JAMES MARCELLUS WYNN
Banner Plain Dealer - December 28, 1898
James Marcellus Wynn was born Feb. 19, 1833 and died Dec. 22, 1898, in his sixty-fifth year. His place of birth was
near Brookville, Franklin county, Indiana. He was the son of John and Rachel Wynn. In a family of ten children he was the seventh. Three
survive his death, Isabella Gregg, of Poncha Springs, Colorado, Joseph A. Wynn who resides near Greensburg, Indiana, and Elizabeth Childers,
resident in Jennings county, Indiana. As a boy he received the meagre common school training of that day to which he added a course in
Brookville College. Perhaps the rarest educational privilege came from the companionship of his father, whose extensive knowledge of higher
mathmatics and whose broad culture made him an educational force unsurpassed in the pioneer history of Indiana. These opportunities to one
of his native ability, tact and genial nature, made James M. Wynn an unusually successful teacher. Most of the years of his young manhood,
however, were given over, with untiring and faithful service to his parents on the farm.
He united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1853, and his life met the full requirements of christian manhood.
He was an enthusiastic Mason, having served years as master of his lodge. His admiration for that ancient and dignified
order was high and his devotion to its principles unfaultering.
His marriage to Margaret R. Barbour occurred Sept. 24, 1857. Her death twenty years after was a deep bereavement to
him. There were born to them five children. Of these Dr. Frank B. Wynn, Mary B. Wynn, Mrs. Carrie W. Meredith, and John G. Wynn are all
residents of Indianapolis. Elizabeth died in infancy. His second marriage was to Mary B. Shera, June 12, 1879. By this union was born Maggie,
the youngest of the five surviving children.
He removed from Franklin to Jennings county, Indiana, in 1867, where he has since resided. During this period of
forty-one years he has exercised a wide and beneficent influence. The excellence of his judgement, his sterling honesty, his high sense of
justice and fairness, led to his frequent selection as administrator of estates, guardian of minors, as arbitrator of disputed matters and
as a judge in the division of property.
Whether it was a suffering dumb brute, a calamity befallen a fellow man, a machine that would not work or any sudden
and trying emergency, he was appealed to as the person most capable of rendering prompt and efficient service.
As an employer he was considerate and just to his employees. They respected, nay loved, him like a father. Young men
frequently asked his wise counsel. One who had sought and followed his advice many times remarked while these lines were being written that
in the single instance where he had not been governed by that advice the greatest mistake of his life had been made.
At different times he was called on to fill positions of public honor and trust, always reflecting honor upon himself
and his constituency. For a number of years he was a surveyor of Jennings county. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the North
Vernon State Bank. In 1873 and 1875 he was a member of the General Assembly of Indiana and again in 1885. In politics he was an active and
ardent Republican, but he was universally honored and respected by all who knew him, irrespective of party affiliations. Perhaps no other
resident of Jennings county had a wider circle of friends and acquaintances.
He had excellent use of language. In speaking he always commanded respectful attention. What he said was direct,
clear and forceful. He wrote well. His contributions pertaining to husbandry were always well received and much coveted by the press, although
given for publication with reluctant modesty.
He was a successful business man. His large farm was well improved. None but the best of stock was raised. The soil
was not permitted to wear out. By rotation of crops or fertilization he saw to it that the producing power of the soil was maintained. He
was abreast of the times in all that pretains to the art and science of farming. He loved his vocation and believed it should occupy a more
honorable place in the estimations of the world. He delighted in the cultivation of fruits, plants and flowers and in the contemplation of
green and ripening nature everywhere. He was sympathetic and fondly attached to the dumb brutes who knew and followed him as a kind shepherd.
His energy was tireless. Whatever his hand found to do was not only done with a will but was well done. He was
enterprising and progressive. The first tile factory in Indiana was erected by him and he was a pioneer and advocating and using tile-drainage
to convert malarial swamps into tillable lands. He set up and helped operate the first reaping machine brought to the State. He purchased the
first double plow in this part of Indiana. Recognizing at once its utility but deploring the exorbitant price of the machine, which made its
general introduction impracticable, he manufactured in his own shop thirty double plows which were sold to his neighbors at a more reasonable
He had a strong bent for mathematics and mechanics. Had he followed the inclinations of his youth he would have become
a manufacturer. He possessed rare mechanical genius, having invented a number of devices, two of which were patented. While his aim was to
secure a competency for his family and himself in declining years, he believed an education the best investment he could make for his children.
The four eldest received a college education and he designed giving the youngest the same priviledge.
For several years past an incurable malady had been creeping upon him. It was a source for great inconvenience and
embarresment to him. It took away his agile step and deft mechanical hand. He was robbed of the enjoyment of paper and books. He became in
many respects helpless, yet through it all he manifested cheerfulness, patience, and an abiding faith in the christian religion, a heroism
equal to the soldier in battle, and when in addition to this terrible affliction was added the last fatal illness and the feeble body was
almost overwhelmed, serene and steadfast he repeated
"Jesus lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly:
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high,
Hide me, oh my savior, hide me,
Till the storm of life is past,
Safe into the haven guide me,
Oh, recieve my soul at last."
With deep grief we yeild to an all wise Providence "who doeth all thing well." A loving husband, a devoted father,
a beloved relative and friend and a revered and honored citizen has been called away, but the memory of his life will remain an ever lingering
inspiration to better effort. Findagrave link
You may use this material for your own personal research, however it may not be used for commercial publications without express written consent of the contributor, INGenWeb, and