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Mr. North is one of the few remaining old pioneers of the county, and as one of its representative men a notice of him is due in our biographical pages. He was born in Charlotte county, Va., April 29th, 1811. His father and family migrated to Missouri in 1818, and made a location in Boles township, on the property on which the subject of this sketch now lives, and which he assisted his father to improve, during the days of his boyhood. Here his father and mother died in 1836, and their remains rest in the family burying ground on the farm. Here Mr. North has lived and operated during his life in Missouri, first as a tanner, the trade of his father before him, and later in farming, on an extensive scale, .in the active business period of his life.

He was married in the twenty-third year of his life, the partner of his choice being Miss Frances C., one of the amiable daughters of Judge John Goode, also an old pioneer mentioned in a previous part of this work.

He has raised in all a family of nine children, eight of whom are still surviving. Jabez, a promising young lawyer, died in the city of St. Louis in 1870. The others are Margaret F., the wife of B. W. Robin son ; Virginia, the consort of Dr. J. W. Jackson; James G., Misses Mary A., Maria L., Wilma J., Dr. E. B. and Frank M., all residing in , the county with the exception of the first mentioned.

It has been said by a prominent author that the best service a man can render his country is the proper care and culture bestowed in the rear ing up of his offspring. This truth was apprehended by most of our early settlers, and it embraces a principle on which Mr. North has acted from the first of his feeling the weight of the responsibility of a parent to the children entrusted to his charge by a beneficent Providence, and which has been fully accompanied with the natural and promised results. We do not make this observation as applying to one man alone. It is an obser vation which justly applies to most of the men whose strong arms felled the forests and tamed wild nature to the service of civilized men. Their ideas of family discipline, based on a true comprehension of the wants of the rising generation, together with a code of ethics gathered from a wide field of primitive experiences, gave them just ideas of the correct relations of life; and to them we are, undoubtedly, indebted not only for the material improvements which have changed a wilderness into a civi lized state, but for the strong cardinal virtues which hold together the plastic elements of our social fabric.

From the same source Mr. North, himself, early learned the lessons of economy and industry which led, in after years, to his business success, and which laid the basis of his ample fortune.

Like most of the sons of our pioneers, Mr. North's early educational advantages were limited, both in extent and character; but his innate love of study prompted him to make the best possible use of all available means, by which he laid the basis of an education which private study of men and books enabled him to complete.

Though not in any sense an aspirant for political honors, his services have been secured as one of the representatives of the county to the general assembly. He was first chosen as one of the peopled representa tives in 1851, and again represented his constituency in 1871, serving in all two regular and two special terms, during which his course was marked by that judiciousness, ability and candor that have character ized him in the management of his private affairs.

Politically, he was in former times what was known as a Benton Democrat, and has supported all the regular Democratic nominees from the second term of Jackson down to Samuel J. Tilden, though not a party man on questions vital to the existence of the nation.  He was not, during  the late war, in sympathy with the act of secession, nor with the many extreme measures adopted by the North for the suppression of the rebellion, but, like many other conservative men, was left in a state of hesitancy in the choice between two evils, though his sympathies were with his kindred people, notwithstanding their impractical ideas of a Southern government.

More than a passing notice is due to Mr. North's father, Hon. James North, one of the members of the first constitutional conventions of Missouri, and one of the first representatives in the legislature after the adoption of the constitution. He was also a native of Charlotte county, Virginia, and was born in 1785. He served his country in the last war with Great Britain. Losing his parents while young, he was bound out to learn a trade, and grew up to habits of integrity and usefulness. He was twice married in Virginia. His first lady was a Miss Martha Elam, and his second wife, Mr. North's mother, was a Miss Catherine Clark.

He early learned, by a hard experience, the value of money, and had accumulated considerable property before he left Virginia, and brought to this county six slaves and the value of his other properly in money. He was public-spirited and fond of learning, and took, in his general reading, a fancy to the works on medicine. He soon gained a sufficient knowledge of the healing art to enable him to practice, and spent a large part of his time in gratuitously administering to his sick neighbors. He soon gained popularity with the masses, and they eagerly sought his counsel on "every occasion of distress, or the arising of measures involving general interests. In his death the county lost one of its best men, who likely did as much as any other gentleman of his day to give the county a right start in social and material prosperity. All that we can say of the more remote ancestry is that they came from England at a very early day, and settled in the colony of Virginia: that they were of the better class of citizens, and were men of marked and vigorous, mental and physical constitutions.  


Franklin County Atlas Page 57


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