David K. Miller, whose name introduces this sketch, was born in Darke county, Ohio, May 22, 1836. He learned his first lessons of practical life on the farm as soon as old enough to do manual labor and in such schools as the country afforded received a fair English education. Reared to agricultural pursuits, he decided to make farming his life work and with little exception his attention has been devoted to til1ing the soil ever since leaving his parental home; the exception referred to was a limited experience in operating a saw-mill and several years spent at the carpenter's trade.
Mr. Miller was married in Darke county, Ohio, November 18, 1860, to Miss Magdalena Wise, whose birth occurred in the same county on the 20th day of December, 1840. Her parents, Jacob and Christena (Shope) Wise, natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively, were married in the latter state and sometime thereafter moved from Miami county to the county of Darke, where the father died April 28, 1877, in his sixty-seventh year. The mother subsequently went to live with one of her daughters in Preble county, where her death occurred on the 25th of April, 1898. Jacob and Christena Wise were the parents of twelve children whose names are as follows: Benjamin, Isaac, Magdalene, Moses, Barbara, Sarah, Fannie, Jacob, Aaron, Samuel, Noah and Nancy.
In February following his marriage Mr. Miller disposed of his interests in Ohio and moved to Kosciusko county, Indiana, purchasing the place in Jefferson township upon which he has since lived. He found the land covered with heavy timber, thickly interspersed with underbrush and no improvements of any kind in the way of a habitation or other buildings. With a resolute purpose he began the task of clearing the land, an undertaking requiring a vast amount of hard work, and in due time the effect of his labor began to be visible. He developed from the green and prepared for tillage the larger portion of the place, besides erecting a comfortable dwelling and other buildings which temporarily answered the purpose for which intended. Subsequently more substantial structures were built, the area of cleared land was increased and a system of drainage inaugurated by means of which a large part of the place originally covered with swamps and swales was reclaimed and made tillable. This part of the farm is now far more ferti1e and productive than the timbered portion and represents a greater value per acre than most land by which the farm is surrounded. Indeed it may be said that the Miller farm yields to no other in the county in productive capacity, and acre for acre it is perhaps worth as much as the most valuable farm lands in northern Indiana.
Much credit is due Mr. Miller for the work he has done in developing what was formerly considered an undesirable tract of wet land and transforming it from its wild state into one of the most beautiful rural homes within the geographic limits of Jefferson township. All of the modern mechanical appliances and implements calculated to make the pursuit of agriculture an easy and agreeable vocation are employed by Mr. Miller, while his dwelling is supplied with the conveniences and comforts which lighten the good housewife's cares and make her lot much less burdensome than that of any others not so fortunately situated. Mr. Miller's place consists of one hundred and sixty acres, the greater part under cultivation. Although he has reserved a sufficiency of timber to answer all practical purposes, of fuel and lumber, he has prosecuted his farming systematically and by well directed industry and judicious management has succeeded in acquiring sufficient means to enable him from now on to rest from toil and enjoy some of the results of his labors. He is one of the leading citizens of his community and enjoys in a marked degree the esteem of his neighbors and friends throughout the township of Jefferson. His career has been eminently honorable and al1 who know him speak in high terms of his many sterling qualities and characteristics, not the least of which are invincible courage to do the right, uncompromising integrity and a large faith in God and his fellow man. He is a deeply religious man and fails not to ascribe to his Maker the many blessings which have attended him through life.
Mr. and Mrs. Miller are devout members of the German Baptist church. They have been active in the good work of the local congregation to which they belong, besides aiding to promote all charitable and benevolent enterprises whereby the deserving poor and unfortunate may be benefited. Their family consists of twelve children and not the least of their blessings is the fact that death has not crossed their threshold to claim a victim from any of these manly sons and womanly daughters; the names and births of the children are as follows: Isaac, August 24, 1861; Catherine, February 13, 1863; Jacob, December 26, 1864; John, November 13, 1866; Jane, July 4, 1868; Noah, September 5, 1870; Daniel, January 8, 1877; Sarah, June 8, 1879; Ida November 6, 1881, and Mary, January 17, 1884.
Progressive Men and Women of Kosciusko County, Indiana
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
JOHN W. WHITEHEAD.
The subject of this sketch is one of the progressive farmers and enterprising citizens of Jefferson township, where he has made his home for a number of years, being closely associated with its development and welfare. He is a thorough practical agriculturist and a man of business, and, like the great majority of successful men, has been the architect of his own fortunes. His fidelity to his duties has never been neglected in acting his part as a wealthy son of the great American commonwealth. The Whitehead family is of German-Scotch Irish extraction, the subject's ancestors being among the early settlers of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Valentine Whitehead, grandfather of John W., was a Pennsylvanian by birth, but in an early day went to Montgomery county, Ohio, where he lived the life of a pioneer. He was the father of eleven children, viz.: Valentine, David, Adam, Samuel, John, Peter, Lewis, Margaret, Elizabeth, Susan and Mary.
The seventh of the above children, Lewis, was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, January 25, 1818. He spent his youthful years amid the stirring scenes of the pioneer period, became a farmer and about the year 1837 was united in marriage to Rebecca Wagner, whose birth occurred in the county of Montgomery in the month of March, 1817. Mrs. Whitehead was the daughter of Jacob Wagner, one of the first white men to penetrate the wilderness of what is now Preble county and a bold and daring pioneer of the time in which he lived.
Lewis Whitehead remained in his native state and settled in Jackson township, Elkhart county, where he purchased land and cleared a good farm, the place being about a half mile west of the village of New Paris. There the wife and mother died on the 5th of March, 1893; subsequently Mr. Whitehead sold his farm and made his home with his children until his death, which occurred January 16, 1896. He was a man of excellent parts, popular with the people among whom he lived and enjoyed an enviable reputation as a citizen. He served as trustee of his township a number of years and was a leading member of the German Baptist church, the plain simple teachings of which he exemplified in a life devoted to the service of God and to the bettering of the condition of his fellow men. He was successful in the accumulation of wor1dly wealth, but that was by no means the standard by which he measured the success of any man. In his estimation the individual who entertained noble aims and lived up to them to the best of his ability achieved true success, regardless of the value of his earthly estate. Twelve children were born to Lewis and Rebecca Whitehead: Catherine, John W., William, Susan, Mary Ann, Valentine, Elizabeth, Hester, Jane, Lewis M., Jacob and Ellen, the majority of whom grew to years of maturity and became useful in their spheres of life.
John W. Whitehead, the second child and eldest son of this worthy old couple, was born while the family lived in Montgomery county, Ohio, July 28, 1839. He was but an infant when his parents moved to the new home in Elkhart county, Indiana, and his early years were spent amid the routine of farm labor, the winter seasons being devoted to the duties of the school room. He received a fair education and when old enough to start upon an independent career, decided to become a farmer, a resolution which he has since carried out with most gratifying pecuniary results. He remained at home assisting his father to clear and develop the farm until his twenty-third year, at which time he chose a life partner in the person of Miss Catherine E. Brumbaugh, to whom he was united in the holy bonds of wedlock on the 16th day of January, 1862, the marriage being celebrated in Jefferson township, Kosciusko county. Mrs. Whitehead is a native of the county of Kosciusko, born January 1, 1843, the daughter of Jacob and Susan (Bowser) Brumbaugh, who were among the earliest pioneers of Jefferson township.
For a short time after the marriage Mr. Whitehead lived with his father-in-law, but in the spring of 1862 rented land in Van Buren township, where he continued the pursuit of agriculture until taking charge of the Brumbaugh farm, two years later. He made his home on this place until 1873, when he purchased and moved on a farm in Jefferson township on which he now resides, and which he has developed from a forest to its present prosperous condition.
With Mr. Whitehead, industry and consecutive effort have been the touch-stones of success and today he ranks with the most progressive and well-to-do farmers of the community in which he lives. He has spared no pains or reasonable expense in making his home a model one and the condition of his buildings and other improvements, and the well-cultivated fields, attest the labor and care which he has expended upon them. His residence is an imposing brick structure of beautiful design, surrounded by a well-kept yard, in which are trees that yield fruit and grateful shade, the whole presenting an attractive appearance and impressing the passerby as the dwelling place of a man of taste and progressive ideas. As a farmer he plans his work with care, prosecutes it with great industry and seldom fails to realize large returns from the bountiful harvests which he every year garners. He has erected good barns and other buildings in keeping therewith, pays much attention to the condition of his live stock and manages his work and business according to the most systematic methods.
Not as a farmer only has Mr. Whitehead become widely and popularly known throughout the township of Jefferson, but as a public-spirited, enterprising man of the people, he has long taken a leading part in promoting the material development of the country and advertising its advantages to the world. Possessing business abilities of a high order and discriminating judgment, the people of his township have several times called him to fill positions of responsibility and trust. In 1887 he was elected trustee of Jefferson township, the duties of which he discharged worthily for one term, and in the fall of 1900 he was appointed to the same office to fill a vacancy caused by the death of John Miitche1. At the expiration of this term of service, he was triumphantly elected his own successor. In his last election, partisan politics cut no figure as he was the almost unanimous choice of his constituents, running on what was known as the People's ticket. His last incumbency covered a period of five years, which with the time he had formerly served made a total of eight years in one of the most responsible and important local offices within the gift of the people. Mr. Whitehead's administration proved eminently satisfactory to all concerned, as he proved a most capable and faithful official, exceedingly careful in looking after the people's interests and conservative in the matter of public expenditures. He never was known to act in an arbitrary spirit, but always took counsel of the wisest of his fellow citizens. Guided by this and his own better judgment, he devoted his energies to the good of the public and the results of his able management of affairs are now seen in many substantial improvements and the splendid credit for which the township of Jefferson is noted.
When a young man, Mr. Whitehead united with the German Baptist church and has ever since continued a faithful and consistent member, devout in his daily life and active in the affairs of the local congregation to which he belongs. For a period of twenty years he has held the important office of deacon, in which capacity he has been instrumental in strengthening the church numerically and making its presence a potent factor for good in the community. He is a recognized leader among his coreligionists, many of whom look to him for advice, his opinions and counsel always carrying weight and conviction.
In the sphere of private citizenship the subject of this sketch has long been an influential member of the body politic. He reads much, is well informed upon the great political and international questions of the day and uses his influence in behalf of the man or measure which he considers right, regardless of party ties or personal friendships. In his community he is universally esteemed and no man in Jefferson township enjoys a larger measure of public confidence. In brief, he is a representative of the best type of intelligent, progressive American manhood, a devout Christian, a citizen without pretense and an upright, honorable gentle man in every relation of life.
Mrs. Whitehead had been her husband's colaborer and counse1or and her advice and judgment have been influential in no small degree in bringing about the success which is now his. She is also an earnest, pious member of the same church with which he is identified and her influence has had great weight in forming the characters and shaping the destinies of the children with which she has been blessed. Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead have had three children, the oldest of whom, Mary E.,. was called to the better life at the tender age of two years; the other two are Tazewell D., who married Vida V. Groves and lives in Kosciusko county, and Chloe, wife of Omar F. Groves, who is also ,a resident of Kosciusko county.
Progressive Men and Women of Kosciusko County, Indiana
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
GEORGE W. HOLLAR.
The subject of this sketch is regarded as one of the public-spirited citizens of Jefferson township and as a farmer and stock dealer ranks with the leading men of the community in which he lives. He is a younger brother of Joseph and James E. Hollar, whose biographies appear elsewhere and has been an honored resident of Kosiusko county since the year 1879.
George W. Hollar dates his birth from the 11th of September, 1858, and he first saw the light of day on the family homestead in the historic county of Shenandoah, Virginia. When a lad he attended school taught in a building on his father's farm and the training thus received was afterwards supplemented by a course in the graded schools of Edinburg, Virginia, where in addition to completing the common branches he obtained a knowledge of some of the more advanced studies. When old enough he was put to work on the farm and then be came inured to life's practical duties, learning the lessons of industry and economy and developing a strength of character which has served well as a foundation for his subsequent career as a successful artisan and agriculturist. Mr. Hollar assisted his parents until his twenty-second year, at which time he severed the ties that bound him to home and started into the world to make his own way and, if possible, acquire a fortune. Meanwhile, while a lad in his 'teens, he began working at the shoemaking trade under the direction of an older brother, Harvey, a practical workman, and after acquiring a knowledge of the trade continued the same of winter seasons until 1879. In that year Mr. Hollar concluded to try his fortunes in northern Indiana, whither his two brothers had preceded him; accordingly he arranged his affairs and, bidding adieu to his old Virginia home, came to Kosciusko county. Shortly after his arrival he found employment as a farm laborer at remunerative wages and after working thus for some months engaged with a man to make staves and other kinds of work in woodcraft. He continued variously employed until the spring of 1881, when he began carpentering under his brother, James E., one of the most skillful builders in the county, and after becoming a proficient workman was hired at mechanic's wages, first by his brother and afterwards by other parties. Mr. Hollar devoted about ten consecutive years to his trade during which period he built a number of dwellings, barns and other edifices in various parts of Kosciusko county, nearly all of which are standing as monuments to his efficiency and skill as a master of one of the most important of mechanical pursuits.
Miss Lydia J. Bright,. daughter of John and Sarah (Pittman) Bright, was born in Elkhart county, Indiana, November 6, 1865. She was reared and educated in the counties of Elkhart and Kosciusko and on the 22d day of January, 1885, became the wife of the subject of this sketch, the marriage resulting in the birth of five children, whose names are as follows: Jesse J., William H., Vallie V., Lillie M. and George W., all living but the first born.
Shortly after his marriage Mr. Hollar purchased forty acres in section 16, Jefferson township, on which he erected a house and then set to work to clear and otherwise develop his farm. He prosecuted his labors industriously and successfully and in a few years had the greater portion of his land in cultivation. Subsequently he bought forty acres adjoining the original purchase, the two tracts constituting the present area of his farm. In 1898 he moved his dwelling to the second forty and about the same time, or perhaps a little later, erected a fine barn, one of the best buildings of the kind in the neighborhood. His other outbuildings arc comparatively new and in first-class repair and on every part of the farm a spirit of prosperity obtains. Mr. Hollar's experience as a mechanic has been the means of developing good taste and minute attention to details, both of which are plainly apparent in all the buildings and other improvements on his place as well as in the inviting appearance of his dwelling and its attractive surroundings. The home is substantial and comfortable in all of its appointments and impresses the passerby as the dwelling place of an enterprising and thrifty family.
Mr. Hollar has seventy of his eighty acres in cultivation, while the entire farm is enclosed with strong fences of the latest and most approved design. He prosecutes his labors systematically, manages his affairs with judgment and caution and, as stated in the initial paragraph, occupies a conspicuous place among the most enterprising and successful Jefferson township farmers. In addition to tilling the soil, he deals quite extensively in live stock, in which his success has been of the most satisfactory character. Mr. Hollar began buying stock in 1900 for the Iffert brothers, of Elkhart county, and has continued in their employ ever since, his operations taking him over all parts of Kosciusko county and into several other counties of northern Indiana. He is a fine judge of all kinds of live stock, exercises discreet judgment in his business transactions and probably has brought and shipped more cattle and hogs since he engaged with the above firm than any other man in this part of the state. In financial matters he is easily the peer of any of his fellow citizens, his experience in buying and selling giving his opinions weight and causing his ideas to receive due consideration. He has sound business qualifications and decision of character, which, with other meritorious characteristics, have won for him an enviable standing among the leading business men of his township and county.
Mr. Hollar sprang from sturdy moral ancestors and he has endeavored to shape his life according to the correct principles that were instilled into his mind when a youth under his father's care. He and his brothers have done much for the material welfare of the community in which they live and the example of each is worthy of imitation.
Progressive Men and Women of Kosciusko County, Indiana
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
P. G. FERMIER, M. D.
Although a comparatively recent arrival in Leesburg, having located here in 1894, Dr. Fermier has already taken a prominent place among the leading and influential citizens of the county of Kosciusko and has won much more than local distinction in the line of his profession. He is numbered among the native sons of the commonwealth of Indiana, born in Dearborn county on the 2nd day of September, 1866. His father, Dr. P. G. Fermier, was born in Germany and his mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Ehler, was a native of the United States, out of German descent. Originally the Fermiers were French Huguenots. To escape the cruel persecution to which that faithful and devoted people were subjected, the subject's great-grandfather many years ago fled from France with a number of his co-religionists and took refuge in Germany, where he reared a family and spent the remainder of his days.
Dr. P. G. Fermier, the subject's father, after receiving a classical education, took up the study of medicine in his native country and later was graduated from the medical department of Munich and Heidelberg Universities. These are considered the finest medical schools in Germany, if not in the world, and while prosecuting his studies therein Dr. Fermier was under the direction of some of the most distinguished professors of the age. In the year 1849 he came to the United States and located in Mansfield, Ohio, where he had an office next door to the law office of the late Hon. John Sherman, one of the leading statesmen of America. After practicing his profession in the above city for some time, the Doctor changed his location to Dearborn county, Indiana, where he carried on a large and lucrative practice for a period of forty-five years. He became widely and favorably known among the most learned and successful men of the state of Indiana. He married in the county of Dearborn, reared a family of seven children and departed this life in 1897, his wife dying the same year. The children are briefly mentioned as follows: Effie, the first born of his children, married Aaron Keller and lives in Dearborn county; Cordelia, the next in order of birth, also lives in Dearborn and is unmarried; P. G., the subject of this review, is the third of the family; George, deceased, was an ensign in the Pacific, squadron during the late Spanish-American war and was with Admiral Dewey at Manila; Emile J., a single man, is master mechanic at LaFayette, ,he has a fine technical education, having attended different colleges and institutes and has rapidly risen to distinction in his chosen calling; Alma is a teacher in the public schools of Dearborn county, making a specialty of kindergarden work; Richard, the youngest, is a married man at the present time, engaged in the undertaking business in the city of Chicago.
When a youth the subject of this sketch enjoyed the advantages of the public schools of his native county, after which he took a select course in the Northern Indiana Normal College at Valparaiso. He attended that well-known and popular institution from 1883 to 1885 inclusive, and after completing the prescribed course taught for six years in the public schools, meanwhile prosecuting his medical studies at intervals under the efficient instruction of his father. In 1892 he entered the Indiana Medical College, Indianapolis, where he continued four years in patient study and laborious research, graduating with a creditable record in 1894.
In looking around for a favorable location, Dr. Fermier decided to begin his professional labors at Leesburg; accordingly just one month after his graduation he opened an office here, swinging his shingle to the breeze and announced himself a candidate for a portion of the public patronage. His reputation as an exceedingly well-learned and capable physician soon won for him a lucrative practice and from the date of his arrival to the present time he has steadily come to the front and now occupies a prominent place among his professional brethren of Kosciusko county. His business has increased very largely, his practice taking a wide range, and among his patients are many of the leading people of the town and surrounding country all of whom are lavish in their praise of his efficiency skill as a physician and surgeon.
Dr. Fermier's ability to trace the devious paths of disease throughout the human system and to remove its effects is widely recognized and a mind well disciplined by severe professional training and strengthened by the salutary counsels of a father who was second to none of his compeers in medical science, together with a natural aptitude for close investigation and critical research, have peculiarly fitted him for the noble calling in which he is engaged, and thus far his career has been all and more than his most sanguine friends predicted. He is a careful reader of the best professional literature and keeps himself in touch with the age in the latest discoveries pertaining to the healing art. These qualities of mind and heart that do not pertain to the mere knowledge of medical science, but greatly enhance the true worth of the family physician, are not wanting in him. He possesses the tact and happy faculty of inspiring confidence on the part of his patients and their friends and in the sick room his genial presence and conscious ability to cope successfully with disease under treatment are factors that have contributed much to the enviable standing which he has attained. He is a member of the county, state and American medical associations, holds the office of secretary to the board of health of Leesburg, and at the present time is local medical examiner for New York Life, Mutual Life and Equitable Life Insurance companies. He also holds similar positions with the Modern Woodmen of America, the Maccabees and Knights of Pythias fraternities at Leesburg and his duties have been discharged in such a manner as to win the praise, not only of the local membership, but of the authorities of the several societies as well.
Dr. Fermier is a married man, his wife being formerly Miss Lula May Rowley, of Indianapolis. She is an accomplished stenographer and typewriter and has held several very lucrative positions in the capital city and elsewhere. He first met her while prosecuting his professional studies in Indianapolis and the marriage which followed the acquaintance was solemnized on the 20th day of June, 1895.
Additional to the fraternal orders already mentioned, the Doctor is a member of the Masonic brotherhood, belonging to Leesburg Lodge No. 181, in which he is now serving as senior warden. Politically he is a Republican; with no ambition to excel in anything but his profession, he devotes comparatively little time to matters political, preferring to use the best of his energies and powers to the noble work of ministering to suffering humanity. The Doctor is a believer in revealed religion and a deep student of the holy scriptures. He subscribes to no formulated creed or articles of faith outside the word of God, taking the latter alone as his only rule of faith and practice. He holds membership with the First Christian church of Warsaw, as does also his wife, both being recognized as among the most valued members of that congregation.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
John Reed, one of the most enterprising and prosperous farmers of Scott township, Kosciusko county, Indiana, and an ex-soldier, is a native of Ashland county, Ohio, and was born October 28, 1842. His parents, Charles M. and Elizabeth (Harper) Reed, natives of Pennsylvania, were both young when their parents migrated from the Keystone state to the Buckeye state. They were married in Ashland county, Ohio, and thence, in 1844, brought their little family to Indiana and located in DeKalb county. The total number of children that crowned their union, all, with one exception, born in Indiana, was ten, namely: William H., Jacob, Eliza J., Charles M., Rebecca G., Mary, John (subject), Joseph S., Daniel and Nancy E.
John Reed, whose name opens this review, was reared on the home farm and farming has been his life vocation. His education was acquired in the old school-house situated in the neighborhood in which his parents settled after coming to Indiana, and he remained until his twenty-second year at the home of his parents, who had settled in Elkhart county in the spring of 1861. The same year the Civil war burst forth, and far nearly three years Mr. Reed pined with longing heart to join the patriotic hast of volunteers who rose in their might to crush the nefarious rebellion. At last the opportunity came, and November 5, 1864, he enlisted in Company D, Thirteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which he served until September 5, 1865, when he was honorably discharged at Goldsbaro, North Carolina, and returned to his home in Elkhart county.
August 8, 1867, Mr. Reed was united in marriage, in Elkhart county, with Miss Harriet R. Huldread, who was born in Ohio November 5, 1849, and is a daughter of Frederick and Rosanna (Bowers) Huldread, who came from Ohio in 1850 and settled in Elkhart county, Indiana. In the autumn of the year of his marriage Mr. Reed settled an a farm of forty-acres in Jefferson township, Kosciusko county, which land he had purchased a year previously for the small sum of four hundred and fifty dollars. This land he cleared up, improved and resided on until he had an opportunity of disposing of it far one thousand, six hundred dollars, when he sold it and bought a farm of eighty-eight and one-half acres in Scott township for three thousand one hundred dol1ars, upon which he removed and resided until 1881, when he settled an his present farm of one hundred and twenty acres, for which he paid three thousand two hundred dollars. This is now one of the best-tilled, best-stocked and best-improved farms in Kosciusko county, and Mr. Reed is recognized as one of the enterprising agriculturists of his township.
To the marriage of Mr. Reed with Miss Huldread have been born six children, in the following order: Joseph W., November 6, 1868; Ellzina E., September 21, 1872; Rosa B., August 6, 1878; Amy M., November 19, 1880; Albert C., January 30, 1884, and Laurence M., April 22, 1891.
Fraternally, Mr. Reed is a member of Nappanee Lodge No. 566, F. & A. M., and Burlen Post No. 402, G. A. R., of Nappanee. He has all through life maintained a character of the strictest integrity and no family in Scott township is more highly respected than his. Mr. Reed has in his possession an old parchment deed which was executed during the administration of President Martin Van Buren and bears the date of August 10, 1837.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
The agriculturists of Scott township, Kosciusko county, Indiana, are generally men of thrift, but no farmer in this favored locality has merited greater praise in this regard than Reuben Byrer, who has made a perfect success of all his undertakings as a cultivator of the soil. He is a native of Stark county, Ohio, and a son of Albert and Rosanna (Burket) Byrer, who were born in Pennsylvania and were of German descent.
Albert Byrer had his nativity on the 26th day of February, 1813, and his wife was born January 3, 1826. From Pennsylvania they migrated to Ohio in an early day and first located in Stark county, whence they removed to Summit county, and in 1865 came to Kosciusko county, Indiana. Here Mrs. Rosanna Byrer passed away March 22, 1875, and Albert Byrer, February 5, 1889. Their eleven children were born in the following order: Margaret A., March 28, 1844; Edward J., July 10, 1845; Louisa (deceased), May 21,1847; Sarah J. (deceased), May 14, 1850; Lydia, June 9, 1852; Almira, October 29, 1854: Reuben (of this biography), September 21, 1856; Jeremiah, October 7, 1859; Lineus O., July 5, 1862; Jonathan A., March 23, 1865, and Peter W., October 16, 1868.
Reuben Byrer came to Kosciusko county with his parents in 1865 and was here reared to manhood. His education was acquired in the common schools and in the normal schools of Warsaw and Pierceton, and in 1877 he began teaching, a vocation he followed seventeen consecutive years in Kosciusko county; seventeen terms in one district, a fact indicative in itself of his superior qualifications as an instructor and of the favor in which he stood with his patrons.
The marriage of Reuben Byrer was celebrated in Marshall county, Indiana, September 9, 1883, with Miss Emma E. Ringgenberg, who was born in Kosciusko county, October 7, 1863, and is a daughter of John and Mary A. (Berger) Ringgenberg, early settlers of Kosciusko county, but now prominent residents of Bremen, Marshall county, and the parents of fourteen children namely: Peter, Sarah, Lydia, all deceased; Peter (second); Sarah, Caroline, Lucetta, Daniel, Ella, also deceased; Emme E.; John H.; Edward S., deceased; Susannah E. and Clara V. In 1890 Mr. Byrer purchased his present farm of eighty-six acres and in 1895 erected his buildings and moved upon the place. He has now sixty-five acres in a fine state of cultivation and has made his farm one of the most profitable in the township.
To Mr. and Mrs. Byrer have been born five children, namely: Dorcy G., April 26, 1885; Dora E., September 13, 1886; Eben R., July 24, 1888, died December 23, 1892; Floyd W., April 10, 1890; Harvey J., December 23, 1894. Mr. and Mrs. Byrer are members of the Evangelical church, have lived fully up to its doctrines, and no family in the township enjoy or more deservedly have gained the high esteem in which Mr. Byrer's family is held by the people of Scott township. In politics the subject affiliates with the Republican party.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
SAMUEL C. HEPLER.
Scott township, Kosciusko county, Indiana, has within its' precincts no more deserving resident than Samuel C. Hepler, who is what is usually designated a "self-made" man, or, in other words, a man who, through his own efforts and good management, has made his own fortune. Scott township is Mr. Hepler's place of nativity, his birth having here taken place February 26, 1841. His parents, David C. and Magdalena (Yaulky) Hepler, were born in Pennsylvania and were of German descent. David C. was born in 1811 and when a mere boy was brought from the Keystone state by his parents, who settled in Stark county, Ohio, where he grew to manhood. He married Magdalena Yaulky, who was born in 1807 and was a young girl when taken to Ohio by her parents.
On marrying Mr. Hepler first located on a farm in Stark county, on which he lived until about 1838, when he came to Kosciusko county, Indiana, and entered land which he improved and resided upon until called from earth. At the time of his coming here the country was a wilderness and he had to hew a way through the forest for many miles to reach his prospective farm, but he succeeded after much hard labor in making for himself and family a first-class home of two hundred acres. To David C. and Magdalena Hepler were born eight children, namely: Elizabeth, Daniel (deceased), John, David (deceased), Samuel C., Jacob, and Isaac and Hiram (deceased). The parents of this family are also now deceased, the mother having died in 1870 and the father in 1880.
Samuel C. Hepler has passed his entire life in farming, and his only education was acquired in the old-fashioned log schoolhouse of his childhood. He assisted his parents on the home place during the summer season, all through his schools days, and afterwards aided them throughout the year until about twenty-seven years old.
May 12, 1870, Mr. Hepler united in marriage, in Kosciusko county, to Miss Amanda C. Britton, who was born in Holmes county, Ohio, April 27, 1842, the only child of Lewis and Druscilla (Stiffler) Britton. The father of Mrs. Hepler died at a comparatively early age, and Mrs. Britton was next married to Jacob Wyman, and by him became the mother of five children, viz.: Henry, George, Rachel, Michael and Ambrose.
At his marriage Mr. Hepler began housekeeping on rented land, which he occupied two years, and then, in the spring of 1873, purchased and settled upon the farm he now occupies. At that time this farm was improved with only a few log structures, such as were necessary to make it habitable, but Mr. Hepler has converted it into one of the best farms of its dimensions in Scott township. It comprises one hundred acres, of which Mr. Hepler has placed under cultivation ninety-two. It is all fenced, and the old log shanties have been replaced with a fine modern, two-story frame dwelling, a substantial barn and all necessary outbuildings.
To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Hepler eight children have come to brighten the home, namely: Urene, born February 27, 1871; George, January 7, 1873; Salome, October 24, 1874; Charles, April 1, 1876; Magdalena, May 22, 1878; Marion, January 23, 1880; Francis, October l0, 1881, and Henry, April 23, 1885. Mr. and Mrs. Hepler are members of the Lutheran church, to the support of which they liberally contribute financially and the teachings of which they implicitly follow. By their consistent and upright walk through life they have won the unfeigned respect of their neighbors and the untiring labor of Mr. Hepler, with its accompanying reward, has been a matter of general congratulation among his many friends. Mr. Hepler is a Democrat in politics. He possesses a parchment sheepskin deed, executed July 1, 1845, and bearing the signature of President James K. Polk.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
The subject of this sketch is a native of Ohio, born in Stark county, November 3, 1831. His parents were Samuel S. and Mary M. (Frick) Hepler, both born in Pennsylvania, the father April 17, 1806, and the mother on the 14th day of March, 1805. They were early settlers of Stark county and lived there until 1840, at which time they came to Kosciusko county, Indiana, settling in Scott township, where they spent the remainder of their days, the mother dying June 23, 1873, and the father January 22, 1889. Samuel and Mary Hepler had ten children, namely: Sarah, Joseph, Hannah, Catherine, George, Solomon, Mary, Elizabeth, Lucinda and Samuel, of whom Joseph, Solomon and Samuel are living.
Solomon Hepler was a lad nine years old when his parents came to Kosciusko county and from that time to the present he has spent his life within its limits. He was reared to agricultural pursuits and has always followed farming for a livelihood, meeting with success in his chosen vocation. When twenty-one years of age he began life for himself, entering forty acres of land in Jefferson township. Subsequently Mr. Hepler purchased an additional forty acres of his father, and being now in a fair condition to make more substantial headway in the world he took to himself a wife in the person of Miss Margaret Bortz, the ceremony being solemnized on the 4th day of March, 1852. Mrs. Hepler was born in Stark county, Ohio, November 23, 1834.
After his marriage Mr. Hepler moved to his farm in Jefferson township and continued to reside on the same until 1900, when he retired from active life and changed his residence to the town of Milford, where he now lives. He was a progressive farmer, made many valuable improvements on his place and earned the reputation of an honest, industrious, upright citizen whose integrity was unassailable and whose word was as good as his bond. He owns one hundred and sixty-one acres of as fine land as the county of Kosciusko contains and his home in Milford is one of the beautiful and attractive private dwellings in the town. By diligent attention to his business affairs he has placed himself in independent circumstances and is now enjoying some of the fruits of his toil in a life from which all care and anxiety have been eliminated. He is highly esteemed by a large circle of friends and by his upright course has made himself worthy the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens.
Mr. and Mrs. Hepler are the parents of seven children, whose names are as follows: Catherine (deceased), Mary (deceased), Hannah (deceased), Andrew, John, Elizabeth and Rosie. The father and mother are members of the Progressive branch of the German Baptist church and the children have been reared in that faith.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
J. A. QUACKENBUSH.
This substantial farmer and worthy citizen has had a varied and interesting career as a business man, successful tiller of the soil and a traveler, having been the latter at an age when most boys are still at home under the watchful care of their parents. The Quackenbush family is of German origin, the subject's ancestors coming to America a great many years ago and settling in the state of New York. Hiram Quackenbush, father of J. A., was born in the Empire state and there grew to maturity, marrying, when a young man, Cornelia Mowers. By occupation he was a fanner and appears to have been successful in his business affairs, accumulating a sufficiency of this world's goods to purchase a good place in his native state, which he cultivated for a number of years. Thinking to better his condition further west, he finally sold his possessions in New York and made a trip by way of canal and the lakes to Chicago, thence to Lake county, Indiana, where he purchased a half section of land, the place being near the city of Crown Point. This move was made in 1846 and after living on this land for about three years he moved to St. Joseph county, Michigan, where he had previously bought one hundred and twenty acres on the St. Joseph river in what was then known as the Burr Oak opening.
J. A. Quackenbush was born on the old home place in Chenango county, New York, November 16, 1838, and was a lad of eight years when the family moved to Indiana. He remained with his parents in St. Joseph county, Michigan, until after his mother's death, when he was about seventeen years of age, and then left home to face the world and make his own fortune and carve out his own destiny. Impressed with a desire to see the far west, a land which at that time held out many glittering promises to the young and ambitious, as also the adventurous, he made his way in 1861 to Denver, Colorado, where he remained variously employed until the spring of the year following. Determined to see more of the great western domain, he proceeded the latter year overland to California, where for the next three years he engaged in farming, teaming and general freighting in which he was quite successful, saving his earnings with scrupulous care. In December, 1864, Mr. Quackenbush decided to return east, and taking a steamer from San Francisco, by way of Panama to New York city, and from thence to DeKalb county, Indiana, where he engaged in mercantile business, at Waterloo City, about two years. He subsequently effected a copartnership with his brother, J. A.Wilson, in the marble business at the town of Ligonier, Noble county. After following that line of trade for some time, he disposed of his interest in the business and obtained a government license to engage in the broker's business, buying and selling notes and other papers, and also at the same time buying and shipping grain and produce. This he followed until investing his means in a piece of land in the county of Elkhart. Moving to his farm, Mr. Quackenbush turned his attention to agricultural pursuits and after living in Elkhart county three years sold his land there and invested the proceeds in the farm on which he now resides in Tippecanoe township, county of Kosciusko.
Unlike the majority of men who move from place to place and lose with almost every change of residence, Mr. Quackenbush was successful in his various enterprises and made few changes that were not in the end for the better. Since coming to this county he has improved a fine farm, adding greatly to the fertility and value of his land, and he is now considered one of the substantial and progressive husbandmen of the community in which he lives. He knows how to take advantage of opportunities, as his contact with the world in different capacities proved of great educational value in developing and strengthening a naturally strong mind, making him not only a close and intelligent observer, but maturing his judgment to a very marked degree.
Mr. Quackenbush inherits much of the tenacity and perseverance characteristic of his descent and his industry and management have been of a very persistent type. He has come in contact with all classes and conditions of men and obtained thereby a large fund of practical knowledge which enables him to take views of the world and give proper advice to young men whose history is still in the future. He enjoys the reputation of an honorable man and worthy citizen, capable in his business affairs, conscientious and upright in all his dealings with his fellows, while his high place in the public esteem has been well earned by correct conduct and right living.
Mr. Quackenbush's wife was formerly Miss Helen Mayfield, daughter of Samuel Mayfield, of Noble county. She bore her husband three children, and departed this life on the 6th day of May, 1901. The oldest son, Farmer J., married Myrtle Philpatt, and lives in Tippecanoe township. He is a well educated man and for some years past has been one of the county's most successful and popular teachers. He has also studied law and will ultimately devote his life to that profession. Madge E., born February 5, 1883, is also a teacher in the public schools and has earned a wide reputation for skill and efficiency in her work. Laura R., the youngest, was born September 28, 1885, and, like the other two, has enjoyed the advantages of superior educational training. Mrs. Quackenbush was a devoted member of the Christian church and early impressed upon the minds of her children the principles of religion by which her own life was directed and controlled. Not identified with any church organization himself, Mr. Quackenbush is a believer in revealed religion, and has been a liberal contributor to the church with which his wife was identified. He was made a Mason in 1865 and has been an enthusiastic worker in the fraternity since that time. He formerly held membership with Chapter No. 44, R. A. M., in Noble county, in which, as in the blue lodge, he has held various official positions from time to time. Politically he is a stanch supporter of the Republican party, taking a lively interest in political questions and in campaigns rendering effective service both as a planner and worker in the ranks.
Personally Mr. Quackenbush is quiet and unassuming, but withal genial and companionable, and has many warm friends throughout the county of Kosciusko. He is to al1 interests and purposes a self-made man, as he started in life with no capital but energy and industry and the education obtained principally by his own efforts, and his career in the main has been successfu1.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
WILLIAM HECKMAN, DECEASED.
The subject of this memoir was for a number of years an enterprising farmer and popular citizen of Scott township. He was born in Marshall county, Indiana, May 28, 1850, the son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Shearer) Heckman, natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively. These parents were among the early settlers of Marshall county, moving to that part of the state when the country was new and spending the remainder of their days where they originally located. They had a family of eleven children, namely: John, Sarah, Mary, Samuel, Emanuel, Rachel, Philip, William, Jacob, Margaret and Adam.
William Heckman was reared on the homestead in Marshall county, and choosing farming for a vocation, followed the same with success and financial profit to the end of his days. Mary Burgner, who became his wife on the 4th of July, 1872, was born in the county of Marshal1 February 13, 1854. She is the daughter of John and Christena (Shafer) Burgner, the former a native of Switzerland and the latter of Germany. John and Christena Burgner came to the United States with their respective parents when young and grew to maturity in Ohio, where they were married a number of years ago. Subsequently they moved to Indiana, in which state the remaining years of their earthly pilgrimage were spent. They reared a large family, consisting of fourteen children, namely: Henry, Christena, Catherine, Michael, William, Elizabeth, Philip, William, Mary, John, Peter, Catherine, Charles and Ella.
For some time after his marriage William Heckman followed agricultural pursuits in his native county, leasing land for the purpose, and about five years later changed his residence to the county of Kosciusko, where for a period of about one year he also farmed as a renter. He then purchased the farm in Scott township - where his widow now resides and continued to cu1tivate the same with a large measure of success until his death, which occurred on the 28th day of January, 1891.
Mr. Heckman was a prosperous man and a most exemplary citizen. His nature was truthful, and proving worthy of trust he was always trusted with unquestioning reliance. Among his marked characteristics were a clear, intelligent and thoroughly practical judgment, a strong and active will, untiring industry, frugality, and energetic public spirit and a manner genial and kind, which won for him the unbounded confidence of all with whom he came in contact. Within the sacred precincts of home, where he had garnered up the treasures of the heart, his virtues shone with peculiar luster and the life with which he illuminated the domestic circle was reflected in al1 of his relations with his fellow men. He accumulated a liberal share of this world's goods, including a fine farm of one hundred and twenty acres, and left his wife and children in comfortable circumstances. For a number of years he had been an earnest and zealous member of the Evangelical Association and cheered by its teachings and sustained by an unfaltering trust in Him who doeth all things well, he fearlessly entered the valley of shadows, assured of a welcome on the other side from the Savior whom he had so faithfully served here.
To Mr. and Mrs. Heckman were born the following children: Rosa E., wife of George Carl, of Nappanee; Anna E., married Noah Rhinehart and also lives in the town of Nappanee; Lenora, the wife of Edward Hepler, lives on the home farm; Clarence, Ira A and Loutrella, the last three still under the parental roof.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher