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Rankin Family History Project

Henry C. Oliver


Henry C. Oliver, a thrifty farmer of Perry County, Mo., residing four miles southeast of Perryville, was born in Cape Girardeau County, Mo. in 1833. He is one of three living children of a family of ten born to Harry Oliver, a native of North Carolina, who when a young man came to Cape Girardeau County with John Oliver. Harry Oliver died about 1872.

Henry C. was born the slave of Mrs. Hannah Harris, with whom he remained until he was eleven years of age, after which he was successively owned by Alonzo and Caswell Abernathy remaining with the latter until he was made a free man by Abraham Lincolnís emancipation proclamation in 1863.

After the war was over and peace restored he began farming in Perry County on rented land. He had not a cent he could call his own, but possessed a large amount of latent energy and self-determination, and soon gained a foothold. He worked hard and attended strictly to his own business, and now owns 1780 acres of fine land, which is well improved. He is a worthy example for his people, showing that it is not impossible for even the poorest citizen to carve out his own fortune.

He is well respected in his county, and is a member of the Republican party. In 1855, he married Mary Black, a native of the county, by whom he has ten children: William Henry, Richard Green, Uriel Wright, John, Effie, Martha, Henderson, Laura, Julia, and Mary. Mrs. Oliver and children are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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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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