JOHN W. COX. For thirty-five years John W. Cox has prospered as a farmer and lived a resident of section thirty in Fairmount township. He owns a delightful country home, and his prosperity is nearly altogether the result of his careful planning and industrious labors, continued through a long succession of years.

John W. Cox belongs to an old Quaker family of that name, originally from North Carolina. In the generation including his own grandfather were some four or five of the name, who, after their marriage in North Carolina, came north and found homes in Indiana, most of them in Grant county. His grandfather was Joshua Cox, and besides Joshua several grand-uncles and grand-aunts came to Indiana, named as follows: Mincher, Samuel, William and Julia. These different members of the Cox family became prominent in their respective communities, and all were of the Friends church. Joshua Cox and his wife, Rachael Cox, came to Indiana in 1830 and spent the remainder of their lives in Morgan county, where they reared their children. These children are named as follows: Uriah, who married and moved out to Richland, Iowa, where he died, leaving children, Joshua, John, Hannah, Enoch, and Rachael; Edith and her husband also died in Iowa, and left a family of children; the next in order of birth was William Cox, father of John W., Nathan married Malinda Overman, and had children, Sylvester, Seth, Isaiah and Rachael; J. Zimri Cox married, had a family of five children, and he and his wife died in the same year. Hannah, the widow of Amos Hiatt, lives at her home in Iowa, and has a family of children.

William Cox, father of John W., was born in North Carolina in 1824, and was six years of age when the family moved to Morgan county. When he was about twenty years of age he visited his uncle's family in Grant county, and while there met Miss Betsey Wilson, who was born in North Carolina in 1826, a daughter of John Wilson, who settled in Fairmount township of Grant county in 1836. Miss Wilson was the acknowledged belle of the countryside, and among those attracted by her beauty and character was William Cox, who in the brief time of his visit laid successful siege to her heart and soon afterwards married her. They began life in a log cabin in Liberty township, situated ten miles from any other settlement, and had a lonely time of it for several years. They prospered, and finally moved to another farm in Liberty township, where William Cox became the owner of one hundred acres of first-class land, and in 1873 built the old family homestead, a fine brick house, at that time considered one of the best in the county. William Cox died there January 25, 1901, and his beloved wife followed him a few months later on June 12. William Cox married outside of the Quaker church in which he had been reared and was put out of the church, because of his refusal to express sorrow for his act, and he and his wife afterwards became charter members of the Wesleyan Methodist church, in which faith they both died.

The children of William Cox and wife were: Nathan R., Abigail, John W., Mary, Eli J., Milton T., Zimri E., Eliza Ann, now deceased; Sarah Ellen, Elizabeth Clementine, William Valentine and Micajah T. and Emma, twins, the latter being deceased. All these children were married and had families, and all became substantial and self-supporting men and women. Every son has always been free from any bad habits and all married good wives, while the daughters found good husbands.

John W. Cox, who was born in Liberty township of Grant county, August 4, 1849, was reared in a good home, and well educated. For some years he taught school, and finally turned his attention to agriculture, and for many years has enjoyed a place of prosperity and esteem in his community. He owns a fine farm, not extensive in acreage, but highly improved and cultivated in such a manner that it is more productive than many larger places. It comprises forty-four acres, and lies just outside the limits of Fairmount city. There is not a foot of the land which is not drained, and put to profitable production, and it is this elimination of waste that has been a large factor of Mr. Cox as a farmer. His largest and best crop for a number of years has been tomatoes, some years having had as many as seventeen acres in that crop, while his yearly average has been about twelve acres. By long experience he has learned how to grow and care for this large production, and gets big revenues from all he raises. In the midst of the fruit and shade trees which surround his grounds sets a fine white house, surrounded with new barns and a forty-five ton silo. This place has been his home since 1878, and in location and value it is one of the best in Fairmount township.

In Washington township, of Grant county, in 1874, Mr. Cox married Miss Josephine Culberson, who was born in Guernsey county, Ohio, February 23, 1853. When she was a child her parents moved to Washington township in Grant county. She is a daughter of Joseph and Margaret (Stiles) Culberson, both natives of Ohio, who located in Grant county before the war. Her father died on his farm a few years later, leaving a widow and five children. Mrs. Culberson did more than a mother's part by her children, remained at home on the farm, managed its operation and at the same time kept her little flock about her until they were grown and had started lives on their own account. She then came to live with her daughter Mrs. Cox, and died in their home in 1910, when ninety-two years of age. She was a good mother, and her influence and devotion were such that they will always be remembered by her children and descendants.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Cox are mentioned as follows: 1. Martin E., who was educated at Fairmount, was for some years a music dealer in that city and is now in the west. 2. Burl W., went to Cuba during the Spanish-American war with the One Hundred and Sixtieth Indiana Regiment, serving until his honorable discharge. He is now in business at Alexandria, in Madison county. He married Gladys Edwards. 3. Eli W., is an agent for the Singer Sewing Machine Company, lives in Fairmount, and by his marriage to Gertrude Riblin has two children, Paul and Emmett. 4. Ollie W., is a farmer and also operates a hay press at Fairmount. He married Lora Clifford, and their one daughter is Bernice. 5. Myrtle L. is the wife of George P. Atkinson, living with Mr. Cox on the home farm. Mr. and Mrs. Cox are members of the Back Creek Wesleyan Methodist church. Formerly a Republican voter, Mr. Cox now gives his allegiance to the Prohibition cause.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


WILLIAM SHERON. Of that goodly company of Grant county octogenarians whose names are noted in this history, one who is now nearing the close of his eighth decade is named at the opening of this paragraph. William Sheron's has been a life that is significant in its very duration. Like the oak silently growing the forest, it has been strong and useful without the conspicuous eventfulness of many less serviceable careers. In the quiet performance of the homely simple duties that come within the scope of every one he has won the respect of a community, the veneration of children and grandchildren, and has walked upright in the fear of God.

William Sheron was born April 3, 1826, in Harrison county, Ohio. His parents were John and Matilda (Havener) Sheron. The father was born March 10, 1804, and the mother September 16, 1808, her birthplace having been near Harpers Ferry in Virginia. The father was by occupation a farmer and a cooper. When his son was a baby he moved to Perry county, Ohio, where he was a farmer, and where he made money enough to enter forty acres of government land. Later he sold that and immigrated to Indiana, locating on a farm, which he bought near Fox Station in Grant county. He continued to live there many years, finally selling out and moving into the city of Marion, where he became owner of several valuable properties. His death occurred in Marion, about twenty years ago, and the mother has been dead about thirty-five years In religion, the father was a member of the United Brethren church. He and Matilda Havener were married in 1824, and they have ten children.

The family record of children and births are as follows: William, born April 3, 1826; Mary Ann, now deceased, born November 19, 1827; James, deceased, born October 10, 1829; Sidney, deceased, born October 2, 1831; Rachael, born September 17, 1833, and the wife of George Poff of Marion; Barney, born in November, 1835, and living in Marion; Sarah, deceased, born July 22, 1837; Nancy, born January 1, 1841, the widow of Alexander Moorehead; John, deceased, born July 23, 1847; and Matilda, deceased, born February 8, 1850.

The Sheron family is of English origin, on the paternal side, and German on the maternal. The grandfather on the mother's side was Dominick, and the paternal grandfather was Andrew Sheron. Grandmother Havener's maiden name was Martha Upton, and Grandmother Sheron was Nancy Stephens.

William Sheron went out into the world when eighteen years old. In Ohio he learned the shoemaker's trade, and with the man under whom he had worked he went out to Illinois, locating in the old town of Nauvoo, a place later famous for its Mormon settlement. While working at his trade in that town, he married on July 2, 1848, Miss Prudence A. Giffords, who was born December 22, 1827. Mr. Sheron lived in Nauvoo for about two years, them moved to Wapello, Louisa county, Iowa, where he continued his trade and remained for ten or twelve years. From there he came back east locating in Grant county, near Fox Station. A little later, during the period of the Civil war, and about the close he enlisted as a substitute in Company K of the Fortieth Indiana, Infantry, and was in service in time to participate in the Battle of Nashville, Tennessee. After the war, he returned to Grant county, and resumed his regular trade. From his father, whose coming to Grant county has already been noted, he bought a small piece of land, and was both a shoemaker and farmer for some time. Later by trading and by good management, he acquired one hundred and twenty acres in Monroe township, and finally sold and invested the proceeds in Marion real estate, since which time his home has been in the county seat. Mr. Sheron is the owner of several fine pieces of property in Marion, and is in comfortable circumstances.

Mr. and Mrs. William Sheron were the parents of a large family of thirteen children, whose names and other pertinent facts of birth are mentioned as follows: Albert F., born November 19, 1849, and died the same day; Joseph A., born September 30, 1851, and a resident of Illinois; George, born October 14, 1843, died March 26, 1854; Edward and Edwin, twins born March 4, 1855, the former dying October 2, 1856, and the latter October 23, 1855; Elizabeth, born February 6, 1857, now living with her father; John, born May 5, 1859, a resident of Marion; Matilda, born February 3, 1861, also in Marion; Lydia, born November 28, 1862, whose home is in Marion; Laura J., born October 21, 1864, living in Sims; Thomas, born June 17, 1867, a resident in Grant county; and William E., born October 28, 1869, died March 8, 1881. Mrs. Sheron, the mother died on the 12th of August, 1879.

William Sheron is a member of the Methodist church in Marion. He was the first janitor in the first Methodist church, assuming the position just after the church was built, and continuing therein for ten years. He also served many years as superintendent of the Sunday school and for several years was class leader. He has always been a great worker in the Methodist church. His only fraternal connection is with the Grand Army of the Republic. On his eighty-fourth birthday, a particularly pleasing tribute was paid to him in a shower of post cards, on which occasion he received more than two hundred and thirty-five cards. On his attaining his eightieth year, his children presented him with a fine easy chair. Mr. Sheron is a man who thinks a great deal of his children, of whom he has eight still living, and all of them are in good homes and substantially placed in life. On Christmas day, 1912, Mr. Sheron gave to each of these eight children a beautiful bible, each one inscribed with the following original poem:

"There are treasurers sublime
In this book divine
That you never can find
Outside of its lines.

"This book from your youth
You were taught to revere
And I hope in old age
It will always be dear.

"Your mother was a reader
And she loved the old book;
To her it was a blessing
When in it she looked.

"Read it, please read it,
Your father's last will.
Your mother's in heaven
But your father's here still."

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


MARK NEEDLER. Born in Jefferson township seventy-eight years ago, Mark Needler has the distinction of being the oldest native son of that township. For nearly fourscore years his home has been in this one locality, and he has both witnessed and participated as a factor in the development of the country and in the long fight against the wilderness. Much of the land contained within his present country homestead on section twenty-six of Jefferson township was first turned over to the sunlight with his own hands guiding the plow. He represents an honored family of pioneers, and is himself one of the most esteemed of the older Grant county citizens.

His grandfather George Needler was born in Virginia and of old Virginia stock. He married Sarah Luck of the same state. Some years later, from Virginia they migrated to Guernsey county, Ohio, and from there came to Indiana. On the journey from Ohio out to Indiana, Grandmother Needler died and was buried in Ohio. George Needler with other members of the family came on to Grant county and entered land from the government. For some reason or other this land was not taxed for the first ten years, and when the first tax was laid on these four hundred acres, which had been located by the family in 1834, it amounted to three dollars or two coon skins. George Needler and his sons started actively upon the work of improvement and he died on the old homestead where he settled in 1834, when at a good old age. The question has often been asked as to how long the old-fashion of male customs, and knee breeches and high stockings, continued into the last century, and the query is partly answered in the case of grandfather George Needler, who was one of the early settlers who persisted in wearing that style of clothing, and in many other ways was distinguished as an old Virginia gentleman. He knew nearly everybody in the country for miles around, and was equally well know and esteemed by his neighbors and friends. He had a large family of children, including James, father of Mark Needler. James was the second of six sons, all of whom came to Indiana, and he himself was born in Virginia, but was married in Ohio, and from that state came to Grant county in 1834. In Ohio he married Rebecca Ward, who was the mother of his children. Four of these children, Sarah, Eliza J., George and John were born in Ohio. James Needler on coming to Indiana, entered four hundred acres on his own account, and lived there and developed a splendid farm. The first home and probably the one in which Mark Needler was born was a log cabin built in the crude fashion, with round logs, a mud and stick chimney, the roof being of clapboards, held down with small logs or poles. James Needler and wife worked hard, and though they lived in the wilderness for many years they gradually prospered and did well by their descendants. All their children were reared to maturity except one. James Needler died in his eighty-fourth year, about 1894, and his wife passed away twenty-five years before his death. She was a Methodist and he a Presbyterian. Of their children born after they came to Grant county, Mark was the first, and the others were: Mary Ann; James; Sarah E. (II), Joseph, Melissa, Rebecca, and William F. All these children married and had families except Mary A. and Sarah E., the former of whom died at the age of eight years and the latter at the age of eighteen. There are four sons and two daughters still living.

Mark Needler was born in Jefferson township of Grant county, November 17, 1835. Grant county had been organized with a separate government only four years at the time of his birth, and within his lifetime have occurred practically every improvement and every important advance towards the civilized conveniences which Grant county people now enjoy in such profusion. Mr. Needler grew up on a farm, had an education in one of the old-fashioned school houses, and has always followed the vocation to which he was trained, and his thrifty nature and commendable industry have enabled him to lay up an ample competence for his declining years. At the present time he owns one hundred and thirty acres, all of which he has improved with the exception of a few acres, and he was the first to strike a plow into the soil. All the buildings are a result of his planning and management, and for forty years this place has been his home. A Democrat in politics he follows the Democratic faith, but has never sought any office or any honors from his party. Mr. Needler was married at Jefferson township, to Mary E. Secrest, who was born May 31, 1845, and has always lived in this township. She has been one of the best of wives and mothers, and is a fine type of Grant county womanhood. Her parents were Abraham and Mary (Fischel) Secrest, both natives of Virginia. They were married in Guernsey county, Ohio, and came to Grant county in the decade of the thirties, where Abraham Secrest got one hundred and sixty acres of land from the government and also bought one hundred and sixty acres which had been previously settled. He did a large portion of the clearing and improving of both quarter sections, and was a man who left many evidences of his industry and fine management as a farmer and business man. He and his wife lived in Jefferson township until their death. Their first home was built of round logs, which in a short time was replaced by a house of hewed logs, and that finally by a substantial frame house, where they lived for many years. In the old home he died in 1890 at the age of sixty-five, while his wife passed away at the age of sixty-nine. They were prominent members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in this part of Indiana, and the first society in the neighborhood held its meetings for some time in the Secrest residence, and also in the neighboring school houses. Abraham Secrest voted the Democratic ticket for a number of years, but finally tuned Republican. Of their three children still living, besides Mrs. Needler, there are William Kyle, whose home is in Jefferson township, and who has three sons and two daughters; and Sarah A., the widow of Joseph Reasoner, who lives with her daughter Mary in California. Mr. and Mrs. Needler have had no children of their own, but have opened the doors of their home and have bestowed a wealth of affection on three adopted children. The first of these was Carrie Smiley, whom they educated and who is now the wife of Oliver Reasoner, living in Oklahoma City, and they have one son Phillip. The second child was Philota Kirkpatrick, who died at the age of twelve years. The third was Charley Nickerson, whose home is in Princeton, Indiana, and who has three children, Amanda, Violet, and Mark. Mr. and Mrs. Needler are both members of the Methodist faith.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


AUGUSTIN KEM. Among the native sons of Indiana who make their home in Marion, is Augustin Kem. Mr. Kem belongs to that class of men who have made the central states the great stronghold of power and stability which they have become. This generation of men, most of whom came with their parents across the mountains and settled in this region when it was backwoods country, have clung to the sturdy virtues and firm principles of their New England and Virginian ancestors. Living in an agricultural section they retained the qualities which made it possible for a handful of Colonial soldiers to conquer Great Britain's armies, longer perhaps than the people of any other section, and Mr. Kem is a typical example of this type.

Augustin Kem was born in Wayne county, Indiana in the country between Centerville and Richmond, on the 20th of March, 1842. His father was John Kem and his mother was Ann (Russell) Kem. The Kem family is of English origin, and although the Russells were probably English also, it is not definitely known just where they originated in the mother country. The ancestors of both families, however, came to this country during the days when the New England colonies were being settled. The Kems settled in Virginia where they lived until 1829 when they emigrated to Indiana.

It was on the 3rd of October, 1853, that Augustin Kem came with his parents into Grant county. He was one of seven children and the whole family occupied a log cabin of one room, the only other building on the place being a smoke house. Two acres were cleared land and the rest of the farm was virgin forest, alive with coon, opossum, grey squirrel, wild turkey, a few deer and an occasional wolf. It was a hard struggle with the forces of the wilderness and every foot won from the forest was a glorious victory for civilization. Loneliness and hard work was the portion of every frontier family but at least they were in no danger of starvation with the woods full of game. In the winter of 1854 after a snowfall of thirty inches John Kem and a neighbor while out hunting came across a track in the snow which looked like a bear track. Even at this date bears were extremely scares in this section and they set forth in great excitement to capture this specimen. They followed the tracks for some time and finally the object of their hunt took refuge in a hollow tree of considerable height. The only thing to do was to chop the tree down but this was no great feat for the two sturdy backwoodsmen and soon the tree came crashing down. With guns ready to fire the two men approached the place where a scuffling told them their quarry was and to their chagrin they discovered the supposed bear to be only a porcupine. Mr. Kem, our subject, who saw it after they brought it home, says this is the nearest he ever came to seeing a wild bear in Grant county.

Augustin Kem grew up on his father's farm, helping to cultivate the cleared land and each year aiding in driving the forest farther back. He obtained what little education he could from the backwoods school, during the long winters when it was too cold to work. This was his life until 1861 when the news of the firing upon Fort Sumter set the country afire with patriotism and the determination to keep the Union undivided if it took every man north of Mason and Dixon's line. Grant county went wild and when the call for the three months' volunteers was issued almost every able bodied man in the county hastened to offer his services. There was not room for so many, however, and the ranks were quickly filled, leaving many disappointed would-be soldiers. Then came an idle spell when the only thought in the minds of every man was what was transpiring at the front and news was the best selling commodity of the day. Patriotism remained at fever heat and when the call was issued for three hundred thousand volunteers there was a rush to enlist, every man being afraid that all the places would be filled before he reached the recruiting station. It was at this time that Augustin Kem enlisted. He went into the service on the 5th of September, 1861, in Company "F" of the Thirty-fourth Regiment of Indiana Infantry, in a three years' term of enlistment. He only served two years and three months, however, being discharged on account of failing health at New Iberia, Louisiana. He returned home sadly incapacitated by ill health but after a few months' rest he was able to return to active life again. For a few months he attended school, being ambitious to complete the education which the war had interrupted. He then became a school master for a time and then an event occurred which changed his whole life. As Mr. Kem himself phrases it, "there came a little, bewitching, black-eyed Holman girl,"óLauretta Holman the daughter of Nicholas D. Holman and Minerva (Massey) Holman. Mr. Kem and Lauretta Holman were married on the 26th of September, 1868. Mrs. Kem is of Puritan ancestry but her parents came to Indiana from North Carolina and Kentucky. She was born in Grant county, Indiana, on June 21, 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Kem have had a long and happy married life and their union has been blessed with two children, Oren E. and Anna M. They have seven grandchildren, as follows: Edith I. and Carter O. Kem, and Lowell K., Kenneth G., Lawrence A., Oren Robert, and Augustin Donald Morrow.

Until within the past ten years Augustin Kem and his wife have lived on their farm, but ten years ago he retired from the active life of the farm and came into Marion to live, making his home here since that time. In religious matters all of the family have been Methodists and in politics Mr. Kem gives his allegiance to the Republican party. Mr. Kem served from 1905 to 1907 as a member of the city council and for the past three years has been a member of the Marion Board of Park Commissioners. He is a member of Gen. Shunck Post, No. 23, G.A.R., of which he is a Past Commander. He is also a Mason, and both he and his wife are members of the Eastern Star.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


Deb Murray