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Wabash County Biographies


If you would like to submit a Wabash county biography, please email it to Mike Sweeney
Be sure to include your Name and the biography Source.

A special thanks to Linda Thompson, who has contributed the majority of these Wabash biographies.

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John Harvey Scott

JOHN HARVEY SCOTT. The first of the Scott family to locate in Indiana was James P., the father of John Harvey Scott, but the family has, in its activities in various ways since it became identified with the Hoosier state, come to represent in numerous ways the spirit and purpose of the old pioneer settlers of the state, who first settled within its borders in the practically uncivilized days of her existence. Today men of this family are to be found living close to nature and giving freely of their time and talents to the cultivating and development of the natural resources of the state, and not the least of these is John Harvey Scott, whose name initiates this brief review.

John Harvey Scott is the owner of a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Lagro township, Wabash county, and his place is one of the most advantageously situated ones in the county, having its location on the west side of the Lagro and Manchester Pike, on the old Plank road, about three and a half miles north of Lagro. Mr. Scott is a native of Preble county, Ohio, where he was born on June 13, 1844, and he is the son of James P. and Elizabeth (Slippey) Scott, both natives of Pennsylvania who came to Ohio with their parents as young people.

The Scotts were people of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and in their early American life were seamen, for the most part. James Scott was the son of George, a sailor, as was also his grandfather, and he quit the sea when still a young man, locating in Pennsylvania. He married in that state, an English woman becoming his wife, and together they came across the Allegheny mountains in prairie schooners, the approved mode of traveling in that early day. They made the trip without escort, braving the possible dangers of the journey fearlessly, and, deriving much genuine enjoyment from it, despite its untoward features. During much of their trip over the mountains they experienced the phenomena of living above the clouds, and many times saw rain falling beneath them, while they were in a dry and arid atmosphere. Reaching Ohio, they settled in Preble county, and there they spent their remaining days.

James Scott was reared in Preble county and he came to Indiana as. a young man. He was first occupied in the construction work on the canal, hauling timber and steel for the locks. His brother, George Scott, also came to Indiana about the same time, and he turned his attention to the business of trading. He amassed quite a fortune in his business relations with the Indians of the district, trading jewelry and such other gew-gaws as appealed to the credulous red men for their valuable pelts, so that he in time came to be quite wealthy. He learned the language of the various tribes with which he dealt, and was 011 the most intimate and friendly terms with them through all the years of his. dealings with them.

James P. Scott learned much about the Hoosier state in those early years. While he was engaged in his work on the canal he was frequently compelled to make trips through Blackford county, a district that in those early days was mostly swamp, and most difficult to traverse. It frequently required as much as three days' time to get through "Kill Buck Swamp" as it was called in those days, and he too, in that time, familiarized himself to a fair degree with the Indian tongue. Later he returned to Ohio, not well enough pleased with the outlook in Indiana to continue there, and in Ohio, he married Elizabeth Slippey, bought a farm and settled down in Preble county, It was here, no doubt, that the sailor instincts of Mr. Scott began to show themselves, for he found himself impelled by a desire to move about from place to place, despite the admonitions of his sturdy and sensible wife, who admonished him with the even then old saying that "a rolling stone gathers no moss." But Mr. Scott sold his Preble county farm and returned to Indiana, buying two hundred acres in Kosciusko county. At that time the county was wholly unsettled, one might say, and Mr. Scott's nearest neighbor, a Mr. Drake, lived ten miles distant from the Scott farm. Here again did Mr. Scott's ancestry cause him a great deal of uneasiness, for he was one who could ill endure the solitude of country life, with his nearest and only neighbor ten miles away, and against the advice of Mr. Draker who insisted that the country thereabout was bound to settle up in a few years, he sold his place and returned to Ohio. A short time later he joined his brother Charles in Huntington, Indiana, but after looking the country over decided he did not want to buy there and went to Wabash county, where he bought the farm that is now occupied by his-son, John H. For his farm of a hundred and sixty acres he paid a purchase price of $500, and became the owner of a tract of swamp and timber land, practically worthless in the state it was at that time. A small shack, made of poles, and evidently the rude shelter of hunters in. the vicinity, was the only thing on the place that might be called a building, and in it they began life in "Wabash county.

A little time passed, and the wanderlust and discontent of which James Scott was so often a victim again seized upon him and he began to suggest a return to Ohio. Right there did the strong will and determination of Elizabeth Scott assert itself. She was unwilling to return again to Ohio without having made good on any of the ventures forth from the Ohio home. "I will go a thousand miles further west," she said, "but not back to Ohio again, a failure." Impressed but not convinced. James Scott hesitated a while, and then, still firm in his belief that fortune awaited him in the old home state, he returned alone, expecting that his wife, when she saw he was determined, would follow him back to Ohio. But she was not one of those women who believed it her duty to follow blindly wherever her lord and master dictated, and in that instinct she was prophetic of a later generation, as is everywhere evident today in a time when one finds the feminine element ruling in the home as often as the masculine. After several weeks of waiting about in Ohio, James Scott decided that his wife was a bit more determined than he, and he returned to Indiana, fully determined to make the best of his Indiana farm.

That incident proved to be the turning point in his life. Up to that time the roving element had been uppermost in him. but when his wife took her stand for stability and effective work in the family, he buried the old desire to wander hither and yon in search of greener fields, and settled down to make a farm out of his swamp and timber land. The first thing he did that was indicative of the change in his spirit was to build a homelike log-cabin on the place. In 1861, he decided to build a barn, and when all was in readiness, neighbors for miles about took part in one of the biggest barn-raisings ever held in the county. A company of cavalry riding past and witnessing the "raising," wheeled and saluted and announced their intention of coming back to have supper with the barn-raisers, for they well knew what a feast was in store for the men who had donated their services to the interests of their neighbor. "We'll go down and lick the Rebs," they said, "and be back in time for supper." They whipped the Rebels, it must be said,, but they failed to get back from their task in time for supper.

The new barn was prophetic of better things for James Scott, and it was not long before the recurring seasons saw it filled to overflowing-with bumper crops of corn, in a country where hitherto corn had fared but poorly. In the early days hereabouts tiling and ditching was practically unthought of, and often the high water did much damage to the young corn crops. Mr. Scott was one of the first to begin ditching. In the early sixties, in a particularly wet season, he produced a bumper crop of corn which he marketed at a dollar a bushel, while the majority of his neighbors experienced a total failure in their crop because of the wet state of their land. They were quick to see that their neighbor was getting the best of them with his advanced ideas, and it was not long before every farm in the community was being tiled and ditched after the manner in which Mr. Scott had handled his land. The result was that this part of the county became famous for its phenomenal corn crops, and the credit for the achievement was rightly laid at the door of James Scott. So it was that a life that began without any great promise ended in a most successful and worthy manner, thanks to the determination of a proud woman who recognized the inherent qualities that lay dormant within her chosen mate, and by her decisive and unprecedented action called forth those qualities to the undying benefit of his community and his family. James Scott died in Lagro township at his farm home in 1883, and his wife survived him for ten years, their ages being seventy-two and eighty-two years, respectively, at the time of their passing.

To these parents were born six children. Wesley, the eldest, died in the service of the Union army during the Civil war. Mary Jane is also deceased. John Harvey is the subject of this sketch. Harriett is the widow of Samuel Pollet, and makes her home in Indianapolis. Benjamin and Eliza are both deceased.

John Harvey Scott, or "Harve" Scott, as he is more familiarly called. was a mere child when his parents made their first journey into Indiana. They made the trip with ox-team and wagon, and the father often found it necessary to go in advance of the oxen and cut down the young saplings that barred their progress on their way, so that their progress was necessarily slow. Among the earliest recollections of Mr. Scott as a child in their Indiana home is that of a little pole "shack" or house, and of at one time splitting his toe in an attempt to wield his father's axe. Other similar misfortunes of his boyhood, appearing with more than agreeable frequency, and one might almost say regularity, lead his parents and others to believe that his birth on June 13th was an ill omen. However, Mr. Scott avers that regarding his life as a whole, he has been more than ordinarily fortunate, and that he is in no wise justified in holding his birthday to have been an unlucky'day.

Mr. Scott grew up on the farm there, barring brief periods when the family fortunes took them back to Ohio, and he attended the old log school at the cross roads. This was a primitive affair, indeed, and in the years that have passed since he first learned his A, B, Abs in that little cabin, he has witnessed the building of four separate schools on that spot, as the community grew and demanded better educational facilities for the youth of the township.

When Mr. Scott was about twenty-one years old he took a contract to cut five hundred cords of wood for a man in the community known as "Old Christ Speicher," at a price of one dollar a cord. He began his work with a great good will and continued in the same same manner, but his enthusiasm was a little dashed by the fact that after he had cut a hundred cords his employer cut the price. He kept on, though a little discouraged, and when a second cut came, he threw down his axe and went home. For some time the young man had been cherishing a desire to '' see the country," as so many young men have felt they must, and it is probable that the seafaring instinct of his forefathers was cropping up in another generation. The father, mindful of his own early experience, tried to discourage the idea of his son, citing his own case, and assuring him, as his wife had done in his own case 3 years before, that nothing was to be gained by wandering about from place to place in search of greater opportunity. But young Scott was determined to at least see California, and it was only the pleadings of his mother that induced him to give up the project and stay at home. The father, grateful for his consent, made him a pleasing proposition and they two worked together on the home place, each sharing in the profits, until the son married in 1868. On April 17th of that year, Lucinda Brechner became his wife. She was a daughter of John Brechner, an old pioneer of the state.

Mr. Scott, after his marriage, built a new house on the home place, just back of the big barn his father had built some years before. Here they began their wedded life, and in later years he moved the house near to the old home. After the death of the mother, John H. Scott and his wife assumed the entire charge of the old farm, buying the interest of the surviving heirs, and he has here since devoted himself to general farming activities, continued successfully in the work his father began and brought to a state of perfection that insured the family a permanent income and a comfortable home. Like his father, Mr. Scott is an enthusiast on the subject of proper draining and he has put into the place more than 3,700 rods of tile, as well as doing much to promote the interest and enthusiasm of his neighbors and others in the work. He is ably assisted in his work by his son, Charles Scott, who has elected to continue on the home farm with his father, and the two work in a perfect harmony that is conducive to the most successful outcome of every enterprise they enter upon. The Scott farm is one of the best kept in the township, and its buildings measure up to the highest standard of the county, in appearance, general service and up-to-dateness.

Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Scott. Wesley, is the first born. Lavina married Dora Burnsworth. Sarah is the wife of James Murphy. Wilson married Iva Loop. Eva is the wife of William Bitner. Emma is Mrs. Thomas Buckley. Flora married Robert Derf. Fannie became the wife of A. Alexander. Charles, the youngest, is his father's assistant, as stated above.

The wife and mother died in 1904 after some years of suffering and continued ill health. The husband and. wife had just completed plans to spend a year in the west, when the mother was seized by a sudden illness that ended her days. She was a woman of unusual popularity, and was widely known throughout the county. When she died her passing was mourned by many in and about Wabash county who had known and loved her for her many endearing qualities of heart and mind.

Mr. Scott is a democrat in his political affiliations, and has served his township twice as supervisor. He is one who manifests a wholesome interest in the affairs of the town and county, and his position and standing among his fellow men is secure, and in every way worthy of him.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana Vol 2, pages 619-624.
Submitter: Ron Miller

Jonathan Scott

The one whose names heads this sketch was born January 26, 1816 in Fayette County, Indiana. On the 4th of January, 1845, he came to the then new and undeveloped wilds of Wabash County, and settled in Liberty Township, where he has since resided. On the first of November 1840, he was married to Mary Pearson, who was born in Granger County, Tennessee, august 18, 1824.

Her father, Mahlon Pearson, is still living in the township, and has already reached advanced years, having been born January 10, 1797. His father moved to Jefferson County, Tennessee, whe he was nine years of age. He himself moved to Wabash County November 9, 1834. He entered the first forty acres of land in Liberty Township, and served on the first grand jury ever impanelled in Wabash County. He was the father of eleven children. Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Scott raised a family of three children, two sons, and one daughter. Both sons served in the war of the Rebellion, and the older one died in the service of his country at Otterville, Missouri, December 16, 1861.

Mr. Scott has already passed the prime of life, but is still in the vigorous enjoyment of his faculties, both bodily and mental. He is one of the leading citizens of the township, and is distinguished for his many acts of public spirit.

Source: 1875 Atlas of Wabash County, Indiana page 56.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


A. N. Shaffer, M. D., Representative from Wabash and Huntington,
Was born in Starke county, State of Ohio, January 15, 1829, His parents were of American birth, but of German extraction. He was educated in the University of Michigan and Western Reserve Medical College, of Ohio. In 1856 he came to this State and located at Huntington, and commenced the practice of his profession, Entering the army early in the .war, he was assigned to duty as assistant surgeon, and was subsequently promoted to the position of surgeon of the 75th Ohio, and served therein until the close of the war. Since then he has practiced his profession at Huntington, as before. He is .Republican in politics and expects so to remain. If you are ailing, address A. N. Shaffer, M, D., Huntington, and be healed.

Source: Indianapolis Sentinel, Saturday, 23 Jan 1875, The Solons of the State as Sketched by the Sentinel Indiana and Ohio the Nativity of the Great Majority of Our Legislators.
Submitter: Mike Sweeney

Benjamin T. Shaw

B. T. Shaw, farmer, P.O. Somerset. One of the pioneers of the county and a well-known farmer, B. T. Shaw was born in Wayne County, Indiana, February 9, 1813. Benjamin acquired a rather limited education in the schools of his neighborhood. His youth was passed in occupations similiar to those of most boys reared on a farm. When twenty years of age, he visited La Porte County, entering some land there and assisted in building the first frame house put up in Michigan City. Shortly after becoming of age, he was quite an extensive travelor and trader among the Indians in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa until the panic of 1887, which put an end to his farming financial operations for the time being. Returning to the old home in 1839, he was married to Margaret Holcom. They were the parents of nine children, five of them survive, well-known residents of Wabash County and its vicinity. After marriage, January 4, 1840, Mr. Shaw removed to Wabash County, settling upon his present home. His nearest neighbor was five miles distant. A dense forest surrounded him, traversed only by the State road. But neighbors soon were numerous and roads cut through in all directions with marvelous rapidity. Mr. Shaw was the Justice of the Peace in the township, filling that postion first in 1843, and occupied the same for two terms (ten years). In politics, he is an original Whig, and a Republican from the formation of the party. Mr. Shaw has been twice married; his first wife deceased in December, 1865. The present Mrs. Shaw, to whom he was united in matrimony March 17, 1867, was Miss Vashti Powell, who was born in Wayne County, Indiana, April 14, 1837. This marriage was blessed with six children; of whom, five are living, namely, as follows: Emily, Mahala, Rachel, Morton and Bertha. Mr. Shaw has been successful in life. After providing his older sons with farms, he still owns 200 acres. He is a substantial citizen and a hospitable, genial gentleman.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 490.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Shaw Family

Reservoir Takes Over Shaw Homestead

The Rev. Jonathan Shaw was born March 7, 1787, in Pennsylvania. He married Elizabeth Spurlock in 1811 and they moved to Wayne County, Indiana. On February 9, 1813, elizabeth gave birth to a son who was christened Benjamin Trembly Shaw.

Although he acquired rather a limited amount of schooling in his youth, Benjamin's education was furthered through occupations similar to most boys boys raised on the farm.

At 20 he visited LaPorte County, entering some land there, and assisted in building the first frame house erected in Michigan City.

Shortly after his 21st birthday, young Benjamin became quite an extensive traveler and trader among the Indians in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. The panic in 1837 put an end to his financial exploits along that line and he returned to the home of his parents who now resided in Wabash County. On July 17, 1939, he was united in marriage to Margaret Holcomb, born November 1, 1822.

January 4, 1840, entering a treaty with the Miami Indians, Benjamin took up a claim of 160 acres in Wabash County near Liston Glen Falls. Here he cleared the land and built a house on the farm where the nearest neighbor lived five miles away and they were surrounded by dense forests inhabited by panthers, bob cats, wolves and other wild animals.

A copy of the original sheep skin deed issued nine years later reads in part: that "on May 1, 1849, full payment having been made by Benjamin Trembly Shaw and by an Act of Congress the United States of America HAVE GIVEN AND GRANTED unto said Benjamin T. Shaw and his heirs the said Tract of 160 acres." This deed was signed by President of the United States of America, Zachary Taylor.

Politically, Benjamin was orginally a Whig but became a staunch Republican with the formation of that party. He was the first Justice of the Peace elected in his township, filling that post ten years.

Nine children were born to Benjamin and Margaret Shaw, five living to adulthood. They were two daughters, Mary Ann Powell and Elizbaeth Ellis, and three sons, Jonathan, George and Benjamin Spurlock Shaw.

After the death of Margaret December 22, 1865, Benjamin was united in marriage March 17, 1866 to Vashti Powell who was born April 14, 1837, in Wayne County. To this union six children were born, five surviving. There were four daughters, Emily Powell, Mahala Jackson, Rachel Fleming and Bertha Resler, and a son, Morton Shaw.

Being very active in farm duties even after middle age, Benjamin, while helping break a three-year colt, became entangled in the lines and was dragged some distance, suffering a broken hip. Not having access to medical science and technical knowledge of today, the hip did not heal properly and he was confined to a wheelchair the remainder of his life. Although physically handicapped, Benjamin remained mentally alert and with the aid of his family continued to stay on and manage his farm.

Shaws were affliciated with the Pleasant Grove Wesleyan Methodist Church. This little church was located one mile west of the Miami-Wabash County Line and was organized in February 1847 by members and friends of Rev. Jonathan Shaw who acted as a part time minister until his death February 11, 1853.

Benjamin Trembly Shaw went to his eternal rest October 10, 1905, at the Old Homestead where he had spent 65 years of his life. He was buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery where father, mother, brothers, sisters, children and other relatives were interred.

After the demise of Grandma (Vashti) Shaw in December 1930 the Old Homestead changed hands several times, finally being purchased by the U.S. Government in connection with the building of the Mississinewa Dam.

The house and other buildings are gone and the old home is a desolate, lonesome place. Pleasant Grove Church where the family worshipped and the cemetery where many of them were buried was also taken over by the government. Ashes of the dead were removed and now lie in the Pleasant Grove Section of the Mississinewa Cemetery located on State Road 13. The little church, remodeled, has been moved to its present location just off of State Road 15, between LaFontaine and Wabash.

Although the old Shaw homestead is no more, descendants of Benjamin Shaw are plentiful and reside throughout the United States, as well as in Wabash County.

Source: 1976 History of Wabash County, Bicentennial Edition by Linda Robertson page 364-365, article written by Agnes M. Sutton.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Elliot S. Smith and Edith A. (Barnhart) Smith

ELLIOTT S. SMITH. Among the old families of Wabash county both the Smiths and the Barnharts have long had an influential and useful part in county affairs. Their lives have as a rule been led along the paths of quiet agricultural industry and prosperity, but they also were identified at different times and places with commercial affairs, and in whatever capacity they have appeared they have been good citizens and have done their full share for the enrichment of community life. Elliott S. Smith, known familiarly among his neighbors as "Ell," is the owner with his wife of one hundred and sixty-six acres on the east side of the Mount road, about four miles northeast of Roann, in Paw Paw township.

A lifelong resident of Wabash county, Elliott S. Smith was born east of Manchester in Chester township on his father's farm, November 5, 1864. His parents were David and Margaret (Yohe) Smith. David Smith, who was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, was married at Canton, Ohio, to Margaret Yohe, who had come from Washington county, Pennsylvania. After some years as a farmer near Canton, Ohio, David Smith moved to Wabash county, locating on the old Morphew farm east of Manchester, but subsequently sold that place and moved to the line between Miami and Wabash counties, and his land was located partly in one county and partly in the other. Besides his farm in that locality, David Smith conducted a general store and served as postmaster at Niconza. Fourteen years were spent there, followed by his removal to Roann, where the local elevator was under his proprietorship until sold to Lucas & Shillenger. His farm on the Miami county line had been traded for another place in Paw Paw township of Wabash county, near the home now occupied by Elliott Smith. While he was in the elevator business at Roann his son Barnett managed the farm. David Smith was a business man of much energy and enterprise, and after giving up the elevator engaged in the dry goods trade at North Manchester, as head of the firm of Smith, Sala & Arnold. Subsequently he took over the interest of his partners, and with his son David and son-in-law W. H. Ridgeley continued business under the name D. Smith & Company. That was a popular store under the management of Mr. Smith, and in 1886 he sold it to Helm-Snorf and Watson, and being then an old man lived retired until his death in 1888 at the age of seventy-five. His widow survived him until 1906, and was eighty-four when she answered the last call, dying at the home of her son Elliott. Of the twelve children of David Smith and wife, nine grew up and are mentioned as follows: Maria, deceased, who was the wife of W. H. Ridgeley; Michael, who was a soldier during the war and was killed in the South and lies in the National Cemetery at Chattanooga; David H., who was also in the war; Susan, who married H. H. Smith, no relative; Barnett; Mary. Mrs. A. G. Ebbinghaus; Melissa, wife of William H. Ward; Elliott S., who was the youngest of those who reached maturity; and Ida, Mrs. A. B. Miller.

Elliott S. Smith grew up in Wabash county, his youth being spent in the different localities where his father had his activities, attended school both at Roann and at North Manchester, graduating from the high school of the latter place. Unlike some of his brothers, Elliott Smith did not take kindly to merchandising, and preferred the work of the farm, which has been his regular vocation for many years.

By his marriage on April 12, 1888, two of the prominent old families of Wabash county were united. Mrs. Smith before her marriage was Edith Barnhart, daughter of the late James H. and Martha Ann (Mount) Barnhart. James Harvey Barnhart, who died on the old Mount farm in Paw Paw township, June 21, 1913, aged nearly sixty-nine years, was born at the forks of the Wabash river in Huntington county, July 11, 1844. His grandfather Barnhart came with two brothers from Canada just before the Revolutionary war, and at the outbreak of that struggle between the colonies and the mother country the two brothers returned to Canada, but grandfather Barnhart enlisted with the American troops and rose to the rank of captain. It is said that the commission of this patriot, containing the signature of George Washington, is now in the possession of a cousin living in Huntington county. Grandfather Barnhart, whose home was in New York state, had three sons - George, Dave and Christopher ; and two daughters. The daughter Anna married Charles Haywood, at whose home her father died in Huntington county, Indiana, and Mrs. Haywood had three sons, Chancy, George and Nahan, and four daughters, Ann, Minerva, Doris and Elizabeth. Of the daughters : Elizabeth, married Benjamin Bowers ; Doris, married Samuel Crandel ; Ann, married Mr. Sowers; and Minerva, married Mr. Farrel. Dave Barnhart married and moved to Terre Haute, Indiana ; and his brother George, who never married, started down the Ohio river with a load of produce bound for Cincinnati and was never heard of again.

Christopher C. Barnhart, father of James H. Barnhart, was born in Cayuga county, New York, October 10, 1804, and died in Huntington county, Indiana, in October, 1845. He married Eliza Ann Seeley, who was born at Hartland, Niagara county, New York, January 30, 1811, and died at Wabash, Indiana, in October, 1864. They first moved to Michigan, where were born John, George, Mary and Elizabeth, and in the spring of 1836 moved to Huntington county, Indiana, where James H. Barnhart and another son were born.

At the age of twenty, on November 2, 1864, the late James H. Barnhart enlisted at Indianapolis in Company I of the Forty-Sixth Indiana Infantry, and after a service of nearly a year was discharged at Louisville, Kentucky, September 4, 1865. Soon after the war, on June 12, 1866, he married Martha Ann Mount. She was born in Wabash county in 1847, and died November 18, 1909. Her parents were Peter and Eliza Ellen Mount. Peter Mount was born in New Jersey, April 28, 1810, was married in Miami county, Indiana, to Eliza Ellen Kidd, a sister of Major Kidd and a daughter of Edmond J. and Christina Kidd. Eliza E. Kidd was born October 23, 1824, at Connersville, Indiana. After his marriage Peter Mount moved to the farm now occupied by Elliott Smith. His father, David Mount, had acquired that place direct from the government as one of the pioneers of Wabash county, and it subsequently became the property of Peter Mount, and has always remained in the family possession. Peter Mount acquired several hundred acres, and cleared up a large part of the forest growth which originally encumbered the soil, erected log buildings, and it was in a log house that Martha, the mother of Mrs. Smith, was born. Besides this daughter there was one other child, Mary Alice, who was born in Miami county on the old Kidd farm. Peter Mount died on the present Elliott Smith place in April, 1849, and his widow subsequently returned to the Kidd farm in Miami county, married Adam Haas, and after his death Archibald Kennedy, and she spent the rest of her days in Wabash county. The old Peter Mount homestead subsequently became the property of his daughters, Martha Ann and Mary Alice.

After the marriage of James H. Barnhart and wife in 1866, they lived for a time in Peru, and he was employed in the Blue Front drug store there until 1867. Then moving to Wabash he engaged in the drug business with Mr. Haas and the firm of Barnhart & Haas continued until 1872, when it was dissolved and T. L. Barnhart became proprietor. The store was located on Canal street in Wabash. James H. Barnhart then moved to the old Mount farm, where Mr. and Mrs. Smith now live. Both passed away at that place. James H. Barnhart had for nearly forty years been a member of the Methodist church, and also affiliated with the Roann Grand Army Post.

The thirteen children of the Barnhart family were: Edith, Mrs. Smith; Fred M.; Guy S.; Charles K.; James H., deceased; Nellie May, Mrs. 0. D. Steele; Robert M., deceased; Homer and Horace, twins, both of whom are deceased; Hugh W.; Howard J.; Ruth Lillian, Mrs. L. R. Burns; and Jessie, who died in infancy.

Mrs. Smith, who was born in Peru, Indiana, received her education in the schools of Wabash. She and Mr. Smith have the following children: Paul, of Fulton county, Indiana, and who married Merle Long; Nettie, who is the wife of H. D. Hartman and has a son Robert Elliott; Mount Yohe, who is called Pete; Martha Margaret.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Smith lived on his father's farm east of Manchester for a time, later spent about six years in Michigan, and on March 16, 1904, took up their residence on the old Barnhart place, where they still live. As a farmer Mr. Smith has made a success along general lines, and also conducts a dairy which is an important element in his prosperity. The family residence is one of the best in Paw Paw township, comprising twelve rooms, and was built by the late Mr. Barnhart. Mr. Smith is a progressive republican, and he and his wife and both families have long been identified with the Methodist Episcopal church.

Source: History of Wabash County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests. 1914. Vol II, pages 676-679. (Compiled under the Editorial Supervision of Clarkson W Weesner, Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors. The Lewis Publishing Company. Chicago & New York, 1914)
Submitter: Extracted, reformatted and submitted by: David R. Guinnup, second cousin once removed of Edith A. Barnhart (03/27/2009)

Solomon Signs

Solomon Signs. This venerable and respected citizen was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, March 18, 1814. He resided in Wayne County, Ohio, before coming to Indiana and settling in Wabash County. He has lived in various parts of the county including Pleasant, Noble, Paw Paw and Chester Townships. Mr. Signs has been twice married. His first marriage occurred March 16, 1836, to Mary Ann Lawrence. They were the parents of the following children: David, Peter, Malin, Wesley, Franklin, Lewis, Myron, Catharine and Endotia. David, Franklin and Myron are deceased. Mrs. Signs having died in June, 1877. Mr. Signs was again married in September 1880, to Elizabeth McFarlin. Mr. Signs life has run in a smooth, even channel, and has not been very eventful, but, by his quiet, peaceable and friendly disposition and the innate nobility of his nature, he has gained a host of friends, by whom he is deeply beloved.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 464.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Solomon Signs

There are many older residents of Wabash County who well recall the industrious citizen and kindly friend and neighbor, Solomon Signs, who came to Wabash County and settled on a farm in Pleasant Township in 1848. When he was finally called from the scenes of earth he had reached the venerable age of eighty-four years, and in that time had watched the growth of the village of North Manchester for many years, and had always taken his share of community responsibility. The generation following him, his son Lewis Signs, has for many years been closely identified with commercial affairs at North Manchester, and is now well known as secretary and general manager of the Eel River Telephone Company.

The late Solomon Signs was a native of the State of Pennsylvania, born in March, 1810. His boyhood days were spent at home assisting his father and in attending the district schools. When quite young in years he started out to earn his own way, and practically his entire career was devoted to farming and stock raising. He lived for a number of years in Ohio, where he married Miss Mary Ann Lawrence, of that state. Their family of children are named as follows: David, deceased; Catherine, deceased; Peter: Mahlon, deceased; Wesley; Franklin, deceased; Lewis, Endotia; and Myron, deceased. It was in the year 1848, that the family joined the pioneers of Wabash County, where the name has been prominently identified with public and private affairs of importance ever since. Solomon Signs established his home in Pleasant Township, buying eighty acres of land, and later moving to a farm between Wabash and Roann. In the course of his active farming life he made one other change, when he bought a quarter section of land on the Wabash Road, near North Manchester, and there continued his successful supervision of farm and stock until ready to retire from active cares of life. His death occurred in 1894, and his place thus left vacant is such as was filled by a good man and valuable citizen. His wife had preceded him in death, passing away in 1878. Both are buried in Roann. Although a republican in politics, Solomon Signs never held office, preferring to confine his attention to the inconspicuous duties which come to every man in private live, and give him full opportunity for unselfish deeds.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana pages 487-489.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Lewis Signs

Lewis Signs, son of Solomon and Mary Ann (Lawrence) Signs, was born in Wayne County, Ohio, December 2, 1846. He was thus only two years of age when the family moved to Wabash County, and all his conscious years of youth and boyhood were spent in Pleasant Township, where he attended the public schools, such as were maintained there during the fifties and early sixties, and was also a student of the high school at Silver Lake. His employment outside of school hours was furnished in abundance at the home farm, and having shown considerable aptitude as a student he spent the winter months of 1865-66-67-68 in teaching in Pleasant Township and Steward Township of Kosciusko County. In 1867 Mr. Signs identified himself with the little community of North Manchester. The first twelve years were spent as clerk in the general store of George Lawrence. Then for the succeeding twenty years he was a partner in the business. having given a long and faithful service in merchandising annals to the people of that community for a period of thirty-one years, he disposed of his interests, and in 1898entered upon his public duties as postmaster of the village. He resigned that office at the end of three years in order to accept the place of secretary and general manager for the Eel River Telephone Company. Under his energetic management this company has vastly increased and improved its service, and now furnishes the best of telephone facilities to a large and ever increasing patronage about North Manchester. Another business relation which did him great credit personally and is gratefully remembered by the people of this community, was his appointment as trustee in bankruptcy by the Creditors of the Bank of North Manchester, when it closed its doors in 1894. Due to his careful handling of the tangled skein of that business, all depositors were given a settlement of about eighty-five cents on the dollar.

As a republican in politics, Mr. Signs has always taken an active interest in public affairs, but has thus far steadfastly refused any official honors. In 1876 he married Miss Maria Simpson, a daughter of Richard Simpson, of Wabash County. Their children died unnamed in infancy. Mr. Signs is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, having his membership in the lodge at North Manchester.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana pages 487-489.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Speicher Family

A Brief History of the Speicher Family as written by Paul Speicher on June 2, 1941.

The origin of the Speicher family dates back to the period between the years 1558 and 1603. At this time Queen Elizabeth of England, being a staunch protestant, persecuted those of the Catholic faith. Our Speicher ancestor, who was a Catholic priest was forced to flee to avoid being beheaded.

In Switzerland, near the French border, he took refuge at a farm. Here he hid in a granary and implement shelter called a "Speicher" in the German language. While in hiding here, he was sustained by the owner of the farm. His priestly locks were cut off and he was clothed as a farm hand, wearing wooden shoes and coarde clothing.

A search was conducted for the priest on the premises, but it was not suspected the coarsely dressed farm hand was the priest for which they were searching.

To avoid further trouble, he changed his name to Speicher in remembrance of the building which had sheltered him and saved his life. His real name is not known, although it is thought the name might have been Wesley. Whatever the name might have been, it was kept secret to avoid any trouble.

He was a highly educated man and was soon asked to teach the children of the family. Later the neighbors wanted their children educated, so he became the village school master.

When death came to the community, the schoolmaster was turned to for funeral advise, and the community found he could preach as well as teach. Thus he also became their minister.

At a later date he married a princess from a family of high standing. One of his sons became the body guard of the Ruler.

Upon the death of the first Speicher, his body was highly embalmed, placed in a vault and laid away for one hundred years, at which time it was taken out and looked upon, as was the custom among Royalty. It is said the grandson kissed the face - his grandfather.

The sons married along the royal line, but were not wealthy.

During the Austrian Invasion into Switzerland, a descendent of the first Speicher broke ranks when the Swiss were about defeated. He turned back to his comrades and said, "Remember my family if I fall". He rushed forward with his rude instrument which was something like a spear, mowing down the enemy until he was standing alone, waist deep in blood and dead bodies. His companions, seeing his bravery and courage, rushed forward and the Austrians were defeated.

One of the finest avenues in the City of Berne, Switzerland, is called Speicher. The father of John Speicher was mayor of the city of Berne for many years.

In the family of Mayor Speicher, there were three boys and two girls. He decided to give all of his wealth to his youngest son, Benjamin, so the others, having to shift for themselves, went to Germany and later to America. After the death of the father, the children, by contending to it, received one thousand dollars each.

It is the descendents of the youngest son, Benjamin, who are now to be found in Switzerland. Joseph Speicher visited Switzerland in the year , and found the family occupying the old castle and family buildings. The family had been extravagant, having had seervants, coahes, receptions, etc. without much income and had been reduced to poverty.

After John Speicher has served in the army, he determined to go to America, since he had heard stories of freedom, plenty, and opportunity. Leaving Switzerland by himself, he went to Germany, and from there to France, and there took passage on a three masted schooner. After a perilous voyage lasting sixty days, land was sighted and the grateful passengers gave a prayer of thanksgiving.

John Speicher went at once from New York City to Holmes County, Ohio where he secured a job in a grist mill. Here he remained four years, learning the trade, and learning the English language.

He soon determined that America was the land of opportunity and he thought of his friends at home who were toiling against adverse circumstances, so he returned to Switzerland. With glowing accounts, he induced about one hundred people to return to America with him. Among those returning with him was his sweetheart, Elizabeth Kreps. He married her soon after reaching Ohio. This was October 11th, 1834.

In a short time he purchased forty acres of land in Holmes County and built a grist mill, where he soon came to be know as "Honest John, the Miller".

In 1852 he disposed of his property in Ohio and moved to Indiana, locating in Wabash County, where he founded the Speicher settlement. He made this journey westward via the Erie and Wabash Canal. He purchased about two hundred acres of slightly developed land about a mile east of Urbana. He made this his home where he died in 1879.

The entire county was in the early stage of development at this time, there not being any railroads in the county and Wabash was a small village. Shopping was done in Huntington and Fort Wayne.

John Speicher was energetic, ambitious and a good business man. At one time the tax valuation of 2500 acres of land owned by the family was $91,000.00.

He had strong political convictions, and although he identified himself with the Whig party, at the advent of the Anti-slavery party, he cast his vote for their candidate, John C. Fremont. Two sons, John and Frederick, gave their lives for their county in the war of rebellion which followed.

John Speicher was deeply religious, and when he spoke the name of God, he always uncovered his head in reverence. The Bible was very sacred to him. On one occasion a minister called at the home and laid his hat on the Bible which was on a stand. John Speicher brushed the hat aside saying that nothing should lie on the Bible. Through his generosity, he founded the Speicher Church, which was a fine brick building located near his home. He also founded the Speicher Cemetery.

Some time after his death, due to a schism in the church over the question of what tongue should be spoken, the church broke up, and those wishing English services came to Urbana. The church was later sold to the WEsleyan Methodists at Wabash who dismanteled it and reconstructed it in Wabash. The original windows and the original bell were used.

John Speicher was primarily of teutonic origin. He was a happy admixture, having the solidity of the Germans and the temperment of the Celts. He was a good man, a Christian gentleman whose advise was always good and wholesome.

He lived close to the green verdure of the soil. He was a wholesome liver, a practical idealist. He was a devotee of nature and humanity, unadorned by sanctity, pretense or austere mysticism.

The family was of the highest type of citizenship. They were industrious, religious and musically inclined. The family was in possession of a pipe organ, perhaps the only one in a country home of America at this time. They were Swiss Bell Ringers, having brought the bells from Switzerland. The dialect spoken in the home was German.

The funeral of John Speicher was held in the Speicher Church, one year, four months and five days after the dedication. His body was the first interment in the Speicher Cemetery as he had predicted.

Following is a list of the children: Samuel, Christian, John, Fredrick, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, William, Catherine, George, Henry, David, Rose, Simon Peter, Daniel and Phillip.

Source: The above history is in the verticle file at the Wabash Carnegie Public Library in Wabash, Indiana.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Frederick Speicher

Frederick Speicher, farmer, P.O. Urbana, is the fourth son of John and Elizabeth Speicher. The family are of Swiss origin. Fred was born in Holmes County, Ohio, November 12, 1838. When about thirteen years of age, his father removed to Wabash County, where, and also in Ohio, he obtained a fair education. He remained at home with his parents, assisting in the farm labors, until he reached his majority. For about a year he was engaged in clearing land. In 1861, at the opening of the dark and dreary days of our country's fearful struggle with the great rebellion, there was a call for volunteers, and among the heroic thousands who responded was Frederick Speicher, who enlisted and entered the Forty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry. With his regiment, he was in the fight at New Madrid, Fort Morgan and Port Gibson, and in the terrific battle of Champion Hills, where the Forty-seventh lost 143 men in killed and wounded; also participated in the siege of Vicksburg; with General Sherman's command, went in pursuit of Johnston; took part in the storming of Edward's Depot; chased Dick Taylor's force; was at Grand Coteau, Louisiana, repulsing the enemy. At New Iberia, the reigment, 400 strong, enrolled themselves as veterans with great enthusiam, and were ordered to report to Gov. Morton at Indianapolis. Was mustered out with regiment at the close of the war. He then returned to his father's home, and purchased the place upon which he has since resided. Mr. Speicher was united in marriage, April 7, 1867, with Miss Elizabeth Schulc. Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Speicher are the parents of eight children, four daughters and four sons. Their names are as follows: Rosa Katie, Sarah Elizabeth, George Edward, John Andrew, Mary Ellen, Emily Sophia, Jacob C and an infant son. Mr. Speicher, like all the sons of the late John Speicher, is one of the substantial farmers of La Gro Township, owning a finely improved place, with a handsome and commodious family residence, with modernly constructed and ample farm buildings. The family are worshipers at the handsome Evangelical Church adjoining their premises.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 371.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

John Speicher

John Speicher, farmer, P.O. Urbana, the third son of John and Elizabeth (Krebs) Speicher, was born in Holmes County, Ohio, October 29, 1837, receiving quite a generous German education, afterward acquiring a rather limited knowledge of the English branches in La Gro Township, where he had moved with his parents in 1851. When eighteen, he learned the trade of carpter, a business that he followed until entering the service of his country, in 1861, as a member of the Forty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which gallant regiment he encountered the enemy at New Madrid, Fort Morgan, Port Gibson; at the latter battle he was wounded in the shoulder. Was on detached duty at Indianapolis for some time, but returned to the regiment and was a participant at the battle of Champion Hills, where an explosive bullet destroyed his left eye, rendering him unfit for further military service. Returning to his home in La Gro, he entered into matrimony, December 14, 1865, with Miss Sarah Fall, daughter of Daniel Fall, and early settler in Wabash County. After marriage, Mr. Speicher located upon a place which he had owned for some years previous, situated a short distance east of his father's premises. A piece of wild land when he settled upon it, it is at the present time a finely cultivated farm. A family residence in the modern style of architecture has taken the place of the log house, and ample barns and conveniences of life attest the prosperity of their owner. Mr. and Mrs. Speicher's marriage has been blessed with three sons, as follows: Emanuel David, Samuel John and Daniel Joseph. The two last named are twins. Mr. and Mrs. John Speicher (as are all the descendants of John Speicher, Sr.) are members of the Evangelical Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 317.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

John Speicher, Sr.

John Speicher was one of the prominent residents of North La Gro. His birthplace was Berne, Switzerland, and the date of his nativity was the year 1808. His emigration to America took place in 1831. He went back to Switzerland, returning to the United States in 1834, coming to New York and afterward to Canal Dover, Ohio, at which place he was married in 1834 to Elizabeth Kreb, who was also an immigrant from Switzerland, crossing the ocean in the same ship with her future husband. They moved to Wabash County, Indiana, in 1852, settling in La Gro Township. Mr. Speicher bought at first 160 acres, partly on credit; but his descendants now own nearly that whole region, besides more or less elsewhere, above 2,500 acres in all! This Speicher family is indeed a wonderful group. John Speicher, Sr., and his wife have been the parents of sixteen children, fifteen of whom are grown and are married, having from two to nine children apiece, and all the fifteen are living. Twelve reside in Wabash County, nearly all the twelve in the immediate vicinity of their father's homestead. Thirteen came with their parents to their new home in the woods of the Wabash Valley, having been born (as also one other, which died an infant unnamed) between 1835 and 1852. Two of the children were born after they removed to Wabash. Fourteen children were born in the family from September 21, 1835, to March 18, 1852, a period of sixteen years five months and twenty-seven days, being an average of one year, one month, and twenty two days to each birth, there being no twins among them. The first eleven children were born in a period of eleven years eleven months and twenty-one days, the average interval being one year one month and one and ten-eleventh days. The shortest interval was from September 21, 1835, to September 1, 1936, or eleven months and ten days, and (perhaps) the longest from April 15, 1843, to November 6, 1844, or a period of one year six months and twenty-one days. It would seem a matter of wonder how a father and mother could rear such a brood and grow rich nevertheless. It may assist to solve the mystery when we state that the eldest son, Samuel, a lad in his seventeenth year when the family made their advent into Wabash County, was the head workman during the same summer, and before he was seventeen years old, in the erection of a large, capacious barn, one of those great "German barns which we read of," which is yet standing almost as good as new, to attest the energy and the skill and the business tact, moreover, of the boy carpenter, and who has lost not a jot of his youthful energy and skill.

We give the names of the children with some other information concerning them:

Samuel, born September 21, 1835, three children, farmer and carpenter; owns 240 acres of land.

Christian, born September 1, 1836, four children, mechanic and farmer; owns 300 acres.

John, born October 19, 1837; three children, farmer; has 240 acres.

Frederick, born November 12, 1838, eight children, farmer; owns 320 acres.

Mary, born January 15, 1840, nine children, husband a mechanic and farmer; owns 400 acres.

Joseph, born March 25, 1841, four children, farmer; 200 acres.

Elizabeth, born March 26, 1842, eight children, husband a farmer; they reside in St. Joseph County, Indiana, and he owns a large tract of land, but we do not know how much.

William, born April 15, 1843, five children, farmer; 120 acres.

Catherine, born November 6, 1844, three children, husband a mechanic, resides in Wabash City.

George Henry, born April 23, 1846, three children, farmer and agent, eighty acres.

David, born September 10, 1847, farmer; 160 acres; an infant unnamed.

Rosa, born March 26, 1850, husband an Allbright preacher; they have three children and reside at Edensville, Indiana.

Simon Peter, born March 18, 1852, two children, farmer; has 120 acres.

Daniel, born May 10, 1854, two children, farmer and cattle dealer; owns 220 acres.

Philip, born November 8, 1856, two children, farmer; 120 acres.

Mrs. Speicher, the venerable widow, is still living, and appears strong and vigorous enough to remain yet many years on earth as the center of love and blessing, for a large company of affectionate relatives, dwelling almost in a body in the midst of the land, which pleasing and delightful anticipation, it is to be fondly hoped may prove, in due time, a full reality. Mr. Speicher was, in religious connection, a "German Methodist," and in political faith a Republican; and, being intelligent and enthustiastic, and moreover gifted in the use of his native German speech, he often addressed his fellow citizens of German descent with interest and success, especially at the Republican State Conventions, held from time to time at Indianapolis, where his strong good sense and his earnest German speech would have a powerful effect upon his interested and appreciative listeners. The whole family, residing as so many of the members of it do, in the same immediate neighborhood, presents a fine and remarkable example of brotherly love and unity, and of family harmony and affection. The elder brother, now that the aged father has been reverently laid away in the tomb, seems like a father to them all; and the whole connection dwell together in the happy enjoyment of fraternal sympathy and sweet and tender yearnings of heart, for the mutual well-being and success of the whole happy band. Their daily intercourse is a specimen, on a not very small scale, of what ought to be throughout the whole family of man over the entire inhabited globe -- a notable instance of the burden of prayer of the Scottish poet in that quaint but exquisite refrain of his:

"Then let us pray that come it may,

As come it will for a' that,

That man to man the world o'er

May brithers be and a' that."

Let us fondly hope that the day is, indeed, ere a very long time, to be ushered in with shouts of rejoicing, and choral strains of holy triumph over evil and wrong -- the glad and happy day when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His anointed, and He shall reign forever -- when there shall be none to hurt nor to destroy in all "God's holy mountain," when the earth shall be full of the knowledge and the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the mighty deep! What a blessed time to write history that will be! Would God we might "be there to see," and to have a hand therein.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana pages 338-339.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Samuel S. Speicher

Samuel S. Speicher, a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of the LaGro Township, was born in Holmes County, Ohio, September 20, 1835. He is the oldest son of the late John Speicher, a native of Switzerland. John Speicher, his father, was born in 1808, emigrated to America in 1829; remaining, first in Ohio twenty-two years. The family came to Wabash County in 1851, locating in the northwest part of La Gro Township. He was an active, public-spirited, successful citizen during his lifetime; was largely instrumental in erecting the beautiful structure known as the Evangelical Church of Urbana. This religious edifice occupies a commanding position near the old homestead. The old gentleman died February 11, 1879. Mrs. John Speicher nee Elizabeth Kreps is still living, vigorous in mind and body. Mr. and Mrs. John Speicher reared a family of eleven sons and four daughters. All of them are living, and are widely known, substantial and well-to-do citizens of Wabash County. Samuel S., during his youth, was liberally educated in the German language, which, with self-culture in later years, has well fitted him for any position he may choose. Having, early in life, learned the trade of carpenter, he pursued that vocation nearly twenty years, achieving an enviable reputation as a successful builder and contractor. He is the patentee of Speicher's Champion Broadcast Hand Seed Sower, and is the manager of an extensive factory, recently constructed at North Manchester, for the manufacture of these seeders, which are fast growing into popular favor. Mr. Samuel S. Speicher was united in matrimony, August 23, 1866, with Miss Elizabeth Keppler, a native of Wabash County. To this marriage were born three children, viz., E. Daniel, September 20, 1867; Mary Rosa, May 23, 1869 (died in infancy); Matilda Priscilla, February 15, 1879. In 1866, Mr. Speicher bought a piece of uncleared land, adjoining the home farm on the east. Immediately after assuming the responsibility of married life, he sought to locate upon this land. To do so, however, he first penetrated those green woods, selected a sightly spot, and out of the heavy growth of forest trees, with his own ax, cleared a space for their future abode. He then erected a residence, modern in its style, and with a view to being both comfortable and convenient! This residence he still occupies but how changed the surroundings! Busy here has been the hand of industry; strong the arm of energy; untiring the spirt of perseverance, and successful the genius of enterprise. The mighty forest has been subdued, and in its stead we find a well-fenced, well-drained and well-tilled fields. Many acres of orcharding, thrifty and of choice selection, have been transplanted. Evergreens and other shrubs decorate the yard. Fine, large herds of sheep and cattle graze upon his pastures. In his various labors in agriculture, he is assisted by a supply of improved machinery, and not least in his improvements we may name the large, elegant barn, which he built in 1868, indeed, aggregating, a commendable result in a little less than eighteen years. Mr. Speicher is an affable, cultured gentleman and a prosperous farmer, now owning 240 acres of fine land in a body. Himself and Mrs. Speicher hold fellowship at the Evangelical Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 371.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

C. W. Spiker

C. W. Spiker, farmer, P.O. Wabash. Mr. Spiker, an enterprising farmer of La Gro, was born in Holmes County, Ohio, September 1, 1836. He is the second son of the late John Spiker, a native of Switzerland, an early settler, and a prominent citizen during his lifetime. He died February 12, 1879, in the seventy-second year of his age. Mrs. John Spiker, nee Elizabeth Crips, is still living in La Gro Township, vigorous and in the enjoyment of all her faculties. C. W. Spiker, the subject of this sketch, was a pupil at a German school, receiving a good German education. With his parents, he came to La Gro in 1851, the family locating on Section 5. For some years, C. W. Spiker carried on the carpenter business, erecting many of the finest residences in Urbana and vicinity. Mr. Spiker was united in marriage, January 29, 1858, with Miss Catherine Cosly, a native of Carroll County, Indiana, born January 1, 1840. To this marriage were born four children, three of whom are living, viz: John W., born October 18, 1860; Mary E., January 21, 1867, and Warren F., September 22, 1869. Mr. S. purchased a place adjoining his father's homestead, where he resided for some years. It consisted of 280 acres. In June, 1866, he located on the farm where he now lives, then wholly unimproved. He at once put up a fine barn in the woods, and rapidly improved his place. He has a commodious residence, with ample farm buildings, and his well-cultivated fields have the appearance of those that were settled upon many years before; not a tree had been felled on the premises now the property of Mr. Spiker. He is the owner of 210 acres, upon which the Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan Railroad Company have located a station, to be known as Spikerville. Mr. Spiker has recently constructed a fine store, which he has stocked with merchandise, an enterprise that is appreciated by the residents in that vicinity. He also has an elevator and warehouse; also a blacksmith shop, which with a post office, forms a nucleus for a flourishing village that has already been formed in the center of Wabash County. Mr. S. is also the owner of numerous lots in Wabash. Upon one of them he has built a handsome residence. He is an energetic and public-spirited citizen.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana pages 371-372.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


ELIZA STAMBAUGH, farmer, P.O. somerset, was born in the State of Virginia January 16, 1823, daughter of Martin and Elizabeth (Frantz) Winger, natives of Pennsylvania and of German extraction; attended the common school and remained at home with her parents until her marriage, January 29, 1856, to Mr. William Stambaugh, born in York County, Penn., in 1812; removed to Ohio in 1840; remained until the fall of 1852, when he came to Wabash County, Ind., locating upon the farm where the family still reside and upon which some improvements had been made, a small frame house standing on the site of the present beautiful brick house erected in 1874. Mr. Stambaugh was a farmer by occupation, had some start in life, and was a member of the German Baptist Church as is also Mrs. Stambaugh. Mr. and Mrs. Stambaugh were the parents of four children, three of whom survive, their names are as follow: Anna, Amanda and Maria. Mr. Stambaugh was twice married, and to the first marriage were born five children, three of whom are living and two of them well-known residents of Waltz Township - David, Mary (now of St. Louis) and Lydia (wife of John Garst, of Waltz Township); the first wife of Mr. Stambaugh decreased October 1, 1854. Mr. Stambaugh died January 7, 1861, aged sixty-eight years; he died respected and regretted by all who had known him.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana pages 490-491.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Caleb Story #1

Caleb Story was born May 14, 1828, in Fayette County, Indiana, and after receiving such education as the times afforded, he was married, April 9, 1854, to Miss Icyphena Calvert, who was born November 10, 1839. They are the parents of the following named children: Hiram C., Eva, Everett, Mirtie and Frank. Mr. Story owns a fine farm of eighty acres of land, and is a member of the I.O.O.F., No. 40.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 271.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Cable Story #2

Caleb Story, a pioneer of Wabash County, Indiana, and of English descent, is a native of Fayette County, Indiana, and was born May 14, 1828, the third of the fourteen children born to Caleb and Rebecca (Stain) Story. Of his family of fourteen, seven are still living, namely: Caleb, whose name opens this biographical sketch; Frances, wife of a Mr. Lewis King, a farmer of Wabash County; Margaret, married to William Oswald of Noble Township; Isabella, now Mrs. William Alexander, of Bern, Indiana; Harriet, wife of Stephen Vandergrift, of Noble Township; L. A., also of Noble Township, and a prosperous agriculturist, and Sarah J., wife of John Hoover, of south Wabash.

Caleb Storey, as the name was originally spelled by his ancestors, was born in Guilford County, North Carolina, and was educated in the common schools. He was reared to agricultural pursuits in his native state, and there passed his life until he reached mature years, when he came to Indiana, and in 1849 purchased eighty acres of wild land in Wabash County, on which was a little log cabin. Indians were numerous in the neighborhood and deer abundant in the surrounding forest, while wolves and other wild beats were not at all scarce. But Mr. Story succeeded in developing a fertile farm from this wilderness and managed to live comfortably and happily. In politics Mr. Story was a Jeffersonian Democrat, in religion a Universalist, and in that belief he passed away at the age of seventy-eight years.

Mrs. Rebecca (Sain) Story was a native of South Carolina, and came with her parents to Indiana in a wagon at an early day. The family settled in the southeastern part of the state, where she passed many years of her life, and died at the advanced age of ninety-three years, in Wabash County, in the faith of the Christian Church.

Caleb Story was educated in a log school-house in Fayette County. This primitive school building measured 18 x 20 feet and was crude in construction in all respects, as all backwoods school-houses were in that early day. The books used in the cirriculum were of the most elementary character, while information was imparted more through corporal chastisement than by moral suasion.

Mr. Story was reared to the hardships of backwoods life and inured to the toil of a pioneer farm, and during his minority cleared off at least one hundred and twenty-five acres of forest land. At the age of twenty-one years his cash amounted to less than $100. But he had an immense store of vital energy, and in a few years acquired sufficient means to justify his taking to himself a partner in the person of Miss Icyphene Calvert, whom he married April 9, 1854. This union has been crowned with six children, four sons and two daughters, and of these there are five still living, namely: Hiram C., who resides in Springfield, Ohio, and is an expressman on the Big Four Railroad; Caleb E., of Toledo, Ohio, is a baggageman on the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad.; Elva, wife of Harley Amoss, a resident of Noble Township, superintendent of highways; Myrtle, wife of Frank Wilson, a carpenter of Noble Township; and Frank, who is married to Miss Rose Smith, daughter of Peter and Hester (Unger) Smith, while the other brothers still reside on the old homestead.

Mrs. Icyphene (Calvert) Story was born in Cass County, Indiana, December 10, 1838. When she and her husband began their wedded life they were at the bottom of the ladder that reached to fortune, Mr. Story being simply a day worker. The girl-wife, however, was ever ready and willing to lend him her earnest aid and economical of his means. Their first purchase of land was a tract of forty acres, part of their present estate, not a foot of which had been cleared, and their first dwelling was a very rude structure indeed, of up-and-down boards. The young couple continued their earnest work and cleared away the forest and drained the swamp land, and in a short time increased their farm to eighty acres. This farm in its day was looked upon as one of the best of its dimensions in the township. To this estate they added another forty-acre tract, and their modern dwelling and barns are fully up to date in every convenience and comfort.

Mr. and Mrs. Story and their children wrought out all the improvements on their estate, and toiled hard to redeem it from the wilderness, and this toil was happily remuncrated to their full satisfaction. For almost half a century Mr. and Mrs. Story trod the path of life together, but on June 12, 1899, Mrs. Story was called to a higher sphere. The esteem in which she was held by her former class is evidenced by the following:


":Resolved, That we, as members of Glen Union Bible Class, bow in submission to the will of Almighty God in removing from our midst our dearly beloved sister, Icyphene Story, who departed to that bourne whence none returneth June 12, 1899; and

"Whereas, Resolved, That while we miss one so much loved and esteemed by all, let us not forget to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved husband and children.

"And that a copy of these resolutions be recorded in the secretary’s book of the Bible class. By order of committee,

"Mrs. La Selle, Mrs. Jones. Mrs. Kline"

In politics Mr. Story is a Democrat and fraternally a member of St. Anastasia Lodge, No. 46, I.O.O.F., at Wabash. He is a strictly moral man, and has so lived as to have won the sincere respect of all who know him.

Source: 1901 Biographical Memoirs of Wabash County, Indiana, page 661-662.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Lewis Story

Lewis Story, P.O. Wabash, was born in Fayette County, Indiana, November 16, 1832, and was married in February, 1852, to Rebecca Rose, who was born February 17, 1837. To these parents three children have been born -- May, Alice and John B. Mr. Story's father, Caleb Story, was a native of North Carolina, born in 1797. He married Rebecca Sein, who was born in the same year that his own birth occured. This couple settled in this county in 1847, where he died in 1867, and where his widow still lives at the age of eighty-six. Mr. Story, Jr., owns a good farm of ninety acres of land, well improved.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 271.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

John Sweeney

"John SWEENEY, a son of Neal and Celia (Dougherty) Sweeney, was born in Donegal County, Ireland, March 25, 1817. Young John received a fair education and was employed in the capacity of farm hand, until immigrating to America in the spring of 1838. He remained in Toledo, Ohio, a short time, finally locating in Wabash County in the year 1839. Entering 140 acres of land, he commenced farming assisted by a brother [James]. Mr. Sweeney was married, January 16, 1867, to Miss [Mrs.] Elizabeth Cotter. They continued to reside on the farm, until 1875, when Mr. Sweeney purchased the David Watkins homestead in La Gro, where he has since resided leading a retired life. His has been an industrious and well-spent career, during which he has accumulated a sufficient competence for his declining years. He is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, as was Mrs. Sweeney, who died March 14, 1879."

Source: History of Wabash Co, IN 1884, page 373; Helm, Thomas B..
Submitter: Mike Sweeney

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