurred very suddenly and without pain, while apparently as well as usual. He had been extremely healthy all his life, and his mind was clear and active until the last. He followed the occupation of farming throughout life and while in Kentucky operated a whisky distillery, and in his political views was a Democrat. He was married three times, and by his first wife became the father of eleven children, four of whom are now living: Millie, Rachel, Sarah and Peter. The mother of these children was first married to a Mr. Lewis, to whom she bore three children: George (deceased), Bracken, who resides in Washington County and is eighty-seven years of age, and Lydia (deceased). Peter Mankins grew to manhood in Floyd County, Ky., and in 1833 came to Arkansas with a man by the name of George Lewis, and was followed by his parents soon afterward. In 1849 he made a trip to California in search of gold, and his efforts were attended with the best of success, finding one piece that was worth $416. He returned home in February, 1851, via the Isthmus of Panama and New Orleans, with $3,750, which was one-seventh of what he and his comrades found. He has dealt quite extensively in stock, and has driven large droves of cattle from Colorado, near the Texas line, to Chicago, and hogs from his home in Washington County to within 150 miles of New Orleans. During the trouble in Salt Lake, Utah, in 1857, he sold $34,000 worth of cattle to the United States agent, and up to the breaking out of the late Civil War was engaged in stock dealing. In 1861 he organized a company of eighty-four men as State troops (Brooke’ regiment), purchasing clothing for sixty-four of them at a cost of $550, but afterward turned the camp outfit over to George Van Hoose. In 1863 he swam the Arkansas River with 300 soldiers shooting at him all the time. Since the war he has been engaged in farming, and owns 100 acres of land in the home place, and has seven claims of mining lands in Polk County, Ark. He was at one time the wealthiest man in the White River Valley, and was very liberal with his wealth, but lost the greater portion of it during the war. He was married to Narcissa Mills, who was born in 1816 and died in 1863, and by her became the father of ten children, nine of whom are living: Rachel, wife of William Ballard; Henry; Nancy J., now the wife of Mr. Causby; Mary, Mrs. Cate; Walter; Priscilla, Mrs. Strain; Elizabeth, Mrs. Simpson; Millie, deceased; Peter, and Sarah, Mrs. Ballard. Mr. Mankins took for his second wife Mrs. Easter (Hanna) Gilliland, who was born in Kentucky in 1824, and their union was blessed in the birth of one child; Easter J., wife of L. A. Gilliland. Mrs. Mankins was first married to J. Gilliland, and by him became the mother of one daughter, Clementine, wife of J. Crawford. Mr. Mankins has given each of his children a start in life, and is one of the old and highly honored citizens of the county. He has always been deeply interested in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the county, and has given substantial aid to educational and religious institutions.

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This family biography is one of 300 biographies included in The History of Washington County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Washington County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Washington County, Arkansas family biographies, click here

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