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The McConnells, Inmans and their in-laws who came to Christian (then-Greene) Co., MO in the 19th century from Tennessee left a legacy of thousands of descendants who settled the area around modern Nixa.
Line of the McConnells
- William (d. 1772) and Jane McConnell are found in Salisbury, the county seat of Rowan Co., NC, by 1762 where they likely migrated from southeastern Pennsylvania and Virginia. They operated a tavern/inn at the main intersection of the town on the Great Wagon Road, which gave William considerable political influence in the courthouse that served 27 modern North Carolina counties. But William also owned a 24-acre vineyard in town and large farms in Rowan and later Iredell Co., NC. Jane likely was his second wife.
- Alexander McConnell (c. 1757-1798) married Catherine Boyd (c. 1761-after 1826) in Iredell Co. in 1782, but this Iredell Co. farmer and minor slaveholder died young after fathering seven children. Catherine was the daughter of Robert and Ann Boyd, originally of Chester Co., PA, who moved to Rowan Co. well before the Revolution before they moved to Kentucky and then near Nashville. Catherine remarried to Samuel Wasson and moved with her children to Maury Co., TN south of the modern city of Columbia.
- Walter (possibly Scott) McConnell (c. 1784-1854) moved to Middle Tennessee at about age 20 and soon married Mary Elizabeth “Polly” Parker (1788/9-1860) in Williamson Co. in 1807. She was the daughter of teacher-farmer Jeremiah Parker and Millie Robey, who had migrated from Prince George’s Co., MD to Iredell Co., NC and finally Giles Co., TN. Walter fought in battles in Alabama during the Creek War after his marriage. He owned a farm in Giles Co., where he and Mary helped her parents in their older years, but they mainly lived in southern Maury Co. near the village of Bigbyville. They followed their son Alexander to Greene (now Christian) Co., MO in 1845 and farmed northwest of Nixa. Walter’s cousin, Col. Marcus Boyd, was a leading politician in southwest Missouri before and during the Civil War. Walter’s son William was elected to the Missouri House from Barry Co., he was tried but acquitted for treason in the war, and his hotel was seized as a hospital for the conflict.
- John Walter McConnell (1829-1907) was born in southern Maury Co. and moved to Christian Co., where he married in 1853 to Matilda D. Edwards (1838-1873), whom he likely had known as a young child in Tennessee. She was the daughter of the Rev. James Wright Edwards and Martha H. “Patsy” Kenamore, who also moved from southern Maury Co. to the area where Nixa later became a village. Edwards, as part of the Mack family’s Union political machine that took over much of southwest Missouri during the Civil War, served on the county court. Matilda’s cousin, Gen. Gideon Johnson Pillow, invaded Missouri at the head of Confederate forces. John, who saw limited activity in the Civil War, had at least six children by Matilda before her death. He then remarried to Rebecca Jane Pope (1857-1934), the daughter of Leroy William Pope and Amanda/Lamanda Jane Stowe, who came to Greene Co. about 1850 from Roane Co. of east Tennessee. John, a comfortable farmer, had four children by his second marriage and gave the land for McConnell Cemetery near Nixa.
- William Alexander McConnell (1867-1952) married Mary Elizabeth Bell Ray, the daughter of Christian Co. Assessor George Miller Ray and Mary Ann Craig, both natives of Bedford Co., TN. Like the Edwardses, Ray was among the Radical Republican politicians who took courthouse offices after the war. William became the first of the McConnell line to move to modern Greene Co., settling on a Wilson’s Creek battlefield farm near Republic by 1910. After his seven children were born and Mary Bell died, “Pa Bill” remarried to Nan Melvin and Grace “Daisy” Wright Alley.
- Henry Burl McConnell (1905-1955) returned to Nixa for a bride, Ida Mae Inman (1910), the daughter of Finley Glover “Bud” Inman and Mary Alice Dewitt. A Greene Co. road employee, Henry and Mae bought a farm that overlooks the battlefield in 1941, and she still lives there at age 96.
The line of the Inmans
- Lazarus Inman (c. 1730-1781) likely married Elizabeth White, daughter of Isaac White and Jane Campbell of Augusta Co., VA. Lazarus owned a farm near modern Waynesboro, VA, but died during the Revolution while living in Rockbridge Co., VA.
- The Rev. James William Inman (c. 1760s-1830s), a Revolutionary War veteran, likely married twice, the second time to Martha Caroline Wilson in Tennessee. The couple moved to Giles Co., TN from Carter Co. in 1827. James William reportedly was a circuit-riding Methodist minister, and Old Salem Church in northwest Giles Co. may have been his final assignment. The couple had four children, all of whom moved to Greene Co. in 1852, including Nancy Inman Wilson, Martha Inman Gamble and Louisa Caroline Inman Glover Wilson Sanders.
- Elkanah Delaney Inman (1814-1866) married his cousin, Sarah Jane Moore (1818-1894), in Giles Co. around 1839. He owned or rented small farms where he raised labor-intensive tobacco, even after moving to Porter Township in 1852. Most of his later life, he was incapacitated by illness. After his death, Sarah Jane used the proceeds from her mother’s pension from the Civil War death of a son to buy a farm, but likely lost it in the 1880s to fund the defense of another son who was accused but acquitted of murdering her son-in-law. She may have moved with many of her children to Texas in the 1880s, but returned to Nixa where she died.
- John Wesley Inman (1842-1927) came to Missouri as a young boy and married Nancy Lavanda Wilson (1846-1929), another native Giles Countian and cousin. John served as a Union teamster during the Battle of Wilson’s Creek and later earned a pension for war service. He established a sizable farm southwest of Nixa that became the home for most of his sons.
- Finley Glover “Bud” Inman (1869-1914) married Mary Alice Dewitt (1881-1939), who came with her mother from Kentucky to Christian Co. in 1890. He died young from typhoid and pneumonia. Mary Alice’s mother, Emily Jane Dewitt Lawson, became well known in the community for her fortune-telling and other occult abilities that were highly prized in an era before modern communications. The couple had eight children, who scattered after their mother remarried to a relatively benign ex-convict, Tull O. Campbell.
The line of Rays
- James Ray came to Pennsylvania from Ireland with his siblings before 1742 when he bought a Lancaster Co. farm. By 1747, he had moved to the part of Granville Co., NC that became Orange Co. There, he became an extensive land owner and prominent member of the county seat crowd.
- John Ray (1740-1829) married Sarah Miller (c. 1747-1800), the daughter of George Miller and Susannah Bird, who were natives of the area where Chester Co., PA and New Castle Co., DE touched. George had been a Quaker who was disowned when he married outside the faith. John Ray, like his father, owned extensive farms in Orange Co. and headed the county court after the Revolution. After Sarah’s death, he remarried to cousin Sarah “Sally” Clark.
- James Ray (c. 1769-1835) married his cousin, Jane/Jennett Robinson (1772-1852), the daughter of Michael Robinson and Mary Ray of Orange Co. After 1810, the couple moved to Williamson Co., TN and by 1817 settled on a large farm in southwest Bedford Co. near the community of Richmond.
- Alexander Ray (1793-1857) married Isabella Scott (1800-1835), the daughter of John and Sarah Scott of Bedford Co. Alexander owned a substantial farm near Richmond, where he also owned the local mill. Later in life, he served as school commissioner for the southwest segment of the county.
- George Miller Ray (1826-1881), named for his great-great-grandfather, married Mary Ann Craig (1829-1876), a cousin of Presidents Zachary Taylor and James Madison. She was the daughter of William Craig, the descendant of the family that provided the first Baptist preachers in Kentucky, and Mary Taylor. George and Mary Ann moved to Arkansas c. 1860, but when the war broke out relocated for safety near Cape Girardeau, MO. George served as a officer for the Union army in the Civil War and in 1867 moved his family to Christian Co. from Batesville, AR. A Radical Republican, he was elected county assessor in 1876, but died soon after leaving office. After Mary Ann’s death, he remarried to Sarah Jane Hartley (1843-1924). His brother James, who had married Margaret Mayes in Bedford Co., also moved to Christian Co. and left descendants.