Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JAMES HOWARD EARNEST. This is an age of specialization. Nearly everybody has a hobby and is doing or trying to do some one thing well-better than all the rest of the things that he is engaged in. It is found among the farmers of Greene county that many of them are specializing in corn. Some farm animal, as a particular breed of cows, will make as good a specialty as corn. It does not make much difference what it is so it is the one kind of stock in which the owner has the greatest interest. The more one gives his attention to his specialty the more it will take possession of him and while he gets a great deal of pleasure and makes a financial success of his chosen line the danger is that he will neglect his other stock or crops in his desire to excel in his specialty. James Howard Earnest, well-known farmer of Murray township, is one of the citizens of Greene county who is making a specialty of fine full-blooded Jersey cattle and at the same time is successful as a general farmer, being careful to not neglect any department of his well-regulated farm.
Mr. Earnest was born in the above named township and county, September 2, 1850, and is a representative of an old and influential family of this locality. He is a son of John Ramsey Earnest and Sarah H. (McClure) Earnest. The father was born in eastern Tennessee in 1822, and was. a son of Wesley and Elizabeth (Blackburn-Ramsey) Earnest, both natives of Tennessee, in which state they grew up, were married and made their home there until 1851, when they immigrated to Greene county, Missouri, and lived the rest of their lives on-a farm, his death occurring in 1860 and his wife died in Cave Spring. John R. Earnest, father of our subject, grew to manhood in Tennessee and received his education there in the early-day subscription schools. He had passed his twenty-first birthday when he came to Greene county, Missouri, and he worked a year on the old Appleby farm in the northern part of the county, and here he married and settled on forty acres south of Willard. He sold out later and bought another farm in the neighborhood consisting of one hundred and sixty acres. Selling this he bought the old Willey farm of about two hundred and forty acres and operated it until 1856, when he sold out to Henry Willey and moved to the John Murray farm, buying out the Murray heirs, and farmed there for about ten years, then sold out and went to one of the western states and took up a claim, and was killed by a falling tree in 1879. He was a very successful farmer and was a man of influence in Murray township. He was justice of the peace for some time and was administrator in many estates, in which capacity he discharged his duties in a manner satisfactory to all concerned. He was elected county judge and filled this position one term with honor and credit to himself and to the township and county. Fraternally, he was an enthusiastic Mason, belonging to the lodge at Ebenezer, Missouri. He was an active Democrat and a local leader in the party. He was a worthy member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, in which he was an elder for years. He was highly esteemed by all who knew him. His wife, Sarah H. McClure, was born in Tennessee about 1832 and her death occurred in Greene county, Missouri, in 1864. He married his second wife in 1865, Bonde Arnn, a native of Tennessee, who died in Texas in 1904.
John R. Earnest was the father of seven children by his first marriage, and three by his second; those by his first wife were named as follows: James H., of this sketch, the second died in infancy, Mary Virginia, Elizabeth and Nathan are all three deceased; John Charles lives in California; Mrs. Sarah H..Halloway lives in Jefferson City, Missouri. The following children were by his last wife; Mrs. Anna Love Saddler lives in Texas; Luther and Walter, both make their homes in the Lone Star state also.
James H. Earnest spent his boyhood days on the farm in Murray township and assisted his father with the general work during the crop seasons. He received his education in the district schools at Cave Spring and in the old Murray school. Early in life he began farming for himself and operated land in different parts of Murray township, moving to his present farm in 1884. He had eighty acres at first, but prospering through close application and good management he added to his holdings and now has a finely improved and productive farm of one hundred acres, on which he carries on general, farming and stock raising, making a specialty of full-blooded Jersey cattle, which are greatly admired by all who see them, who know how to appreciate livestock of a superior grade. In connection with his general farming he operates a dairy under modern and sanitary methods, and finds a very ready market for his products. He has a pleasant home and a number of convenient, substantial outbuildings, and everything about his place denotes good management and industry.
Mr. Earnest has been twice married, first, in 1872, to Mary Ann Parrish, a native of Greene county, Missouri. She died in 1875 without issue. In 1877 Mr. Earnest married Sarah Frances Stakley, a native of Lawrence county, Missouri, and to this union three children have been born, namely: Ethel, who married William H. Grafton, of Willard, has five children, Joseph, Newman, Homer, Rolla and Kermit; Orville, second child of our subject, married Bessie Lee; they live in Sarcoxie, Missouri, and have one child, Ellen; Bertha, third child of our subject, lives in Powersite, Missouri.
Politically, Mr. Earnest is an independent voter, and is a man who takes a deep interest in the general welfare of his township and county.
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