James M. Clifton, postmaster at Versailles, was appointed to that position by President Cleveland July 7, 1887, and has been a resident of this county since 1857. He was born in Kentucky in 1841, and came with his parents, Samuel and Mary (Pennebaker) Clifton, to Missouri in 1850. The parents were natives of Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively, and after moving to Missouri they settled in Cedar County, where the father entered land, and followed farming all his life. He was a soldier in the Florida War, and died in 1856, at the age of thirty-five years. The mother died in Morgan County, Mo., in 1875, at the age of fifty-one years, she being a member of the Baptist Church. Mr. Clifton was a strong temperance man, a member of the Sons of Temperance, and was a Whig in his political views. They were the parents of eight children, three of whom are living: Z. T., postmaster at Syracuse, Mo.; Samuel, a farmer of Morgan County, and James M., the subject of this sketch. The last named, when fifteen years of age, took charge of the home farm, but later moved to Versailles, where he purchased a lot and built a house. He then entered a drug store, first as clerk, but afterward as partner. and there remained until 1863, when he rented a farm for twelve years. After this he bought a farm, remained on it two years, and then moved to Versailles, where he has since resided. He is the owner of 290 acres of land, with 100 acres under cultivation. Mr. Clifton was first married December 31, 1863, to Miss Amanda Doran, a native of Virginia, who bore him four children: Benjamin, now at home; M. F., assistant in the postoffice; Lucy E., at home, and James M., also at home. The mother of these children died in May, 1874, at the ago of twenty-eight years. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Clifton was married the second time, in 1875, to Mrs. Susan Ingram, a native of Missouri, and the result of this union has been two children: John W. and Susan Anna. Mr. and Mrs. Clifton are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are active workers in the same. Mr. Clifton is a man who has always taken an active part in public affairs of the county, and is a representative citizen. He was a soldier in Price's command six months, and was in the battles of Carthage, Wilson's Creek, Fort Scott and others. He was captured and held a prisoner of war from December, 1861, until April, 1862, and was actively engaged in buying and shipping stock from 1864 to 1887. He is a member of the A. F. & A. M.
History of Cole, Moniteau, Morgan, Benton, Miller, Maries and Osage Counties, Missouri, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.