Biography Sources


March, 2005, by Steven Reid
NOTE:  There are other sources which contain valuable Daviess County HISTORY information which I plan to include in its own separate section.  To qualify as biographical as opposed to historical for the purpose of this listing, the source must include family information.

History of Daviess County (1882) by Birdsall and Dean, 868 pages

SUMMARY:  The first 140 pages deal with general Missouri History and are of limited use for Daviess Co. genealogists.  The next 360 pages to Chapter 20 deal with Daviess County history as a county and contain numerous references to early officers and figures.  Beginning in Chapter 20 through the end of the book, the history of each township within the county  is detailed with biographical sketches of prominent figures at the conclusion of each chapter.  Ten portraits are also included in the book.  Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry published an index to this book; other indices available online.
 In all, the book rates as the single most important history book on Daviess County because of its early date and thoroughness. 


(O) CDL: Index to surnames
(O) DCC: Index to 10 portraits
(M) FHL (both book and Ellsberry index),   MCPL, SHS
(B) FHL (paper copy), MCPL, SHS, DCL (reprint)
($B) BP ($205), HIG ($90 reprint)
($CD) BP ($50)
Memories (1904) by John F. Jordin, 200 pages and Reprint by Eleanor Bassett (2000) with added material

SUMMARY:  John Jordin writes his memories of characters and life in the area of Jamesport and Jackson Townships in Daviess County.  Numerous biographical sketches and photos included.  Although the book isn't numbered into chapters, it is divided into sections.  The 2000 edition by Eleanor Bassett adds an index and photos of tombstones of several of the people of the book. 
Jordin writes well and gives a window into 19th century life in Daviess County and is a recommended read for all; it is a must read for genealogists with ancestry in eastern Daviess County.

(O) DCC:  "Memories" Section Headings
(M) FHL (1904)
(B) FHL (1904 photocopy), MCPL
($B) Contact Eleanor Bassett  (2000 indexed edition)
History of Northwest Missouri (1915) by Walter Williams, 3 volumes (B) SHS
History of Daviess & Gentry Counties (1922) by Leopard & Leopard et. al., 1039 pages

SUMMARY:  The book is divided into three parts plus the front material which contains an alphabetical listing by surname of biographies  included the work.  The first two parts to page 329 deals with Daviess and Gentry county history, respectively, and includes historical figures of the counties.  The third part contains the close to 350 biographies indexed in the beginning of the book.  The biographies are not arranged in any particular obvious order, although Gentry county biographies seem to occupy more the middle and Daviess either end with some, though not complete, effort in keeping those living in the same township together.  About eighty-five illustrations/photographs are included in the work.
The history part of this volume is more faceted and consequently more accurate as opposed to the 1882 work; the biographies provide a new generation of genealogical information for those fortunate enough to have ancestry mentioned in the book.

(O) UMDL:Complete & searchable digtial record
(O) Partial Index
($B) BP ($240), HIG ($100 reprint)
($CD) BP ($50)
Ups and Downs (1936) by Dudley A. Reid, 408 pages

SUMMARY:  An autobiography of a newspaper editor born (1872)  & raised in the vicinity of Victoria, Jefferson Township.  The first half of the book deals with his life spent mostly in Daviess County including employment as a schoolteacher, Gallatin Democrat reporter and columnist, Winston Sentinel publisher and telephone operator, and his marriage to Josephine Tarwater.  Beginning in chapter 63, he recounts his newspaper publishing in Harrison County and other areas outside of Daviess County.
The book is well written and recommended reading for those interested in a glimpse of turn-of-the-century life and history in Daviess County.  Reid details his family tree and also describes  numerous people he comes into contact with.  Lamentably, the book has never been indexed.  Eight photos of Reid's family included.

Daviess County Centennial edition, 1837-1937 [of the] Gallatin North Missourian (1937) by Gallatin North Missourian. (B) MCPL
Jamesport Centennial (1972) (B) MCPL
Pattonsburg Centennial 1877-1977 (1977) (O) RGP:  Index to families
History of Daviess County (1985) by Daviess County Historical Society, 566 pages

SUMMARY:  A fairly modern work, History...1985 is comprised of 200-500 word sketches by mostly native Daviess Countians with an interest in or knowledge of Daviess County history and/or genealogy.  The first part of the book, comprising about 40% of the volume, deals with history of the county, in alphabetical order township by township.  Schools, churches, cemeteries, and organizations are recurring subjects throughout the first part, with emphasis on the contributions of individuals.  The latter part of the book is biographies in surname alphabetical order.  The book is indexed and has numerous photos throughout.



(O) = Online free-access
(M) = Microform (film/fiche) free-access
(B) = Book or other print material free-access
(CD) = CD-ROM free access
(RO) = Restricted online access
($O) = Subscription or fee-based online access
($M) = Microform for purchase
($B) = Book for purchase
($CD) = CD-ROM for purchase


BP = Brookhaven Press
CDL = Caldwell, Daviess, Livingston Co. Genealogy
DCC = Daviess Co. Cemeteries
DCL = Daviess County Library
FHL = Family History Library
HIG = Higginson Book Co.
HQ = Heritage Quest
MCPL = Mid-Continent Public Library--Genealogy Branch
MOSA = Missouri State Archives
RGP = Randy's Daviess County Genealogy Pages
SHS = State Historical Society of Missouri
UMDL = University of Missouri Digital Library

For detailed information on these sources, consult the Daviess County Source Guide