This enterprising agriculturist and dairyman, now residing in Middletown, Henry County, Indiana is a native of Greensboro, also in Henry County, Indiana, and was born December 29. 1847. He is descended from one of the oldest pioneer families in the state and is a son of Jordan and Catherine( Bristol) Pickering, of whom further mention will be made. Jonas Pickering father of Jordan Pickering was a member of one of the first families of Virginia in which state Jordan was born May 31 1820 and in 1823 or 1824 came to Henry County, Indiana, locating on a farm one mile from the present site of Greensboro. For twenty years he made this farm his home and then retired to the village, but passed his declining years at the home of his son, Jordan, in New Castle, August 1, 1860. His wife, who had borne the name of Ruth Gregg, and whom he married in Loudoun County, Virginia, was born February 23, 1804, and died May 7, 1856. Catherine (Bristol)
Pickering was born in Pike County, Ohio, November 30, 1826,and in 1830 was brought to Henry County, Indiana, by her parents. Benjamin and Mary Bristol, who settled one mile west of Middletown on land the father entered just west of the present tin-plate plant. He there erected the family residence in 1846, of bricks made in the vicinity, the edifice being in that day one of the most pretentious in the neighborhood and there it still stands, a landmark and a cynosure, there the father died January 3, 1869, and his widow December 19, 1878. Catherine was married to Jordan Pickering June 28, 1846. When Jonas Pickering came to Indiana he was obliged to cut his way through the forest from New Castle along the banks of the Blue River towards Greensboro, one of the chips taken from a beech tree on that memorable occasion being still preserved by the County Historical Society. On ‘the farm which Jonas had entered Jordan and his brother Joseph were reared to manhood years.
They were both voting men when they came to Middletown to operate a tannery, which they had built on the east side of North Fifth Street. They operated this until 1849, when Joseph went to California, hut never returned. He was searched for, for five years, wagons in fragments and bones of horses being found on the route from his last known locality to new diggings and it is supposed that he was murdered by Indians. Jordan Pickering had been reared a carpenter and cabinetmaker and was married in June 1846. He followed his trade until 1854 and then engaged in the drug business, which he conducted until 186o in New Castle. About this time he visited Pike's Peak, principally with a view of improving his health, and on his return embarked in general merchandising in company with Caleb Johnson, an elderly Quaker preacher, and Thomas Evans at Dunreith, Indiana. This partnership was continued until failing health again compelled Mr. Pickering to seek recuperation in travel
and with his family he visited Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Finding no relief, he returned to Henry County, Indiana, and purchased his wife's old homestead, although her parents were still living. Here he passed the remainder of his life and died January 2, 1868 at the age of forty-seven years, during fourteen years of which period he had been a sufferer from consumption. He left three children, of whom Loring A. is the gentleman whose name opens this biographical notice, Mary Alice, a maiden lady residing in Middletown with her mother, and Charles J., of the Middletown mill. Mrs. Catherine (Bristol) Pickering, widow of Jordan, continued her residence on the homestead until 1889, her parents remaining with her until their respective deaths. Her father, Benjamin Bristol, who was born in 1798, died from small pox January 3, 1869, and was survived by his wife about eight years and was close to eighty years of age at her death. The farm continues to be the property
of the family. Loring A. Pickering managed the home place after his father's death until about 1873, when his younger brother took charge, Loring A. having decided to embark upon the sea of matrimony. On the 23rd of September 1873, he was united in marriage with Miss Elenor Cummins, who was born in Madison County, Indiana, and was eighteen years of age at the date of her marriage. Mr. Pickering then rented a farm from his father-in-law in Madison County, which he resided upon until 1876, when he went to Sumner County, Kansas, and secured a farm, which had been entered the previous year, for which he paid thirteen hundred dollars and assumed an indebtedness of about nine hundred dollars. On this farm he made his home for twelve years, and in 1891 he sold it for three thousand and one hundred dollars. While a resident of Kansas Mr. Pickering taught school several terms, a profession he had, begun to follow when twenty-two years old, having been educated at
Spiceland Academy under the famous Clarkson Davis, but having been obliged to relinquish the full course of study on account of his father's failing health. He taught in Henry and Madison Counties, Indiana, several terms and in Kansas five years. In Kansas also Mr. Pickering became somewhat prominent in county educational work and was sent as a delegate to a state convention of educators held at Topeka. In 1889 Mr. Pickering returned to his old home in Henry County; two years before he had sold his Kansas farm and the rent of that place during these two years brought him six hundred dollars. After his return to Henry County Mr. Pickering managed the home farm for two years and then, in 1892, bought his present place of one hundred and sixty acres, one half mile north of the corporation limits of Middletown, for which farm he paid eight thousand dollars and has since improved it to the amount of four thousand dollars, crossing it with a large drain which alone cost
him two hundred and twelve dollars, to this he has added a short drain which leads to the residence lots and has so arranged his drainage system that at every rainfall the surface water is at once carried off. Mr. Pickering also has two tubular wells, and a windmill that pumps gas for the Citizens Company and which has been in operation nine years. Mr. Pickering conducts a large dairy, keeping about twenty cows, and his barn is arranged in a manner especially designed for handling milk, with much of which he fills bottles made for the purpose, and thus commands almost the entire trade of Middletown. Mr. Pickering has a family of four children, namely: Mackey J., a graduate of the Middletown high school and a student at the State Normal University at Terre Haute, Indiana, three of the oldest children are graduates of Middletown high school. Mr. Pickering and family attend the Christian church in Middletown, in which he is a deacon and the church clerk. Fraternally
he has been a Master Mason for more than thirty years and has filled all the offices of his lodge. He and wife are like wise members of the Eastern Star degree, he serving as worthy patron one year; Mrs. Pickering is also a member of the Woman's Relief Corps. Mr. Pickering keeps himself well read up in current literature, with which he also keeps his family well supplied and having practically retired from the active labor of the farm, enjoys in comfort the high respect of his neighbors which he has so deservedly won.
Submitted by: Lora
Compendium of Biography Of Henry County, Indiana B. F. Bowen 1920
Agriculture has been the chief occupation of the gentleman whose name appears above and the enterprising manner in which he has taken advantage of every method and idea tending towards the enhancement of the value of his estate. In addition to being a successful farmer and stock raiser he is a man of intelligence and varied information, and for many years has been much interested in matters of public import. He is one of the leading citizens of the township in which he lives and in every way worthy of special mention with the progressive men of Henry County. The Copeland family in America came from North Carolina and the date of their arrival in Henry County is about 1825. In that year the subject's parents, Ephraim and Leah (Copeland) Copeland, came to this part of Indiana and settled in Buck Creek township, Mr. Copeland working for some time thereafter as a farm laborer. He and wife made the trip from North Carolina on horseback and encountered many
difficulties and hardships on the way. He was a poor man and the outlook for some time after his arrival was anything but encouraging. Subsequently he obtained possession of a piece of woodland, erected a small cabin and after becoming settled addressed himself to the formidable undertaking of clearing a farm. After occupying his original place for a few years and doing considerable work thereon, he sold and purchased the farm in Greensboro township where his son, the subject of this sketch, now lives. Mr. Copeland was a true specimen of the sturdy pioneer of the early day, strong in body, independent of spirit, self-reliant in all of his undertakings and did much towards the material improvement of his community. He lived on his second place until his death in 1860, made money slowly but surely and left to his heirs a personal estate valued at several thousand dollars, besides four hundred and forty acres of valuable land, the greater part well improved
and in a successful state of cultivation. One hundred and twenty acres of this land constitute the home place in Henry County, the other three hundred and twenty being in the county of Hancock. Ephraim and Leah Copeland had eleven children, only five of whom are living at the present time, namely: Abigail, wife of Jesse Holloway; Louisa, now Mrs. Job Holloway; Lewis, who married Louisa Allen; Seth S., the subject of this review, and Nellie, wife of John Reed. Seth S. Copeland was born in Henry County, Indiana, on the 18th day of July, 840. He first saw the light of day on the place where he now lives, was reared to a proper conception of the true dignity of honest toil and early in life had the principles of truth and love of right so impressed upon his mind and heart as to influence for good the whole course of his subsequent career. In the country schools he received a fair English education, and until his twenty-first year remained with his mother,
having taken charge of the farm after his father's death and managed it successfully to the interest of his remaining parent and himself. In November 1863, Mr. Copeland chose a life companion in the person of Miss Lizzie Kennard, daughter of John Kennard, after which he rented the homestead until his mother's second marriage, when he bought out the other heirs and came into full possession of the farm. As a farmer Mr. Copeland has been energetic and up-to-date, prosecuting his labors systematically and according to the most approved modern methods. His place is well improved with good fences and substantial buildings and the general appearances of the premises indicates a spirit of thrift and progress which betoken the presence of an agriculturist familiar with every detail of his calling and fully in touch with the advanced age in which he lives. He has a beautiful and attractive home and is well situated to enjoy life, providing amply for those dependent
upon him, besides accumulating a handsome surplus for the future. Mr. Copeland is a gentleman of high moral standing and socially has a wide acquaintance among the best people of his township. He discharges the duties of citizenship as becomes a loyal American, taking an active interest in political and other matters and demonstrating a desire to promote the advancement of his county by advocating all enterprises and measures for the public welfare, he votes the Republican ticket and has done so since old enough to wield the election franchise, being quite an active worker but by no means a professional politician or narrow partisan. He has traveled extensively in the United States, especially in the South and West, seeing much of the country and broadening his mind by contact with the world in various capacities. Religiously Mr. Copeland is a member of what is known as the Hicksite branch of the society of Friends and for a number of years has been an
active worker in the local church to which he belongs: Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic lodge at Greensboro, in which for several years he held the important office of treasurer. In all of his relations with his fellow men he is the soul of honor and wherever known his word has all the sacredness and binding force of a written obligation. A kind neighbor, a successful farmer and an enterprising and progressive citizen, with a clear life and a pure record, such in brief is the life of this well-known and highly esteemed resident of the township of Greensboro, and it is a pleasure to give him mention in this volume. Three children constitute the family of Mr. and Mrs. Copeland. Glen S., who married Lottie McKee, was born in 1865, Earl, born in 1870, lives in Chicago, and Ethel who is the wife of Clarence Lee of this county.
Submitted by: Lora
Compendium of Biography Of Henry County, Indiana B. F. Bowen 1920
This highly respected and eminent resident of Mechanicsburg and president of the Farmers Bank at Middletown, Henry County, Indiana, was born in Perquimans County, North Carolina, May 4, 1827, and is a son of Ephraim B. and Eliza (Hardee) Elliott, the former also a native of Perquimans county, born in 1782, and the latter a native of Georgia. Both were of Scotch-Irish descent, of the Quaker faith and were married in North Carolina in 1820. Of five brothers of the Elliott family who had resided in England and who came to America from that country in the Colonial days one settled in North Carolina; one in Virginia and one in Kentucky; the others in all probability returned to England. Ephraim B. Elliott was a true American patriot and a lover of liberty and enlisted for the war of 1812 in defense of the rights of the Union against the encroachments of the British king and parliament, but as he had met with an accident in which one of his legs was broken, he was not placed upon active service. His financial circumstances were not very satisfactory in their character and to remedy the paucity of his purse he resorted to school teaching and at the same time read law. In 1829 he came to Indiana and first located in Wayne County in the fall of 1833, a year remarkable for a meteoric shower of unusual brilliancy. Later he came to Henry County and settled in Fall Creek Township, his son, Giles C., having preceded him in 1831. Nimrod R. Had also preceded his father earlier in the fall of 1833 and made his home with the wife of his elder brother, Giles C., while the latter was making the necessary trips to bring the family and their household goods, farm implements, etc.
Giles C. Elliott erected a log cabin three miles southeast of Mechanicsburg on heavily wooded land, east of which Ephraim B. had already cleared up three or four acres. Some little time afterward, after having cleared up about twenty acres and made a small farm,
he bought a new place in the woods and began all over again. On this place he passed the remainder of his life and died in 1859 when seventy-seven years old; his widow survived him until 1862 and died at about the same age. Ephraim B. Elliott kept up his interest in schoolwork, his earliest employment, until the last hours of his life. There was but one schoolhouse within five miles of his farm, and that was at Middletown. He therefore donated from his forty-acre tract a quarter-acre lot, upon which a log building was erected, and this is still known as the Elliott School house. It had a puncheon floor, slabs set on pegs served for desks and seats, one log removed from the wall formed an aperture which was denominated a window and this was covered with greased paper in lieu of glass. The first pedagogue was a Mr. Watkins, an old man from Virginia, who chewed an immense quantity of tobacco and constantly expectorated on the hot stove. He could barely add and subtract
and would dash his whip on the floor and tell the pupils with in difference to get their own lessons. Ephraim B. Elliott was compelled to cipher out the more difficult problems, and, being a splendid penman, devoted much time to teaching his son, Nimrod R., this elegant accomplishment. He was very anxious that Dick, as Nimrod R was usually called, should be well educated and was willing to spend his last dollar to attain this end. Dick was accordingly sent to school at Greensboro, where in due time he secured a license to teach for two terms, one of these being for the school held in the Huff meeting house in the winter of 1850, the largest in the township and having an average attendance of forty pupils. In 1851 Nimrod R. Elliott began to sell goods in Mechanicsburg, a business he followed for over forty-three years, and also had interests in stores at Cadiz and Middletown. Mr. Elliott started with a capital amounting to about three hundred and twenty-five
dollars, borrowed one hundred and fifty dollars and of this total invested four hundred dollars in stock. During his long career as a merchant in Mechanicsburg he occupied only one site, but at different times used three buildings, one, a frame, being destroyed by fire in 1863; this was replaced by a frame and later by a brick in 1866, which is still standing. Mr. Elliott carried a stock of from five thousand dollars to fifteen thousand dollars and his annual sales averaged fifteen thousand dollars to forty thousand dollars. Mr. Elliott had several partners at different times, but started trade alone. His first associate was Ezra Swain, for ten years; his second, Elihu Swain, for twelve years, and next with Imla W. Cooper for twenty years as salesman and partner. Finally the firm consisted of himself alone. Whenever he made money Mr. Elliott would invest all his profit in real estate, and whenever he saw anything at all that promised to net him a dollar he would
buy it. He carried on a long credit trade, but he could also buy on four and six month's time. Mr. Elliott did all the buying and four times a year-visited Cincinnati on horseback. Cambridge City was his nearest trading point by canal and his first stopping place on the railroad was Chesterfield, on what is now known as the Bellefontaine railroad, and goods were brought to the village with four-horse teams. As he held the confidence of the people in a very large degree, he frequently had during the Civil war as much as twenty-five thousand dollars at a time in his safe in keeping for his neighbors. He did by far the largest mercantile business in the township and retired there from February 16, 1895. He next began to invest in farmlands, although he had already much of that class of property in his possession. In partnership with another person, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the town of Mechanicsburg at thirty-five dollars per acre, but soon
afterward offered this partner five hundred dollars to take it off his hands, but this the latter declined to do. So Mr. Elliott put it under cultivation and has converted it into one of the most profitable places of its size in the township. He also owns the homestead of his late father, his possessions being in tracts of one hundred and ninety, four hundred, one hundred and ninety acres, or a grand total of nearly seven hundred and eighty acres. He paid as high as seventy dollars per acre for a one-hundred-and-sixty-acre tract just after the close of the Civil War part of which he sold for one hundred and sixteen dollars per acre; but while he has bought as low thirty-five dollars per acre, the average cost has been fifty or fifty five dollars per acre. He generally keeps from sixty to seventy-five head of cattle, mostly thoroughbred, and although he has been president of the Middletown Fair Association for sixteen years, had never made an exhibit. He and Thomas
Wilhoit were the founders of the association and respectively hold the offices of president and vice-president at the present time. Mr. Elliott has also done something in the way of pork-packing at Middletown, but the result has not been altogether satisfactory to a man of his business acumen. Mr. Elliott has always been an advocate of good roads, as being of incalculable value to farmers and other citizens. He was president of the first pike road company at Middletown and of others at Mechanicsburg, until all the pikes were turned over to the county; he is now aiding in the promotion of the interurban electric line. In Company with John Terhune and George Hazard, in 1874 Mr. Elliott started the Farmers Bank at Middletown, with a capital stock of fifty thousand dollars. This bank carried on business for ten months, when it was sold to a company at Anderson and was organized as the Farmers Bank of Anderson, with Mr. Terhune as cashier, John E. Corwin as president
and Mr. Elliott as vice-president, with the capital stock fixed at one hundred thousand dollars. It was run for four years and then converted into a national bank with a capital of fifty thousand dollars. At the end of the four years Mr. Elliott sold his stock in this bank and organized the present Farmers Bank of Middletown in May, 1882, with a capital of thirty thousand dollars, and officered as follows: N. R. Elliott, president: Thomas Wilhoit, vice-president; E. L Elliott, cashier; B. H. Davis assistant cashier, with I.W. Cooper, William Wisehart and Thomas Wilhoit as additional stockholders. The capital stock still remains the same; the deposits average one hundred and ninety-three thousand dollars and the earnings or surplus is disposed of, as the laws require. The present officers of the bank are N. R. Elliott, president: Adolph Cooper, vice-president, E. L. Elliott, cashier, and Joseph Van Matre, assistant cashier, and the bank stands as one of the most
responsible moneyed institutions in the state of Indiana. Mr. Elliott was also for a time a stockholder in the Hagerstown Bank, but concluded to concentrate his financial interests in Middletown, where he has been an earnest and liberal promoter of all its industries. In politics Mr. Elliott has always been a stanch Democrat, having been even when a boy inimical to the Whig doctrine of protection or high tariff imposts. In 1884 he was a presidential elector from the sixth congressional district and was alternate at the national convention. He attended all the national conventions, both Democratic and Republican, for twenty years with the exception of the last few. Always in the councils of his party's leaders, Mr. Elliott was an intimate friend of Thomas A. Hendricks and. was a delegate to the state convention when that distinguished Democratic states man refused to accept a nomination for the office of governor and was likewise a member of the committee appointed
to call on Hendricks and urge him to accept which the latter did finally and was elected. Mr. Elliott was also quite intimate with Senators Voorhees and Turpie and a close friend of Governor Morton. In his prime he was selected by the Democratic managers as a leading speaker, and his extraordinary eloquence never failed to draw about him immense audiences and to strengthen the weak-kneed and convince the doubting. In religion Mr. Elliott is a Universalist, but freely contributes to the support of all religious societies. Of secret orders he is not a member of any except the Masonic. He was made a Mason in 1852 at Middletown and is a charter member of the local lodge, which was organized in 1858 and of which he was the first worshipful master, holding this exalted position sixteen years. He has sat in the grand lodge and has done some committee work therein, but has refused to take grand lodge work proper. He is a member of New Castle Chapter, Royal Arch.
and Knightstown Commandery, Knights Templar. He attended the national conclaves at Cleveland, Chicago. St. Louis, Washington, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Louisville, and at the latter city in 1901was in the march from start to finish. Mr. Elliott is a member of the Eastern Star branch of the order at Middletown, as is also his wife. During the war of the Rebellion Mr. Elliott was a loyal and devoted friend of the Union and aided in raising all die military companies in Henry County. He was constant and untiring in his care of the families of many of the soldiers who went to the front and expended more money in this and other ways than will ever be known. In temperance work Mr. Elliott has been active and ardent all his life and was identified with it as far back as the early Washington movement; in public educational matters he favors compulsion when necessary. Nimrod R. Elliott has a family of two children. Ida Florence and Erasmus Leonidas. Of these Ida Florence
is the wife of J. M. Thurston, M. D., of Richmond, Indiana and a professor in the Physio-Medical College at Indianapolis: she finished her education in the New Castle Academy, was married young and has one daughter, Eva, who is the wife of Hugo Theme, professor of languages at the University of Michigan. Erasmus Leonidas Elliott, now the cashier of the Farmers Bank at Middletown, was graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan, is a Republican in politics and has served two terms in the state legislature of Indiana.
Submitted by: Lora
Compendium of Biography Of Henry County, Indiana B. F. Bowen 1920