J.W. McGinnis, of Columbia, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana, was born near Clarksville, Tennessee, March, 1836 the eldest of seven children born to John S. and Martha (Matthews) McGinnis, both of whom were natives of Tennessee, and were reared, educated, and married in that state, and there lived their entire lives. The father was a farmer and mechanic, and devoted his attention principally to planting.
Before the war he had accumulated considerable property, owning a good deal of land and quite a number of slaves. He was a plain, practical and successful agriculturist. He never aspired to any official positions. He died in 1857 and his wife survived him until 1860.The latter was a member of the Presbyterian Church.
Six members of their family are now living, J.W. McGinnis, two of his brothers and three of his sisters, of whom the first mentioned is the one living in Louisiana. Mr. McGinnis was reared in Tennessee and there received his early education. In the summer of 1861, very soon after the opening of the war, he enlisted in Company D, of the Thirty-Third Tennessee Infanty, which regiment was commanded by Col. A.W. Campbell and with which he participated in the battles at Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and engagements around Atlanta, the battles at Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee. -- nineteen pitched battles in all, and a number of engagements of minor importance. At Murfreeesboro, he was made a prisoner of war and was confined to Camp Morton, Indianapoli, for four months, but afterwards joined his command and was a member of Joseph E. Johnston's army in North Carolina at the time of surrender.
Returning to Tennessee, he engaged in mechanical pursuits. In 1866 he was married in Obion County, Tennessee, to Miss Nannie Dunagin, who has borne him four children: Charles (living), Dupee (who is now deceased), Lee (also deceased), and Cora (living).
In 1871, Mr. McGinnis removed to Dunklin County, Missouri, and two years later he removed to Caldwell, Columbia, Louisiana. In 1875, Mr. McGinnis married Miss Addie Longmire, who has borne him four sons and four daughters: Rosa, Harry (deceased), Kate, Anna, Mattie, John W. (living), and another who died in infancy, and Joseph E. (living). Of these Kate, Anna, and Mattie are deceased.
Since taking up his residence in Louisiana, Mr. McGinnis has been engaged in the general carpenter and cabinet work and has also devoted considerable time to the undertaking business. Industrious and frugal to a marked degree he has aquired quite a little property, being the owner of his residence and of several tenement houses in Columbia. He has been mayor of Columbia for six terms, and is at this time parish superintendent of public education, to which office he was elected in 1888. He has been an Odd fellow since 1858 and has held various offices in his lodge of that order.
He is also a Knight of Pythias, and was a charter member of the Knights of Pythias lodge of Columbia. No man has been more deeply interested than Mr.McGinnis in the progress and presperity of Columbia and Caldwell Parish. He has aided their development and advancement in evey way possible, working for their interests when work was required and aiding with his means when money was needed.
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