THOMAS OVERFIELD, farmer, Section 35, Township 32, Range 16, P. O. Independence, was born in Shropshire, England, 1826, and emigrated to America, 1850, stopping a while in Danvers, Mass., and in New Jersey he was engaged in the patent leather business. He started with his family from Boston on Tuesday, September 26, 1850, and on October 10th he took a claim on Washington Creek, Douglas Co., Kas., where he lived nine years. There were then, in Lawrence, a half dozen tents and a log house, a few Delaware Indians and traders. In 1864, he moved, with his family, to the town of Lawrence, where he lived six years, and then in 1869, took a claim of 160 acres on Drum Creek, Montgomery County, on which he has made improvements, planted a beautiful grove of maples and other trees, besides twenty acres of orchard. He was married to Margaret Fergusson, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, born April 3, 1831, and educated in the same city. They have seven children--William, married to Elizabeth Saxon, and living in the vicinity; Charles, Agnes, married to Charles Yoe, editor of the Independence Tribune; John, George, Ninian, Frank. Mr. Overfield is a member of the Masonic Fraternity. He has been identified with the early history of the State and interested in its material prosperity.

Marriage Records:
William H. OVERFIELD, 27, married Marey E. SAXON, 21, on 16 Oct 1881.

1880 Printed Census for Montgomery Co, KS

38-39 SAXON, James         W M  75  father                     NY NY NY  Drum Creek,
             Aseneth       W F  71  Mother                     NY NY CT , 
             Benjamin      W M  45  Son       Farmer           NY NY NY,
             Mary          W F  48  Wife                       OH GER GER,
             Elizabeth M.  W F  20  Dau                        IN   NY OH,
             George B.     W M  13  Son                        IN NY OH ,
             Emma          W F   7  Dau                        IN NY OH,
             Arthur M.     W M   3  Son                        IN NY OH,
             Alvah         W M  38  Brother                    IN NY NY,
             Charles M.    W M  12  Nephew                     IN IN OH,
             Mary E.       W F   8  Niece                      IN IN OH,
             Ann A.        W F  20  Dau Adopted by James       IN IN OH


James Saxon was the son of John Saxon and Elizabeth Evans who came to Blackford County ca. 1838 with many members of their extended families. Some of those members include Gilbert Townsend and his wife Mary (Polly) Saxon, daughter of John Saxon. John Saxon was a Revolutionary War soilder who is buried in Hartford City in the I.O.O.F. cemetery. Aneseth Wixon was the daughter of Shubal Wixon and the wife of James Saxon. These families were pioneers of Blackford County. For additional information see the biography of John Saxon, son of James Saxon.

Transcribed from William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Part 18 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES--DRUM CREEK TOWNSHIP.
Submitted by Peggy Karol

JACOB M. REASONER, is one of the successful agriculturists of Jackson Township, engaged in farming on sections 3 and 4, where he has 200 acres of well improved land. He is a native of Blackford County, Indiana, born in Licking Township, December 2, 1847, a son of Peter and Rhoda (Frye) Reasoner, the father born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, May 9,1798, and the mother born in Harrison County, Virginia, February 16, 1809. The father was reared to manhood in Muskingum County, Ohio, where he was married, and the mother was reared in Guernsey County, Ohio. They were the parents of eleven children - Sebur, Washington F., Mary, Noah H., Calista A., Joseph (died in early childhood), Evelyn (also died young), Harriet (died aged eighteen years), John B. and Almira C. (twins) and Jacob M. our subject, who was the youngest child. The father remained in Muskingum County until December 1831, when he came with his wife and two children to Blackford County, Indiana, settling in Licking Township and while he was building his cabin his family lived in Grant County with the family of John Grimes, and for about six weeks the Grimes cabin contained about nineteen persons. Mr. Reasoner moved his family to his cabin about the end of December, 1831. He made the first clearing and was the first to engage in farming in Blackford County. The following spring he cleared enough land to raise corn and potatoes to support his family and their meat consisted of wild game or venison. Benjamin Reasoner, the grandfather of our subject, was an early settler of Ohio, and came to Blackford County with his son Peter in 1831, where he lived until his death. The grandmother Mary (Hill) Reasoner, died in Grant County. The Reasoners are of German descent, coming to America at the time of persecution of the Huguenots. The father of our subject died October 22, 1868. The mother is still living in Licking Township, and is the oldest living settler in the county. She relates many reminiscences of pioneer life, of which we may mention the following: Sometime after coming to the county a large Indian opened the door of their cabin and gave a grunt. They could not understand what he wanted, but he noticed a whetstone on the mantel, which he took up and commenced sharpening his scalping knife. The mother became greatly frightened, and taking her two children ran to the house of her father-in-law, who lived about a half mile distant. Jacob M. Reasoner, whose name heads this sketch, was married October 26, 1875 to Miss Emma Willman, who was born in Hartford City, Indiana, January 29, 1854, where she was reared and married. She is a daughter of John P. and Nancy (Kirkpatrick) Willman, and a grand-daughter of Lewis and Chirstina (Keller) Willman, who were born in Germany, her grandmother dying a few years after coming to Blackford County. Her grandfather died in Blackford County, February 16, 1876. Her father was born November 27, 1830, in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, coming to America with his parents when two years old, they settling in Pennsylvania. He was brought to Indiana in his boyhood, where he was reared and married, May 3, 1853 to Miss Nancy Kirkpatrick. To them were born four children - Emma, wife of Mr. Reasoner; Catherine, wife of George Brown, of Leipsic, Ohio; Minnie M., wife of Arthur Lyle of Hartford City, and Rolla, at home. Mr. and Mrs. Reasoner are the parents of five children - Ralph B., born July 19, 1876; Ethel, born July 11, 1881; Shirley W., born March 20, 1883; and an infant yet unnamed, born May 11, 1887.

Submitted by Peggy Karol

W. F. REASONER, farmer, section 31, Licking Township, is one of the prominent men in the history of Blackford County, with which he has been identified from the beginning of the white settlement until the present time. He was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, July 27, 1830, son of Peter and Rhoda (Fry) Reasoner, his father born in Pennsylvania, and the mother a native of Virginia. They were married in Ohio, and in the fall of 1832, with their family then consisting of two children, Levina and Washington, set out by team for Indiana, and after a long and tedious journey, much of the way through unbroken forests, they arrived at their destination, section 6, Licking Township, Blackford County. After making a temporary shelter for his family the father cleared a space on his land and with the logs he cut down he built a log cabin, to which they removed as soon as it was finished. He was a successful hunter and game being in abundance he found ample opportunity for indulging in the sport. He was a fine marksman and killed numbers of wild deer, turkeys and other game. Corn dodgers and dried venison was the principle food of the family in the early days of the county; wheat-cake and coffee were luxuries of later date. Peter Reasoner lived on the farm he first settled on coming to the county for forty-six years, dying on the old homestead in October 1868. Both he and his wife were consistent Christians and active members of the Presbyterian church at Elizabethtown, and he was a chorister in that congregation. They reared a family of eight children - Levina S., Washington F., our subject; Mary E.. Noah H., Calista Ann; John B., Almira C., and Jacob Madison. W. F. Reasoner, whose name heads this sketch, was reared amid the scenes attending the clearing up a forest, and on arriving at an age suitable for heavy work he ax was swung in unison with his father's in the work of clearing the timber off their farm. His educational advantages were limited to the rude log cabin schools of the early day. He was united in marriage October 15, 1850, to Miss Rachel Slater, who was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, June 20, 1829, coming to Blackford County with her parents, Jacob and Sarah (Alban) Slater about 1836. Her father died here in September, 1839, and her mother in July, 1840. Of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Reasoner two are deceased - Mary K. and Harriet Samantha. Those yet living are - Ethan Thomas, a successful attorney, residing in Peru, Indiana, elected prosecuting attorney for Miami and Wabash counties, Indiana; Osmar I., a practicing physician at Shilder, Indiana; Rhoda Ann, wife of Lewis D. McVicker, Riley R., Allie Maria and Orvelle Madison. After his marriage Mr. Reasoner bought eighty acres of land in Harrison Township, and after living on it a short time sold it. In 1860 he removed with his family to their present farm, which he has improved in a good manner, having a fine residence, surrounded with handsome shade and ornamental trees, and substantial farm buildings, and a good bearing orchard adds much to its value and attractiveness. Politically, Mr. Reasoner is a Republican. He was a member of the Presbyterian church for thirty years, but in 1887 he united with the Methodist church in his neighborhood. He has been a resident for fifty-five years and has witnessed the many wonderful changes which have taken place during that period, and by his honorable and upright character he has gained the respect and confidence of all who know him.

Submitted by Peggy Karol

JESSE H. DOWELL, president of the Hartford City Natural Gas and Oil Company, and drainage commission of Blackford County, was born in Madison County, Virginia, June 25, 1833, a son of William and Lucinda (Hill) Dowell. In September, 1837, the family came to Indiana by team, locating first in Wayne County, where they remained about five years. The father died in Wayne County, and the winter following his death his widow and family removed to Richmond where she lived until her death in 1870. Jesse H. Dowell, the subject of this sketch, began work in a woolen mill at Richmond when in his thirteenth year, which he continued about two and a half years, after which he learned the boot and shoemaker's trade. In 1850, when seventeen years of age he came to Blackford County, where he conducted a shop of his own until 1861. He was married May 26, 1852, to Miss Fannie A. Ellis, a native of Steuben County New York and daughter of Seely and Hepsabeth Ellis. He parents came to Blackford County in 1844, and settled right in the woods, about one and a half miles from Hartford City. Her mother died in the year 1851, and her father's death occurred September 17, 1858. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dowell, of whom only two are living - Frank P. and Arthur S. Ella and Elmer are deceased. In 1861, Mr. Dowel engaged in the dry goods business with William H. Campbell, this partnership being terminated about fourteen months later by the death of Mr. Campbell. Mr. Dowell then conducted the business alone until September, 1866. In 1867 he began dealing in grain, building one of the largest warehouses on the Pan-Handle Railroad, and continued this business until 1873, and at the same time carried on a saw-mill, which was afterward merged into a heading factory. During this time he was also engaged in the hardware business. He sold out the latter and the heading factory business in 1873, and shortly after discontinued the grain business. After selling his hardware and manufacturing business, he entered the Hartford City Bank, becoming its president, which position he filled about three years, when he sold out his interest. He then engaged in farming and trading, he being the owner of 550 acres of choice land, all lying within a mile and a half of Hartford City, and some adjoining. In November, 1886, Mr. Dowell organized the Hartford City Natural Gas and Oil Company, of which he has been president since its organization, and has since given his personal attention to the company's interest. In 1881 he was appointed drainage commissioner, and during his term of service almost the entire drainage system of the county has been constructed in a manner to reflect credit on all connected with this great improvement. Mr. Dowell is a member of the Masonic lodge and chapter, and has passed all the chairs, and has many times represented his lodge in the Grand Lodge of the State. In politics he is a Republican. He has been councilman several times, serving five years one time. His son, Franklin P. Dowell, is one of the enterprising men of Hartford City. He has carried on a loan and fire insurance agency about two years. He has a complete set of abstract books made by himself. He wife was formerly Miss Nancy Coddington.

Submitted by Peggy Karol

JOHN H. BLOUNT was born near Dalton, Wayne County, Indiana, October 7, 1822, ason of Andrew R, and Sarah (Warren) Blount. Andrew R. Blount was born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, but when a boy of seven years old his parents moved to Kentucky, where they lived about ten years, and in 1805 moved to Nolan's Fork, Wayne County, Indiana, his father, William Blount, being one of the first settlers of Wayne County. During the war of 1812, Andrew R. enlisted and served three years. After the war he moved to White River, across from Smithfield , but subsequently returned to Wayne County. He was married soon after his return from the war, near Economy, to Sarah Warren. In 1822 they moved to Henry County, and in the spring of 1836 to Blackford County, where Mr. Blount had bought and entered a tract of land in the woods, only two acres of which was cleared. At that time the only timber was large, the Indians keeping the underbrush cleared out. Mr. Blount was a good hunter and fine marksman, and his son John H. attended eight shooting matched with him one fall, when he won nine beef hides and made over $40 by his shooting. He remained in Blackford County until 1864, when his son Warren, who lived in Henry County, persuaded him to move there, and when he was on his way he was taken sick and died at the age of seventy-two years. The mother died in 1874. They had a family of thirteen children, but four of whom are living - John, Warren, Andrew A. and Sarah. Both are buried near the old home in Henry County. John H. Blount was but fourteen years old when his parents moved to Blackford County, and here he was reared and has since lived. When he was about sixteen years old he went with Jake Brugh and his young son to Carter's mill, above Eaton, but the river being dry they could get no grinding done. They then went to Muncie with the same result. They then went to Blountville, and from there five miles further to a brother-in-law's of Mr. Blount, John Fisher, who went with them to a man named Thornburg, who had some flour he had got ground at Milton, and after much argument he was persuaded to let the boys have some in exchange for their wheat. Mr. Blount was married in September, 1841, to Eliza Markins, a native of Lawrence County, Ohio, daughter of Thomas and Frances (Sumter) Markins, who located in Blackford County in 1837, where the father died in 1859, aged seventy years, and the mother in 1881, aged eighty-two years. Mrs. Blount has a cover-lid, which is made of cotton raised, carded, spun and woven by her mother over fifty years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Blount have had thirteen children, nine of whom are living. James died at the age of nineteen years and nine months; Richard, aged three years and five months; Bertie, aged two years and seven months, and Emma, aged one year. Sarah Frances is the wife of Roswell Jackson, and lives in Lincoln County, Kansas; Mary Etta, wife of Henry Danenower of Howard County, Indiana; Andrew, of Delaware County, Indiana; Rachel, wife of Reuben Lewis; Lorenzo W., Nancy, wife of Cyrus Lewis, and John, live in Harrison Township. Mr. Blount has been a life-long Democrat, although now he is inclined toward the principles of the National Greenback party. Mrs. Blount was a member of the Christian church over thirty years, and then with her husband joined the Society of Friends, and since its disbandment they have united with no church. They have been residents of Blackford County over half a century, and witnessed every change it has undergone in transforming it from a wild uncultivated forest to a state of advanced civilization. Mrs. Blount is the only woman that ever killed a deer in Blackford County, her victim being a large animal with long antlers, and her weapon being an ax.

Submitted by Peggy Karol

HENRY J. KLINE, tile manufacturer, Jackson Township, was born on the farm where he now lives on section 32, the only child of Isaac and Mary (Vance) Kline. His father was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1820, and when a boy his parents moved to Fayette County, Indiana and in 1845 he came to Blackford County where he was married. He died in October 1848. The mother was born near Morgantown, Virginia, August 22, 1828, a daughter of Henry and Mary (Lackey) Vance, and came to Indiana with her parents in her girlhood, and thence to Blackford County in the spring of 1845. After the death of Mr. Kline she married Levi Ream. She is now postmistress of Millgrove. When Henry J. Kline was six years old he was taken to Burlington Iowa, remaining in that State until thirteen years old, when he returned to Indiana and lived in Delaware County until he was twenty-one years old, and while living there he enlisted in Company G, Ninth Indiana Cavalry. His regiment was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland, and nearly all the mounted men of the regiment were taken prisoners at Sulphur Branch Trestle, Alabama, by General Forrest, who was pursuing General Thomas in his retreat to Nashville. He was a prisoner six months at Cahaba and Selma, Alabama, and was then paroled at Vicksburg, and started north on the steamer Sultana, on which were 2,100 paroled prisoners. When well on it way up the Mississippi River, the steamer burst her boiler, and 1,500 men lost their lives, Mr. Kline being one of the few survivors of this terrible disaster. He was discharged June 17, 1865, and returned to Delaware County, where he remained a year, when he went to Montana and engaged in placer mining two years. In August, 1868, he returned home, and for several years was engaged in farming during the summer and teaching during the winter. In 1882 he began the manufacture of tile in Jackson Township, Blackford County, and in April, 1887, his sheds were destroyed by fire. His neighbors immediately rallied to his assistance, some furnishing logs, others hauling them to the saw-mill, or helping to erect the building, and when it was ready to be shingled there were forty-one men on the roof at a time, nailing on shingles, and in a short time he was ready to resume his business. Mr. Kline is a popular citizen of his township, and although a strong Republican, and his township being Democratic, he was elected assessor by a large majority. He was married June 1, 1872 to Melinda Ward, a native of Jackson Township, Blackford County, born January 13, 1853, a daughter of William and Tabitha (Holton) Ward, both of whom are deceased, her father dying in 1865, aged fifty-eight years, and he mother in 1880, aged sixty-eight years. Mr. and Mrs. Kline have four children - Edith, Merton, Daisy and Horton.

Submitted by Peggy Karol


The first newspaper printed in this county was published in the early part of the year 1852, and was named the Hartford City Times, of which Dr. John E. Moler was the proprietor, editor and publisher. This paper was fourteen by twenty inches in size, and nearly all the material used, including all the large type, wood cuts, etc., was manufactured out of wood by the editor. The paper was printed on a wooden press and a common wooden bench screw was used for a lever. The paper was principally used as an advertising medium by the Doctor in his profession; it was also used for the same purpose by the merchants of Hartford City. The delinquent tax list and all matters pertaining to the county received publication and were quite extensively circulated. A thousand or twelve hundred copies of an eight page pamphlet could be readily printed in a day, which, considering all the circumstances in the pioneer life of Blackford county, speaks well of the energy and enterprise of Dr. John E. Moler.

The second paper, the Blackford County News, was published by E. B. Chamness, in the latter part of the year 1852. In 1854 Mr. A. D. Hook, a merchant of Hartford City, purchased the paper and was in turn succeeded by Mr. Bromagem. In the year 1857 J. D. Chipman became proprietor of the News, but he, owing to some local difficulty, only published the paper for a short time. William and Samuel McCormack, in the year 1858, established the Blackford County Democrat, which was discontinued in the year 1861. James W. Ruckman, in the year 1861, established the Hartford City Union; in the year 1864 the paper was purchased by John M, Ruckman, who continued the publication of the same until 1871, when the Union was sold by Mr. Ruckman and the paper discontinued. Charles F. Jackson, in the year 1869, started the Hartford City Democrat, which was purchased by John M. Ruckman in December, 1872, and changed to the Hartford City News. In the year 1873 Richard G. Steele and James E. Williamson established the Hartford City Courier, which was soon sold to parties in Fort Wayne and the paper was removed.

In 1877, the Hartford City Telegram was established, with Charles C. Timmonds an editor. A few years later Benjamin A. Van Winkle became proprietor and editor, and he in turn was succeeded by Thomas S. and Samuel M. Briscoe. Several years since Edward E. Cox came here from Peru, Indiana and purchased the Telegram and has since conducted it. A few years since he established a daily paper called the Evening News. Mr. Cox has fitted up and furnished a very substantial and well equipped newspaper and job printing office. The Telegram is the recognized organ of the Democratic party in this county.

About fifteen years ago Hartford City Times was launched on the sea of journalism by Messrs Huffman and Geisler. In a short time Enoch D. Moffett, the present postmaster, became the editor and proprietor. A few years since Mr. A. W. Tracy purchased the establishment from Mr. Moffett, and has since been publishing a daily and weekly edition of this paper, which advocates the principles of the Republican party. The office will soon be removed into commodious quarters in the Campbell & Ervin building, now being erected.

Several newspapers have been published from time to time in Montpelier. L. G. Knight now publishes a very respectable paper there called the Montpelier Herald.

Submitted by Peggy Karol

ARTHUR E. SUTTON, farmer and school teacher, Jackson Township, was born in Dunkirk, Jay County, Indiana, December 11, 1858, a son of Daniel and Sarah C. (Hobson) Sutton. He father was born in Green County, Ohio, August 20, 1835, and when two years of age was taken by his parents to Dunkirk, Jay County, where he lived until nearly twenty-three years of age, and was then married December 4, 1856, and then died June 20, 1875. The mother was born in Harrison Township, Blackford County, July 4, 1840, and is still living in the county. They were the parents of seven children - Arthur E., Albert E., born May 25, 1862; Nellie A., September 11, 1864; Jose S., January 29, 1867; Ada A. R., March 31, 1869; Eliza C., October 8, 1871, and Minnie M., December 23, 1873; the last named died June 2, 1879. The paternal great-grandfather of our subject, William G. Sutton, was born in Ohio, and married Catharine Sutton. He was a Revolutionary soldier, and also served in the commissary department under General Wayne at the time he built Fort Wayne. The grandfather, Isaiah Sutton, was born in Green County, Ohio, where he married Catharine Shrack, and to them were born seven children - William G., Margaret, John, Daniel, Jacob, Sarah and Elizabeth, Jacob dying in boyhood. The maternal great-grandparents of our subject, Samuel and Catharine (Walgamoth) Gochnauer, were natives of Virginia, and pioneers of Blackford County, where they both died , the former October 26, 1872, aged eighty years, eight months and twenty-nine days, and the latter December 23, 1865, aged seventy years. They were the parents of three daughters - Mary A., Eliza and Catharine. They were all born in Virginia. The latter married Jose K. Hobson, and to them were born six children that lived to man and womandhood. - Sarah C., the mother of our subject, James P., Margaret A., Jacob E., George L. and Walter M. Arthur E. Sutton lived near the village of his birth until sixteen years of age, when he with his mother's family moved to Blackford County. Through great disadvantages he managed to procure a common school education, and was able to enter college, which he did, going a few terms to the Methodist Episcopal College at Fort Wayne, Indiana, although he was unable to complete his course. As a teacher his success was good, using energy and determination. Out of the nine terms of his teaching five has been at his home school, the Gochnauer. He was married September 3, 1885, to Anna E. Schmidt, who was born in Hamilton County, Indiana, October 17, 1862, and came to Blackford County when a child. She is the daughter of John P. and Anna B. (Triech) Schmidt, natives of Germany. Both died in Blackford County. To them were born five children - Anne E., Jacob, Catharine B., Eva, and William H. Mr. and Mrs. Sutton have one child, Jacob A., who was born May 12, 1886, in the house built by his great-great-grandfather shortly after he settled in Blackford County.

Submitted by Peggy Karol

Deb Murray