James F. O'Brien is the scion of an old and well-knoll-n family, the history of which is directly traceable to Brian Boroimhe (pronounced Boni), the one hundred and seventy-fifth monarch of Ireland, who was killed in battle with the Danes at Clontarf, in the year A. D. 10l4. According to the most acceptable data at hand, the descendants of this early ancestor have been subdivided into twelve distinct and well defined branches, the subject springing from the O'Briens, king of Thomond, in county Tipperary, Ireland, where they have been represented for nearly if not quite six hundred years, and from which they have scattered to nearly every country of the civilized world. It is also a fact worthy of note that for the last two hundred years the eldest son has been named in honor of his grandfather, the custom being retained in the family of the subject, whose father and grandfather, John and James O'Brien respectively, were natives of county Tipperary, the latter a son of John O'Brien of the city of Cashel.
John O'Brien was born May 27, 1822, in Cashel, of which city his brothers, William, Edward and Thomas, were also natives, a fifth brother, James by name, having been born at a place called "The Townsland of the O'Briens," so named in compliment to the family. Owing to the limited opportunities afforded a young man in the city of his birth, John O' Brien in 1811 left Cashel and went to Dublin, and thence to Liverpool, England, and later started on an extensive tour, which included nearly every part of Europe and several countries of Asia. Desiring to see more of the world, he took a vessel for America and in November, 1848, landed at New Orleans, from which city he continued his travels until, rambling over many of the states of the Union. He finally, in 1853, visited Terre Haute, Indiana, where he met a young lady with whom he was pleased and he decided to remain awhile at that place. This acquaintance ripened into love and they were married. The bride was Anna Brereton, a native of Templemore, county Tipperary, Ireland, where her birth occurred on the 26th of December, 1830.
Shortly after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien moved to Greencastle, Indiana, where their older children were born, later transferring their residence to Washington township, Putnam county, where Mrs. O'Brien departed this life in May of the year 1867. John and Anna O'Brien were the parents of six off-springs, viz.: James F., the subject of this sketch; Edward, of Canon City, Colorado; John. Jr., who lived in Chihuahua, Mexico; Mrs. Mary A. Thacker, of Terre Haute; Sarah E., wife of William H. Cliff, of Indianapolis, and Miss Jennie O'Brien, who resides at Springfield, Ohio.
Mrs. O'Brien's father and mother, James and Mary (Ryan) Brereton, were natives of county Tipperary, Ireland, where they spent the greater part of their lives. In 1850 their sons, John and Edward, and two daughters, Annie and Kate, came to the United States and remained for awhile in New Jersey, where certain relations were then living. Anna subsequently came to Terre Haute, Indiana, where she met the gentleman who afterwards became her husband, as already stated. Some time after her death Mr. O'Brien married Rachel E. Anderson, by whom he had four sons, all of whom entered the medical profession and are now successful physicians and surgeons, William M. being located at Danville, Indiana. Thomas J. at Stilesville, Charles A. at Filmore and Bertram M. at New Winchester.
James F. O'Brien, whose name introduces this review, was born at Greencastle, Indiana, February 1, 1857, and when a small boy removed with his parents to the northeastern part of Washington township, Putnam county, where his father purchased a small farm, on which the lad spent his childhood and youth. Like the majority of country boys, his early experiences in close touch with nature in the woods and fields was without stirring incident or tragic setting, his life-from the time of being able to assume his share of the duties of the farm consisting of a round of work during the summer season, while of the winter months he attended the district school of the neighborhood. After finishing the common branches he entered an academy at Ladoga where he made commendable progress in the more advanced branches and on leaving that institution took a short course in the State Normal School at Terre Haute, where he prepared himself for teaching, which calling he followed for a number of years in his own county. While engaged in educational work he served two years as principal of the schools of Reelsville, and for two terms held a similar position at Manhattan, in the meantime taking up the study of the higher branches of mathematics, besides devoting much of his leisure to reading law, a profession for which he had long manifested a decided preference.
Mr. O'Brien became an accomplished mathematician and utilized his knowledge as such in civil engineering, at which he also acquired great proficiency and skill. In 1886 he was nominated by the Democracy of Putnam county for county surveyor, to which office he was duly elected that year, and such was his record that he was chosen his own successor by an overwhelming majority. He held the position, by successive re-elections, six terms, a longer period of service than ally other surveyor in the county and his official career is above the suspicion of reproach.
On retiring from his office, Mr. O'Brien turned his attention to engineering for various kinds of public work, such as turnpike roads, macadam roads and streets, and later engaged in contracting for the building of such highways, over fifty-five miles of which he constructed in Owen, Lawrence, Ripley, Putnam and other counties, besides doing a large and successful business in the building of concrete bridges in various parts of the state, the latter kind of work being something new at the time he took it up, and he was required to give bond for the solidity of the structure during the first two years. Although not so extensively engaged in the above lines of work as formerly, he still does a very large and satisfactory business, his knowledge of the laws governing public utilities enabling him to perceive at a glance the advantage or disadvantage of accepting or rejecting certain contracts.
Mr. O'Brien's career as a lawyer dates from his admission to the bar in 1897, since which time he has built up a lucrative clientele in Putnam county, having for the past six years held the office of deputy prosecuting attorney for Cloverdale, the duties of which he has discharged with credit to himself and the satisfaction of the public. He is a safe and reliable counsellor, and in the drawing of legal papers is careful and an error of sufficient import to justify rewriting is never found in any instrument emanating from his office.
Additional to his legal profession and business enterprise, Mr. O'Brien has important agricultural interests, owning farms in Cloverdale and Washington townships, to which he gives personal attention and from which he receives no small share of his income.
Personally he enjoys great popularity, having been a life-long resident of Putnam county, also for many years a trusted official whose duties brought him in contact with the people, his acquaintance is very extensive and his friends are as the number thereof. Mr. O'Brien is a reader and a thinker, a close observer and possessing a sound, practical mind and well balanced judgment, his advice is sought by many and his counsels have never been found unsafe or misleading. Indeed his unsupported word has the sanctity of a written obligation.
Fraternally he holds membership with the Knights of Pythias and Masonic brotherhoods, having risen to high standing in the latter, being a Knight Templar, besides having held from time to time official positions in both organizations. For twenty years he has been a member of the Indiana Society of Civil Engineers, in the deliberations of which he takes an active and influential part.
Mr. O'Brien was married in 1879 to Elizabeth Cline, daughter of Nicholas Cline, whose father, Jacob Cline, came to America a number of years ago from Germany. Lucinda Swift, wife of Nicholas Cline and mother of Mrs. O'Brien, was a daughter of Jonathan Swift, who came from Virginia to Putnam county in 1819 and was one of the first white men to settle within the present boundaries of Putnam county, camping the first night of his arrival at the big spring on what is now Spring street in the city of Greencastle, there being no houses then on the town site. Later he moved to what is now Putnamville, where he established a home and reared a large family, his descendants being among the substantial people of the county at the present time. Jonathan Swift married Catherine Byrd at Cumberlain, Kentucky, about the year 1810. The Swifts in this part of the country were lineally descended from a cousin of the noted Dean Swift and possessed many of the attributes which characterized that distinguished but unique literary genius. After marriage to Lucinda Swift, which occurred June 2, 1838, Nicholas Cline settled west of Cloverdale, where their daughter, Mrs. O'Brien, was born, she being one of a family of two daughters and seven sons, viz.: James Emory, Joe, Dr. L. C. Cline, of Indianapolis, Tillman H., Daniel L., present mayor of Medford, Oklahoma, and Almira J., who married Alonzo E. Chamberlain, of Cloverdale.
Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien have three children, Lela, the oldest, being a student in the junior year of the State Normal School at Terre Haute, and making a specialty of literature and language. Florence, the second in order of birth, married C. Bruce O'Connell, and lives at Gary, Indiana. Francis E., the youngest of the family, is a telegrapher in the employ of the Union Pacific railroad, temporarily stationed at Hermosa, Wyoming. All three are graduates from first class educational institutions and stand high in the confidence and esteem of all who know them.
"Weiks History of Putnam County Indiana" by Jesse W. Weik. 1910
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
JAMES EDWARD QUINN.
Back to the pioneer days in Putnam county, when but little of the land had been reclaimed from the wilderness through which still roamed many a wild beast, is traced the interesting life record of James Edward Quinn, who has now passed on to his reward in the mystic beyond, leaving behind him a valuable estate to his family, and, what is more to be prized, an honored name. His long life was spent for the most part in the vicinity of Bainbridge, where he accumulated a large landed estate w-hich he improved and successfully managed for years, becoming known as one of the leading agriculturists of that locality. He grew up on the farm here and was familiar with agricultural work from his early boyhood. His birth occurred in Fleming county, Kentucky, February 9, 1820, the son of John and Sarah Quinn. John Quinn was a hardy pioneer who moved to Indiana when James E. was an infant and settled in Union county, where he began life in true first-settler fashion, finally building a very comfortable home and getting possession of a good farm, which by the hardest work imaginable he reclaimed from the woods. John Quinn died in Union county after rearing thirteen children.
James E. Quinn had a very limited opportunity to secure an education, for in his youth few schools were to be found in this locality and those that were established were of the most primitive sort, and another reason was found in the fact that as soon as he became large enough he was put to work on the home farm and assisted in making the living for the family. He came to Putnam county March 1, 1846. On September 19, 1844, he married Rachael Keller, daughter of John and Sarah Keller, also early citizens of Union county. She died May 28, 1879.
To this union were born three children. Sarah B., wife of Lewis P. Leinberger, an undertaker of Bainbridge, was born October 15, 1846. They have two children, Paul, a farmer, and Glenn, postmaster of Bainbridge. John W., born March 28, 1850, died January 28, 1874. Mary Margaret, who is well known to a large circle of friends, is living near Bainbridge; she was born June 18, 1845, was reared and educated in this vicinity and on October 3, 1866, she married Frank McKee, who, after a mutually happy life together of six years, was summoned from earthly scenes on December 16, 1872. Their son, James Lee McKee, who was born November 5, 1868, received an excellent education, having attended DePauw University after passing through the common schools, and he is a member of the Phi Gamma Delta society, and is a Democrat. He is a member of the ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Lodge No. 75, Bainbridge. He is known as a man of excellent business qualifications and is very successfully managing the estate left by his father, a part of which original estate is now within the limits of the village of Bainbridge.
James Edward Quinn, after a long and eventful life, replete with honor and success, was called to his reward on September 1, 1905. All who knew him, and that included everyone in this part of the county, admired him for his kindness, pleasing address to both stranger and old acquaintance, but most of all for his clean, upright and strictly honest life which he sought to make a blessing to others while gaining material success for himself, and thus, for his many little acts of kindness and for the splendid example he set the youth of this vicinity, he will long be remembered, for those who were accustomed to behold his benign, patriarchial face and his silvery hair frosted by over fourscore winters, will readily forget him, for he was indeed a grand old man.
"Weiks History of Putnam County Indiana" by Jesse W. Weik. 1910
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
RICHARD THOMSON COLLIVER. M. D.
The Collivers were an old Kentucky family, which ramified in various directions until it had representatives in many states. They gave a good account of themselves wherever they were found as they possessed the sturdy qualities which assure success. Perhaps the connection boasted no stronger man than Samuel Colliver, who during his lifetime was engaged in active affairs and exercised a wide influence over his fellows. He was born May 10, 1818, and in the prime of life came to Putnam county, settling in Russell township. He was elected to the Legislature in 1864 and took an active and influential part in its proceedings. He early saw the necessity of good highways, was one of the first to organize a company to construct gravel roads in this part of Indiana, and was secretary of the Greencastle and Crawfordsville Gravel Road Company. He held several prominent positions and was justly regarded as "a grand old man." His death occurred March 29, 1901, and the universal remark was that Putnam county had lost one of its best citizens. His widow died August 29, 1909. He married Susan E. Thomson, member of one of the best Kentucky families, by whom he had six children, one dying in infancy. The others are Nancy F., now Mrs. Dan G. Darnall; Richard T., of Bainbridge; Samuel J., born July 16, 1850, died August 28, 1872; Presly O., born May 11, 1852, now judge of the thirteenth judicial district and a resident of Terre Haute; W. D., a farmer residing at Lafayette.
Richard Thomson Colliver, second of the children, was born in Montgomery county, Kentucky, August 24, 1848. He obtained the usual primary education and entered old Asbury University, now DePauw, where he acquired a collegiate finishing. Having early formed a resolve to become a physician, he did more or less preliminary reading in that line and eventually became a student at the Cincinnati Eclectic Medical College, from which he was graduated in 1882. Immediately afterwards he opened an office at Greenup, Illinois, where he practiced till 1890, when he removed to Roachdale where he practiced ten years. In 1902 he came to Bainbridge and has practiced his profession assiduously up to the present time. He has been a successful practitioner and ranks high in his profession. He is a Mason, being a member of Roachdale Lodge, No. 602, Free and Accepted Masons. He also belongs to the Tribe of Ben Hur and is a Democrat in politics.
September 14, 1886, Doctor Colliver married Leona Parker, daughter of Ephraim J. and Narcissa (Harget) Parker. She was born at Bainbridge. To this union have been born five children; Presley, Frances, Clare, Mildred and Jesse.
The Colliver family is of Scotch descent. Richard Colliver came to America from Scotland soon after the Revolutionary war, settling in Virginia and later removing to Kentucky. He married Mary Hollingshead, and they had two sons, Richard and Elijah. Richard settled in Montgomery county, Kentucky. He married Mary McCray by whom he had ten children. Samuel, the eighth of these, was the father of Doctor Colliver, of this review.
No other family by the name of Colliver is known in Putnam county.
"Weiks History of Putnam County Indiana" by Jesse W. Weik. 1910
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
Holding worthy prestige as a citizen and standing in the front rank of Putnam county's successful agriculturists, the subject of this review is deserving of mention among the representative men of his township and it is with much satisfaction that the following brief outline of his career is herewith presented.
The Boswell family in this country were among the early colonists of Virginia and in various parts of the Old Dominion state the name is still a familiar one. John Boswell, the subject's grandfather, a Virginian by birth, was reared in the county of Botetourt and there married Catherine Peffley, whose antecedents were also old residents and well-to-do planters. Some time in the early forties this couple moved to Clark county, Ohio, and later came to Putnam county, settling on the west fork of Walnut creek in Madison township where Mr. Boswell built a saw-mill which received its motive power from the creek. His sons, Jacob, Daniel, John and Samuel, came about the same time and settled near by, also a daughter, Mrs. William Richardson, all of whom became well known residents and were greatly esteemed by their neighbors and friends.
John Boswell, senior, developed a good farm and spent the remainder of his life in Putnam county, losing his sight and living with his son John for some years previous to his death, which occurred in his eighty-first year, his wife preceding him to the grave.
Jacob Boswell was born in Clark county, Ohio, January 27, 1818, and was a young man when his parents moved to Indiana. He early turned his attention to agricultural pursuits and in due time located on a farm in Washington township, where he remained a few years, removing thence to Clinton township, where he lived until some time in the fifties, when he purchased the farm in Madison township on which the remainder of his days were spent, dying there on the 12th of August, 1886, at the age of sixty-eight. In connection with tilling the soil he did considerable carpentry work in his neighborhood and was esteemed a very proficient mechanic. He was an enterprising, industrious man and an excellent citizen, devout Christian, having long been a member of the church of Brethren near his place of residence. Sarah Darting, whom Jacob Boswell married in Clay county, Indiana, departed this life at the home farm in Madison township on the 5th day of May, 1895. She bore her husband ten children, namely: George a carpenter, who was murdered some years ago in Madison township; Catherine married William Moss, and moved to Illinois, her husband dying later in the state of Arkansas. She subsequently returned to Indiana, where her death afterwards occurred. John Henry, the third of the family, moved to Illinois in 1869, thence to Missouri and Arkansas and is now living in Texas. David, the fourth of the family, is a prosperous farmer of Madison township. William, the subject of this sketch, is the next younger. Zimiri lives in Madison township, also Mary, now Mrs. Samuel Wells. Elizabeth married Robert Gardner, a Madison township farmer. Susannah is the wife of Newton Harlan, who died in young womanhood, sometime after becoming the wife of Robert Gardner, who after her death married her older sister Elizabeth, as stated above.
William Boswell, of this review, was born June 4, 1853, on the family homestead in Madison township and remained under the parental roof until about twenty-three years of age, receiving in the meantime a fair education in the public schools. On August 23, 1876, he entered the marriage relation with Nica Jane Wells, daughter of Peter Wells, of Putnam county, and immediately thereafter began farming for himself on the old Boswell homestead, where he lived until the death of his wife, four years later. Mrs. Boswell was only twenty-one years old when summoned to the Great Beyond, and her loss was greatly deplored by all who knew her. She left beside her husband one son, Ora A., a railway employe at Greencastle, a daughter, Minnie May, dying in infancy.
Mr. Boswell's second marriage was solemnized on September 23, 1881, with Lucy Wells, daughter of Joseph and Delilah (Love) Wells and a half sister of Peter Wells, the father of his first wife. Joseph Wells was a native of North Carolina, where he married in young manhood a Miss Stoner, whose death occurred some years later at Crab Orchard, Kentucky. Subsequently Mr. Wells moved to Putnam county, Indiana, and purchased a tract of land which in due time he cleared and converted into a fine farm. He was quite a successful man, owning at one time three hundred sixty acres of valuable land, two hundred and forty in his home farm and one hundred and twenty in the same locality, which he subsequently sold. He died in March, 1884, at the advanced age of ninety-one years, being the oldest member of the Christian Chapel church when called to his reward. Mr. Wells was one of the influential men of the community and stood high in the confidence of his fellow citizens, both locally and throughout the county. He gave unyielding support to the Democratic party and was tenacious in the support of his opinions. A sincere Christian, he exemplified his faith in his every-day life and as a profound student of the Bible he was long an authority on scriptural subjects, also on church history and general religious matters, concerning which he was frequently consulted. Mr. Boswell's third wife was Delilah Wells, to which union were born two children, the first being Mary, who married David Bennett and spent her entire life on her father's farm, dying there September 29, 1900, leaving two sons and one daughter, Joseph, Gerald and Alta, now Mrs. Charles W. Keyt, of Clinton township. The second child being Lucy, wife of William Boswell, subject of this sketch.
Mr. Boswell now resides in Madison township and has given his entire attention to agriculture and stock raising, in both of which his success has been very gratifying. His home farm of one hundred and twenty acres is under a high state of cu1tivation.and otherwise well improved, in addition to which he owns another farm of one hundred and sixty acres, a half mile distant, the latter also being successfully tilled and containing good buildings and other improvements. Mr. Boswell operates both farms and tills the soil on quite an extensive scale. He also breeds and raises high-grade stock, his cattle, horses and hogs being among the best in his section of the country. In politics he is a Democrat; he keeps in touch with the times on all matters of public interest, lends his influence to all laudable enterprises and stands high in the community. Although connected with no religious organization, he is strictly moral and upright in his dealings and a regular attendant of and liberal contributor to the Brethren church, with which his wife holds membership.
Mr. and Mrs. Boswell have six children, namely: Alva T., who lives with her parents; Anna M., wife of F. H. Alspaugh, of Oklahoma; Mary D., who married Wallace Morris, of Greencastle; Herbert D., Homer Vilas and J. Lee, the last three still at home.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
WELLMAN D. CONN, M.D.
Professional success results from merit. Frequently in commercial life one may come into possession of a lucrative business through inheritance or gift, but in what are known as the learned professions advancement is gained only through painstaking and long continued effort. Prestige in the healing art is the outcome of strong mentality, close application, thorough mastery of its great underlying principles and the ability to apply theory to practice in the treatment of diseases. These qualities seem to be possessed by Wellman D. Conn, one of the best known physicians in Putnam county, who, for many years, has maintained his office at Bainbridge, Monroe township.
Doctor Conn comes of an excellent pioneer ancestry, the types that have made the great Hoosier commonwealth what she is today, one of the brightest states in the Union's great constellation. His birth occurred in Wabash county, Indiana, February 9, 1861, the son of Thomas P. and Harriet K. (Julian) Conn, who were long known as substantial farmers of Wabash county.
The Doctor attended school in Cass county, this state, later taking a course at Valparaiso College, from which institution he was graduated with honors in 1883. He began life as a school teacher and prosecuted this line of Work with much success for a period of eight years in Cass county, his services being in great demand, and he bid fair to become one of the noted educators of the state when he abandoned this line of work and took up the study of medicine, which had been a desire of long standing with him-in fact, since early boyhood he had been ambitious to enter the medical profession. With this end in view he entered the Louisville Medical College, from which he was graduated in the year 1893. Thus well equipped for his work he began practice in Clark county, Indiana, practicing there for a period of five years. He was very successful from the first and enjoyed a liberal patronage, but, seeking a broader field for the exercise of his talents, in 1898 he moved to Bainbridge, Putnam county, where he has since remained, building up a large and growing practice and establishing a lasting reputation not only as a conscientious and skilled physician, but also as a man of genuine worth and integrity.
Fraternally he is a member of Lodge No. 75, Free and Accepted Masons, the Bainbridge Lodge of Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights of Pythias, Jennings Lodge, No. 418, Tribe of Ben Hur. He also belongs to the Clark County and Indiana State Medical Societies. He takes an abiding interest in all these organizations and his influence is felt for good in all of them. Politically he is a Democrat, but he is too busy with professional duties to take much part in party affairs; however, his support can always be depended upon in the furtherance of any movement looking to the general good of the county.
Doctor Conn was married on May 36, 1895, to Nora Inez Enloe, a native of Clark county, Indiana, where she was reared and educated and where her people were long well and favorably known. One child was born to this union, Jesse Enloe, his birth occurring on May 11, 1900, and death claimed him on December 30, 1904.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
EDWARD McG. WALLS.
Few of the early pioneers reached Putnam county before Clinton Walls, who removed from his native town of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and arrived in Indiana in 1826. He was born July 15, 1806, learned the carpenter's trade in early life and followed it for many years, his death occurring at Greencastle in 1880. He first married Cynthia Burton and after her death espoused Elizabeth Brown, of Kentucky, by whom he had eight children: Samuel Scott, of Parsons, Kansas; Ransom H., deceased; Jeanette C., wife of W. J. Johnson, of Miram Park, Minnesota; Maggie B., wife of Albert Torr, of Joplin, Missouri; Orlando M., deceased; Melvin M., of Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis; B. F., of Parsons, Kansas.
Edward McG. Walls, second of the family, was born at Limedale, Putnam county, Indiana, January 19, 1855. He remained on his father's farm until sixteen years old, when he secured employment in the office of the railroad station and continued in this line of work until 1899. Part of the time he was with the Monon railroad at Limedale and after leaving the railroad service he became bookkeeper for the Central National Bank, of Greencastle, remaining with that institution for five years. In 1904 he was elected county treasurer on the Democratic ticket and made such a good record that he was re-elected in 1906. Since retiring from this office he has become assistant cashier of the First National Bank of Greencastle, of which he is a stockholder. He is a grandson of John Walls, a native of Winchester, Virginia, who enlisted as a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and served throughout the seven years of that immortal struggle in such a way as to leave a record of which his descendants are justly proud. After the close of hostilities he came west and died at Greencastle in 1836. His son Clinton was a worthy descendant of this Revolutionary sire and his popularity is attested by the fact that the people elected him county recorder, in which office he served for eight years. He and his wife were members of the Christian church.
On June 1, 1880, Edward McG. Walls was married to Martha E. Staley, a native of Frederick, Maryland. They have had three children: Elizabeth V., Lela E., and Edna S., deceased. Mr. Walls belongs to the Christian church, his wife is an Episcopalian and the daughters are Presbyterians. Mr. Walls is a deacon and trustee of his church and is a member of the Masonic order, in which he is a Knight Templar, and to the Red Men. He is a good business man and enjoys general public confidence.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
CHARLES T. PECK.
Indiana was little more than a wilderness when William Baker Peck joined the adventurous band that was seeking homes in the Northwest Territory. Born in Fleming county, Kentucky, in January, 1801, he crossed the Ohio in the early twenties and made his way to Putnam county, Indiana, in which he was among the first arrivals. He entered wild land and spent his early manhood in the hard task of clearing and getting it in shape for agricultural purposes. He married Margarette Stevenson, a member of one of the pioneer families, whose scions became quite prominent and influential in the early development of Putnam county. Doctor Stevenson, one of her brothers, was noted as a physician throughout western Indiana and Benjamin Stevenson, another brother, was a well known minister. William Baker and Margarette (Stevenson) Peck had ten children and the father survived until July, 1886. Thomas Virgil Peck, one of his elder sons, was born December 16, 1833, in Greencastle township, Putnam county, Indiana, and died ,April 4, 1908. He was a farmer and most of his life followed that occupation, although in his early manhood he was engaged in merchandising at Greencastle under the firm name of Stevenson & Peck. He married Mary Ruth Osborn, who was born in Bowling Green, Clay county, Indiana, October 15, 1846, and is still living. Thomas Virgil and Mary Ruth (Osbrn) Peck had four children: Frank Everett, the eldest, who lives on the home farm, was born April 3, 1867; Emily, the third child, was born October 24, 1872, married Ed. Bicknell, a hardware merchant of Greencastle, and has three children; William Baker, who was born October 25, 1876, is a resident of Greencastle, and is engaged in the real estate business.
Charles Thaddeus Peck, second of the above list of children, was born in Greencastle township, Putnam county, Indiana, December 16, 1868. He grew to manhood on the paternal farm with the usual experiences that fell to country boys of his period, and remained with the home folk until he had completed his twenty-first year. The farm was close to Greencastle and he had the benefit of the city schools. Later he entered DePauw University and went through the sophomore year, after which he taught school for three years and having for some time made up his mind to become a lawyer he availed himself of the first opportunity to begin his studies. For this purpose he entered the office of Hon. Silas A. Hays, where he spent four years in diligent application to the intricacies of this learned profession, after which he felt prepared to face the difficulties involved in the active practice. In November, 1897, he opened an office in Greencastle with Francis M. Lyon, which partnership has since continued. Mr. Peck has achieved success both in law and politics, besides establishing himself as one of the leading citizens of Putnam county. Having been an active Republican from his early manhood, he has been honored by his party as a leader and wise counselor. For some time he served as chairman of the Republican county central committee, was elected city attorney and held that office for six years or more. Mr. Peck is treasurer and trustee of the Greencastle Orphans' Home, of which Mary L. Allison, now living in her ninety-third year, was the founder and liberal endower. Mr. Peck is a member of the Knights of Pythias and Gentlemen's Literary Club and quite popular in the social circles of the city.
On June 12, 1902, Mr. Peck married Stella, daughter of Edward Perkins, a farmer of Putnam county. She is a native of the county and descended from one of the first families who settled in this part of the state. Her ancestors came here about 1830 and their descendants have occupied places of influence in all the walks of life, being important factors in the development, growth and progress of the fine agricultural section of which Putnam county is a part. Mrs. Peck was a graduate of DePauw University, class of 1895, and a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma fraternity.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
The general public has ever taken pleasure in tracing the history of a man who, starting upon life's career handicapped in many ways, has pushed forward, regardless of obstacles, and finally reached the goal of success set before him. The career of the widely known citizen whose name appears above affords an impressive example of what energy, directed and controlled by correct principles, can accomplish in overcoming an unfavorable environment and lifting its possessor from a comparatively humble origin to a position of usefulness and affluence. Mr. Hirt is too well known in Greencastle and throughout Putnam county to need an elaborate formal introduction to the people of either city or county. Eminently a self-made man, honestly earning every dollar in his possession, he ranks kith the most enterprising and successful of his compeers and has won a place among the representative men of his county.
Alfred Hirt was born in Biel, canton Berne, Sivitzerland, and is a son of Louis F. and Margaret Hirt. The latter died in Switzerland in 1843 and Mr. Hirt again married and emigrated to the United States when the subject of this sketch was eleven years old. They located at Brazil, Trumbull county, Ohio, where the father was employed as a farm hand. Owing to the straitened financial circumstances of the family, young Alfred was not enabled to attend the public schools, but took employment as a waterboy on a railroad, at which employment he remained a year. At the end of that time he went to Canal Dover, Ohio, and during the following six years he was employed by various men as a farm hand, for which work he received ten dollars per month. While so employed he was taken seriously ill and, his parents being too poor to give him proper attention, he was compelled to go to the county poor house, where he remained until he had recovered. He was ambitious to improve his condition as a wage earner and to this end determined to learn a trade, becoming a carpenter's apprentice. He was engaged at this work two years, receiving the first year the magnificent salary of twenty-five dollars, and the second year thirty-five dollars.
Though not a native of this country, Mr. Hirt's patriotic sentiment was aroused at the outbreak of the Southern rebellion and on November 17, 1861, he enlisted in the Fifty-first Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and at once proceeded to the scene of conflict. The regiment first went to Wellsville, thence down the Ohio river to Cincinnati, where they joined the Northern army. Mr. Hirt sawthree and a half years of hard and unremitting service in the defense of his adopted country and took part in a number of the most hotly contested battles of the war, including, among others, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Chickamauga and Resaca, besides many skirmishes. Though exposed many times to the galling fire of the enemy Mr. Hirt escaped without injury, and his faithful service was recognized and rewarded by his promotion to the rank of corporal.
After receiving an honorable discharge from the military service, Mr. Hirt went to Clay county, Indiana, where his parents had located,, and there followed his trade as a carpenter. About the same time he commenced trading in staves, in which line of effort he soon met with success. Buying the lumber, he himself hewed out the staves, which he sold by contract to John Puff, a manufacturer of staves. This arrangement continued until 1876, when Mr. Hirt acquired control of the stave business there, which he thereafter conducted under his own name. Under his direction and shrewd management the business rapidly assumed large proportions, the factory employing between fifty and one hundred hands. The business increased rapidly and eventually Mr. Hirt became the principal source of supply for the Eastern stave market and even as far west as Omaha. He also commanded a large export business, sending his products to the markets of Germany, France, Switzerland, England, Scotland and Belgium, he eventually becoming known as the largest dealer in staves in this country. His product was always in demand particularly because of its superior quality and among the noted contracts filled by him was in 1886, when he made the staves for the largest cask ever made, the completed cost of which was sixty thousand dollars. The staves were made from Mississippi white oak, were thirty feet in length and cost twenty-five dollars each, the entire shipment amounting to seven carloads. The completed cask was from twenty-eight to thirty-three feet in diameter and was made for Adolph Fruensholz & Company, of Nancy, France. The cask was on exhibition at the Paris Exposition and it is stated that one hundred and forty men, of whom Mr. Hilt was one, dined at one time inside it.
In 1877 Mr. Hirt came to Putnam county and bought land in Madison township, still continuing the stave business, in which he had met with such pronounced success. Shortly afterwards he was elected president of the Central National Bank of Greencastle, which position he retained during the following three years, at the end of which time he retired from his bank to continue the stave business until 1903, when he accepted the presidency of the First National Bank of Greencastle, of which he has since remained the executive head and in the stock of which he has acquired a controlling interest. In 1903 Mr. Hirt disposed of his interests in the stave business and has since devoted his attention to his banking and landed interests. The latter holdings are extensive, comprising two hundred and forty acres of Indiana farm land, over two thousand acres of timber land in the Yazoo district, Mississippi, and heavy interests in Mexican mines. The First National Bank of Greencastle is numbered among the solid and influential monetary institutions of central Indiana, much of its success being ascribed to the sound, conservative and judicious management of its president.
Politically, Mr. Hirt is a stanch advocate of Republican principles, and he has taken an intelligent interest in public affairs, but he has never been in any sense an office seeker. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order, having taken all the degrees of the York rite and those of the Scottish rite up to and including the thirty-second, also belonging to the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He has also been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for forty-six years and has held all the chairs in the subordinate lodge. He is also a member of Lodge No. 1077, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. His religious creed is that of the Presbyterian church, of which he is an earnest and liberal supporter, belonging to the society at Greencastle.
In the largest sense of the word, Mr. Hirt has been successful, having not only gained pecuniary independence, but, what is of greater value, the confidence and esteem of the community in which he lives. He has at all times given his support to every movement having for its object the upbuilding and development of the city and county and his advice is sought frequently in business circles. Many young men are indebted to Mr. Hirt for good advice in their private and business affairs and not a few have been materially assisted in getting a start. A man of genial disposition and easily approached, Mr. Hirt enjoys a large acquaintance, among whom are many warm personal friends.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
JOHN C. BROWNING.
Specific mention is made of many of the worthy citizens of Putnam county within the pages of this book, citizens who have figured in the growth and development of this favored section of the great Hoosier commonwealth, and whose interests are identified with its every phase of progress, each contributing in his sphere of action to the well being of the community in which he resides and to the advancement of its normal and legitimate. Among this number is John C. Browning, well-known contractor and business man, peculiar interest attaching to his career from the fact that his entire useful and busy life has been spent within the borders of this county, whose interests he has ever had at heart and sought to foster while laboring to advance his own. He is therefore held in high regard by all classes.
Mr. Browning was born within one mile of Greencastle, October 16, 1856. His father, Isaac Browning, born in Kentucky, was one of the early settlers here, having come from the Blue Grass state when he was twelve years of age, and located on a farm near Greencastle, where he developed a good place and lived the remainder of his life, dying September 18, 1907. He devoted his life to farming and was very successful. He came here with his mother, his father having died in Kentucky. The mother was known in her maidenhood as Amanda Steers, and she was a native of Putnam county, Indiana. Her death occurred thirty years ago. There were seven children in this family, namely: Hannah, who married F. A. Hays, is deceased; Harriet died when nineteen years of age; William A. lives in Kansas; John C., of this review; George F. lives on the old homestead; Scott lives near Greencastle; Sarah Belke died when twenty years of age. The Browning family lived in Kentucky for several generations and were leaders in various walks of life there. The maternal great-grandmother came to America from Ireland, where she was born.
John C. Browning was born on the parental farm, where he lived until seventeen years of age. He was educated in the public schools and at DePauw University. He was ambitious to launch out in the business world, and at the age mentioned above he came to Greencastle and began learning the mercantile business, clerking in a store for a short time, then, about 1880, engaged in the general mercantile business with F. A. Hays. This partnership existed for four or five years, then Mr. Browning bought the entire stock and managed the business alone for two years. He was building up an excellent patronage and making money when, owing to ill health, he sold out and engaged in the butcher business for a period of five years. This business was not new to him, for he had maintained a butcher shop all the time he was in the mercantile business. Mr. Browning next turned his attention to general contracting and building, which he has followed with his usual success for a number of years, from time to time, and during the past two years he has followed farming and contracting exclusively. He has erected many substantial and attractive buildings as a monument to his skill and desire to please his patrons, even trying to do more than he agrees to at the outset, consequently he has become one of the most popular contractors in Greencastle. He takes particular pains to see that every detail of his work is correctly performed, the best material used and the most skilled workmen employed. He built the Locust street church, the school house at Putnamville and many fine residences.
Mr. Browning was married first on September 22, 1880, to Mary O. Hays, who was born in Woostertown, Scott county, Indiana. Her death occurred in 1895, the union being without issue. Mr. Browning's second marriage was to Mary Ina Moore, on August 1, 1898, a woman of pleasing personality and the daughter of an excellent family. To this union two children were born, the first dying in infancy. Isaac M. was born on April 17, 1900.
Mr. Browning is a stockholder and the president of the Greencastle Wood Manufacturing Company. He also owns a fine farm in Greencastle township. He has been very successful from a financial standpoint and is one of the substantial men of the county. Politically he is a Republican, and was at one time councilman from the third ward for a period of four years, during which time he rendered very faithful and praiseworthy service to his constituents. Fraternally he is a member of Putnam Lodge, No. 45, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he and Mrs. Browning are members of the Methodist church. They have a beautiful and nicely furnished home which is frequently the gathering place for their numerous friends.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN
MAJOR HIGGINS LANE.
The eminently worthy career of such a man as Major Higgins Lane is worthy of conspicuous mention in such a work as the one at hand, for many valuable lessons could be gleaned therefrom by the youth whose destinies are yet matters for the future to determine. He was born in Montgomery county, Kentucky, July 9, 1812, the youngest son of Col. James H. and Mary (Higgins) Lane. His parents on both sides were of English descent, the first Lanes who came to this country having settled in Loudoun county, Virginia, and the Higgins family in Fairfax county, Virginia, at the beginning of the eighteenth century. The land on which the Lanes located was the arena of the battle of Bull Run. At the close of the eighteenth century Col. James H. Lane moved to Kentucky and erected the first log cabin constructed in Montgomery county. As a pioneer he had many encounters with the Indians. It was in this humble cabin that his son Higgins first saw the light of day, and it was from there, among the green hills of his childhood, that he received the simple rudiments of education, common to this early day. In the spring of 1837 he came to Putnam county, Indiana, and, pioneer fashion, began establishing a home on unimproved land, having purchased one hundred and sixty acres in section 11, Monroe township. Returning to Kentucky, he was married on August 8, 1837, to Angeline L. Thompson, second daughter of Lloyd and Elizabeth (Jameson) Thompson. Mrs. Lane was a lineal descendant with George Washington, her great-grandmother on her mother's side being Judith Ball, first cousin to Mary Ball, Washington's mother. Mrs. Lane was a woman of strong character and unusual mental poise, considerate, affectionate and kind-hearted. Her death occurred at her home in Bainbridge, October 3, 1881, in her sixty-fourth year. To these parents were born ten children, four in Kentucky and six in Indiana; three died in infancy and two in early childhood, three after reaching the age of maturity, namely: Mary E., who was born in Kentucky on December 13, 1841, died November 1, 1870; Carrie L., who married Eld. J. H. Banserman, was born in Kentucky on February 5, 1844, married September 8, 1867, died May 1, 1877. The only remaining children are Elder Oscar F. Lane, of Bainbridge, born May 5, 1848 (a full sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work), and Elder Edwin T. Lane, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who was born February 7, 1851.
The bitterly hard times caused by the low tariff bill of 1837 and the repeal of the United States banking law caused the Lane family to postpone coming to their land in Indiana until the spring of 1844. In order to make a second payment on his land, Mr. Lane borrowed money at sixteen and two-thirds per cent interest. Three years after purchasing his Indiana land he could have bought the same kind of land for four dollars and fifty cents per acre, just one-half the price paid for it in 1837, land values having greatly depreciated in the meantime. Their first dwelling in Putnam county was a log house, costing ten dollars, including the clearing of two acres of ground. When Higgins Lane located here he became actively identified with the civil, religious and educational interests of the state of his adoption, and he never lost an opportunity to further the interests of Putnam county. He identified himself with the Somerset Church of Christ, in Montgomery county, Kentucky, in April, 1837. Convinced under the preaching of Alexander Campbell, that Jesus is the Christ, Mr. Lane was immersed on confession of his faith by Elder John Smith. As soon as he established his home in Indiana he identified himself with the Somerset church, four miles from his home, and he was soon made an elder of that congregation, serving in this capacity for fifteen years. In 1860, securing the help of Elder John Smith, of Kentucky, and Elder O. P. Badger, of Greencastle, a Church of Christ was established at Bainbridge. The present house of worship of this congregation was the result of his gifts of time and means, all the lumber used in its construction coming from his farm. He served this congregation as elder for a period of over fifteen years. The confidence of his brethren in his judgment and sense of right was such that he was often called upon to adjust church difficulties in Putnam and adjoining counties. He was liberal almost to a fault; he not only freely responded to all calls at home, but for missionary work abroad as well, having been a life member of the American Home Missionary Society of the Christian church. He was an earnest advocate of education, and among the many good acts of his useful life may be mentioned the aid he rendered in securing the charter for the Northwestern Christian (now Butler) University, at Indianapolis, through the Legislature of 1849 and 1850, of which he was a member. This university was the first in Indiana to open its doors for the coeducation of the sexes. Mr. Lane was a member of its board of directors for twenty years and he assisted very liberally in its endowment. He was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Greencastle. In 1872, in connection with D. T. Thornton, P. S. Ward, Thomas Bayne and John Wilkinson, he organized the Bainbridge Bank and was made its president.
During the Mexican war, Mr. Lane was elected major of a militia regiment organized in Putnam county, of which George Piercy was colonel and James Fisk lieutenant-colonel. Politically he was first a Whig, as were his father and grandfather, and he was an emancipationist, having always had great sympathy for the oppressed. He allied himself with the Republican party upon its organization and maintained his allegiance to it until his death. He was a nephew of Daniel Lane, the first secretary of state of Indiana, and he was a second cousin of Gen. Joseph Lane, who commanded the Indiana troops during the Mexican war and who was made first governor of Oregon and then United States senator, and who, in 1860, was a candidate for the vice-presidency. Major Higgins Lane was a third cousin to Gen. James H. Lane, lieutenant-governor of Indiana from 1849 to 1853, then leader in the struggle of the Kansas settlers against the Missouri slave holders, and he was the first United States senator from Kansas. He was a brother of Henry S. Lane, one of the organizers of the Republican party and chairman of its first national convention held in Philadelphia in 1856, that nominated Gen. John C. Fremont for President. He was the first Republican governor of Indiana and the state's first Republican United States senator, and he was recognized as one of the foremost political orators of his day. At all times Higgins took an active interest in political issues, but he had no ambition for personal preferment or political office, yet, as a sense of duty, he yielded to the unanimous call of his party and was three times a representative of Putnam county in our state Assembly, each time overcoming a majority against him. As a speaker he made no attempts at rhetorical flights or ornateness, but he possessed rare native ability, was logical, argumentative, practical, impetuous and intensely earnest. He rarely ever failed to carry his point. He despised sham and hypocrisy, and held tenaciously to what he believed to he right. His life was clean and open, and those who came into contact with him at once had confidence and faith in him. He was an uncompromising temperance man, having taken the temperance pledge at the age of fifteen years, which he kept until his death. He was not only an ardent temperance advocate, but he did what he could to abolish the liquor traffic. His views against the use of tobacco were as radical as were those against the use of intoxicants. His nature was positive; he was born to be a leader of men; he could not be neutral on any subject involving the interests of his fellow men. His heart was tender towards those deserving sympathy and his hand was ever open to help the distressed and needy. In social circles he displayed rare qualities, both agreeable and instructive, but he never indulged in jest or foolish things. The memory of such men - good and true - is humanity's best heritage.
The summons came to this worthy character, public-spirited citizen, generous neighbor and Christian gentleman at his home in Bainbridge, March 4, 1877, and his body is sleeping the sleep of the just in the family cemetery on the farm where he lived for twenty-eight years.
B.F. Bowen & Co., Publishers, Indianapolis IN