Submitted by: Jim Hartline and Gene Andert
ELDER DAVID FAWLEY, of Harrison Township, was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, August 9, 1834. When ten years of age he went with his parents, Jacob and Margaret Fawley, to what was then Crawford County, Ohio, where he was reared to manhood. In 1844, the family came to this county, settling on section 14, Harrison Township, where the father died in 1876 and the mother in 1877. They were the parents of twelve children - David, John, George, Wilson S., Susan, Amanda, Joseph, Aaron, Samuel, Anthony, Jacob and Mary A. The last six are deceased. After a residence in this county of a little more than a year, Mr. David Fawley returned to Ohio, where he was married March 4, 1846, to Rachel Saul, born September 29, 1827, in Fairfield County, that State. She was reared and educated in Seneca County. Her parents were Samuel and Ann Saul, the former a native of Pennsylvania, and the latter of Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Fawley have had twelve children - Mary C., Reuben A., Martha, Annie B., James A., William J., David S., Margaret C., Samuel J., Minerva J., Saloma R. and Rosa E. The five last named are deceased. In, 1848, with his wife and one child, our subject returned to this county, coming with a team and wagon, which required eight days to make the journey. They were obliged to camp out at night, and follow the trails and Government roads. In 1873 he located upon his present farm in Harrison Township, and has been a successful farmer. In 1860 he was ordained to preach, having united with the Old School Baptists, since which time he has been a zealous laborer in the Master's vineyard. He is the present pastor of a church located upon his own farm. Being of an unassuming and retiring nature, he has always refused office, although frequently solicited to be a candidate. He owns 191 acres of good land, with modern buildings, and it is considered one of the best farms in the township. Politically he affiliates with the Democratic party.
Source: "History of Kosciusko County", 1919
Submitted: September 17, 2000
WILLIAM FELKNER, a pioneer of Van Buren Township, was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, October 10, 1805. His father, Martin Felkner, was a native of Tennessee, and his mother, Margaret Felkner, was a native of Virginia. His father was of German descent, and his mother English. They settled in Fairfield County in the spring of 1805, where our subject lived until he was thirteen years of age, when he removcd to Franklin County, and was there reared to manhood. He received a rudimentary education in the early subscription schools of Ohio. He was engaged in stage driving for three years when a young man, and with that exception he has always followed farming. He was married in Franklin County, Ohio, December 3,1829, to Miss Mary A. McCoy, born January 10, 1811, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Robert and Nancy McCoy, of Irish ancestry. To this union were born eleven children, five of whom survive - Rachel, wife of Elias Gartner, of Goshen, Indiana; Eliza, wife of Andrew J. Stephenson, of Council Bluffs, Iowa; Martin Y.; Thomas B, a lawyer of Noble County, Indiana, and Neil. Martin and Neil comprise the mercantile firm of M. & N. Felkner, of Milford. In the spring of 1830 Mr. Felkuer emigrated to Elkhart County, Indiana, settling Goshen, where he lived three years. In October, 1832, a final treaty was made with the various tribes of Indians occupying lands now comprising Kosciusko and other counties, by which these lands were ceded to the United States Government. Mr. Felk is supposed to be the only man living in this county who was present at that treaty. It was made on the south side of Tippecanoe River, in Fulton County, about three miles north of Rochester. In March, 1833, he came to Kosciusko County, and settled on section 21, Van Buren Township, on the wild prairie, where he took up a half section of land. He improved this land, and lived upon it until the fall of 1865, when he removed to Milford, where he has since resided. He was elected county commissioner in 1835, and held the office for eight consecutive years, being one of the first three elected in county. He served several years, at different times, as trustee of Van Buren Township. Although not a church member, he always lent a helping hand in the cause of religion. His daughter, Mrs. Rachel Gartner, was the first white child born in Kosciusko County; she was born May 15, 1833. Mr. Felkner built the first barn in the county, and also the first brick house. He brought the first wheat reaper into the county. He started in the world a poor man, but his industry, good management and his indomitable energy have enabled him to acquire a competence. His children are all comfortably situated, and he is now, in his eighty-second year, enjoying the fruits of a well-spent life. He has, perhaps, done as much as any other man toward developing the interests of Kosciusko County. Politically lie affiliates with the Democratic Party.
Date Posted: February 27, 2000
GEORGE FESLER, a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of Kosciusko County, is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Cumberland County February 2, 1816, his parents, John and Rebecca (Rule) Fesler, being natives of the same State, and of German origin. When about a year old he was taken by his parents to Seneca County, New York, they locating on Cuyuga Lake, where they lived till our subject had reached his eleventh year. They then removed with their family to Seneca County, Ohio, returning to New York one year later, when they settled in Erie County, on Eleven Mile Creek, the father dying in Erie County when our subject was in his thirteenth year. After the father's death the mother, with her family of six children, returned to Seneca County, Ohio, and shortly after removed to Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio, where George was apprenticed to learn the carpenter's trade, and for many years he followed that avocation. He was first married, in Ohio, to Matilda Thorn, by whom he had four children - Sarah J., Abraham, Nancy A. and Rebecca, all of whom are deceased. In 1843 Mr. Fesler settled with his family in Whitley County, Indiana, remaining there till the fall of 1855. He then went to Minnesota, residing there some three years, and in the fall of 1858 he settled in Clay Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana, being among the pioneers of the county, and many were the hardships and privations he experienced in his pioneer home. His first wife died about eight years after marriage, and he was again married, to Orilla Keeny, daughter of Rufus D. Keeny, who was formerly of Ohio, but at the time of her marriage lived in Noble County, Indiana. To this union were born four children - Elsie, wife of Stephen Shaw, of Kansas; John W., living in Marshall County, Indiana; Josephine, wife of John Kimmel, of DeKalb County, Indiana, and George, living in Kos_ciusko County. In the fall of the same year of his return to Indiana (1858) he was again called to mourn the death of his faithful wife, who fell a victim to typhoid fever, the then prevailing disease of the country. Mr. Fesler was a third time married, taking for his present wife Sarah Wyant, who was born in Champaign County, Ohio, in 1840, coming with her parents, Daniel and Ann Wyant, to Kosciusko County, Indiana, in 1852, where she has since lived. Five children have been born to this union - Mary, wife of John Dunn, of Jasper County, Indiana; Belle, wife of Charles Garrett; Charles, Alice and Carrie, the last three living at home with their parents. In the wilds of Whitley he began his first real life’s work, clearing off the heavy forests, helping to raise the log cabins of his neighbors, and working at his trade, when work was to he had, in both Whitley and Kosciusko counties. The first good frame house in Washington Township he built for John Makemson, an old pioneer and his life-long friend. Here, while strug_gling against poverty and affliction, was formed the great desire of his life: to obtain an education and join the active itineracy of the Methodist Episcopal church. But in this fate seemed to have reserved for his hands other work. Licensed first as an exhorter, and then as a local preacher, he gave both of his time and means the best that he could to the support of the gospel, and, more than all, the record of an earnest Christian life and an upright manhood. He still lives, at the ripe age of seventy-one years, on a goodly herit_age, the work of his own hands, surrounded by neighbors and friends whose confidence and esteem pay just tribute to his merit, and whose children will always say with pride, my father was George Fesler.
Source: Biographical & Historical Record of Kosciusko Co., IN.; Lewis Publishing Co., 1887
Dated: August 28, 2000
JOHN W. FITTON is one of the thoroughly businesslike farmers of Seward Township. He cultivates his fields, raises stock, buys and feeds cattle, is interested in the Equity Union Elevator Company at Burket, and in many other ways keeps in close touch with the progress of his community and is doing what he can to increase the efficiency of this community as one of the many factors in America's stupendous war program. The Fitton farm is in section 28 of Seward Township and comprises 100 acres of well-tilled fields, feed lots and building improvements.
Mr. Fitton was born in the same township July 19, 1876, son of Robert and Jane (Parker) Fitton. His parents were also natives of this county, his father born February 17, 1839, and his mother February 20, 1851. Robert Fitton died in 1878, when his son John was only two years old. The latter was the only son and he grew to manhood without the care or supervision of a father. Until he was eleven years of age he lived with his mother on the farm now owned by George W. Bouse, and after that made his home in different places until he came to the farm he now owns, in March, 1895.
November 24, 1894, Mr. Fitton married Miss Sadie Rickel. She represents one of the oldest pioneer families of Kosciusko County. Her grandfather, Samuel Rickel, was born in Pennsylvania March 14, 1810, son of Mathias and Catherine (Croyle) Rickel. The Rickel family left Pennsylvania in 1818, and Mathias and his wife spent the rest of their years in Ohio. In Wayne County, Ohio, Samuel Rickel married in 1830 Miss Sarah Moyer, and of their nine children six were born in Kosciusko County. Samuel Rickel brought his family to Kosciusko County in 1842, and established his home in the woods of Franklin Township. He had many interesting pioneer experiences. He entered his land from the government and acquired patent signed by President John Tyler. His first house was a log cabin, and the roof was so low that a full grown man could not enter the door without stooping. He lived on wild game, venison and turkey had experiences with wolves, plowed his fields with a yoke of cattle, and served as the first postmaster in Franklin Township of Beaver Dam postoffice. His commission being given him in l 894, and for twenty years he held that dignity, but doubtless paid in service more than he received, since it was the custom for people journeying a long distance to the postoffice to enjoy the hospitality of the postmaster at the meals and even staying over night occasionally. He was also the first trustee of Franklin Township, and his son William, father of Mrs. Fitton, enjoyed similar honors. William Rickel was born in Wayne County, Ohio, April 19, 1836. He was a democrat in politics and served as trustee of Seward Township eleven years. He married Miss Mary Swick, and they had seven children, three of whom are still living: Samuel and George, the former a resident of Jennings County and the latter of Hancock, Wisconsin: and Sadie, Mrs. Fitton. Mrs. Fitton grew up and spent her early life on the banks of Beaver Dam Lake, and attended the common schools there.
Mr. and Mrs. Fitton have seven children. Lloyd is now in the army as a mechanic in the aviation corps, having received his training at the aviation field near Fort Worth, Texas. Edna is a graduate of the common schools and the wife of Russell Barber. Ida has finished the common school course and is living at home, as is Ruth while the younger children are Marle, Orville and Neva. The family are members of the United Brethren Church and Mr. Fitton is a democratic voter.
Submitted by: Cheryl Hawley
Source: History of Kosciusko County
Date posted: 12/6/98
LEWIS S. FOSTER, a member of the firm of Foster & Brother, druggists of Pierceton, is a native of Preble County, Ohio, born near Lewisburg, November 7, 1836, the fourth son of John G. and Sarah (Singer) Foster, both now deceased. He remained on the home farm with his parents till reaching the age of sixteen years, when he went to Lewisburg, and after serving an apprenticeship of over three years at wagon and carriage-making, he came to Indiana and worked at his trade at Liberty-Mills, Wabash County, for two years. October 28, 185S, he was married at Wabash, Indiana, to Miss Mary A. James, a daughter of the late William James of Wabash. They are the parents of three children - William Horace, of Peru, Indiana; John Bertram, of Nebraska and Ada May, still at home. Mr. Foster went to Logansport in 1859, where he worked as a journeyman until 1873, and two years of that time was associated with William Krider in the manufacture of wagons. In 1873 he came to Pierceton, Kosciusko County, and became associated with his brother, Frank H., in the drug business, in which they are still engaged. He was also associated with him in the publication of weekly newspaper at Pierceton, called the Pierceton Independent from 1879 until 1885, when they sold out in January of the latter year. Mr. Foster is a Master Mason and is a member of Pierceton Lodge, No 377, A. F. & A. M. Mrs. Foster is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Source: Biographicah & Historical Record of Kosciusko Co., IN.; Lewis Publishing Co., 1887
Dated: August 28, 2000
Ezekiel D. French, a prominent farmer of Plain Township, residing on section 11, is a son of Aaron and Susanna French, and was born in Miami County, Ohio, August 17, 1835. In 1852 he came to this county with his parents, who settled in the old "Musequebucks" reserve.
His father had been twice married, and of nine children, five survive-- John L., Alfred B., Ezekiel D., Margaret and David. He was a careful, judicious financier, and successful in his business undertakings. He was a member of the Baptist church, and for many years served efficiently as justice of the peace.
In politics he was a Republican. He died in 1880. Our subject received a rudimentary education in the early district schools of this county. With the exception of a few years spent in California, he has been a resident of Kosciusko County since 1852. September 20, 1860, he was married to Martha Ritter, of Lake County, Indiana. He has served as assessor of Plain Township three years, and is a consistent member of the Baptist church. He is a liberal contributor to both Church and State, and in politics is a Republican. He is also a member of the Odd Fellows' and Masonic fraternities. He owns valuable real estate, and resides on the homestead farm.
Submitted by: Philip Ritter
WILLIAM D. FRUSH, farmer, section 28, Wayne Township, is a native of West Virginia, the date of his birth being December 1, 1823. His parents were John and Charity Frush, the former a native of Maryland and of Holland descent, the latter a native of Pennsylvania and of Scotch descent. His paternal grandfather, George Frush, was a soldier of the war of 1812, as was also his maternal grandfather, Jones; the latter, with his sister, was captured by the Indians and taken to Canada, where they remained about seven years. John Frush was thrice married, and was the father of six children, of who three survive - Elisha, Parmelia and William D. The mother died when William D. was very young. In 1834 he came with his father to Elkhart County, Indiana, and to this county in 1838. They were pioneers, and settled in the forest on section 26, Wayne Township, where the father entered 160 acres of Government land. They lived there many years, and late removed near the place where our subject now resides. The father died in 1871, having reached the age of eighty-eight years. His last wife survived him several years. William D. was reared on a farm and educated in the early district schools, such as were had in that day. He has been twice married. His first wife was Phoebe Kirk, and their children were Jerome, Jehu, Jasper and John. His second wife was Mrs. Ann Cook, widow of the late Enoch Ruch, of this county. Their children were William and Emma, the latter being the wife of Harry S. Boyd, of DeKalb County, Indiana. Mr. Frush has resided upon his present farm since 1859 and has seen much of pioneer life. He is the owner of eighty acres of excellent land and has been successful in life. His two sons, Jerome and Jasper, participated in the late war of the Rebellion, being soldiers in the Union army. In 1882 he was elected trustee of Wayne Township on the Republican ticket, and served four years. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is recognized as one of the enterprising citizens of Wayne Township.
Date Posted: February 27, 2000
MICHAEL FUNK, son of Michael and Elizabeth Funk, was born on the 6th day of January, 1795, near the town of Mexico, in Pennsylvania, where he was reared to manhood and on the 19th day of March, 1822, was united in marriage to Rebecca Yocum, daughter of John and Mary Yocum, of the same vicinity. Soon after their marriage they removed from Pennsylvania to the distant West, as it was then termed, crossing the Allegheny Mountains with horse and wagon, considered then a tedious and perilous journey, settling in Wayne County, Ohio, where they lived until the year 1843. Here to them were born four sons and three daughters in the following order, viz.-Joseph A., Mary Jane, Ann Elizabeth, Lewis B., William B., Austin C. and Tabitha A. His vocation was that of a merchant, and in the fall of 1843 he removed his stock of goods by the primitive manner -with horses and wagons - occupying some two weeks making the journey, arriving in Warsaw, accompanied by his eldest son, Joseph A. Funk, October 13, and quite a number of families from Wayne County, Ohio. A purchase was made of George Morn and George R. Thralls, east of the southeast corner of the courthouse square, upon which was a small frame building used as a store-room on the east end of the lot, in which his stock of goods were placed, and the store opened up in charge of his son, and after arranging for the erection of a hotel (or tavern, as it was then styled) on the west part of said lot, he returned to his family in Ohio, to arrange to move to Warsaw in the spring, which he did, with several other families in the procession, arriving at Warsaw about the middle of May, 1844. He soon became identified with the town and all its interests, completing the hotel, opening up the same as landlord, with a large run of custom for that day, especially during the terms of court, when judges and attorneys came from Fort Wayne, Logansport, La Porte, South Bend, Goshen and other parts of the country, in the interests of litigants in the early times of the country. His career as a citizen of Warsaw was of comparatively short duration; during the latter part of April, 1846, he was attacked with pneumonia, and from the formation and breaking of an abscess on the lungs, his life was unexpectedly terminated May 4, 1846, in the vigor of manhood and activity, leaving a widow and six surviving children, the youngest, Tabitha, having died in the fall of 1844, all of whom but one were in their minority (the eldest daughter, however, being married). As a citizen he was enterprising, strictly honest in all his dealing with his fellow man, generous, humane and liberal (if possible to a fault), ready to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and destitute, without hope of fee or reward in this life. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and as one of the trustees was engaged in building the first church of that denomination in Warsaw, at the time of his death, being the old frame church, located on the present site of the more commodious brick structure. In his seemingly premature death, the church, as well as the family and community, sustained a serious loss, as the old church building remained in an unfinished condition for several years, for want of a leader to consummate the work. His bereaved companion, in her continued widowhood, survived him until November 7, 1885, when, at the advanced age of eighty-two years past, at the house of her eldest son, Joseph A. Funk, with her four surviving sons and eldest daughter to minister to her wants, in age and extreme feebleness, around her dying couch, she gently and peacefully, as a Christian warrior from early childhood, entered into rest. To say that she was a woman of remarkable character, developing in her life the principles as eliminated by the Great Teacher, would but faintly express or convey the true idea of her life of devotion, suffering and self-sacrifice to the minds and hearts of those of her family who knew her best, but to love, regard and cherish her in life, and in death to most sacredly revere her memory.
Date Posted: February 27, 2000
WILLIAM B. FUNK, president of the Lake City Bank, of Warsaw, Indiana, and a prominent and public-spirited citizen, was born in Wayne County, Ohio, the date of his birth being June 4, 1888. He was reared from early childhood in Kosciusko County, his parents having come here in 1844, locating in that year at Warsaw. He received an excellent common-school education, which has well fitted him for the active business life he has pursued from his youth. In 1857 he accepted the position of deputy county auditor of Kosciusko County, filling that position until 1862, when he was elected County auditor, holding the latter office by re-election until 1871. In 1880 he was elected to the office of county treasurer, and served in that position to the best interests of the county until 1884. In 1872 he became associated with his brother, Joseph A. Funk, in the mercantile business at Warsaw, which is still conducted under the firm name of Funk Brothers. Mr. Funk has been twice married. June 18, 1862, he married Miss Jennie Moon, youngest daughter of Hon. George Moon, of Warsaw. She died December 25, 1872, leaving at her death one son - Charles. For his second wife Mr. Funk married Miss Florence F. Sapp, a daughter of S. C. Sapp, M. D., September 29, 1874, and to this union have been born three children. Mr. Funk takes an active part in any enterprise which has for its object the advancement of his town or county, or for the public welfare. For many years he has been connected with the Kosciusko County Agricultural Society, either as president or secretary. At the Republican State Convention, at Indianapolis, in 1872, his name was presented as a candidate for State Auditor, receiving a very complimentary vote. He has served for several years as chairman of the Kosciusko County Republican Central Committee, and his management has greatly contributed to the success of his party in the county. He takes a great interest in the affairs of his church, he having been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Warsaw for many years. He is an Odd Fellow, being a charter member of Lake City Lodge, No. 430, and is a member of Hackleman Encampment, No. 37, and has repeatedly represented both in the grand lodge and grand encampment of the State.
Source: Biographical & Historical Record of Kosciusko Co., IN.; Lewis Publishing Co., 1887
Dated: August 28, 2000