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MURRAY COUNTRY FAMILIES

Pleasant McGhee


Pleasant McGhee, farmer, Spring Place, is a native of Morgan county, Tenn., although by nurture and long established residence, he has acquired all the tastes and manners of the Georgian.

His parents died during his early infancy. In 1840, at the age of seven years, he was brought to Murray county by his grandfather, and was chiefly reared in that county. In 1849 the gold fever broke out in California and he migrated to southwestern Missouri near the Indian territory, where he lived and traded among the Indians. In 1855, with a company of friends he started for the gold fields on the Pacific slope, journeying by way of Fort Scott, Fort Kearney, and Fort Laramie, over the vast prairies, crossing the Rocky mountains, to the north of Salt Lake City, at Soda Springs, and after experiencing divers adventures and hairbreadth escapes finally arrived at Sacramento in August. At what is now known as Eldorado he engaged in mining during the following eighteen months, and succeeded fairly well.

In 1857 he recrossed the mountains and the prairies, and again located in southwest Missouri, engaging in the cattle trade, which he operated successfully until 1858, when he returned to Georgia and married Miss Frances Cleveland, daughter of Robert Cleveland. They moved to southwest Missouri, where Mr. McGhee engaged in farming and trading.

Previous to the commencement of the war Mr. McGhee was a sturdy Union man; but when state after state withdrew from the Federal compact he took sides with the Confederacy. He first enlisted in the territorial regiment. Obtaining a leave of absence he returned to Georgia with his family, and then rejoined his command under Col. Stanwiddie.

The forces were reorganized and Mr. McGhee aided in raising a company, of which he was first made lieutenant; and later, on the death of the captain, he was elected and commissioned captain of Company H, Sixteenth Missouri infantry. This regiment was commanded by Col. Lewis, and was attached to Parson's brigade. He was first engaged at the battle of Prairie Grove, in Arkansas, and fought at Helena, on July 3, 1863, under Price, where his command sustained defeat. Capt. McGhee entered the fight with forty men and retired with fifteen, twenty-five having been killed, wounded or captured. He, too, sustained a slight wound.

He was next engaged in the battle of Mansfield, La, under Gen. Kirby Smith. Here Banks and the Federals sustained a severe defeat, losing a large amount of commissary stores. His command entered winter quarters at Camden, Ark., and continued in active service until surrendered at Shreveport, La., in 1865, where he was paroled and returned to his home in broken health.

His property interests were ruined during the war, and as a result of four years of strife. He engaged in agricultural pursuits and by his industry, perseverance and good judgment he soon found himself in possession of a reasonable competency. As a man of affairs he rapidly arose to prominence in his county. His friends realizing his worth frequently urged his name for public office. In the years 1881-82-83-84, he served as a member of the board of commissioners of Murray county. In 1886 he became the candidate of his party for representative in the legislature; he was elected and served in the general assembly for 1886-87, and served on the committee on agriculture, mines and mining, counties and county matters, wild lands, and roads and bridges, and in all of these committees he was an active and zealous worker. He introduced a bill to prevent landlords and retail merchants from charging in excess of 15 per cent, of the value of the property or goods. This bill stirred up considerable commotion, and Mr. McGhee is still of the opinion that it was a just and equitable measure and should have been enacted into a law. He returned from the legislature with clean hands and a good name, and has since followed the peaceful pursuits of agriculture on his farm near Spring Place.

While not actively engaged in politics he still takes an active interest in all questions affecting the prosperity of Georgia and her people.

By his marriage Mr. McGhee has five children: Orazaba E., wife of John L. Gait; William T.; Florence J., who married Howard Lowry; Pleasant F.: and Oscar R.

Note his was written in 1895 from Memoirs of Georgia, 1895.

 



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