Randolph  County,  Indiana

John  Fletcher  Middleton

            Specific mention is made within these pages of many of the worthy citizens who have honored Randolph county with their residence, citizens who have figured in the growth and development of this favored section of the Hoosier state, and whose interests are or have been identified with its every phase of progress, each contributing in his sphere of activity to the well being of the community which he selected for the arena of his life labors and to the advancement of its normal and legitimate growth. Among this worthy number none have been more influential in Greensfork township, at least, than John Fletcher Middleton, who, now that he has passed his three score and ten mile-post and has accumulated a comfortable competency through a long life of close application to general farming, is living in retirement in the hamlet of Spartanburg. Practically all of his busy and useful life has been spent in this locality where he has seen and taken part in many great changes, he being one of our venerable native sons and one who has come down to us from the pioneer epoch. There is added interest in his record in that he is a veteran of the Union army.
            Mr. Middleton was born in the township and county named in the preceding paragraph, November 26, 1842. He is a son of Thomas A. and Sarah (Borders) Middleton, the former of whom was born in Guilford county, North Carolina, November 5, 1799, and the latter in Greenbrier county. Thomas A. Middleton was a son of Benedict and Hannah (Harrison) Middleton. Benedict Middleton was born in Westmoreland county, Virginia, but most of his life was spent in Guilford county, North Carolina where his death occurred, and there his wife also died. In 1827 Thomas A. Middleton and his brother, Samuel, came from North Carolina to Randolph county, Indiana, making the long overland journey in a wagon. Thomas A. Middleton first married Margaret Webb, in 1825, and to this union four children were born, namely: Minerva, Calvin, Caroline and Sidney. In 1830 he settled in Greensfork township, entering from the government eighty acres which our subject now owns, and here he cleared and developed a farm and spent the rest of his life, dying November 14, 1883. Politically, he was a Republican, and religiously a member of the Methodist church, in which he was a trustee. His wife died in 1836. Two years later he married Sarah Borders, and to this union three children were born, namely; Wesley, deceased; Sarah A., who married Thomas Reagan; and John F., of this sketch. The father passed the remainder of his life on the eighty acres mentioned above. The death of Mrs. Sarah Middleton occurred December 28, 1862, at the advanced age of fifty-eight years.
            John F. Middleton was reared on the home farm and he received his education in the common schools, and in the Industrial Academy in Wayne county which he attended three terms. On August 18, 1862 he enlisted in Company F, Sixty-ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and saw much active and hard service in the south. He took part in the battle of Richmond, Kentucky, where he was taken prisoner and after three days was paroled and sent to Camp Wayne, at Richmond, Indiana, where he remained for two months. At the expiration of that time he was exchanged and sent to the department of the Cumberland under General Grant. He was in the battle of Chickasaw Bluff, where he was stunned by a shell. He was also in the engagement at Arkansas Post, then went into winter quarters at Young's Point. During the campaign of 1863 he took part in numerous battles, including Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Champion Hill, the siege of Vicksburg and others. He was transferred to the Gulf department in the fall of 1863, and spent the following winter at Indianola, Texas. From there he was sent to assist Banks in the Red River expedition, and with a marine corps detailed to guard the river between New Orleans and Vicksburg until November 1, 1864, then he was sent to Mobile Bay, in the vicinity of which he spent the following winter. From there he was sent to Florida, thence to the siege of Fort Blakely in Alabama, after which he returned to Mobile, where he spent the summer. Mr. Middleton was a crackshot and served as a sharpshooter in a faithful manner. At the battle of Chickasaw Bluff he was disabled, his gun broken and his blanket cut from his shoulders, and his comrades on either side killed, but he remained on the field. He was honorably discharged and mustered out of service July 5, 1865.
            He returned home immediately after his discharge from the army and settled on the old homestead, and, with the exception of one year he farmed thereon with much success until 1911 when he retired and is now living quietly in his cozy home in Spartanburg. When his father retired from active life he purchased the home place, and he added to it as he prospered until he became owner of a valuable farm of one hundred and sixty acres which he keeps highly improved.
            Politically, Mr. Middleton is a Republican. In 1880 he was elected trustee of his township and served two terms satisfactorily. He subsequently served five years as township assessor, and also two years as county assessor, giving eminent satisfaction to all concerned. He also served three terms as member of the county council, a period of twelve years. He has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for a period of forty-five years, and has passed all the chairs. He was one of the first members initiated in the local lodge. He is also a member of the Encampment in which he has held a number of officers. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, a charter member, in fact, of the post at Spartanburg and has filled all the offices in the same. He and his wife are members of the Christian church and have long been active in the work of the same. In view of the fact that he was a strong man, prior to the war, and that he contracted an ailment which has ever since left him somewhat disabled, he is remembered by the government with a substantial monthly pension. He comes of a fighting stock, and it might not be amiss to mention here that his maternal grandfather, Christopher Borders, who was a native of Germany, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, fighting on the side of the Colonists, and two of his sons served in the War of 1812. His wife was known in her maidenhood as Sarah Blizzard.
            Mr. Middleton was married August 20, 1865, to Serena Alexander, who was born in Preble county, Ohio, April 21, 1847, near the city of New Paris. She is a daughter of Clement F. and Rebecca (Parks) Alexander, the former born in Ohio, May 2, 1817, and the latter in Indiana, December 18, 1816. They moved to Randolph county, Indiana in 1819, locating near Spartanburg, where he became a successful farmer; at one time owning two hundred and seventy-five acres of land. The latter part of his life was spent in retirement in Spartanburg, dying in October, 1892. His widow survived until October 19, 1900. She was a daughter of George and Catherine (Reed) Parks. Her father was a native of Virginia and in early life emigrated to North Carolina and from there to Indiana and lived to a very old age. Her brother, James Parks, lived to the great age of one hundred and one and one-half years and was an active man until the very end of his life. Mrs. Alexander was reared in the earliest days of Indiana and was one of the pioneer women of the state and in her early life passed through the struggles and hardships of the backwoods days of Indiana. She and Mr. Alexander were married September 10, 1840, and to them six daughters, all of whom grew to womanhood, were born, namely: Mary, born in 1842, married A. M. Rubey; Martha J., born October 29, 1843, married John Kelly; Nancy A., born April 25, 1845, married Pat Trammel; Serena who is the wife of our subject; Sarah J., born June 11, 1850; Lizzie, born May 7, 1855, married Ambrose Rubey. Mrs. Kelley and Mrs. Trammel died many years ago. From the date of their marriage, the parents of the above named children, resided near New Paris, Preble county, Ohio, until 1848 when they moved to Randolph county, Indiana, to the farm near Spartanburg where they lived until 1890 when they located in Spartanburg, there they lived until the death of Mr. Alexander, October 27th, two years after his retirement. Then for about two years his widow lived in Lynn then came back to the old home stead where she remained with her daughter, Mrs. Ambrose Rubey and her daughter, Julietta, until death. She joined the Christian church in her earlier years and with her husband remained faithful to its precepts until the end of life. Her field of labor was her home where she exemplified all the sweet Christian graces for which she was noted, being always active in her labors of love and tenderness, never sparing herself when she could do something to assist her family. She was a model housewife as well as mother, and her home was a typical house of the olden days when hospitality was the crowning virtue of the Christian home. Her fifty-two years of married life were passed in harmony, no discord ever marring the joy of their long union. After she became a widow her life and love were devoted to her children. She was patient in all her sufferings and when the time came for her to cease from earthly labors she was fully prepared for the change, and left behind her an example worthy of emulation. Clement F. Alexander was county commissioner for six years, was a notary public for two terms, was an elder, deacon and trustee in the Christian church and was a good and useful man.
            To Mr. and Mrs. John F. Middleton were born two children, namely: Ida May, who married Ephraim Anderson, was born May 18, 1866, and they live in Hagerstown, Indiana. By this marriage two children have been born, Effie R., born August 15, 1886, and Earnest, born April 10, 1891; Thomas A., born February 14, 1871, married Elnora Hunt, who died October 23, 1893, leaving one child, Frances Edna, who died November 29, 1911. Mr. Middleton's second marriage occurred March 30, 1895, with Miss Emma Goudy. They have four children: Harold, born March 12, 1886; Maurine, born March 21, 1898; and Albert and Alma, twins, born December 22, 1900. He is operating the home farm, since the retirement of the subject of this sketch, and is one of the progressive and up-to-date farmers. Socially, he and his wife stand in the front rank.
            Mr. Middleton is a pleasant gentleman to all whom he meets, his word is that of a man of a high sense of honor and he is worthy in every respect of the esteem of his fellow citizens.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson

Biography Index        Main Page

The Randolph County, Indiana INGenWeb family history site is maintained by Phyllis Fleming.  Copying is permitted for noncommercial, educational use by individual scholars and libraries. You may link to this page with prior permission, provided no fee is required to access the link, but no commercial use of this material is permitted.  This message must appear on all copied material.