Few men have the good fortune to win the affectionate regard and kindly sympathy of the community in which they live, that HENRY T. SAMPLE has gained among the people of Tippecanoe County. The benignant countenance and stalwart form are familiar alike to old and young. His powerful frame bending under the weight of years, his frank, open, generous face, fringed with hoary locks; his dignified and courteous bearing; his kindly and even-tempered disposition, unruffled by the cares and anxieties of a lifetime of business activity—all conspire to excite patriarchal reverence. Nearly three-quarters of a century have left him a hale, hearty and well-preserved old man; a quick, elastic step; busy, active and energetic in business; still in possession of his old-time habits of unflagging industry, with eye undimmed and mind unimpaired. Such is the imperfect personal sketch of HENRY T. SAMPLE.

He was born near Middletown, Butler Co., Ohio, on the 20th day of September, 1805. His father built a grist mill and saw mill near Middletown, which he managed successfully two years. He afterward moved to Coldrain on the Big Miami River, in the south part of the county, and there built what were known as the Coldrain Mills. Here he remained until the year 1818, when he moved to Randolph Co., Ind., settling on White River, and there built a mill and improved a farm.

Young HENRY received his first lessons in commercial enterprise in slipping down the river and selling the products of mill and farm to the settlers in the new purchase from the Indians, which includes the territory in which Indianapolis is now situated, his father’s mill being in what was known as the twelve mile purchase on the Indian Reserve line. After that trade was sup0lied, they hauled their products in wagons eight miles north to the Mississinewa River, where they tradedwith the Miami Indians on that river and on the Wabash, as far down as Lafayette. His first trip to Lafayette was in 1825, which had been surveyed and laid out just one week before his arrival.

In 1822, he had begun an apprenticeship at the tanning and currying business in Randolph County. In 1826, he married MISS SARAH SUMWALT, and immediately moved to Lafayette to engage in the tanning business, which he carried on until 1854. In 1833 he began to butcher hogs in connection with his tannery, and in 1842, he associate himself with the late JOSEPH S. HANNA in the business of packing pork and beef. While engaged in this business, he made several trips to New Orleans in flat-boats with cargoes of pork and lard, generally realizing a good return for his capital and labor.

He purchased a farm on the grand prairie in Benton County in 1858, and began the management of a large stock farm. In this latter business he found more pleasure and enjoyment than in any other branch of trade in which he had ever engaged, while at the same time yielding ample returns for the capital invested. In long years of active business enterprise and continuous industry, he had amassed an ample fortune. With unerring judgment and unfailing foresight, he had made every business venture a success. He enjoyed a uniform and unvarying prosperity for many years. He was a shrewd trader and careful businessman. In a lifetime of business activity and commercial enterprise he had been uniformly successful, and had in the aggregate mad a competency satisfactory to himself.

But in an evil moment he was persuaded to digress from the business in which he was engaged, and embark in other branches of trade. The venture proved unwise and unprofitable, and the results of fifty years of hard work were swept away. In a few short years his ample estate melted away, and left him in his old age with comparatively a pittance. His advice to young men is to keep close to shore.

MR. SAMPLE was a Whig during the days of that party, and naturally drifted into the Republican party. He was one of the early Councilmen of Lafayette, but has never been a politician or office seeker. While taking an active interest in the county and State politics, the material and business interests of the county have received the larger share of his attention. The agricultural interests to the county have always held a high place in his esteem, and their promotion and improvement has been the chief ambition and solicitude of his later years.

In 1867, some of the leading farmers of the county solicited him to accept the Presidency of a little county fair. For several years he had been trying to inaugurate an enterprise of this kind, and he gladly accepted the responsibility. He remained President of this society about three years, when their meeting were discontinued, but from this little germ grew the Tippecanoe County Agricultural Association of today, the largest and most successful county association of the kind in the State of Indiana, if not in the West. Its widely extended celebrity as a county fair, and successful management, is in a very large measure due to the watchful care, clear foresight and anxious devotion to its interests of HENRY T. SAMPLE. In the incipiency of the new organization, he offered to find suitable grounds for holding their meetings if they would raise $10,000. The money was raised and the present grounds were purchased by the County Commissioners. This site was selected by MR. SAMPLE, and no grounds better adapted to these purposes could be found. He is now and has been from its organization, the President of the Association, and under his efficient administration it has achieved a wide reputation as a stock show and agricultural fair. Under his management and by his efforts, it has done more than any one thing to promote the interest of the farming community and stimulate and encourage the improvement of the stock of this and adjoining counties. His ability as a manager of agricultural societies has been fitly recognized in his selection as a member of the State Board of Agriculture for the last six years.

MR. SAMPLE has passed the three score and ten years allotted to man, and now enjoys the society of an unbroken family circle. His children have reached the middle age and in lives of usefulness are enjoying merited prosperity. For more than fifty years, he and the companion of his early manhood and old age and the sharerer of his joys and sorrows, have lived and toiled and struggled together. In 1876, they celebrated their golden wedding, that anniversary so rare in the annals of married life. Both have long been members of the same church, and often have united in deeds of charity and the relief of the distressed. In the fullness of a ripe old age they look back on long years of mutual assistance and the comfort of their common sympathy and the enjoyment of each other’s society. The lingering sunset of life casts its shadows over long lives fruitful of good and usefulness.

Combination Atlas Map of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, pg. 31
Kingman Brothers, 1878

Biography Index   |  Tippecanoe County INGenWeb Project

©2002-2009 Tippecanoe County, Indiana Biographies Project

  All rights reserved