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Wabash County Biographies

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A special thanks to Linda Thompson, who has contributed the majority of these Wabash biographies.


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Samuel C. Karn

SAMUEL C. KARN was born in Bedford County, Penn., October 10, 1810; his father, Isaac Karn, and his mother, Elizabeth (Studebaker) Karn, were natives of Pennsylvania. His father died at the age of eighty-four years, and his mother at the age of eighty-five years. At the time of their death, they were residents of Wabash County, Ind. Samuel Karn has been twice married; his first marriage occurred in 1830, the bride being Eliza Garmon. By this union they had ten children, viz., Jacob, Jeremiah, Christena, Margaret, John, Joseph, Samuel, Elizabeth, Ellen, and one died in infancy.

Mr. Karn's first wife having died in 1856, he was again married in October, 1856, to Mrs Rachel Spankel, widow of Jacob Spankel. Mr. Karn came to Wabash County in June, 1846, and purchased his present farm of 160 acres; he has cleared and improved 185 acres, and has erected comfortable and substantial buildings thereon. Himself and wife are members of the German Baptist Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 462.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Benjamin Kaufman

Benjamin Kaufman, farmer, P. O. Lagro. Mr. Kaufman, a prominent farmer and stock-raiser, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, August 5, 1816, a son of Andrew and Nancy (Stouffer) Kaufman, natives of Pennsylvania, also of German ancestry. The education received by young Benjamin included the ordinary branches taught in the common schools; at age sixteen with his mother, he removed to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, where he learned the milling trade, an occupation that he followed until coming to Indiana in the spring of 1837, first stopping in Wayne County, where he was employed in a saw mill for a time; subsequently in a grist mill; afterward renting the mill and conducting it himself in a successful manner. The marriage of Mr. Kaufman to Mrs. Mahala Chamness. This union was blessed with one daughter and one son (the latter, Jacob II survives). Elizabeth became the wife of Alonidas Curnutt. She deceased January 12, 1881. Mr. Kaufman settled in Wabash County the fall of 1847, upon the old homestead in Lagro Township. At the time of his purchase, about six acres had been cleared, a log house had been put up which was afterward replaced by a hewn-log house, the present handsome residence taking the place of the latter in 1868. Mr. Kaufman owns several hundred acres of valuable land, with numerous farm buildings. He is an original Whig and member of the Republican party from its formation; he has never sought or desired political office or honors. A self-made man possessed of great energy and industry. He is a member of the Christian Church at Silver Creek. Mrs. Kaufman belongs to the German Baptist denomination.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 368.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Lewis Keagle

LEWIS KEAGLE was born in Perry County, Penn., April 10, 1841; his father, Fredric, and his mother, Anna, were natives of the same State. Fredric Keagle died in 1849, aged sixty-five years, and Anna Keagle died in 1847, aged fifty-five years. Lewis obtained a fair education, and improved his mind, while young, by home reading. At the breaking-out of the late rebellion, Lewis Keagle was among the number who joined the army that fought to preserve the Union. He enlisted December 15, 1864, in Company E, One Hundred and Thirtieth Indiana Infantry, and was engaged in several battles. At one time, while serving his country, he became totally blind, and remained so several months, from the effects of granulated eyes. He was discharged from the service at Indianapolis December 15, 1966. After retiring from the army, he returned to his home in Wabash County, where he had settled in 1861. He was married November 22, 1868, to Amanda E. Petree, a native of Stark County, Ohio. They are the parents of five children, viz., Maud B., Mabel A., Louella P., Bessie A. and Charles M. Mr. Keagle is a painter, and has followed that occupation since his return from the war. He has served in the capacity of Justice of the Peace since 1876.

Source:1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 462.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


3 Generations of Kidd's

The country doctor has held a vitally important and honorable place in the annals of American history. Since 1875, the Roann community is indeed fortunate to have had successive members of the Kidd family as its "country doctors" who have generously given of their time and talents in conscientious service to the sick.

Born in Richland Township, Miami County, Indiana, October 1, 1847, Dr. Gideon P. Kidd was one of a large family of children born to Edmund J. and Christiana (DeCamp) Kidd. Both his parents were pioneers of northern Indiana. His father, who was born near Bowling Green, Virginia, in 1793, was taken to Lexington, Kentucky, when twelve years old. Later he served with the Second Kentucky Regiment of Infantry in the War of 1812. He was with the troops under General Harrison in the campaign against the Indians and the British in the Wabash Valley including Fort Wayne. After a time at Connersville, where married Christina DeCamp, he moved to Miami County a little south of Paw Paw in 1837, where he lived until his death in 1861.

Dr. G. P. Kidd received his early education in a district school in Miami County and attended high school in Peru and Wabash, with some training at the old academy in Wabash. The years of his early manhood were divided between teaching and farming. In 1871 Dr. Kidd began the study of medicine under the direction of Dr. A. J. Smith in Wabash, and the following October he entered Chicago Medical College where he received his M. D. degree in 1874. In the same year he married Mabel F. Dicken, a daughter of Dr. J. L. Dicken of Wabash.

After practicing briefly in Rich Valley, Dr. Kidd established his home in Roann, April 15, 1875, and served the community faithfully as a typical "Country Doctor" until his death in 1923. Dr. Kidd was happy to replace his horses by the first automobile in Roann which was a satisfaction to his strong mechanical interest.

Dr. James Gordon Kidd, his son, who has followed in serving the medical needs of this community, was born June 24, 1889. He graduated from Roann High School in 1907, and received his M. D. degree from Indiana University in 1913. Following his internship at Indianapolis General Hospital, he engaged in general practice with his father in Roann from 1914 to 1917 when he enlisted in the Army Medical Corps with the commission of First Lieutenant. After his discharge in 1919 as a Captain he resumed his practice in Roann for about a year. He then entered the U. S. Public Health Service and served in the Veterans' Administration until 1926.

In that year, Dr. Kidd returned to Roann and has since served the community true to the highest priciples of the medical profession. He has been materially assisted through the years by his wife, Orlena Kidd, a registered nurse, who has generously contributed her services when needed.

Their son, James G. Kidd, Jr., represents the third generation in the Kidd family to enter the medical profession. Jame, Jr. was born in 1924 in Washington, D. C. while his father was in the U. S. Public Health Service. After graduating from the Roann High School, he was in the U. S. Air Corps from 1943 to 1945. He then resumed his studies at Indiana University where he received his B. S. degree in 1948, and his M. D. degree in 1951. After serving his internship at the Indiana University Medical Center, and a year's residency at St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco, Dr. Kidd has returned to the Indiana University Medical Center where he is beginning a two-year's residency in Orthopedic Surgery.

Source: booklet "Roann's Jubilee in 1953" written and directed by V. Friederika Van Buskirk..... Article written by James Van Buskirk, husband to Friederika.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Rose Kidd: ... see Dr. Rose Kidd Beere


Meredith Helm Kidd

KIDD, MEREDITH HELM, is a lawyer engaged in practicing his profession in the city of Wabash, Wabash county, Indiana, and was born in Connersville, Fayette county, Indiana, January 7, 1829.

His father, Edmund Jones Kidd, was by occupation a farmer, who, at the time of his demise in 1861, was possessed of a farm of 340 acres, nine miles distant from Peru, Miami county, Indiana, valued at $15,000. He was a soldier of the War of 1812, and with a battalion of Kentucky infantry marched in the winter to the relief of Fort Wayne, Ind., then besieged by British and Indians. After relieving the fort, the battalion returned to Lexington, Ky., when it was mustered out. In natural ability he was a man much above the average, of great force of character and unquestioned integrity. He was a great admirer of Henry Clay and an ardent Whig, but had little taste for active politics. He was the only son of Edmund J. Kidd and Sarah Jones Kidd, the paternal grandparents of the subject of this sketch. His paternal grandfather was a native of Wales and in colonial times settled in Carolina county, Virgina, where he became a prominent planter. In the year 1800, when his only son, Edmund, was but eight years of age, he moved to Lexington, Ky., with his family. He owned a large number of slaves, and when about to migrate to Kentucky, refused to separate their families and purchased the husbands, wives and children of those he owned. The change of climate and mode of life did not agree with them, and soon after he reached Lexington most of them died, leaving him in straitened circumstances the remainder of his life. His vife, Sarah, the paternal grandmother of Meredith, was the offspring of a union between the Jones and Hampden families, of Caroline county, Va. Both of these families were originally from England, and settled in Caroline county long before the revolution, and were prominent families, distinguished for character, position and wealth, and many of the descendants continue to reside in Virginia. The mother of the subject of this sketch was a daughter of Silas DeCamp, who was born in New Jersey, and whose ancestors came from Holland in the early history of that state. When quite young, Silas moved to Vermont, where he became a noted inventor and where he married Rhuhama Cory, whose ancestors were from England. The Corys claimed to be descendants of Sir Francis Drake, and the graceful form, queenly bearing and rare intelligence of his maternal grandmother seemed to lend probability to the claim.

The early education of Meredith was obtained chiefly in the common schools of Indiana, which, though primitive in methods, and limited studies, taught him that in education, as in all other things, self-reliance and personal effort are essentials in the acquisition of knowledge. Born in Connersville in 1829, Meredith moved with his parents to Miami county in 1837, where they settled on a farm nine miles northeast of Peru.

At that time the upper Wabash valley was a continuous forest, in which his father hewed out a large farm, which he cultivated and upon which he spent the remainder of his days, and this farm .was the home of Meredith until 1852, when, seized with the spirit of adventure, he journeyed to California and engaged in mining until 1857, when he returned to Indiana and located in the city of Wabash, where he has since resided. Prior to his adventures in California, he had studied law in Peru and had spent one year at Asbury university, which supplemented his common school education. His mining experience was attended with varying fortune and romantic incidents. On one occasion, when pursuing his quest for gold at Remington Hill in Nevada county, he took out a nugget of gold weighing 24 1/2 pounds and worth $6,000 net, and $8,316 gross, but the assayers cheated him out of more than half of its value, accounting to him only $3,333. After five years of delving for wealth in the California mountains, he abandoned the search for gold in that auriferous land and returned to Indiana without having secured a fortune, and resumed the practice of his profession.

In 1861 Mr. Kidd was elected prosecuting attorney, an office which he held only a short time, resigning it to enter the army, in which he served for four years. His military record was in the highest degree creditable. He entered the army as captain of the 14th battery, Indiana State artillery. In the spring of '64 he was promoted to major of the 11th Indiana cavalry. In the early part of 1865 he was promoted over a ranking major to the office of lieutenant-colonel, for distinguished service at the battle of Nashville. The principal battles in which Col. Kidd was engaged during his service in the army were Corinth, Nashville and Pulaski. During his service in the volunteer army, which expired in October, 1865, when he was mustered out, he had attracted the attention of his commanders, who desired to retain his services in the regular army, and in 1866 he was offered a captaincy in the 14th Regular infantry, which was declined. In the same year he was offered a commission as major in the 10th Regular cavalry, which he accepted and remained in the service until 1871, when he resigned. These offers for positions in the regular army were unsolicited, and that of major, which he accepted, was due to the recommendation of Gen. Grant.

Col. Kidd is a member of James H. Emmet post, G.A.R., No.6, Wabash, Ind. Prior to the Civil war, Col. Kidd was a Democrat. During the war he acted with the Republican party, but believing its reconstruction policy was a mistake, has, since 1872, been a Democrat of the strictest sect.

Col. Kidd was a candidate for congress in the 11th district of Indiana, in 1884, but was treacherously counted out, but believing in the law of compensation, realizes that subsequent events have enabled him to get even with the men who engineered his defeat. Col. Kidd was appointed a member of the commission to the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians, of which ex-Senator Dawes was chairman. After serving on this commission a year and a half, he resigned to accept a mission to the Ute Indians in Southwestern Colorado, the object of which was to make an agreement to allot their lands and relinquish the residue, and this work being accomplished, Col. Kidd returned to Wabash in the winter of 1895, since when he has devoted his time to the practice of law.

Col. Kidd is a member of the Presbyterian church and has been twice married. His first wife, whom he married in 1857, and who died in 1881, was Millicent Fisher, the daughter of Stearns Fisher of Wabash. His second wife was Harriet Fisher, a sister of his first wife, with whom he is still living. By his first wife Col. Kidd had five children: The eldest, Rose, married E. B. Beese [Beere] and resides in Denver, Col., where she is practicing medicine, being a graduate of the Woman's Medical college of Chicago. She has three sons, Thomas [Robert], Donald and Stearns, aged 14, 12 and 10 years. His second child, a son, Edmund Steams Kidd, is a conductor on a railroad running into the City of Mexico. His third child is Lelia C., the wife of Thos. A. Noitzger, a prominent lawyer of Anthony, Kas. She has two children, Millicent and Lee. His fourth child is Alice, a graduate of the State Normal school, and a teacher. His fifth child is Helen M., the wife of T. O. McIlvaine, of Huntington, Ind. She is also a graduate of the Woman's Medical college of Chicago, and has a lucrative practice in Huntington. She has one son, two years old, whose name is Meredith.

Stearns Fisher, the father of Col. Kidd's wives, was a son of Jonathan Fisher, who was of sturdy Vermont stock and moved to Cuyahoga county, Ohio, when Stearns was 13 years old. Stearns became a civil engineer and assisted in the location and construction of the Wabash and Erie canal, of which he was subsequently superintendent. In 1833 he settled near the canal four miles west of Wabash, where he had cleared a large farm and where he resided till after the Civil war, when he moved to the city of Wabash, where he resided until his death in 1877. In 1830 he married Susan Ingersoll, at Piketon, O. She was the daughter of John Ingersoll and Millicent Stellman, who were from New Jersey. The ancestors of both families were from Holland and settled in New Jersey in early colonial days. The Steelmans were large-landed proprietors near Trenton, N. J., and were people of consequence. Stearns Fisher had by his wife Susan four children, Sarah, now the widow of A. P. Farry; Millicent deceased; Alfred, who died while a lieutenant in the 7th Indiana cavalry; and Harriet, now the wife of the subject of this sketch, who is childless. She is president of the county union, W.C.T.D., also of the local union, and is a zealous worker in the cause of temperance. She is a member of the Round Table, a club which includes in its membership many of the most talented women of Wabash. In addition, Mrs. Kidd has been president of the Federation of Clubs, of which she is now a member. She is an enthusiastic club worker. She is possessed of superior intellect and abilities, amiable and estimable, excelling in all benevolent enterprises.

Under such circumstances, Col. Kidd is to be congratulated. With a distinguished record and a happy home, the future promises as a reward for his services to his country, years of happiness and repose.

Source: Men of Progress. Indiana: A Selected List of Biographical Sketches and Portraits of the Leaders in Business, Professional and Official Life. Together with Brief Notes on the History and Character of Indiana. Pages 345-348. Published Under the Personal Suprevision of Hugh McGrath and William Stoddard; Edited by Will Cumback and J. B. Maynard. Indianapolis, Indiana: The Indianapolis Sentinel Company, 1899.
Extracted, reformatted and submitted by: David R. Guinnup, great-grandnephew of Meredith Helm Kidd (04/01/2009).


Major Meredith H. Kidd - Obituary

MAJOR KIDD IS DEAD.

Gold Hunter, Soldier and Editor and Indian Fighter Succumbs to Disease at Home of His Daughter.

HUNTINGTON. Ind., June 11. Major Meredith H. Kidd, prominent soldier, lawyer, editor, politician and pioneer resident of this Indiana congressional district, died this morning at 4 o'clock at the home of his daughter, Dr. H. K. McIlvaine, Frederick and Charles streets. His death came peacefully marking the end of a long life of great activity and national prominence. Of cavalier and puritan origin, the son of Edmund J. Kidd, of Carolina county, Virginia, and Christina DeCamp, of Vermont, the subject of this sketch always possessed that suave courtesy of the cavalier and was ever ready In his denunciation of wrong, characteristic of the puritan.

Born in Connersville January 7,1829, Meredith Kidd went with his parents to Miami county, this state, in 1837, locating on the banks of the Eel river, where he assisted in clearing the old Kidd homestead of 150 acres.

Early in life Major Kidd went to the California gold fields, but did not find fortune, so he returned via Panama, He served in the union army with distinction and again in the wars against the Indians, but he tired of fighting and came back to Wabash, where he edited the Plaindealer.

Major Kidd made the race for congress against Major George W. Steele in 1884, being defeated by only fifty-two votes. He contested the election, but as the national house of congress was republican he was declared defeated and Steele was seated.

Eight years ago disease seized him and Major Kidd never recovered. A year ago he and his wife, who was a sister of his first wife, came to this city to make their home with the daughter, Dr. McIlvaine. The last two years he became quite feeble and in the recent weeks prior to his death his decline was rapid.

Surviving besides his wife are five children - Dr. Rose Beere, of Denver, Col.; Edmond Kidd, of Monterey, Mexico; Mrs. Leile, Noftzger, of Anthony, Kas.; Miss Alice Kidd, of Los Angeles, and Dr. H. K McIlvaine. of this city. His age was seventy-nine last January.

Members of the funeral party in charge of the remains will leave Huntington at 10:10 Friday morning for Wabash.

Source: Obituary, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Friday Morning Edition, 06/12/1908, page 4.
Submitter: David R. Guinnup, Great-grandnephew of M. H. Kdd (03/05/2009)


Allen W. King

Youngest of the sons of the late Peter King, Allen W. King has had a long and active career. Before reaching his majority he had served his country as a soldier, and he was broken in health by the rigors of military life before he had fairly begun his career. Born at Wabash, Indiana, July 13, 1845, he was educated in the public schools and his boyhood recollections all center about his native city. Sixteen when the war broke out, he remained at home until January 1, 1864, when he enlisted in Company E of the One Hundred and Thirtieth Indiana Infantry. This regiment, though recruited toward the close of the war, was soon given a baptism of fire and participated in some of the hardest fighting of the entire war. He joined Sherman's army prior to the beginning of the Atlanta campaign, and fought at Resaca, Lost Mountain, Pine Mountain, and Kenesaw Mountain. After the last engagement his health broke down, and he did not recover from his disability until after the fall of Atlanta and the march to the sea. He was present at the severe fighting at Wise's Forks, North Carolina, and joined Sherman's army again at Goldsboro in that state. When Johnston had surrendered Mr. King's regiment was stationed at Charlotte to guard government stores, and remained there until his honorable discharge on December 2, 1865, after almost two years of service.

Mr. King's army career seriously affected his health, and for a number of years he lived alternately in Wabash County and Minnesota. While in the latter state he met and on August 8, 1868, married Miss Mary E. Wheeler, at Cedar Mills. In the spring of 1873, he settled permanently in Wabash County, and while health did not permit active participation in farming he has looked after his country property and has been a capable business manager. Mr. King is a Republican, and affiliates with the Grand Army post at Wabash. He and his wife are the parents of two sons, Allen W. Jr., and Fred I.

Allen W. King, Jr., was born February 17, 1870, at Cedar Mills, Minnesota, but has lived in Wabash county since infancy, and for twenty years has been an active man in business affairs. Educated in the Wabash schools and graduated from the South Wabash high school in 1884, he later spent two years in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. In 1888, when he was eighteen, the Wabash National Bank, as its present title is, took him in as a clerk and bookkeeper, and he had four years of that experience. In 1892 he succeeded his uncle, Thomas Wellman King, in the hardware business, with which his enterprise has been identified ever since. In January, 1913, he and his brother Fred took over the elevator and grain business which had been founded by Thomas Wellman King and which had been continued by the latter's son Harry S. until the death of Harry King, and the brothers are now active managers of the King Grain Company, which for many years has been a factor in local commerce.

Mr. King, Jr., has accepted the progressive brand of politics, and is a broad-minded business man and public-spirited citizen. August 12, 1890, he married Morttie Weesner, of Wabash. They have three children, Muriel, Dorothy and Elizabeth. Mrs. King is a member of the Presbyterian church.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 531-532.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Charles S. King

During his all too brief career in Wabash County, the late Charles Sherman King was one of the forceful characters, and his attainments and services are the proper subjects for another short chapter in the annuals of the King family and contribute further distinctions to the name in Wabash County. Born in the city of Wabash on September 14, 1865, he was a son of Thomas Wellman King and a grandson of Peter King, biographies of both of whom are found elsewhere in this publication. Charles S. King was graduated from the high school of Wabash with the class of 1882, and prepared for college at Crawfordsville, Indiana, and at Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In 1885 he entered Yale University, in the regular classical course, and was graduated A. B. June, 1889. With this literary foundation, he took up the study of law in the office of McDonald, Butler and Snow at Indianapolis, and remained in that city until June 2, 1890. At that date he was appointed secretary and special disbursing officer for the Cherokee Indian Commission, that commission empowered by Congress to negotiate with various tribes in Indian territory, Chiefly with the Cherokees, for the sale of their lands to the government, and it was a result of the labors of the commission that what was known as the "Cherokee Strip" was added to the public domain in Oklahoma. Mr. King was thus employed until the work for which the commission was created had been accomplished.

On September 25, 1893, he was admitted to the bar, and at once formed a partnership for the practice of law with the Hon. Alfred H. Plummer, a partnership which continued until January 1, 1899. In 1898, and again in 1900, Mr. King was elected to represent Wabash County in the State Legislature, and in the sixty-second general assembly was honored by the appointment of chairman of the committee on ways and means. About 1907 Mr. King removed to Fort Wayne, which was his home for about a year. In July, 1908, Mr. King and all the members of his immediate family lost their lives in an accident which is still remembered and regretted as a calamity which deprived the community of one of its most useful citizens.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana pages 567-568.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Fred I. King

With several generations of solid family success behind him, Fred I. King seems to possess in a conspicuous degree the commercial talents that have characterized the various members of the King family in Wabash County, and by his varied relations with the business community has done much to uphold the prestige of the old name in this county. Fred I. King is president of the Plain Dealer Company, publishers of the Wabash Plain Dealer, is editor of that old and influential newspaper, is vice-president of the Citizens Savings & Trust Company of Wabash, and made a name for himself in republican politics a few years ago as minority leader in the legislature. Fred I. King, who is a son of Allen W. King, Sr., and Mary E. (Wheeler) King, and a grandson of Peter King, the pioneer of the family in this county, all of whom are mentioned on other pages, was born on a farm in Noble township of Wabash County, one and a half miles southwest of the county seat, October 6, 1874. His early life was spent on the farm, but he was liberally educated. After the district schools he attended the South Wabash public schools and graduated in 1893 from the Wabash high school. entering the Indiana State University, he completed the classical course and received the degree A. B. in 1897, and on his return to Wabash was for eighteen months a reporter for the Wabash Plain Dealer, of which he is now editor. This experience in practical newspaper work was followed by his entrance to the Indiana Law School at Indianapolis, which gave him the degree LL. B. in 1899, and on his admission to the bar he established an office for practice at Wabash, and continued to take cases and engaged in a general practice until February 4, 1914. At that date, Mr. King became active head of the Plain Dealer Company, and editor of the paper.

In 1913, with C.H. LaSell and others Mr. King organized the Citizens Savings & Trust Company of Wabash, and became its first president. His duties as business head and editor of the Plain Dealer caused him to resign the executive position of president with the bank in February, 1914, at which time Elmer Burns was elected president of the bank, while Mr. King remains as vice-president.

Mr. King's legislative career was during 1907-09, when he represented his county in the legislature as a member of the sixty-fifth and sixty-sixth assemblies. He was elected on the republican ticket, and in 1909, during the sixty-sixth session, was minority leader of the lower house. His party colleagues honored him by presenting him as their candidate for speaker of the house.

The large and important interests of the King family in the grain trade in Wabash have received attention in other sketches. Fred I. King, besides his position as a banker and newspaper publisher, is partner with his brothr Allen W. King, Jr., in the operation of the old King elevator in Wabash, the business being continued under the name King Grain Company. This elevator was established many years ago by Thomas Wellman King, an uncle of Fred I.

On January 6, 1904, Mr. King married Miss Jessie Squires, daughter of Howard and Alice (McCoy) Squires. The Squires family are among the prominent farming people of Paw Paw Township. The two children of Mr. and Mrs. King are: Howard Allen King and Miriam King. The fraternal relations of Mr. King are with the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 532-533.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Harry Stitt King

Wabash County lost one of its finest citizens in the death of Harry S. King on November 19, 1911. Mr. King was in the third generation of the King family in this county, being the grandson of Peter King, a miller and business man whose career is sketched elsewhere in this publication, and a son of Thomas Wellman King.

Harry Stitt King was born in Wabash, Indiana, May 8, 1860, and was in his fifty-second year at the time of his death. Reared in his native vicinity, he always called Wabash County his home, and his education was a product of the city schools. When still a boy he began assisting his father in the grain and elevator business, and for a number of years previous to his death was the active head of the King Grain Company, one of the largest concerns of the kind in the Wabash valley, and which might be considered a lineal successor of the grain business established and conducted by Peter King at Wabash before the war.

The late Mr. King was a wuiet unobtrusive gentleman, a succesful business man, and a most helpful member of the community. The estimation in which he was held is probably best told through a quotation from the local press at the time of his death:

"While Mr. King was a quiet and unassuming, he was one of the most diligent and prosperous business men of Wabash. He had no public aspirations, and good citizenship was his ideal. He was the kind and helpful friend of anyone who came to him in need. The Poor always found assistance and sympathy. His friends he loved with an unlimited devotion. He was never so happy as when doing for others. His own family never were denied a single wish within his power to grant. He believed in his friends and the slightest act of kindness done for him was appreciated in a spirit of unlimited gratitude. He never neglected a duty or an obligation. He had a thought for every one associated with him. His love for his father and his mother was the all-absorbing love that considered their every wish and interest. His was a peaceful going away and his loved ones could feel glad that he was spared great suffering. Everywhere kind friends are sorrowing over the loss of a good man from the city. Such men are needed, such men are an honor to their fellowmen and such quiet influence for good leaves a lasting impression. Honest, industrious, progressive, interested in every enterprise that advanced the cause of right living, was the ambition of his life."

Mr. Harry S. King married Miss Emma E. Rohrbacher, oldest daughter of Charles Frederick and Elizabeth Rohrbacher of Wabash. Her father was born in Germany, came to America when fifteen years of age, and died at Mount Carmel, Illinois, in 1882. Mr. King and wife were married May 28, 1890, and their two children are: Harriet and Thomas F.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 568-569.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Nathan King

NATHAN KING. There are few better known men in Lagro township than the popular old blacksmith and stanch Democrat, Nathan King. Mr. King is the type of hard-working and honorable citizen who is a pillar of society in every community, who can always be depended upon and whose business and civic activities and private life are alike above reproach. He has, for so many years that only the older citizens can remember the beginning, conducted a shop at the village of Dora, and is also owner of sixty-five acres of land situated in two tracts in Lagro township.

Nathan King is a son of Willliam and Nancy Ann (Owens) King, both of whom were born in North Carolina, but were married in Indiana. William had a first wife whom he married in North Carolina, and she died in Madison county, Indiana. The children of that union were: William, David, Cornelius, George W., Daniel, Thomas, Jesse and Polly, all of whom are now deceased. Miss Owens, his second wife, came to Indiana when quite young with her parents, James Owens and wife, who located in Madison county. To this second union were born the following children: Richard, Lydia Ann, John W., James, Elizabeth, Nathan, Elisha and Henrietta. All are now deceased except Nathan and Elisha, who is a farmer in Jay county.

Nathan King was born on his father's farm in Madison county, Indiana, September 23, 1846. Mr. King is one of the comparatively few men still in active life who received at least a portion of their schooling in one of the old-fashioned and primitive log cabins which were the predecessors of the little red schoolhouse. The schoolhouse in which he learned his first lessons had a puncheon floor, and the benches on which the scholars sat were slabs smoothed off on one side, and were supported from the floor by pins driven into the underside. There were other primitive facilities with which he was familiar, such as the old-fashioned goose-quill pen, made by the teacher, and the curriculum consisted of the familiar three R's. He was about fifteen years of age when the family moved to Wabash county, and at Dora in July of the year he celebrated his twentieth birthday he started to learn the blacksmith's trade under James Fulton. The shop changed hands several times, but in about five years from the time the young apprentice stared to learn his trade he had acquired ownership of the establishment, and each year from that time has found him at his anvil and forge, and the merry clink of his hammer shows that the village blacksmith is always busy. For a couple of years his son, H.W., was with him, but during most of the time he has worked alone, and his skillful services have so long been offered the people of this community that they are depended upon almost as a permanent institution.

After the death of his mother, Nathan King bought out the interest of the other heirs in the old farm, and has since been its owner, his son Joseph now running it. On Christmas Day of 1868, Mr. King married Anzeletta Holdren. To their union have been born twelve children, five of whom died young and the others are mentioned briefly as follows: Mrs. Daisy Huston, who is the mother of two children, Arnold and Florence; Amanda E., the wife of Harry Scully; William Otto, who was a bright and popular young man, went west on account of his health, and died at the age of thirty in California; Joseph, who is manager of the farm; Hubert, who married Grace Lenol; Iva May, who married Loren Sayer, and has one child, Maxine; Kizzie, the wife of James Adams, and the mother of one child, Virginia.

Mrs. King was born in Blackford county, Indiana, a daughter of Joseph C. and Mary (Hewett) Holdren. Her father, Joseph, was a carpenter and also a schoolmaster, was born in Pennsylvania, married I that state, and was the son of the one-time owner of the Hocking Valley Coal Mines. Joseph Holdren died at Andrews, Huntington county, and his wife passed away in the city of Marion. There were twelve children in the Holdren household, as follows: Loretto; Mary Ann; Josephine; Anzeletta; Olive, deceased; Susanna; Elizabeth; Nancy, deceased; Sarah, deceased; Mildred; Joseph, and Washington. Mrs. King came to Wabash county with her parents when eight years old, and her father later traded his farm for one near Andrew in Huntington county. Like her husband, Mrs. King received her education in a little log schoolhouse. Both have witnessed the tremendous changes which five or six decades have introduced into all parts of the county, and as prosperous people who have done their duty to society and to their children they have a pleasing retrospect upon the past. They reside in a comfortable home near the shop.

Nathan King has been a lifelong democrat. He began voting during the years following the close of the Civil war and has long been regarded as one of the most influential party workers in Wabash county. In all these years he has never asked for an office, but could always be depended upon to support the ticket and his influence has again and again counted for the election of his friends. He and his family are members of the Christian church.

Source: - Weesner, Clarkson W., History of Wabash County, Indiana. Chicago: Lewis, 1914, pp. 908-909.
Submitter: Eugene F. Gray


Peter King

In the early years of Wabash County, probably no name had a greater significance in business and industrial affairs than that of Peter King. If for no other reason, he should be remembered in history for the mills which he built along the Wabash valley in this county, all of which did a good service to the people of the time, and one of which remained a landmark until recently. While a man of rather conspicuous ability and success, it was not his nature to seek prominence in a public way, and he chiefly contributed to the making of Wabash County through his business and through the notable family which has since continued his work in varied and important lines.

Peter King was born in York County, Pennsylvania, in 1805, was reared in that locality, and when a youth learned the milling business at York Haven, near his birthplace. Soon afterward he moved to Johnson's Corners in Summit County, Ohio, where he was engaged to operate a flouring mill on the shares. There he met and in 1830 married Elizabeth Boyer. His next removal took him to Seville in Medina County, where he built and managed a mill.

With his wife and three children (Mary Ann, George N. and Thomas Wellman), he moved to Indiana in August, 1842. His object was to secure land at a less cost than it could be had then in northeastern Ohio. The village of Wabash was his first location, but later he moved out to the farm he had bought near town. The four hundred and twenty acres acquired by him in this vicinity cost him on the average about four dollars an acre. Subsequently his home was returned to Wabash, and that city was practically his place of residence throughout the rest of his life.

On the Mississinewa river near Vernon he bought a site at which he erected about 1849 a mill which was under his direct management several years. Its machinery continued grinding for a long time, and its framework stood the shock of many years, a venerable landmark, until destroyed by the great flood of March, 1913. While milling was his primary calling, Peter King was one of the ablest business men of his time. He operated extensively in the buying of wheat, which he shipped over canal and railroad to the east. He was also one of the men who made the pork-packing industry valuable before the war. For the time his transactions were on a large scale, and in a good sense of the term he was a man of affairs.

In 1858 he returned to his first vocation, and built at Wabash a steam flouring mill, which began operations in 1859. In 1861, with William Whiteside as partner, this mill was converted into a furniture factory. Two years later Mr. King disposed of his interest in the business and bought a mill at North Manchester on the Eel River, spending about two and a half years in the operation of that plant. With James McCrea, he later bought the water mill, on the old canal, at Wabash, and that was practically the last enterprise to which he gave his active attention. At the end of about eight years he retired, and lived in the quiet of his home until his death in August, 1891. His wife had passed away in September, 1890, after a happy companionship of sixty years. After they came to Indiana one other son was born to them, Allen W. King.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 491-492.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


Thomas Wellman King

Thomas Wellman King, who was for many years a resident of Wabash, Indiana, and among its most prominent citizens in business, financial and public affairs, was a native of Ohio, his birth occurring in Summit County, October 16, 1836. He was the third in order of birth born to Peter and Elizabeth (Moyer) King, the former born in York County, Pennsylvania and the latter in Westmoreland County, that state. His father, a miller by trade, came with his family to Wabash County in 1842 and purchased farm land three miles from the village of Wabash, but later disposed of that tract and established a home in the village. For years he was engaged in a general line of business and by hard and conscientious work accumulated a competency, at the same time winning the esteem and respect of all with whom he came in contact through his many sterling traits of Character. In 1894, Mr. King passed away, having been preceded one year by the mother, and both are now at rest in the cemetery in Wabash. They were among the first to settle here and it is to such earnest, industrious and God-fearing people that the county owes its present standing among the leaders in the great state of Indiana. In 1842, they came to Wabash County, Indiana, Thomas W. King being then sixty-seven years old.

When but fifteen years of age, Thomas Wellman King embarked upon a career of his own, having received a more or less educational training in the public schools. He was content to start at the bottom, accepting a humble position as a clerk in a dry goods store, but he was not destined to remain among the ranks of the mediocre, for, after thoroughly assimilating the details of the business, he formed a partnership with his father and upon the latter's retirement assumed full charge of the business, which assumed large proportions under his brilliant and well-directed management. Subscquently, Mr. King became interested in a string of grain elevators, and was also the head of a large hardware house, the latter being continued with much success for a period of fifteen years. For years Mr. King was vice-president and a director of the Wabash National Bank, and his standing in the financial world was evidenced by the confidence placed in him by his associates, who in all matters of importance trusted him implicitly for guidance and leadership. When he passed away, December 14, 1912, his county lost a man whose place in the business world it was extremely hard to fill; his family a kind husband and indulgent father, and his hosts of friends a loyal and lovable companion whom they had always found ready to aid them in times of trouble or distress.

On October 22, 1857, Mr. King was married to Miss Jane D. Stitt, daughter of Archibald and Katherine (Simpson) Stitt, the former born in County Down, Ireland, in 1802, and the latter in Pennsylvania in 1811, and married in the mother's birthplace in 1827. In 1833 Mr. Stitt came to Wabash County, Indiana, and secured the contract for building the Wabash & Erie Canal from Lagro to Lafayette, and completed that immense work in 1840. In 1835 he returned to Pennsylvania for his family and brought them to Wabash County, establishing a home at Lagro, but on completing his work on the canal returned to Pennsylvania. He later acquired government land in Richvalley, and this he cleared and improved, developing a handsome and valuable farm, but in August, 1850, when elected treasurer of Wabash County, came here with his family, and continued to make this his home until his death in 1867. He was followed to his grave by the mother in 1892, and both were buried in the Wabash Cemetery.

To Mr. and Mrs King there were born three children, as follows: a daughter who died unnamed in infancy; Harry S., born May 8, 1860; and Charles Sherman, born September 14, 1865, a graduate of Yale University. Mrs. King, who survives her husband and makes her home in Wabash, is still hale and hearty although she has reached the age of seventy-seven years. She is widely known in Wabash, and is respected and esteemed by the whole community and warmly beloved by a wide circle of appreciative friends.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 566-567.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


MICHAEL KIRCHER

The subject of this sketch was the oldest son of John and Sophia Kircher, and was born September 25, 1812, in Montgomery County, Ohio. Michael Kircher's grandfather immigrated to America from Germany, in 1755, and settled in Berks County, Penn. He was married, and was the father of two sons and one daughter. His son, John Kircher, the father of Michael, was the youngest of the three children, and in 1810 located in Montgomery County, Ohio, where he was married to Sophia Wagoner. Michael Kircher was married February 14, 1838, to Mariah Bickel, and they moved from Montgomery County, Ohio, to Wabash County, Ind., in 1841, where they lived happily together until March, 1856, when they were separated by the death of Mrs. Kircher, who left a bereaved husband and four children to mourn her departure. The names of the children are as follows: Mary J., the wife of Fredric Kline; Cornelius F., married Laura Smith; Horace G., married Nettie Thomas; and John W., the oldest son of Mr. Kircher, enlisted in Company E, One Hundred and Eighteenth Regiment Indiana Volunteers in August, 1863, and died in the hospital at Knoxville, Tenn., November 8, 1863, leaving a widow whose maiden name was Persilla Spacht. Mr. Kiecher was again married February 25, 1857, to Nancy E. Marshall, of North Manchester, Ind., native of Bedford County, Va. He was an honored and respected citizen, and served Wabash County four terms as County Commissioner, and was also Appraiser and Assessor one term. Mr. Kircher departed this life January 4, 1882, surrounded by a large circle of friends and relatives who mourn his decease.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 462.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


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