GEORGE UNRUE, an active and enterprising farmer of Jackson Township, residing on section 6, was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, January 4, 1812, a son of George Unrue. His parents were both natives of the State of Pennsylvania, and of German descent. Mr. De Poy, the maternal grandfather of our subject, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, as was also his eldest son. The parents of our subject were married in Virginia, and in 1814 removed to Ross County, Ohio, and later settled in Montgomery County. They subsequently removed to Darke County, where they passed the remainder of their days. In his religious belief the father was a Presbyterian, and the mother was a member of the Lutheran church. They were the parents of six children, four sons and two daughters. The father being a farmer by occupation, George, the subject of this sketch, was reared to the same avocation, which he has made his life-work. He grew to manhood in Montgomery County, Ohio, where he was married March 28, 1839, to Miss Mary Ubanks, who was born in Montgomery County, April 4, 1817, a daughter of Hezekiah and Christina (Deerdorf) Ubanks. Her parents were natives of Virginia, and early settlers of Montgomery County, Ohio, where they located prior to the war of 1812. The mother died in Montgomery County, and the father died at the home of one of his sons in Huntington County, Indiana. They were the parents of twelve children. Mr. and Mrs. Unrue had born to them four children—Joseph, John, Henry (deceased), and Anna Catherine. Mr. Unrue was bereaved by the death of his wife February 28, 1879. Mr. Unrue followed farming and brick-making in Montgomery County until the fall of 1852, when he came to Wells County, Indiana, and settled on his present farm in Jackson Township, which he had previously purchased. The surrounding country was in a wild state when he first came to the county, and his farm was then covered with timber. He erected a rude log cabin, in which he lived until he built his fine substantial brick residence, which is a model for comfort and convenience. His farm is now well improved, containing 120 acres of finely cultivated land. In his political views Mr. Unrue is a staunch Democrat, casting his first presidential vote for Andrew Jackson, and his last for Grover Cleveland. He is a member of the Lutheran church.
Biographical and historical record of Adams and Wells counties, Indiana. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1887, p. 1021.
A list of Jackson township's enterprising farmers and prominent citizens would be incomplete if it did not include the name of the well known gentleman whose simple life story is told in these lines. A resident of Wells county since his twelfth year, he has literally grown up with the country, and few have been more active thn he in behalf of the agricultural interests of the township which is proud to claim his citizenship. Joseph Unrue is an Ohio man and the son of George and Mary Unrue, who for many years were residents of Montgomery county, that state, the father a native of Virginia. The subject's paternal grandparents were George and Catherine Unrue, who moved from Virginia to Ross county, Ohio, when their son George was about seven years of age. Subsequently the family moved to Montgomery county, where George, Jr., grew to maturity and married Mary Eubank, daughter of Hezekiah and Christina Eubank, early settlers of that part of the state.
By occupation George Unrue, Jr., was a stone mason, but later in life he evoted the most of his time to agricultural pursuits. In October, 1852, he came to Wells county, Indiana, and purchased a piece of woodland in Jackson township on which, with the aid of his son and the few neighbors in the vicinity, he hastily built a log cabin, sixteen by sixteen feet in area and six feet high. Into this rude dwelling of a single room his family was domiciled and during the first years of their residence eight acres were partially cleared and planted in corn. Mr. Unrue brought with him sufficient provision for one year, obtaining his meat the meantime from the wild game with which the woods then abounded. In the course of a few years he had a comfortable home and in due time became one of the prosperous farms of his township, as well as one of its most highly esteemed citizns. His wife died in 1878 and in 1894, after reaching a good old age, he too was called from the scenes of his early trials and successes. George and Mary Unrue were the parents of four children, three of whom are living, the subject of this sketch being the oldest of the family. John the second in order of birth, is a farmer of Jackson township and lives on part of the old homestead; Henry, the third, is deceased, and Catherine, the youngest of the number, is the wife of Isaiah Barnes, of Warren, this state.
Joseph Unrue was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, on the 24th of March, 1840. He received his preliminary education in thistrict schools of his native place and at the age of twelve was brought by his parents to Wells county, since which time, as already stated, his life has been very closely identified with the growth and development of Jackson township. Here he attended school a few months of each winter until reaching the age of eighteen, meanwhile assisting to clear the farm and tend the crops, proving a strong and willing hand at all kinds of work required in carving a home from the wilderness. When nineteen years old he began taking contracts for clearing land and in this way worked until his marriage, which was solemnized March 25, 1861, with Miss Charlotte Athan, whose birth occurred in Jackson township in the year 1843. Mrs. Unrue is the daughter of Jacob and Mary Athan, who moved to Ohio from Virginia in an early day and from the latter state to Wells county in 1838. They were among the earliest settlers of Jackson township and spent the remainder of their lives on the land which Mr. Athan originally purchased from the government. Of their four children three are yet living, Mrs. Martha A. Webb, Mrs. Unrue and Wilson, a resident of the state of Washington; Hannah Eliza has been a number of years deceased.
Mr. Unrue spent the first year of his married life with his father-in-law and during the ensuing ten years rented land of his wife's uncle, Thomas Athan. He then moved to his father's place, which he cultivated about ten years, and at the end of that time again took charge of his father-in-law's farm which he made his home until 1872. In that year he purchased a small tract of land in section 6, Jackson township, on which he built a rough log cabin, but after occupying the place about one year sold out and later bough forty-five acres of the Athan farm. Moving to the latter, he farmed it in connection with rented land until 1889, when he changed his residence to the old family homestead for the purpose of taking care of his father in his old age.
At the death of his father, Mr. Unrue took charge of the farm and from that time to the present he has been engaged in agriculture and stock raising with most gratifying results. He is a man of progressive tendencies and to say that he has made a success of life is to state what is apparent to all who know him or have heard of his industrious habits and enterprising methods. Like a number of his neighbors and fellow citizens, John Unrue has the good fortune to live in one of the rich oil producing districts of Indiana and receives from thirty-five to fifty dollars per month income therefrom. This has been a very material aid to him and the prospects are fair for other wells and much larger income from the oil interests in the no distant future. As a stock raiser Mr. Unrue has made considerable money, there being a large and constantly increasing demand for the fine breed of hogs to which he has devoted much attention of recent years. As a citizen he enjoys the confidence and esteem of the community, holding worthy prestige as a neighbor and no one has ever had occasion to question the loyalty of his friendship. He is a good and just man, and has always endeavored to square his life according to the precept of the Golden Rule and to do all the good within his power among those with whom he is brought in contact. Fraternally he belongs to Warren Lodge No. 392, I. O. O. F., and politically is and always has been a staunch supporter of the Democratic party. He is recognized as an effective worker in campaign years and, though by no means a seeker after the honors or emoluments of office, the people of his township elected him twice to the position of justice of the peace. After serving in that capacity for eight years and proving a most efficient dispenser of justice, he resigned the office, refusing to fill out his second term.
Mr. and Mrs. Unrue have had born to them seven children, but, as with the majority of families, the angel of death has crossed their threshold until there are only four of the number left; the names of these offspring are as follows: George, deceased; Nancy J. married William B. Miller, who lives on a part of the home place and works in the oil fields; Jacob S. is deceased; Mary I. is the wife of Henry Zent, a resident of Jackson township; Hannah C., now Mrs. John M. Sprow, lives in the town of Warren, and Sarah E., who married Elam Sprow, a painter, residing on a part of the subject's farm. Mr. and Mrs. Unrue have in their possession an old parchment sheepskin deed, executed under the administration of President Van Buren and bearing his signature.
Biographical Memoirs of Wells County, Indiana. B.F. Bowen, Logansport, Indiana, 1903, pp. 251-253.
ANDREW R. VAN EMONS, of Harrison Township, was born on the farm where he now resides, on section 9, January 16, 1848, the youngest child of James Van Emons. He received a commonschool education, and remained on the farm with his parents until their death, then succeeded them in the homestead. June 5, 1874, he was married to Miss E. Marilla, a daughter of Bowen Hale, and they have six children: Milford, Bowen, Charles, Harriet, Clara and Homer. Mr. Van Emons has a fine farm of 160 acres, situated one and a half miles south of Bluffton.
He erected a nice brick residence in 1882. In politics he is a Republican.
Biographical and historical record of Adams and Wells counties, Indiana. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1887, pp. 858-861.
JACOB ZIMMERLEE, deceased, an early settler of Union Township, was born in Virginia. But little is known of the history of his parents, as they both died when he was a mere lad, and he found a home with his brother-in-law, Jacob Miller, who married his only sister, Ann. There were three other sons—John, William and David, who settled in Rush County, Indiana, while Mr. Miller came to Wells County, bringing Jacob with him. David afterward moved to and died in Adams County. Jacob was reared in this county, and without patrimony began the work of providing a home for himself. He drove a team for his brother-in-law several years between Bluffton and Cincinnati, from which city all the goods were transported. He was fourteen years of age when he came to the county, and at that time there were scarcely any settlements. December 25, 1845, he was married to Clara Brown, and they began housekeeping on the farm now belonging to the Fredrick Eichhorn heirs. Mrs. Zimmerlee was born in Wilks County, North Carolina, February 1, 1824, and was a daughter of Elisha and Elizabeth (Redding) Brown. The nationality of the Brown family cannot be ascertained, but the Zimmerlees are of German origin. When the event of their marriage occurred, $5 would have purchased all their united possessions. Four years after they were married he purchased on credit forty acres of land now owned by Daniel Fisher, and worked by the month to pay for it. During this time his good wife remained alone with her four children and managed to support them by weaving, so that her husband’s earnings could all apply on the purchase. After the land was paid for he commenced clearing it and had the task almost completed when he sold it, and in 1861 removed to the farm now owned by his wife. The following spring they went to the Robert. Miller farm on the Wabash, and returned in the fall to the farm of J. Roe, two of their children having died during their residence on the Wabash. Two years were spent on the Roe farm during which time he built the cabin that still stands in the door-yard. They removed to their new home in 1863, where they have since resided. Jacob was a shoemaker by trade and during his early married life worked at the bench during the winter season. Their first years of married life were full of hardships, but his last purchase of 110 acres made him a comparatively wealthy man, and after the timber was removed it made a fine farm. By will the property was bequeathed to his wife during her lifetime and then descends to her heirs. The death of Mr. Zimmerlee occurred October 15, 1885, and his remains were interred at Markle. They had eight children, five of whom are living—John, who married Caroline Platt; Martha A., wife of Peter C. Leavengood; Daniel, married Nancy A. McLure; Elijah, married Alice Ormsby, and Mary E., wife of Daniel Walter. Elijah is the only child that has engaged in a profession. He taught school previous to his marriage, and abandoned his profession to engage in farming. Later he established a tile factory with Daniel Walter near the home farm, which he sold at the death of his father, and he now has charge of the homestead. All are residents of Union Township, and all reside on section 33.
Biographical and historical record of Adams and Wells counties, Indiana. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1887, pp. 765-766.
WILLIAM C. ZION, of Zanesville, was born in Madison County, Indiana, February 10, 1845, son of John P. and Nancy (Crismore) Zion, the former native of Virginia, and the latter of Pennsylvania. They were married in Rush County, Indiana, and their children, seven in number, have all been born in this State—Jacob S., William C., George W., Thomas J. and John H.; two are deceased. Jacob married Susan Sonner; George married Rebecca Bell; Thomas J. married Mary Ellsworth; John H. married Ida Hindman, and William C. married Mary C. Wagner August 14, 1873, Rev. William Curtis, a Baptist clergyman, performing the marriage ceremony. Mrs. Zion’s parents were Martin and Catherine (Welbaum) Wagner, a native of Pennsylvania, who removed from that State to Allen County in 1841. Eight children were born in that county—Rachel A., Mary B., Jacob M., Phoebe E., Rebecca I., Joseph B., Abraham L. and William D. The father was a soldier during the late war, being a member of Company C, Seventy-fourth Indiana Infantry. He participated in the battle of Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, the siege of Atlanta, and was with Sherman on his celebrated march to the sea. He was twice wounded during the service. At the close of the war he returned home, and he and his good wife are still living in Allen County. The Zion family came to Wells County October 20, 1863, purchasing the farm where the parents now reside. The father was born in 1818, and the mother in 1823. William C. was well educated, but his life has been spent on the farm. After his marriage he settled upon the farm where he now resides, which was purchased in 1870, and had only a small clearing and no house. The next spring he erected a nice farm-house. All the improvements bave been made by himself, and he now has a fine farm of 120 acres, well stocked and conveniently arranged. Their children are—Ida E., Jason C. arid Franklin A. In 1884 Mr. Zion was elected township trustee by the Democratic party, and in 1886 be was reelected. The Needmore school-house and the Zanesville school building have been erected since he has held the office, and the new iron bridge between sections 12 and 13 has been built, also two frame bridges across Flat and Davis creeks.
Biographical and historical record of Adams and Wells counties, Indiana. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1887, p. 722.
JOSEPH ZOOS, a harness-maker at Uniondale, was born in Freiberg, Germany, April 14, 1863, son of Joseph
and Emma (Stortz) Zoos, natives of Baden, Germany, who were the parents of seven children: Joseph, Julius, Josephine, Augusta, Philomela, May and Emma. The father was a farmer by occupation, and both parents are still living in the rural districts of Germany. The two sons reside at Uniondale. Mr. Zoos came to America in 1879, when only sixteen years of age, and when he arrived at Fort Wayne had only two cents in his pocket. He owned a German watch, which he sold in that city in order to obtain money to get to his uncle’s house, Matthew Zoos, who lived near Geneva, Adams County. The next day after his arrival he apprenticed himself to a Mr. Wachman to learn the trade of harness-maker. A few months later he went to Buena Vista, this State, and opened a shop on his own account. His first stock was purchased on credit, and when he left that village in 1884, after paying all his debts, he carried away $750 in cash, he then went to Greenville, Darke County, Ohio, but soon returned, and February 26, 1885, was married in Buena Vista to Miss Louisa, daughter of William and Lizzie (Klingman) Beach, whose acquaintance he had formed while a resident of that place. They came to the new town of Uniondale. to commence their domestic life, where Mr. Zoos purchased his property, then unfinished, and within a few days it was ready for occupancy, and he opened the first harness shop in the village. His naturalization papers were drafted October 14, 1884, attested by John D. Hale, clerk of Adams County. In addition to harnessmaking, he carries on the shoemaker’s trade, assisted by his brother Julius, who came to America in 1884, and intends to become a citizen of the United States as soon as he is of legal age. Mr. and Mrs. Zoos have one daughter, an infant.
He is successful in his business, and now has a property valued at $1,200.
Biographical and historical record of Adams and Wells counties, Indiana. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1887, p. 722.