DR. ELI MENDENHALL WHITSON, who died in Jonesboro, November 7, 1905, belonged to the pioneer Whitson family, and had lived in the community since 1844, when he came as a child with his parents from Clinton County, Ohio. There is mention of the Whitson family in the Mill Township chapter.

In June of the Centennial year, Dr. Whitson married Miss Annie Watson, daughter of Lorenzo D. and Elizabeth (Carroll) Watson of Jefferson township. The Watson family had interests in three adjoining counties, both Blackford and Delaware counties lying adjacent to their community in Grant. The four Watson daughters, Mrs. Whitson, Mrs. Margaret Craw, Mrs. Minerva Lewellen, and Mrs. Virginia Beuoy, were all well known young women, and their acquaintance was not limited to their immediate community. Mrs. Whitson died in 1893, at her home in Jonesboro, and because of an ante-nuptial agreement with her mother, Dr. Whitson buried her at Olive Branch, the Watson burial plot, near the old home in Jefferson. Dr. Whitson and wife had two daughters: Mrs. Elizabeth Mabel Hill, and Miss Georgia Gladys Whitson. He later married Miss Emma Coleman, who, with his daughters, survives him. His grave is in the Jonesboro cemetery.

Few men live in a community and have higher tributes paid to them than Dr. Whitson. He was always identified with its every interest, and he had a wide professional acquaintance. He visited his patients on horseback, riding a sulky, and finally having buggies built to his order. When his services were desired, he did not always investigate the possibilities of the family from a financial standpoint. Dr. Whitson acquired considerable farm land, and had business interests besides, but at his death, since he had no son, and his daughters and Mrs. Whitson did not want to live in the country, all the farm land as well as the home in Jonesboro was sold. He had always been very watchful of the farm interests, and knowing his reputation as a careful farmer, they did not want to see the property depreciate. Old Dick, the horse he had driven for many years was a problem, and he was left to end his days on the farm.

Dr. Whitson was abreast of the times in both professional and social ways. As his friends gathered at the funeral, and while viewing the remains, a relative (Mrs. Beuoy) unconsciously paid him the highest tribute, saying: "It was always one cheerful place to come to." And what better thing can be said of any man or family? What higher tribute? While Dr. Whitson often reviewed his war record, three years of active service in the One Hundred and First Indiana Regiment, he did not have any more pride in it than in his citizenship in the community. He was a faithful member of the Jonesboro Methodist Episcopal church, and his name is on the cornerstone as a member of the board of trustees and building committee. When he died the church members felt their loss, and along at that time there were other losses in the same circle, but there are always others who assume the responsibilities laid down by those who die or leave a community.

Elizabeth M. Whitson, the older daughter of Dr. Whitson, was married in the Century year to Daniel W. Hill, a son of Nathan and position with the American Tin Plate Company when it first located at Gas City. When the company's offices were moved to the east he went along, and he and his family have lived twice in New York city and twice in Pittsburg, and now occupy their own home on Linwood Avenue at Bay Side, Long Island. Mr. Hill is with the American Can Company in New York city, and is one Jonesboro young man who has made a success of business while living in the American metropolis. Their two little boys are Robert and Howard Hill.

Thirteen years separated the birthdays of Dr. Whitson's two daughters, and he used to say he supposed the second one would go as far west as the first had gone east, and his prophecy has been fulfilled. While Miss Georgia Whitson always called Jonesboro her home, she made several trips back and forth to Pittsburg and New York city. In 1911 she graduated from De Pauw University at Green Castle, and she was for two years teacher of Latin in the Thorntown high school, and in the fall of 1913 she matriculated in the Southern California University, her purpose being to secure a degree from that institution and become a teacher in the western country. She spent two months with her sister on the Atlantic coast, and crossed the continent to Los Angeles, bathing in the surf of the Atlantic and Pacific in the same season. An education would have been her father's highest ambition for her. When he graduated from a school of medicine, he knew the handicap of poverty—his best coat when he finished having been his second best when he entered college. But fortune favored him and his daughters have had the benefit of his professional success. While Dr. Whitson accumulated considerable property at Jonesboro, it has all been converted into money, and his family have the advantages from it. The daughters still own a farm in Jefferson township, and Mrs. Emma C. Whitson still represents the household in Jonesboro.

Concerning the earlier generations of the Whitson household, it is noteworthy that ten children comprised the original family, but smaller families have been the rule in later generations. Tradition has it that three Whitson brothers went west from Pennsylvania, one to Indiana, another to Kentucky, and the third to Tennessee. It was the family of John and Sarah (Kimbrough) Whitson that located in 1844 at Jonesboro, where for three score and ten years their posterity has continued its existence. Some of the Whitson children were born at Jonesboro, and all but one died there, a record not shown by many pioneer families.

John Whitson went to the Chicago horse market in June, 1855, with a consignment of horses. He encountered ‘‘lampers' in the horse market and there being no demand for animals he left his string of horses, going back in September for settlement, and he was never seen again by his family. The wife (see Mill Township chapter) died at the family homestead in Jonesboro in 1892, her life having long been saddened by an unexplained absence. She had reared her own children, and some of her grandchildren had their homes with her, and she had a mother heart for all of them.

For many years all the Whitson family enjoyed a dinner together, January 11, the anniversary of ‘‘Grandmother's" birthday, coming so soon after the holidays when there were divergent family associations, marriage with other families causing the separation at Christmastide, and all were glad to come together again on her natal day when she laid aside her kitchen apron and allowed the younger women the right of way in the household—only for the day, and then she was mistress again. The monument at her grave is one half of an octagonal block of granite, and it bears three inscriptions—her own, and two unmarried daughters, Margaret Ellen and Ann Eliza, a trio that had maintained an open door for all the relatives and orphan children in the family. For many years those two daughters conducted a millinery store, and had patronage from all over Grant county. Even now people say to Rolinda: ‘We used to get such pretty hats from the Whitson girls." Their trade in Quaker bonnets was not limited to Grant county. Before being milliners they had been tailors, sewing for Hudson Stewart, who was for years the most fashionable tailor in Grant county, attracting much patronage from Marion. It was with the needle that the daughters earned the money to embark in the millinery trade. Of the John and Sarah Whitson family, two children, Sarah and Lewis, died in infancy. The others were: Mary Jane, who married Herman Wigger and is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Nora A. W. Tucker; David Miller Vore, who married Verlinda Jay and Asenath Winslow, and is survived by three sons, Rufus Alden, Rolland Lewis and Irvin Whitson; Ira Kimbrough, who married Sarah Harte, and is survived by his widow and a daughter, Mrs. Lula Agnes Davison, and a son, Fred Kimbrough Whitson; Martin Van Buren, who married Mary Esther Barnard and is survived by a son, Elvie C. Whitson, and a granddaughter, Miss Mary Clarissa Adams; Dr. Eli Mendenhall, whose family relationship has already been explained; James Lindley, who married Lucy Ann Amelia Hoover, and is survived by one son, Dr. John Samuel Whitson. There were twelve grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren with the fourth and fifth generations represented in the Whitson family. Some of them are scattered far from the original threshold, and while once many Whitson family households were grouped about Jonesboro, the original circle about the hearthstone has been completely broken and its members have all "gone to the bourne from whence travelers do not return."

Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt

RUFUS ALDEN WHITSON. Since June 22, 1913, the date of the death of Martin V. Whitson, who was the last of the original Jonesboro Whitson family, Rufus Alden Whitson, the oldest grandchild in either the Whitson or Jay pioneer relationship, has been the senior member of both families in Grant county. His parents, David Miller Vore and Verlinda (Jay) Whitson, were married November 18, 1854, at the David Jay family household near Jonesboro. The father was one of ten, and the mother one of nine children, and though only sixty years, scant two generations have passed since their marriage, their generation is extinct in both families. The deaths of M. V. Whitson already mentioned, and Elisha B. Jay on April 7, 1904, marked the passing of both the ancestral families. Though both the families have thus disappeared in name, they were people of such sterling character as to leave their distinctive marks, and some of them were useful as long as they lived in the community.

David M. V. Whitson, born November 3, 1832, in Clinton county, and Verlinda Jay, January 7, of the same year in Miami county, Ohio, met in Jonesboro when they were children, grew up together and were married there. To them were born four children: Rufus A., Rolland L., and Irvin; and one daughter, Sarah Jay Whitson. Verlinda Whitson, the mother, died October 27, 1869, and the father was married December 30, 1870, to Asenath Winslow daughter of Daniel and Rebekah (Hiatt) Winslow. To this marriage Eli Allen Whitson was born. The father died July 10, 1876. The daughter, Sarah Jay, who was married January 7, 1885, to Joseph A. Jones, died February 8, 1890. Eli A. Whitson, the son of the second marriage, died February 19, 1892, and his mother, who had become Mrs. Asenath Baldwin (see chapter Gods Acre) died March 30, 1895. It was once a happy family, but is now broken and scattered with divergent interests, as seems the common fate of all.

Rufus A. Whitson was married September 12, 1874, to Elizabeth Teagle, daughter of Orion V. and Patty Ann (Pursley) Teagle. Three children were born to this union: Charles Jay, who married Lena Crispen; Verlinda Belle, who became the wife of Calvin Leroy Johnston and David Alonzo, who married Lulu Lind. The mother of these children died June 25, 1883. On January 25, 1885, Rufus A. Whitson married Emma Jane Carll, daughter of Jacob and Sarah (Pearson) Carll. Mr. and Mrs. Whitson, now that their children are gone, live in Jonesboro. Charles Jay Whitson, their oldest child, had two children: Glen Alden, deceased; and Fred, and their home is Medicine Hat, in Alberta, Canada. Verlinda (Whitson) Johnston, the second child of Rufus A., became the mother of three children. Two of them, Calvin Rufus and Emma Madeline, preceded their mother in death, and one survives, Richard Keats Johnston. Verlinda Johnston died at Morgantown, West Virginia, September 17, 1908, and she lies buried at Jonesboro. David A. Whitson, the youngest child of Rufus A., lives in Prince Albert in the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Both the sons have wandered much since leaving Jonesboro, and the infrequent letters from them tell very little of their adventures on the frontier. When these two Whitson boys started out in the world, they tried the unbeaten paths, and they do not write many letters to tell of their experience. They enjoyed cowboy life in the west for a while, finally crossing the Canada border, and they seem to have located permanently in the great Northwest. C. J. Whitson is farming and drilling water wells, while D. A. Whitson is railroading in that part of the country.

Of other members of the family of D. M. V. Whitson, R. L. Whitson, Centennial historian of Grant county, married Frances Henrietta Kellogg, daughter of Edward Payson and Anna Maria (Nishwitz) Kellogg. They were married at Troy, Ohio, June 16, 1886, and have one daughter, Anna Verlinda. She is a student in Oxford College for Women at Oxford, Ohio.

Irvin Whitson, third son of D. M. V. Whitson, married Addie Clark, daughter of James and Martha (Douglas) Clark, November 29, 1894. They live in Lamoure county, North Dakota. Two children: Sarah Jeannette, and Clarence Ellsworth, were born, the boy dying at Jonesboro, but the daughter is with them in the Northwest.

While David M. V. Whitson was a farmer and a member of the Friends church, none of his family have followed his example, and change of environment is the whole explanation. The family removed from Jonesboro to Liberty township, March 1, 1864. The father gave up his membership in Amana Lodge of Odd Fellows, and with his wife became a charter member in Bethel Friends Church. Mrs. Whitson having been a birthright Friend and having made the necessary confession because of having "married out of meeting." That long ago Friends were opposed to secret societies. The mother was clerk of Oak Ridge Monthly Meeting, of which Bethel Meeting is a part, at the time of her death, and she used to lay aside her Quaker bonnet and read the minutes, the custom of Friends years ago.

While the pioneer Whitson family was always divided in its political affiliation, usually having a representative in each political party, the citizenship of the family has always been a matter of pride. There was a Revolutionary soldier in the ancestry, and four generations from Thomas Kimbrough—Ira K., Martin V., Eli M. and James L. Whitson, all enlisted in the Civil war. Then Rufus A. Whitson of the next generation put the flag floating in the Spanish-American war, going with the One Hundred and Sixtieth Indiana Regiment to Cuba. The present generation stands committed to the same type of citizenship that has always characterized the Whitson family.

Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt

THOMAS S. THOMPSON spent a good share of his life in his native county in Ohio, his advent into this state being marked by the year 1880 when he settled in Jasper county. He comes of the best blood in the south, his family on both paternal and maternal sides being of sturdy old southern stock, and the Thompson family today gives evidence of being well born in its exhibition of many fine traits and qualities. In the north and west stress is not laid, in any great degree, upon the facts of old and well established family lines, but the fact remains that the man who may view with pride the ancestry of his family is advantaged in many ways, and if he manifest a certain satisfaction in the circumstance, few will be found to adversely criticize him.

Born in Madison county, Ohio, on April 1, 1837, Thomas S. Thompson is the son of Thomas L. and Mary (Davenport) Thompson, both natives of Ross county, Ohio, born of Virginia parents. Ignatius Thompson, grandsire of the subject, came in an early day from his native state, Virginia, to Ohio, and in that state purchased six hundred acres of land in the river bottoms of the Scioto in Ross county. He in later life went to Louisiana, there contracting yellow fever and dying. His family was well established in Virginia and dates its residence there from the early days of the Virginia colony. Mary Davenport, mother of the subject, was a daughter of Anthony Simms Davenport, who was at one time a large plantation owner and slave holder in the state of Virginia, and as a man of especially wide- minded characteristics, he, with the beginning of the anti-slavery agitation, openly took sides with the abolitionists. While he was not wholly in sympathy with the methods and line of procedure of that faction, still he felt himself in the wrong in the matter of owning human beings, and he accordingly disposed of his interests in his old home and came north to Ohio, bringing his slaves with him, and there liberating them, it not being against the laws of the state as in Virginia. It should be mentioned, however, that his slaves refused to be separated from him, even after having gained their freedom, and continued to make their homes on his place until they married or found suitable homes elsewhere, many of them staying with him until death claimed them. So it was often the case in the days of slavery, that those men who were just enough to see the injustice of their positions and methods, were also great enough that their slaves valued the affection of the master beyond mere liberty, and refused in many instances to accept their legal freedom with any degree of enthusiasm.

Anthony Simms Davenport settled in the Scioto valley, near Chillicothe, Ohio, at a time when there was but one log cabin in that vicinity. This was in the year 1800, and the fact that he liberated his slaves, some thirty-five in number, in that early date, proves him to have been a man of mature judgment and of many splendid qualities of heart and mind that placed him far in advance of his fellow men. His name deserves a place in the memorial records of this state, to which he migrated in order that he might be at liberty to give expression to those humanitarian ideas that had but little place in this country one hundred years ago, but which in less than fifty years after he first expressed them, came to be the vital issues or the nation. Mr. Davenport was a kinsman of the well known Simms and Marmaduke families of the south, many of the name being found in the southern states today, and occupying positions of prominence wherever they are found. They are reckoned among the First Families of Virginia, and as such are entitled to the high regard and consideration that is accorded to them.

In 1800 Anthony Simms Davenport came to Ross county, Ohio, he being one of the first men to settle there, and in that county he became well-to-do and influential. He was twice married and reared a family of children by each marriage. They were of the Methodist Episcopal faith, as were also the Thompsons, and people of sturdy Christian character all their days, living exemplary lives in their several communities and gaining the esteem and regard of all with whom they came in contact.

Thomas L. Thompson was born in Ross county, Ohio, in the year 1804, and he was one of the six children of his parents to reach years of maturity and rear families, the others having died in early years. He was reared on the old farm in the Scioto valley, and there he married Miss Mary Davenport, whose family history has been set forth at some length in previous paragraphs. After the birth of their first four children Mr. and Mrs. Thompson moved to Madison county, Ohio, and there settled on a new farm some four miles south of London. This place he later sold and purchased land in Jefferson township, Madison county, and there he passed his remaining days, death claiming him there in 1870 when he was in the sixty-sixth year of his age. He was a man of many noble traits, worthy of his parentage, and fit in every respect to perpetuate the family name. His many sterling qualities made him a man beloved of all, and if he had a fault it was nothing more than a virtue gone to seed—that of his too great faith in human nature. Over-confidence in his fellow men caused him the loss of three separate fortunes, but after each loss he came up smiling, ready to begin work over again and with his faith untarnished by an experience that would surely have embittered a less noble man. He died as he had lived—believing implicitly in the trustworthiness of the rank and file of humanity, and there were many who mourned his loss and felt themselves bereft of a true friend when death called him.

He was a man who worked hard all his days and he was one of the successful agricultural men of the county. He knew every detail of farm life, and no man could excel him in the field with reaping hook or cradle. He was all his days a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and an active worker therein, and in his politics was a stanch Republican, though a Whig in earlier life. His widow survived him for some years and died in Madison county in 1877, aged seventy years. She, too, had been a hard working member of the Methodist church all her days, and her life was an exemplary one in its every detail. To them were born five sons and five daughters, brief mention here being made of certain of them who reached mature life. Mary A. died, leaving a family. Angoletta also married and left a family at her passing. Newton died five years ago in Ohio, as did also a sister, Jane. Rebecca is the wife of Samuel Johnson, now in Plain City, Ohio, and the mother of a family. Thomas S. was the next born. Nancy J. died after her marriage, leaving a family, and a number of others died in infancy.

Thomas S. Thompson was reared in his native county in Ohio. His opportunities for education were limited, and he devoted himself to farm life from his early manhood to the end of his days. He came to Jasper county, Indiana, in 1880, purchasing a partly improved farm of one hundred and twenty acres, and there living quietly and busily until 1892, when he came to Gas City and here engaged in the wholesale meat business. In this business Mr. Thompson accumulated sufficient of worldly wealth that in 1908 he felt himself able to retire permanently from business life, and today the extent of his business activities is that of giving some attention to certain realty properties from which he derives a modest income. Mr. Thompson is regarded as one of the solid and wholesome men of the community, and his reputation among his fellow men for reliability and business acumen is one of which he is well worthy as the son of his father.

Mr. Thompson has been a lifelong Republican and he cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln, ever since that time voting the party ticket straight. He has never sought or held office, giving his aid to the community in other ways quite as far reaching and effective.

In 1881 Mr. Thompson married Miss Anna R. Lithe in Madison county. She was born in that county on April 8, 1858, and she died at her home on South East street, Gas City, on the 25th of April, 1905. She was a daughter of Henry Lithe, who still lives in Marion, a retired farmer for some years past. He had a long and busy career in the agricultural field of labor and he was eighty years old when he retired from his work. Mr. Lithe was born in Germany and came to America when he was twenty years of age. In Franklin county, Ohio, he married Therese Lang, who was born in Ohio of German parents, and she died in Marion, Indiana, in 1910, well advanced in years.

To Mr. and Mrs. Thompson there were born three children. Ide M. was born in Ohio in 1880, and she is now the wife of Thomas Pierce, living in Marion. They have three children—Omar, Raymond and a baby daughter. Walter C., the second child of his parents, was born in Jasper county, Indiana, on August 15, 1882. He is a resident of Mason City, Iowa, where he is employed in a cement plant. He has one son, Max Thompson. Chester Allen, born in Jasper county, Indiana, October 9, 1886, was, like the other two, educated in the public schools. He is unmarried and makes his home with his father.

The family have been reared in the Methodist faith, both parents having long been members therein, and Mr. Thompson is a Prohibitionist. It is his boast that he has never spent a penny for intoxicating liquor in a saloon since he came to Indiana. He is a man of many excellent qualities, and he has a secure place in the confidence and esteem of the leading people of the community, which he well deserves by reason of his character and achievements.

Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt

Deb Murray