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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
Be sure to include your Name and the biography Source.

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

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William Naber

William Naber. This gentleman was born in Lemgo Principality, Detmold, Lippe, Westphalia, February 13, 1819. His father, Christian W. Naber, and his mother, whose maiden name was Louise Brinkhoff, were natives of the same place. William Naber was married to Fredrica Fehlhaber September 24, 1839; her parents were born in Uelzan, Hanover. Mr. and Mrs. Naber have had seven children, of whom five survive, viz., Elizabeth, Christian, Noah, Moses and William. Mr. Naber came to Wabash County, Indiana, in 1844, and purchased eighty acres on Section 35 of Pleasant Township, lived there seven years. In 1852, he went to California and remained there nineteen months; finally returning to Wabash County, located on the site of his present home. Mr. Naber is a prosperous and successful farmer, and has accomplished much by way of advancing the interests of the community in which he resides.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 463.
Submitter: Linda Thompson


JOHN NICCUM. For more than six decades the Niccum family have been useful and influential citizens of Wabash county. Their chief centers of activity has been in Waltz township, though the name is not without popular significance all over the county. The best known member of the family is Mr. John Niccum, who recently retired from the office of sheriff of Wabash county and who for two years served the people with an efficiency and fidelity to duty which set a high standard in the administration of that important office.

The founder of the family in this section was Charles Niccum who died in 1884, and was one of the early settlers. He located on section thirty-six in township twenty-six north, range five east (Waltz township) in March, 1852. He was born in Darke county, Ohio, in 1825, was reared on a farm, and in 1844, before reaching his majority, married Sarah Coble. Sarah Coble's father and other relatives settled in Wabash county about 1850, and the young man and his wife followed them and began housekeeping in Waltz township. The late Charles Niccum was rather under the average size physically, but what he lacked in physical stature was more than offset by his intense activity. He worked hard, and while he had but limited education, he had a large fund of practical sense, was quiet and unobstrusive and was reckoned as a first-class neighbor. Possessed of considerable determination, he took to studying long after he had become a man in order that he might the better measure up to the responsibilities and privileges of American citizenship. In politics he was a republican up to the time Horace Greeley became a candidate for the presidency, and after that was a democrat. He and his wife had ten children, six of whom are still living.

John Niccum, the oldest of these children, was born December 18, 1845, in Darke county, Ohio, and was therefore seven years old when he became a resident of Wabash county. With the exception of three years' residence in Jasper county, Indiana, he has always made his home in Wabash county, and up to 1910, in Waltz township. He was reared to hard work on the old farm, and such limited education as he obtained was acquired by a few months attendance during the winter term at the neighboring district school. Mr. Niccum is one of the youngest men in Wabash county who had a military record as a Union soldier during the Civil war. In February, 1865, a few months before the surrender of the southern army, he enlisted in Company F of the One Hundred and Fifty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and from that time until the close of the war was employed on garrison and guard duty, for the most part in Kentucky. After his honorable discharge at the close of the war he resumed farming, and in time found himself possessed of a good property, and has always managed in such a way as to return a surplus. His home place in Waltz township comprises ninety acres of the fine farming land in that section.

It has come about almost as a matter of course that Mr. Niccum should be a republican in politics. He has voted and worked with that party since the first Grant campaign, but never held any office of consequence until 1910, when he was the successful candidate for sheriff of Wabash county. In 1912 his party again nominated him for the office, but owing to the general ascendancy of the democracy during that year he met defeat. But he was again nominated by the republicans as sheriff on April 15, 1914.

Mr. Niccum was married September 21, 1866, to Miss Maria Malott. To their union, which has endured for upwards of half a century, has been born a large family of twelve children, whose names and brief mention of whose positions in life are as follows: Sarah, who died at the age of six months; Lovena, who died aged nineteen years; Cora, who died at the age of seventeen; Dillard, who married Nellie Bowman, had one son, Lewis Earl, Dillard died when only twenty-one years old; Ovid, who married Nora Long, has eight children, and is a prosperous farmer in Noble township of this county; Sarah, who died in infancy; Charles Samuel, who married Lodi Forrest, has five children, and is a farmer in Liberty township; Abbie, wife of Arthur Brewer, of Otsego, Michigan has one daughter; John Earl, who married Edith Clark, has two children and lives in Goshen, Indiana; Edith, unmarried; Lewis, who married Marie Garst, and lives in Wabash, is a member of the firm of Niccum & Dumbaugh, automobile dealers of Wabash; Guy, who died when about six months old. Mr. Niccum is affliated with the Masonic fraternities, and he and his wife worship with the Missionary Baptist church.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana pages 497 - 499.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Henry Ogden

Henry Ogden was born in Ohio December 17, 1823; his parents, Elihu and Sallie (Parish) Ogden, were natives of Maryland. Young Henry received a fair education in the log schoolhouse of pioneer days. In 1839, he came to Waabash County, Indiana, and settled in Pleasant Township. He was married, July 11, 1846, to Margaret Whitmire. Her parents, George and Anna Whitmire, were born in Pennsylvania. Henry Ogden and wife have had three children, viz., Mary Ann, the wife of Ahart Weber; Jennie, the wife of John Wertenberger; and William H., who died in infancy. Mr. Ogden worked on his parents' farm until he was twenty years old, since which time he has followed the carpenter and joiner's trade, and also conducts an undertaker's store in the village of Laketon, Pleasant Township. He is an industrious and enterprising gentleman, and is always ready to give substantial aid to any scheme that will promote the interests of the vicinity in which he resides.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 463.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Washington C. Ogden

Washington C. Ogden is a native of Wabash County, Indiana, where he was born January 26, 1845. His father, Elihu Ogden, was born in 1801, and his mother, whose maiden name was Sallie Parish, was born in 1806. They were early settlers in Wabash County, having arrived here in 1839. Washington C. received a fair education, and followed farming during his youth. He was married, March 2, 1864, to Susan Werner, who was born in 1843. Her parents, David and Margaret Werner, also came to this county in pioneer days. Mr. and Mrs. Ogden are the parents of nine children, of whom five survive, viz., William C., Ida L., Burtis, Ora M., and Howe. Mr. Ogden owns the old homestead farm, on Eel River near the village of Laketon.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 463.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Adam Oldfather

Adam Oldfather. This gentleman is a son of Henry and Catharine (Zigler) Oldfather, was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, September 14, 1818; his parents were natives of Pennsylvania, and were among the early settlers in Montgomery County, Ohio. Adam Oldfather was married in 1842, to Caroline Berger, who was of Pennsylvania birth; her parents, Samuel and Catharine (Staller) Berger, had eight children. Mr. Oldfather settled on the fertile farm he now occupies in 1844. He purchased his premises from his father, who was the former owner thereof; he has erected convenient and substantial buildings, and has always been a prosperous farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Oldfather are members of the Lutheran Church, and are strictly pious and considerate, and certainly have a bright future before them.

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

C. M. Oldfather

C. M. Oldfather, an industrious and prosperous young farmer of Pleasant Township, was born in Wabash County, February 16, 1851; his father, Solomon Oldfather, is a native of Montgomery County, Ohio; his mother's maiden name was Margaret Kyger. C. M. Oldfather attended the commom schools and received a good education. During his youth, he worked at farming, and still continues to devote his time to that occupation. He resides at home with his parents and is intrusted with the management of the place. In 1876, Mr. Oldfather was married to Catharine W. Redeye, who immigrated to this country from Germany. The family are members of the Lutheran Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 463.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Samuel Ohmart

Samuel Ohmart was born in Clark County, Ohio, June 14, 1831; his parents were Adam and Christena (Frantz) Ohmart, both of whom are deceased. Samuel Ohmart's marriage to Hannah Heater occurred March 20, 1853; her parents, Henry and Hanna Heater, were born in Montgomery County, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Ohmart have had eleven children, eight of whom survive --- Abraham, Melissa, Jacob, Lydia, Clara, Mary, John and Ida. Mr. Ohmart chose the occupation of farming early in life, and in 1856 settled upon a farm east of the village of North Manchester, where he tilled the soil until moving to his present residence in Pleasant Township in 1863; he has a fertile farm, containing 120 acres, upon which are situated good and substantial farm buildings; himself and wife are members of the German Baptist Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 463.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

George Oren

Geoge Oren, blacksmith, Roann. This gentleman, born in Miami County, Ohio, December 12, 1842, is the son of George and Elizabeth (Frame) Owen, the former a native of Pennsylvania, born April 4, 1797, and the latter in Virgina in October, 1805. The subject of sketch was brought by his parents to this county in 1846. He worked on the farm until 1860, when he began serving an apprenticeship as blacksmith about 1861 with William Rager, near North Manchester, with whom he remained for a period of three and on-half years. Mr. Oren was married, September 13, 1862, to Priscilla Miller, who was born in Wabash County June 6, 1844. She is the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Steele) Miller, the former born in Germany March 24, 1800, and the latter in Pennsylvania in 1807. This union has been blessed with six children, four of whom are living, viz., Jesse P., born January 5, 1864; Simantha J., June 13, 1866; Laura A., August 13, 1868, and Charles, December 4, 1874. After serving his time as an apprentice, Mr. Oren was then engaged in blacksmithing at North Manchester until 1871, when he became a resident of Roann, where he has, in order to accommodate his extensive and increasing business, erected a neat brick buiding, 30x60 feet, the lower story of which is used by himself as an office and shop, and the upper as a society hall. Mr. Oren has for several years past given especial attention to horse shoeing. He has made care for the same, a fact that is recognized by all who have placed horses under his care.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 437.
Submitter: Mike Sweeney

John V. Oyler

John V. Oyler, farmer, P. O. Somerset, was born in Franklin County, Virginia, October 26, 1827; his parents, Lewis and Mary (Rupe) Oyler, were pioneers of Wabash County, settling in La Gro Township in 1834; removed to Waltz Township in 1840, locating in the woods upon the premises now owned by their son, John V. Their experience in a country where settlers were as yet very few in number, without any roads or means of communication with other frontier settlements was indeed a severe one. But their self-denial, perseverance and industry was rewarded by seeing the forests disappear, and cultivated farms occupied by thrifty and intelligent people springing up on every side, and surrounded by educational and religious advantages. The subject of this sketch, John V., did not possess many educational opportunities during his youth when old enough to labor; his services were in constant demand in assisting in the many and varied duties of clearing up a new farm. Mr. Oyler has been twice married, first in 1857 to Elizabeth Coble, who died after a brief period of married life, leaving one daughter, Melvina Oyler, now the wife of John W. Long, of Waltz Township. Mr. Oyler was united in marriage, February 25, 1862, with Miss Adeline Brady, daughter of John D. Brady, an early settler in the county. This union is blessed with five children, one daughter and four sons, as follows: William G., Lewis, Mary J., John and Edward. Upon the death of his father, Mr. Oyler purchased the homestead from the heirs and now owns 122 acres. A prosperous farmer and genial citizen.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana pages 489-490.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Mrs. Margaret Pense

Mrs. Margaret Pence was born November 16, 1821, in Robeson County, N. C. Her father, Jacob Bryan, moved from North Carolina, settled in Jefferson County, Ind., May 10, I822, where he remained until 1835, when he moved to Wabash County. Her mother, Nancy Freeman, was also a native of North Carolina, and was married to Mr. Bryan in 1804. Mrs. Margaret Pence, the subject of this sketch, was first married to John H.Gamble, January 10, 1840. They lived on their farm three miles southeast of Roann until his death, which occurred in 1877. In 1879, she moved to Roann, where she lived until 1882, when she was married to William H. Pence. In the spring of the same year, she moved with her husband to his farm, located one mile west of Roann, where Mr. Pence died. November 5, 1883. she returned to Roann. and made her home with her brother, Jacob Bryan, until her death, which occurred December 8, 1883. Mrs. Pence was a devoted Christian woman, and her love of truth and earnestness in Christian work won for her many friends.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 437.
Submitter: Mike Sweeney

Henry Lee Purdy #1

Henry Lee Purdy, one of the oldest and most experienced agriculturists of Noble Township, Wabash County, Indiana, was born in Clermont County, Ohio (also known as Noble Township), July 25, 1835, three years before the Blackhawk War, the fourth of the six sons and seven daughters that constituted the family of Alfred and Elizabeth (French) Purdy, of whom there are still living, namely: Margaret, widow of Henry Gwynne, of South Wabash; Henry L., the subject of this sketch; Belle, wife of Charles Clayton, of Paw Paw Township; Nelson; Tillie, widow of Alexander Freeman, of Paw Paw Township; and Janiette, wife of Christopher Guatner, owner of the old Purdy homestead.

Alfred Purdy was born in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, January 1, 1804; was there married and there his two elder children were born. Mr. Purdy was a tobacco planter, and in 1832 he and his family removed to Ohio and located in Clermont County, thence moving to Wabash County, Indiana, in the fall of 1856, where he purchased a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of virgin land, the timber on forty acres having been deadened and only two acres cleared, and on which stood a small log cabin. Deer and wild turkeys abounded in the forest. The soil was fertile, and after clearing away the greater part of the timber Mr. Purdy succeeded in developing a first-class farm.

Mr. Purdy was one of the most upright of men, and was honored by all who knew him. In politics he was first a Whig and afterward became a Republican. He was a stanch supporter of Henry Clay, and later of John C.. Fremont, the early presidential candidates of those respective parties; but later voted for Lincoln and his successors.

Mr. Purdy was reared a Methodist, to which faith he adhered until late in life, when he became identified with the New Light Church, in Paw Paw Township, and in this faith he died, January 21, 1888.

Mrs. Elizabeth (French) Purdy was born May 7, 1809, also a native of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, a daughter of Daniel and Isabella French. She was a very kind-hearted and benevolent lady, and not only reared her own children in respectability, but also three orphans. The poor and needy never went from her door empty-handed, and she died blessed and beloved by all who knew her on the 25th of August, 1898.

Henry Lee Purdy was reared in his native county until he attained his majority, and was classed as a tiller of the soil. he was educated in the ordinary log school of his youthful days, which he describes as having measured 18 x 20 feet square, with a mud and stick chimney, and seats of hewed puncheons with no backs; the writing desk for the larger boys and girls to sit at was a broad board, resting on slanting arms or pegs driven into the wall; the pens in use were made of goose-quills. The room was heated by wood burned in a wide fireplace, and many a time Mr. Purdy assisted in rolling in from the outside of the school-house the huge back-log. The books in use were an elementary spelling book and Pike's arithmetic. The school, which was open but three months in the year, was supported equally by the public fund and subscription fees from the parents of the pupils. The teacher was more muscular than he was educated, and the birchen rod was more frequently used by him than moral suasion. The old dunce-block, much in vogue in that day in the schools of the backwoods, was also quite often brought into requisition as a means of discipline.

At the age of twenty-one years, Mr. Purdy was possessed of no cash capital and continued to remain at home with his parents until he was twenty-two, when he went to work as a farm hand for his neighbors, April 13, 1860. He wedded for his first wife Miss Anna Maria Gier, who bore three sons, of whom two still survive, namely: Alfred, who is married and a resident of Wabash; and George, who is also married and is a farmer in Paw Paw Township. The first Mrs. Purdy was born in Wabash County, of German descent, and died a member of the Methodist Church, in 1864.

The second marriage of Mr. Purdy took place July 9, 1867, to Miss Josephine Brown, and this union has been blessed with twelve children, of whom nine are still living, namely: Mary Elizabeth, wife of Calvin Dawes, and the mother of five children, now residing in Lagro Township; William H., a resident of Spiker, Wabash County, and the father of four children; Rosa Belle, who has finished the seventh grade in school; Elisha F., a farmer of Pleasant Township; Edward V., a farmer in Taber, Fremont County, Iowa; Nora, wife of Benjamin F. Smyers, of Noble Township; Clara, who has finished a public school education and is proficient in vocal and mandolin music,is the wife of Philip Cramer, a hatter in Wabash, Indiana; Harley M., who has finished the eighth grade in school, is now assisting his father on the farm; and Clarence Leroy, youngest child, has finished the seventh grade.

Mrs. Josephine Purdy was born in Miami county, Indiana, august 27, 1846, and is a daughter of George M. and Elizabeth (VanMeter) Brown, who were the parents of eleven children, but have now only three living, namely: Helen Mar, widow of James Coleman, a resident of Indianapolis; Josephine, now Mrs. Purdy; and Olive L., wife of Guy Schoone, of Wabash.

George M. Brown was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1811, and was but ten years of age when his father died, and he came with his mother to Madison County, Indiana. He was reared a carpenter and joiner, and was principally educated by his wife. In politics he was first a Whig and then a Republican. In religion he was a Methodist for many years, but late in life became a member of the Christian Church and died March 9, 1887, in the latter faith. His wife was born in Fayette County, Indiana, February 18, 1811, and died in 1850. He descended from Mohawk Dutch ancestry. the name, Van Meter, is strictly of Holland origin, while that of Brown has been traceable to the English and Irish. Mrs. Purdy's grandfather, Thomas Brown, married Mary Blake, who was heir to a large estate in England, which is still in abeyance. It is through a certain bachelor in the Blake family, who was very wealthy, and his cash is still locked up in the Bank of England. Mrs. Purdy is heir to a portion of this wealth.

Grandfather Blake was a soldier in the war for American Independence, and this fact entitles the children of Mr. and Mrs. Purdy, as well as themselves, to membership in the great American order of the Sons and Daughters of the Revolution.

Mrs. Purdy has been reared in Wabash County and educated in its common schools and is a lady who has improved her time in the perusal of instructive books. She has been a valuable assistant to her husband in acquiring a competence. He began his married life as a renter and lived as such for seven years, and when his first wife died he was completely broken up, and for awhile worked out for wages.

The first land Mr. Purdy purchased was a tract of eighty acres in Pleasant Township, partially improved, with a log house and stable, and for this he assumed a debt of $1,600. this farm he sold to advantage and purchased eighty acres of his present estate in Noble Township, of which twenty acres were cleared and improved, with a little one-story log house and a small stable; but the place was not ditched. There are now sixty-five acres cleared and one thousand eight hundred rods of tiling laid. In 1888 he erected the present dwelling, which is a credit to the township, and he also has a commodious barn, 34 x 58 feet in size, which he built in 1884.

On Thanksgiving night, 1899, his large barn, with all its grain, hay and agricultural implements, was destroyed by a conflagration, entailing a loss of $2,000. But this disaster did not by any means discourage Mr. Purdy, who went to work with renewed energy, and built on the same site another barn, 60 x 36 feet, which he finished in 1900. Besides his home of eighty acres, Mr. Purdy owns twenty-five acres in Paw paw township, and the best part of this record is that Mr. Purdy, although he began without capital, does not owe a dollar on his property.

In politics, Mr. Purdy is a Democrat, although he cast his first presidential vote for Lincoln. he and wife are stanch friends of Public education, and Mr. Purdy has been a liberal donor to and an active worker in the church.

Mr. and Mrs. Purdy stand among the foremost residents of Noble Township, and their cosy and comfortable home is made hospitable to friend and stranger.

Source: 1901 Biographical Memoirs of Wabash County, Indiana, pages 673 - 676.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Henry Lee Purdy #2

Henry Lee Purdy. A son of that fine old pioneer couple, Alfred and Elizabeth (French) Purdy, Henry Lee Purdy is himself now one of the oldest living residents of Noble Township and his long and enterprising career has identified him closely with the affairs of this county. He is the owner of an estate of eighty acres in Noble Township, about five miles north of Wabash and on the east side of the Laketon Road. Henry Lee Purdy was born in Clermont County, Ohio, July 25, 1835, three years after the Black hawk War. He was about twenty-one years old when the family came to Wabash County, and his education had been acquired by attending a log schoolhouse in Ohio. A short time after the family came to Wabash County he started to work for a neighbor as a farm hand. Mr. Purdy first married Anna Maria Giek, who died in 1864, and who was the mother of three sons: Alfred married Della King, and has three sons: Lamoine, born May 1, 1888; Homer F., born January 4, 1891, and Russell L., born January 21, 1894. George Purdy, the second son of A. L. Purdy, married Sarah Dawes, and their two children are Hazel M., born June 27, 1892, and Lawrence, born August 27, 1902. Charles Purdy, the third son, died aged twenty-three years.

Mrs. Purdy was a Methodist in religion and a faithful wife and kindly member of the community in which she lived. On July 9, 1867, Mr. Purdy married Josephine Brown. She became the mother of twelve children, of whom nine are living: Mary Elizabeth is the wife of John Calvin Dawes, and they have eight children: Ethel May, born May 24, 1887, and who died at birth; Elsie Marie, born October 7, 1888, married Lorin Richardson, and they have two children, Marvin and Wilma Richardson; Lonie Josephine Dawes, born January 24, 1891, married Hugh Richardson; Mabel Leora Dawes, born August 3, 1895, died September 2, 1910; Everett Lee and Ernest Albert, twins, born May 22, 1901, and Ernest Albert, died when not quite a year old; Wilbur Calvin, born June 22, 1904; and Kenneth Werlin, born November 30, 1906. William Henry Purdy, the second child of H. L. and Josephine Brown Purdy married Elizabeth Mills and lives in Canada. He had seven children: Ray M., Ruby June, wife of John Brown; Lester Elisha; Gladys Fern; Josephine Elizabeth; Clay, and Mary Rosabelle. Rosie Belle, the third child, married Walter S. Walker, and they have two children: Dorothy Mildred and Jennie Josephine. Elisha T., the fourth child, married Laura Tryon, and they have seven children: Lavone, Travis, Ella, Theodore (Teddy), Elisha Grant, Charlie and Corvin. Edward, the fifth child, married Miss Grace M. Morford, and their four children are: Leo Charles, who died aged six weeks; Ralph Gerald, Kermit Dewan, and Vesta. Nora, the sixth child, married B. F. Smyers, and has five children: Hugh, Wayne, Wanda, Robert Henry and Doris. Clara, the seventh child, married Philip Cramer and has two children: Bruce and Mildred. Harley M., the eighth living child of H. L. and Josephine Brown Purdy, married January 10, 1914, Jessie Riddle of Nebraska. They were married in Montana, where she had taught school. Roy, the ninth living child, married in Montana Myrtle M. Barnard, and they have one child, Millard Myrtle. Three children of H. L. and Josephine Brown Purdy are dead: John W., who died in infancy; Lillie, who also died when an infant, and Maudie May, who died aged two years, seven months and ten days.

Mrs. Josephine Purdy was born in Miami County, Indiana, August 27, 1846, a daughter of George M. and Elizabeth (Van Mater) Brown. She was one of a family of eleven children, and all are now deceased except three. her early life was spent in Wabash County, with an education in the public schools, and she has always been, in addition to the duties of her household and the responsibilities of community life, a great reader of instructive books.

After his first marriage, Mr. Purdy became a renter, and for seven years provided for his family in that way. The death of his first wife was a severe blow to him, and in his discouragement he spent some time working for wages. His first purchase of land was eighty acres in Pleasant Township. a few acres of that had been improved, and on it stood a log cabin and stable. Mr. Purdy had practically no money when he bought that place, and assumed a debt of sixteen hundred dollars, but used such good judgment that he subsequently sold it at a profit, and bought the eighty acres comprising his present homestead in Noble Township. Mr. Purdy during his active career has done a great deal to develop and increase the area of cultivated land in his section of the county. His farm when it came into his possession had twenty acres cleared and improved, and the building equipments comprised a one-story log house and a small stable. Then followed many years of arduous labor and thrifty management, and the farm has been improved in many ways, ditches have been dug, eight hundred rods of tile have been laid, tight fences have been placed around the fields, and sixty-five acres are now cleared up and produce crops every season. Mr. Purdy has also put up a number of new buildings, and the entire farm is a monument to his excellent business ability. In 1888, he erected a nice frame residence which is now his home, and in 1884 had built a barn on a foundation 34 x 58 feet. On Thanksgiving night of 1899, the barn with its contents of grain, hay and farm machinery, was burned to the ground, with a loss of two thousand dollars. This was only a temporary setback to his fortune, and in the following year he had completed a still more commodious barn on the same site, on a foundation of 60 x 36 feet. Besides his home farm, Mr. Purdy has twenty-five acres in Paw Paw Township. For a man who began his career without a dollar, and with many discouraging circumstances to thwart him, Mr. Purdy's success is all the more praiseworthy. he is now clear of debt, and with the aid of his hard-working and thrifty wife, has accumulated a prosperity that will last him till the end and will give something to the children, whom he and his wife have already provided with good schooling and home training and has started each on a path to worthy and useful living. Mr. Purdy is a Democrat, but his first vote went for Abraham Lincoln. He and his wife are stanch friends of public education, and are active and liberal in support of church and charity.

Source: 1914 History of Wabash County, Indiana, pages 905 - 907.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Aaron Rager

AARON RAGER was born in Union County, Penn., April 6, 1822. His parents, Adam and Catherine (Morrer) Rager, were also natives of Pennsylvania. They had eleven children, all of whom survive. Aaron Rager was married in September, 1848, to Lucinda E. Snyder, born in September 1848, and died January 29, 1874. Her parents were George and Mary (Bowers) Snyder, of Virginia birth. Mr. Rager had ten children by his first wife, whose names are as follows: William H., John B., George E., Calvin A., Mary M., Oliver R., Clara E., Theressa J., Minnie M. and Greeley (deceased). Mr. Rager’s first wife having died January 29, 1874, he was again married, April 25, 1880, to Catharine Baker, whose parents were natives of Maryland. Mr. Rager came to Wabash County, Ind., in 1849, and located upon his present farm, which he has improved and cultivated, until now he has one of the finest farms in Pleasant Township. Mrs. Rager is a member of the German Baptist Church, while Mr. Rager belongs to the Methodist denomination.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana, page 463.
Submitter: Dana Smith

Rettigs Establish Early Brewery

Franz A. Rettig was born August 28, 1827, at Neideringelheim, Germany. He came to America in 1848 and worked for two years in Lititz, Pennsylvania, in brewing. In 1853 he came to Wabash and formed a partnership with Wintz Stanley. They carried on a brewing business in a little house behind the old Rettig homestead for several years. In 1866 he formed Rettig & Alber Brewing Company with Phillip Alber.

October 7, 1854, he married Magdalena Alber, sister to Phillip. Magdalena was born December 26, 1824, Liechtenstein, Austria. When she married Franz, they moved to the Rettig home, 225 N. Cass Street. She died October 16, 1913. To this marriage were born four children. Magaret, born August 21, 1855, married Henry Mergy on October 7, 1877. Franz A., Jr. was born July 20, 1860 and died July 31, 1862, age 2 years. He was the first person buried in Falls Cemetery. Sophia was born April 17, 1858, and died February 4, 1952. She married George L'Amoreaux January 29, 1890. Frank J. was born January 8, 1863, and died September 1, 1950. He married Alice Lutz November 1, 1888.

Frank J. and Alice Rettig had four children. Franz (Frank) A. was born June 22, 1890. On April 5, 1912, he married Nellie Owen who died October 17, 1940. He then married Ethel Rife April 5, 1947. Lutz E. was born February 11, 1892, and died December 14, 1950. April 20, 1912, he married Lalia Brooks who died March 21, 1960. Emma was born February 21, 1896, and married Lewis Brett February 16, 1924. He died July 14, 1973. George O. was born in Wabash August 15, 1903, and married Lois Ellis April 11, 1925. Frank, Lutz, and Emma were all born in North Manchester.

Frank A. attended Century School in North Manchester until 5th grade, then the family moved to Wabash where he finished schooling on the southside and high school on West Hill Street. He graduated in 1907. He took charge of F. J. Rettig & Sons where he worked until 1955 when he sold the partnership. The present company kept the old name.

Frank A. was interested in most local activities, was president of Chamber of Commerce when General Tire came to Wabash, president of Phi Delta Kappa, master of Hanna Lodge No. 61, and president of Kiwanis Club, of Wabash Museum, among others. He and wife Ethel are collectors of miniature elephants, coins, stamps, and antiques dishes with a fine collection of Mary Gregory glass, cut glass, and Greentown glass.

Rettigs also collect paperweights and have many from the St. Clair factory in Elwood. Both Frank and Ethel are "rock hounds." she made rock jewelry until her health failed in 1972. They are currently enjoying their hobbies, visiting shut-ins, and working on genealogies and history projects.

Source: 1976 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 269, written by Frank A. Rettig.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

David Ridenour

David Ridenour (2/7/1802 - 8/13/1874) and Sarah Shauver (1806 - 1874) Ridenour took up 160 acres in Wabash, IN. He ran a sawmill on his farm for a time but the creek was scarce in water. They are buried in the Lutheran Cemetery near Wabash.

Source: "The Ridenour Family History and Genealogy," by John Ridenour, Stone Creek, Ohio, 1973
Submitter: Paul Ridenour

Henry Riner

Henry Riner was the father of Mrs. Cornelius Halderman, of Roann, Wabash County, Indiana. He was born in Berkeley County, Virginia, east of the Blue Ridge. He had ten children, all still living and all married, the eldest being sixty-six years old and the youngest forty-six years. Their names are these: John, born 1817, lives in Iowa, three children, farmer; William, born 1819, resides in Ohio, six children, carpenter; Julia Ann (Halderman), born 1821, Roann, eight children; Lewis, born 1823, Kansas, eight children, farmer; Harvey, born 1825, Wabash County, Indiana, eight children, saw miller and lumberman; Eliza Jane, born 1827, Germantown, Ohio, five children, husband a carriage-maker; Harriet, born 1829, Germantown, Ohio, no children, husband a blacksmith; Elizabeth, born 1831, Dayton, Ohio, five children; Henry Clark, born 1833, Kosciusko County, Indiana, three children, grocer; Sarah, born 1837, Miamisburg, Ohio, two children. Three of the above, William. Lewis and Henry Clark, were in the army during the war of 1861 – William, in a six months’ Ohio Regiment; Lewis, in a three years’ Ohio Cavalry Regiment, with Gen. Sherman in his Atlanta campaign and elsewhere; Henry Clark, with Lewis in the same regiment and company.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 432.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Elias H. Roby

Elias H. Roby, farmer, P.O. Wabash, a prominent farmer of Waltz Township, was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, April 8, 1823. The eldest son of John A. B. and Eliza (Roby) Roby, who were natives of the State of Maryland, and of English-Welsh ancestry. Elias H., after acquiring an education, which well fitted him for the profession of school teacher, an occupation which he followed in the earlier years of his life for sixteen winters. Mr. Roby came to Indiana in June, 1846, settling in Waltz Township, one mile west of his present home, where he entered a quarter section of land, premises which he afterward sold to his father, and where the old gentleman spent his last years, having here deceased about 1868. Mr. Roby purchased the premises where he has since resided in 1854, which, during his lifetime, has been changed from an unbroken forest into fields covered with orchards, containing numerous herds of cattle and sheep, with ample and conveniently arranged farm buildings. Mr. Roby was married, April 24, 1851, to Miss Mary B. Grover. This union was blessed with five children: their names are as follows: Eliza A., John A. B. (now conducting the home farm), William E. H., Elias A. B. and Ira Nehemiah Edwin. Mr. Roby had no capital to commence life with. He was the possessor, however, of a good constitution, backed by industry, perseverance and honesty of purpose. With such capital, success was certain. Mr. Roby was elected Justice of the Peace in 1880. He is a worshipper in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 490.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Ezekiel Rogers

Ezekiel Rogers was born in New Jersey April 11, 1815, youngest son of Isaac and Ann (Dawson) Rogers; attended the common school and received a fair education, but owing to the death of his father he was thrown on his own resources at an early age, remained in New Jersey until 1835, when he went to Warren County, Ohio, engaged in farming, and was married to Miss Eleanor Ross, September 19, 1837. Mrs. Rogers was born in Warren County, Ohio, February 27, 1813; after marriage, remained in Ohio about ten years, coming to Indiana in the spring of 1846, and locating in Grant County, adjoining Wabash, and remained there eight years on the Woods land. In the spring of 1856, purchased the place where he resided at his death. Mr. Rogers place was fully improved; he owned 200 acres of land; Mr. and Mrs. Rogers were the parents of nine children, only two of whom are living -- John, now a resident of Somerset; Alice, now Mrs. Jacob Garst, of Waltz Township. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers lost four of their children in 1855, within eight days, with scarlet fever. Mr. Rogers was a self-made man; had no start in life nor any inheritance. His death occurred June 21, 1882, of paralysis. His wife still survives him, and is passing the evening of life at the home of her son John, on the banks of the Mississinewa River east of Somerset.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 490.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

John Rogers

John Rogers, farmer, P.O. Somerset, a successful young farmer of Waltz Township, was born in Warren County, Ohio, February 2, 1841, and is the oldest son of Ezekiel and Eleanor (Ross) Rogers, coming with his parents to Grant County, Indiana, in 1848. Young John was a pupil at the common schools, acquiring a fair education, his youth being passed in pursuits incident to farm life until the commencement of the rebellion in 1861, when he promptly offered his services to his country, enlisting in the Forty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, participating with that gallant regiment in its numerous and hard-fought battles, including New Madrid, Magnolia Hills, Champion Hills, siege of Vicksburg, and the capture of Mobile, serving until the close of the war, and with his regiment was mustered out at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the fall of 1865. Mr. Rogers is the owner of fifty-one acres adjoining Somerset, where he is comfortably situated. He was united in matrimony July 12, 1866, to Miss Catherine Fisher, who was born in Wayne County, Indiana, in 1839.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 490.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Jim P. Ross

The genial County Clerk elect, was born September 15, 1846, and is a native of this county. When but seventeen years of age he enlisted as a private soldier in the 14th Indiana Battery, and served until the close of the war, some two years later. During that time he was in the hard fought battles of Nashville, Franklin, and in the siege of Mobile, besides other engagements of less importance. Upon his return home he was elected City Clerk of Wabash, to which office he was re-elected.

In the fall of 1874 Mr. Ross was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court. His term of office is to begin Sept. 1875, and it is a matter of congratulation to the citizens that the office, filled with such ability by Jim P. Amoss as to be known outside of the county as one of the best in the State, will be put in the hands of a competent man, who is peculairly qualified by having served as a deputy for eight years, thus rendering him familiar with every detail of the work he will be called upon to do.

Mr. Ross was married February 28, 1871, to Miss Libbie B. Crabbs, whose death he was called to mourn Aug. 31, 1873.

"Jim" Ross, as he is popularly called, and as he signs his name,is one of our best young men. He needs no endorsement here.

Source: 1875 Historical Atlas of Wabash County, Indiana page 44.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

Daniel Rupley

Daniel Rupley was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, September 2, 1833. His parents, Henry and Barbara (Cumlic) Rupley, were of German descent and natives of Pennsylvania. Henry Rupley and family came to Wabash County, Indiana in 1844, locating upon the present home farm, which at that time was wildland; but has since been improved and is one of the most valuable farms in Wabash County. Daniel was a pupil in the common schools of Lagro Township, where he received a fair education, which, in after years, by home study and reading, enabled him to teach school. He was married in 1856 to Miss Amanda Bean, born in Fayette County, Indiana in 1833. To this marriage eight children were born, viz., Barbara Ann, Henry Asa, Joseph Frederick, Elmira, Daniel Marion, Jemima Catherine, Levi Howard and Mary Elnora. Mr. Rupley is the owner of 126 acres of fine land, and occupies a handsome brick mansion erected in 1875. He has always been an unwavering friend of popular education and himself and family are worthy members of the United Brethren Church.

Source: 1884 History of Wabash County, Indiana page 371.
Submitter: Linda Thompson

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