HENRY KELLER WILLMAN. For many years Henry Keller Willman, of Jonesboro, has been numbered among Grant county's progressive business men. The success which he has achieved in life is the result of well applied energy, industry and strict attention to business in all its details. He owes his high standing in the commercial and social world to himself alone, for he started out to make his own livelihood when but a lad, and, undaunted by the many obstacle which he encountered, steadily pressed forward to the goal which he had set before him.

Mr. Willman comes of good old German stock, his grandfather, William Willman, and his father, Louis Willman, being natives of Longstad, Hesse-Darmstadt, where the former was born about 1780 and the mother in 1805. William Willman was married in Germany, and his wife died there, leaving two sons: Peter, born in 1803, who passed his life in farming in the Fatherland and there reared a large family; and Louis. Louis Willman grew up to sturdy manhood, and as a large and well-built man was called upon for military service. He retained too keen a remembrance of the appearance of Napoleon's army on its return from the disastrous Russian invasion in 1815, however, to desire the life of a soldier, and managed to secure a substitute, subsequently returning to his home to resume the trade of wagon-maker, which he had learned as an apprentice. He was there married to Miss Christina Keller, and in Germany they became the parents of two children: Elizabeth and Peter. In 1830, deciding to try his fortunes in the United States, Mr. Willman, with his father, his wife and his two children, embarked at Hamburg on a sailing vessel bound for this country. A voyage of six months followed, during which the ship encountered terrific storms, and at one time was reported lost, but after the passengers and crew had nearly died of starvation the vessel finally made port at Baltimore, Maryland. Shortly thereafter the little party of emigrants went to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where Louis Willman secured employment on a railroad, but his refusal to vote the Whig ticket caused him to become unpopular among his fellow employes and he accordingly removed with his family to Germantown, Wayne county, Indiana, where for a few years he worked at his trade. In 1840 he came to Blackford county, and located in Washington township, near the center of the county, where he secured a small farm, on which the grandfather, William Willman, passed away about 1842 when about seventy years of age. He died in the faith of the Evangelical Lutheran church, of which all the family were members. About 1846, Louis Willman moved with his family to Hartford City, Indiana, where he resumed the wagon-making business, for a time, and then again took up farming on a property east of that city. This continued to be his home during the remainder of his life, his death occurring thereon in January, 1875. Mrs. Willman had died in Hartford City in 1849, when about forty years of age. The children were brought up in the faith of the Evangelical Lutheran church and were confirmed therein. Louis Willman was a Democrat in his political views, although he never entered actively into public affairs save as a good citizen with the interest of his community at heart. The children born in America to Louis and Christina (Keller) Willman were as follows: Christina, wife of James E. Ervin, who left a family at her death; Catherine, also deceased; Anna, who is the wife of George Gable and resides at Hartford City; Louis, who at his death left three sons and one daughter; Henry Keller, of this review; Margaret, who was married and the mother of one son and three daughters at the time of her death; and Mary Ann, deceased, who was married and had two daughters. By a second marriage Louis Willman had one son, Albert, who died at the age of six months.

Henry Keller Willman was born in Blackford county, Indiana, October 7, 1841. He received only an ordinary education in the public schools, but since his youth has done much reading, and through study and observation has become a very well-informed man on numerous subjects. Although not a strong lad, he received a good start in life, and as a youth learned the trade of custom shoemaker, serving an apprenticeship of three years, during the first year receiving a salary of twenty-five dollars, in the second year forty dollars and in the third year seventy-five dollars. During the next quarter of a century he was actively identified with the shoe business, both as a manufacturer and a dealer. He came to Jonesboro in March, 1868, and a few years later formed a partnership with Calvin Evans, but soon disposed of his interest to Mr. Evans and embarked in a separate enterprise of his own, successfully conducting his business until 1891. In that year he sold out to a Mr. Ruley, and in 1892 accepted the appointment to the post-mastership of Jonesboro, during President Cleveland's administration. He was the first third-class postmaster of the place, on a salary, and continued to efficiently perform the duties of his office for four years and six months. When his term of office expired he resumed operations in the shoe business, and continued therein until 1908, since which time he has been living a quiet, retired life in his handsome residence at Sixth and Main streets, a modern eight-room home which he erected in 1908. Mr. Willman is a Democrat in politics, but has been honored by the Republican party by election to the city council, on which he served eight years. For a long period he has been prominent in promoting the educational interests of Jonesboro as a member of the school board. He was four years Chairman of the Council.

Mr. Willman was married in Jonesboro to Miss Hannah Margaret Ruley, who was born in Grant county, Indiana, in 1840, was here reared, and was educated in the public schools of Marion. Her father, Burton W. Ruley, was an early settler and prominent farmer of this county, and served as county assessor for several terms and as county treasurer for nine years. He died in 1874, at the age of sixty-eight years. Mr. Ruley was a native of Virginia, and was married in Miami county, Indiana, to Miss Mahala Jones, who was born in Kentucky, and who died at the age of eighty-six years in Grant county. They came to this county as pioneers and settled on wild land in Mill township, where their four children were born, namely: Joseph J.; Mrs. Hannah Margaret Willman; Maria E.; and Mary S., who is now the widow of Nathan Weddington and lives in Indianapolis with her children. The oldest child, Sarah Jane, deceased, was born in Miami county.

Mr. Willman is a member of the Presbyterian church, while his wife belongs to the Methodist Episcopal faith, and both have been active in church work. They have numerous friends in Jonesboro, who esteem them for their sterling qualities of mind and heart and for the honorable and upright lives which they have led. Mr. Willman is a valued and popular member of the Masonic Blue Lodge, No. 109, of Jonesboro, of which he is treasurer; and of Subordinate Lodge, No. 82, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of this place, which has been in existence for sixty-four years and of which he is secretary.

"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



WILLIAM EDGAR WILLCUTS. For many years the name of Willcuts has been associated with the history of Grant county, and the head of the house today, William Edgar Willcuts, is ably upholding the reputation built by his father and grandfather for honesty, integrity and true worth. William E. Willcuts has been engaged in farming for many years, and he is also a well known contractor of Marion, having done some of the best work in that line which has ever been performed in Grant county.

William Edgar Willcuts was born in Franklin township, Grant county, Indiana, on the 4th of January, 1862. He is a son of the late Clarkson Willcuts and Hannah (Druckemiller) Willcuts. Clarkson Willcuts was born on the 2d of August, 1840, in Grant county, Indiana, the son of Clark and Eunice (Hall) Willcuts. Clark Willcuts was a native of the state of North Carolina, and he was one of the first settlers of Grant county when he migrated to this state in 1834. He settled one mile south of Marion, where he lived until 1843, when he removed to Franklin township. He was born in 1792, and died November 27, 1862. He was the first man to build a fence in Grant county, and at one time he built five miles of fence. He owned at one time nearly all of the land from Tenth street in Marion to the top of the hill, and most of the abstracts in the county records show his name. He was a strong character, a staunch anti-slavery man and aided in the operation of the underground railroad. The Willcuts family were all Quakers, and Clark Willcuts was a charter member of the first Quaker meeting which was held in Grant county. He was three times married, and Clarkson Willcuts and a sister were the only children by his marriage to Eunice Hall.

Clarkson Willcuts, who is given more extended mention elsewhere in this volume, was a farmer and a stockraiser, as well as being interested in the grain and lumber business. He spent his entire life in Grant county, and was one of the most beloved men this entire section. His sudden death on January 27, 1912, was a great loss to the community, deeply felt by everyone. His wife, who was born in Carroll county, Ohio, October 8, 1862, is still living. Clarkson Willcuts took an active part in the affairs of the church and in the civic life of the community. He was twice elected and once appointed a trustee of Franklin township. Four children were born to Clarkson and Hannah Willcuts, all of whom reside in Grant county.

William E. Willcuts was born on his father's farm, and he received his early education in the grammar and high schools of Grant county. He was one of the first two students who received diplomas from the Grant county schools. After leaving high school he attended Earlham College at Richmond, Indiana, and then became a student at Purdue University at Lafayette, Indiana. After leaving the university he became engaged in farming, and has been interested in that vocation more or less since that time. For the past twenty-five years, however, he has been actively interested in the contracting business, and has done much work in the line of bridge and sewer construction and in concrete work. He has built many bridges in Grant and adjoining counties, and he and the various men with whom he has been associated from time to time have filled a number of contracts in Georgia, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. He has built up a reputation for thorough and careful workówork that will lastóand his services are in great demand. He was also engaged in the coal business for a time. He owns one farm in Franklin township, consisting of about two hundred acres and has a half section of land in Van Buren township, he overseeing their management.

Mr. Willcuts was married on the 24th of September, 1885, to Margaret M. Johnson of Sims township. She died on the 18th of March, 1911, after nearly twenty-six years of an ideally happy married life. Mr. and Mrs. Willcuts were inseparable, traveling together a good deal. They had visited practically every part of the western hemisphere, and had also traveled abroad. They had no children, but adopted and reared with loving care a boy and a girl, who have been an honor to them.

Frank Canton Loring was a babe of four years when he came to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Willcuts, and he is now a brilliant and successful electrical engineer. He attended the grammar schools of Grant county, and was later graduated from the Marion high school. He then entered Purdue University, from which he was graduated in 1904, having taken the course in electrical engineering. He next spent eighteen months in the east, from June, 1904, until September, 1906, in telephone work in Rochester and New York City, New York. In the fall of 1906 he entered Columbia University in New York, and during that year completed the work of his Master's degree. He then accepted a position as instructor in Cornell University, spending one year there. In 1909 he entered the employ of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company of New York City, remaining with them until January, 1912. After nine months spent at home resting he went back to University work once more, and has been an instructor in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois since September, 1912.

The daughter of the family, Miss Mabel Willcuts, was taken from the orphans' home at the age of six years. She received her early education in the grammar and high schools of Grant county, being a graduate of the Marion high school. She then entered the Mechanics Institute in Rochester, New York, from which she was graduated from the domestic science course in 1910. She has spent two years of the time since leaving school as a demonstrator in the New England states. In that capacity she is in great demand by large corporations engaged in the manufacture of domestic utilities, especially gas.

On the 12th of June, 1913, William E. Willcuts was married to Mrs. Luella Hier Mosure. Mrs. Willcuts has a daughter, Lola Mosure, by her former marriage. Mr. Willcuts' household consists of himself and wife, his two foster children, Frank C. Loring and Miss Mabel Willcuts, and his stepdaughter, Miss Lola Mosure.

"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



BENNETT B. COLEMAN. In early life accustomed to the hard work which sharpens the mind and develops the body, Bennett B. Coleman grew up in an agricultural neighborhood, and when he came to the time to make a decision regarding his life work, finally selected that of tilling the soil. In the years that followed he had no reason to regret of his choice, for he arose to a substantial position among the farmers of Grant county, and now, in the evening of life, is able to enjoy the comforts of a handsome home and congenial surroundings, content in the- knowledge of a well-spent and useful life.

Bennett B. Coleman was born in Wayne county, North Carolina, December 11, 1827, and is a son of Elias and Sallie (Peelle) Coleman, natives of that state, who came as pioneers to Indiana. The grandparents on both sides were born in the Old North state, were of English descent and Quakers, a faith to which the family has always belonged. Elias Coleman was born November 25, 1798, and was a youth of eighteen years when with another young man he came on a single horse, the lads taking turns in riding and walking, and thus covering the distance from North Carolina to the Arley Quaker settlement, the newly opened region of the wilds of Randolph county. There he remained for some time, looking over the land and preparing for his future, and when he had his arrangements complete returned, to North Carolina and was married under the rules and discipline of the Quaker church to Sallie, the daughter of Willis and Betsey Peelle, who had been born in 1791. They were married in the Contentnea meeting house and continued to reside in North Carolina until after the birth of four children: Edith, who died in North Carolina; Harriet, Nathan and Bennett B. In the summer of 1826 the little family started out for Indiana, Mr. Coleman hiring a man with a horse and wagon to take the family effects over the mountains northwest to Randolph county, to be paid for by the pound which the expressage weighed. There were three other men in the party beside the senior Mr. Coleman, and in addition Mrs. Coleman carried her seven-months old baby, Bennett B., in her arms and over all the mountains save one. This journey consumed some weeks, and when the little party arrived, Mr. Coleman found that when he had paid for the trip at the rate of one dollar per pound, he would have about ten dollars left with which to make a start in the new community. He was a blacksmith by trade, but at once commenced to engage in agricultural pursuits and his energy, thrift and indomitable perseverance enabled him to succeed in his undertakings. He resided in Randolph county, Indiana, until 1833, at which time he moved to Newport, now Fountain City, in Wayne county, Indiana, and, in partnership with Joel Parker was engaged in the manufacture of wagons for a time. Later he became interested in merchandising in Wayne county, and in 1848 came to Grant county, located at Jonesboro, and became a merchant. This place was then but a small hamlet, boasting of a tannery, a carding mill, a sawmill and a flouring mill, with a scattering of small houses. Mr. Coleman, with excellent ability, soon built up a handsome trade, assisted by his stalwart son, Bennett B., then a man of twenty-one years. Here Elias Coleman was known as one of the town's substantial men for many years. His first wife died in the old cabin home now located next to the home of Bennett B. Coleman, in 1864, at the age of seventy years, and Mr. Coleman then married Mrs. Susan (Ellis) Coffin, who survived for some years. Both passed away in Marion, Mr. Coleman in October, 1890, and she several years later, when seventy years of age. They were all members of the Friends Society, but, although bitterly opposed to war, were strong anti-Slavery people and expressed their opinion on the subject whenever opportunity offered. After coming to Indiana there were two children born to Elias Coleman and his first wife: Jesse, who died young; and Mary, who married Enoch P. Small, and died advanced in years in Wabash county, this state.

Of the children born to Elias Coleman, Bennett B. is the only survivor. He grew up largely in Wayne county, where he was given the educational advantages to be secured in the primitive schools, and was about twenty-one years of age when he came to Jonesboro. For some time he was associated with his father in conducting the general store, but subsequently adopted agricultural work in Franklin township, a section which at that time was still practically in its virgin state. There both he and his father killed numerous deer, especially on what was known as Deer Creek. Mr. Coleman inherited much of his father's industry and energetic nature, and set about to make a home for himself in the wilderness. His good management and persistent labor brought its reward, and when he disposed of his land in 1861 he was able to realize a handsome profit. In the fall of that year he returned to Jonesboro, and here purchased sixty acres of land, the greater part of which is now included within the corporation limits of the city, and to this he added from time to time until he had over 100 acres. When the Indiana Rubber and Insulated Wire Company decided to place its plant here, Mr. Coleman's land was found to be included in the property selected, and he accordingly disposed of ninety-five acres, in 1893, although he still retains several choice lots and has a handsome home. Mr. Coleman is now passing his declining years in peaceful rest. In spite of the fact that he has passed his eighty-sixth birthday, he is still active in body and alert in mind, in full possession of his faculties and able to read without glasses. Although retired from active pursuits, he takes a keen interest in the events that go to make history, and to matters that directly affect the welfare of his community or its people. Mr. Coleman has had the privilege of seeing great changes take place and a great development effected in Grant county, and has played no small part in this growth and advancement himself. He has been a life-long Republican, casting his first vote for Hale and his next two votes for Lincoln. He was formerly a Quaker, a member of the Anti-Slavery branch of that denomination, but for many years he has been a Presbyterian.

Mr. Coleman was married first to Sarah Shugart, who was born in Wayne county, Indiana, in 1829, married in 1849, and died September 4, 1861, in the faith of the Friends church. She was the mother of four children: Emma C., who married E. M. Whitson, M. D., who died at Jonesboro, November 7, 1905, was a soldier for three years in the Civil War as a private of the 101st Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, later studied and practiced medicine until his death, had two children by his first marriage, one of whom is a prominent educator, and is survived by his second wife, who is a resident of Jonesboro; William H., a sketch of whose career will be found on another page of this work; Isadora, who died at the age of six years; and Lillian, who died single as a young lady of twenty-two years. Mr. Coleman's second marriage was to Miss Anna Wilson of Ohio, who met an accidental death in 1880 when attacked by a maddened bull. She left one daughter, Ida, the wife of William Weddington, now living in New Mexico, and the mother of seven children, of whom six are living. Mr. Coleman was married (third) at Crayton, Indiana, in August, 1883, to Mrs. Anna Martin, nee Hartsock, who was born in Indiana, February 16, 1843. She had two children by her former marriage to James Martin, deceased, Josephine and Lew Wallace, both of whom died young. Mr. Coleman is now a member of the Presbyterian church and Mrs. Coleman is a member of the Universalist church at Anderson, Indiana.

"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



WILLIAM H. COLEMAN. The only male representative of the family of Bennett B. and Sarah (Shugart) Coleman, William H. Coleman has for sixty years lived in Grant county, and during the greater part of his life has been a prosperous farmer of Mill township.

William H. Coleman was born on the old Deer Creek farm in Mill township, Grant county, on May 4, 1854, and has never permanently resided outside of his native community. Reared in the country, and in the wholesome moral atmosphere of old Mill, he has been engaged in farming since he reached the years of maturity, and has applied to his work the same principles and industry which would have enabled him to succeed had he chosen a business in the city or a profession. In 1877 he acquired his present home on Section 32 of Mill township, and has lived there and developed a good estate through a period of more than thirty-five years. His is one of the excellent farms of that township, and from the products of his labors he has kept himself and family in comfort and enjoyed a fair degree of success.

In Mill township on November 29, 1877, Mr. Coleman married Miss Rachel Compton, who was born in Warren county, Ohio, on November 11, 1852, and was reared and educated in her native county. Her parents were Stephen and Susan L. (Carter) Compton. Her mother was born at Mill Grove, Warren county, Ohio, in 1817, and her father in Culpeper county, Virginia, on August 22, 1801. They were married in 1844 in Warren county, Ohio, and spent the rest of their lives in that vicinity, where Stephen Compton, who was a shoemaker by trade, died in 1880, and she passed away on April 2, 1868. The Comptons were members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and Stephen Compton voted the Democratic ticket.

Mr. and Mrs. Coleman have the following children: Sarah M., a graduate from the Jonesboro high school with the class of 1899, lives at home and has been a constant helper and companion to her parents; Bennett B., the second child, while living at home is employed in a factory in Marion; Lawrence E. is also at home and unmarried; Lillian Bell is the wife of Professor G. A. Roush, who is an instructor in the Lehigh University of South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where they reside and is also assistant secretary of the Electro Chemical Society; Howard is a graduate of the Jonesboro high school and still remains at home. Mr. and Mrs. Coleman are members of the Presbyterian church of Jonesboro, and their sons and daughters worship in the same faith. Mr. Coleman and his sons are stanch Republicans, and all are active members of the Knights of Pythias order, all three sons being past Chancellors in the Jonesboro Lodge. Father and sons add a quartet of excellent citizens to Mill township, and are among the most highly esteemed men of the community.

"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