Post-office, Brownsville. One of Pettis County's most honored citizens is the subject of this sketch. He what may be strictly termed a self-made man. His father, Jacob Shanks, was a native of Virginia, but died in a few years after emigrating to Missouri. Samuel was the fourth child in a family of eight children. He received a practical education from the common subscription schools of this State. When he was thirteen years old he was taken with his father's family to Osage County, where he remained until the year 1846, when he enlisted as a soldier in the Mexican War, remaining until its close. He then returned to his home in Missouri.
In 1849, Mr Shanks, like many others of that day, caught the gold fever, which took him to California, but he only remained in the golden State about eighteen months, when he returned to his native State, and in the spring of 1850 he moved to Pettis County, locating in the northwestern part of the county, where he has since resided.
Mr. Shanks was married March, 1852, to Miss Bobbitt, a daughter of John Bobbitt, of Johnson County. From this union there were four children, three of whom are now living, viz: Emma, now the wife of Will D. Carpenter; Florence, now the wife of Dr. Seaton Tyler, and David, at home. Mrs. Shanks dying, he was again married to Miss Lucy B. Tate, of Texas. From this union there were four children, three of whom are now living, viz: Fox, Wilford, and Daisy.
Mr. Sharks owns one of those model farms, "the Prairie Home," for which the northwestern part of the county is noted, 640 acres in extent, and like the other farms of this section, it is well watered, has a handsome residence and fine out-buildings, fences, etc. a fine view of which produced on this page. Mr. Shanks farms extensively, though keeping many acres of his farm in meadow and blue grass, upon which he has a choice herd of twenty-five Short-horns, representing the Young Mary and Rose of Sharon families, led by the Second Duke of the Roses, an animal of great merit. He also has in his barns a fine selection of brood mares, among them one sired by old St. Lewis Denmark, that has carried off many prizes. Mr. Shanks is a thorough stock man, and has been for years President of the Brownsville District Fair. He is a man of influence and character, one of whom his county can justly feel proud.
Source: Demuth, I. MacDonald, The History of Pettis County, Missouri (1882)