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Below is a sample of a family biography included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Northern Missouri and published by C. O. Owen & Co., in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details in 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.

THEOPHILUS BAXTER is a native of Ralls County, Mo., born September 3, 1854, and of German ancestry, though a long resident of this country. His grandfather, Baxter, was a farmer in Kentucky and in 1829 moved to Missouri, locating in Warwick Township about one mile west of Palmyra, Mo. Here he entered land and made a home, rearing a family of four children: John R., father of our subject; William, who was born in Ralls County, and is now living on the old homestead; Mary, who married L. H. Gardner of Ralls County, and is now deceased; Susan, married William Brown and now resides in Marion County. Of the children three are living.

John R. Baxter, the father of our subject, was born February 29, 1829, in Marion County, Mo., soon after his parents came to the State. His boyhood was spent on the home farm and his education received in the common schools. At the age of twenty-three or twenty-four he married Margaret Wilson, a native of Missouri. Soon after his marriage he located in Ralls County, and bought the farm known as the Kinney farm, on which he moved and remained a few years. He then removed to another place in this county, within three miles of Perry, where he purchased the farm and remained eight years. During his residence on the Kinney farm he lost his first wife, and in 1857 was married to Minerva Richards, a native of Ralls County, and daughter of Alonzo Richards. Selling the farm near Perry he moved to Saverton Township and purchased the farm on the banks of the Mississippi River. Here he remained one year and again sold out and purchased a farm one mile north of New London. On this farm he remained three years, and in the fall of 1866 moved to Marion County and purchased a farm, eight miles west of Hannibal. In 1874 he again sold and removed to Ralls County and bought the old Ely farm, which he made his residence until 1881. Before this, however, he had purchased four hundred acres of land adjoining the Ely farm, making it five hundred and sixty acres. He subsequently purchased other tracts until he owned over a thousand acres. This was his home until 1881, when he disposed of a portion of his land and moved to the village of Huntington where he now resides. He is a man of good judgment and business tact and made a success in life. After moving to Huntington he erected a store building and engaged in general merchandise about one year when his store and contents, together with his dwelling, were all destroyed by fire. It is supposed that the fire was of incendiary origin. Since then he has practically lived a retired life. He has for a greater part of his life been a member of the Christian Church, and is active and prominent in church work and has served the greater part of the time as Deacon.

By the union of John R. Baxter and Margaret Wilson there was born one child, the subject of our sketch. By his union with Minerva Richards there were five children, as follows: Mary C., who married John Watts, resides in Ralls County; William A., who now resides in the Indian Territory; Dora, who died at the age of sixteen years; Annie, who married Wallace Bond and resides in Monroe County; Effie, at home with her parents.

The early life of our subject was spent with his parents and his education was received in the common schools of Marion County, principally at Providence schoolhouse. He was married October 21, 1874, to Belle Mason of Marion County, and daughter of Harvey and Julia (Rogers) Mason. After their marriage the young couple located on the home place eight miles west of Hannibal which he purchased from his father. Here he remained three years engaged in general farming, when he sold out and purchased the farm near Emerson, Marion County, consisting of three hundred and twenty acres. Selling this farm at the expiration of one year, he then moved to the town of Emerson and engaged in general merchandising in company with James Bouldridge, under the firm name of Bouldridge & Baxter. This partnership continued but a short time when Mr. Baxter sold his interest and moved to Hannibal where he engaged in the grocery business, in which he continued one year. Then with his father continued the business under the firm name of Baxter & Son for one year, when John Penn bought the interest of the elder Baxter and the business was continued under the name of Baxter & Penn, when our subject sold out, and moved with his family to Dickey County, Dak. This was in 1882. He made claim to one-half section of land under the pre-emption and tree claim act, and remained about one and a half years and returned to Missouri, intending to get more teams and supplies for conducting his farming operations. While here he traded his land for property in Center and concluded to remain in old Missouri. The first year of his return he rented the Lisle farm in Ralls County and then engaged in general merchandise in Huntington. This time alone, having satisfied himself that a partnership was not the thing. He remained in this business about eight years, during which time he also had charge of the Post Office, and for five years of the time was also agent for the M., K. & T. R. R. at that place.

In May, 1888, Mrs. Baxter died and he was re-married June 12, 1889, to Julia Razor, a native of Ralls County, born in 1870. By his second union there was one child, Therus, born June 17, 1893.

During his residence in Huntington he purchased and shipped stock and sold all kinds of agricultural implements. In 1892 he traded his stock for property in Excelsior Springs, but moved to Center, where he engaged in his present business, that of handling grain and general produce. He buys and ships all kinds of grain and does both a wholesale and retail business in flour, furnishing his town merchants with flour and selling and exchanging with the farmers. In addition to what is already stated he buys and ships eggs for New York City. He also built a grist mill now in operation in his town, but finding his time too much occupied, disposed of it. In 1892 he bought the Central Hotel of this place and operated it a while, then sold out, but was compelled to take it back and he again took charge of it and finally in 1895 traded it for land in Pike County. Mr. Baxter has been a member of the Christian Church for twenty years, and is a member of Center Lodge No. 209, K. of P.; he is also a member of Friendship Lodge No. 79, K. of M., and also of Triple Alliance. In politics he is a Democrat.

This family biography is of a Ralls County family and is one of 553 biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Northern Missouri published in 1895.  For the complete description, click here: Ralls County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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