branson JOHN MCNABB BRANSON.-No philosopher ever made a truer statement than the one who proclaimed that the greatest man in the world can do no more than to do well the thing which lies nearest to him; and it may be added that greatness has usually been achieved through the faculty and determination to accomplish with faithfulness and forethought the affairs of family and home community before going afield for other honors. Measured by this approved standard, John McNabb Branson, well known primarily as a substantial farmer and a stock raiser, has made his useful and honorable life one unvarying success, and his manly and intelligent efforts have never ceased to assist in the agricultural, educational and religious development of Curry township and Sullivan county. He comes of an old Virginia family, his father migrating from the Old Dominion (through Tennessee and Georgia) to this Indiana region, where he became one of its foremost pioneers. The son was born in Cocke county, Tennessee, on the 25th of April, 1836, being a son of Michael, Jr., and Sarah (McNabb) Branson. The father was a native of Pittsylvania county, Virginia, where he was born in September, 1805, and died in Curry township, Sullivan county, March 22, 1888. The mother was born in Cocke county, Tennessee, and died on the farm adjoining the homestead now occupied by John M., in 1890. The paternal grandfather, a native of Virginia, spent his life within its limits as a farmer, stock raiser and a distiller. By his wife he became the father of ten children, and the sons are as follows: James, was a resident of Missouri, and was a farmer; George, was a renowned Baptist minister, itinerant, district, and preached in four or five counties in Indiana; he died in the state of Iowa; Asa, was a farmer and stock dealer; he purchased lands in Jackson township, and there died; Michael was the father of John McNabb Branson; Luke L., was a Baptist minister in North Carolina, also an agriculturist; Joseph was an agriculturist, resided in Missouri, and there died. There is no records given of the daughters. Michael Branson, Jr., received an unusually broad education for one of those days, and during his lifetime practiced three professions, as well as became remarkably successful in agricultural enterprises. He was first a school teacher, practiced medicine, preached from the pulpit of the Baptist church, and during the last twenty years of his life not only returned to his labors as a physician but profitably engaged in farming. From Virginia he first removed to Cocke county, Tennessee, and in 1844 transferred his homestead to Hamilton county, that state, later going to Cass county, Georgia, and finally in 1849 locating with his family in Curry township. Here he entered the last quarter section of canal land and resided until his death, occupied as a farmer, a physician and a man of public affairs. For many years he served as a justice of the peace, and as early as 1857 represented the county in the state legislature for one term. In politics he was a stanch Democrat, never turning from the straight path as laid down by the fathers of the party. The four children born to this strong and good man were as follows: Samuel, for a time a school teacher prior to his death, at the age of twenty years; Nancy Branson Curry, who died after rearing three children; John M. Branson, of this review; and Felix, who married M. J. Curry and died some dozen years ago, leaving four children. The children of this family were all well educated, and honored their parents, themselves and the communities of their residence.

John M. Branson spent the first twenty-five years of his life on the home farm, securing an education and faithfully assisting his parents. He then mastered the cooper's trade, and after being employed in that line for some time opened a shop at Shelburn, which he operated for several years before his marriage. Subsequently, he purchased land in Curry township and commenced to farm on a tract of forty acres. His holdings have since been increased to one hundred and eighty acres, and he now owns not only one of the most valuable farms in this locality, but one of the finest residences in Farmersburg. Mr. Branson was a resident of the town for seven years while his children were attending school there, but now lives on his fine farm, engaged in the raising of standard crops and live stock and making a specialty of the breeding of horses. In politics he is a Populist Democrat, has been somewhat active in the local field, and has served for one term as assessor. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist church, and for many years has been prominently connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The Farmersburg lodge was established in 1885, and he has filled all the chairs in it, is a member of the Encampment, and has served as a delegate to the grand lodge.

On May 10, 1866, John M. Branson married, as his first wife, Martha A. Zink, who was born in Jackson township, Sullivan county, Indiana, in November, 1848, and died June 20, 1885, being buried in Littleflock cemetery, Shelburn. The children of this union were as follows: (1) Stella, born February 14, 1876, who is teaching music in the girls' department of the State School at Redwing, Minnesota, having been educated at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, and also taught music in Chicago; (2) George Austin Branson, was born May 14, 1878, in Curry township, and is now engaged in the implement business in Hindsburg, Illinois. He married Golden Knight, having been educated at Danville, Indiana; (3) Flossie, who was born November 4, 1882, married Robert C. Brownlee, and resides in St. Louis. She is a graduate of the Farmersburg high school, attended the State Normal, taught two years, is also a graduate of the Protestant Association Hospital of St. Louis, and is a lady of thorough culture and earnestness of purpose; (4) Clarence Michael Branson was born on the 13th of June, 1885, and is pursuing a law course at Bloomington, Indiana. He attended the normal school at Danville two years and taught for a like period, having now three displomas to his credit. He is married to Martha Inez Sparks.

As his second wife, John M. Branson married, on July 11, 1887, Miss Margaret McMillan, born in Philadelphia, March 18, 1852, daughter of Daniel and Margaret (Geddes) McMillan. Mrs. Branson's father was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1820, and died at Little Rock, Arkansas, in March, 1859. The mother, born in the Scotch city named in 1822, died at Galveston, Texas, in 1858, being at the time a temporary resident seeking health in the south. Mrs. Branson's father came to the United States in 1838 and first located in Woodville, Mississippi, where as a tailor he associated himself with his uncle. He followed that trade throughout life, and at the time of his death owned a flourishing establishment in Little Rock. Margaret McMillan was graduated from a scientific course at the female college in Oxford, Ohio; afterward removed to Natchez, Mississippi, where she remained two years; and in 1870 located in Park county, Indiana, where for the seventeen years prior to her marriage to Mr. Branson she taught the literary and musical branches. She is a Presbyterian, while the children of the family are members of the Methodist church.