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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
Harmless Payton, son of Ransfrod and Sarah Payton was born in Franklin County, Kentucky, on April 18, 1820, the tenth of thirteen children. In 1839, his father signed a consent statement for Harmless to marry Nancy Onan (or Owen). Three children were born to this union: Mary, Thomas and Elizabeth. Nancy died after 1845.
Harmless joined the Kentucky migration to Missouri in 1840. His mother Sarah, his children, and his two sisters, Susan and Sarah, and a brother, Thomas also settled in Missouri. In 1857, he purchased land, one and one-half miles south of Hopewell, Missouri.
Harmless married Rachel Downery on September 28, 1851, at Bloomington. To this union were born ten children: Benjamin Frank, James William, Noah, John E., Ransford, Jacob, Margaret, Laura Bell, Missouri E., and Sarah. Rachel was known as an excellent cook with her specialties being “wild game” and “Granny’s Potatoes.” Rachel died on May 29, 1917. She is buried in the Agee Cemetery, south of Elmer.
Harmless was a Civil War veteran, enlisting in the Union Army on January 24, 1865, He served with Company E, the 39th Regiment of the Missouri Infantry and was mustered at the Benton Barracks. Harmless died on April 25, 1873, and is buried in a field on the Herb Epperson farm. Many of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in this area.