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Index to Biographies

Jesse C. BrashearsJames T. HoltGeorge W. Combs
Capt. Hiram CombsThomas Murrell Johnson
John D. CombsGeorge W. Prater

"Capt. Hiram Combs, b Perry Co, KY, in 1832, and is a son of Elijah and Polly (Combs) Combs. His grandfather, Elijah Combs, was a native of Tennessee, served in the War of 1812, was a farmer by occupation, and died at about eighty years of age.

The father was born in 1806, passed his life in Perry Co, KY, and died in 1846. He had a family of eight children, six now living: Louisa, Sarah, Hiram, Nancy, Cornett, Polly Minerva, Elijah and Virgil. Hiram remained upon the home place during his youth, receiving but a limited education.

When 19 began life for himself; soon married and settled on a farm, where he lived until spring of 1854. He then went to Kansas, first stopping at St. Joseph, and then settling twenty-five miles distant. The following fall he came to Madison Co, AR and bought some partly improved land, which he now owns, and upon which he is engaged in farming.

At the commencement of the Civil War he served in the Confederate army, under Brig. Gen. CABELL as lieutenant. .Later he organized a company, of which he was made captain until it's consolidation, when he became lieutenant. He afterward became the captain of another company. He was in the battles of Prairie Grove, Mark's Mill, Possom Springs, and a number of skirmishes.

After peace was declared he resumed farm life, and has been a firm Democrat, taking an active interest in politics. After the war he was elected coroner; in 1880 was made sheriff, still holding that office, and in 1888 was appointed postmaster. He is a popular man and a good citizen, and is a Royal Arch Mason and a member of the Knights of the Horse.

December 19, 1850, he married Miss Mary WALKER, who was born in Kentucky in 1834 and has borne our subject eight children: Of these, Elijah, John S. and Virgil are living, married and residents of this county; Lee, Louisa, James, Ella J. and an infant are deceased. Ella J. left a husband and child two months old, and Lee arrived at maturity.

Mrs. Combs is an active member of the Missionary Baptist Church." (Goodspeeds' History of Northwest, Arkansas…)

Notes: Elijah Combs, Sr. of Perry Co KY, grandfather of Capt. Hiram Combs, was the son of John and Nancy UNKNOWN Combs, and h/o Sallie ROARK, daughter of Michael and Leticia (GRIGSBY) Roark of Hawkins Co, TN. John Combs, father of Elijah Combs, Sr. is thought to have possibly been a brother of Mason Combs of Hawkins Co, TN, the father of Jeremiah Combs of Kingston Twp, Madison Co, AR (father of John D. Combs). See also Two Hiram Combs of Perry Co, KY and Madison Co, AR.

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"John D. Combs, one of the oldest setters of King River Township was born in Warren County, Tenn., November 17, 1815, being the son of Jeremiah COMBS.

The father was born in East Tennessee in 1790, and died in Madison County, Ark., in 1866. He followed agricultural pursuits all his life. At the age of twenty he married Miss RHODES, a native of North Carolina, who moved with her parents to Warren County, Tenn., when a young girl. She died in Madison County, Ark., in 1860, at the age of sixty-one or sixty-two. They were members of the Baptist Church for many years, and he was deacon of the same. He was a Democrat in his political views.

To their marriage were born twelve children, eight now living: Nancy, widow of Thomas CLARK; John D.; Emeline, widow of James McELHANEY; Tennessee, widow of George W. KING; Mason C.; Sarah, widow of Caroll LANE; Wheeling and Jesse R.

John D. COMBS left the paternal roof at the age of twenty-one, and January 25, 1837, he married Miss Phoebe GAGE, who was born in Overton County, Tenn., July 4, 1821, and is the daughter of William GAGE.

This union has been blessed by twelve children, seven now living: Amelia, wife of James T. HOLT; Surilda, wife of John ARMSTRONG; George W., Amos Levi, Andrew J., Jonathan E., and Susan, wife of James SANDERS. Those deceased were named America, Alfred, Calvin, Julia and Eldora Bell.

Mr. COMBS began improving his present farm when seventeen years of age, and has been a farmer and stock raiser all his life. He is the owner of 192 acres of valley land, and although starting with little means he has, with the help of his sensible and practical wife, succeeded so well that they can pass their declining years in comparative comfort.

He is a Democrat in his political views, and an enterprising member of society. He built the first frame house on King River, and made the first plank floor, which he sawed by hand. Mrs. COMBS has been a member of the Baptist Church since a young woman. Both Mr. and Mrs. Combs have the respect and esteem of all who know them." (Goodspeeds' History of Northwest, Arkansas…)

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HISTORY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON COMBS (s/o John David & Phoebe Inez GAGE Combs of Madison Co, AR), b 14 Dec 1847, Madison Co, AR; d 15 Jan 1927; m 11 20 1869, Julia BRADLEY, b 24 Nov 1850; d 23 Nov 1932. Written in 1917 as a news article, possibly by Cora Combs, wife of Jesse M. Combs, and passed down to Edith Faye Combs Williams to PJ Williams to Jess Boggs (See Jess's Combsite at:

G. W. Combs, the subject of this sketch, first saw the light of day on the 14th day of December 1847 in Madison County Arkansas. Living with his parents he grew to man-hood in that state. Surrounded only by the opportunities which the common school of that day afforded. Thus his chances for an education was limited, however having more ability and more mother than the majority of boys he took advantage of every opportunity offered him and through his constant effort to educate himself he finally reached the point in life when those of his associates considered him a power in the work of educating in the communities where ever he resided. With his force of speech, manner of presentation, and logical thinking and most prefect reasoning, of all questions and difficulties arising, he proved himself to be more then the ordinary man.

When a young man and very young he joined the Confederate Army in the year 1862. He being only of the age of 15 years, hereby offering his life as a sacrifice for his Country, and for the principles of justice which he so earnestly and sincerely believed in. He was ordered with his company to Gumshia Kansas. He then being with the ninth Kansas Regiment, and there remained until 1864, the close of the war. He was released within 24 hours in the spring of 1864 , The same year his parents moved to the southern part of the state of Kansas, and he made his home with them But his parents, not being satisfied there, they, together with their family, returned in the year 1865, to Madison County Arkansas, their former home.

In the year of 1869, he professed Christ and became a strong advocate of the Christian Religion . He often referred to this incident as the time when he was born again of the Spirit. After his conversion he united himself with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and has ever since been a member and worker for this denomination.

In the year of 1869, he was married to Julia Ann BRADLEY on the 20th day of November. She being on that date the age of eighteen years. Of this marriage there were eleven children born. Six boys and five girls of which two died in infancy, the other nine are yet living.

At the date of this writing in April 1917, he is residing in Seminole County, Oklahoma, at his home with his aged wife and three little grandsons. Surrounded by his many friends and his children though he is now of the age of seventy years he is hearty and extra-ordinarily strong for a man of his age.

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"James T. HOLT is a native of Sangamon Co, Ill., born December 13, 1833, his parents being Jabu and Zillah (KELLEY) Holt, natives of Virginia and North Carolina respectively.

The father was born in 1800, was a farmer and a good mechanic, but never followed the latter occupation. When a child he was taken by his uncle to Illinois, and was there when the Indians were still in that State.

He was married in Illinois, and remained there until 1845, when he moved to Polk Co, Mo., and here both father and mother passed their last days. The former died Jan 5, 1856, and the latter, who was born in 1807, died in 1847.

When a young man the father joined a surveying party that came to Missouri, and surveyed the place where Boonville now stands. He could tell many interesting anecdotes of camp life, and while in Illinois detailed many times to do duty as a soldier against the Indians. He and Abraham LINCOLN were the best of friends, although they differed in politics.

To Mr. and Mr. HOLT were born nine children, five now living: Annie, Mary, Elizabeth (wife of Dr. E. A. ARNOLD, a practicing physician of Cass County, Mo.), James T. and George W., who is now farming in Missouri, and who was in the Confederate service during the late war, participating in many battles.

James T. HOLT, when young, had a great desire to roam abroad, but none of this was apparent while his father lived. In 1853 he was seized with the gold fever excitement, and crossed the plains to the gold regions, with an ox team, being four months making the trip. On his return he took the Panama route, and reached home with considerable money.

May 18, 1862, he married the daughter of John D. Combs, Amanda Jane, who was born in Madison County, Ark., December 22, 1837. Nine children were born to this marriage, seven now living: William W., Joseph Lee, John D., Edna (deceased), Harry N., Charley H., James E., Zilla Ann (deceased) and Amanda E.

March 27, 1862 Mr. HOLT moved from Missouri to Madison Co, Ark., and the year previous to this he was in the first company of the First Missouri State Militia, that was ordered out by Gov. JACKSON, and served six months. At the expiration of that time he came to Arkansas with Gen. PRICE, and had forty three wagons under his care. He brought wagons to Arkansas, and at the time of the battle of Pea Ridge, although it was not his place, he took a gun and participated in that battle.

He then left the army, started for home, but soon after joined a company organized at Berryville, Carroll Co., Ark., HEAD'S Battalion but after the Prairie Grove battle he was connected with Col. HILL'S regiment for the next year, when he was transferred in Gen. HILL'S cavalry, and was first lieutenant most of the time.

He participated in the battles of Pea Ridge, Prairie Grove, Wilson's Creek, Dry Wood, siege of Lexington, Jenkins' Ferry, and many skirmishes. He was wounded in the left shoulder at Prairie Grove and was taken prisoner three times, but never retained very long, as he always managed to escape.

The war left him without means, and a wife an two children to take care of. He then engaged in farming, and is now the owner of a well-located and well improved farm. He is Democratic in his political views and is a good citizen. (Goodspeeds History of NW AR…)

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"Jesse C. BRASHEARS was born in Perry County, Ky., in 1837, his parents being Sampson and Margaret (BRIGHT) Brashears. The father was born December 21, 1789 in Tennessee, a son of Samuel BRASHEARS, and of Irish descent. Samuel was an officer in the Revolutionary War, and served as captain in one of the French and Indian wars.

Sampson was reared in Tennessee, served in the War of 1812, in the Thirteenth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, and in 1819 with his wife and eight children immigrated to Kentucky on pack-horses. There he entered 10,000 acres of land, a portion of which he improved. He became the largest land owner in that section of the country, dealt largely in stock, and was considered a leading man.

In 1872 he retired from active life, divided his property among his children, and made his home with one of his sons until his death, in 1878. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity. The mother of our subject was born August 23, 1797, in Washington County, Va., was reared in Tennessee, and died in 1866.

She was the mother of thirteen children, eight now living: Isaac (deceased), John, James, Sarah A. (deceased), Ezekiel (deceased), Elizabeth, Samson (deceased), Robert S. (deceased), Louisa, Harvey G., Jesse C., William R. and Hezekiah. The four last named live in Madison County, and the remainder, who survive, in Kentucky.

Jesse C. remained with his parents until eighteen years of age and then attended school in Lee County, Va. When twenty-two years old he married and went to live upon some land given him by his father. In 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate army, served until the close of the war, and then resumed his farming.

In 1882, he came to Arkansas, purchased land in Madison County, and in February, 1883, removed his family to his present place of residence. December 25, 1858, he married Elizabeth J. HOGG, a native of Kentucky, born in 1838, by whom he has had nine children: Martha A., wife of John Combs; Harvey G., Lizzie, Mary L., Kelly, William H., Cynthia J., James J. and Robert H.

The four eldest are school teachers. Mr. BRASHEARS is a successful farmer and stock raiser, the owner of 450 acres of good land, 150 of which are finely cultivated. He was postmaster at Jesse Post-office, Perry Co., Ky., from 1881 to 1882, which post-office was named after him. He has been justice of the peace, and is a Democrat." (Goodspeeds' History of Northwest, Arkansas…)

Notes: See Also the Madison Co AR Biography of William BRASHEARS and the 1788 Sullivan Co TN Militia List. Question: Which John Combs did Martha A. BRASHEARS marry?

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"Thomas M. JOHNSON was born in Warren County, Tenn., September 9, 1811, and is a son of Martin and Sarah (Combs) Johnson, natives of North Carolina, and afterward residents of Hawkins county, Tenn. The father was born in 1777, and died in Arkansas in February, 1851. His father had been killed by the Indians, and he was taken to Tennessee by his mother, who afterward returned to North Carolina.

Martin JOHNSON was a farmer all his life, and in 1832 located in Madison County, Ark. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. The mother was born in Hawkins county, Tenn., in 1779, and died in Warren County of that State in 1829. Her husband afterward married Mrs. Polly HAWK. His first marriage was blessed in the birth of thirteen children.

Their son, Thomas M., was married in his twentieth year to Sarah, a daughter of John McMURRY, who was of Irish ancestry. She was born in Warren County, Tenn., January 12, 1809, and of four children born to their union only one is now living, John, who was born July 29, 1833. Those deceased are Lucinda, the wife of C. A. SAMS; Monroe, and Annie, the wife of Maj. Elijah D. HAM.

Mr. JOHNSON and family came to Madison County, Ark., in 1830, and he has become one of the successful farmers of the county, owning an excellent farm in Richland Valley. He has never been an office seeker, but at the termination of the war he was chosen county judge.

During the war he was a Union man, and on that account suffered many cruelties and indignities at the hands of the Confederate soldiers and Southern sympathizers. He was taken prisoner, and in one month and four days was compelled to travel on foot 1,200 miles, and for three days and nights went without water and for seven days without bread. He subsisted on a small piece of raw beef during that time. Although suffering from a severe spell of sickness when taken prisoner, he weighed 176 pounds, and when he succeeded in making his escape he weighed far less.

His son, Lieut. John JOHNSON, is also an influential citizen of the county, and made his home with his parents until 1874, when he moved to his present place of abode, and is engaged in farming and stock raising. He enlisted in the Federal service in March, 1863, and served until August 10, 1865. He was first lieutenant of Company G, First Arkansas Infantry, and was in a number of severe engagements.

April 7, 1853, he was married to Rosanna, a daughter of Hugh ALLISON. She was born in Maury Co, Tenn., September 28, 1833, and was reared by an uncle, Miller KILPATRICK. Five sons and two daughters have blessed their union: Fannie (wife of J. C. CALICO), Ben F., Thomas F., Alexander M., Alfred M., Elhannon S. and Anna M. Mr. JOHNSON is a Republican, and in 1882 was candidate for county clerk, but was defeated by an independent candidate and by a small majority." (Goodspeeds History of NW AR…)

Notes: Martin & Sarah Combs Johnson were closely associated with Mason Combs, father of Jeremiah Combs, in Hawkins Co TN, and with Jeremiah Combs in Warren Co, TN (See also Madison Co AR Biography of John David Combs); however, the relationship between Sarah and these other Combs remains unknown. See Also other JOHNSON Goodspeeds Biographies in Madison Co AR as well as the 1918 query of James T. CLARK of Warren Co, TN.

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"George W. PRATER, a farmer of Hillburn Township, was born in Kentucky in 1832, and is a son of Jonathan and Margaret (GRIFFIE) Prater. The father was born in Virginia, and when a young man located in Floyd County, Ky., where he engaged in farming.

Our subject lost both parents when a small boy, and when about sixteen accompanied an older brother to Arkansas, locating upon the farm where he now lives. The brother made this his home until his death during the war. He accompanied PRICE on his famous raid through Maryland, and died from the effects of a wound.

George W. lived on White River until the commencement of the war, then moving to Texas, where he remained until the close of hostilities, doing service in the Confederate army. He located upon his present place about 1880.

In 1855 he marrried Melinda J. SALYER, a native of Kentucky. She bore him eight children, and died April 13, 1876. Her children were named John, Mary J., George, William (deceased), Daniel, James C. (deceased), Joseph, [and] Thomas J.

Mr. PRATER afterward married Mary Combs, a sister of Capt. Combs, and a native of Kentucky.

Mr. PRATER is a successful farmer of 100 acres of well cultivated land; is a member of the Christian Church, and in politics is a Democrat." (Goodspeeds History of NW AR…)

Notes: See Also the Madison Biography of A. L. THOMPSON