JOHN A. MEEK, M. D. For a period of more than forty years the late Dr. John A. Meek was engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery at Jonesboro, and during this time rose to a commanding position among the members of the profession in Grant county. The pioneer physician of Jonesboro, he gained a widespread reputation for his skill, his devotion to his calling and his broad sympathy, and was equally well known and respected for his sterling citizenship and his upright and honorable life. Doctor Meek was of Scotch descent and came of a southern family which was for many years prominent in Kentucky. His father, Joseph Meek, was born in that state about the year 1790, and came about the year 1810 to Indiana, locating on a farm in the vicinity of Richmond, Wayne county, where he was married to Miss Julia Smith, daughter of John Smith, the founder of Richmond. Mr. Smith was a native of North Carolina, where he married a Quakeress, and soon thereafter moved to Wayne county, where he became one of his community's best known citizens, was Richmond's first blacksmith and merchant, and donated large tracts of land to his adopted place. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Meek located on a new farm near Richmond, and there were born their eleven children: William, Samuel, Dr. John A., James R., Sarah J., Nathan, Margaret, Alfred, Allen, Sarah Ellen and Jane. All grew up and were married except William, Samuel and Sarah Ellen, and but two now survive, Dr. Allen Meek of Hollingsburg, Ohio, and Margaret, an eighty-year-old resident of Wayne county. Joseph Meek and his wife continued to live on the old homestead throughout the remainder of their lives, and were both about eighty-nine years of age when they died. They were faithful members of the Methodist church, and Mr. Meek was a Democrat in his political views.

John A. Meek was born on the home farm in Abington township, Wayne county, Indiana, December 8, 1820. He was reared to the pursuits of the farm, but early decided upon a professional career and accordingly began the study of medicine under the preceptorship of Doctor Swaller, an early physician of Abington, Wayne county. There he was married to Miss Sarah Weaver, daughter of Adam Weaver, a native of Pennsylvania of German parents and one of the very first settlers of Abington township.

After the birth of three children, Perry S., James R. and Mary E., Doctor Meek came to Jonesboro, where on February 14, 1848, he established himself as the first physician of this place. Here he was engaged in a successful practice until August, 1862, when he enlisted in the Federal army as a surgeon for service during the Civil War, and became 2nd Lieutenant and Surgeon, serving as a field office of the Eighty-ninth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry. After more than two years of active service he received his honorable discharge, and returned to the duties of this practice at Jonesboro, where he continued one of the leading members of his profession until his retirement in 1889. From that time until his death he lived quietly at his home, although he never ceased to be interested in the advancement made by the calling or the progress made by his adopted city. Probably few physicians of Grant county have been more favorably known. His high ability, his devotion to the interests of his patients and the broad and unfailing sympathy which he displayed at all times endeared him to those who came in contact with him whether in a professional or social way, and in the affairs of his city he ever maintained a sterling citizenship that made him a promoter of all things that stood for the advancement of education, religion and morality. He was a Democrat in his political views, and his religious belief was that of the Methodist church, in the faith of which he died July 11, 1901.

Doctor Meek's first wife died in 1854, and on June 4, 1862, he was married to Miss Diana R. Pool, who was born at Petersburg, Pennsylvania, December 25, 1840. When she was eight years of age she was taken to Tuscarawas county, Ohio, by her parents John V. and Hannah (Milburn) Pool, the former born in Maryland and the latter in the city of Baltimore, that state. The Pool grandparents were German birth, while John and Ursula (Drake) Milburn, Mrs. Meek's maternal grandparents, were natives of England. John Milburn served as sheriff of Baltimore county, Maryland, for some years, but later moved to Ohio, where he died at the age of eighty-eight years. John V. Pool came to Grant county in 1852, and spent the remainder of his life in Jonesboro, where he died in 1854, at the age of fifty-two years, while his wife, who was born May 2, 1808, passed away February 17, 1887. They were members of the Methodist church, in which Mr. Pool was for many years a class worker.

Ten children were born to Doctor and Mrs. Meek, of whom five died in infancy, while one son, William, passed away after marriage. The living are as follows: Charles M., born August 28, 1865, and educated in the schools of Jonesboro, is a cornice maker by trade and now a resident of California. He married Miss Emma Brewer, and has one child, A. Milburn, who is sixteen years of age. Herman W., born June 5, 1874, a barber by trade with an establishment at Marion, married Lillian Gagen. Frank, born January 19, 1880, and educated at Oberlin, Ohio, is a telegraph operator of Jonesboro and single; Harry Clyde, born May 29, 1884, was educated in the graded and high schools of Jonesboro, and at Marion, Indiana. He was formerly a telegraph operator and is now connected with the Indiana Rubber and Insulated Wire Company as an automobile tire maker. He married in Jonesboro Miss Lelia F. Dunn, who was born in South Carolina, they have one daughter, Mary Belle, born August 24, 1910.

Mrs. Meek still survives the Doctor and resides in her pleasant home in Jonesboro. She is widely known in social circles, and among the members of the Methodist Episcopal church which she joined as a child of fourteen years.

Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt

MERRILL L. LEWIS. The Marion hardware store is a familiar institution, not only to the citizens of the county seat, but to practically all the people from the surrounding country who buy their goods in the city. The manager of this store is Merrill L. Lewis. Mr. Lewis is a native of Genesse county, New York, but most of his early life was spent in Michigan. He was married on Christmas Day of 1873 to Miss Julia Breckenridge of Hillsdale county, Michigan, and after living in Lansing and Indianapolis, the family located in Marion in 1886. Since that time Mr. Lewis has been actively identified with the community. To this marriage were born three daughters: Gennie, Iva and Marjorie. The mother died October 5, 1896, ten years after the family located in Marion. Mr. Lewis afterwards married Mrs. Mary Roehm, and a daughter, Florence, was born to them.

When Mr. Lewis located in Marion he was a traveling hardware salesman through Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, and Marion was central to his territory. He could be home frequently, and the family much enjoyed a home built to their own order on West Fourth Street, but later an opportunity came for entering a retail business and the residence was sold toward the investment.

Mr. Lewis first bought an interest in the Campbell and Ludlum Hardware Store, and later organized the Marion Hardware Store, of which he is business manager. He had his first experience in selling hardware in Lansing, and after five years as a retail clerk went into the wholesale trade as a knight of the grip. For fourteen years he traveled over three states, where he developed a splendid trade among hardware dealers.

Mr. Lewis associated himself with others in the hardware trade in Marion, the store being in the Wilson block, but as the business increased more room was required, and W. C. Webster built the present store room to fill the demands, planning ventilation, light and heat to suit the requirements. There is no better equipped hardware store about the country. Miss Gennie Lewis is the efficient bookkeeper, and it is nothing unusual for her to go on the floor and wait on the trade—an unusual occupation for a woman. Miss Lewis has specialized on seeds, a fine stock always carried by the store.

It was in 1910 that the Marion Hardware store was moved into the present location, Washington and Fifth Streets, and a large force of men is required to take care of the trade. The firm has an extensive patronage from Marion factories, and from building contractors, and its farm patronage is excellent. No business in the city has better patronage, and there is no more efficient corps of salesman waiting on trade than at the Marion Hardware Store. There is no man in town who has the good of the community more at heart, and Mr. Lewis has always been a "booster." He is always allied with any advance movement, and when a subsidy must be raised he is always ready to solicit funds. The whole community recognizes the worth of a man who labors in its interests. Some of the business men who have subscribed to factory subsidies have learned what to expect when they see M. L. Lewis and other business men enter their doors—there is need of money to boost some local industry. The community effort to equip the Marion Normal Institute was his special ambition, and he was gratified at the response of the people when the subsidy was raised for it.

On Sunday morning Mr. Lewis takes his place at the First Methodist church, as sort of a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord, and strangers as well as members are welcomed alike and offered a hymn book and psalter used in worship there. He always finds a seat for the stranger, and people visiting a church are glad of such attention. While the Lewis family has not always lived in Grant county, it is certainly part of community affairs, and fills a niche both in the social and business world. While he is surrounded by a competent force of salesmen, all of them defer to him in many things, a man who thoroughly knows the hardware trade and understands a profitable and necessary business, and that is what makes of the Marion Hardware store a necessity in the community.

Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt

ORLANDO H. COUCH. There are probably few progressive farmers and stock men in eastern Indiana who are not familiar with at least the reputation of the Matthews Stock Farm of which Orlando H. Couch is proprietor. This stock farm, located in Section Five of Jefferson Township is the seat of a big industry and one which for value and usefulness of its output equals any large industrial factory or commercial establishment in that county. Of the one hundred and twenty-one acres comprising the farm, one hundred acres are under intensive cultivation. Some of the features which at once attract the eye, and indicate the class of business done on that place is a large red barn, a silo of fifty tons capacity, a first-class grain barn, a stable for the stallions, and a comfortable and commodious house of eight rooms. An unfailing supply of good water is furnished both to the house and to the stock farms by means of windmills and gasoline engines. Besides the facilities on the farm itself, Mr. Couch and his brother own a large brick property fifty by three hundred and fifty feet in Matthews, and utilize that for the feeding and breeding of hogs during the winter seasons. Some of the best red Duroc swine in the country can be found on the Matthews farm, and they are raised both for breeding purposes and for market. Mr. Couch keeps about four hundred head of these red Durocs. Jersey cattle is another specialty of his, and he has perhaps made his greater reputation as a successful breeder of Percheron horses. His Percheron stallion known as Lafayette, is a thoroughbred and was imported from France in 1909. Lafayette weighs twenty-two hundred pounds and cost twenty-five hundred dollars. An even greater horse by record and reputation is the Belgian stallion, Martin De Cappelle, which was imported in 1908. This horse weighs twenty-two hundred pounds, and cost Mr. Couch three thousand dollars, won the gold medal at Chicago as the champion Belgian stallion in 1908, and has not only proved valuable in a financial way to its owner, but has been the source of much up-breeding and improvement in the horse stock in this community. Mr. Couch has followed stock farming since young manhood, and has proved himself both a practical and scientific breeder and manager of live stock. All his colts have turned out well, and many of them have won prizes in the exhibitions.

Orlando H. Couch is a member of a family that has been identified with Grant county since the early days, and a somewhat detailed history of the family and its connections will be found elsewhere in this publication, under the name of Thomas M. Couch, a brother of Orlando. Orlando H. Couch was born in Jefferson township June 10, 1870, a son of Samuel and Nancy (Furnish) Couch. The maternal grandfather was Judge Benjamin Furnish, one of the early settlers of Jefferson township, who entered large tracts of land, and that land, or a considerable part of it, has been in the possession of some of his descendants down to the present time. Mr. Couch was one of a family of five sons and two daughters, all of whom are married and have families of their own, except one sister, Nettie, who died after marriage to L. E. Richards.

Orlando H. Couch was reared and educated in his native township, and since twenty-five years of age has given all his attention to the practical business of farming and stock breeding. In Madison county of this state, on August 31, 1893, he married Miss Ida M. Worth, who was born in Van Buren township of Madison county, March 24, 1873, was reared and educated there, is a daughter of James and Elizabeth (Hoppis) Worth, who lived and died in Madison county, passing away in the fullness of years. Mr. and Mrs. Couch are the parents of eight children, whose names and some facts about whom are mentioned as follows: Hallie L., who graduated from the Matthews high school with the class of 1911, but still remains at home. Wade S., who is attending high school; Marion G.; Howard O.; and H. Joseph, who are all three in the grade schools; Helen M., and John R. The oldest child, Samuel W., died at the age of eleven weeks. Mr. and Mrs. Couch attend worship in the Baptist church, and in politics he is a Democrat.

Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt

JOSEPH NEEDLER. The Needler family record in Grant county goes back eighty years. It was established here about three years after Grant county became an organized civil community. Joseph Needler is a son of the pioneer, and is of that third generation consecutively residents in the county. His own career has been spent as a farmer in Jefferson township, where many years ago he won a place as a substantial citizen, and is now enjoying the fruits of his long and well spent years, on his home in section thirteen of that township.

His grandfather Needler was a native of Germany, was a young man when he came to America, and his marriage occurred probably in Pennsylvania. From Pennsylvania they moved to Virginia, where James, father of Joseph, was born and probably other children. Later the family move to Guernsey county, Ohio, and very late in life the grandparents moved into Grant county, where they passed away when very old. Their bodies now rest in a family lot in Jefferson township.

James Needler who was one of six sons, was born in Virginia, about 1800. All of them came to Indiana, all were married and had children and are now deceased. James Needler grew up in Guernsey county, Ohio, and there married Rebecca Ward. She was born in Ohio. After their marriage James and wife lived in Guernsey county, and while there Eliza J., Sarah, George, and John were born into their household. Early in the thirties they determined to find a home in the then new country of eastern Indiana. It was customary among the pioneers often-times to go to the country they had in mind, look over the land, select the place, and purchase it from the government, and make some little improvement preparatory to the establishment of the family. Thus in 1833 James Needler came into Jefferson township, and after selecting a place in the wilds he put up a rough log cabin. In 1834, having in the meantime gone back to his family, he bought the entire household and all their movable possessions to Indiana, and started life in the midst of a wilderness. His location was in one of the most remote and unsettled portions of the township, and for several years practically the entire substance of the family was derived from wild game. He often killed bear and deer within a few rods of the home. James Needler became the owner of four hundred acres of land in that township. The old log cabin was in time replaced with a substantial house, and his industry and good management introduced many other improvements and comforts into the family economy. James Neeler died when about eighty-two years of age, and his wife passed away in 1871. They deserve to be mentioned among the hard-working, thrifty, and honest people who had the strength and sturdiness of character of the early population of Grant county. Mr. James Needler was a member of the Methodist church, though he made no profession of religious faith. In politics he was a Democrat. Joseph Needler who was one of the youngest of the six sons and six daughters, and who has three brothers and two sisters still living, was born on the old homestead in Jefferson township, August 31, 1841. As his recollection goes back nearly seventy years he readily recalls some of the customs and institutions which have long since become obsolete in Grant county. For instance, he attended one of the old subscription schools, supported by contributions from the individual families, and taught by an itinerant schoolmaster. Ever since reaching man's estate, Joseph Needler has depended upon his own resources, and being thrifty and industrious gradually accumulated enough to enable him in 1881 to purchase one hundred and twenty acres of fine land in section thirteen. Since then all of that place has been improved with the exception of fifteen acres of native timber, and there is a full set of excellent farm buildings, including the comfortable residence in which he lives. The farm is now operated by others, and Mr. Needler has no occasion for worry over his financial circumstances, since he has ample to keep him in comfort the rest of his life.

Mr. Needler was first married to Nancy J. Owings, who was born in Delaware county, Indiana, a daughter of George and Ruth (Owings) Owings, her parents being cousins. Her family were among the prominent early settlers of Delaware county. Mrs. Needler died in Jefferson township when comparatively young. She was an intelligent and lovable woman, a capable assistant to her husband in his early efforts, and she is cherished in the memory of her children. Her children were: Elmer, who died at the age of twenty-one years, having been fatally injured when struck by a piece of timber; Orlando C., a successful farmer, and the owner of ninety-five acres in section thirteen of Jefferson township, married Sarah E. Ballenger; Lacy, wife of Carl Osborn; and Louis L., whose career is given in more detail on other pages of this work. The second wife of Mr. Needler was Mrs. Elizabeth (York) Wilds, who was born in Henry county, Indiana, and by her marriage to William Wilds had three children, as follows: Fred, who is married and has a family, his home being in Eaton, Indiana; Mamie Pearl, wife of Harry Pancoast, of Eaton, and their children are William and Arlis; and Leonard, the youngest, died aged two years seven months. Mr. and Mrs. Needler have one child of their own, Edith Ethel, the wife of Rev. Edward C. Corts, a minister in the Church of God at Logansport, and they have a son Adrian. Mr. and Mrs. Needler are members of the Church of God, and in politics he is a Prohibitionist.

Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt

HANFORD R. MILES. The material development of Upland and vicinity owes much to the ability of Hanford R. Miles, prominent as a general contractor and builder. For twenty years he has been a resident at Upland, and has to his credit a remarkable long list of worthy achievements in houses and public buildings, and other successful contracts. In later years a very important feature of his business has been street paving and concrete construction. Examples of his work may be seen in the Pennsylvania Railroad freight house at Hartford City, and the passenger stations at Converse and Ridgeville. For three entire years, Mr. Miles was employed altogether by the Pennsylvania Company. The number of public schools likewise testify to his energy. Mr. Miles is practical architect, and has drawn more than one hundred plans for public buildings, and different kinds of work. He was the architect and superintendent of construction of the fine high school at Matthews, and stood in the same relation to the handsome Washington Street bridge at Marion.

Hanford R. Miles was born in Blackford county, Indiana, July 2, 1869. He was educated in the public schools and in Normal College, and before his marriage got a wide and thorough experience in the different lines of the building trade, and in contracting. He lived in Blackford county until 1893, and in that year came to Upland. He had already proved successful in carrying out several important contracts, and as the business broadened and larger opportunities were presented, he determined to prepare himself for the proper handling of these larger opportunities. He studied architecture, and for a number of years has given close attention to both the professional and practical side of his business. He was chosen superintendent of construction in the erection of the Deeren Planning and Lumber Mills at Upland, and had the superintendence of operation for seven years. He also drew the plans and took an important part in the construction of most of the buildings along the business streets of Upland, and successfully carried out the contracts for the erection of the handsome group of University buildings on the campus of Taylor University.

Hanford R. Miles was one of a family of twelve children, nine sons and three daughters, all of whom are married and all are living except two. The Miles family was established in the northeastern states several generations ago, and General Nelson A. Miles belongs in the same family relationship. The founder of this branch was Thomas Miles, who came from England when young, with his step-mother, and a few years late took part as a soldier on the American side during the Revolutionary war. So far as known, his life was spent in the state of New Jersey. Grandfather Lorenzo Miles was born in New Jersey, later moved to Western New York, and in 1835 to Indiana, settling first in Fayette county, and in 1838 in Jefferson township of Grant county. Lorenzo Miles died in this county, in 1850, when quite old. Hammond Miles, son of Lorenzo, was the first child born in Hammond, Steuben county, New York, and his birth occurred June 1, 1826. He was nine years of age when the family came to Indiana, and about twelve when they located in Jefferson township on a farm. He began life as a farmer, and acquired one hundred and fifty acres in Blackford county. He finally retired to Hartford City, where he died in 1910. Hammond Miles was married in 1849 to Sarah Remly. Their marriage occurred in Grant county, and she was born in Pennsylvania in 1829, and died November 25, 1901. When a child she lost her parents, and was taken into the family of Peter Gregory, who became one of the first settlers of Blackford county where she was reared and educated.

All generations of the family, so far as known, have produced loyal Democrats, and Hanford R. Miles is one of the ablest men in his party in Grant county. He has served his home community as a member of the town council, and also on the board of education. In 1892, in Blackford county, he married Miss Luella Johnson, a daughter of Thomas and Sarah Jane (Rix) Johnson. The Johnsons were old settlers of Blackford county, were substantial farming people, and Mrs. Johnson died there when her daughter Mrs. Miles was four years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Miles have two children: Leah B., who graduated from the Upland high school in the class of 1913, and is now a student of German and music in Taylor University; Doris, who is now a high school student; Dallas, a son, the first child of Mr. and Mrs. Miles, died aged two years.

Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt

Deb Murray