JOHN R. COONS
Source: Atlas of Montgomery Co IN (Chicago: Beers, 1878) p 52
COONS, John R, PO Crawfordsville; Mayor; native of Overton Co TN; settled in this co. in 1829.
Source: History of Montgomery County, Indiana. Indianapolis: AW Bowen, 1913 1913 p 1266
In the early days the state of Indiana was often a tempting field to the energetic, ambitious, strong-minded men and her various counties were filled with them during the time she was struggling up to a respectable position in the sisterhood of states. There was a fascination in the broad field and great promise which the new region of the northwest presented to activity and originality that attracted many men from all over the East and even part of the South, and induced them to brave all the privations and discomforts of frontier life for the pleasure and gratification of constructing their fortunes in their own way and after their own methods. It is this class of men more than any other who give shape, direction and character to the business of a community, County or state. Of the class just mentioned was the Coons family, one of the earliest to locate within the borders of Montgomery Co. and here the various members of the family have continued to play an important part in her affairs from that remote pioneer period to the present day, one of the best known members having been the late John R. COONS who was a man of talent and fine personal traits of character and for a long lapse of years one of the best known and popular educators of the Wabash Valley country, and also an honored public official. It was a renowned Roman who once said, "Pale death strikes with equal force at the turrets of the rich and the hovels of the poor, and distinction, whether of talents of wealth, philosophy, literature or invention, becomes neutral and fades in thepresence of death. Naked we come from the invisible world, naked we return thither. Before the final assize, prince and beggar are of the same stature and God is not a respecter of persons." So the life of the subject of this memoir goes on in fairer realms than ours, while his memory continues to be cherished by the host of warm friends whom he left behind, for the influence of such a man is "Not interred with their bones," as Shakspere (sic) said in his tragedy of Julius Caesar. Mr. Coons was the scion of a sterling old Southern family and he was born in the state of Tennessee, on Sept. 28, 1820 on a farm. He was a son of George and Julia Coons, who removed from Tenn to Indiana in the early 20s when their son, John R was a small child. They located in the wilds of Montgomery Co, where, after hard work and close application they established a good home, cleared their land and had a productive farm, enduring the privations and hardships incident to the lives of all frontier settlers, and they were influential among their neighbors and did much for the early development of the community. They continued to reside on the farm here until their children were grown, then moved into the city of Crawfordsville where they spent the rest of their lives, both now having been deceased many years. John R. Coons received the customary pioneer schooling, having attended the rural schools during the brief winter months, when he became of proper age, and in the crop season he worked hard on the home farm. He was of a literary turn of mind and when a boy showed a great ambition to become educated, and so he did by his own efforts, having remained all his life a close student of miscellaneous works, and was one of the best informed men on general topics in the County and an interesting and pleasing conversationalist. For many years he taught in the country schools of this locality and did a great work in strengthening the schools, winning the hearty commendation of both patrons and pupils. He also took an abiding interest in public affairs and was one of the leaders in Republican politics in Montgomery Co, having ever remained faithful to its principles. He was Deputy Co. Treasurer for two terms, during which he familiarized himself so thoroughly with the work of the same and was so prompt and courteous in discharging the work of the office that the people elected him co. treas. and he held the office with ability and much credit to himself and to the eminent satisfaction of all concerned. He later was honored by being elected mayor of Crawfordsville and during his administration he did much for the permanent good of the city, proving to be one of the best mayors the city has ever had, according to a consensus of opinion. He held this important office a number of years. After his official career Mr. Coons returned to school teaching, which he continued to follow with his usual success until his death on July 23, 1891. Mr. Coons was twice married, first to Nancy THOMPSON. TO this union 3 children were born: Albert, who lives in Waynetown; Eliza Jane, wife of Austin D. SUMNER of Hillsboro; and George W. of Crawfordsville. Mr. Coons was married to Mrs. Nancy Carolina GRAHAM on March 29, 1859. She was born on July 18, 1831 and was a daughter of Noble and Lydia Ann WELCH of Greencastle who later moved to a farm near Parkersburg. Noble W. Welch was born Jun 6, 1791 and died in 1872. Lydia Ann Welch was b. March 30, 1788 and died in 1873. Mr. Coons second wife had previously married Noble B. Graham in 1847. His death occurred on Jan 2, 1853. To this last union 4 children: Martha, a teacher in the Tuttle Building in Crawfordsville; Julia the wife of George M. HENDERSON now living in Indianapolis; Flora, who married Sol TANNENBAUM now deceased; and Wallace, who is foreman of the Crawfordsville Journal. Fraternally, Mr. Coons was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and in religious matters belonged to the Christian Church and was faithful in his support of the same and was known to all as a man of integrity and scrupulous honesty.