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John F. Cotton, 

farmer, Craig Township, was the first white male child born in the county, and is therefore its oldest native born citizen. He was born at the old Cotton homestead, on Indian Creek, October 29, 1803, and his boyhood and youth were passed in that locality among the boys of the few white settlers, and the sons and daughters of the native 'redskins.' His parents, John and Christina (Froman) Cotton, have been referred to in the first general chapter of this work. Mr. Cotton was educated in such schools as were provided for the youth of his time, a hint of which has been given in the history of Jefferson Township. He was reared on the farm, and during his lifetime, which spans the lapse of eighty-two years, he has given his attention to agricultural pursuits, though in early life, from 1827 to 1843, he did an extensive flat-boating business on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, dealing in all kinds of country produce. Being afflicted with disease of the eyes, he spent the great part of seven years, 1843 to 1850, in seeking relief at the hands of the most skillful doctors of Cincinnati, but failing of the desired result, he applied to Dr. Cogley, of Madison, Ind., and was permanently cured in three months. In 1851 Mr. Cotton began farming and dealing in stock, exclusively, and this he has continued with marked success ever since. By his excellent management of business affairs, coupled with born habits of industry and frugality, he has amassed a considerable fortune, now owning 732 acres of landed estate, under good improvements. He has served his township as trustee for many years, and has been a faithful and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church since 1842. Mr. Cotton was married, September 18, 1823, to Julia Ann Kern, a native of Pennsylvania, born July 5, 1805, and there were born to them four children: Eliza, Perry K., Christie Ann and John W. After nearly fifty years of toil and trial this faithful wife of his better days, and tender mother of his children, passed to her reward September 7, 1871. Mr. Cotton was again married in 1875, and is now passing the retrospective year of his life at his comfortable home in Craig Township, one of the most highly esteemed of the county's pioneers.