John S. Massey

Pages 683-684
John S. Massey, one of the extensive planters and stockmen of Perry county, was born November 8, 1840 in Tipton County Tenn. and is a son of James Massey & Patsey Miller, natives of the same State, of Irish and Scotch descent, respectively. The parents settled in Yell County Ark., where the father died when John was little less than a year old, and the mother followed him within a month's time, leaving John S. and the elder brother Nathaniel A., to be provided for by John Miller, a brother of the mother's. This protector died when John was twelve years old, and they were then taken charge of by another uncle, Joshua M. Miller, with whom John remained until his twenty first year. In 1861 he rented a tract of land and put in a crop of cotton and corn, and after securing his crop in a safe place, he enlisted in Company B, of the Fifteenth Northwestern Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, and served until 1865, taking part in the battles of Elkhorn or Pea Ridge, Corinth, Hatchie Bridge, besides a nunmber of hot skirmishes and a battle on the retreat from Corinth. Then followed a number of other engagements and on May 17, 1863 he was captured at Black River and taken prisoner to Indianapolis where he was confined seven months and eleven days, then to Fort Delaware and kept between three and four months, and from there to Point Lookout, where his prison experience ended, as he was paroled and went to Richmond Virginia. He next joined the Twenty first Regiment of Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, in which he served until the regiment was disbanded at Marshall Tex, about June 5, 1865. On the 10th of that month he returned home and resumed his farm work, and on Juuly 26, 1866, was united in marriage to Miss Henrietta A. Huffaker, daughter of Cristy Huffaker, of Tennessee. Mr Massey purchased 120 acres of unimproved land, which he commenced cultivating and resided upon until December 1886 when he removed to Perryville for the purpose of educating two children he was rearing: Edward L. and John W. Bowie, orphans of a married sister, Ellen C. Bowie. Mr and Mrs Massey have had the care of five orphan children: Sarah Prior (whom they took at the age of thirteen and cared for two years), Lewis Harrison (at the age of twelve years), Thomas E. Holmes) whom they took at the age of fourteen) and the two above mentioned, this worthy couple giving them a father and mother's care and putting them in a good position in after life. Mr Holmes rose to an eminent position and is now the mayor of Perryville. Mr Massey now owns 123 acres of land, and has placed sixty acres under a high state of cultivation. He had 193 acres at one time, but sold seventy of these in 1885. In politics he is a strong Democrat and a firm supporter of his party. In 1872 he was elected to the office of justice of the peace, which position he held for eight years and in 1884 was elected county assessor, serving four years. He was initiated into the Masonic fraternity in 1869 in Perryville Lodge No. 220, in which he took the third degree of Ancient Craft Masonry and he also belongs to Aplin Lodge No. 444 at Aplin, Perry County. He has held the office of Junior and Senior Warden and serves in the latter capacity at the present time. Mr and Mrs Massey are members of the Methodist Episcopal Chuch, South and the former is steward of Pleasent Grove Congregation. He is a liberal supporter of all religions and educational enterprises and an influential as well as a valuable citizen to the community.