James Thomas Kercheval, who lives on a farm of ninety acres in Washington township, this county, two miles east of the city of Greensburg, was born on the farm on which he now lives, February 8, 1860, the son of Lemuel W. and Elizabeth Ann (Travis) Kercheval, both natives of this county, the former of whom was born on January 19, 1815, and died in 1880, and the latter of whom was born in 1821 and died in 1889.
Lemuel W. Kercheval was the son of George Washington and Hannah (Grant) Kercheval, natives of Virginia, the former of whom was born on March 21, 1782, and the latter on September 17, 1784, who were married on December 5, 1805, emigrating to Kentucky, in which state they lived until 1821, in which year they came to Decatur county, locating in Washington township, which ever since has been the seat of Kercheval family in this county. George W. Kercheval's father was a soldier in the patriot army during the Revolutionary War. His wife, Hannah, bas a daughter of Robert and Sarah Grant, the former of whom also was a Revolutionary soldier.
To George W. and Hannah (Grant) Kercheval were born seven children, namely: Caroline Frances, born on August 22, 1807; Elizabeth Sarah, August 24. 1809; Lucinda P., April 2, 1811; Mariah Jane, March 6, 1813; Lemuel Willis, January 19, 1815; Armand Melvina, February, 1817, and Eliza Ann, April 6, 1821.
Lemuel Willis Kercheval was reared on the home farm, receiving such education as the limited schools of his day afforded, and on March 6, 1850, married Elizabeth Ann Travis, of this county, daughter of Hannah Frances Travis, a widow, whose husband was killed when Elizabeth Ann was a small child. Lemuel W. Kercheval owned one hundred and eighty acres of good land and was a good farmer and a good citizen. He was a member of the Methodist church, but late in life espoused the faith of the Baptists. He was a Republican and took a good citizen's part in the political affairs of the county, though never being included in the office-seeking class. He and his wife were the parents of two children, sons, James T. and George W., the latter of whom lives in Greensburg, this county.
James Thomas Kercheval received his education in the district schools of Washington township, supplementing the same with one year's schooling in town. He inherited his farm of ninety acres, the home farm being divided between him and his brother at the death of their parents. He has made the most of his opportunities and is known as a wide-awake, enterprising farmer, ever alert to the most advanced methods in the rapidly expanding science of agriculture. In addition to his general farming he gives considerable attention to the raising of live stock and has prospered.
On August 6, 1885, James T. Kercheval was united in marriage to Martha J. Privett, daughter of William and Cynthia Privett, who died on December 7, 1897, leaving two children, Lemuel Willis and Forest D. Lemuel Willis Kercheval lives at Newport, Kentucky. He married Theresa Hoffman, to which union two children have been born, George W. and Arthur. On August 17, 1899, Mr. Kercheval married, secondly, Mrs. Effie M. Harrison, a widow, who had one child, a daughter, Glendora.
Mr. and Mrs. Kercheval are adherents of the Presbyterian church and take an active interest in the works of that church and in the general social affairs of their community, being very popular with all who know them. Mr. Kercheval is a Republican and is a member of the Knights of Pythias. He is an excellent citizen and is held in high regard among his large circle of friends.
"History of Decatur County, Indiana"
Lewis A. Harding
B. F. Bowen & Co.
published in 1915.
John Harding, the father of James L. Harding, emigrated to Decatur county with his family, through Butler county, Ohio, from Virginia, and was one of the pioneer settlers in the eastern part of Decatur county not long after the red man had kindled his last fire on the hillsides of old Salt Creek.
James L. Harding, his brothers and sisters, his parents and the thrifty neighbors of his boyhood days, lived to see a wonderful transformation in the rural life and the agricultural processes of the country about them. Such men as they know what it meant in the days agone to live in a home in the wilderness. They saw what it meant to fell the trees of the heavy virgin forest, to clear and prepare the land for the planting and then to gather the harvest with implements of the crudest sort. Mr. Harding remembers many of the achievements of the scattered, early pioneer communities of the eastern section of the county, the genuine frolic and fun of the husking-bees and the triumphs and the merriment of the log-rollings of the hardy days before the Civil War. It is a wonderful thing to have lived, as he has done, over the period when the boundary line between two epochs in the history of the industry and progress of the country was being crossed, and to have been in that period a part and parcel of its very achievements. James L. Harding himself has done his part well in the promotion of good citizenship in the land, by the example of his own true character and his live interest in public affairs and by his characteristic championship of absolute honesty and integrity in private and public life. He supports religious movements generally and is a stanch Democrat as are his sons. Among more important duties he has served two terms as land appraiser, in 1903 and in 1911. While he has done his part, also, in transforming agricultural life and opportunities in Decatur county, he has done so as a man possessed with a vision of newer and greater achievements. It is his son, by the way, the Hon. Lewis A. Harding, graduate of the Indiana State University, now prosecuting attorney of the ninth judicial circuit of Indiana and a member of the American Historical Association, who is the editor of the historical section of this volume.
James L. Harding, who owns a productive farm in Salt Creek township, Decatur county, Indiana, was born on July 3, 1842, on the old Harding homestead, in a double hewed log cabin, the last child of John and Susan (Abraham) Harding, the former of whom was born on April 27, 1790, and died on March 3, 1882, at the age of ninety-one years, and the latter of whom was born in 1798 and died at the age of eighty-seven years in 1885. John Harding was a native of Augusta county, Virginia, the son of John Harding, Sr., of old Cavalier stock, who died in his native state. John Harding, Jr., with others, emigrated to Kentucky and thence to Butler county, Ohio, in an early day. In Butler county, Ohio, John Harding married Mary Ashcraft, who was a sister of Amos Ashcraft, and established a pioneer home at the Kinnard hill, about two miles east of the state line on which is now the Brookville & Hamilton pike. To this first marriage was born one child, a son, Providence. The wife of John Harding's early young manhood died young. He later married a Miss Abraham, and to this second union also but one child was born, a daughter, Mary Ann. After the death of his second wife, John Harding married her sister, Susan Abraham, to which union nine children were born, namely: Mrs. Emaline Earls, Israel, Sr., Enoch, Elizabeth, Mrs. Hester Osborn, Mrs. Florence Osborn, Harrison, Mrs. Sophia Jane Marlin and James L., the last named and eleventh child of the family, being the only one born in Indiana.
The old well at the site of the early home at the Kinnard hill remained intact until about five years ago, when it was filled up and a railroad was built across the place to Okeanna. The Harding place in Ohio embraced only eighty acres and soon proved too small for the large family. Accordingly, John Harding procured from Amos Ashcraft a tract of two hundred and forty acres in Salt Creek township, Decatur county, Indiana. To this place, now known as the old Harding homestead, where James L. Harding now lives, John Harding removed from Butler county, Ohio, in the month of February, 1839, crossing the Whitewater river at Brookville, and other streams, on the ice. The eldest son, Providence and family moved to Salt Creek township about a year later and settled on what later became known as the old Volk homestead. In that early time of the pioneer these was no driveway in the forests south of Salt creek and John Harding and his family chopped a roadway out of the wilderness. When he located on the farm only about two acres on the two hundred and forty were cleared. Enochsburg at the very western edge of Franklin county, Indiana, had been in existence then only a short time as a frontier outpost of the coming civilization. A Mr. Longfellow and a Mr. Beach were pioneers then living at Enochsburg. The town took its name from Enoch Abraham, an uncle of James L. Harding, who came to Indiana shortly before John Harding and established a homestead and erected a log house on what is now the John Suttmann place one mile east of Enochsburg, where the old house still weathers the storms of the years.
James L. Harding, who was the only child of his father's family born in Indiana was named after his mother's brother, James Abraham. Charlotte Cook, who officiated at the important event of July 3, 1842, said to call the baby Lancaster, after the town of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, named after the founder of Mrs. Cook's early childhood home, Lancaster, New Jersey, she having named her own son James Lancaster Cook, and thus was completed the name of James Lancaster Harding. During the childhood days of James L. Harding his father and elder brothers were still busy clearing and improving the farm where John Harding lived until the end of his days. Their gallant neighbors shared with them the toil of many a log-rolling on the old homestead. Among the early neighbors of John Harding in Salt Creek township, who rolled logs on his place, were the following pioneers: Ephraim Ashcraft, David Davis, Asa Davis, Harrison Dortan, Henry Kyle, William Barkley, Parkinson Barkley, Samuel Richardson, William Glidewell, Barney Shouse, Sr., Joseph Palmer, John Moody, James Moody, Joseph Moody, David Lawrence, Henry Lawrence, James Cook, Sr., Joel Colson, Robert Ross, Wash Barkley and Chris Welsh. The wife of David Lawrence and a daughter of Henry Kyle are said to be the first two persons buried in the cemetery at Rossburg. The remnants of an old wagon made by Henry Lawrence for James L. Harding in 1865 still remain upon the Harding homestead.
John Harding's beloved wife, Susan Abraham, was a native of Bracken county, Kentucky. She was born about eight miles from the present county seat of that county and was a daughter of Benjamin and Mary Abraham, of that state. Benjamin Abraham with his family emigrated to Butler county, Ohio, and later became one of the early settlers in Franklin and Decatur counties, Indiana. Benjamin, the husband of Mary Abraham, died in Franklin county, Indiana, and he was buried in the old private cemetery on his farm, the old Ben Abraham place in Franklin county, north of Oldenburg. The Abrahams were of Scotch-Irish descent. In addition to Susan Abraham who was the mother of James L. Harding, the children and grandchildren of Benjamin and Mary Abraham were as follow: Enoch (before mentioned), whose children were Benjamin, Jr., Noah, Jr., Enoch Perry, Jackson, Mrs. Rebecca George of Adams county, Iowa, and Woodson Wilson Thompson Abraham, who died at Casey, Illinois, July 30, 1915; Noah, whose children were Sarah Jane, and James of Wells county, Indiana; Isaac; Benjamin (Benjamin and James, next named, were twins), whose children were Sarah of Chicago, Mary, James, and Nancy Sherwood; and James, whose children were Benjamin, William, Mary ("Polly") Bowman, of Franklin county, Indiana, recently deceased, Nancy Young, Rachel Weston (wife of Hugh Weston and buried at Stipp's Hill, Franklin county, Indiana), and Nathan, of Iowa; Sarah Welch, whose children were James, Isaac, Enoch, Mary, Thomas, Abisha, Florence, Fletcher and Abe, all of Jackson county, Iowa; Florence Morin, whose children were Mary Ann, Benjamin and Sarah Elizabeth, all of Mercer county, Missouri: Mrs. John Whitinger, of Fayette county, Indiana; and Lot, who had one son, John, who lived and died at Maquoketa, Iowa. Of the above named grandchildren of Benjamin and Mary Abraham, the greater number are at this time (1915) deceased. The Harding and Abraham families both have always been ardent Democrats. John Harding was at one time a census enumerater in his section. He was a firm believer in the universality of religion and sought to live out in his daily life the teachings of the common faith. Of his eleven children, only two are now (1915) living, Mrs. Hester Osborn, who resides one mile west of Newpoint, and James L., the youngest of the family.
The other sons and daughters, deceased, of John Harding, and their children were as follow: Providence, who married Sarah Ann Johnson, of Butler county, Ohio, whose children were Mary Jane Earls, Newport, Indiana, deceased; John (whose children are Arthur, Ella, La Mond, Blanche and Robert Harding of Cincinnati, Ohio); Rebecca Ann Hall, Paris, Illinois; Reuben, an attorney of Chicago, Illinois (deceased); Marcus, now of Hillsdale, Indiana; Mrs. Caroline Waltman, died July 1, 1915; Mary Ann Marlin (wife of Wesley Marlin and buried in the Marlin cemetery on the old Charlie Marlin farm in Franklin county, Indiana), whose children were John, Charles, Susan, Tamsen Green and Cicero; Enlaline Earls; Israel, Sr., whose children were Enoch F., of Newpoint, Elizabeth Dortan, now of Washington state, Richard, of Newpoint, Nancy Graham, of Terre Haute, Indiana, George Albert, of Troy, Ohio, John, of Clarksburg, Indiana, James, of North Loop, Nebraska, died in February, 1915, Susan, deceased: Sarah, and Ed, of Newpoint; Enoch, whose children were Israel, Jr., John, Providence, Reuben, Alfred, Hester Ann, and William; Elizabeth; Hester, wife of George Osborn; Florence, wife of Albert I. Osborn, whose children were Hester Puttmann, Susan Jane Barnard, Annie and John; Harrison, whose wife was Mary Abraham Smith, now of Indianapolis; and Sophia Jane, deceased, wife of Lewis Marlin, now of Richmond, Indiana, whose children were Mary Ellen (deceased), Mollie Strohmeier, of Philanthropy, Butler county, Ohio, Olive Alyea, of Richmond, Indiana, and John, deceased.
James Lancaster Harding during his boyhood and youth was able to obtain a rather liberal education for the time in which he lived. He was educated at Rossburg and Newpoint, and, after completing his education, settled on the "east eighty" acres of his father's farm. The one and one-half story log house situated at the northwest corner of this eighty acre part of the farm, in which all of the children of James L. Harding were born, was razed in the spring of 1915, after it had been carefully photographed. The present Harding home was erected in 1887, at the site of John Harding's old home.
On January 11, 1866, James L. Harding was married to Eliza Louisa Hennking (Hankins) of Franklin county, Indiana, at which time he built the log house and soon afterward moved into it. The parents of his beloved wife were Herman and Mary (Thole) Hennking, both of whom were natives of Germany. Herman Hennking took ship for America at Bremen, some time in the thirties. After spending a while in Baltimore he came westward to Cincinnati where he married Mary Thole, whose family name became well known in Cincinnati. Eliza L. Harding was born on August 22, 1844, in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lived until her ninth year, and was baptized in the St. John's Lutheran church, of Cincinnati. She, with her parents, then removed to Newport, Kentucky. After residing there five years, she again removed with her parents, to Franklin county, Indiana, where she lived until her marriage in 1866. Her father, Herman Hennking, was born in August, 1814, in Germany and died on October 30, 1892, on the Hennking homestead, east of Newpoint, at the edge of Franklin county. Her mother, Mary (Thole) Hennking was born in Germany, on March 25, 1821, and died on August 18, 1899, on the homestead in Franklin county. Eliza Louisa Harding had one brother, Ed, deceased, and one sister, Mary, wife of Eli Snedeker and also deceased. The father and mother of Mrs. Harding were buried in the Huntersville German Lutheran cemetery at Batesville, Indiana.
The children born to Mr. and Mrs. James L. Harding, and the grandchildren, are as follow: George Edward, born on December 27, 1866, who was married on November 24, 1892, to Electa Coon, of Osgood, Indiana, to whom were born six children, Walter O., Edward, Lewis J., Chester D., Juanita, and Mary Elizabeth; Ira Melvin, November 18, 1868; Charles Milton, April 17, 1870; Augustus Clifford, June 25, 1872; Evert and Ella (twins), February 24, 1875, died in infancy; Oscar Judson, March 5, 1876; Lewis Albert, February 1, 1880, and Grover Cleveland (Clyde), July 23, 1884. Of these, Augustus C., a man steady and reliable in his business lives in Indianapolis; Ira M. faithfully assists his father in the agriculture of the homestead; Charles M., a man noted for his thrift and skill of hand, manages much of the business of the homestead for his father, and because of his prudence and good judgment, his wide reading, knowledge and live interest in affairs, contributes his talents as a most valuable citizen in the community in which he lives; Lewis A. is an active man of affairs in public life, and is now serving his second term as prosecuting attorney of the ninth judicial circuit of Indiana, at Columbus.
Eliza Louisa Harding, wife of James L. Harding, died when she was a comparatively young woman. The appropriate scripture reading at her funeral was Proverbs 31:10-31. Her obituary, read by the Rev. G. W. Bower, who conducted the services at Rossburg, contained the following tribute offered by one of her sons:
"Wife, mother, and neighbor, she lived the even tenor of her life with busy thrift, and ruled her home with counsel wise and kindly, loving words. Her ways were ways of pleasantness and all her paths were peace.
"Alas! that strange affliction should becloud her closing days. She struggled for six long years with patient hope, and endured what she alone could tell. On May 1, 1901, she peacefully succumbed to death, age fifty-six years, eight months and nine days. The Master called and she was well prepared to die.
"Loved one, wife, mother, friend-thy troubles and trials are over now. Rest, mother, rest. We have gone down with thee to the dark valley; but thou hast left us and crossed 'over the river to rest under the shade of the trees.' "
Oscar T. Harding, died on December 11, 1902. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report," he thought on those things. By his life well did he, indeed, prove the saying that a wise son maketh a glad father.
Grover C. Harding began his career in educational work in which he had a particular interest and for which he possessed an exceptional faculty, but like one of his first teachers in school, he had to leave that work in manhood's early morning. His purposes and ideals were high and he got his first inspiration for this work perhaps from a brother of Superintendent Jacob G. Collicott, of the Indianapolis schools, the late Harmin R. Collicott, who taught school at Rossburg. Lewis A. Harding and Grover C. Harding were two of the latter's students, and the good influence of that teacher will go on and on in the lives and souls of all who were fortunate enough to learn the lessons both of books and of life which that one man taught in the little school at Rossburg. Grover C. Harding was graduated from the Newpoint high school on April 20, 1897. In the course of his oration entitled "Value of An Education," which he gave on that occasion he said:
"Education does not mean cramming our heads with 'book learning,' but our moral training as well. Our state would rather see us ignorant Christians than educated criminals. * * * Many treat the subject of education too lightly. They do not realize the bearing it will have on after life." He died on July 19, 1905.
The eldest son, George E. Harding, died at Osgood, Indiana, September 13, 1905. His obituary stated regarding him: "He was a man who looked faithfully to the interests of his home, his wife, and his children. He always sought the betterment of the community in which he lived and spent his days in industry and thrift."
A general survey of the genealogy of the Harding family shows that one of the knights in the train of William the Conqueror, 1066, was named Harding, or Hardyng, as it was spelled. Sometimes there is a final "e," Hardynge.
It seems that the name, a compound of "har" or "here" and "ing," means the place where an army camps. "Here" is army and "ing" a meadow. Much curious data is found in books devoted to surnames, and in a list of names which are peculiar, to say the least, we find that one Harding, of Lewes, was graceful. He figures in the list as "Graceful Harding of Lewes." Others of a like kind are "Fight-the-Good-Fight-of-Faith White" and "Weep Not Billing." Hardyng, who was one companion of William, and founded the family which flourishes in Kent, Warwick, Devonshire and Derbyshire, was "of royal blood." One of the learned men of his time was Thomas Harding, of Combe Martin, Devonshire. In the Visitation of Derbyshire the descent is given from Nicholas Harding, of Knewton, who had Robert. His son, Nicholas, was the father of Robert, who had a son, Nicholas, born in 1662. Sir Robert, of Nottinghamshire, and Knewton, or King's Newton, was knighted at Whitehall, February 2, 1674. John Harding of this lineage was born in 1686, was prominent in the political life of England and member of Eschequer, 1715. William Harding, of Surrey, who died in 1503, had a son, William, by his wife, Catherine, daughter of Sir John White, Lord Mayor of London, 1563. The son, William, dying without children, his sister, Mary, became the heiress of William Harding, her father. Mary married Sir Robert Georges and became the mother of eight. As far as the Harding lineage is concerned, she, of course, plays no part in the Harding records. Mary's sister, Elizabeth, married John Buckland, "of an ancient family." Sir Robert Gorges was born of Sir Ferdinando Gorges and his wife, Ann Bell. One Robert Gorges was living in Plymouth Bay Colony in 1623. He was Sir Robert, or near kin to him. After his death his land in Plymouth went to his brother, John. Sir Ferdinando Gorges's second wife (but not the mother of his children) was Eleanor, Marchioness of Northampton, and widow of William Parr, Marquis, who was the brother of Catherine Parr, one of the Queens of Henry VIII.
The Harding coat of arms is blazoned: Argent, a bend sable, with three martlets, or, crest, a falcon displayed proper. This coat armor is ascribed to the Thomas Harding who was prominently connected with the settlement of Virginia. (See end of biography for photo.)
"Colonial Gentry" gives an account of that branch of the Harding family which lives in Somerset county at Milverton, near Taunton. George Rogers Harding, who was born in Somerset county and had a political appointment in Queensland, was the son of George Harding, of Devonshire. The Morris and Winter are allied families. Nicholas Harding, "of Kingston-upon-Thames, Esquire," was born in 1772. His daughter, Jane, married Henry Pelham, of Sussex, and had Anne, who married Thomas Papillon. Monuments to the memory of both may be seen in Acrise church, Kent. Of Frances, daughter of Thomas Papillon, it is recorded that she was "a servant of Christ and friend of the poor."
A member of the Harding family contributes the following data: "As I am informed, the Hardings were prominent in Virginia and in Massachusetts. In Virginia they were called 'Cavaliers,' and Augusta county was their home. My grandfather, John Harding, was not a first settler, for he was born in Virginia. He left there while a lad in company with his father, and uncle Samuel and others, when the country was a wilderness. The party came through Kentucky, staying there long enough to help clear a farm. Thence they crossed the Ohio river at Cincinnati and settled in Butler county, Ohio, where another farm was cleared, and there John Harding raised his family. All were born there except my father, who is a Hoosier product, and proud of the fact. My grandfather often talked of that journey through the wilderness, of its incidents and trials, and the perilous trip across the mountains. Their principal food was the deer they killed. Their passage was so slow that many times they were obliged to go back and get fire to start their supper from their previous night's camp. They were sixteen or eighteen days crossing the mountain-slow going, the travel of those old pioneers. At times they unhitched their horses and pulled the wagons, one part at a time, up the steep precipices."
John Harding, of Virginia and Ohio, married Susan Abraham, who was born in Kentucky. Her parents settled in Butler county, Ohio, about the time the Hardings made their home there, and near the "Dry Fork of the White-Water." Thomas Harding was one of the Virginia pioneers. He is put down in old records as prominently connected with the settlement of Virginia and from London, "member of an ancient family." In New England we find the Hardings in Massachusetts and Vermont, where they contracted marriages with the Vintons, Gibbs, Waldos, Marceys and Maxhams. Rev. Alpheus Harding, of New Salem, Massachusetts, was in the War of 1812 as chaplain.
We also find that the Hardings belong in Pennsylvania. John Harding, of Germantown, of English stock, had a son, John. Saunders and Haws are allied families, and the goodly number of nine daughters - all lovely girls, we may rest assured - and two sons is the count in one household. All histories of Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, have records of the Hardings as worthy pioneers, who always were to the fore in affairs demanding executive ability.
The Hardin (no "g") family of Kentucky became Western pioneers. Asa Hardin, the father of ten, and born in Kentucky, went to Illinois. Allied families include the Stith, Reager, Rucker and Butler families. Benjamin Hardin, famed as an orator and lawyer, was the son of Benjamin Hardin, of Kentucky, and his wife, Sarah, who was also his cousin, the daughter of Colonel John Hardin. Wat Hardin was also a famous Kentucky lawyer and orator. It is in Kentucky that Hardin is the usual form of the name. Steve Harding, of Milan, Indiana, was appointed the first territorial governor of Utah by Abraham Lincoln.
An allied family is that of Barbour. The Barbours were from Virginia, and an early father was a burgess. Major James Barbour was in the War of 1812. Brigadier-General Martin Hardin, United States senator and secretary of the state of Kentucky in 1812, was a remarkably brilliant man and a splendid soldier. He belonged to the fifth generation of a race of soldiers. He married Elizabeth Logan. Stuarts, Chinns and Clays are allied families. The Hardings, as well as the Wardins, have their soldiers, bold and true, ready to sacrifice all save honor for home and country. Gen. William Harding is one of the soldiers of the family, and there is a connection with the Jackson family, through the marriage of Selene, daughter of General Harding, to Gen. William Jackson, born in Virginia.
General Jackson's home was Belle Meade Farm, Tennessee, where he died a few years ago. He was a West Point graduate. Judge Howell, brother of General Jackson, married Mary Elizabeth, sister of Selene Harding. The mother of Selene and Mary Elizabeth was Elizabeth Irwin McGavock. The father of Gen. William Harding, was John, who married Susannah Shute. The general, who had three other daughters and a son, William, is called a scholar and soldier, and a gentleman. Family connections of this branch of the Harding family include the Langhornes, Whites, Kents and Campbells.
Gen. William Campbell, of Revolutionary fame, belongs here. Of the Wardings of Mississippi, Lyming Harding was prominent, and one of the securities for Aaron Burr's appearance at the superior court at the time of his arrest, when he was compelled to surrender to the authorities and was conducted under guard to Washington, Mississippi, the seat of government of the territory. Burr gave his recognizance in the sum of five thousand dollars, with Col. Benaiah Osmon and Lyming Harding as securities. This was when Aaron Burr was on his way to seize Mexico and make it his personal empire. He was a guest of Colonel Harding at Windy Hill manor, and during his sojourn there he became infatuated with the beautiful Madeline and impetuously made love to her. "She was a miracle of beauty," and good as beautiful.
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"History of Decatur County, Indiana"
Lewis A. Harding
B. F. Bowen & Co.
published in 1915.
Walter Hungerford, the cashier of the St. Paul Bank at St. Paul, Indiana, which was organized on December 10, 1904, is a direct descendant of Lord and Lady Hungerford, of Farleigh Castle. A native of Rush county, Indiana, he was born on a farm, July 13, 1873, the son of Orlando and Margaret (Knapp) Hungerford, both of whom were natives of Rush county, the former born in 1852 and the latter in 1854. Orlando Hungerford is a son of Calvin Hungerford, a native of Connecticut and a scion of an old colonial family of Connecticut, who was born on December 10, 1811, and who died on June 23, 1867. The latter married Eleanor Sefton, who was born on October 18, 1818, and died on February 1, 1892. Calvin Hungerford was the son of Richard Hungerford, who was born on December 28, 1788, and died in 1870. Richard Hungerford was the son of Lemuel and Abigail (Beebe) Hungerford, the former of whom was born on February 21, 1761, and who died on February 21, 1846, and the latter born on July 10, 1761, and died on January 27, 1842. Lemuel was the son of Lemuel Hungerford, Sr., who was born on May 23, 1733, and who married Sarah Stewart. Lemuel, Sr., was the son of Green Hungerford, who married Jemima Richardson, and Green Hungerford was the son of Thomas and Mary Hungerford, the former of whom died in 1714. Thomas Hungerford moved from New London, Connecticut, to Haddam, Connecticut, in 1692. He was granted a section of land and was first selectman or mayor of Haddam. By trade he was a blacksmith and nailmaker. Capt. Zachariah Hungerford was commander of Ft. Trumbull and Ft. Griswold, on the Connecticut river, during the Revolutionary War. The family's church burying lot in Haddam shows a massive slab, bearing the inscription, "A Son of the Revolution." Thirteen Hungerfords from Connecticut fought in the Revolutionary War and this was only a part of the family who served in this great conflict. Benjamin Hungerford was second lieutenant in the First Company of the Fourth Regiment; David was long a prisoner at Fort Washington; Elijah was a "minute man" who volunteered in 1776; James was a soldier of East Haddam; Thomas H, was captain of the Fifteenth Militia; Uriah was a surgeon at Long Island; Uriah was a piper, and Zachariah a surgeon. John, Joseph, Nathaniel, Oliver and Stephen were also soldiers. William E. Hungerford was one of the first of the family to come to America. He had a beautiful home and estate on the banks of the Connecticut river. At his death, his remains were taken back to England and buried in Salisbury cathedral, where the twin tombs of Lord Walter and Lady Hungerford are still shown.
Richard Hungerford came from Connecticut to Indiana, in the early twenties of the last century, settling in Rush county, where he took up government land in tracts of one hundred and sixty acres each for each of his five children. Orlando Hungerford resided in Rush county until his marriage and then moved to Shelby county in 1875, locating near Blue Ridge, where he prospered. He became a large landowner and is one of the wealthiest citizens of this section today. To his union with Margaret Knapp three children were born: Walter, cashier of the bank at St. Paul, who is the subject of this sketch; Pearl, a farmer near St. Paul; and Dora, assistant cashier in the bank of St. Paul. Orlando Hungerford lives just across the line in Shelby county.
Walter Hungerford was educated in the common schools of Blue Ridge, in Rush county, and spent two years in the Marion Normal College at Marion, Indiana. He then followed farming until 1904, when he came to Decatur county, locating at St. Paul, where he opened the St. Paul Bank on December 10, 1904. This bank has had a remarkable growth since its opening for business and this growth is largely due to the enterprise, industry and good management of its cashier. Mr. Hungerford is a man of engaging personality, cordial in his relations with the patrons of the bank, the depositors, directors and officers, as well as the public generally.
Walter Hungerford has been twice married, first in 1894, to Zora K. Yarling, the sister of Senator Yarling, of Shelby county. She died in November, 1904, leaving two sons, Donald, who was born on May 28, 1896, and George, October 2, 1898. By the second marriage, on December 10, 1905, to Mrs. Kellie Kelso, of St. Paul, there has been no issue. Mrs. Hungerford is the daughter of Mrs. Colvil E. Pearce, a widow of this county.
Mr. Hungerford is a Democrat but has never been active in political circles. He is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons at Waldron and of the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at St. Paul. He and his wife are members of the Christian church. They occupy a splendid residence in St. Paul. Walter Hungerford is known in this community as a fine fellow, cultured and progressive, a good citizen and a very pleasant gentleman.
"History of Decatur County, Indiana"
Lewis A. Harding
B. F. Bowen & Co.
published in 1915.
When fourteen years of age, Fred Mulford learned to lath with the plasterers and follows that line of work steadily at North Vernon, Charlestown and at Memphis, Tennessee. He also turned a number of jobs at Greenburg and elsewhere in Decatur county. This led him into taking a complete course in architecture with the Scranton International Correspondence School. He became very proficient in this line of work. He was the agitator and furnished sketches for the improvement of the Centenary Methodist Episcopal church at Greensburg. Though the building committee used other plans, Mr. Mulford received compensation for the time previously spent in getting the work under way. He also drew several sets of plans for different buildings in Greensburg, but, because of real estate deals, they were not carried out and built upon. It was because of his drafting ability that he was mentioned to the publishers of this work as being capable of drawing the maps used herein. His ability is displayed in the complete maps of the county and the nine townships, with all farms platted according to the spring assessor's platting in 1915.
It was during the progress of this work that a tragedy occurred that was a sad blow to Mr. Mulford and family and the entire community. Mr. Mulford went to Indianapolis on June 5, 1915, to submit his work to the publishers, according to previous contract. Wishing to show his little five and one-half year old daughter, Alma Alleen, a pleasant day's outing, he took her with him to the city. From the B. F. Bowen Company offices, Mr. Mulford and his little daughter went to the Century building in Indianapolis, where they took the elevator for the eighth floor. Directly after entering the elevator, another passenger entered and the elevator started up. This passenger got off at the third floor. The operator started the car up and attempted to close the screen door. Alma Alleen, who was standing at the side and partly back of her father, seeing the door still standing open, thought it was her getting-off place. She hurried out, and as the car was at least fifteen inches above the floor level, missed her footing, fell forward and struck her forehead. She let out a smothered scream as her other foot slipped off the elevator floor and she fell back down into the shaft three stories, on to a concrete basement floor, her skull being fractured and the right leg broken at the thigh. The accident, which would not have occurred had the operator closed the door of the elevator before starting the car, resulted in the death of little Alma Alleen, who lived just twelve hours, dying in the Deaconess hospital, at Indianapolis, just before midnight. At the coroner's inquest the passenger who left the elevator at the third floor, testified that the father was not at all to blame, and that the operator had failed to close the door before starting the car.
Mr. Mulford's family consists of his wife, Cora, one daughter, Harriet Thelma, and three sons, David Sherman, Irvin Gaylord and Glen Emmert, all of whom were born in Greensburg, as was also little Alma Alleen, who met so sudden a death.
Lewis A. Harding
B. F. Bowen & Co.
published in 1915.
Thomas Edgar Hamilton, a well-known farmer of Washington township, this county, whose well-tilled farm adjoins the city of Greensburg on the north, was born in Clinton township, this county, April 19, 1853, but has lived on his present farm, in the fine brick mansion built by his father in 1864, for fifty years. This substantial old mansion was constructed of brick, the fine old trees which surround the house and the ivy-covered driveways leading thereto speak volumes for the loving care which is bestowed upon it by its present occupants. Mr. Hamilton is a son of Thomas George and Eliza Jane (Lewis) Hamilton, the former of whom was born in Nicholas county, Kentucky, in 1819, and died at his home in this county of March 13, 1870, and the latter of whom was a daughter of Dr. M. Lewis, a pioneer physician of this county, who came here in the year 1823 and helped to lay out the town of Greensburg. Thomas G. Hamilton's brothers, William W. and Samuel R., also were residents of this county. Another brother, Cincinnatus, remained in Kentucky.
Thomas George Hamilton was a son of Col. William Hamilton, who drilled a company for service in the War of 1812. Col. William Hamilton, who married Polly Bernau, was born in 1792 and died in 1878; was born, spent his whole life and died on the ancestral home in Kentucky. He was a son of Thomas Hamilton, a native of Virginia and a pioneer settler in Kentucky. Thomas Hamilton was a son of William Hamilton, another of whose sons, William Hamilton, Jr., lost his life while battling for independence during the Revolutionary War. Thomas G. Hamilton came to Decatur county in 1845 and after a short residence it1 Greensburg, where he made his home with a brother who had preceded him to this state, he bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres south of town, where he resided two years, at the end of which time he bought a farm of three hundred and seventy-six acres in Clinton township, on which he resided until 1865, in which year he bought the farm adjoining the town of Greensburg on the north now owned and occupied by his son, Thomas E. This farm is well improved and very productive, being one of the choicest farms in Decatur county. One section of this land, one hundred and sixty acres, originally was owned by William Kingstone, a grant to him from the government in 1814, in recognition of his services in the French and Indian wars. He sold the section for four hundred dollars, being, no doubt, well satisfied with what probably was considered a "bargain" in those days. Needless to say, that one hundred and sixty acres of land has increased in value fifty-fold since the day William Kingstone pocketed his four hundred dollars.
Thomas G. Hamilton married Eliza Jane Lewis, born in 1828, died in 1872, to which union were born three sons, William Lewis, who lives at Indianapolis; Thomas Edgar, the immediate subject of this sketch, and John Livingston, a well-known farmer of this county. In connection with his extensive farming operations, Thomas G. Hamilton was the pioneer dealer in mules in this county, buying and selling large numbers of these patient animals. He was a Democrat and was prominent in the political affairs of the county, being one of the best-known and most influential men of this section in his day. He and his wife were devoted members of the Presbyterian church and their sons were reared in that faith.
Thomas E. Hamilton was reared on the paternal farm and received his education in the district schools and the Greensburg high school. He early devoted himself to farming and now has one hundred and fifty-two acres and also owns a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Clinton township, this county. Mr. Hamilton is an intelligent, useful citizen, "honest to the core," as his neighbors delight to phrase it, and is doing most excellent service on behalf of the public in the responsible position of a member of the county council, to which office he was elected in 1914 and in which he is doing his duty honestly, conscientiously and with an eye single to the public good. He is an able executor and has been administrator and trustee for several large estates in this county, a form of service in which he gave the utmost satisfaction, and has done and is doing his full duty, as he sees it, as a faithful, efficient and capable man of affairs.
On November 20, 1879, Thomas E. Hamilton was united in marriage to Ida May Wooden, daughter of the late Dr. John L. Wooden, a one-time well-known physician of Greensburg, whose genealogy is set out elsewhere in this volume in the biographical sketch relating to her brother, Elmer E. Wooden, a retired merchant of Greensburg, and to this union one child was born, a daughter, Florence M., who is living at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton and their daughter are members of the Presbyterian church and are devoted to the good works of the community in which their lives have been spent in faithful and loving service. Mr. Hamilton is a Democrat and is prominent in the councils of his party in this county, his sound judgment and keen executive ability giving to his counsels much weight in the deliberations of the party managers. He is a good citizen, one whom all his fellow citizens delight to honor.
Lewis A. Harding
B. F. Bowen & Co.
published in 1915.
Edward W. Davis was born on a farm in Adams township, Decatur county, Indiana, on March 28, 1876, the son of James and Sarah E. (Braden) Davis, the former of whom was a native of Ireland and the latter of this county, daughter of Jack Braden, a Kentuckian, one of the best-known pioneer residents of Clay township; the man who built the first blacksmith shop in the town of Greensburg, a reference to whom may be found on several pages of this volume of biography, particularly in the biographical sketch relating to Charles Templeton, whose wife is a sister of Mr. Davis. James Davis was twenty years of age when he left Ireland to make his fortune in the land of the free across the Atlantic. Upon arriving in this country he proceeded to Cincinnati and for some time was engaged in freighting between Cincinnati and Brookville, this state. He presently located in Decatur county and became very wealthy, owning at one time as much as three thousand acres of land. No man in the county was better known than he. He had more than a local fame as a trader and was an exceedingly energetic and enterprising person.
Edward W. Davis received his education in the local district school and has always lived in the neighborhood of his present home. Following his marriage in 1903, he moved onto his present farm, remodeling a three-room house, which then stood on the place, into a nice residence and in this he lived until his present fine new home was completed. Inheriting much of the energy and enterprise of his father, Mr. Davis has been quite successful in his farming operations and is looked upon as one of the substantial men of the county.
On January 3, 1903, Edward W. Davis was united in marriage to Ella Lawson, who was born in Kentucky on June 10, 1879, daughter of Thomas and Mary Ann (Ross) Lawson, both of whom died in Kentucky. Ella Lawson came to this county on a visit to the family of her brother, Frank Lawson, and here she met Mr. Davis, their marriage following not long after. To this union one child has been born, a son, James Edward, born on October 18, 1903.
Mr. and Mrs. Davis are members of the United Brethren church and are devoted to the good works of the community in which they live, being looked upon as among the leaders in all movements for the advancement of the common good. Mr. Davis is a Democrat and takes a warm interest in local political affairs, though not an active political worker. However, he is interested in good government and aids in every proper way the promotion of the same.
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Lewis A. Harding
B. F. Bowen & Co.
published in 1915.