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Wabash County Biographies

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If you would like to submit a Wabash county biography, please email it to Mike Sweeney sweeney2@wolfenet.com
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A special thanks to Linda Thompson, who has contributed the majority of these Wabash biographies.


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Mrs. Mary Caylor

Mrs. Mary Caylor. This ladyís maiden name was Mary Emrick. She was born in Randolph County, Indiana, October 20, 1839. Her parents, John and Barbara (Crumrine) Emrick, were of German descent. Her first union was with George Ogan, to whom she was married October 28, 1860. They were the parents of four children, of whom two survive, viz., John F. and Barbara I. Mr. Ogan was a successful and prosperous farmer, and was respected by all who knw him. He departed this life December 19, 1876. Mrs. Ogan was again married, July 11, 1882, to David S. Caylor, a native of Montgomery County, Ohio. Mr. Caylor practiced medicine twenty-six years, and is a graduate of the Rush Medical College, Chicago. He has been a minister in the German Baptist Church many years, and is at present one of its Elders.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 486.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


First Chamness Emigrated 1725 - 1726

The Chamness family was founded in America during a period of mourning by an English family for a lost boy. In the fore part os the 18th century there lived in London a husband and wife, John and Ann Chamness, or Champness. They had a son named Anthony who had attained the age of 13 years. Anthony was a true English boy with love of adventure. One story is he was stolen off the London bridge, another that he was decoyed on board a vessel which sailed immediately for America. It is understood that he was sold out until he should come of age to pay his passage. This voyage occurred in 1725 or 1726 when the boy was about thirteen years old. He came of age in February 1735. By the time he was of age he had drifted into Baltimore County, Maryland. here he found a girl, Sarah Cole, daughter of Joseph and Susanna Cole. She was bound out in a similar manner. She was more than five years his junior and could not get release to marry until she came of age. Anthony set in and helped her work out her time. Taking the recorded birth-date of their oldest child to be correct, they were married in the autumn of 1736. They moved to the wilderness of North Carolina. Cane Creek Meeting of Friends and its vicinity may properly be called the cradle of the Chamness family. Their children were Elizabeth, Susanne, Joseph, Sarah, Mary, Martha, John, Anthony, Rachel, Ann, Lydia, Joshua and Stephanus.

Anthony Chamness died September 20, 1777. Chamness descendants living in the Wabash Area today are the children of Joshua, who was born April 5, 1761, in Orange County, North Carolina. Joshua married Rachel Williams at age 17. Their children were Sarah, Elizabeth, Anthony, Margaret, Jane, Mary, Joshua, William, and Joseph.

Anthony, son of Joshua and Rachel, was born May 14, 1782. He married Martha Thomas and they moved to Wayne County, Indiana about 1815 and settled on a claim of 160 acres south of Williamsburg. They had five sons and three daughters. Of these children William married Mahala Heaston about 1840. Their son David was born March 14, 1841. William was thrown from a horse and killed near Hagerstown in February 1842.

Young David moved to Huntington County with his mother. When he grew to manhood, he married Susan Jones December 29, 1866. Their children Alma who married R. T. McClintock; Catherine who married J. R. Shuth; John who married Linina Poffanbarger and later Mary Kendall; Cary who married Eella Lentz; William who married Mary E. Gehres; Charles who died in infancy; Mahala who married Charles Lawson; James who married Zella Pollson; Mary who married George Miller.

William married Mary Gehres, daughter of Frances Peter and Rosa (German) Gehres, on March 15, 1906. William was working as a carpenter building a house for his future father-in-law when he met Mary. He was 31 and Mary was 21. After marriage they moved to Wheelock, North Dakota, where they homesteaded several acres. The deed was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt and this property remained in the Chamness family until 1973.

They set up housekeeping in a sod house and continued to live in that manner until after their third child was born, 1906, when they built a four-room house. Dust storms came year after year and farmers started leaving. 1937 the family packed their possession and returned to Indiana where they set up housekeeping and William continued to farm. Willís death occurred April 19, 1943. Mary was forced to live with her various children. She had a rug loom on which she occupied her time and made a meager living for herself, supplemented by the income from the homestead in North Dakota. Children of William and Mary Chamness are Thelma who married Paul Hillstead and lives in Bonetrail, North Dakota; Veva who married Charles Russell and lives at North Manchester; Ward Gehres who married Vivian Herrid and lives on R. R. 2, Wabash; David who married Musetta Buchanan and lives at Knox, Indiana; Marvin who married Irene Collings and lives at Williston, North Dakota; Mahala who married Charles Pattee and passed away in 1974; Erma married William Plough and lives at Urbana.

(Written by Carol Russell Hettmansperger)

Source: 1976 History of Wabash County, Indiana pages 251-252.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


DAVID COBLE

DAVID COBLE, miller, Red Bridge. This gentleman was born in Preble County, Ohio, May 18, 1816. His ancestors were of German-English origin. His childhood and youth were passed in Darke County, Ohio, where he was the recipient of a rather limited education, following farming until coming to Indiana in 1838, locating in Henry County, where he served some time in learning the business of making fanning mills, conducting that business for some time, and remaining in Henry County till the fall of 1852, when he moved to Wabash County, first locating in Somerset, purchasing a farm in that vicinity the following year. Mr. Coble has lived in various places throughout the county, including a residence of some two years in Wabash City, where he was engaged in a mercantile trade. In 1865, in connection with S. B. Jones, he purchased the Stephen Jones farm, and laid out the site of South Wabash. In 1879, he owned and conducted the Sherman House, in Wabash, remaining there until purchasing the Eagle Flouring Mills at Red Bridge the spring of 1881, which is the twenty-first move the family has made since their first experience in housekeeping. Mr. C. owns a handsome property at South Wabash, also the mill and six acres at Red Bridge. He is an extensive dealer in real estate, and a successful business man. Mr. Coble has been twice married, first in 1839 to Rebecca Stanley; one son was born to that marriage - William P.; survives. Mrs. C. died May 28, 1844. September 19, 1845, he was again united in matrimony with Miss Susan E. Swain, born in North Carolina in 1822. To this marriage was born seven children; of those, six are living, viz: Rebecca Jane, now the wife of J. N. McClure; Mary Ann; Phoebe M., now Mrs Frank R. Purdy; Louis S., now the wife of W.P. Jones, of South Wabash; Elmina B., the wife of Charles Jenkins; Etta B., the wife of Linley A. Dawes. Mr Coble is now very comfortably situated in South Wabash, and enjoys many of the conveniences of life. Himself and wife are members of the Society of Friends.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 266.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Leonard Comer

LEONARD COMER was born in Allen County, Ind., April 23, 1841. His father, James, and his mother, Sarah, were natives of Virginia. They were of German descent, and came to this State in 1840. Mr. Comer lived with his parents on the farm until twenty years of age. He then came to Wabash, and engaged in milling until 1864, when he enlisted in the One Hundred and Eighteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry for six months, after which he re-enlisted and served until near the close of the war. During both terms of service, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal. In 1865, he returned to Wabash, and again engaged in milling. In 1870, he moved to North Manchester, where he followed his trade for two years, when he again returned to Wabash and purchased the lock mills of this place, in which he continued four years. He then moved to his farm, where he now resides. September 24, 1868, he was married to Miss Harriet McNamee, of Wabash. Mr. Comer is the father of four children, namely: Nellie, born January 29, 1870, died October 16, 1871; Lizzie, born June 11, 1871, died November 25, 1872; Dayton, born December 19, 1873; and Jessie, born January 20, 1876. Mr. and Mrs. Comer, though still young, have reached that period in life when they can enjoy the fruits of their labors, realizing "that work is a good investment and almost always pays."

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 266.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


John W. Cook

John W. Cook, farmer, P.O. North Manchester. John W. Cook was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, December 21, 1824. His parents, Joseph and Margaret (Curry) Cook, were natives of Maryland. They came to Wabash County, Indiana, in 1841, and remained here until death. His grandfather Curry and four sons served in the Revolutionary army, one of the latter as a commissioned officer. John W., the subject of this sketch, was married to Miss Barbara Swihart October 23, 1852. They have seven children living -- Mary J., Alice, Charles W., Jerome Q., Isaac E., Joseph L. and Jacob. Mrs. Cook is the daughter of Jacob and Mary (Ault) Swihart, the former a native of Pennsylvania, and the latter of Ohio. Mr. Cook was engaged for a number of years in the manufacture of brick, but afterward adopted the pursuit of farming, at which he is now engaged. He purchased the Chester Township farm in 1864, and added to it, by various subsequent purchases, until it became a large farm. It was all unimproved when he bought it, and 180 acres have been cleared by himself. He is now a resident of Pleasant Township. Mr. Cook is a member of the Patrons of Husbandry, and in politics a stanch Republican. Himself and wife and one daughter are members of the German Baptist Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 289.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


George M. Cory

George M. Cory, farmer, P.O. Wabash, was born in Butler County in 1823, and was brought by his parents to Fayette County, Ind., when about ten years old. He received just a common school education which he has supplemented by a store of knowledge gained in the school of experience. He came to Wabash County when twenty-five years old, and married Emeline Doane in 1848. Their living children are Theodore, Clinton, Alexander, William, Allen and Ida May; besides these, they have five dead. Mr. Cory has been and is a hard-working man, as is evidenced by his farm and its improvements.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 266.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Mahlon C. Cory

The Cory family, which is now widely scattered throughout the United States as well as being quite well represented in this county, are, according to tradition, all descended from threebrothers who came to this country from England at a very early day in our nation's history.

Jacob Cory, Sr.,the grandfather of Mahlon C. Cory, was born in Morris County, New Jersey, June 9th, 1760. On the 6th of June, 1787, he was married to Miss Sarah Hedges, who was born on Long Island, September 16th, 1752. Jacob Cory, Sr., died September 27th, 1809, in his fifieth year, his wife surviving him until January, 1844, when she died, being in her ninety-third year. They had three children, two boys and one girl. One of these, Jacob Cory, Jr. was born May 3d, 1790, in Morris County, New Jersey. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary Chadwick, was born in New York City, February 24th, 1795. They were married in Morris County, New Jersey, and in 1818 moved to Cincinnati and lived in Hamilton County eleven years, after which they moved to Preble County, Ohio. Here they remained about four years, and afterwards removed to Fayette County, Indiana,where they resided during the ensuing eighteen years. They finally came to Wabash County, where Cory, Sr., died in October, 1871, at the age of eighty-one years and six months. Mrs. Cory followed him in January, 1867, having reached the age of nearly seventy-three years. They had a family of nine children, of whom Mahlon C., was the eldest, being born on the 17th of February, 1816. Jonathan, the second son, was born November 17th, 1817. He followed the farm, as his father had done before him. Died in 1861.

Alexander, born June 20th, 1820, became one of the most successful merchants of Shelbyville. His death took place in 1864.

George, born February 9th, 1823, is a farmer, and lives in Wabash County.

Sarah Frances, born August 22d, 1825, was married to Mr. Mathias W. Farr in 1848, and was left a widow in 1874. She now lives on a farm near Wabash City. A view of her home appears on this page also.

Arthur O., born December 28th, 1827, died in Andersonville Prison in 1865.

Eliza, born September 9th, 1831, was married in October, 1868 to William McCarty.

Clara, born April 30th, 1834, married John Wilson April 30th, 1857, and was left a widow in 1874. She is now living in the town of Wabash, and on another page will be found a view of her home, and a biographical sketch of her late husband.

Theodore H., born August 31st, 1841, is a farmer; married in 1869, and living in Wabash County.

Mahlon C., the eldest, was married to Miss Nancy Banks, a native of Wayne County, Indiana, where she was born August 6th, 1815. They were married in Fayette County, Indiana, April 22d, 1838. They came to Wabash County in October, 1845, and settled in what might be called the roughest cabin in the Wabash Valley. It was of the rudest and most primitive style, the door being so low that one was obliged to stoop to enter, the fireplace taking up one entire end, and the cabin being without a window. The chimney, which did not reach as high as the roof of the cabin, afforded admission to a small amount of light through its spacious throat, but had the disagreeable characteristic of always drawing the wrong way, i. e., down into the cabin. In this rude domicile lived Mr. Mahlon C. Cory and his family from the 21st of October until the 8th of March, when they moved into a new cabin. This, built in 1841, is still standing on the now well-improved farm and contrasts strangely with the neat and tasteful modern edifice, with all its present surroundings, in which Mr. Cory now lives. Still it is a reminder of many very happy days spent beneath its sheltering roof, and the old man's eyes glisten as he speaks of them as the happiest part of his lifetime. A sketch of the old cabin is to be seen in the lower right hand corner of the superb view of Mr. Cory's place, given above.

Mr. and Mrs. Cory have a family of ten children, whose names are as follows; Alexander R., born February 11th, 1839; Elizabeth, born February 11th, 1839; Marcas C., born September 21st, 1840; Jane, born February 9th, 1842; America, born February 19th, 1844; Sarah, born January 1st, 1846; Mary, born September 27th, 1848; Columbus, born August 17th, 1851; Elmira, born April 6th, 1854; Lewis, born June 7th, 1857.

Mr. and Mrs. Cory are now getting along in years, but are still hale and hearty. The entire Cory family have been noted for longevity, and Mr. C.'s prospects are better for many years to come than those of many younger men. He is universally respected as a man of sound and mature judgement, sterling integrity, and high moral principles.

Source: 1875 Historic Atlas of Wabash County, Indiana page 43.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Helfer Cramer

HELFER CRAMER, a substancial and well-known farmer of LaGro Township, was born in York County, Penn., October 10, 1816, being the oldest son of Christian and Catharine (Wanner) Cramer, who were natives of Pennsylvania, but of German descent. Helfer received a fair education in the rude schoolhouse of early days, and at the age of nineteen years commenced learning a trade, which he followed in Darke County, Ohio, where he had located in 1839. In 1844, he came to Indiana, moving upon the site of his present home in 1850. Mr. C. has been twice married; his first wife was Maria Reniker, who survived her marriage about five years. The present Mrs. Caramerís maiden name was Christina Boomershine, a native of Darke County, Ohio. They are the parents of five children, viz:, Marry Ellen, Eliza Ann, David F., Charles H. and Margaret S. Mr. C. has spent a life of industry and usefulness, and is in possession of a handsome competence in his declining years.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 364.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Isaac Crumrine

ISAAC CRUMRINE (deceased). Isaac Crumrine was born in Darke County, Ohio, June 20, 1830, oldest son of John and Catharine Crumrine, natives of Pennsylvania and of German origin. Attended the common school, receiving a fair education. When old enough, he assisted his father in a blacksmith shop four or five years, acquiring a knowledge of the trade. In 1852, came with his parents to Wabash County, and located on the Mississinewa River, where Mr. Crumrine, Sr., built a grist mill, the Somerset Mills, and also conducted a saw mill at home until 1860, when he was united in marriage, April 19, to Miss Elizabeth Keith, born in Darke County, Ohio, November 2, 1840. Mr. and Mrs. C. then removed to Grant County, where they resided four years, returning again to Wabash County and purchasing the homestead farm, where he lived until his death. It is well improved and contains 140 acres. Mr. C. has seen many changes, had some start in life, but his success was principally due to his untiring industry and foresight as a business man. Mr. and Mrs. C. were the parents of five sons, married, as follows: Alonzo, Seymore, Milo, Monroe and Wellman. Mrs. C. is a member of the German Baptist Church. Mr. Crumrine died May 30, 1882.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana, page 486.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Jacob Crumrine

JACOB CRUMRINE, farmer, P.O. Somerset, born in Darke County, Ohio, December 7, 1835, son of John and Catharine Crumrine, natives of Pennsylvania, and of German descent; was educated in the common school and brought up to farming. Remained at home until of age; came with his parents to Wabash County in 1852; settled near Somerset, and was engaged in the saw mill owned by his father until 1857, when he purchased a place two miles south of his present home. March 5, 1857, was united in marriage with Miss Lucinda Jones, born in Ohio in 1838. After marriage, conducted the place for his father one year, then removed to Grant County, Ind., remaining there one year, after which he returned to Wabash County in 1863, locating upon the premises, where he has since resided, then known as the Roland farm and containing 120 acres, which are fully improved with fine farm buildings and also an elegant brick residence, which Mr. C. has erected. Mr. and Mrs. C. are members of the German Bapti! st Church, Mr. Crumrine being a minister of the Gospel, and a very successful farmer and business man, as well as being a cultured and genial gentleman. Mr. and Mrs. C. are the parents of five children, four daughters and one son -- Barbara Allen (now Mrs. Samuel Frantz), Julia Ann, Emma, Ira Orren and Carrie Rosella.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana, page 486.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Henry Custer

Henry Custer was born in Morgan County, Virginia, some sixty-one years ago. He is the child of Finley and Mary Custer, of German descent. Henry labored at home until twenty-nine years old. At this age, in June, 1852, he married Miss Ann Eliza Bechtol, and they immediately set their faces westward, and after a toilsome journey landed in the then forest wilds of Wabash County, where Mr. Custer purchased eighty acres of land with $400, and that he had gradually accumulated while living at home. This land served as a nucleus around which he has made additions, until now he is the possessor of 346 acres of fine land -- a property that has been gained by earnest labor on his part -- nobly assisted by his wife, who has been indeed a helpmate to him. They have been the parents of nine children, of whom John w., Sarah Jane, Anna L., william Henry, J. Milton, Florence, Arthur and Thomas E. are still living. Six of these children are still under the parental roof, being taught habits of industry by their father and mother, who are conscientious members of the Methodist Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana, page 266.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Hiram Dale

Hiram Dale, Representative from Wabash, was born of American parentage, at Warrensburg, Fayette county, this State, July 30, 1826. His father was a prominent citizen of his county, serving three years as Director of the Whitewater Valley Cannal when first organized, and two or three terms as County Commission. Hiram, however, had but limited opportunities fro an education. Yet, by his own exertion, he qualified himself for teaching, and taught ten or twelve terms during the winter months, farming through the summer season. He claims to have contributed his mite to the advancement of the material and moral interests of his communitty and county. Before the disorganization of the Whig and the organization of the Republican party, he belonged to the first named organization; since then and now, to the latter. His home is near and his postoffice address at Dora, Wabash county.

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


Honorable Hiram Dale

An influential and highly respected resident of Wabash county, Ind., was born July 30, 1826, in the county of Fayette, this state, and is a son of Alexander and Nancy (Tyner) Dale. Few men have been more closely asociated with the welfare of this county or have shown greater aptitude for stimulating and strengthening the resources of the community than the gentleman whose record is given in this article, and whose name is known and honored for the good he has accomplished.

Alexander Dale is of English extraction, although a native of Virginia, having first seen the light of day in Westmoreland county, that state, February 8, 1786. When but a child his parents moved to the Blue Grass regions of Kentucky, settling in Woodford county, where he was educated, grew to manhood and was married. He became a husbandman, and about 1812, located in Indiana, where he had previously entered one hundred sixty acres of land. In 1852 he came to Wabash county and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land. About 1832 he entered a section of government land , and it is a part of the latter which forms the home of our subject. Small improvements were made in the county at that time. Wild beasts inhabited the forests and the still more savage red man was a frequent sight in the settlement, although he offered no harm to the white men who had taken up their residence in their midst.

Father Dale was a man who took a leading part in all public affairs, serving as county commissioner of Fayette, a director of the Whitewater canal, and held other official positions to which he was chosen. He was a Whig, and a member of the Primitive Baptist church; indeed, he was one of the founders of that sect in this locality. He died in Lagro township, October 24, 1854, and his taking off was deeply deplored by the many among whom he had labored. He was thrice married. The first marriage was with Miss Sallie Allen, and one child was born, one of the first settlers in Wabash county. His second union being with Miss Nancy Tyner, a native of Kentucky [more likely South Carolina] and the mother of our subject. Of the eleven offspring who were born to this union the following are yet living, viz.: Emeline, widow of Nathaniel Banister, late of Lafontaine; Hiram; E. O., a retired contractor of Rushville, this state; Lewis, ex-soldier of the Civil war and at present a prosperous farmer of this county; and O. S., who resides in Marion, also a veteran of the Civil war.

Honorable Hiram Dale spent the first twenty-six years of his life in his native county, where he received his education and became a benedict [?]. The school was similar in kind to the building in which it was held -- of the most primitive, although in later years he attended a more advanced school. A variety of books made up the texts from which they studied and a more perfect example of growth and improvement in this vicinity can not be obtained than by comparing the present with the past school system. The rude log houses have been replaced by neat, modern frame or brick; the school master has given place to the trim schoolmarm, and instead of slab seats and rude board desks are found the comfortable seat of modern times, while a multiplicity of books furnish suitable lessons for all grades of scholars. In 1853 Mr. Dale brought his family to this county, locating on a fractional quarter west of Lagro, and resided there five years ere he moved to his present farm in 1858. Industry and ambition enabled him not only to improve and clear the land which was his, but to add to his possessions until he now owns one hundred and sixty acres of fertile, productive land. The improvements with which he has beautified his place are of the stable and useful kind and unite in increasing the value of the property. In 1883 he met with a serious loss in the fire which destroyed his residence, but was immediately replaced by one of modern architecture and design which is an ornament to the farm.

Mr. Dale was married in 1849 to Miss Catherine Frost, by whom he became the father of eleven children, eight sons and three daughters. Five children remain, viz.: George, who is married and resides in Lagro township, where he is engaged in farming; Laura, a resident of Marion; Elsie, wife of William Ramsey, a successful and well-to-do farmer of Lagro; Lincoln O., a well-known educator residing in California, who was a student in the Terre Haute Normal and a graduate of the State University at Bloomington, and was twice elected county superintendent of schools in Wabash county; Albert, a resident of Wabash, Ind., and a mechanic; and Lillie, who lives with her parents and is a continual comfort to them. Mrs. Dale is a native of Putnam county, N. Y., born April 4, 1829. She was a lass of twelve years when her mother moved to Indiana and located in Fayette county, where she was educated and grew to womanhood. She has been a source of encouragement and strength to the husband with whom she has traveled life's pathway for so many years, and a noble example of a Christian womanhood to the children who have grown up around her. Year followed year in swift succession, each with its sunshine and shadow, until they reached the golden milestone which marked a half century of married life, which was celebrated in 1899 by a happy gathering of children and friends who wished them many happy returns of the day -- their wedding anniversary.

Mr. Dale has been has been a prominent figure in the political arena of the county since he was old enough to take an interest in the subject. He was for years a Whig, but when the Republican party became a factor in national affairs he became an advocate of its policy, to which he still adheres. In 1861 he was elected to the office of township assessor and was re-elected for another term so satisfactory was his administration. He is public spirited, and takes an active interest in promoting all public enterprises; and as he had spent some twenty years of his life as a teacher in Fayette and Wabash counties, he took special interest in the cause of education. In 1874 Mr. Dale was elected by the Republicans of Wabash county to represent them in the legislative halls of Indiana, and nobly did he fill the office aand perform the duties devolving upon him. He has frequently represented his party in county, state and congressional conventions, and in 1899 was the oldest delegate attending the county convention. Both he and Mrs. Dale are members of Ross Run Baptist church, of which he is an elder, and they take justified pride in the flourishing condition of the little society.

Source: p. 223 et seq. of Biographical Memoirs of Wabash County, Indiana, published 1901 by B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Chicago
Submitter: Don T. Mitchell, great great great grandson of Stephen Tyner (1811-1880), first cousin of Nancy (Tyner) Dale (1793-1835)


Abraham Deal

Abraham Deal, farmer, P. O. Somerset. Mr. Deal is a native of Rockingham County, Virginia, where he was born January 13, 1817, receiving such education as the log schoolhouse with its puncheon floors and rude surroundings afforded. When sixteen years of age, he learned the trade of blacksmith removing with his father to Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1835, where he was engaged in the blacksmith business until 1844, coming to Wabash County in 1852, locating the following year upon the farm which he still owns on Section 23. It was then but slightly improved now under a fine state of cultivation, with numerous and modern style buildings. He is the owner of 240 acres of land, and is successful farmer and a popular citizen. Was elected township trustee for one term about 1858.

Mr. Deal was married, January 16, 1840, to Miss Nancy Brown. Mr. and Mrs. Deal were the parents of six children. Of these but two survive -- John R., Henry W. (was a member of the Fourteenth Indiana Battery; he died in hospital at Memphis, Tennessee, July 1, 1863), and Edgar A. Mr. Deal and family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Somerset.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 486.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Dr. James L. & Dr. Constantine L. Dicken

C. L. DICKEN, M. D. During a period of thirty-three years Dr. C. L. Dicken has been engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery at La Fontaine, and in this period of time has thoroughly established himself in the respect and confidence of the people of this stirring Wabash county town. It very frequently happens that the men in a family will show an inclination towards a certain profession and there are often generation after generation of physicians, the sons inheriting their skill and inclination from their fathers. However, the physician and surgeon of today faces an entirely different proposition from the science as it was a half a century ago. Each day brings some new discovery, some improved methods, and to keep abreast of the times the successful physician must be a close and constant student. Doctor Dicken was born at Somerset, Waltz township, Wabash county, Indiana, November 28, 1855, and is a son of the late Dr. James L. and Mary (Thompson) Dicken.

Dr. James L. Dicken was born in Fayette county, Indiana, April 15, 1821, and died at his home in La Fontaine, March 24, 1900, aged seventy-eight years, eleven months, nine days. His parents. Henry and Bettie Dicken, were born in Virginia, and moved from there to Kentucky, and afterwards to Fayette county, Indiana, in the year 1821, where their son James spent his boyhood days and a part of his manhood days. Early in life he showed a partiality for books and after attending the schools of those pioneer days, taught a few terms of school near the place of his birth. He was the youngest of a family of ten children, all of whom are deceased. On November 29, 1842, Doctor Dicken married Mary Thompson, at her home in Rush county, Indiana. In August, 1841, he became a member of the Church of Christ, at Little Flat Rock, in Rush county, and in that same year came to Wabash county on a visit and while here taught a term of school near the present site of the Boundary Line Christian church, one and one-half miles north of La Fontaine. At the close of his term of school, Doctor Dicken returned to Fayette county, and in the year 1846 moved with his family to Huntington county, where he resided a short time on a farm five miles southeast east of La Fontaine, but soon afterwards moved to Marion, Indiana, where he studied medicine under the preceptorship of Dr. William Lomax. In the winter of 1848-9, he attended a course of lectures at Laporte, Indiana, resided for a short time at Marion, and removed to Somerset, Indiana, in 1849. He attended a second course in the Ohio Medical College in the year 1850-1, at which time he graduated, and after practicing medicine a few years attended a post-graduate course in the Ohio Medical College in the winter of 1859-60. In the latter year Doctor Dicken moved to Wabash, and was, October 21st, appointed and commissioned by Governor O. P. Morton to the office of surgeon in and for the Forty-seventh Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Militia; and served his country faithfully until receiving his honorable discharge from the service, October 23, 1865, at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Being blessed with good health, he was never off duty a day during the whole time of his army service. He ranked as a major and was the ranking surgeon from Cairo to Key West, in the Department of the Gulf, and was chief surgeon of the Second, or Hovey 's, division of the Thirteenth Army Corps. He accompanied General Canby from the Red River expedition to New Orleans at the time the general was severely wounded. He served longer in the Civil war than any other surgeon in Indiana.

Doctor Dicken became a member of the Grant County Medical Society in 1852, and of the Wabash County Medical Society in 1854. After the close of the war he returned to his home in Wabash and resumed the practice of medicine. He was the father of eleven children, of whom four are living: Nancy J., who married James Stitt and lives at Wabash; Mrs. Mary F. Kidd, of Roann, Indiana; Dr. C. L., of this review and Clara B. Dicken, of La Fontaine. On February 17, 1881, Doctor Dicken removed to La Fontaine and continued the practice of medicine with his son, C. L. Dicken. He had been in continuous practice until the last eighteen months previous to his death, covering a period of fifty years of faithful service in the medical profession. Medical books and journals were his loved companions. Doctor Dicken was a member of the board of examiners of pensioners at Marion, Indiana, during President Harrison's term of office, and was the secretary of the same board of examiners at the time of his death. He lived to see his wife, two sons and three daughters around his bedside in his last illness. He loved his calling, enjoyed the meeting of a brother in the profession, was liberal in his views and was always ready to impart what he had learned from careful study and experience to others that he might benefit mankind. He wanted to live as long as his Master was willing, and was ready to resign to the will of God. As a father he was considerate, loving and true, and devoted a life in planning for the education, comfort and happiness of his children. He was generous to a fault and devoted to his friends, was an able man in his profession and a skilled surgeon. He had no sympathy for those who practiced hypocrisy in the medical or social fraternity. In time of distress he always was ready to give words of comfort and cheer. He lived to be useful to his God, loyal to his country and kind and thoughtful to his family. He was a model of morality and temperance.

Dr. C. L. Dicken was fourth in order of birth of the eleven children of his parents and his early education was secured in the public schools of Wabash. He early displayed a predilection for the medical profession, and after some preparation under his father's preceptorship entered Rush Medical College, from which noted institution he was graduated in 1879 with the degree of Doctor of Medicine. At that time he began practice in Wabash county, and in 1881 came to La Fontaine, which has continued to be his field of practice to the present time. He is a close and careful student and a steady-handed surgeon, and keeps himself thoroughly abreast of the constant advances being made in his calling through subscribing to various medical journals and maintaining membership in the Wabash County Medical Society, the Indiana State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, and in the latter fraternity is past chancellor and has been a delegate to the Grand Lodge. Politically he is a republican and has taken an active part in the movements of his party, serving as township chairman and a member of the Republican County Central Committee. During the past ten years he has served as a member of the board of pension examiners of Wabash county. He is one of La Fontaine's most public-spirited citizens, and can always be found in the front rank of any movement which will prove of benefit to his profession, to the cause of education or to his duty.

On May 27, 1885, Doctor Dicken was married to Miss Effie L. Rowan, daughter of William and Rachel Rowan, both of whom are deceased. She was given good educational advantages in the public schools, and for several years prior to her marriage was engaged in teaching school. Two children have been born to Doctor and Mrs. Dicken Warren E., a graduate of the high school, who took a business course at Fort Wayne, and is now connected with the International Harvester Company, at Columbus, Ohio; and Bertha, who is the wife of C. L. Martin, of La Fontaine. The members of the Dicken family are all affiliated with the Christian church.

Source: History of Wabash County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests. 1914. Vol II, pages 887-889. (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: David R. Guinnup, 2nd great-grandson of J.L. Dicken, and great-grandnephew of C.L. Dicken.(03/07/2009)


William Dillon

William Dillon, farmer, P. O. Wabash, was born in North Carolina March 22, 1813. The educational opportunities of young Dillon were extremely limited. And such as offered he was prevented from improving by the necessity that existed of assisting his father in the maintenance of the family. At the age of eighteen, William went to Wayne County, Indiana, in 1831, remaining there one year working at farming; removing to Henry County, where he was united in marriage, February 8, 1836, with Miss Annie Tweedy. To this union were born six children of those four only are living, three daughters and one son, as follows: David is a farmer of Lagro Township; Margaret is the wife of Harry Banister, of LaFontaine; Maria is now Mrs. George Bradstone, of Illinois; Lydia A. is the wife of Henry Martin, of Liberty Township. Mrs. Dillon died November 16, 1879. Their second son, Jonathan, born January 6, 1839, responding to emotions of patriotism, enlisted in the Eighth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Whether in camp, on the march or facing the deadly missiles of the enemy, young Dillon could ever be found present with his company and faithful and true to his trust, participating in numerous battles, Re-enlisting as a veteran; and in the Shenandoah Valley, was taken prisoner, and with a myriad of others hastened off to Salisbury, and there a victim of painful privations and exposures for four months. Coming home in the spring of 1865, he survived his return but three weeks. William Dillon has lived in various places in Wabash County since first coming to the county in 1846, and has seen many changes in his time. He has owned several places in Liberty and Lagro Townships, including the farm now owned by Elder Hock, where he resided several years. He moved on the place where he now lives in 1877; it is known as the McElwaine place, where he owns eighty acres of valuable land. He was united in marriage, August 28, 1870, with Mrs. John Jefferson. Himself and Mrs. Dillon are members of the Baptist Church at Ross Run. Mr. Dillon married September 28, 1882, to Mrs. Martha Garrison, widow of Jeremiah Garrison of Liberty Township.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 365.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


James Downey

James Downey -- This estimable gentleman, born in Virginia October 1, 1829, is the son of John and Mary (Good) Downey, who were also natives of Virginia. Leaving his parents in Ohio, he came with an uncle to Miami County, Indiana, where he landed October 9, 1848, with 75 cents in his pocket. That winter he went to school, and worked mornings and evenings for his uncle to pay his board, and after the school closed he worked out his tuition. After doing this, he went to work for his uncle during the summer. The next season, he rented his uncle's farm, and in two years he saved enough money to pay for forty acres of land, which he purchased in Howard County. After a short visit to Missouri, he sold his land in Howard County, and again rented the same arm of his aunt, his uncle having died in the meantime. He then conducted this farm for seventeen years. During this time, he purchased 100 acres of land in Starke County. In 1874, he sold this tract of land, and with the proceeds purchased the farm that he now owns. This land, with the exception of seven or eight acres, was still covered with the original forest, and presented a forbidding aspect to the agriculturist; but with the indomitable pluck of a sturdy backwoodsman, and the skill of a good farmer, Mr. Downey has placed seventy acres of the 100 he now owns under cultivation. During the past year, he has removed from the farm to Ijamsville, leaving the farm in the care of his son Walter, who married Emma Purdy in 1881. Mr. Downey was married September 5, 1852. The lady who thus became the chosen companion of his life was Miss Amanda E. Martindale, born in Wayne County, Indiana, May 17, 1834, and the daughter of Jesse and Barbara (Chinworth) Martindale. The results of this union were six children, four of whom, Sarah L., Mary J., Walter S. and Edwin E., are still living. Mr. and Mrs. Downey are members of the Christian Church, and are highly respected by all who know them.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 435.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


James Downey #2

James Downey came to Wabash County about 1850, settling near Ijamsville. He married Amanda E. Martindale September 5, 1852. To this union were born Walter Scott (September 20, 1859), Mary Ellen, Sarah, and Edwin E. This family was reared on a 100 acre farm on the Laketon Road.

Mary Ellen married Jefferson Alger and moved to Tristin, Michigan. Sarah married Marshall Alger and lived next to the home place. Edwin married Tillie Reed and settled in Montmorenci. Walter Scott married Emma Zetta Purdy April 10, 1881, and lived first at Stockdale and then south of Wabash and operated a truck farm. He also drove a kid-hack, as the school buses were then called, for Linlawn, and in winter used a bob sled, to the delight of the children. He had four children: Lulu (May 7, 1882), Ira Merritt (May 21, 1884), G. Gordon (July 16, 1892), and Orie Marie (November 10, 1894). Lulu died in 1902.

On August 24, 1908 Ira married Ethel Augusta Bent, a teacher in South Wabash, and had two children: Augusta (June 28, 1909) and Richard Merritt (July 5, 1917). Ethel died July 6, 1917. January 18, 1921, Ira married Lucile Adams, a teacher in Wabash. Ira was engaged in the printing business all his life. At one time he was part owner of the Times Star, a Wabash daily paper. For 17 years he and William Guthrie owned and operated a printing business across from the fire station. He played cornet in the South Side Band and the Service Truck Band. 1911 - 1913 he was employed by the government in Puerto Rico to print the U. S. laws in Spanish, then ten years behind. Ira invented several items such as the Sleep-well Window Ventilator and a church bench-table and patented a part for the Merganthaler Lino-type. He was a skilled carpenter, having built four houses. He constructed some fine pieces of furniture for the Presbyterian Church, where he served as deacon for nine years and elder for nine years.

Augusta Bent Downey was graduated from Manchester College, taught Latin and English for 24 years in the county and city schools, and married N Ritter Lavengood.

Richard Merritt Downey, a graduate in chemistry, Indiana University, invented the rock wool spinner used in Wabash plants and others around the world. He married Janet Fisher, North Judson, and has two children - Elizabeth E. (December 20, 1940) and James (November 1, 1944). Richard later married Helen Scott, Toronto, Canada, and lives in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Elizabeth married Tom Bender, had three children and lives in Danvers, Massachusetts. Dr. James Downey is a professor at the University of Alabama and does heart research. He married Pat Froebe, Fort Wayne, and has one son, Michael Merritt.

Gordon married Gail E. Wilson, Miami County, and settled on what is known as the Lavengood farm in Waltz Township. They have one son, Walter Wilson, who was graduated from Somerset and attended Purdue University Agricultural School. 1917 Gordon helped organize the Rich Valley Cooperative Elevator. 1920 he helped organize the Treaty Cooperative Elevator. 1920 he became interested in forming the Wabash Farm Bureau. Early years were difficult, as each year a new chairman was appointed. In 1925 Gordon was named chairman and Leroy Eppley secretary with 42 paid-up members. Farm supplies such as feed, seed, fertilizer, and oil were handled in limited amounts. In 1927 the Farm Bureau Cooperative was formed with a bulk oil plant located on Water Street and a feed business at 414 S. Miami Street. These services to the farmers increased membership, and in 1931 the Wabash County Farm Bureau Credit Union was organized. By 1975 it has grown to be one of the largest in the nation.

1936 under the guidance of Farm Bureau chairman Gordon Downey and the assistance of W. K. Delaplane, County Agent, the Wabash County Rural Electric Membership Corp. was formed at Chippewa School with Peter J. Milam as president and Gordon Downey as Secretary-Treasurer. Formation was for the purpose of borrowing government funds to build 500 miles of electric distribution lines in the rural areas of the County. With Gordon acting as superintendent of construction, the first lines were built and energized at Christmas 1937. Downey was named manager and continued in that capacity for 10 years. When he resigned as chairman of the Farm Bureau, he had served 11 years and helped build membership to 1400. He spent 29 years working in the interest of the farmers. He also served as moderator of the College Corner Church of the Brethren for 30 years and deacon for 50 years.

Walter Wilson Downey married Helen Louise Beck of Miami county in 1938 and settled on the family farm in Waltz Township. To this union were born, Walter David (September 1, 1939), Alan Lee (February 24, 1943), and James Dee (October 3, 1945). Walter followed after his father and served as director in the Farm Bureau Corporation for 20 years. David was graduated from Purdue University with a doctor's degree in economics and is serving as professor at Purdue in that field. He married Peggy Cross and has three children - Walter Scott, David Trent, and Karen Sue. Lee was graduated from Purdue in horticulture and is supervising vocational school work at Coloma, Michigan. He married Miriam Dack and has two sons - Paul Gordon and Matthew Edward. James was graduated from Southwood and attended Michigan State, after serving two years in the armed services, and now is engaged with his father in operating the Downey Farms in Waltz and Noble Townships. He married Phyllis Hahn and has twins - Kyle James and Kristina Jean (December 3, 1975).

Orie Marie Downey married Marvin L. Gilbert on February 22, 1816, and settled on the Nathan Gilbert farm on the prairie south of Rich Valley. In 1926 they moved to Whittier, California, where Marvin was a building contractor for many years. Their children are Virginia, Howard, Dorothy, Rosanna, Julia, and Richard.

Written by Augusta Downey Lavengood and Gordon Downey

Source: 1976 History of Wabash County, Indiana, pages 381 - 382.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Daniel F. Duffey

Daniel F. Duffey, the oldest son of Daniel and Susanna (Freese) Duffey, was born in Miami County, Ohio, in 1843. With his parents he came to Logan County, Ohio, living there about six years, after which they came to Wabash County, Ind., January 1, 1851. He attended the common school in LaGro Township, and received a fair education. He assisted his father in conducting the farm until his marriage, April 17, 1864, to Miss Susan Leedy, born in Wabash County, Ind., in 1846, daughter of Samuel Leedy, an early settler of LaGro Township. There are born to this marriage six children, five of whom are living, viz., John W., Samuel M., Joseph F., Cora E., and Lola M. After his marriage, Mr. Duffey purchased a farm opposite his father's place. In 1871, he erected a neat and commodious residence of modern architecture. Himself and wife are members of the German Baptist Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 365.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Isaac F. Duffey

Among the many young farmers who are laboring to advance the interests of LaGro Township, none are more prominent than Isaac F. Duffey. He is the youngest son of Daniel and Susanna Duffey, who were old settlers in this county. He attended the common schools in LaGro Township until seventeen years of age, and was afterward a pupil in the graded school in Dora, where he completed his education. Mr. Duffey was married, April 14, 1881, to Miss Della Benjamin, daughter of Squire E. W. Benjamin, of LaGro. To this union has been born one child--Isaiah. Mr. Duffey is the owner of 100 acres of well-improved land, and is still residing on the homestead, where his mother also lives. Mr. and Mrs. Duffey are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Mount Hope. As it were just starting in life, we hope he has many yeats of prosperity before him.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 365.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


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