In April, 1861, he enlisted at Muncie as a private in Company C, 8th Ind. V. I., Capt. Thomas J. Brady (afterward brigadier general). Mr. Kirby’s enlistment was on the first call of President Lincoln for three months men, and Company C was the first in the State to report to Governor Morton at Indianapolis. His service was in West Virginia, and he took part in the battle of Rich Mountain, the first of the Civil war. On the expiration of his term of service he returned to Indianapolis with his regiment, where he was honorably discharged. Later he re-enlisted for the three years service and assisted in recruiting Company B, 36th Ind. V. I., of which he was commissioned first lieutenant, and in which he served until his resignation was caused on account of disability, he having been injured during his first term of service. The government had not then the means of caring for the soldiers, and the commissary department was badly supplied and not well organized. Neither had the soldiers become accustomed to caring for themselves in the field, and were not yet hardened to exposure. As Mr. Kirby was one of the first soldiers to enlist, he suffered with the others, and endured hardships from which he has never recovered, and which caused him to become so disabled that he was obliged to resign during his second term of service. His army service having shattered his health he went to California in the summer of 1862, sailing from New York to the Panama on the Vanderbilt line, and crossed the Isthmus, went on to San Francisco, and first secured employment on a ranch. Soon after he went on to Oregon, and engaged in gold mining, and then to Virginia City, Nev., where he remained eighteen months engaged in gold mining. For three years he engaged in mining in Plumas county, Cal. In the fall of 1867 he returned to Indiana, and for the following seventeen years engaged in a grocery business at Muncie. He then turned his attention to the lumber trade, in which he has been interested ever since. He is a well-known, respected business man of this city, and has always been deeply interested in its welfare, having seen it develop from the time when its present busiest streets were only cow-paths. The building of the fine "Kirby" House was one of the enterprises of his father which was completed by our subject and his brothers. Mr. Kirby built his own substantial brick residence in 1874.
Thomas Hickman Kirby was married, in 1869, in Muncie, Ind., to Anna Sayle Cassady, born at Middletown, Montgomery Co., Ohio, June 30, 1842, daughter of William and Eliza (Van Horn) Cassady. The Van Horn family is of sturdy Holland-Dutch stock. William Cassady, father of Mrs. Kirby, moved from Middletown to Muncie in the early fifties, establishing a drug store which he conducted for many years. He died at Muncie, aged eighty-two years. For a long period he was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, to which office his son, William, succeeded.
Two children were born to Thomas Hickman and Anna Sayle (Cassady) Kirby:
Edith Elizabeth, born Jan. 21, 1872; and Edward C., born June 4, 1881. The former was educated in the public schools of Muncie, and attended the well-known classical school of May Wright Sewall, at Indianapolis, where she took a three years’ course. On June 21, 1900, she was married at Muncie, to Robert E. Bornes, born at Denver, Colo., Aug. 29, 1873, son of James Purdie and Emily (Hott) Bornes, and a member of an old New York family. Mr. Bornes is a hardware merchant at Colorado Springs. They have had one child, Ann Cassady, born at Colorado Springs, Jan. 1, 1905, and died April 1, 1906. Edward C. Kirby is a graduate of Rose Polytechnic Institute at Terre Haute, Ind., and is an electrical and mechanical engineer, connected with the General Electric Company at Schnectady, New York.
Thomas H. Kirby is a member of the Masonic fraternity, a Knight Templar at Muncie, and belongs to the Scottish Rite branches at Indianapolis. He is a member of Williams Post, G. A. R., at Muncie, and a member of the Loyal Legion at Indianapolis, being chief warden of the State of Indiana. In politics he was one of the original Republicans, having voted for John C. Fremont, the first Republican candidate for President, and for every Republican candidate since that time. He and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church.
JOHN W. FEATHERSTON, a respected citizen of Anderson, Ind., and a veteran of the Civil war, has been engaged in farming in this section since 1873. He was born March 1, 1837, in Jefferson county, Ind., son of Charles D. and Louisa (Acres) Featherston.
Jeremiah Featherston, grandfather of John W., was a pioneer of Kentucky, and settled near Frankfort. In 1822 he located in Indiana, settling in Marion county, six miles south of Indianapolis, where he entered and bought 160 acres of land from the United States government. He afterward sold eighty acres of this land, and kept eighty acres himself, which he cleared up and converted into a good farm, and here he passed his remaining days. He died in 1864 or 1865, between the ages of seventy and eight years. He marrried Annie Green, and their children were: Charles D., John,. William E., Byrle (who died young), Lucy, James, Robert, Sarah, Jeremiah, Mary and Nancy.
Charles D. Featherston was probably born in Kentucky and was a young man when his parents moved to Marion county, Ind. His life business was farming, but he worked on the old State house in Indianapolis, when it was being erected, during the summer time for two or three years. He married Louisa Acres, born in Indiana, of Irish parentage, daughter of Finley Acres, a native of Ireland. Mr. Featherston first settled on his father’s farm, later removing to a rented farm near Indianapolis, where he lived about ten years, and then located in Hamilton county, where he lived on a farm near Noblesville. He died in Augusta, nine miles north of Indianapolis, aged about seventy years. He was a member of the Christian Church, and was an upright, straight-forward man, and had many friends. His first wife, Louisa (Acres) died, the mother of one son, John W., and Mr. Featherston took for his second wife, Narcissa Eudaly, by whom he had these children: Eliza J. and Nancy E. (twins); Jeremiah; Charles; Narcissa; Margaret; Maria; Elizabeth; William; Mary; Andrew; Fran; and Melissa and Lucinda (twins), who died aged fourteen and fifteen years, respectively.
John W. Featherston received but a meager education, attending the district school not more than two months. His mother died when he was about nine years old, and he was brought up by his grandparents, Jeremiah and Annie Green Featherston. He began work at a very early age, being reared a farmer, which occupation he has always followed. He married in Marion county, Oct. 18, 1857, Malinda Johnson, born in Jefferson county, Ind., July 17, 1841, daughter of Bartimus and Malinda (Ritchie) Johnson. Bartimus Johnson was a Kentuckian who settled in Bartholomew county at an early date, and moved to Marion county in 1856. He later removed to Johnson county, where he died aged about eighty years. His children were: Mitchell, John, Nancy, Mary, James, Charles, William, Dicy and Malinda. Of these James and Charles were soldiers in the Mexican war, and Mitchell, John and William in the Civil war. John was wounded at the battle of Perryville, Ky. The father of these children was a local minister of the Missionary Baptist Church.
John W. Featherston and his wife, after marriage, settled in Marion county, where he farmed until the Civil war. He enlisted at Indianapolis, in September, 1864, as a private in Company B, 29th Ind. V. I., to serve one year or during the war. He served until the time had nearly expired when he was honorably discharged, the war having closed. He was a participant of the first battle of Franklin, three days fight; the second battle of Nashville; Decatur, Ala., in many skirmishes, as well as taking part in many forced marches. He marched from Nov. 16, 1864, until Jan. 29, 1865, on Steedman’s raid to re-enforce General Thomas, following Steedman until his troops were demoralized.
When Mr. Featherston enlisted he left his wife and three little children at home, and while away his little son, Charles, aged six years, died, and Mr. Featherstone was unable to get home to see him. The child died from an attack of spotted fever, twenty-three children being claimed from the school little Charles was attending—his first term. After the war Mr. Featherston returned home, and worked for a time at ordinary labor, all of his savings having been swept away through the needs of his family when he was away. Later, having accumulated a little money he rented land in Marion county, in 1873 locating in Brown county, where he bought 160 acres of land in the timber, which land he cleared and improved into a good farm, setting out an orchard.
Mr. and Mrs. Featherston have had children as follows: Charles, James, Louisa, William, Albert, Calvin, Oscar and Rosetta. Mr. Featherston and his wife moved to Anderson in 1896, where they bought
a pleasant residence property and there they now reside. Mrs. Featherston is a member of the Methodist Church. In politics he is a stanch Republican, and at one time served as road supervisor. He is an honored member of Major May Post, G. A. R., of Anderson, in which he has held the office of chaplain. He was vice-commander of his Post at Bean Blossom, Brown county. Mr. Featherston has always been an industrious, hard-working man, straight-forward and honest in his dealings with his fellow men, and he is regarded as one of Anderson’s representative citizens. The present independent position in which up finds himself is entirely the result of his own efforts. Unlike many of the soldiers of the Civil war, Mr. Featherston’s experiences in that struggle did not incapacitate him from hard, persistent work upon his return. On the other hand be probably at that time realized more fully than ever before the compensations of industry.
LAFAYETTE FERGUSON, a highly respected citizen of Elwood, Ind., where he is engaged in carpentering, sawmilling and teaming, was born April 3, 1844, in Shelby county, Ind., son of James N. and Esther (Gibson) Ferguson.
James N. Ferguson was born in Pennsylvania, son of William Ferguson, a pioneer of Franklin county, Ind., where he died. He came with his father to Indiana, where he was engaged in farming all of his life, also owning a sawmill. He was very patriotic and tried to enlist several times, but was always refused on account of his age. He had four children: Lafayette; Jane, who married John F. Frush; Emeline, who married Lewis Heffner; and Loretta, who married Perry Parker. Mr. Ferguson was a Republican, and his religious connections were with the Methodist Church. His death occurred in Elwood, when he was aged eighty-three years.
Lafayette Ferguson was eight years of age when he came with his father to Tipton county, Ind., and fourteen years old when he went to Miami county, he having attended school in both of these places. He enlisted near Peru, Miami county, in the Union army, and was enrolled Aug. 16, 1861, when seventeen years of age, as a member of Company A, 39th Ind. V. I., afterward reorganized as the 8th Ind. Cav., to serve three years or during the war. He served until honorably discharged, and re-enlisted at Ringgold, Ga., Feb. 21, 1864, to serve three years or during the war, and was honorably discharged at Lexington, N. C., July 20, 1865, being mustered out at Indianapolis. He served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. He was in the battles of Shiloh, in April, 1862, and Corinth, and after many skirmishes participated in the battle of Murfreesboro, being taken prisoner Dec. 31, 1863, when 250 members of his regiment were captured. He was confined in the famous Libby prison for six weeks, and then taken to Annapolis, Md., and paroled. When captured he was stripped of his overcoat and everything in his pockets. The rations were soup and about an ounce of light bread once per day, but Mr. Ferguson was treated fairly well, considering the state of the prison. After his exchange he rejoined his regiment at Murfreesboro and went to Tullahoma, taking part in a battle there, and was also at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge and in Sherman’s March to the Sea. He was in many skirmishes, and also did a great deal of foraging, often alone. On one expedition a foraging party of which Mr. Ferguson was a member went sixty-nine miles and captured a great amount of meat. He was in the battle of Black River, and was on the steamer "City of Columbus" when that vessel was burned. During his entire service, about four years, Mr. Ferguson was an active, faithful soldier, and his war record is one of which any man might well be proud.
After the war Mr. Ferguson returned to Indiana and settled in Cass county, where forsome time he engaged in sawmilling, also learning the carpenter’s trade from his father. In 1879 the family came to Elwood, and here Mr. Ferguson has resided to the present time, being engaged in carpentering, and in saw-milling and teaming. He is one of the substantial business men of the place, and is highly esteemed for his many sterling qualities of character. He is a member of Elwood Post No. 61, G. A. R., and has held the office of adjutant for three years and also been quartermaster. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Church, of which he has been a trustee.
On April 10, 1879, Mr. Ferguson was married in Tipton county, Ind., to Mary A. Nash, born Aug. 29, 1856, in Tipton county, daughter of George and Rachel (Shields) Nash, and they have three daughters: Emma A., who married Fred Clark, has one child, Albert L.; Esther Ann who married Charles Price, resides in Elwood; and Ethel A.
JOHN A. FESLER, a well-known citizen of Daleville, Ind., and a survivor of the Civil war, was born July 24, 1842, in Madison county, Ind., six miles south of Anderson, son of David and Elizabeth (Landis) Fesler.
David Fesler was of Pennsylvania Dutch descent and was born in 1813, near Schaefferstown, Lancaster Co., Pa., a son of George Fesler, a farmer of that neighborhood, whose other children were: Jacob, William, Peter, Sarah, Catherine and Elizabeth. David Fesler was a stone-mason and plasterer by trade in Lancaster county. There he married Elizabeth Landis, also born near Schaefferstown. They moved to Dayton, Va., and in 1840 moved with family and possessions and settled at Columbus, Bartholomew Co., Ind. Mr. Fesler owned town property, and continued to work at his trade until 1863, when he moved to a farm south of Columbus, and during 1864-5 he had charge of the county farm. He then bought thirty-four acres in Pipe Creek township, in the north part of Madison county. This land was improved, and as he had a sawmill on the farm, his son John operated it for eight years.
Mr. Fesler bought other property until he owned 134 acres, on which he built a two-story hewed log house, which he afterward weatherboarded, lathed and plastered, making it a compact, comfortable home. He also built a substantial barn of 40 x 50 feet in dimensions and otherwise improved his place. He next traded forty acres for a stone quarry of sixteen acres, two and one-half miles north of Frankton, and this his son John ran for twenty-two years. He died here Nov. 14, 1894, aged eighty years, eleven months and five days. His children were: Rebecca; John A.; William; Catherine; Benjamin; Arabella, who died aged twenty-two years, leaving a husband; and Abraham and Sarah, who both died in infancy in Virginia.
Mr. Fesler made the journey to Indiana by wagon, and his brother Peter and family came at the same time. They were all members of the Dunkard Church. Mr. Fesler was a life-long Democrat. He was an industrious, upright man, and so possessed the confidence of his fellow citizens that he was elected deputy sheriff of Madison county, and several times was township assessor. For years his brother Peter was one of the county commissioners of Madison county.
John A. Fesler was reared among the pioneers of Madison county, and very early in life learned to work on the farm and to manage a team. When the Civil war broke out he was anxious to enter the army, and was nineteen when he ran away from home and enlisted, March 10, 1862, as a private of Company K, 8th Ind. V. I., for three years or during the war. He served until he was honorably discharged at Indianapolis, in February, 1864, re-enlisting as a veteran again to serve three years. His final discharge was on Sept. 28, 1865, on account of the ending of the rebellion. His service was in Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia and Georgia. Mr. Fesler took part in twenty battles, and was in so many skirmishes he can scarcely recall them. The battles were: Cotton Plant, Ark., Port Gibson, Miss., Champion Hills, Miss., first battle of Jackson, Miss., Big Black River, Miss., Vicksburg, Miss., second battle of Jackson, Miss., Mustang Island, Texas, Fort Esperanza, Texas, Austin, Texas, Baton Rouge, La., Carrion Crow Bayou, La., Atchafalaya, La., Berryville, La., Hall Run, W. Va., Winchester, W. Va., Fisher’s Hill, W. Va., New Market, W. Va., and Cedar Creek, W. Va. During all this time he was absent from his regiment but one day, except when he took his veteran furlough, in May, 1864. He was never wounded and never suffered imprisonment. On the battlefield of Cedar Creek he assisted William Fesler, who was seriously wounded, four miles to the field hospital.
After the war Mr. Fesler returned to his father’s farm in Indiana, and ran the sawmill for eight years, and also farmed for one year. When his father acquired the stone quarry he took charge of that and operated it for twenty-two years. He then settled on his farm of thirty acres, two and a half miles northeast of Frankton, and in the fall removed to Daleville, where he now resides.
Mr. Fesler was married (first) Dec. 3, 1866, in Pipe Creek township, Madison Co., Ind., to Nancy Stanley, born in Anderson township, Madison Co., Ind., Jan. 4, 1839, daughter of John and Mary (Perkins) Stanley. John Stanley, father of Mrs. Fesler, was a pioneer of Anderson township, where he developed a good farm. His death took place previous to the Civil war. His children were: Hutchinson, Meridith, Jehiel, Henry, Clyde, Eliza, Alkana, Mary, Amos, Elizabeth and Andrew, all of whom are deceased except Elizabeth. To John and Nancy (Stanley) Fesler were born: John Franklin, Emma Catherine, Oliver Cecil, and two that died in infancy.
Mrs. Fesler died on the farm, July 18, 1890. On June 11, 1901, Mr. Fesler was married (second) to Mrs. Anna Funkhouser, born Aug. 25, 1850, in Delaware county, Ind., daughter of Alexander and Rebecca (Pierce) McAllister, the former a farmer in Delaware county. His two children were Franklin and Anna. The latter married William Funkhouser, a farmer of this county, and became the mother of Cora, Augusta, Louisa, Vearl, Sophia, Maud and Joseph, of whom Louisa and Sophia are deceased. No children have been born of her marriage to Mr. Fesler.
In politics Mr. Fesler has always been a Democrat, and he has frequently been elected to local office, and has served as assessor of Pipe Creek township. Both Mr. and Mrs. Fesler are members of the Christian Church.
HENRY AND DANIEL GASCHO. With all of its foreign elements of population America claims comparatively few of French Huguenot stock. Of these few, Hamilton county, Ind., has been the home of members of the family of the name of Gascho since 1840 or earlier. Daniel Gascho, now advanced in years, is in the fourth generation from the last French ancestor, and his brother, Henry Gascho, who also lived in Hamilton county, died Nov. 11, 1906.
Owing to the troubles and dangers experienced by the Huguenots in France, the great-grandfather of the Gascho brothers left his native land and took refuge in Worms, Germany. His son, Henry, was born in that country, in a town called Darmstein, July 15, 1752. In the fall of 1766, when only fourteen years of age this Henry Gascho, with his sister Barbara, two step-sisters, his mother, and his step-father, a Mr. Kraemer, embarked on an old-fashioned sailing vessel for America, taking fourteen weeks for the voyage. In the course of it Mr. Kraemer died and was buried at sea. Henry Gascho was a redemptioner, that is, in order to pay for his passage he had contracted in Germany to allow his services to be sold on his arrival in America for a set term of years, and his half-sisters are supposed to have come on similar terms. They served their time with German settlers in Lancaster county, Pa., and Henry’s employer was John Kaufman.
Henry Gascho, after serving his time, located in Lancaster county, and followed his trade as a weaver. His jamily lived on a small farm, which he bought there, and which he carried on in addition to his weaving. During the Revolution he enlisted in a Pennsylvania regiment, and fought for his adopted country. He married Barbara Schenck, who was born in Lancaster county, March 7, 1760, and who died Oct. 16, 1844, aged eighty-four years. He lived to the age of eighty-eight, dying four years before his wife. Their children were John, born May 7, 1784 (father of Henry and Daniel); Barbara, Mrs. Jacob Murry; and Henry. The family were all Mennonites in their religion.
John Gascho, born May 7, 1784, was given the ordinary common-school education of his day, that is, he could read and write and had some knowledge of figures. His father, though able to do as much in German, never learned to do the same in English. John Gascho learned the weaver’s trade from his father, and followed that occupation until past middle life, working in the old style which was probably handed down from his Huguenot ancestors, for they were known as a race of skilled weavers and were the first to introduce the art into England. John became an unusually good weaver, and one of his descendants still preserves a napkin made from a tablecloth of his handiwork. It is of pure linen, woven in a very fine intricate pattern and is as fresh as if made yesterday. There is also preserved a pattern book printed in Leipsic in German, which belonged to John Gascho. He wove both flax and wool, and produced not only table linen, coverlids, and clothing, linsey woolsey for home blankets, but also carpets.
Mr. Gascho made his home during many years of his married life on a farm of sixty acres in Lancaster county, part of which was inherited from his wife’s family, part from his father, and a part earned by himself. In 1847 he left Pennsylvania for Indiana. His brother Henry had already gone there, buying and clearing land originally entered by "Big Jacob" Crull, where Arcadia now stands, and John had visited Hamilton county and looked over the country about there before deciding to move. The family started on their journey April 18, 1847, in a two-horse wagon and one wagon with four horses. The four-horse wagon was an enormous Conestoga, the best type of freight wagon ever devised. It had broad tired wheels, a body bowed up at each end and a canvas shelter projecting over the driver. The near tongue horse was ridden by the driver, who managed the four, or even six, horse team with a single line. Some of these wagons had a carrying capacity of ten tons. They were much used in those days in pioneer travelling, and the first steam boiler in Noblesville, designed for the sawmill of John and James Harris, was brought on Mr. Gascho’s four-horse wagon from Indianapolis about 1849.
The Gaschos were thirty days on the road, for they were heavily loaded with household goods, and some of the boys walked. The men slept in the wagons and the women in the party went to the wayside inn for shelter. They did their own cooking, for the inns of that day had a big kitchen with fireplace which travellers were allowed to use. On reaching Hamilton county John Gascho bought 160 acres, the place where his son still lives, which had been entered by George Dale and bought from him by Samuel Beatty. On half of this the small timber and brush had been cut and burned, leaving the heavy timber to work out as it was cut down. There had already been built, in the days of the canal boom, a four-room frame house and a hewed log barn. Mr. Gascho cleared his land and added to it until he owned 707 acres of fine farming property, all of which and more to the amount of 1,000 acres, is still in the possession of his descendants bearing his name. The old homestead and substantial barn still on the place were built by him.
At the age of twenty-eight in 1812, John Gascho married Catherine Schollenberger, born in Lancaster county, Dec. 16, 1790, daughter of Henry S. Schollenberger, a Pennsylvania German and a substantial farmer residing in Columbia. The children born to this union were as follows: Jonathan, born Sept. 22, 1812; John, Feb. 13, 1814; Henry, Jan. 14, 1816; Christina, April 15, 1818; Tobias, Sept. 27, 1819; Elias, Jan. 22, 1823; Fannie, Nov. 23, 1825; Catherine, July 29, 1828; and Daniel, Oct. 27, 1836. Mr. Gascho and his wife were members of the Mennonite Church. He was a great reader of the Bible and practiced its teachings in his life. His large property was all attained honestly, without wrong to anyone, and his known integrity made him a man of influence in his community. He was independent in his views, voting as he thought best, always took a newspaper and was a representative of the finest type of pioneer citizen.
Henry Gascho, son of John, lived until his death in 1906 with his brother, Daniel, on the original homestead, in a good two-story frame house. He received a common school education and was then occupied both with farming and weaving. In his earlier years he was very skilful in the latter occupation, and there is still a colored coverlet of his own work, made sixty-five years ago. The colors are almost as bright as ever. After going to Indiana he gave his entire time to the farm, and did much to develop it. His first visit to the country was made in 1839, when he paid a visit to his uncle Henry, making much of the journey by canal and steamboat, but also walking a considerable portion of it. In politics he was a Republican. The family is a long-lived one, for the mother lived to be ninety-five years old, while farther back, Henry Schenck, a brother of Barbara (wife of Henry Gascho), lacked only half a year of the century mark. With such a family record it is not surprising that Henry Gascho reached his ninety-first year and retained his faculties to a remarkable degree. Of a gentle, quiet disposition, he always had the reputation of a peacemaker and was altogther a fine character.
Daniel Gascho was about ten years of age when he came to Indiana and he has seen Noblesville develop from a place of but 500 inhabitants to its present size. He has always helped to manage the homestead, and with his brother he owned jointly 400 acres adjoining Noblesville on the east One of the first Republicans he voted that party ticket from the time of Lincoln until 1884, when he became a Democrat. He has always been prominent in local affairs, and was on the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners three years, from 1876 to 1879. During this period the new court house was erected in Noblesville and Mr. Gascho’s name is one of those cut in the corner stone, which was put in place in 1878. Mr. Gascho has shown himself possessed of strong character, independence and ability and his good qualities have been fully appreciated by those among whom his long life has been passed.
The family have always been active in work for the moral uplifting of the community, and two nephews of Henry and Daniel Gascho, John B., still living, and Seth, deceased, have been earnest laborers in the Master’s vineyard as ministers of the German Baptist Church.