Randolph  County,  Indiana

Volney  Huston

            Few present day business men of Winchester are better known or more highly esteemed than Volney H. Huston, for he seems to be the possessor of that peculiar combination of attributes which results in the attainment of much that is worth while in this world. He has ever aimed to be progressive in what he does, is always in sympathy with enterprises having for their object the common good, and his influence is invariably exerted on the right side of every moral issue Like all men of positive character and independence of mind, he is outspoken in what he considers right, and his convictions are such that those who have come into close contact with him know well his position on all questions. His private life has always been exemplary, and his genial and obliging nature makes him popular with all classes.
            Mr. Huston was born May 2, 1857, in White River township, Randolph county, on a farm, two and one-half miles southwest of Winchester. He is a son of David M. and Rebecca (Miller) Huston. The father was born in Preble county, Ohio, where he remained until about 1840, when he was seventeen years old, when he came with his father, John Huston, and the rest of the family to Randolph county and settled in the woods on the farm where the subject of this sketch was born. There they erected a log cabin, cleared and developed a farm like the rest of the pioneers. David M. Huston devoted his life to general farming in this county and became an influential man in his neighborhood. He left the farm in 1874 and moved to Winchester, where he engaged in small fruit growing and gardening, later establishing the first coal and wood yard in Winchester, which he operated for several years and was succeeded by Stephen Clevenger. He spent the rest of his life in retirement. Politically, he was a Republican and was active in public affairs as affecting the community in which he lived. He and his wife were members of the United Brethren church. His death occurred January 31, 1896, at the age of seventy-three years, his widow surviving until April, 1901. They were the parents of eight children, of whom Volney H. is next to the youngest. One of the children is deceased.
            Volney H. Huston was reared on the farm until he was seventeen years old, and he received his early education in the district schools. At the age mentioned above he moved with the family to Winchester and here attended high school, and assisted his father meanwhile in gardening and fruit growing. In the fall of 1878 he went to Moultrie county, Illinois, where he taught school, but boarded just across the line in Piatt county with his sister, and received his mail in Douglass county. He taught one term, during which he formed the acquaintance of  Joe Cannon, formerly Congressman from that state, who was at that time a budding politician. Returning to Randolph county, Mr. Huston taught in the district schools for seven years, all in White River township but one when he taught in Green township. He gave splendid satisfaction as a teacher, being popular with both pupils and patrons. On March 18, 1886, the evening of the last day of his last school, Mr. Huston married Kathryn Miller, a daughter of Samuel and Nancy (Troup) Miller, a highly respected family of Germantown, Montgomery county, Ohio, where she was reared and educated. This union has been without issue.
            April 1, 1886, a few days after his marriage, Mr. Huston began clerking in the store of W. E. Miller in Winchester. As a salesman he remained for three years, at the end of which time Mr. Miller's bookkeeper resigned and Mr. Huston was promoted to that position which he filled with much credit for a period of twenty years. When the W. E. Miller Company was incorporated our subject became a stockholder and director in the company and secretary of the corporation, which position he still holds. As the business grew  he became head bookkeeper with assistants. In October, 1908, on account of trouble with his eyes, he gave up office work and became head of the carpet department, succeeding John A. Barnes, who died after eighteen years of service there. Mr. Huston still has charge of this department and does the buying and also has general supervision of the office. He has done much toward making this one of the leading department stores of Indiana outside the larger cities, and it would be a credit to cities much larger than Winchester. It is up-to-date in every respect and an enormous annual business is carried on with the surrounding country.
            March 25, 1889, Mr. Huston assisted in organizing the Winchester Savings Association, and became a member of the board of directors, and has served as president of the board for fifteen consecutive years. His wise counsel has been responsible for the large success of this concern in no small degree. It is a solid institution and is thriving. One remarkable feature of the record of the company is that it has never foreclosed a mortgage given to secure a loan. Mr. Huston also took an active part in organizing the Eastern Indiana Telephone Company, and assisted in building the first independent toll line in the county, connecting all the towns in the county with the county-seat. He was a member of the first board of directors and served one year as secretary of the same. Owing to the rapid increase of the telephone business he was compelled to resign as secretary because of lack of time to give it proper attention together with his other numerous duties. He continued a member of the board for a few years and was a member of the building committee which constructed lines through Randolph and all toll lines beyond the county limits. In a few years he resigned from the board on account of the growing business to which he did not have time to give proper attention. He has other business interests in Winchester and elsewhere, and has been very successful in a financial way.
            Politically, Mr. Huston is a Republican and has long been active in public affairs. He has frequently been urged to accept public office, but has declined. Fraternally, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias and for many years was active in its affairs. He was a member of the building committee which constructed the magnificent new home of this lodge in Winchester. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is a member of the official board and is at this writing superintendent of the Sunday school. He has a beautiful home on South Main street and he and Mrs. Huston are popular in the best social circles of the city.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson

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