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Rankin Family History Project

William Andrew Difani


William Andrew Difani, an enterprising young citizen of Perry County, Mo., is a native of the county, born on August 9, 1859, and is a son of Joseph and Matilda (Litteral) Difani. The remote ancestry of the Difani family was French, but Joseph was born in Baden, Germany, and came to America prior to his marriage. He was married in Perryville to Matilda Litteral of Scotch lineage.

Joseph Difani was a shoemaker and worked at his trade in Perryville for several years after which he purchased a farm in the neighborhood known as "Bumble Nook", where for several years he engaged in farming, dealing largely in horses, at which he was very successful. He was a prominent citizen and the owner of several farms.

A short time before his death, he purchased the farm on which the subject of this sketch now resides in Section 10 of the old Hawkins survey. Here he located and died a few months later. He and his wife had seven sons, viz.: George, who married Monica Tucker, Franklin, who married Roxie Milster; Joseph, Jr., who first married Julia Panneu and after her death, Mrs. Kate (Hogard) Burgee; James H., William Andrew; Lawrence, and Columbus F.

After the death of his wife, Joseph Difani married Isabella Milster, who bore him no children. His death occurred in November 6, 1866, about five months after his second marriage, and his widow became the wife of Henry Frazier and is still living, aged sixty-two years.

William Andrew Difani's early education was secured in Perry County, after which he took a commercial course at Bryant & Stratton's College, St. Louis. He also completed a normal course at Metropolis, Ill., in 1884.

He, however, taught school prior to the latter date, and was elected school commissioner in April, 1883. He has been twice re-elected to the same position, and is at present filling the office. He teaches school during the winter seasons, and in 1887-88 was principal of the Altenburgh schools.

He manages his farm during the summer season. He married Frances Cissell, by whom he is the father of two bright daughters, Stella and Edith.

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The Goodspeed Publishing Company compiled a series of histories of various counties in the U.S. in the late 19th century. The information in the History of Southeast Missouri, published in 1888, was provided by the contemporary residents of Perry County and her neighboring counties. The biographies are a valuable source of genealogical information, despite a few minor inaccuracies. We are glad to present the transcribed biographies here for anyone researching Perry County's history.

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