Todd, Mrs. Ruth A., PO Browns Valley, residence on Sec 16, daughter of Benjamin and Mary VanCleve; was born in Shelby Co, KY July 17, 1823 and settled with her parents on Sec 21 in 1825. Was married to Johnson Todd Feb 11, 1841 who died March 13, 1870 -- Children: John W, Henry T, Isaac S; George W; Sarah J (now Mrs. T. Davis); America M; Paulina E; Johnson B; Mary E; and stepson James C.

Submitted by: Karen Zach
Atlas of Montgomery County, Indiana (Chicago: Beers, 1878) p. 5


VanCleave, Jonathan (Rev) PO New Market; Farmer and Minister, son of Ralph and Elizabeth Vancleave, who settled on Sec 18 in 1826; was born in Shelby Co KY Dec 13, 1805 and settled on Sec. 4 in 1826. Sept 6, 1827 he married Elizabeth Vancleave; had 10 children: Anna (dead) ; William (died at age of 3 1/2); David; Lucy (now Mrs. M. Shelton); Ralph; Jane (now Mrs. William Coons); Ransom, Adam, Aaron (died at age 24); Emily E (now Mrs. M. Badgley). Mr. Vancleave was ordained a regular minister of the Gospel by the Indian Crek Old School Baptist Church in 1849. At the same time he began the work of repairing firearms, at which, and farming, he has since been engaged.

Submitted by: Karen Zach
Atlas of Montgomery County, Indiana (Chicago: Beers, 1878) p. 5


Warbritton, SN - PO New Market, is a son of Peter Warbritton, a native of Va, who was born in 1801 and Phebe Warbritton who was b. in Ky in 1811. Their marr. took place in Montgomery County, In 1828 and settled in Scott Twp, their present home. They raised a family of 13 children, all of whom are now living, and range in age from 22 to 48. SN, the subject of this sketch, the second child was b. Dec 3, 1831. Until the age of 25, he assisted his father in clearing his farm of timber and tilling the ground. In 1855, took a trip to Iowa, returning in the Fall. Dec. 20, 1855, he was united in marr. with Amelia A. Seamen, d/o Benj. F. and Winnaford Seaman. Her father was b. in PA June 7, 1810; her mother, Winnaford Jones was b. in Ky Dec 5, 1804. They were married June 7, 1830 in Putnam Co IN. Her father d. Sept 22, 1865. Her mother died April 29, 1875 in Dallas Co Iowa, from which place her remains were removed and deposited in the family burial ground in his township. By the marr. of Mr. SN Warbritton there were born the following children: Mary W b. Oct 10, 1856; died Dec 10, 1856; Emma J b. Oct 22, 1857; Allia L. b. Sept 13, 1860; died Dec 16, 1861; Phebe L, born Aug 5, 1862; John F born March 6, 1865; Albert W. born Dec 5, 1870; Bertha A. b. Oct 21, 872; Olive P b. Feb 21, 1876. Mr. SN Warbritton, after his marriage, located on a farm in Scott Township, after which he lived in different place in Montgomery and Parke Co. until 1867, when he moved to his present residence, as seen in view, which is a portion of the Old Seaman homestead. The family are members of the Christian Church in good standing. Mr. W. is and has been JP for 5 years. He is an honest, hard-working man, and enjoys the confidence of his neighbors. He is Republican in politics and a strong worker in the cause of temperance. He has been supremely blessed with health, having neer been confined to his bed by sickness even for one day.

Submitted by: Karen Zach
Atlas of Montgomery County, Indiana (Chicago: Beers, 1878) p. 5


Ambrose Whitlock, Esq, of Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana, whose portrait appears in this work, departed this life June 26, 1873 at the advanced age of 96 years, having been identified with IN before its organization as a territory and ever since it became a state. He had been gradually wearing away for months; yet such was the tenacity of his iron constitution, hardened by habitual temperance, and exercise in the open air, that on the eve of his departure he appeared as though he might survive many days longer, even weeks and months. On the morning of his death he requested to be carried out in his chair that he might once more enjoy his favorite seat in summer under the shade of a tree on the lawn which had been planted by his own hand, and had become in size one of the monarchs of the forest. He had been seated only a few minutes when he was observed by the attendants to have closed his eyes, as if in a doze, and on approaching him they found the vital spark extinct. Maj. Whitlock was born in the then colony of Virginia in May 1767. He entered the army of the US in 1788 as a private soldier, and by his merits soon rose from the ranks and was commissioned an officer in one of the regiments of infantry. He assisted in the erection of Ft. Washington, now the city of Cincinnati, at which time the only dwellings in the Western commercial emporium were a few log cabins. In 1790, he served as a soldier in the army commanded by Gen. Harmar, in an expedition against the Indians on the Maumee, in which, as he emphatically asserted to the present writer, "Harmar was not defeated," as the books relate, for he with the bulk of the army, including the regulars, was not with 30 mi. of the place of his reputed defeat; yet the purpose of his campaign was frustrated by the rashness of 2 militia regiments of mounted riflemen, who could not be restrained, and were massacred almost to a man near what is now the city of Ft. Wayne. He served under Gen. Wayne in his expedition against the Indians in 1794, which resulted in their overwhelming defeat, on the Maumee, near what is now Toledo, and led to the treaty of Greenville in 1795. It was during this campaign that he assisted in the building of Ft. Wayne, where he was stationed for some time. Having risen to the rank of captain he was stationed at Ft. Massac, ILL on the lower Ohio, and at other places in the southwest, and served with that part of the army which constructed to great military road from Tenn through the Choctaw and Cherokee countries to Louisiana. Under the admin. of Pres. Jefferson he was appointed paymaster, with the rank of major of the US Army, in the Western and Southwestern departments. While officiating in this capacity he carried his funds in keel-boats to the military stations on the Mississippi, Ohio and Wabash rivers, amid the dark domains of savage life, the boats being propelled by soldiers, who also acted as a guard; and on horseback over the vast prairies of Illinois, and through the forests of Indiana. In this hazardous employment hundreds of thousands of dollars passed through his hands to the soldiers without the loss or the misapplication of a cent. At the memorable interview between Gen. Harrison and Tecumseh at Vincennes, in 1811, Maj. Whitlock was present and his account of that affair puts a very different face upon the transaction than what has been usually delineated. After the termination of the war of 1812, somewhere about 1817, Maj. Whitlock retired from the army to Civil life, and in 1822 was appointed receiver of public money in the land office, which, by the direction of the Hon. William H. Crawford, the sec. of the treasury, he located at the place which he called Crawfordsville, after the name of the distinguished secretary, who was his personal and political friend. In this office he continued discharging its duties with his wonted strict integrity until 1829, when, under pretense of some defalcation, which, however, proved to be false, and the government shown to be largely indebted to him (a debt which has never been paid), he was removed. While he officiated as receiver a portion only of the paper currency of the country, for several years, was receivable at the land office, and sometimes those who went to enter land would be deficient a few dollars in land office money to pay for the land selected; in such instances, Maj. Whitlock would give them receipts in full, and trust them for the amount of the then current money. If they offered to give their notes he refused to receive them, saying, "If you are honest you will pay me without giving your notes, and if you are dishonest, you will not pay if you do give your notes." This is one of the many instances of his kindness of heart, and of his well known reputation and character as the poor man's friend. Maj. Whitlock was, in all his relations and doings, a man of unbending integrity. He was so from an innate sense of right and justice, as he was in subsequent life from Christian principle. He never knowingly wronged any man, and he was scrupulously just and upright in his dealings with the government as in his private business transactions. "An honest man, the noblest work of God," would indeed be his appropriate (note- remainder not transcribed).

Submitted by: Karen Zach
History of Montgomery County, Indiana, HW Beckwith Reproduction by Unigraphic, Evansville, Ind p. 162


THOMAS J. WILSON, living on section 9, Walnut Township, has been a resident of Montgomery County for more than forty years, has won a substantial place among its farmers, and has occupied important public positions. He came here from Ohio, which is his native State, he having been born in Miami County, September 18, 1824. His father, John Wilson, Jr., was born in Kentucky in the early years of its settlement, January 6, 1782, the date of his birth. John Wilson Jr.'s parents were John and Lydia (Thatcher) Wilson, who were natives of New Jersey. The Thatchers came from Wales and the Wilsons from England during Colonial times, and the father of John Wilson, Jr. was a Revolutionary soldier.

John Wilson, Jr. was the youngest of nine children, and he grew to vigorous manhood in his native State. He crossed the Ohio River, and for a while lived near Cincinnati, which was then but a village. He afterwards moved to Miami County, where he spent the greater part of his active life, although just after his marriage (to Letitia Mills) he spent a short time in Montgomery County, the same State. He bought a farm of one hundred and fifty acres in Miami County, and he became one of the moremost men of the county, which he represented in the State Legislature two terms, and for twenty-one years he was Clerk of the County Court. He also held the office of Justice of the Peace. He was a successful business man, and won his way to the confidence of the people by his unswerving integrity. He was a liberal supporter of all benevolent and religious objects, and was a leading member of the Reynolds Baptist Church, of which he was a deacon, and he took part in the exercises of the Sunday school. His wife was also a valued member of that church. Politically, he was a Wig until that party ceased to exists, and he then identified himself with the Democratic party. He and his wife left the old farm in Ohio in 1849 to pass their last days with their children, and he died April 10, 1866, she having preceded him to the grave ten years before, dying April 12, 1856, the father being buried in Ohio, and the mother in Indiana.

They had a family of twelve children, of whom eleven grew to maturity, and two are still living: Matilda, a resident of Crawfordsville, and the widow of Jeremiah West, who was a farmer; and Lydia, a resident of Indianapolis, and widow of Jehiel Crane. The deceased children are Annie, who died in infancy; Patsy, who married Joseph Hance, and did in Miami County, Ohio; Lucinda, who married David Sutton, and died in this county; Lewis M., who married Elizabeth Morris, was a farmer and died in this county; Catherine C., who married Augustus Brown, and died in Miami County, Ohio; Sarah Ann, who married Jacob Counts, a farmer of this county, and died here; John, who died in early manhood; Letitia, who married Davis Countys, a farmer of Ohio, and died in this county; Elizabeth, who married Robert Buckles, who was originally a farmer in Miami County, Ohio, whence he migrated to Nebraska, where she died; and Thomson J., who died April 8, 1893, in this county.

Thomas Wilson was reared and educated in his native county, attending the public schools in his youth whenever the opportunity offered. After his marriage he settled on his father's farm, and was actively engaged in agricultural pursuits in Ohio until 1850. In that year he came to Indiana to take advantage of the cheap and exceedingly fertile land of Montgomery County that had not been worn out by extensive cultivation. He selected his present location in Walnut Township, buying at that time eighty acres of land, to which he has added more by subsequent purchase, and he now has one of the most desirable farms in this section, comprising on hundred and twenty acres of well-cultivated soil. His improvements are of a substantial order, and include a neat and cozy dwelling, built in 1890 at a cost of $1,000. The farm is given up to general farming, and a fine class of stock is raised upon it.

Our subject was married in his native county to Miss Annie Jane Counts, daughter of Elijah Counts, who was a prominent farmer in Miami County in pioneer times. He had been reared in Kentucky, and was there married to Margaret Wiley, who was a native of South Carolina. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson have five children living, namely: Sallie, who was born September 2, 1849, and is now the wife of Manoah Brown, a resident of Coal Creek; Edwin Davis, who was born July 29, 1851, married Ellen, daughter of George Faust, and is engaged in farming in Walnut Township; Canzuda N., who was born August 29, 1854, and is now the wife of John Campbell of New Market; Lewis Sylvester, who was born April 12, 1857, and lives with his parents, assisting in carrying on the farm; and Gilbert B., who was born July 26, 1866. The Wilsons have lost one child, Nevada A., who was born December 17, 1853, and died in infancy.

Our subject has excellent business qualifications that have not only gained him a competency, but have won him recognition among his fellow-citizens as good material for a public officer. He has held the important position of County Commissioner for six years, was Trustee of the township one term, and has been a member of the National Horse Thief Detection Association. In politics he is a true Democratic.

Data Entry Volunteer: Tracy Jones


Prof. John Stout Zuck, County Superintendent of Schools of Montgomery County, Ind., is not only well and favorably known throughout the State as an educator, but also as a fine organizer and as a lecturer. He has performed the duties of his present office with zeal, has kept the schools of this county in the front rank, and has much increased their proficiency.

Mr. Zuck was born one mile north of Wesley Chapel, Montgomery County, April 10, 1850. He is the son of John and Emeline (Stout) Zuck, the father being a Pennsylvanian, and the mother an Ohioan. The grandfather of our subject was David Zuck, who was an early pioneer of Montgomery County, where his life ended, as also did that of his son, the father of the gentleman of whom we are writing. John Zuck, Sr., died in 1861 at the old homestead, but his wife still lives at the age of sixty-five at Waynestown. John Stout, the grandfather on the maternal side, was also a pioneer of the county, and became a public man and well-known personage.

The subject of this notice grew up with his father on the farm until the age of fifteen years, and then with his mother moved to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1868, and there entered Cornell College. Here he enjoyed superior educational advantages for two and a-half years. At the end of this time he began to teach school, and continued this congenial employment for three years. Although teaching was the employment he most enjoyed, his first experience was one which must have severely tried his mettle. "The Hoosier Schoolmaster" has given the world an idea of how much annoyance a right-minded young man may have to undergo in some localities when he assumes the duties of pedagogue, and when Mr. Zuck, at the age of seventeen, took charge of his first school, he was following in the footsteps of a teacher who had literally been driven out of position by five of the pupils. We are in ignorance of the exact methods employed by our subject to quell the rebellious spirits, but he did so, and his term ended without his having had to administer corporal punishment during the whole term.

After this time Mr. Zuck taught school in other parts of Jones and Cedar Counties, Iowa, Where there had been trouble with unruly pupils, but there was some Magnetic influence about him that caused the dissentions to cease, and in every place he left peace and friendship behind him. After this time the family moved into Indiana again, and Mr. Zuck entered into the hardware business with his brother at Waynetown. In the mean time he read law, and in 1884 he was admitted to the Bar. He practiced law for about five years, and then returned to his old beloved profession of teaching and made Principal of the Waynetown school for seven years. The Wesley Academy of that place had been changed into a public school and our subject took charge of it until 1886. After this he went to College Grove and for two years conducted a school there very acceptably, and in June, 1889, he was elected to the honorable office of Superintendent of Schools. So well did he perform the arduous duties of the office that in 1891 he received a re-election, and by common consent was re-elected again in 1893.

Since taking charge of the schools of Montgomery County, our subject has adopted many excellent methods which reflect credit upon himself and upon the county. One of these is the rule that all teachers shall send a monthly report to the Superintendent, and as there are two hundred and two teachers, one hundred and fifty-six schools, and twelve graded schools, the work entailed by this method is not to be lightly considered. When our subject took office three hundred and fifty persons held certificates, and now there is no unemployed teacher in the county. Some of these have had Normal training and have received State licenses from the examinations upon questions give out by the State Board.

Mr. Zuck has two annual institutes, with monthly township institutes, besides having a Teachers’ Association. The opening and closing of the schools all over the county is the same, and the busy Superintendent is seen in every school once a year, and in the mean time is spending his energies in the advancement of every educational measure which comes under his notice. Although Mr. Zuck has devoted so much time to his life work, he believes in the duties of citizenship, and has been one of the leading Democratic politicians in the State. In 1888 he stumped the county as a member of the Central Committee, and has been a delegate to the various conventions.

Mr. Zuck still lives with his mother, who has an extensive property at Waynetown, and has attended to all the business affairs of her lands and tenants. His connection with the Methodists Episcopal Church is one of long standing. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masonic lodge has been active in this work. His connection with temperance work is well know and appreciated in the State, and he is in demand as a lecturer. He is highly respected in the county of which he is a native son, and his work in the schools is regarded with approbation.


EARLY REMINISCENCES By Amos Hoff I was born in Montgomery County, Indiana in 1833/ When I was about seventeen years of age it came to pass that there was a wedding in the neighborhood in which I lived. It was February 14, Valentine day. The couple were Alex Stewart and Frances Smith. I, being a near neighbor and school teacher, got an invitation to the wedding. We had no buggies in those days and had to go on foot. Neither had we any fine houses or carpets. The house where the wedding was held was a two-story hewed log house. There were about thirty guests present. It was there that I first met Miss H. A. Blackford. I thought she was as pretty a girl as I had ever seen. Weddings were different those days than now. We spent two days at the house where the ceremony was performed. We spent the first night in playing and having a good time. The next day we all went to the reception. I still had my eye on my girl and managed to help her on her horse and on the road to the reception we had quite a long talk. When we got to the groom's home we were received by his mother with a good dinner. My girl and I spent the afternoon in having a good time, and as time went on we met occasionally. Later her brother, Alick Blackford, married my sister, Harriet Hoff, and we got fairly well acquainted. Seven years went by and I was twenty=two years of age. I had never been very far from home and so my brother-in-law and I planned to make a trip to Illinois. This was about the middle of January, 1856. My brother-in-law lived on Shawnee Prairie at that time so one afternoon after dinner I saddled my horse, a good riding one, and went to my brother-in-law's that night to get an early morning start. He lived about two miles north of where New Richarmond, Ind., now is. When I got there I found my girl already there. She had come to stay with my sister while we were gone. We spent most of the night talking to each other and it was that night we convanented (sic) to share each others joys and sorrows together. Next morning, bidding the folks goodbye, we started for Illinois. We rode to Attica, then crossed the Wabash on a ferry boat. From there the road angled most of the way to Rossville. Here we found one store, a blacksmith shop and a postoffice. When we got to where the John Hollenbach house now is we noticed the road angled southwest. We rode on to Henry Purnell's on the south side of the road just west of the Thos. Smith place, arriving there just as the sun went down into the ground, or, at least, so it looked to me. Here we stayed all night. The folks were glad to see us for they also were from Indiana. It was a very cold day, the thermometer registering zero weather. There was about six inches of snow on the ground. When the sun came up the next morning it seemed to rise up from out of the ground. The prairie chickens were cooing as though there were thousands of them. Breakfast over we bid the folks goodbye and soon came to a blacksmith shop about a quarter of a mile west of the McDonald house. Berry Ellis, formerly of Wingate, Ind., was running the shop. We stopped to talk and warm for a short time then went on past where Blue Grass now is. We rode about two miles and then the road angled northwest across the prairie to Sugar Grove. Just on the east side of the road we came to a log house. The family that lived there I believe were named Lyon. We watered our horses here. I remember noticing a gray wolf hide he had tacked on the side of his house which he said he had killed the day before. It looked to me to be a nice place to live. From here the road angled northwest to where Paxton now is. The Illinois Central railroad had just been built a t Paxton and there was just one store, blacksmith shop, postoffice and two or three small houses. We went about two miles straight northwest and stopped for the night with a man named Billy Nooling. He had been here two or three years and had moved from about one and a half miles south of Waynetown, Ind., and was one of the earliest settlers of his neighborhood. He had been a neighbor to us and was glad to hear of his old friends he had left in Indiana. After supper we went to the main room to spend the evening, leaving the girl in the kitchen to wash the dishes. Pretty soon I wanted a drink and went to the kitchen and there talked to the girl. We didn't get the dishes washed until late bedtime. Next morning after breakfast, bidding the folks goodbye, we started on our trip. The road lay to the northwet across the big prairie. The land was level the most of the way. About noon we came to Oliver Grove. The road led us through the center of the grove. It was a nice place, on high ground. From there we went in a northwesterly direction to the little town Avoca. My brother-in-law, John Busbark (Busenbark), husband of Mary Jane Hoff, lived there. We stopped there for a few days with my sister. I had some other acquaintances living there, one by the name of William Roach. He married a girl by the name of Sarah Ann Burns. I went to see them one afternoon and found him grinding corn to make mush with one of those big coffee mills. I do not know what came of them and they are probably not living now. After being there three days we bid the folks goodbye and started home. I think we staid (sic) all night with Robert Biddle, just east of the Biddle school house. The next day we went the balance of the way home, arriving there after dark. It was a sad home coming. The little grand child of my sis ter had died with my brother-in-law and I had been gone. The funeral was arranged for the next day. As it was good sleighing we went in a big sled, I riding with my intended and leaving my hore behind. The funeral over we began to plan for our wedding day. It took place on March 13, 1856. While my girl was preparing the necessary articles for the wedding I was farming my father's place. I made arrangements with my father to move an old log house close to the edge of the orchard. By the 13th the house was nearly completed. The wedding occurred at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon on February 13, 1856. The ceremony was performed by Mattias Van Cleve, the Baptist pastor of Crawfordsville, Ind. The next day my wife and I and the guests all rode on horseback to the reception at the home of my father and mother. They met us at the door and gave us a hearty welcome. A good dinner was ready for us, and we spent the afternoon and night having a good time. The wedding over we began to plan to get our house ready to move into, and it was not long before we were by ourselves in the little cabin. I farmed the place two years, everything furnished and go two-fifths of what we sold off of the place. I had now gotten a team besides the horse father had given me and had saved some money. I began to think of getting a home of my own, but land being too high in Indiana I came to Illinois and purchased forty acres of my present farm west of Rossville for $12.50 an acre. Father gave me all the timber I cut which I hauled to the saw mill and had made into boards for and eighteen foot square house and a barn. The winter of 1857 and 1858 I hauled all this lumber and my household goods from near Waynetown to my Illinois farm home, eight miles west of Rossville. My wife's father had moved here the year before and we staid with them until our own house was c ompleted and we were ready to move in wich was about May 1, 1858.

Note: In one place he says the marriage was March 13, in another he says February 13, 1856.

Submitted by: Judie Clark
From the Rossville Weekly Press (Rossbille, Vermillion Co., IL) April 1909