Dr. George W. Starr was born January 23, 1848, on his father's farm, one and one-half miles northeast of Bainbridge. He is the son of John and Mary (Nethercutt) Starr, the father born August 30, 1818, and the mother March 6, 1816, the father in Preble county and the mother in Union county, Ohio. Each family were pioneers and highly honored in their respective communities. John Starr received a good education and devoted his life to the law, becoming an able and noted attorney in his day, having begun the practice of law in Putnam county on February 13, 1845. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, a truly useful and honorable man who took a delight in the progress of his community in all lines.
The family of Mr. and Mrs. John Starr consisted of six children, named as follows: William E.; George W., of this review; Martha A., James W., Moses Milton and Mary Alice.
Doctor Starr received an excellent education in the home schools and, being ambitious to enter the medical profession, he began studying to that end, first entering the drug business in Bainbridge in 1870, building up a very satisfactory business which continued to increase from year to year. In point of resistance he is the oldest citizen in Bainbridge and he has done much for the town's advancement along all lines.
Doctor Starr is a graduate of the Indiana Medical College, and after fully equipping himself for this calling he practiced for a period of three years in Clay county, Indiana, then came to Putnam county.
The Doctor's military record is one of which he may well be proud. He enlisted in Company I, One Hundred and Fifteenth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, in 1863, when only fifteen years old, and served eight months. Then he enlisted in the Eighteenth Indiana Battery and served till the close of the war. He saw much active and trying service in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, was in the Atlanta campaign, taking part in many severe battles and skirmishes.
Doctor Starr was married on October 29, 1878, to Jennie McDonald, a native of Wisconsin, the daughter of a highly respected family. This union resulted in the birth of one child, Fred M. Starr, a professor in Tri-State College, at Angola, Indiana. He was born November 21, 1879. After the death of the Doctor's first wife, which occurred June 1, 1881, he married Julia A. Springer, on July 19, 1887. She was the daughter of Riley and Susan (Smith) Springer, a well known family, a history of which is given elsewhere in this volume. To them have come one child, Elizabeth Mabel, born October 20, 1887. She is the wife of Roy M. Eads of Roachdale, Indiana. She is a graduate of DePauw University.
Doctor ,Starr has been very successful from a financial standpoint, having managed his affairs well and laid by an ample competency for his declining years. He is the owner of large and valuable tracts of land which he looks after, however, he is now living practically retired from active business. He has held all the offices in Post So. 463. Grand Army of the Republic, at Bainbridge, of which he is now adjutant. He has won and retained the confidence and respect of the people of this community as a result of his exemplary life and he has hosts of warm friends throughout the county. Doctor and Mrs. Starr are members of the Methodist church, and the Doctor is one of the trustees and superintendent of the Sunday school.
"Weiks History of Putnam County Indiana" by Jesse W. Weik. 1910
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
GREELEY RICHARD HUFFMAN.
Greeley Richard Huffman is a member of the old and well known Huffman family which has figured so prominently in the affairs of Putnam county since the pioneer period, being the youngest of the twelve children of Edmund and Louisa Ann (Rightsell) Huffman, who are mentioned elsewhere in these pages. He was born on the family homestead one mile south of Reelsville, June 23, 1873, and grew to maturity in close touch with nature, attending the meantime the district schools. His educational training, however, was more practical than scholastic, consisting largely of the knowledge of men and things obtained by contact with the world, and in all that constitutes a well informed and evenly balanced mind, he stands today a notable example among the intelligent men of his community. Mr. Huffman was early instructed in the duties of the farm and grew up in the belief that labor is honorable and that idleness even among those not obliged to work for a livelihood is akin to disgrace. He assisted in the cultivation of the farm as soon as his services could be utilized and remained with his father until his twenty-third year, receiving in the meantime two hundred acres of fine land in the division of his father's large estate. Removing to this land about 1893, he at once inaugurated a series of improvements which in due time were carried to completion and since then he has added to his possessions until he is now the owner of a valuable farm of three hundred acres, all bottom land of great fertility and admirably adapted to agriculture and pasturage. The land lies on both sides of Walnut creek, which affords ample water and drainage and. under the masterful management of the proprietor, it has been brought to a very high state of cultivation, ranking among the most productive farms in Putnam county and with its splendid improvements making a model and in every respect desirable home.
Mr. Huffman has not been content with the ample start in life which his father gave him but, like a vise and prudent man, has managed his affairs so judiciously as to increase his holdings and add largely to their value. Forceful, energetic and progressive, he has forged rapidly to the front among the leading agriculturists of his part of the state and from the beginning his career presents a series of advancements and successes such as few attain. Like the majority of enterprising farmers, he does not depend upon crops alone for his income but devotes a goodly portion of his land to pasturage, for which, as already indicated, the land is peculiarly adapted. He has achieved distinctive success in the matter of livestock, raising high-grade cattle and hogs which he feeds from the farm, realizing from this service alone handsome profits, to say nothing of the returns from the products of the soil which he markets every year.
Mr. Huffman believes in using his means so as to accomplish the greatest possible good, to which end he has not been sparing in providing those dependent upon him with the comforts and luxuries of life. His first consideration in this respect was the home, in the construction of which he devoted not a little time and money in making it one of the most desirable country residences in the township. Within its walls reigns a spirit of domestic concord which makes it a home in fact as well as name and it is also the abode of old-fashioned hospitality which all who cross its threshold have learned.
Mr. Huffman is alive to all that benefits the community and is helpful to his fellow men and is not unmindful of the duties which every true citizen owes to the public. He manifests a lively interest in political matters and votes with the Democratic party, but has never sought office nor aspired to any kind of public distinction. The Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen represent his fraternal relations and in addition to these orders he is a friend of the church and school, believing that knowledge and religion properly disseminated are the great safeguards of a government in which the people constitute the ruling power.
The domestic life of Mr. Huffman dates from August 28, 1901, at which time he was happily married to Belle Combs, daughter of Stacy and . Sarah Combs, of Washington township, the union being blessed with one son, who answers to the name of Earl Huffman. Mrs. Huffman has proven a fit companion and helpmate to her energetic husband, being a lady of practical intelligence and unexceptional character, an excellent housekeeper and moving in the best social circles of the community. She is not only the reigning spirit of the home, but enjoys the confidence of her neighbors and friends and exerts a wholesome moral influence among all with whom she mingles. Mrs. Huffman taught school in Washington township for six years.
"Weiks History of Putnam County Indiana" by Jesse W. Weik. 1910
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
Among the prosperous and influential farmers and stockmen of the southern part of Putnam county is Daniel Craft, owner of a beautiful and valuable landed estate in Washington township where he is ranked as a model farmer and citizen. He was born in Logan county, Ohio, July 22, 1842, the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Funk) Craft, both natives of Virginia, from which state they came to Ohio in an early day with their parents, grew to maturity in the Buckeye state, met and married there. Daniel Craft accompanied his parents to Owen county, Indiana, in 1831, locating southeast of Bowling Green, later moved to Patricksburg, that county, where his death occurred at the age of seventy-two years. There were nine children in this family, six of whom reached maturity, four of them living at this writing, namely: Abraham, living in Harvey county, Kansas; Daniel, of this review; Susan, who lives in Patricksburg, and Margaret Frances, who resides at Lewis, Vigo county, Indiana.
Daniel Craft left home when seventeen years of age and worked as a hired hand on a farm for two years until he could get a start, at sixty dollars per year; however, he could save but little out of so meager a wage. He then learned the tanner's trade in Bowling Green, Clay county, and followed the same for a period of three years, receiving one hundred and twenty dollars per year and board, and he became quite proficient in this line. At the end of three years he was able to buy a house beside his clothing, etc. He then started a tannery at Patricksburg in company with his uncle, Abraham Funk, who supplied the capital, which partnership continued successfully for two years, when they closed out, realizing a profit of about one thousand dollars as a reward for Mr. Craft's persistent labor and skill, this sum proving to be of great advantage to him just at that time; but he then worked in a saw mill for a time, after which he began farming, renting, for a period of five years, the farm in Washington township, Putnam county, which he now owns, the place having formerly been owned by Elias Garner, and is located on Mill creek and the Eel river in the southern part of the county. At the expiration of the rented term he bought the place, which consists of two hundred and twenty-four acres, for which he paid the sum of seven thousand and six hundred dollars, assuming a debt of all but one thousand dollars, paying six per cent interest. He proved to be a good manager and a hard worker and greatly improved the place from year to year, paying off the entire debt in fifteen years. He has cleared thirty acres, leaving forty acres of the original natural timber; he has about ninety acres of rich corn land. He carries on general farming, but his principal dependence is in hogs, which he raises for the market in large numbers. He has prospered and has added a splendid tract of two hundred and ninety acres, just south of his original farm, operating two places as one. His fields are well tilled, well kept and highly improved and he has a substantial, comfortable and imposing dwelling, built at the foot of a high bluff, near some delicious crystal springs, not far from the river.
Mr. Craft was married September 1, 1864, in Clay county, to Thursy Jane Crouse, a native of Clay county and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Crouse, her father having operated a water mill on Eel river on a farm above the Craft place, his mill being a popular one for a number of years. It was known as the Kinsley mill, one of the oldest in the country and it is still standing, one of the old mill-stones now gracing the front yard at Mr. Craft's home.
Eleven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Craft, two of whom died in infancy, the others reaching maturity, namely: Van Milroy is farming in Washington township; Zora Frances is not married and is living at home; Lucretia Florence is married to John Baumunk and is living in Washington township; Minnie Mercy married Robert Evans and is living in Washington township; Carrie Belle married Wesley Neese, a farmer of Vigo county; Curtis Theodore is operating part of the homestead; Ursula Ann married David Modisett, of Harmony, Clay county; Isaiah Henry is also assisting in the management of the home farm; Benjamin Carl is still a member of the family circle.
Daniel Craft served one term as justice of the peace in a very acceptable manner. Being an independent thinker, he is not allied to any party, preferring to vote for the man of the best principles and qualifications. He has been a follower of the teachings of the Christian church, and he holds membership with the Mill Creek congregation, being a liberal supporter of the local church, and known as one of the community's leading citizens in every respect.
"Weiks History of Putnam County Indiana" by Jesse W. Weik. 1910
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
MOSES DILLON BRIDGES.
Putnam county has had few finer citizens than the late Moses Dillon Bridges, whose whole career of sixty-odd years was identified with the county's development and progress. He was a man of very active life and useful in many ways; whether it was politics, merchandising or general business, he was always at the front to have his say and do his part. His long life was lived without a blemish to mar his integrity or stain his character. He dealt honestly with all, never asking a cent more than was coming to him. He was successful in everything he undertook, which after all is the severest test of a man's ability, if not his worth. Moses Dillon Bridges was born at Greencastle, Indiana, in November, 1839, when the village and Putnam county were still undeveloped. His parents, Moses Thomas and Mary (Vansant) Bridges, were among the earliest of the early pioneers, coming over from Kentucky when Indiana was little more than a wilderness. Like many of the pioneers, he was forced by circumstances to become a sort of "jack of all trades," being a farmer, merchant and shoemaker. For many years he conducted a general store at Fillmore, Putnam county. His son, Moses Dillon, grew up on a farm at a time when school advantages were difficult to obtain. Such as they were, however, run on the subscription order with the teacher "boarding around," young Bridges took advantage of at brief intervals until he was sixteen years old. His father started him in the general merchandising business at Groveland and also gave him an interest in the store at Fillmore. Though young at the time, he soon "caught on" and gradually developed into a successful merchant for those days, which was before trusts, combines and corners had been heard of and all business was conducted on the basis of the freest kind of free competition. In 1874 he removed to Greencastle, was elected county clerk, served four years, was re-elected and afterwards made his residence at the county seat. In office he showed the same fine qualities as in other positions and so conducted official affairs as to gain the good will and confidence of all the people. He entered the Central National Bank as cashier and was subsequently elected to the position of vice-president. Here, too, in entirely new duties he showed his levelheaded qualities and his knowledge of general business, as well as that intricate problem known as human nature. He liked the storm and struggle of political campaigns, took active part in all the hotly contested battles and was acknowledged as one of the foremost and safest of the Democratic local leaders. He rose to the Knight Templar degree in Masonry and was regular in his lodge attendance. He was a member of the Christian church and one of the board of trustees, always manifesting interest in the cause of religion.
Mr. Bridges married Maude Roberts, who was born in Hendricks county in January, 1848. Her parents, John S. and Martha Anna (Hopwood) Roberts, were natives of Kentucky, who came to Indiana in an early day. Her father was a furniture maker by trade, of Welsh descent, and her ancestors were Scotch-Irish on the mother's side. Mr. and Mrs. Moses Dillon Bridges had seven children: Ollie, born June 10, 1871, married Fred Gordon, of Indianapolis; Grace Pearl, born July 1, 1873, married Dr. R. J. Gillespie, a dentist at Greencastle; Hallie, born September 5, 1876, married Dr. J. M. King, one of the well known physicians of Greencastle; Nellie married S. C. Sayers, a merchant of Greencastle; Hazel, born December 22, 1883, is still living tinder the parental roof; Harold Moses, born September 26. 1887, died on January 5, 1892; Gerald, born February 6, 1892, is attending the public schools.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
REV. JAMES W. CARVER.
It is a pleasure to examine the life record of such a useful character as the Rev. James W. Carver, for it has been one of unselfish endeavor to ameliorate the condition of his fellow men and the good he has done cannot be measured in metes and bounds, for such influence is far-reaching and will continue to brighten the pathways of many for generations to come.
Mr. Carver was born of an excellent family in Parke county, Indiana, May 2, 1854. His father was Benjamin Durham Carver, a native of Danville, Kentucky, who came to Indiana with his parents when four years old, his father, Starling Carver, coming to Indiana and settling near Russellville, later near Portland Mills. He was a farmer and lived in this country the rest of his life, dying in October, 1869, at the age of sixty-eight years. He was one of the early workers in the Methodist church and widely known as a great "class leader." For many years he was trustee of Green township, Parke county. He married Jane Durham, of near Danville, Kentucky, at which place her brother, Milton J. Durham, who is the oldest graduate of DePauw University, still lives. He has long been a noted politician and was comptroller of the currency during Cleveland's administration. He is a lineal descendant of the famous Governor Carver of colonial days. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Starling Carver. Mrs. Carver was called to her rest May 3, 1889, at the age of eighty-three years.
William Carver, father of Starling Carver, came from Virginia to Kentucky and thence to Illinois. The former's father was Joseph Carver, a New Yorker who later in life moved to Virginia. Not one of the Carvers from Joseph to James W. has ever used liquors or played cards. A notable feature of this family is the fact that they are all physically large. The father of James W., Benjamin Durham Carver, lived at Morton from 1867. His death occurred December 19, 1897, at the age of seventy years, having been born in Boyle county, Kentucky, July 4, 1827. He came to Russellville, Putnam county, in 1831. In 1851 he married Margaret Frances Johnson, born in Kentucky, from which state her parents removed to Parke county, Indiana. He joined the Methodist church in his twentieth year. As steward, class leader, Sunday school superintendent and trustee he rendered the church splendid service, bringing to the discharge of each duty virtue, piety and discreet judgment, and he became one of the best men in his community. On the day of his death, which was Sunday, he taught a class in Sunday school and closed the morning service with a fervent prayer, took the preacher home with him for dinner and the end came while he was stooping over to re-kindle the fire in the old-fashioned fireplace, which he was very fond of, practically "dying in the harness." Many laymen have doubtless excelled him in special lines of church work, but in all lines, both secular and spiritual, his equal was seldom found.
Of the nine children born to Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Durham Carver, four are now living, namely: James W., of this review; Clay B., of Rockville; Mrs. Sallie Ferguson, also of Rockville; Oscar R., of Morristown, Tennessee; Oliver Morton was killed by a horse falling on him when he was thirty-two years of age; Martha Ella died in young womanhood; Malcolm died in 1877; Nettie died in 1872; Edgar died in 1877.
James W. Carver spent his childhood on the farm where he was born and which he worked, except during the short winter months when he was in school until he was twenty-two years of age, having received a very good primary schooling in the country schools. Ambitious to become highly educated, he spent six years in DePauw University, graduating in the class of 1876. In that year he went to Des Moines, Iowa, where he entered the Simpson Law School, in which he remained for one year, having read law before going there. He located in Boone, Iowa, where he remained for a period of four years. He started out with a very satisfactory clientele and had he continued in the legal profession he would have doubtless become widely known as an able attorney. He was admitted to practice by the supreme court. He was compelled to relinquish this profession on account of losing the use of his voice for four years. He spent one year at Sidney, Iowa. and about four years on a farm near Ida Grove, Iowa. In 1882 he began preaching, becoming a member of the Northwest Iowa conference of the Methodist Episcopal church, preaching first at Battle Center, Iowa, for two years, then he went to Mt. Union, that state where he remained one year, then at Cushing one year, thence to Rock for two years, then to Ledyard two years, then Pierson for two years, later to Holstein, then Danbury. He returned to Greencastle, Indiana, in 1899, when his health failed and retired from the active ministry, taking up farming; however, he has continued to preach when able, being at present pastor of the church at Knightsville. During his ministerial career he has baptised over two thousand six hundred persons and during the past eleven years, since retirement, over nine hundred, six hundred by immersion. He is regarded as a very forceful speaker, earnest, sincere and often truly eloquent, and he is always ready to minister to the sick and do good in any way possible. He has been very popular wherever his lot has been cast and held in the highest esteem by all classes. He served two years in the city council, 1904 to 1906. Since coming to Greencastle he has given his attention very largely to orchard culture, having now one of the finest orchards in Indiana. He has studied horticulture until he is regarded as exceptionally well versed in all its phases, in fact, an authority. Views of his orchard appear in the report of the Indiana Horticultural Society. His orchard comprises sixty acres of very valuable land, which raised over twelve hundred bushels of apples and over three hundred bushels of peaches during 1909. He has been unusually successful in producing fine crops. He has a pleasant and nicely furnished home, equipped with a large and carefully selected library of the world's choicest literature, where Mr. Carver spends much of his spare time.
Mr. Carver was married on July 29, 1879, to Louisa Webb, born in Ohio, the accomplished and refined daughter of Spencer C. and Jemima (Street) Webb, both natives of Baltimore. Four children born to this union died early in life.
Mr. Carver is a member of Morton blue lodge and the Greencastle chapter and commandery of the Masonic fraternity, and he was prelate of the commandery for eight years. Like his religion, he has carried the sublime precepts of this ancient order into his everyday life. Politically he is a Republican, as was also his father.
As might be expected, the subject is a man of the most excellent personal traits, courteous, generous, obliging, hospitable, genial and kind to stranger and friend alike, so that it is indeed a pleasure to know him, and especially to be enlightened by his learned and entertaining conversation. He has been a power for good and he never loses an opportunity to be of service to his fellow men, not for their praise but merely for the sake of fulfilling the commands of the lowly Nazarene, in whose footsteps he finds great pleasure in trying to tread, and whose approval and that of his own conscience he alone tries to gain and reconcile, not seeking the plaudits of men.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
WILLIAM H. WILLIAMSON
Notwithstanding opinions to the contrary, much depends upon being well born, and the old adage that "Blood will tell" is not only true but profoundly philosophical. In a large measure we are what our antecedents were, their characteristics and attributes as a rule constituting a heritage which have had a powerfu1 influence in moulding our lives for good or evil. "Like produces like," a recognized law of the physical world, also obtains in matters of mind and morals, as the experience of the human race abundantly attest. That parents have a wonderful influence upon the minds and hearts of their offspring cannot for a moment be gainsaid, hence the necessity of measuring up to the high standard which both nature and God require of fatherhood and motherhood. In matter of birth the subject of this sketch has indeed been fortunate, inheriting as he does the sterling characteristics of his ancestors, who were long distinguished for strong mentality, intellectual acumen and moral worth. His father, John M. Williamson, a native of Ireland and a son of a merchant, was educated in the University of Dublin with the object in view of entering the ministry of the church of England, but, circumstances preventing him from carrying his intention into effect, he subsequently became a teacher and achieved marked distinction in educational work. He came to the United States when young and for some time thereafter taught in Cincinnati, later accepting a professorship in a college, which he held with distinguished success until his removal to Indiana some years afterwards. While in Cincinnati he became acquainted with Maria James, an intelligent and highly accomplished young lady who like himself was engaged in teaching and to whom he was subsequently united in the bonds of wedlock.
Mrs. Williamson was a native of England, which country her father, the Hon. James James, represented as a minister at the court of Norway and Sweden, having been a man of eminent talents and one of the leading statesmen and diplomats of his day. He died in the land of his birth, sometime after which his widow and daughters came to the United States and located at Cincinnati; one of the daughters, Helen James, subsequently completed the prescribed course of Oberlin College and became a teacher. She was employed in various parts of Ohio and Indiana and was one of the early teachers of Putnam county where she taught for a number of years and where some of her pupils, now venerable gray-haired men and women, still live to honor her memory.
Shortly after their marriage, John M. Williamson and wife moved to Franklin county, Indiana, where their oldest child was born and where they continued to make their home until 1854 when they changed their residence to Putnam county, locating on the farm in Washington township which Mr. Williamson purchased and on which he and his faithful wife spent the remainder of their days. Mr. Williamson was in many respects a remarkable man and it is to be hoped that some future biographer will give him the notice, which he deserves, but which the limits of this article forbid. As already indicated, he was highly educated and accomplished and during his entire life he never ceased being a student. While attending to the duties of the farm he studied soils and their adaptability to the different crops, made careful notes of every kind of plant and vegetable the place produced and his love of nature also led him to spend much of his leisure in the woods, meadows and along the by-ways, where in due time his investigations made him one of the most thorough and accomplished botanists and naturalists the state of Indiana has ever known. It is greatly to be regretted that he did not publish the results of his studies and investigations, for had he done so science would have received a wonderful stimulus from his active and brilliant mind. He not only pursued his investigations in matters as above mentioned, but was also a great reader, his knowledge of the world's best literature of all ages and among all peoples having been wide and profound. With all his varied accomplishments, he was a humble and sincere Christian, a devout student of the sacred scriptures, who exemplified his religious faith in his relations with his fellowmen, and it was his custom morning and evening to gather his family about him to thank God for the blessings of which they were the recipients. In public matters he always kept abreast of the times and in touch with the leading questions and issues before the people, on all of which he was thoroughly informed and an authority among his neighbors and friends.
Although not a very practical farmer, Mr. Williamson was nevertheless possessed of fine business ability and succeeded in accumulating a comfortable competency for his family, including three hundred acres of fine land much of which was cleared and fitted for cultivation by his own labor. He was a man of noble aims and high ideals and his influence was ever for the right side of every moral issue. He presented the highest type of manhood and citizenship and his life was a benediction and a power for good among those with whom his lot was cast. The death of this excellent man occurred on the 6th day of January, 1866, at the age of sixty-six years, his widow surviving him twenty-six years and departing this life in 1892, shortly before the eightieth anniversary of her birth.
John M. and Maria Williamson were the parents of six children, namely: Mary M., who married Joseph Mann and moved to Oklahoma, where both afterwards died; William H., of this review; George, who went to Clay City, Indiana, about thirty years ago, where he was engaged in the grain trade until his recent remova1 to California, where he now resides; Henry, who died when a young man of twenty-three; John, who has spent the last twenty years in California, and Emma, who married Samuel Brownrigg and moved to Kansas, thence to California, where she now resides, the subject being the only representative of the family in Putnam county.
William H. Williamson spent his early life on the home farm in Washington township, and received his educational training in the public schools. Blessed with excellent home influence, he grew up with good habits and while young received the bent of character which has had such a marked influence in directing his life in proper channels and developing a mind capable of grasping the various problems which one meets at the beginning of his career. He assisted his father until the latter's death, when he began buying his brothers' and sisters' respective interests in the estate, which being accomplished in due time, he afterwards added one hundred eight acres to the homestead, making the place four hundred five acres, its present area. His farm lies in a body extending across Deer creek, adjacent to which is some fine bottom land, the part in cultivation amounting to one hundred twenty-five acres, the balance consisting of pasturage and timber. The latter he has been at pains to keep intact and he now has a considerable area of original forest growth, in which are to be seen some of the finest oak, maple, walnut, poplar, beech and other varieties of trees in this part of the state.
Mr. Williamson has a model farm and as a tiller of the soil he is progressive in his methods and fully abreast of the times in all matters relating to modern agriculture. He usually raises from eighty to one hundred acres of wheat, a grain for which the farm seems peculiarly adapted, and about twenty-five acres of corn, all of which he feeds to livestock, to the breeding and raising of which he devotes special attention. He is also much interested in horticulture and has one of the best orchards in the county, which he set out himself, exercising great care in the selection of his trees and sparing no pains in keeping them in healthful condition in order to enhance their productiveness. Mr. Williamson's splendid modern dwelling, furnished with all the latest conveniences, occupies a fine location and is one of the most beautiful and attractive rural homes in Putnam county. His former home was destroyed by fire in 1884, since which time he has guarded against a repetition of the loss by making his present residence as nearly fire-proof as possible, and using for heating purposes a furnace instead of stoves. He has been unsparing in the expenditure of money for the beautifying of his place, believing that home should be made attractive in order to be the one ideal spot to which his children's memories will fondly return after they have grown to maturity and left the family circle. For a number of years Mr. Williamson was quite extensively engaged in the manufacture of maple syrup, having a fine orchard of twenty-five acres, containing five hundred trees, the yield from which each spring season added very materially to his earnings. Recently, however, he discontinued this feature of the farm the better to give his attention to other and more profitable interests.
Like his father, Mr. Williamson is an intelligent observer of events, a reader and thinker and his opinions on the questions of the day carry weight and command respect. He is a Republican, but not a partisan and has never disturbed his quiet by seeking office or aspiring to leadership. He manifests a lively interest in the welfare of the community, gives his influence and assistance to any worthy enterprise for the good of his fellow men and discharges the duties incumbent upon him as becomes a loyal citizen and representative American of today.
On February 9, 1879, Mr. Williamson was united in marriage with Mrs. Mary L. Hedges, widow of the late W. H. Hedges, of Putnam county, and daughter of B. F. and Louisa (Harvey) Utterback, natives of Bourbon county, Kentucky, the father by trade a saddler and harnessmaker. These parents moved to Indiana in 1852 and located at Putnamville, where Mrs. Williamson was born on February 11th of the same year, but subsequently, 1864, they changed their residence to Manhattan, still later to Reelsville where Mr. Utterback died September 15, 1887, at the age of sixty-three, his widow surviving him until June 15, 1909, when she was called to her final reward in the seventy-ninth year of her age. W. H. Hedges, Mrs. Williamson's first husband, was a graduate of Indiana State University and a civil engineer by profession, having been official surveyor of Putnam county at the time of his death in 1877.
Mr. and Mrs. Williamson have children as follows: Fred D., who is interested with his father in agriculture and stock raising, is an intelligent, wide-awake young man of progressive ideas and an enterprising farmer and public spirited citizen; he holds membership with the Masonic fraternity, belonging to the blue lodge at Knistville and the chapter at Greencastle. Belle, the second in order of birth, married Elijah O'Neal and is the mother of three children, Florence, Albert and Everett, the oldest and youngest living with their grandmother. Florence, the youngest of the family, is the wife of T. F. Talbot and lives at Harristown, Illinois. Mrs. Williamson has been a member of the Baptist church since her girlhood, both she and her husband belonging to the Walnut Creek church of that denomination in Washington township, being deeply interested in the various lines of worth under the auspicies of the organization and liberal contributors to its support.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
CHARLES J. ARNOLD.
Charles J. Arnold, the efficient secretary-treasurer of the Star-Democrat Publishing company of Greencastle, and one of the active managers and editors of the Weekly Star-Democrat and the Daily Herald, was born in Greencastle, January 21, 1879, the son of F. A. and Elizabeth (Boley) Arnold. The father was a native of London, Canada, from which place he came to Putnam county, Indiana, over forty years ago. He became a man of influence and prominence in this county after taking up his residence here. Up to 1907 and for many years previous he was editor and publisher of the newspaper now controlled jointly by his son and his son-in-law, Charles J. Arnold and Francis C. Tilden. F. A. Arnold is now vice-president of the Central National Bank and one of Greencastle's leading and substantial citizens.
Charles J. Arnold was educated in the public schools of Greencastle and at DePauw University, where he made a good record for scholarship. On leaving college he turned his attention to journalism and for some time was a member of the reportorial staff of the Kansas City Star and also the Kansas City Journal. He soon evinced a natural aptitude for newspaper work and in October, 1906, he returned to Greencastle and became interested in the Weekly Star-Democrat and Daily Herald, the former the official organ of the Putnam county Democracy, and the latter an enterprising and popular daily. His services with these newspapers has greatly benefited the community in general and the Star-Democrat and Daily Herald are potent moulders of public opinion.
Mr. Arnold was married, October 3, 1906, to Mabel Herring, the daughter of Mrs. Samantha Herring, of Kansas City. Mr. Arnold is secretary of the Greencastle Merchants' Association and is also secretary of the Indiana Democratic Editorial Association. He is a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He is a well bred, agreeable, forceful and energetic young man, of agreeable personal graces and unquestionable business ability.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
JACOB CALLENDAR PLUMMER.
The subject of this sketch enjoys the distinction of being the leading contractor and builder in the southern part of Putnam county and in the pursuance of his trade has doubtless contributed more to the material prosperity of his section of the county than any other man. He is a native of Massac county, Illinois, where his birth occurred on the first day of January, 1843, and where his parents, Jacob and Eliza (Summers) Plummer, of Kentucky, had settled in the year 1837. When Jacob was an infant, these parents returned to Kentucky and remained in Kenton county, that state, until 1860, when they removed to Greencastle, Indiana, where the father lived in retirement about eight years, at the end of which time he changed his residence to Washington township, where he made his home until his removal to Vigo county, where his death occurred in 1902, at the age of seventy-nine years, his wife dying sometime previous to that date in Clay county.
Jacob C. Plummer was about eighteen years old when his parents came to Indiana and since 1860 he has been an honored resident of Putnam county and closely identified with the interests of the people among whom he has lived. While still a youth he manifested a decided preference for mechanical work and it was not long until he turned his talent to good account by taking up the trade of carpentry, at which he soon became quite proficient and to which his energies have since been devoted. In 1868 he came to Washington township, Putnam county, where he at once took high rank as a mechanic and in the month of March, 1880, he moved to his present farm, fifty acres of which are in cultivation, the remainder consisting of woodland and meadow. Mr. Plummer devotes little time to the cultivation of the soil, being, as already indicated, the leading contractor and builder of his part of the county, with enterprises on hand which call him from home and demand all his attention. The majority of the better farm dwellings, barns and other buildings in Washington township were erected under his management and elsewhere throughout the county in both towns and rural districts are numerous edifices which bear the stamp of his workmanship. Among the many country residences which he has built from time to time are those belonging to George Rissler, John Rightsell, Jack Huffman, James Rightsell, George Zeener, Vincent McCollough, John Rissler and many others, all of which rank among the best structures of the kind in the county and speak volumes in his praise as a master of his vocation. He has also erected a number of school houses, churches and other public edifices, the demands for his services being such as to call for a number of additional helpers. Of recent years he has carried on several buildings at the same time and given employment to from eight to fifteen mechanics and at intervals has conducted his business in partnership with R. E. Ozment. a master workman who learned the trade under his direction.
Mr. Plummer, on May 1, 1861, was happily married to Luella Shoptaugh, sister of George Shoptaugh, ex-superintendent of the Putnam county poor asylum. Mrs. Plummer was born on the old Shoptaugh farm, in Marion township, August 26, 1534, and belongs to one of the earliest and best known pioneer families of that part of the county. Three children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Plummer, the oldest being Arthur, who lives near Putnamville, in Warren township, and who for four years served the county as official surveyor.
Laura Ethel, the second in order of birth, taught for a number of years in the public schools and achieved marked distinction in that profession. She began her educational work before becoming the wife of Prof. John R. Starr, of Winamac, and also spent a part of her married life in the school room, her husband being principal of the commercial college at Marshalltown, Iowa. Mrs. Starr was a woman of fine mind and her lamented death, four years after her marriage, terminated what promised to be an unusually brilliant career.
Bessie Lee, the youngest of the subject's family, married Jack Huffman and lives in Washington township, a sketch of her husband appearing on another page of this work.
Early in life Mr. Plummer resolved to master the vocation to which his energies have been directed and that he has done so is apparent to those at all familiar with his work. He easily stands in the front rank among the builders of his part of Indiana, and since engaging in his life work he has instructed quite a number of young men in carpentry, among whom Rufus E. Ozment and Ernest Matthews are perhaps the best known and most proficient.
Mr. Plummer has a pleasant home and is well situated as far as material wealth is concerned, being in comfortable circumstances with sufficient means to insure his future against the proverbial "rainy day" which overtakes so many men in their old age. He has been a life-long Democrat in politics and with his wife belongs to the Christian church, the house in which the congregation worships having been erected some years ago.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
JOHN H. MEEK.
The record of the gentleman whose name forms the caption to this biographical review is that of a man who has worked his way from modest beginnings to a place of influence and comparative independence, his life having been one of unceasing industry and perseverance, and the notably systematic and honorable methods he has employed have won him the unbounded confidence and regard of those with whom he has come in contact.
John H. Meek was born in the central part of the state of Missouri in 1856, and is the son of Abraham and Sarah Ann (Rakes) Meek. Abraham Meek was born September 1, 1831, in Morgan county, Indiana, and was the son of James and Samyra (Staley) Meek. His father died when he was but four years of age, and he inherited a tract of land in Mill Creek township, Putnam county. On attaining mature years he married and then lived on this land until 1862. He then sold the farm and moved to near Bedford, Iowa, where he ran a stage line and operated a hotel. Subsequently they moved to Missouri, but a year later they returned to Indiana. In 1862 they again went to Iowa, where they remained a year or two, and then returned to Putnam county, locating in Jefferson township, where they spent the remainder of their lives, the mother dying on March 12, 1906, and the father on June 3, 1909. He was a man of prominence in the community and served as justice of the peace. Abraham Meek was married in 1848 to Sarah Ann Rakes, a daughter of John and Marjorie Rakes. She was born in Kentucky and in her young girlhood was brought to Indiana by her parents, who bought land in section 9, Jefferson township, Putnam county. At that time the young lady planted a cottonwood tree, which is still standing and which is now sixteen feet in circumference. Only about four acres of land had been cleared on this land, but the father went to work with a will and eventually developed a fine farm, and there he and his wife spent their remaining years. The father was a radical Republican in political faith and stood high in the esteem of those who knew him.
John H. Meek was reared on a farm and accompanied his parents in their several removals, finally locating in Putnam county, where he has spent his active years. He secured a fair education in the common schools and has always followed the pursuit of agriculture. At the time of his marriage, in 1878, he and his wife established their home where he now lives, his real estate then amounting to twenty-seven and a half acres, on which was a small pioneer home. This humble building was subsequently remodeled into a very comfortable home, which served the family as a residence until February 1, 1906, when it was totally destroyed by fire, causing a serious loss. However, on the 14th of the following May the family moved into a new home which had been erected on the ashes of the old, the present home being very comfortable and attractive. Mr. Meek's present farm comprises two hundred acres of splendid, fertile land, practically all of which is under cultivation and well improved in every respect. All Mr. Meek has is the result of his own efforts and he is eminently deserving of the success which has crowned his efforts. Besides a general line of farming, he has run a threshing machine, been a dealer in and shipper of livestock, and owned a sawmill, and in each of these lines he was successful. He possesses good business ability and sound judgment and is practical and methodical in all his operations.
On October 13, 1878, Mr. Meek married Alice Lewis, a daughter of Gaskin and Margaret (Brinton) Lewis. She was born on the farm which she now lives, her father having been a native of Ohio and her mother of Kentucky. Her paternal grandfather was James Lewis, an early pioneer of this section of the state, while her maternal grandparents were Bryant and Mary (Tharp) Brinton, who came here in an early day and entered a quarter section of land lying in sections 9 and 10, Jefferson township. Gaskin Lewis followed farming, and was also a successful school teacher, having also served as assessor of Jefferson township. He died in 1872, being survived a number of years by his widow, whose death occurred in June, 1897. To Mr. and Mrs. Meek have been born five children, namely: Ora Everett, who lives on the home place, married Marie Farmer; Elsie Jane is the wife of Harrison Hunter, of Marion township, and they have two children, Helen Irene and Harold Harrison; Margaret ,Ann, Emma Opal and Wilfred Claude.
Politically Mr. Meek is a stanch Republican and has taken an active interest in the success of the party in local elections, having served for twelve years as chairman of the township committee. He has also served as township assessor. Fraternally he is a Freemason, belonging to the blue lodge at Cloverdale. Mr. Meek has taken an intelligent interest in the welfare of the community and gives his unreserved support to every movement that promises to benefit the community along moral, educational or material lines. Genial and courteous in his relations with his fellow men, he enjoys a large circle of warm friends, who esteem him for his personal worth.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
William and Margaret Thomas, who came from Kentucky in 1834, settled on land just north of Greencastle and were pioneers of that part of the county. William died in the fall of 1839 and in the following year his widow, with her two sons, George and Lewis, settled in Madison township. She lived with George until her death, in March, 1863, aged sixty-four years. George has been living in Parke county for thirty years, and Lewis, who also removed to Parke county, died there in 1907. There were two other sons, William and Isaac, who both died in Parke county. Joel Thomas, one of the children, was born in Mason county, Kentucky, and was brought to Indiana by his parents in 1834, when fourteen years old. He married Mary, the daughter of Aaron and Martha Stites, of Clinton township. She was born in Ohio, but came to Indiana with her parents when a young girl. Joel, after marriage, rented a farm for a number of years and in 1854 bought one hundred fourteen acres in the wildwood. By hard work he was able to pay for it, though the job of clearing it was a long and difficult one. He built a double log house which at that time was regarded as an unusually fine residence. He spent the rest of his life on this farm, placing eighty acres in cultivation. On November 8, 1884, he was instantly killed by a Big Four engine while walking on the railroad track in company with his brother and others, returning from a ratification at Carbon, being in the sixty-fourth year of his age. His first wife died August 1, 1879, after which he married Elizabeth Hart, a widow who died about four weeks before her husband was killed. His children, still living in 1910, consisted of eight sons and one daughter, as follows: William, of this review; Hiram, of Clinton township; John, of Madison township; James, of Parke county; Joel, of Washington township; Aaron, of Madison township; Levi, of Vigo county; Isaac Marion, a resident of the state of Washington; Fanny, wife of Frank Burcham, of Hickman, Nebraska.
William Thomas, eldest of the family, was born in Putnam county, Indiana, June 17, 1844. He remained at home until over eighteen years old, when he decided to face the world on his own account. Buying four horses, he ws engaged for four years in hauling saw-logs to mill and threshing during the other seasons of the year. In about four years he had secured eighty acres of land, which he later sold at an advance and continued to trade about until 1873, when he got possession of his present farm. It was the homestead of Joseph Priest, eight miles west of Greencastle. It was an improved place and Mr. Thomas paid four thousand two hundred and fifty dollars for the one hundred twenty acres. He has since added until his holdings in the home farm amount to two hundred twenty acres. He also owns one hundred acres in Parke county and his land is largely devoted to raising and feeding hogs and cattle. He still continues also to operate his threshing outfit. He has been with the machine every season since he was eleven years old, making fifty-four consecutive threshing seasons. Of late years he has added clover hullers, corn huskers and other modern improvements. Mr. Thomas is well known as a thresher over a wide scope of territory. In 1899 he won a handsome medal as a prize offered by the Milwaukee Thresherman to the thresherman who had been in the service longest in the United States. For twenty-eight seasons he threshed for any one of a set of customers from Raccoon creek, also for a period of twenty-six years for a bunch of men in Clay county. He has used more machines than any thresherman in the United States, being now on his twelfth machine. The first machine he was with was a "groundhog," fourhorse-power chaff-piler. He was among the first to use steam power. Mr. Thomas served seven years as township trustee, though he did not care for or seek office.
On January I, 1863, Mr. Thomas married Elizabeth, daughter of George and EIiza (Gregg) Ewing, of Madison township. They came from Fleming county, Kentucky, and settled in Montgomery county, Indiana, where Mrs. Thomas was born October 5, 1842. Her parents brought her to Putnam county when she was five years old and settled in Madison township when she was eleven years old. Her father died at the age of forty-two. Her mother was left with five children, the eldest of whom, Elizabeth, was only thirteen years old. The widow kept the family together until her marriage with Isaac Thomas, a brother of Joel. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have had a large family, whose names are as follows: Henry, a traveling salesman, resident of Indianapolis; Oscar, superintendent of the Putnam county schools; J. Elmer, an attorney at Lawton, Oklahoma; Charles B., undertaker at Rosedale, Parke county, Indiana; Fred, a buggy dealer, of Greencastle; Cleveland, a teacher in Putnam county; all but Henry and Charles have been school teachers; Dora, widow of Charles Reeves, living at home, is a trained nurse. Three of the daughters reached maturity. Eliza married Charles J. Priest and died at the age of eighteen years; Leona, a teacher, married Edward Wiley and died at twenty-three years of age; Bertha, a teacher, died at the age of twenty-three.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN