J. ALONZO SHEWALTER. This well known and representative citizen of Blackford county has an ancestral record in which he may well take pride, as it bears its unmistakable evidence of lofty patriotism and useful and worthy citizenship, as one generation has followed another on to the stage of life's activities. His paternal ancestors, of staunch German stock, settled in Virginia in the colonial era of our national history, and the family name has likewise been linked with the history of Ohio and Indiana, in which latter state the family was founded more than half a century ago. Mr. Shewalter has been one of the influential citizens and prominent business men of Hartford City, the attractive judicial center of Blackford county, and in all of the relations of life he has honored the name which he bears. He was a gallant soldier of the Union in the Civil war, as a member of an Indiana regiment, and he has been a resident of this state since his boyhood days, so that the fine old Hoosier commonwealth is endeared to him by many gracious memories and associations.

John Shewalter, grandfather of him whose name introduces this review, was a resident of the historic Old Dominion State of Virginia, and lived at Winchester, in the beautiful Shenandoah valley. On the 10th of August, 1810, he wedded Miss Elizabeth Settlemer, whose ancestors were colonial settlers in New England. In the earlier generations the men of the Shewalter family in America gave their attention largely to mechanical vocations, and John Stewalter was an expert artisan as a wagon and carriage maker, at a time when virtually all work in this line was fine handicraft. He finally removed with his family from Virginia to Ohio, and in the Buckeye State he was for many years a prominent and influential citizen of Wilmington, the judicial center of Clinton county. There he conducted a wagon and carriage shop and there both he and his wife died when venerable in years, both having been zealous members of the Methodist church, and well may it be said that they lived "Godly, righteous and sober lives," and fully merited the high esteem in which they were uniformly held. Their children were Eliza and Elias R., who married and reared children and were folk of honest worth and substantial achievement.

Major Elias Shewalter, father of the subject of this sketch, was born at Winchester, capital of Frederick county, Virginia, in 1817, and he was about thirteen years of age at the time of the family removal to Ohio, the long overland journey having been made with teams and wagons, long before the era of railroad transportation. He was reared to manhood at Wilmington, Clinton county, Ohio, and there learned under the direction of his honored father the trade of carriage and wagonmaking. After his marriage he succeeded to the business established by his father in this field of artisanship and while still a youth he became prominent in military affairs in the old Buckeye State. At the time of the Mexican war his tactical ability was effectively utilized, since he trained many soldiers who enlisted for that conflict in the section of Ohio in which he resided, his services in this capacity having been officially recognized by the Governor of the State, who presented to him a handsome sword and uniform. When the Civil war was precipitated on a divided nation he was a resident of Indiana, and organized several companies for the defense of the Union, and he had carefully drilled a number of these even before the actual call for volunteers was made by President Lincoln. When hostilities became imminent and the call was issued by the President, he enlisted as a private in an Indiana regiment of volunteers, and soon thereafter he was chosen captain of his company. His gallant and efficient service in the field brought about his promotion to major of his battalion, and he led his regiment in the sanguinary battles of Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee, as well as in other engagements marking the progress of the war. He served nearly three years, with distinction as a commanding officer and as a loyal and gallant soldier who ever held the confidence and esteem of his men. Prior to the war Major Shewalter had withdrawn from the work of his trade and engaged in farming in Indiana, where he became sized of an estate of more than 320 acres. To the careful and effective supervision of this extensive estate and the care of their children his noble wife applied herself with unceasing devotion during the period of his service as a soldier. The maiden name of Mrs. Shewalter was Eliza Jane Hale, and she was born in Clinton county, Ohio, about the year 1814, her parents having settled in that state prior to its admission to the Union, in 1812. She was a daughter of William and Maria (Sabin) Hale, the former of whom was born in North Carolina, a birthright member of the Society of Friends, and the latter of whom was of New England ancestry and birth, their marriage having been solemnized in Clinton county, Ohio, where they continued to reside until their death, Mr. Hale having passed away when he had attained to the patriarchal age of nearly ninety-seven years and his wife having died when about eighty years of age, both having been lifelong members of the Society of Friends, commonly designated as Quakers.

In 1851 Major Elias Shewalter came with his family to Indiana and purchased 160 acres of wild land in Jay county, and later bought 160 acres more and he reclaimed this land to cultivation, became one of the able and substantial agriculturists of the county and a citizen who wielded large and beneficent influence in connection with public and industrial affairs in that section of the state. Major Shewalter's entire life was guided and governed by the highest principles, he was a man of superior intellectuality and mature judgment, and he was kindly and tolerant, though he never made any compromise for the sake of expediency when questions of right and justice were involved. He and his wife were earnest and zealous members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and their abiding Christian faith was shown forth in their daily lives. The Major naturally was reared in the faith of the democratic party, but with the outbreak of the Civil war he transferred his allegiance to the republican party, as it stood exponent of the principles in which he believed, - especially the preservation of the integrity of the Union. This sterling citizen continued to reside in Jay county until his death, which occurred August 26, 1898, at which time he was eighty-one years of age, his birth having occurred April 17, 1817. His marriage was solemnized February 22, 1837, and his cherished and devoted wife did not long survive him, as she was called to the life eternal in November, 1898, her memory being revered by all who came within the sphere of her gentle and gracious influence. The names of the children are here entered in respective order of birth: Maria E., John W., J. Alonzo, Samuel H., Charles M., Josephine, Alice, Howard M., Edward H., Ebenezer I., and U. Grant.

J. Alonzo Shewalter was born at Wilmington, Clinton county, Ohio, on the 26th of August, 1841, and thus was a mere lad at the time of the family removal to Jay county, Indiana, in 1851, as previously noted in this context. He is indebted to the common schools of Ohio and Indiana for his early educational discipline and was signally favored in being reared in a home of ideal associations and influences. When came the inception of the Civil war he was a youth of nineteen years, but his patriotic ardor was in consonance with that of his honored father, and the latter was not alone in representing the immediate family in the ranks of the brave "boys in blue." J. Alonzo and his elder brother, John W., as well as his next younger brother, Samuel H., followed the example of their gallant father and all became valiant soldiers of the Union, the others of the brothers having been too young for service. The three brothers enlisted in the Thirty-ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and all proved well their loyalty and gallantry as privates by participating in the various engagements in which their regiment was involved, all escaping capture and serious wounds except J. Alonzo, of this sketch. The Thirty-ninth Indiana served principally in the command of General Sherman, and Samuel H. finally received promotion to the office of Colonel in the command of General Kilpatrick, under whom he accompanied Sherman on the ever memorable march from Atlanta to the sea. On the 1st day of the battle of Stone's River, Tennessee, in November, 1862, J. Alonzo Shewalter, when with his command on the right wing of the Federal forces, was captured by the enemy, and thereafter he was held for sixty days as a captive in historic old Libby Prison, in the city of Richmond, where he endured his quota of the hardships that made the name of that prison infamous. After his exchange had been effected he rejoined his regiment, and he continued in service for only seven days less than four years, - thus covering virtually the entire period of the great internecine conflict before he received his honorable discharge.

After the close of his military career Mr. Shewalter resumed his association with the great elemental industry of agriculture, and eventually he became owner of his father's fine old homestead in Jay county. For thirty-five years he was engaged in the retail grocery trade at ., that county, where he also became a successful manufacturer of staves and heading for barrels. In 1890 he removed to Hartford City, and here he conducted a prosperous manufacturing business in the line noted above for a period of about two years, at the expiration of which the factory was destroyed by fire. He has since given his attention largely to his extensive landed and other capitalistic interests, and has achieved pronounced success in his various operations. His landed estate, in different States of the Union, now aggregates fully 1,400 acres, and he owns also his attractive residence property at 508 North High street, Hartford City. In politics Mr. Shewalter maintains an independent attitude and he is zealous in his opposition to the liquor traffic. His more gracious memories concerning his military career are perpetuated through his membership in the Grand Army of the Republic.

At Wilmington, Clinton county, Ohio, in the year 1886, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Shewalter to Miss Mary E. McMullin, who was there born in the year 1847 and who was there afforded excellent educational advantages. She is the daughter of William and Elizabeth (Henry) McMullin, the former of whom was born in Pennsylvania, of Scotch and English ancestry, and the latter of whom was born at Elizabethtown, Lancaster county, that State, their marriage having been solemnized in Clinton county, Ohio, where their respective parents settled in the pioneer days. Mr. and Mrs. McMullin continued to reside in Clinton county until their death, and each attained to the age of seventy-three years, Mrs. McMullin having been eighteen years her husband's junior, as she was eighteen and he thirty-six years of age at the time of their marriage. He was a birthright member of the Society of Friends, but his wife was a member of another religious organization. Mrs. Shewalter is a prominent and popular figure in the various social activities of her home city, where she is identified with the Women's Relief Corps and Ladies' Aid Society. Mr. and Mrs. Shewalter have one son, Morris E., who was born in Jay county, in 1887, and who received the advantages of the public schools and a business college. He is now assistant bookkeeper at the Hartford City paper mills. He wedded Miss Trenna Templeton, and they have one child, James Alonzo II, who was born in 1912. In their home Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo Shewalter reared, from the age of seven years, their niece, Veta DeTray, who can claim kinship with the great General of the American Revolution, the Marquis de La Fayette, who was graduated in the Hartford City high school in 1910 and who is now the wife of Charles O. Townsend, of this city.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


JOSEPH H. RHOADES. A resident of Hartford City since 1874, Mr. Rhoades' name is associated with various phases of the city's commercial activities. At first in the merchandise business, he transferred his attention in 1880 to real estate and insurance, and has the distinction of having established the first insurance office at the county seat. His activities in real estate and insurance have aggregated a greater volume than those of any other company or individual in the county, and his position as one of the successful factors in the community has long been assured.

Mr. Rhoades comes of a Pennsylvania-Dutch family, and it was established during the colonial days of American history. His grandfather, Jacob Rhoades, who was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, about 1780-82, was married in his native county to Madelina Smith, also of Pennsylvania stock and an old family. After his marriage Jacob Rhoades and wife moved to Ohio, locating in Licking county. In the various generations there have been many men prominent in affairs, and Jacob Rhoades had many extensive interests. Besides farming he operated a mill, owned and operated two pig-iron furnaces and maintains a service for transportation by wagon and teams of goods from Philadelphia to Zanesville and other trading points in Ohio. After selling his interests in Licking county he settled on a farm in Delaware county of the same state, and henceforth carried on his agricultural and stock raising operations on a large scale. It was his distinction to have been a pioneer in the introduction of Durham cattle into Ohio. His excellent judgment and his management enabled him to accumulate a large estate, chiefly in land, and when he became old he distributed the greater part of his six or seven hundred acres of farms among his children, giving each one an 80 acre tract, a substantial start in life. Mr. Rhoades died at a good old age at Dublin in Franklin county, Ohio, in 1863. He was a prominent man all over Central Ohio, and for many years was an active supporter of the whig faith in politics, and both he and his wife were people of that class who do most towards upbuilding any community in its formative stages. His wife passed away several years before him. They had a large family, including Jacob Jr., William, John, Joseph, Henry, Eliza, Kate and Annie. All married and had children and all are now deceased, some of them having passed away in Ohio and others in Missouri. As a family they were all successful, and usually farmers and stock dealers, though occasionally one branched out into exclusive business lines or into a profession.

Henry Rhoades, the father of the veteran Hartford City business man, was born in 1809, either in Pennsylvania or in Licking county, Ohio. His youth was spent in Licking county, where he married Elizabeth Holmes. She was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, in 1819 and died on Christmas Day of 1907, at a venerable age. Her death occurred in Columbus, Ohio. She too was of a Pennsylvania family, and her father Peter Holmes, had served as a soldier and with the rank of an officer in the war of 1812, being inspector of meats for the commissary department. Peter Holmes died at Mt. Sterling, Ohio, on the old National Road, at a good old age. After his military experience he had followed farming and stock buying, and was a man of considerable business and civic prominence.

The ten children of Henry Rhoades and wife were: Joseph H.; John, who died a young man of twenty-two; Jane, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, the wife of Al McCoy, and has three children; Jacob, now deceased, who was twice married and left a family of children; Mary is a resident of Columbus, Ohio, married and without issue; Henry, who for many years was superintendent of the stock yards and is now in the insurance and real estate business in Columbus, Ohio; Simon, who accidentally shot himself while hunting at the age of seventeen; Douglas, who lives in Columbus and has several children; Jackson, who died in young manhood; and Nathaniel, who lives in Columbus, a carpenter by trade, and makes him home with his sister Mary.

Joseph H. Rhoades was born in Licking county, Ohio, August 16, 1834, but when four years of age his parents took him to Delaware county, where he grew to manhood. His marriage occurred in Miami county, Ohio, Margaret E. Carr becoming his wife. She was born in Fayette county, Ohio, in 1844, but was reared in Miami county, a daughter of Absolom and Mary Carr, both of whom lived to a good old age and died on a farm in Miami county.

After his marriage Joseph H. Rhoades located at Piqua, Ohio, and was connected with the railways there, now a part of the Panhandle Road, from 1861 until 1865. His next business location was at Urbana, Ohio, where he did merchandising, and in 1874, forty years ago, moved to Hartford City. His enterprise here for several years was a general store on the south side of the square. In 1880 Mr. Rhoades gave up selling goods by retail, and opened an office for insurance and real estate. From that time on his time and attention has been devoted to those lines, and his success has been notable. He was, as already mentioned, the first regular insurance man in Hartford City. It can also be credited to him that he has handled more sales of farms and farm lands in this county than any other real estate man. His large and well equipped office is in the Cooley Block on the west side of the square. Mr. Rhoades represents sixteen fire insurance companies. He is a member of the State and National Insurance Association, and has long had a recognized prominence in his business. For the past twenty-two years associated with him as his capable assistant has been Miss Bertha M. Dale, who was born and reared in Indiana and is one of the most capable business women of Blackford county. She has familiarized herself with every department of Mr. Rhoades' work, is a practical abstractor, both she and Mr. Rhoades are notary publics, and she deserves much credit for the successful business which has been carried on under Mr. Rhoades' name for so many years.

Mr. Rhoades is affiliated with the Masonic Order in the Lodge, Chapter and Council, and has passed several chairs. He is also a member of the Elks Lodge No. 625 of Hartford City, and in politics is a democrat.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


WILLIAM N. CUNNINGHAM. During the last quarter of a century a large amount of the building enterprise in Hartford City and vicinity has been performed by William N. Cunningham, whose career as a building contractor has brought him a successful position in the community. Mr. Cunningham represents one of the very earliest families located in Blackford county, and their home has been in this section of Indiana for eighty-five years. The family was established here by his grandfather, and its various members have always been noted for their good citizenship and ability to manage their own affairs successfully and provide well for their families.

The Cunninghams came from Virginia, grandfather Adam Cunningham having been a native of that state and of Scotch ancestry. He was born about 1800, when a young man moved to Ohio, and there married a Miss Denny, who was also born in Virginia probably about three years after her husband, and also of Scotch forefathers. To their union were born the following children: Jane, Lydia, John M., Henry, Sarah, Andrew J., Nancy and Marinda. In 1829, after the birth of the first three children, the grandparents put their possessions and children on wagons and with teams drove across the country to Blackford county, locating on government land four and a half miles southwest of Hartford City in Licking township. Adam Cunningham having selected his location and made some disposition of his family, walked all the way to Fort Wayne, a distance of more than fifty miles, in order to perfect his entry and get a title to his land. In that place he worked hard and gradually improved a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres. The old log house was subsequently replaced by a good frame dwelling, and his wife having died in middle life he married for his second wife Miss Lavina Romain. She owned a farm in her own right, and they lived on that place until their death, he passing away in 1872 and she some years later. There were no children by the second marriage. Both were member of the Dunkard church, and his politics was democratic. Of the children of Adam Cunningham still living the following are mentioned: Henry Cunningham, who lives in Montpelier and has three sons; Sarah is the wife of James McVicker of Blackford county, and lives on a farm and has three children; Marinda is the widow of Francis Bell, and has her home on Main street, and is the mother of two sons and two daughters; Nancy is the widow of Abner Needler, of the old Needler family of Grant and Blackford counties.

John M. Cunningham, the father of W. N. Cunningham, who was the third of the children, was born in Ohio in 1827, and was just two years old when his parents set out for Indiana. On the old homestead in Licking township he grew to manhood, and later was married in Jackson township to Isabel Hamilton, who was born in Ohio about 1837, a daughter of Thomas an Mary Hamilton. The Hamilton family moved to Blackford county at a quite early day, and lived here and in Wells county until both Thomas and Mary died, the former at the age of seventy-one and the latter at eighty-seven. Thomas Hamilton was a republican in politics.

After his marriage John M. Cunningham located on a farm in Licking township, and kept his home there until 1873, when he moved to Hartford City and after that worked principally at the carpenter trade but finally retired and spent his last years in comfort. His death occurred December 24, 1910. His widow is still living, at the home of a daughter in Michigan, and is now past seventy years old. Both she and her husband were members of the Dunkard church, and in politics he was a democrat throughout his career. John M. Cunningham and wife had the following children: Mary, who died when three or four years old; Eliza, who lives in Texas as the wife of Alex McNeal; William N.; George W., who is a machinist in Toledo, Ohio, and has three daughters; Eleanor, who is now living with her second husband in northern Michigan, and has no living children.

The birth of William N. Cunningham occurred in Licking township November 22, 1864. The common schools furnished him his book training, and from 1880 until 1884 he worked out a thorough apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade. After that for a number of years he was employed under various contractors as journeyman, and in 1903 established a business as a building contractor in Hartford City. Since then he has employed his business organization in the construction of a number of private residences and much business property and also has erected several public schools in the county. In politics Mr. Cunningham belongs to the republican party and is a temperance man, advocating prohibition.

In 1886 Mr. Cunningham was married in his old home community in Licking township to Lavina Alice Hollingshead. Her birth occurred in Delaware county, Indiana, October 26, 1869, and she was reared partly there and partly in Blackford county, with her education supplied by the schools of both localities. Her parents were James and Ann Louisa (Rutter) Hollingshead. Her father was born in Darke county, Ohio, and her mother in Virginia, and both came with their respective parents to Delaware county, locating on partly improved land near Granville. Mrs. Cunningham's grandmother Hollingshead was ninety-three years of age when she died and her grandmother Rutter attained the age of eighty-three. James and Anna Louisa Hollingshead had a good farm in Licking township, and her father enjoyed a reputation as an able trader and was quite a prosperous man. His death occurred in 1897, while his wife passed away May 13, 1900, at the age of sixty-four. Both were members for many years of the Methodist church and he was a democrat. Mrs. Cunningham was one of a family of four sons and four daughters, all of whom married but one. No children have come to Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham, and they have maintained a hospitable home for their friends and are generous and active workers in the community and members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Hartford City.

Blackford and Grant Counties, Indiana A Chronicle of their People Past and Present with Family Lineage and Personal Memoirs Compiled Under the Editorial Supervision of Benjamin G. Shinn
Volume I Illustrated
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1914
Submitted by Peggy Karol


Deb Murray