JESSE JOHNSON. As owners of large landed estates, as substantial farmers who have brought the latent resources of the soil to productiveness, perhaps no one family in Grant county has operated so extensively as that of Johnson, one of the best known members of which is Mr. Jesse Johnson of Mill township.

Mr. Johnson's early ancestors in America are thought to have been of Scotch origin, but they had lived in Pennsylvania since before the Revolution, and little is known concerning the founders of the name in that state. His grandfather was John Johnson, a native of Pennsylvania, who died there when an old man. He was a farmer by occupation, and among his children was John Jr. John Johnson Jr. grew up in Pennsylvania, was married there and with his bride set out to become a pioneer in Ohio. They located in what was then Guernsey county, but on land now included in Noble county. He was like many of the pioneers skilled in the use of his rifle, and with that he killed a great many deer, and by selling the skins and the hindquarters accumulated enough money to buy his first forty acres of wild land, paying cash for it. In that way he may be said to have laid the foundation of the large Johnson fortune as land holders. In Ohio he worked out his destiny as an early settler, and one of the shrewdest business men of his time. His hardship and experiences would make a fascinating story, if told in detail, and he was one of the strong men of his generation. He planned and planted one of the first orchards in Noble county, and that orchard was famous for miles around during his lifetime. In the meantime his children had been growing up about him, and as population was getting close in that part of Ohio he looked westward in planning homes for the younger members of the family. With this in view, in 1885, he came to Grant county, and entered half a section of land in Jefferson township, it being his intention that this should be a place for his sons to test the quality of their characters as home builders in much the same manner as had been done some years before in Ohio. He also secured some government land in Delaware county, and as the years followed, he gradually sent one son after the other to Indiana, affording each one an opportunity to prosper. In securing large tracts of land in Indiana he was actuated not by desire for speculation, and he was never a speculator in the sense in which many were in those times, his sole ambition being to provide an outlet for the energies of his growing family. After getting land in this section of Indiana, he returned to Ohio, and he and his wife continued to live and labor in that state until they died in Noble county. Both were then at a good old age, and they lie buried side by side in Noble county. His wife's maiden name was Mary Burns, of Scotch-Irish ancestry. Of their eleven children, some died young, but most of them came to Grant or Delaware county, Indiana. Of these James Johnson, a brother of Jesse, became one of the largest land holders in Grant county, owning about three thousand acres here. He is now deceased, and more complete information regarding him will be found in the sketch of his son Noah Johnson, elsewhere in this volume.

Mr. Jesse Johnson was born in Noble county, Ohio, August 8, 1824. He grew up there, had a common school education, and when a young man came to Grant county, where he has applied his efforts so successfully as to accumulate a splendid estate. Mr. Johnson has not confined his investments all in one locality, and is the owner of property in several states. His home farm comprises one hundred and forty acres in section twenty-five of Mill township in the state of Missouri, he has two hundred and eighty acres, in one tract near Carrollton, and a place of one hundred and forty-six acres near Norburn, both in Carroll county. He owns one hundred and seventy-five acres on the Mississinewa River, in Jefferson township, and its improvements include a splendid barn and a good house. Another farm on which he pays taxes, embraces three hundred and ninety-six acres, all well improved and valuable property, in Monroe township of Grant county. Near Fox station in this county he has three hundred and forty acres, and owns one hundred and sixty acres near North Judson, in Pulaski county. While he was attending the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893, he acquired by purchase, seventy- three acres in DuPage county, Illinois, and still owns that tract. Mr. Johnson has never invested in land haphazard, but always judiciously, and has selected only the most productive soil, and his chief industry has been the raising of the cereal crops and live stock, especially sheep. There are few men in the middle west who have made a more complete success as farmers and stockmen than Jesse Johnson and his name is well known among men in many localities. What he has accomplished represents a fine natural ability and a long continued application of the industry and judgment which may be said to be native in the family stock.

Mr. Johnson has never married, and is spending his last years at the home place above mentioned, in the household of Mr. John Ludlow and wife. Mr. Ludlow operates this farm, and has been in charge for the last four years, having come here from Madison county, Indiana, where he was born and reared. He was married in Madison county to Miss Alta Worley, of the same county. They are the parents of four children: Eva, Edna, Wilbur and Howard.

"BLACKFORD AND GRANT COUNTIES INDIANA, A CHRONICLE OF THEIR PEOPLE PAST AND PRESENT WITH FAMILY LINEAGE AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS"; Complied Under the Editorial Supervision of BENJAMIN G. SHINN; vol. II ; THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY; CHICAGO AND NEW YORK; 1914
Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt



CLARKSON WILLCUTS, whose death, on the 27th of January, 1912, deprived his home city and county of one of their best beloved and noblest citizens, was a life-long resident of Grant county, Indiana. A man of prominence in every phase of the life of the community, his wisdom and the experience of years made him a leader in business, religious and civic affairs. He lived what might be called a quiet life, and it was only after his death that people realized how greatly they had depended on his judgment and firm strength of character. On the occasion of his funeral the text of the sermon was "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel." This expressed most truly the feeling of his fellow citizens.

The son of Clark and Eunice (Hall) Willcuts, Clarkson Willcuts was born near the old Isaac Jay homestead, southeast of the city of Marion, on the 2d of August, 1840. His parents were early settlers in this county, and the lad grew up on his father's farm. He received his education in Grant county, and upon its completion he entered upon his life as a farmer. All of his years were spent in farming and stock raising and in a number of business pursuits, he being at one time engaged in the lumber and grain business.

Mr. Willcuts married Hannah Druckemiller on the 2d of September, 1860. She was born in Carroll county, Ohio, October 6, 1842, a daughter of Jacob and Sarah (Cutshall) Druckemiller. In about 1850 or 1851 the Druckemiller family made the journey in wagons from Carroll county, Ohio, to Grant county, Indiana, settling on a farm in Franklin township, two and a half miles west of Marion, where the head of the family purchased a farm. He continued to increase his acreage until the boundaries of his farm included about eight hundred acres, and he then gave a farm to each of his seven children, retaining for himself only the forty acres on which his death occurred on the 2d of January, 1888. His wife survived him until the 2d of April, 1894. Mrs. Willcuts was about ten years of age when she came with her parents to Grant county. She now resides at 1702 South Washington street, Marion, and living with her is her sister, Mrs. Margaret Ann Mills. Mrs. Mills was born in Carroll county, Ohio, April 11, 1834, and was a young lady at the time of the removal of the family to Grant county. She married Jonathan Mills, also a native of Ohio, who came to Wayne county, Indiana, when a boy, and as a young man located in Grant county. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Mills resided for many years in Franklin township, Grant county, later moving to West Marion, where Mr. Mills died on the 1st of September, 1899. Of the five children which were given to their marriage four are now living. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Willcuts, all of whom are living in Grant county: W. E. Willcuts, Mrs. Flora B. Fenstemaker, Mrs. Lucy D. Modlin and Calvin Willcuts. There are three grandchildren: Mrs. Fern Morrison, Lois G. Modlin and Walter W. Modlin; also two foster grandchildren, the foster son and daughter of W. E. Willcuts, Frank Loring, formerly an instructor in the University of Illinois, but now residing in Marion, and Miss Mabel Willcuts, also of Marion.

Clarkson Willcuts was a strong and active man up to the day of his death, the 27th of January, 1912, when he met his end at the hand of an assassin, one of the most unaccountable crimes ever committed, for Clarkson Willcuts was a man without enemies. Perhaps the best way to give some idea of the worth of this man would be to quote from the address made on the occasion of his funeral, January 30, 1912. The services were held at the Friends church and conducted by the Rev. Mr. Hiatt and the Rev. Mr. Sweet, both of whom were personal friends of Mr. Willcuts.

The Rev. Mr. Hiatt said: "Clarkson Willcuts was a man of sterling worth, both in matters pertaining to his individual pursuits and also in those things which have to do with the best interests of the community in which he lived. He never was in haste to express a conviction upon questions relating to the public welfare, whether political, educational or religious, but when he had settled in his own mind what seemed to him the part of wisdom he was firm and strong in his advocacy of the right. This rare precaution and care made him a safe counselor and guide to those less experienced in the affairs of life.

"As stated by one who knew him most intimately and who had profited largely by his wise counsel, his advice was always based upon actual experience or the most careful investigation of the question involved.
"The deceased was a life-long member of the Friends church, and in his taking away the church loses one of its safest counselors and most liberal and willing supporters. As he grew older he seemed to feel more and more the care of the church and to desire more deeply her truest success.
"A great man is fallen this day in our midst."
"I want to say some things in reference to the greatness of this man, and as I say them you will understand me to speak not out of a sense of superficial sentiment, but to speak out of a heart that feels deeply the facts which I shall in some measure attempt to express. I want to suggest to you at the outset as we think of him that he was a great man in his home. A man who is great at his own hearthstone, a man who is great in the midst of the family circle, a man who is great in the sacred precincts of the home is very likely to be great anywhere. Numbers of you have known the wide open hospitality and charity of that house, its love and comforts, and the encouragement and friendship, if needed, of a warm Christian heart.
"May I not suggest to you, for I am speaking to the church member, the man of business interests in this city and county, may I not suggest to you the fact of his greatness in the world of business? In the world of business a man of practical experience, ripened out of years of actual contact with men moving in the midst of business affairs. Some of you have known him better than I have known him. You have lived beside him, and how you have leaned upon him for counsel. How you have gone to him for advice. And you have never been disappointed. You have never been disappointed because if he were not certain that he could advise you along a safe and sane line, he was frank enough to tell you so. But if he knew that thing for sure which would be to your best interest, no one was more ready and free to give forth that counsel which might help a fellow business man to a higher degree of successful business life than was he. I am sure that the truth of this situation was expressed to me by one of his friends and neighbors. He said he never went out on a mere peradventure; if he didn't know by reason of the painstaking study and examination of the things which were put before him he would not venture into it himself or send any one out along the line experimenting in his behalf. He was frank and honorable in all these things. So in the business affairs of life here was a man whose greatness was certainly unquestioned. A man whose business integrity and fairness and honor is unquestioned, and you who know him best and dealt with him more largely will sustain this sentiment most heartily."

The speaker then goes on to mention his love for the church. He says, "He was not a man of many words in the public assembly or congregation, but his interest in the church was unfailing, unflagging. It was manifested every day and week of the year. His face was an inspiration to any preacher of religion who, looking into that open countenance, would see the light of welcome to the message the minister might bring. The church was on his heart and mind, and just before coming here this word was spoken to me with respect to moving from the farm to the city, that he had made the expression like this: I have moved to the church.' What a mark of greatness. Out here on a splendid old farm with every needful comfort and every needful sustenance, he was going to move to the city, but not to the city only, not to the city chiefly, but to the church.'

And so passed one of those men who have made America the great nation that she is, not a great statesman or public man, but a man of strong and noble character who molded and influenced the lives of all with whom he came in contact.

"BLACKFORD AND GRANT COUNTIES INDIANA, A CHRONICLE OF THEIR PEOPLE PAST AND PRESENT WITH FAMILY LINEAGE AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS"; Complied Under the Editorial Supervision of BENJAMIN G. SHINN; vol. II ; THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY; CHICAGO AND NEW YORK; 1914
Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt



ALVIN J. THOMAS. It will not be necessary in a volume pertaining to Grant county's representative men to expatiate in cant phraseology upon the well known reputation of Quakers for honesty, integrity and reliability; we may be justified in stating, however, that the mental and moral constitution of the gentleman whose name heads this review is such as to account for his success in the world of agriculture and business and for his high reputation in the confidence of the people of his community. Mr. Thomas comes from an old family of North Carolina, of Welsh descent, his grandfather, Jesse Thomas, being a native of the Old North state. He came very early to Wayne county, Indiana, and while living there, Eli Thomas, the father of Alvin J., was born August 31, 1825. Jesse Thomas married Mary Cox, a native of North Carolina, and they were probably married just before coming to Wayne county or soon afterwards, as all of their children were born in the Hoosier state. Jeremiah and Enoch were the eldest children, became well educated, and the former was widely known as a penman, keeping the accounts for some years of the old Quaker church, to which all the old stock of this family belong. He died in middle life, while Enoch attained the age of eighty-eight years. The next child in order of birth was Hulda, who died in early life, although she married and left children as did her elder brothers. Eli, the fourth in order of birth, is still living, and is one of the alert and intelligent old men of Marion, he now being eighty-eight years of age. Mary M. Thomas married, left a family, and died when seventy-eight or seventy-nine years of age. John Thomas located in Kansas late in life and died there, leaving a widow and family. Robert, who died in 1880, at the age of fifty years, left a family, and three sons are still living. Hannah Thomas married Samuel Satterthwaite, and lives in Huntington county, being the mother of two sons and two daughters. Noah Thomas, the youngest of his parents' children, is a married man of Tennessee and has a family.

Eli Thomas, father of Alvin J. Thomas, was four years of age when the family came to Grant county in 1829, this being before the incorporation of the county and before the time that the city of Marion was laid out. Here Jesse Thomas entered land in what is now North Marion, and all of his land is within the limits of the city at this time. About two years later he sold out and moved to what is now South Marion, and continued to follow agricultural pursuits throughout the remainder of his life, dying in 1861 or 1862, when past sixty years of age, while his wife died in 1868, she being about sixty-eight years old. They were birthright Quakers and were connected with the first meeting house of that faith here, the Mississinewa Quarterly Meeting.

Eli Thomas was reared at Marion, received a good education, adopted farming as his field of endeavor, and now resides at No. 2012 South Washington street. He married at Marion, Miss Millie Willcutts, daughter of Clarkson Willcutts, who came as an early pioneer to what is now Marion, Indiana, and owned land which is now located as north of Fourteenth street and east of Adams street in this city. He lived to be past middle age, and died in the faith of the Friends church. Mrs. Millie Thomas died in 1876, at her home in Marion, aged fifty-one years. She and Mr. Thomas were the parents of the following children: Jesse, a farmer of South Marion, who is married and has two children; Alvin J., of this review; Lucy, the wife of J. L. Massena, an assistant teacher in the Marion high school, who has two children. By a former marriage, with Anna Schoolie, Eli Thomas had these children: Sylvanus of Marion, who died November 25, 1913. He married, but has no children living. Marcus, a farmer of Franklin township, is married and has two children. By a third marriage, with Minerva Thomas, Mr. Thomas has had no children.

Alvin J. Thomas was born in the city of Marion, Indiana, October 9, 1864. He was reared in that city and secured excellent educational advantages, attending the public schools and the old Mississinewa graded school, and then spending two years in the agricultural department of Purdue University. Thus prepared, he entered upon his career as a tiller of the soil, and continued to work on the homestead farm until 1892, in that year coming to Mill township and buying 200 acres of land in section 25, which he operates successfully as a general farmer and breeder of stock. He makes a specialty of Guernsey cattle, and at the head of his herd has a registered individual of that breed. His home is located on a beautiful part of the property and is fitted with modern comforts and conveniences; his barn, painted red and white, is commodious and substantial, and his other buildings for the shelter of his grain and utensils are well built and in good repair. Altogether it is apparent that good management is present and that the owner is a practical man of affairs. About 150 of the 200 acres are under cultivation, and yield handsome crops in response to the intelligent efforts of Mr. Thomas.

At Amboy, Indiana, in 1890, Mr. Thomas was married to Miss Elva Moorman, who was born, reared and educated there. Her family, of Welsh descent, lived for many years in North Carolina, were all Friends, and came at an early date to Indiana, settling in Wayne county. Mrs. Thomas' great-grandfather was John Smith, the founder of Richmond, Indiana. Her parents, John and Lucia (Simons) Moorman, were natives of Wayne county, but moved early in life to Miami county, where Mr. Moorman entered land which is still the property of the family. He died in 1877, aged sixty-three years, while the mother, who still makes her home at Amboy, was ninety years of age June 21, 1913, and is still alert in mind and body. She was formerly a member of the Quaker church, but was turned out of that faith under the former stringent rules. Mrs. Thomas has one uncle living, Jesse Moorman, who is now in the Soldiers' National Home, at Marion, and ninety-five years of age. He served in the Union army throughout the Civil War. The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Thomas are: Emma and Etta, who are unmarried and live with their aged mother at Amboy; Benjamin, living on the old Miami county homestead, who is married and has a family; and Flora, deceased, who was the wife of Samuel Heston, formerly of Amboy and now a resident of Canada.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have three children: Eli, born in 1892, educated in the public schools and now residing on the home place; Flora, born in 1896, a member of the graduating class of 1914, at the Gas City high school; and Lillian, born in 1908, the baby. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are devout members of the Quaker church. His political faith is that of the Republican party.

"BLACKFORD AND GRANT COUNTIES INDIANA, A CHRONICLE OF THEIR PEOPLE PAST AND PRESENT WITH FAMILY LINEAGE AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS"; Complied Under the Editorial Supervision of BENJAMIN G. SHINN; vol. II ; THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY; CHICAGO AND NEW YORK; 1914
Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt



JOHN T. BARNETT, M. D. Among the most successful physicians and surgeons of the medical fraternity of Grant county, is John T. Barnett, M. D., of Jonesboro. Although his residence in this community covers a period of scarcely three years, he has already won a truly enviable reputation for skill and general ability, and has succeeded in gaining a large and representative practice and a firm place in the confidence of the people. He stands high also in the estimation of his professional brethren, and his opinion has great weight in their councils. Doctor Barnett s success has come as a result of his own efforts, for he worked his own way through college, and from early manhood his life has been one of the greatest activity.

Doctor Barnett was born at Hardensburg, Indiana, December 29, 1857. He was given an ordinary education in the public schools of that place, following which he paid his own way through Marengo Academy and adopted the profession of teacher. Having decided upon a professional career, he devoted what time could be spared from his schoolroom duties to the study of medicine, and eventually entered the Kentucky School of Medicine, where he was graduated with his degree in 1882. He at once entered upon the practice of his profession at Hardensburg, and his reputation as a skillful surgeon grew so rapidly that his services were in constant demand over four counties. His complete and self-sacrificing devotion to his work, however, endangered his health, and accordingly, in 1909, he came to Jonesboro to recuperate, as well as to give his daughter the benefit of better educational advantages. Always a great student, and determined not to retrograde, he has kept fully abreast of all modern discoveries in science pertaining to his profession, especially along the lines of surgery, which comprises his favorite branch of practice, and in which he has been remarkably successful. He is a member of the Mississippi Valley Medical Association, the Grant County Medical Society, the Indiana State Medical Society and the American Medical Association, and has been the representative and examining physician for a number of insurance companies. For a long period he has served in the capacity of member of the board of health, and in numerous ways has contributed to the welfare of his community. His offices are maintained in his pleasant residence at the end of Eleventh street, overlooking the river, and he likewise has a well-equipped suite in the Citizens Bank building. Doctor Barnett is a Republican in political matters and has been more or less active in local matters, although not to the neglect of his practice. His fraternal connections include membership in the subordinate lodges of the Masons and Odd Fellows, belonging to Solomon Lodge No. 71, A. F. & A. M., of Hardensburg, Encampment No. 206, I. O. O. F., and Lodge No. 501, of the latter, and in this latter connection has passed through all the chairs and represented his lodge in the Grand Lodge of the state.

Doctor Barnett was married in Ohio to Miss Lida Osborn, who was born in Clinton county, Ohio, in 1856, and was for ten years a school teacher before her marriage. Two daughters have been born to this union: Ethel M., a graduate of Hardensburg High school and Marion College, where she took a classical and scientific course and graduated, in 1912, and now a teacher in the public schools of Grant county; and Margaret, who received the same advantages and graduated from Marion College in the class of 1914. Doctor Barnett is a Methodist, while his wife is a member of the Society of Friends.

"BLACKFORD AND GRANT COUNTIES INDIANA, A CHRONICLE OF THEIR PEOPLE PAST AND PRESENT WITH FAMILY LINEAGE AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS"; Complied Under the Editorial Supervision of BENJAMIN G. SHINN; vol. II ; THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY; CHICAGO AND NEW YORK; 1914
Submitted by:Peggy Karol and Karen Overholt



Deb Murray