The subject of this sketch is descended from sterling patriot ancestry, his grandfather, John McHaffie, having been a soldier in the war of the Revolution, participating in the battle of Yorktown, where he witnessed the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. He was a native of the state of Virginia, volunteered at the early age of sixteen years, and sometime after the securing of national independence he married Elizabeth Hackett. Among the children born to this union were three sons, Robert, John and Andrew. Robert and John were soldiers in the war of 1812, serving with different Tennessee regiments, and at the battle of Horseshoe, Robert took an active part, John being in the reserves, the same condition existing at the battle of New Orleans. They were valiant soldiers, as was their father before them. Robert died in Putnam county, Indiana, and John in Hendricks county, the latter being now buried in the burying ground at the McHaffie homestead. Andrew McHaffie was too young to enlist and when old enough he learned the tanner and harnessmaker's trade. In 1830 he made the trip on horseback from Tennessee to Indiana and entered nine eighty-acre tracts of government land in Morgan and Hendricks counties, near the northeast corner of Mill Creek township, Putnam county, and he also entered one hundred and sixty acres near Mt. Meridian for his brother James. He arrived on this land in October, 1832, with his family consisting of his two daughters and son, the subject of this sketch. The daughters were Haney Emeline, who became the wife of William P. Roberts, and Thirza Jane, who died at the age of twelve years. The homestead residence was erected in Hendricks county, but afterwards the father removed to Stilesville, where he remained until 1841, when he bought a home located across the highway from where his son, the subject of this sketch, now lives. Andrew E. McHaffie first married Nancy D. Woods, the mother of the children before mentioned, who died in 1830, and in 1838 he married Nancy D. Denning, of Knox county, Tennessee. To this union was born one child, Mary Angeline, who subsequently became the wife of Haney Lee and is now deceased. leaving three sons. Andrew McHaffie died in 1866 and is buried at Stilesville.
Melville F. McHaffie was born in Knox county, Tennessee, December 27, 1826, and he was reared on the parental homestead. When the family first came to Indiana they located in the midst of a dense forest, the only timber felled being that cut to make way for the National road, which was being constructed. The subject witnessed the early efforts made to clear the country and has a distinct recollection of the tremendous labor incurred in the construction of this road, when laborers worked for fifty cents a day and boarded themselves. A cousin of the subject ran a boarding house (or rather cabin) for these workers. Mr. McHaffie helped clear practically all the land from a half mile west of his house to Stilesville and has thus had an important part in this early work of transformation. He raised steers from young calves and with the aid of these he hauled logs and pulled stumps. Game was plentiful and he has killed many deers within a short distance of his present home and in his early boyhood saw many bear tracks there.
In 1851, the year following his marriage, he was preparing to build a home for himself, when his father bought one hundred and sixty acres of land from Lewis Orth, in section 29, in the northeast corner of what is now Mill Creek township. Mr. McHaffie located on this tract and it has been his home continuously since, a period of practically sixty years. Their first home there was in all old brick house, but in 1870-72 Mr. McHaffie erected in its stead a fine large brick house, the finest in the locality, its original cost having been twelve thousand five hundred dollars, aside from much of the work done by the subject himself. Today, forty years after its erection, this house is still considered one of the best in that part of the county.
In his business affairs Mr. McHaffie has met with a gratifying measure of success. As a farmer he was practical and progressive in his methods and indefatigable in his efforts, and as he has prospered he added to his landed possessions from time to time, until he became the owner of over sixteen hundred acres of land. His investments have not been confined to the Hoosier state, as he entered eleven hundred acres of land in Missouri, one hundred and twenty acres of which was converted into farm land. He also bought eighty acres of splendid farm land three miles east of Tuscola, Illinois, for which he paid ten dollars an acre, later selling the same for forty dollars an acre. Mr. McHaffie became interested in the southern mule trade a number of years ago and his business in this line rapidly grew to enormous proportions, having not a little to do with the making of the city of Macon, Mississippi, which became the headquarters for the trade. He was considered one of the best judges of mules in the country and made big profits in this business, having at one time cleared over two thousand dollars on a single carload. Through his trades he secured a good deal of southern cotton land.
Mr. McHaffie has taken an active interest in general business affairs and assisted materially in the organization of the Central National Bank of Greencastle, of which he was tendered the presidency, but the other demands on his time would not permit him to assume the duties of the position, and he became vice-president of the institution, which soon became one of the leading monetary concerns of the county. His son Ernest was for some time a clerk in the bank, but he longed for the open life on the farm and relinquished the position. Mr. McHaffie's ability was recognized in his appointment as a member of the board of county commissioners, to fill out an unexpired term, and he was afterwards elected to succeed himself. In this position he gave efficient and satisfactory service. Mr. McHaffie is a Jackson Democrat and has always taken a commendable interest in public affairs, being one of the strong and influential citizens of the county.
In his younger days Mr. McHaffie was an accomplished horseman and at one time he shot a deer from the back of a wild mustang in Missouri, standing in the stirrups as he shot. That he was also possessed of much endurance is evident from the fact that he rode from Tuscola, Illinois, to his home in Putnam county, a distance of over one hundred miles, during the daylight of one day. This forced ride, which was made on a mule, was because of an urgent business matter which required his presence at home. His love of horsemanship has been inherited by his grandson Robert, who has now a widespread reputation because of his expertness in this line. At the age of fourteen years he competed with old and experienced riders at county fairs and at one of the state fairs he won a one-hundred-dollar premium. Mr. McHaffie's success has come as the result of his own persistent efforts and now he is enjoying that ease to which he is so justly entitled. Standing at his beautiful home, he may look a mile north, a mile and a quarter east, a half mile west and a half mile south, and the land within that scope of vision is all his, and this despite the fact that he has given to his children twelve hundred acres of land. The attractive and well arranged home was planned by Mrs. McHaffie and is as fine a home as can be found in either Putnam or Hendricks counties.
On August 15, 1850, Mr. McHaffie was united in the bonds of wedlock with Mary Ann Thomas, a daughter of Jonathan and Catherine (Ulrich) Thomas. She was born at Georgetown, Pennsylvania, and came with her mother to this county, her father having died in Pennsylvania. Subsequently her mother married Theodore Long at Dayton, Ohio, and the family came to Putnam county in the fall of 1849. Mr. and Mrs. McHaffie fell in love with each other at first sight, and this mutual feeling was never altered in any degree, she proving to her husband a "helpmate" in the truest sense of the word. She was a woman of splendid personal qualities, endowed with a liberal share of sound common sense, and she not only reared their children to honorable manhood and womanhood, but she also took an intelligent interest in business affairs and Mr. McHaffie placed a high value on her advice and counsel in business affairs. She is spoken of flatteringly today by those who enjoyed her acquaintance. Her death occurred on the 21st day of July, 1897. To Mr. and Mrs. McHaffie were born the following children, ten in number.
(1) Florence Alice became the wife of Charles Bridges, a native of Putnam county, who later became a successful business man at Indianapolis, where his death occurred; she still resides in that city.
(2) Thurza Jane, generally called Jennie, became the wife of Thomas S. Boggess, of Macon, Mississippi, but she died of typhoid fever in that state about two years after her marriage. She left a son, Bennett Mack Boggess, a trader and cotton grower, who is married and has a daughter, Caroline.
( 3 ) George W. is a farmer and resides on three hundred acres of land southeast of Stilesville, given him by his father. He married Emma Cosner and they became the parents of three children, namely: One died in infancy; Katie married Harry Tincher, a successful lawyer at Louisville, Kentucky; Mary Ann lives at home with her parents. She and her sister were both educated at St. Mary's-of-the-Woods, at Terse Haute.
(4) Minnie became the wife of Dr. M. G. Masters, who was born and reared at Stilesville, Indiana, the son of Alexander and Almira (Graham) Masters, these parents subsequently moving to Kansas, where their deaths occurred. Dr. Masters died in 1902 at Plainfield, Indiana. To him and his wife were born four children, of whom three, Orian, Eva and Max, are deceased, the survivor being Lex, now sixteen years old, who lives with his mother in the home of Mr. McHaffie, and who is now a student in the Stilesville high school.
(5)Andrew E. died at the age of seventeen years.
(6) Clemmie died at the age of three years.
(7) Marcus F. died at the age of four years.
(8) Oscar S. is a farmer, living on three hundred acres of land adjoining his father's farm. He married May Leachman, daughter of James Leachman, of near Fillmore, this county, and they have a son, James Melville, now a student in the agricultural department of Purdue University at Lafayette. Indiana.
(9) Ernest married Annie Greer, daughter of John and Mary Agnes Greer, of Seymour, Indiana, and they have three children, Ernestine, Robert and Maxine.
(10) Mamie became the wife of John F. Shiel, of Seymour, Indiana, and they have one son, John McHaffie Shiel.
"Weiks History of Putnam County Indiana" by Jesse W. Weik. 1910
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
JOHN WILLSON OSBORN.
The first half of the nineteenth century was characterized by the emigration of the sterling element which made the great commonwealth of Indiana what it is. These pioneers were sturdy, heroic, upright, sincere folks, such as constitute the intrinsic strength of a state and give solidity to its institutions. It is hardly possible that in the future another such period can occur, or, indeed, any period in which such a solid phalanx of strong-minded, determined men and self-sacrificing women will take possession of a new country, develop its resources and lay broad and deep the foundation of an advanced and permanent state of civilization. Too careful or too frequent reference cannot be made in the pages of history concerning those who have thus figured as founders and builders of a commonwealth, and equal credit is also due to the sturdy sons and daughters who, born and reared among the stirring experiences of those heroic times, nobly assumed the burdens borne by their predecessors and with patience and fortitude such as the world has seldom seen excelled, carried on the good work until what was under so many difficulties begun, was in due course of time most earnestly and triumphantly completed.
Among the Indiana pioneers whose depth of character, public-spirit, unswerving devotion to right principle, and indefatigable energy enabled them to play their parts in the early development of Indiana, was John Willson Osborn, who, although long since a pilgrim to that "undiscovered bourne from which no traveler ever returned," set in motion such ameliorating forces while he sojourned on earth for more than three score years and ten, that his influence will not wholly be dissipated, but will continue to bless the generations that follow him "unto the perfect day." Therefore this noted pioneer Hoosier editor is eminently deserving of a conspicuous place in the history of this state, as well as worthy of emulation by the youth of the present day whose ambitions are to serve mankind and whose destinies are yet matters for future years to determine.
Mr. Osborn was born at St. Johns, New Brunswick, February 7, 1794. He was the second son of Capt. Samuel Osborn, a gallant and accomplished officer in the British navy. His maternal grandfather, Col. John Willson, and his eldest brother, Capt. William Osborn, were also officers in the service of his majesty the king of England. The former was an intimate friend of General Brock, acted as commissary general, and filled many places of trust. It was for him that the immediate subject of this sketch was named. William Osborn, the eldest son of Capt. Samuel Osborn. Jr., was promoted to a captaincy when very young for bravery during several sharp engagements at sea. Thus by the divine right of inheritance and early associations, John W. Osborn was fitted for the struggles and privations of pioneer life which need a brave heart and an untiring devotion, progressive and aggressive, to the principles of right. His mother's maiden name was Alice Willson, the daughter of John and Rebecca (Thixton) Willson. She was born on Staten Island, and she was educated in New York, where the family always spent a part of each year, her father being an officer in the British army, loya1 to his king. They finally left the United States and sought a new home in Canada, sometimes living at Halifax, Quebec, Montreal, Canancoqua, and finally settling down at Toronto, buying land and laying, as they supposed, a permanent foundation for a home. Colonel Willson sent to Scotland and brought a hundred families from that country, settling them upon his lands in Canada, and, believing in the magic power of the press to enlighten and civilize, he sent to England for a printing press, type and men and started a paper in the then almost wilderness of the west. Associated with him in the publication of The Upper Canada Guardian and Freeman's Journal was Col. Joseph Wilcox, who ws a member of the provincial Parliament, an ardent politician, an educated Irish gentleman and a Republican. This paper was strongly devoted to the cause of liberty and free government, and it was as an apprentice in this office that young John W. Osborn learned the printer's art, this experience giving direction to the whole current of his after life, for he immediately imbibed the principles he was aiding to disseminate, and when the war of 1812 ensued he followed his leader in espousing the American cause, leaving his country and kindred on August 12, 1812, and cast his lot with the people of the United States. His father, Captain Osborn, had died when his son was yet a lad, and the Captain's associate in the journalistic field, Colonel Wilcox, joined the army of the Republic and was made a colonel in the American army, and was killed while leading his men in the sortie up Lake Erie.
Mr. Osborn, upon leaving the service, resumed his professional labors. A book publisher of Albany, New York, induced him to go to Cortlandville, that state, where he took charge of and edited the Cortland Republican, a paper still published there. This paper, which was an ardent supporter of the United States government, he continued to publish until 1816. In the year succeeding the admission of Indiana to the Union as a state, the eyes of eastern people being attracted to the wonderfully developing West, Mr. Osborn, on April 18, 1817, in company with Lucius H. Scott and others, sailed from Ogdensburg, New York, and arrived at Vincennes on June 11th following, where he became associated with Elihu Stout, in publishing Indiana's first newspaper, The Western Sun. In July of that year he visited the site of Terre Haute, on which he found one log house. Being strongly attracted by the native beauty of the spot, he finally returned there in 1823 and established the Western Register, the first newspaper published at the now flourishing city of Terre Haute. Though twenty-two signed a protest against its publication, it was continued until 1832, the latter part of the time under the editorship of his son-in-law, Hon. S. E. Gookins. Mr. Osborn found slave trade flourishing at Vincennes and he at once lifted a voice against it, finally, in co-operation with others, he carried the question to the supreme court of the state and obtained a decision which set at rest forever the question of slavery in Indiana. The first issue of the Register at Terre Haute created something of a sensation in the then wilderness, and the inhabitants came from all parts of the country to view the great wonder. It was published through many difficulties, it being necessary to bring the stock of paper used principally from Madison on pack horses, through the primitive woods. His paper was delivered by private carriers up and down the Wabash, as the nearest post offices were St. Louis on the west, Vincennes on the south and there was little civilization to the north. During that year. while he was riding up the Wabash toward Ft. Dearborn, he came to the Tippecanoe battleground, where he discovered that the Indians had unearthed the soldiers buried there and, after stripping and scalping them, left their bones to bleach in the sun and wind. Mr. Osborn returned to Terre Haute and induced Capt. Nathaniel Huntington to take his company of cavalry to the spot and reinter the bones with military honors.
Having occasion to pass through Greencastle, Putnam county, in 1834, Mr. Osborn was much impressed with the high rolling country, delightful location from a standpoint of health, and natural beauty, and soon decided to locate there, having sold his Terre Haute paper, and he accordingly began the publication of the first newspaper in Greencastle, a few of the first issues being entitled The Hoosier, but this was soon changed to the Western Plough Boy, which was the first truly agricultural paper published in the state. Becoming convinced of the evils of strong drink, he published a sort of leaflet called the Temperance Advocate, and sent it without cost as a supplement, thus giving to Indiana her first temperance paper. The country was new, times were hard and much of his pay was in produce- venison, corn, wood and many things were among the rewards for his labors, but his motto was "Know no failure," and, with characteristic energy, he succeeded at whatever he undertook. Being not only interested in the furtherance of the temperance movement and the development of the new country, but also in educational affairs, his labors in Greencastle, in a very large measure, resulted in the establishment and location of Asbury (now DePauw) University, the leading literary institution in the state, of the Methodist denomination, of which he was an active and zealous member. His name is on the record as one of the first trustees and original incorporators. In 1836 Mr. Osborn attended a state editorial convention at Indianapolis, where he succeeded in obtaining a unanimous vote in favor of abolishing "treating" at elections, and he was in 1841 elected state printer, which led him to sell the Plough Bay and its entire equipment. In the meantime, however (1838), he moved to Indianapolis and published the Indiana Farmer and Stock Register, also continued the publication of his temperance paper. At the close of his term of office he retired from active newspaper business, but was a frequent contributor to various local journals during most of his after life. When the war between the states began, he was too old to take the field, but, being a stanch supporter of the national Union, he could not be idle during such stirring times, and he went to Sullivan county, the very hot-bed of Democracy, and there commenced the publication of a war campaign paper, The Stars and Stripes, and he rendered valuable service to the cause, until failing health compelled him to abandon the enterprise. He returned to his home in Greencastle, where, after a long, painful illness, which he bore with Christian fortitude, he passed to his rest on November 12, 1866.
Mr. Osborn was a worthy member of the Masonic order, and during the last thirty-five years of his life he was a most earnest Christian. Zealous in every good cause, he promoted zeal and perseverance in others.
Mr. Osborn's life was one of increasing activity, and of his work John B. Dillon, one of Indiana's first historians, justly says: "He was devoted to labors for the uplifting of society, was a pioneer in every movement for education, humanity and religion, and was always in the van of civilization and progress, leading others to noble and heroic efforts, and opening the way where masses of his fellow men have followed. He was genial and generous to a fault."
How wonderful and how grand the life and labors of this noble, yet modest man. For a full half century constantly battling, and that often in the face of bitter and violent opposition, for justice, for liberty, for the good of the farmer and stock raiser, for every moral and social reform, for temperance, for everything that tended to ameliorate the conditions of the human race.
Mr. Osborn married, in Homer, Cortland county, New York, on March 31, 1814, Ruby W. Bishop, a daughter of Thomas Lee and Ruby (Webb) Bishop. Mrs. Osborn was of distinguished colonial and Revolutionary ancestry, being a direct descendant of the renowned Governor William Bradford, of Plymouth; also of the Adamses, Lee, Palmer, Hobart, Allen, Ripley, and others of the most notable families of New England. Through Mrs Osborn her descendants are many times eligible to most of the patriotic societies of the United States. She was a close student and retained, almost to the hour of her death, a keen interest in affairs which pertained to public welfare. It is said that the editorials in her husband's papers were always submitted to her before publication and that she was often the proofreader for the entire paper.
A group of young men, who afterwards became well known in the state, were gathered in the office of the Western Register. Mrs. Osborn directed their course of study, and to her is given the credit of first discovering the poetical talent of Mr. Osborn's nephew, George W. Cutter, author of "E Pluribus Unum," "Song of Steam" and "Buena Vista." She constantlv encouraged these young men in all worthy effort and urged them to lofty aspirations, and their expressions of appreciation were a great solace to her in her declining years.
Mrs. Osborn died in Indianapolis on April 15, 1880, and is buried beside her husband in Forest Hill cemetery, in Greencastle, Indiana.
Seven children were born to John Willson and Ruby (Bishop) Osborn, of which number three died in infancy. The four who lived to maturity were: Mary Caroline, who became the wife of Judge Samuel B. Gookins, of Terre Haute, died in Columbus, Georgia, August 26, 1889, and is buried in Woodlawn cemetery, Terre Haute; Bishop Webb, born in Terre Haute, died in Indianapolis on April 9, 1891, and is buried in Forest Hill cemetery, Greencastle; Hannah M. became the wife of Solomon Claypool and resides in Indianapolis; Ruby Alice, who was the wife of Hon. L. P. Chapin, long an honored citizen of Greencastle, and who is the subject of a sketch found elsewhere in this work, died in Indianapolis on November 6, 1907, and is buried in Forest Hill cemetery, Greencastle.
"Weiks History of Putnam County Indiana" by Jesse W. Weik. 1910
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
PROF. OSCAR THOMAS.
The men most influential in promoting the advancement of society and in giving character to the times in which they live are two classes, to-wit: the men of study and men of action. Whether we are more indebted for the improvement of the age to the one class or the other resolves itself to a question of honest difference in opinion; neither class call be spared and both should be encouraged to occupy their severa1 spheres of labor and influence, zealously and without mutual distrust. In the following paragraphs are briefly outlined the leading facts and characteristics in the career of a gentleman who combines in his makeup the elements of the scholar and the energy of the public-spirited man of affairs. Devoted to the noble and humane work of teaching, he has made his influence felt in the school life of Putnam county and is not unknown to the wider educational circles of the state, occupying as he does a prominent place in his profession and standing high in the esteem of educators in other than his own particular field of endeavor.
Professor Oscar Thomas, superintendent of schools of Putnam county, although yet a young man, has shown that rightly applied energy and ambition worthily pursued may accomplish large results in a comparatively short time. He is a native of this county, having been born in Madison township, January 20, 1872, the son of William Thomas, who was born in Greencastle township, June 17, 1844, and who is the representative of an excellent old pioneer family. He was educated in the primitive schools of his native community and devoted his life to farming, being now one of the leading agriculturists of Madison township. The Thomas family is of Irish stock, the lineage of which may be traced back to 1685, since which remote period many members of this historic family have distinguished themselves in various walks of life.
William Thomas married Elizabeth J. Ewing, born October 5, 1842. She was born in Montgomery county, Indiana, where her family were long well and favorably known. She is a woman of gracious personality and is still living in Madison township. To Mr. and Mrs. William Thomas eleven children were born, named as follows: Eliza, wife of Charles J. Priest, died in 1883; Mrs. Dora Reeves, a trained nurse, is living at home; Henry is a traveling salesman living in Indianapolis; Oscar, of this review; J. Elmer is living in Oklahoma, being a state senator there; Charles B. is an undertaker at Rosedale, Indiana; Ona, wife of Edward Wiley, died in Denver, Colorado, 190l; Bertha, who was a teacher, died in 1907; Fred is a teacher, living in Greencastle; E. Cleve is also a teacher and is living at home; Frank died when two years of age.
Professor Thomas was reared on the home farm, which he worked when old enough during the summer months, devoting the winter to study in the public schools of Madison township. Being ambitious to become familiar with the classics and higher sciences, he continued his schooling by entering the Central Normal College at Danville, after which he took a course in DePauw University, where he made a splendid record and came out well qualified to enter his chosen life work-teaching, which he soon began and which he has since followed, teaching for a period of thirteen years in townships of Madison, Mill Creek, Monroe and of this time three years was spent in the high school at Erick Chapel, giving eminent satisfaction from the first. He soon became known throughout the county and his services were in great demand, having so discharged his duties as to win the highest encomiums of the superintendent and boards of the various schools where he was employed, to say nothing of his great popularity with the pupils under his charge and of the general public. In 1903 he was elected county superintendent of schools and so faithfully and satisfactorily did he fill this important trust that he was re-elected in 1907.
The office of county superintendent of Putnam county was organized by act of Legislature in 1873, the first superintendent being John R. Gordon, who served two years. L, A. Stockwell was elected in 1873 and held the place six years. L. E. Smedley was next elected, serving for a period of eight years. F. M. Lyons succeeded him and also served for a period of eight years. S. A. Harris came next with a service of six years. Professor Thomas was married on December 8, 1903, to Dessie O'Hair, daughter of J. E. O'Hair, an excellent and well established family of this county. Mrs. Thomas was born April 4, 1875, in Monroe township, and educated at DePauw University and, being a woman of refined tastes and high ideals, has been of great assistance to her husband in his life work. This union is without issue.
The Professor is a member of the Christian church, while Mrs. Thomas holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal congregation. Politically the former is a Democrat, but is in no sense a politician.
Professor Thomas' record presents a series of successes and advancements such as few attain. He pursues his chosen calling with all the interest of an enthusiast, is thoroughly in harmony with the spirit of the work and has a proper conception of the dignity of the profession to which his life energies are so unselfishly devoted. A finished scholar, a polished gentlemen and possessing the traits of character necessary to insure success, the services thus far rendered and the laurels gained bespeak for him a wider and more distinguished career of usefulness in years to come, should he see fit to continue the noble calling which he has heretofore followed with such signal and happy results. Unlike so many of his calling who become narrow and pedantic, the Professor is essentially a man of the times, broad and liberal in his views, and he has the courage of his convictions on all the leading public questions and issues upon which men and parties divide. He also keeps in touch with the trend of modern thought along its various lines and, being a man of scholarly and refined tastes, the acquaintance of Professor Thomas with the literature of the world is both general and profound, while his familiarity with the more practical affairs of the day makes him feel at ease with all classes and conditions of people whom he meets.
"Weiks History of Putnam County Indiana" by Jesse W. Weik. 1910
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
CAPT. WILLIAM H. ALLEE
Back in the early pioneer days of Putnam county is traced the history of the Allee family, many members of which hare made their influence felt for the general welfare of the locality during each succeeding generation, one of the best known being Capt. William H. Allee, who, after an unusually successful, interesting and useful career, is sleeping the sleep that knows no breaking, but his good deeds are still alive and his memory is revered and cherished by hosts of friends, for he was indeed a grand character, whom to know was both to admire and to love.
Mr. Allee was born in Jefferson township, Putnam county, Indiana, in 1833, when the country was new, and he lived to take part in its great development. He was the son of John and Lucretia (Pruitt) Allee, a complete ancestry of whom is to be found in the sketch of F. M. Allee on another page of this work.
Mr. Allee grew up on the home farm, and, owing to the new condition of the country when he was a boy, it fell to his lot to do a great deal of clearing and hard work, and his educationa1 advantages were limited, but he made the most of every opportunity and developed into a strong, successful man, remaining at home until his marriage in 1856, when he formed a matrimonial alliance with Mary McCarty, daughter of William and Ann (Langham) McCarty. She was born in 1834 in Warren township, Putnam county, about three miles west of Mt. Meridian, on the National road. Her parents were both natives of Tennessee, having come to Indiana from Claiborne county, near Nashville. When they arrived in Putnam county they found a wilderness through which roamed wild beasts and Indians; they settled in the unbroken forest, cleared a small place, pitched a camp in which they lived until a log cabin could be erected. Then John McCarty set to work - clearing the land and the arduous toil and hardship incident to pioneer life were such as to prematurely injure his health. He secured two hundred and sixty acres and added to this until he owned three hundred and sixty acres before his death. Eleven children constituted his family, namely: Elijah, Jane, Julia, Sarah, Abel, Emily, Mary, Ellen, Martha, Angeline and Lewis, the last named dying when two years old, the others all living to maturity. Mrs. McCarty died about 1849, at the age of sixty-three years. Mr. McCarty had served as justice of the peace in Warren township. Both parents belonged to the Primitive Baptist church, both taking a great interest in its affairs. They assisted in the organization of Deer Creek church, the first church in that part of the county, the building being erected in their farm.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Allee went to live on a farm given him by his father, which place was only a short distance northwest of Providence church, Jefferson township. Five years later he bought more land from his father and moved to it, a mile and a half further northwest. Five years later he purchased the old McCarty homestead in Warren township and moved thereto, remaining on the place five or six years. About 1873 he bought a farm at the crossing of the section lines of sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 and moved thereto soon afterwards, the place having remained in possession of the family ever since. Mr. Allee was a very successful man, laid his plans well and executed them in a manner that stamped him as the possessor of rare business foresight and soundness of judgment. He became the owner of two thousand acres, divided into twelve farms. He kept his land well improved and looked after every detail of the work, his painstaking labor always being amply rewarded.
In politics Mr. Allee was an active Republican, and while he was not an office seeker he took more or less interest in the affairs of his party. He was one of those brave men of the Middle West who ever stood ready to defend the flag in time of national peril, and when only seventeen years of age, during the Mexican war, he ran away from home and started to enlist for service, but was too young and his father overtook him at Greencastle and brought him back home. During the Civil war he felt it his duty to stay at home and look after his large family, but he was patriotic and was an able assistant in the Union cause as a civilian at home, giving moner with which to hire help on the farms so that young men could be sent to the front and helped organize companies. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity and also the Methodist church. Mrs. Allee has also long been a member of this church and still delights in its services, attending when she can.
Mr. Allee's chief occupation was farming, but he also traded in land, bought and sold livestock and as regarded as a man of safe business methods. He was well known all over Putnam county and highly esteemed by all who knew him, for he was a man whom everybody trusted, being scrupulously honest and fair in his dealings. The death of this excellent citizen occurred on July 24, 1905, having attained an advanced age which was replete with both success and honor.
Mr. Allee's companions like to remember the efforts he put forth during the war of the Rebellion, for then his patriotism ran high and he proved the mettle of which he was made. He was captain of the Home Guards, after which he was always known as Captain Allee. They remember him as a man of splendid qualities, of sterling character. He was a well read man, a deep thinker, a logical reasoner and of a kind and genial disposition, driving away dull care and letting in the sunshine of cheerfulness. He was fold of young men who were just starting in life, always welcoming their society and was every ready, without intrusion, to give the best of advice, which, when followed, insured success. He inherited and practiced the many virtues of the early days, knowing how best to adapt them to the great progress of later times. His sincere courtesy and geniality endeared him to all. He was one of the foremost, wealthiest and most modern of Putnam county agriculturists. His friendly nod and warm hand clasp was given to all, rich and poor alike, at all times and his charitable qualities to those in need will long be remembered. His faithful life companion, a woman of rare grace and beautiful Christiain character, is enjoying the serenity of old age on the homestead southwest of Mt. Meridian, and she is a favorite with a wide circle of friends.
To Mr. and Mrs. William H. Allee eleven children were born, named as follows: Horace, born in 1857, died in infancy; Corellah, born in 1858, died October 16, 1863, when five years old; Albert Franklin, born in 1860; Lucretia married Leonard S. Peck and lives south of Greencastle, and is the mother of one son, Ross; Elijah Walter, born in 1864, married Alpha Wallace and has six children, Marie, Jewel, Thelma and Velma (twins), Flossie and Albert Ross; this family is living on a good farm in Mill Creek township; Charlotte, born in 1866, married Americus Jones and lives on the Bloomington road south of Greencastle; she has six children: Frank, Ruby, Florence, Thaddeus, Jessie and Anna; Grant, born in 1868, died in infancy; Thaddeus Stevens, born in 1869, married Jessie Surface; he was a lawyer in Chicago and died childless; Florence Nightengale, born in 1872, died November 19, 1897, when twenty-five years old; John Williams, born in 1873, married Cadora Denny and lives a mile south of Mt. Meridian, and has two children, Piercy and Lucile; Samuel Reed, born in 1877, died August 15, 1892, when fifteen years of age.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
THE BAINBRIDGE BANK.
The history of the thriving institutions, especially in connection with the business life of Putnam county, would lack an important chapter should the Bainbridge Bank not be given proper mention in a work of this kind, for it has proven to be of inestimable value to the residents of this village and Monroe township and is without question one of the soundest, safest and most conservatively and ably managed banks in this section of the state, having as its prime moving factors men who rank high in the citizenship of the county and noted alike for their integrity and business ability.
The Bainbridge Bank was established December 1, 1904, by F. P. and C. M. Moffett, who came to Bainbridge a short time before that date from Westfield, Illinois, where they had been successfully engaged in the banking business. For a year they conducted their business in Messrs. Black & Ratcliff's mercantile establishment in the Harvey Black room on the corner of Main and Washington streets. During that time the bank erected the first cement block business rooms in the town, and since that time other progressive business men followed the pace set by them and have built modern buildings of a like type. The bank has enjoyed an excellent patronage from the first and has had a steady growth. James M. Reeds, formerly cashier of the First National Bank of Coatesville, became identified with the Bainbridge Bank as vice-president on January 1, 1909. The consensus of opinion in Monroe township is that while the hank has been profitable to its owners it has also been profitable to Bainbridge and vicinity, giving it many advantages that a bank affords besides enhancing the value of property in and around town.
Something of the life records of the gentlemen who have the management of this institution in hand would be of interest here.
F. P. Moffett, president of the Bainbridge Bank, was born in Edgar county, Illinois, November 1, 1852. After receiving a common school education, he launched in the mercantile business in Brocton, Illinois, in which he was very successful, but observing an opening for a bank at Westfield, Illinois, in.1892, and, believing that his true "bent" lay along banking lines, he accordingly entered the banking business there, building up a very satisfactory patronage until his removal to Bainbridge, Indiana.
Mr. Moffett married Mary L. Beck, of Boone county, Indiana, on December 28, 1872, and this union has resulted in the birth of four children, two of whom reside in this county, Charles M. Moffett and Mrs. Sarah Inez Reeds. Mr. Moffett is one of the progressive business men of Putnam county. Politically he is a Democrat.
Charles M. Moffett, mentioned above, was born September 25, 1877, in Edgar county, Illinois. He graduated from the Oakland high school. He began life in banking circles, and after holding various positions in different banks, he came to Bainbridge with his father, F. P. Moffett. December 1, 1904, and assisted in founding the bank here. On June 22, 1898, he married Cora L. Dunseth, a native of Oakland, Illinois, which union has resulted in the birth of two children, Donovan C. and Bonnie K. Politically he is a Democrat and he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. He is regarded as a young business man of much promise.
James M. Reeds is a native of Douglas county, Illinois. where he was born July 1, 1871. He received his education from the schools of Oakland, his native state, graduating therefrom, and to better fit himself for life's struggle he passed through the high school and Austin College at Effingham, Illinois.
August 28, 1897, Mr. Reeds was married to Sarah Inez Moffett, daughter of F. P. and Mary L. (Beck) Moffett, and to this union two children have been born, Reese and Ileene.
Mr. Reeds has made banking his principal life work and has well learned the "ins and outs" of the same, and as vice-president of the Bainbridge Bank he is discharging his duties in an eminently satisfactory manner. Politically he is a Democrat and for three years he was town clerk of Coatesville.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
It will always be a badge of honor in this country to hare known that a person's father, or even his uncle, enlisted in the service of his country when the great rebellion broke out, to assist in saving the Union and in eradicating slavery from our soil. Just as to this day we boast that our grandfather or great-grandfather fought in the Revolution to gain independence, or took part in the War of 1812 to protect our rights on the ocean, so the descendants of gallant Union soldiers will boast through coming generations of the bravery and self-sacrifice of their fathers or their relatives. James Valandingham, living in retirement in Greencastle, after a long period of useful endeavor, was one of the "brave boys in blue" who went forth to die on the field or in the no less dangerous fever camp, if need be, for the salvation of the country. He was born in Greencastle township, Putnam county, May 29, 1847, the son of Jerry and Hester (Vanlandingham) Vanlandingham. This family is of Scotch origin, the first emigrants locating in South Carolina, later came to Kentucky and located near Lexington. Hester's father, James Vanlandingham, came to Putnam county and settled just east of the David Houck farm near Greencastle, homesteading it from the government. Jerry and Hester Vanlandingham were married in Putnam county. The former died when his son James was eight years of age. The lad then lived with his grandfather, James Vanlandingham, who died about one year later, in 1856, and is buried in the old family cemetery on the farm. The mother of the subject went to Ohio to live with a married daughter and died there. She is survived by a sister, Sarah, living at Lexington, Kentucky, at the age of sixty-four years, she having been the youngest member of the family. She married George Brant. Hester Vanlandingham was the oldest child in her fatherís family. She was a second cousin of her husband, Jerry Vanlandingham.
At the death of his grandparents, James Vanlandingham returned to his mother and when about ten years of age moved to Greencastle. On December 17, 1863, while yet a mere lad, he enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Twenty-third Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, a new regiment organized by General Hovey, who took charge of six regiments as a division, comprising the One Hundred and Twenty-third, One Hundred and Twenty-fourth, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth, One Hundred and Thirtieth and two other regiments, these being known as "Hovey's Babies." Mr. Vanlandingham saw some hard service, taking part with his company in all subsequent campaigns and battles, always conducting himself in a gallant manner. He was in fifteen battles, from Rocky Face Ridge on the Atlanta campaign and back after Hood to Nashville. He was never wounded, was never captured or made a prisoner. After the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, the division he was in was sent to South Carolina, by way of Cincinnati and Washington, having intended to join Grant. At one time it was sent by way of the Indian Territory to Ft. Smith, and then to the mouth of the Cape Fear river, taking prisoners, and on to Ft. Fisher and Wilmington, then were stationed at Greensboro and Charlotte, South Carolina, then to Lexington, that state, where the company was honorably discharged August 25, 1865. Mr. Vanlandingham was a1ways in the ranks, often on short detail to guard wagon teams, etc. After the war he worked for a time in a livery stable, later a woolen mill. He then worked for Rose Hammond until he married, then farmed for five years. He was employed in Brockray's spoke factory for a period of twelve years. He spent six years on a farm in Warren township. He made a success at whatever he turned his attention to and laid by an ample competency for his declining years. Three years ago he purchased his present home just south of the city, known as the old Wall Lewis place, where he has a very comfortable and nicely arranged home.
Mr. Vanlandingham married, on September 13, 1870, Kate Branson, daughter of Thomas and Esther (Lay) Branson, at Greencastle, the ceremony being performed by Rev. O. P. Badger. Her father, Thomas L. Branson, was a farmer and stone-mason of Greencastle township, having come here from Tennessee; his wife and family came to Putnam county in 1863 while he was in the Union armv, a member of Company B, First East Tennessee Regiment. His father was a native of England, coming to America when young, serving in the American army in the war of 1812. After the war Thomas L. Branson joined his family here and worked at his trade for a time and later returned to his native community in Tennessee, dying at Maynardsville, that state, when past eighty-five years of age, his wife having died in Colorado while visiting. Her daughter Emma, who married Thomas Gibbs, is living at Greencastle; two brothers, Enoch and Thomas, are living in Montgomery county, Indiana.
Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. James Vanlandingham, named as fol1ows: Charley, a farmer in Brown county, Indiana; Jessie, who married Merlin Gerner, a railroad employe, living at Indianapolis; Daisy married Albert Shuey, who is conducting a grocery store at Greencastle; Dwight is living at home.
Mr. Vanlandingham is a member of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic, and he takes a great interest in the reunions and meetings of his old comrades, seldom missing a national encampment. He is a Republican in politics.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
WILLIAM TELL BESSER.
The life of William Tell Besser, a high1y respected citizen of Greencastle, Indiana, has been one of consecutive endeavor along lines that seldom fail to bring satisfactory results, and now, in the evening of his life, he finds himself comfortably situated as a result of his former years of activity. He was born in Clark county, Illinois, on the home farm, October 26, 1842, the son of Bates and Olive (Ho1lenbeck) Besser, the father being a native of the canton of Luzerne, Switzerland, born January 15, 1797. He came to America with his father when a small boy. He grew to maturity here and during the War of 1812 teamed for the American army when the British burned the city of Buffalo. He afterwards settled in Black Rock, near Buffalo. His mother died in the old country and Mr. Besser married a native of New York after coming here. They both died in that state. The parents of William T. Besser boarded a trading boat and descended the Ohio river to the mouth of the Wabash, ascending the latter stream until they reached a spot near Marshall, Illinois, where they settled, braving the severe climatic changes, Indians and the hardships incident to a pioneer life. Mr. Besser purchased sixty acres of land, later entering considerable land adjoining. As soon as he could secure the sum of fifty dollars he would enter another forty acres and he soon had a very valuable tract and made a success in this new country where he lived until he reached a ripe old age, dying September 13, 1855. Bates Besser made many trips to Chicago in wagons, before the days of railroads, taking apples, principally to market and bringing back merchandise. He married Olive Hollenbeck in 1828. She was the daughter of Lawrence H. Hollenbeck, who settled in Illinois as early as 1815, his wife dying soon afterward. His death occurred in 1860, in Dallas, Texas, where he went from Iowa, having moved to the latter state from Illinois. Both the elder Hollenbeck and Besser belonged to that type of pioneers who courted rather than shunned danger and thought nothing of hardships. They fattened their hogs with the corn they raised, and, in order to market them, sawed lumber with hand saws with which they constructed flat-bottomed boats and on these drove their hogs, taking them down the rivers to the New Orleans markets, where they abandoned their boats and walked home. Mrs. Olive Besser died in 1873, having reared the following nine children: Luzerne died in Oregon; Wesley died in Illinois; James died in the Indian Territory; Nathan, who was with General Grant, early in the Civil war, died in 1862; William T., of this review; Margaret Hathaway Linton died in Illinois in 1850; Mary, who married Dr. S. Jumper, died in Marshal1, Illinois, in 1890; Hulda, who married Bryan Anderson, now lives in Marshall, Illinois.
William T. Besser worked on the home farm in Illinois in his boyhood, attended the country schools until the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, which so fired his youthful ardor that he could not remain at home when his country was in need of his services, consequently he enlisted in the Fifty-fourth Regiment, Indiana Volunteer In fantry, for the three-months service. He did guard duty principally, not having occasion to participate in any battles, his services being principally in protecting railroad property. He contracted the measles which settled in his eyes, thus preventing his re-enlistment, and he was honorably discharged in October, 1862. He returned home and took up farming again. Four years later, 1866, he purchased a half interest in the mill at Marshall, Illinois, which in 1874 was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt. After a series of varied successes in business, he sold out in 1893 and came to Greencastle, Indiana, where he purchased the interest of E. H. Marker in the "Big Four Mills," which he has been very successful in and is now widely known to the farmers throughout this and adjoining counties, making a specialty of the well known and much-sought-for brand of "Big 4 Flour," which ranks second to none on the market and which is sold in large lots in many sections of the United States. He is regarded as one of the leading mill men in this section of the state and an authority in such matters, holding a conspicuous place in the ranks of millers of the Middle West. He has been very successful of recent years and is one of the substantial men of Greencastle. He has a nice home, well furnished and tastily kept.
Mr. Besser was married on April 19, 1874, to Mary Craig, daughter of Robert and Mary (Hall) Craig, an excellent family of Sullivan county, this state. This union resulted in the birth of two children, Daniel, who is his father's assistant in the mill, and Bertha, widow of Milo Reed Janney. The mother of these children passed to her rest in 1902. She was a woman of rare Christian character and an earnest worker in the Christian church.
Fraternally Mr. Besser is a member of the Royal Arch Masons, the Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Grand Army of the Republic.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN