D.J. BENNETT, a well-to-do and enterprising citizen of Grass Township, was born on the 2nd day of August, 1843, his parents both being natives of Ohio. Raised on a farm to years of maturity, he secured a limited education from the surrounding district schools, and at the age of twenty years began life’s battle on his own responsibility. In 1865 the second important event in his life occurred, being his marriage with Catharine Allen, an estimable and highly respected lady, by whom he is the father of a family of eight children, whose names are as follows, beginning with the eldest: George W.S., Henry Harrison, Phebe Jane, Joh F., Edward A., Stephen, Charles Clinton and Catharine. Mr. Bennett has pssed the greater portion of his life thus far engaged in agricultural pursuits,
and although he is not extremely wealthy in this world’s goods, he has a comfortable and happy home, which has been secured entirely by himself and wife, and what is far more desirable and commendable, an honored name and unblemished reputation. He is a Democrat in politics, a good neighbor, and always extends a helping hand to laudable public enterprises.
"History of Warrick, Spencer and Perry Counties, Indiana - Grass Township" by Goodspeed Bros. & Co. - published in 1885
JOHN B. CHRISNEY, born August 13, 1841, in Alsace, France, is the oldest son, and the oldest but one in a family of six children born to Pharaoh and Margaret )Putts) Chrisney, who were natives respectively of Alsace and Strasburgh, Germany, the latter place at the time of the mother’s birth being in France. The parents were industrious, law-abiding citizens, but believing that the United States afforded a much better living for poor people, and firmly believing in the principals that led to the founding of this Government, they determined to make it their future home. Accordingly, March 1, 1847, they left France, and shipping on board a sailing vessel at Havre de Grace, bound for New York, set forth. They encountered many adverse storms, and were driven from their course many miles,
but with numerous other discouraging features succeeded in landing at their destination in safety, after an eventful voyage of fifty-six days. From New York they went as far as Buffalo, when their means were exhausted, and they remained at that place two years, while the father supported the family, and saved some money by woodchopping. Two years later they again started westward, this time getting as far as Floyd County, Ind., before their money again ran out. Two years later they removed to Crawford County, Ind., and entering land from the Government, engaged in clearing and farming. The father passed the remainder of his life on the farm he selected, but his widow is yet living, and resides in this county. John B. Chrisney, the immediate subject of this sketch, was reared by his
parents to manhood, receiving only a limited education in youth, which has been greatly increased in the later years by desultory reading and personal observation. At eighteen years of age he started out to do for himself, and November 3, 1859, was united in marriage with Miss Mary Fella, by whom he is the father of seven children: Joseph C., John P., Louisa M. (deceased), Martha C., Francis W., Thomas E. and Mary S. The mother was born at New Albany, Ind., April 11, 1841, a daughter of Casper Fella, who was a native of Germany. Mr. Chrisney began life’s battle a poor boy, buying 160 acres of land for $1,500, and giving a mortgage for the entire amount. By the closest economy and hard work, early and late, he was enabled, with his wife’s valuable aid, to clear his property of incumbrance,
and thus his first home was obtained. In December, 1864, he sold his farm, and in 1865 removed to Spencer County, and purchased a tract of land, where he now resides. He here farmed, dealt extensively in tobacco and produce, and to a great extent has ever since continued that business. The railroad being built directly through his farm the winter of 1871-72, he succeeded in having a station made, a postoffice established, streets to be laid out, stores to be started, and various industries established. In 1882 the name of the town was changed from Spring Station to Chrisney in his honor, and to-day it is one of the most thrifty and enterprising little villages in the country. Mr. Chrisney owns valuable property in the town, including a fine residence, hotel and store, and 200 acres of
excellent land adjoining the place, and 100 acres elsewhere. This is a brief history of John B. Chrisney, to which can be justly added that he is a self-made man, a leading citizen of the county, a Democrat in politics, and a man well known and highly esteemed throughout the entire county.
"History of Warrick, Spencer and Perry Counties, Indiana - Grass Township" by Goodspeed Bros. & Co. - published in 1885
JOSEPH C. CHRISNEY, son of John B. Chrisney, appropriate mention of whom precedes this, was born August 13, 1860, in Crawford County, Ind., but was raised mostly in Spencer County. After receiving a good education in youth, he attended the Evansville Commercial College the winter of 1878-79, and completed a thorough course of instruction. Returning to the village of Chrisney, he assisted his father a short time, and then was employed by the L.E. & St. L. Railway Company as agent, and also served as telegraph operator and express agent. Mr. Chrisney is a young man of more than ordinary business ability, is enterprising, industrious, a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Catholic Church. May 22, 1883, he united in marriage with Lena Kramer, who was born in Spencer County, Ind., January 1,
1861, a daughter of John H. Kramer. One son, Roy John, born October 25, 1884, has blessed their union.
"History of Warrick, Spencer and Perry Counties, Indiana - Grass Township" by Goodspeed Bros. & Co. - published in 1885
WILLIAM DAVIS, farmer and stock-raiser, was born January 25, 1828, in Hamilton County, Ohio, being the eldest of nine children born to David and Mary (Coon) Davis, who were natives of the same county as our subject. In 1838 the family removed to Spencer County, Ind., settling in Grass Township, where they endured many of the hardships and inconveniences of pioneer life. Wild game was abundant, and it was no uncommon occurrence in those days for some one of the family to open the door in the morning and with the ever ready gun, shoot a derr from the doorstep, thus having fresh venison for breakfast. William remained at home with his parents until twenty-two years of age, receiving only such education as the primitive time afforded. November 15, 1849, he married Dorcas, daughter of Charles McIntire,
one of the earliest settlers of Spencer County, and farming has always been his occupation. He resides on the old homestead, and is the owner of 140 acres of well-improved land. Mr. and Mrs. Davis are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are among the township’s best citizens. Mr. Davis is a stanch Democrat in politics. Annually he takes a hunting excursion to Arkansas, and has there become the hero of numerous exploits, and has had several narrow escapes from serious disaster.
JOSEPH M. FELLA, retail liquor dealer in Chrisney, was born March 25, 1856, in Crawford County, Ind., the third in a family of seven children born to John C. and Mary C. (Mathey) Fella, who were natives respectively of Germany and France. He ramined with his parents on the home farm until attaining his majority, and since 1880 has resided in Chrisney engaged in the retail liquor trade. He has been reasonably successful in this occupation, and has many warm friends. He is a stanch Democrat in politics, and a member of the Roman Catholic Church. His father, John C. Fella, immigrated to this country about forty years ago, and followed agricultural pursuits. He died January 2, 1864, Mrs. Fella suviving him, resides in Harrison County this State.
GEORGE FOURTHMAN, a native of Germany and one of the well-known farmers of Grass Township, was born September 29, 1813. To his parents, Casper and Margaret (Wicklin) Fourthman, there were twelve children born, and the father supported his family by engaging in the baker and brewer trades. The subject of our sketch being the eldest of the children assisted his father at his business until twenty-four years of age, also securing a fair education. In May, 1838, in company with a sister and her husband, he immigrated to the United States, landing at New York and for several months succeeding his arrival he resided at Hagerstown, Md. From there he moved to Pennsylvania, making his home in Franklin County until 1871, when he came to Spencer County, Ind., which has since been his home. In Pennsylvania Mr.
Fourthman was engaged in the brewery business, but since coming to this county he has farmed successfully, now owning 120 acres of good land. He is enterprising, energetic, a prominent Democrat in politics and has officiated in various local positions of honor and trust with credit. In 1840 Susan Peters became his wife and by him the mother of six children as follows: John, Sarah, Dena, George, Maggie and Barbara. The mother dying, the husband and father wedded Elizabeth (Haas) Andeis in March, 1872, and both are members of the Lutheran Church.
GEORGE FRESHLEY, a resident of Grass Township, is a native of Wittenberg, Germany, born November 21, 1845, the fourth in a family of twelve children born to Jacob F. and Catharine (Weidnier) Freshley, who were also natives of Germany. In the year 1851, when George was but six years old, his parents started for America and first landed at New York, from whence they went to Cincinnati, Ohio, and settled near that city, where they lived nine years, and then came to Spencer County, Ind., where they have since resided. The father died February 12, 1866. George was raised on the farm, receiving a limited education and assisting his mother until thirty years old. November 7, 1875, his marriage with Margaret Kebortz was solemnized, and their union has been fruitful in the birth of four children: William, Anna,
George and Lewis, aged respectively nine, seven, four, two years. Mr. Freshley has made farming his occupation through life and owns fifty-nine acres of land, well-improved. He is a Democrat in politics but is liberal in his views, preferring to vote from principle rather than from party, and he and his wife belong to the Albright Church.
JOSIAH GASTON, a native of Butler County, Ohio, was born July 19, 1830, the third in a family of eight children, born to Samuel and Susan (Bowman) Gaston, who were natives respectively of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Josiah was raised on the farm and assisted his mother (his father having died, when he was but seven years of age) on the farm until he was sixteen, receiving such education as the facilities of his day and surroundings afforded. November 21, 1855, his marriage with Martha Sampson was solemnized, and to their union three children have been born, as follows: Albert M., who married Peggy Richards; William S. and James, both deceased. Mr. Gaston has made farming his principal occupation through life, at which he has been fairly successful, owning at present 118 acres of good land well improved. He is a
Republican in politics, but does not take an active part in political affairs, is a member of the I.O.O.F. (Midway Lodge, No. 481), and he and his wife belong to the Presbyterian Church, and are respected and esteemed by all who know them.
GENTRY GILES, a native of Bullitt County, Ky., was born December 8, 1819, the third in a family of eleven children, born to John and Elizabeth (Gentry) Giles, who were natives respectively of North Carolina and Virginia. John Giles was born in the year 1790, and from Kentucky removed with his family to Indiana in 1829, settling first in Putnam County, but four years later removing to Spencer County. They settled three miles north of Rockport, where Gentry grew to manhood. He assisted his parents on the home farm until twenty-six years of age, receiving only a limited education from the subscription schools of that day. May 11, 1845, he married Elizabeth Hackleman, and of the eleven children born to their marriage only ten are now living and these are mostly all married. September 2, 1864, the mother died and
April 1, 1866, Mr. Giles married fro his second wife Ellen C. Meeks, who has borne him eight children, six of whom are still living. His second wife dying March 10, 1884, Mary Hasenmyer became his present wife on the 28th of September, 1884. Mr. Giles bears the respect of all who know him as an honest citizen and an excellent neighbor. He is the owner of 600 acres of good land, is a stanch Democrat in politics and a member of the Missionary Baptist Church.
S.W. GWALTNEY, a native of Spencer County, Ind., and the present Trustee of Grass Township, was born January 10, 1849, being the thirteenth in the large family of fifteen children, born to the marriage of John Gwaltney, who was a native of the Old Dominion, and Mary Moore, a native of Pennsylvania. The father, when a young man, left his native State and immigrated to Ohio, then a new country, where he married our subject’s mother. In the year 1837, they removed to the Hoosier State, which was their home many years. It was in Spencer County that S.W. Gwaltney was reared to manhood, and here he secured a fair education from the common schools. On attaining his majority he began the saw-mill and lumber business, at which he was reasonably successful. From early manhood he has manifested a deep interest in public
affairs, and recognizing his worth the people of Grass Township elected him to his present position as township Trustee. He is a Democrat in politics, a member of the I.O.O.F., and an enterprising and progressive citizen.
JOHN J. HAAFF, a prominent citizen of Grass Township, is a native of Siberian Germany, and was born April 18, 1827, the fourth in a family of six children, born to George J. and Mary E. (Kuntzman) Haaff. John was raised in his native country on a farm, where he remained and assisted his parents until twenty-two years of age. He received a good education in his native country, and in 1848 started for America, landing in New York, and first located in Rochester, N.Y., where he remained two years, when he came to this State and county, and has ever since here resided. In July, 1852, he wedded Christina Ritter, and they are the parents of twelve children, nine yet living, Mary E. (Mrs. Phillip Maas), George A., (who married Mecca Shrode), George Henry, Samuel, Christina, John J., Anna, Frederick and Crissie. While
in New York, Mr. Haaff followed cabinet-making, and upon coming to the State worked at the carpenter and joiner’s trade, but since 1854 has turned his attention principally to farming, and now owns 500 acres of good land, under improvement. He is a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge of the State. He is a Democrat in politics, and he and wife belong to the Lutheran Church, and are respected by all who know them.
LEVI HALE, one of the leading farmers of this township, was born October 11, 1816, in Daviess County, Ky., and is the youngest and only one now living of thirteen children, born to the marriage of Levi Hale and Catharine Tucker, both natives of the Old Dominion, from whence they moved to Kentucky at a very early day. In 1819 they removed to Spencer County, Ind., it at that time being but very sparsely settled by the whites. They settled on the farm now owned by our subject, in Grass Township, where the father died about the year 1825, followed by the mother in 1849. Levi, Jr., subject of this biography, has always made his home on the farm, where he now resides, and having passed about sixty-six years of his life here, is known far and wide as an honest, upright and industrious citizen. February 9, 1854, he united
in matrimony with Elizabeth Jones, and by her became the father of four children, only these three now living: Finley, Cynthia and Dow. April 12, 1863, the mother died, and December 20, of the same year, the father married Martha Tuley. Mr. Hale is a prosperous farmer, owning a good farm of 154 acres, is a Democrat in politics, and one of the few remaining old pioneers of the county.
WILLIAM HARRIS, a native of Clermont County, Ohio, was born March 19, 1826, being the youngest but one in a family of twelve children, born to Henry and Hannah (Hendrickson) Harris, both of whom were natives of New Jersey. His early education was obtained in the country schools of his boyhood days, and at fifteen years of age he started out in life for himself as a farm hand. August 20, 1849, Sarah Jane Perry became his wife, and by him the mother of ten children, as follows: Perry W., Lydia Ann, Maria Catharine, Sarah Jane, Henry Andrew, Hannah Elizabeth, Stephen Douglass, Nancy Melvina, Cornelius H. and Clarence Sherman. Of those the first, second, fifth, sixth and eighth are dead. At the time he started out in life for himself MR. Harris was a poor boy. He came to Spencer County, Ind., in 1853, and settled
one mile north of the present site of Chrisney. He has here identified himself with all the charitable and benevolent institutions of the day, and by industry and integrity has secured a valuable tract of land, comprising 320 acres. He has served his township in the capacity of Trustee with credit, is a member of the I.O.O.F. and F. & A.M., and Mrs. Harris belongs to the Baptist Church. Mr. Harris is well posted on the general topics of the day. He is a close student of the Bible, believing in the benefit of churches as great moral institutions, but does not fully accept the Bible as a Divine revelation.
GAVIN S. JONES, farmer and citizen of Grass Township, was born May 15, 1825. The fifth in a family of nine children born to William M. and Olivia (May) Jones, who were natives of Kentucky. The former came to Indiana with his parents in the year 1815, while it was yet a Territory, and both entered land, shortly after which William returned to Kentucky, where he married, then returning to this State ever afterward made it his home. Gavin S. remained at home assisting his parents on the farm until nineteen years of age, receiving no schooling whatever. June 20, 1850, his marriage with Martha A. Beasley was solemnized, and to their union have been born three children: Willis G., who is now married, Paulina J. (Mrs. James Mattingly), and Richmond L. (deceased). Mr. Jones has made farming his principal occupation through
life, and has been very successful, owning at present 145 acres of good land. June 20, 1847, he enlisted in the service of his country to assist in maintaining the rights of the United States against Mexico, serving a period of eighteen months. In the late war Mr. Jones procured a substitute, as at the time he was afflicted with sore eyes and was unable to go. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, at Gentryville, Lodge No. 424, and in politics has been a life-long Democrat, well and favorably known throughout the community in which he lives.
CHARLES KILLIAN is a native of Baden, Germany, born May 24, 1835, the next eldest in a family of nine children born to Vitus and Lenora (Obhof) Killian, who were also natives of Baden. Charles was raised in his native country until the age of thirteen, where he received all the schooling he ever got, and in the year 1848, his parents and family started for the United States and landed at New York, from whence they immediately came to Indiana via Pittsburgh and the Ohio River, first settling near Evansville, and afterward coming to Evansville, and afterward coming to Spencer County. Mr. Killian assisted his parents on the farm until about twenty-five years of age, and February 22, 1859, he married Louisa Staingel, and they are the parents of eight children, these five now living: Victoria, Vitus C., Anthony R.,
Carolina and Albert T. His occupation has always been farming, and in 1860, he settled on a farm in the woods, and which he has developed into a farm of 157 acres of unimproved land well stocked. Mr. Killian is a Democrat in politics, taking an active interest in all political and public affairs of the community in which he lives. He and family are members of the Catholic Church, and are among the township’s best German families.
WILLIAM KILLIAN, a resident of Grass Township, is a native of Baden, Germany, born August 9, 1837, the third in a family of nine children born to Vitus and Lenora (Obhof) Killian, who were also natives of Germany where Killian was raised until the age of eleven years, and where he received his principal education, only attending school in this country three months. In the year 1848, the family came to America, and landing at New York, they immediately came to this State, first settling near Evansville, but shortly after removing to Spencer County, settling in the vicinity of his present home. William remained at home and assisted his parents on the farm until twenty-three years of age. June 24, 1860, his marriage with Katherine Helman was celebrated, and to their union eleven children have been born, of whom five are
now living, named as follows: Mary, Vitus, Laura, Lucy and Rosa. Mr. Killian has farmed principally through life, and now owns a fine farm of 80 acres, and in connection with his farming, he has a fine large orchard, from which he makes every year a large quantity of cider. He is a Democrat in politics, and he and family belong to the Catholic Church.
JOHN H. KRAMER (deceased), one of the prominent German citizens of his day in Spencer County, was born in Rhine Province, Prussia, June 9, 1818, and was there reared and educated. In December, 1844, he wedded Johannette Becker, who was also a native of Prussia, and in 1854 the family immigrated to the United States, and settled permanently in Grass Township, Spencer Co., Ind., where they engaged in agricultural pursuits. Being possessed of that sterling integrity, economy and industry, of the better class of German-Americans, Mr. Kramer soon accumulated valuable property, and at the time of his death, which event occurred February 25, 1884, owned a valuable tract of land, comprising 600 acres, besides other property. He was a Democrat in politics, and himself and family belonged to the Lutheran Church. Mrs. Kramer survives
her husband, and resides on the old homestead in this township. A family of twelve chidren were born to their union, whose names are as follows: Henry, Christina, Caroline, William, Catharine, Lena, Fred, Nettie, Mary, John, Phillip, and an infant that died unnamed. The majority of those living are married and reside within the county, where they are recognized as among its foremost people.
LABAN B. LLOYD, farmer and stock-raiser, was born and raised in Clermont County, Ohio, his birth occurring March 23, 1831. he is the fifth in a family of nine children born to the marriage of Reuben Lloyd and Nancy Brazier, who were natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio respectively. In the year 1848 these parents removed to Spencer County, Ind., where they continued to reside until their respective deaths, which occurred in July, 1863, and June, 1875. Receiving a common school education in youth, Laban B. removed with his parents to this county, and assisted them on the farm until the attainment of his majority. September 29, 1854, his marriage with Harriet D. Gwaltney was solemnized, and to their union were born eight children, the following-named yet living: Charles R. (married Olive Butler), Aquilla D. (married Elizabeth C. Hancock),
Sarah A. (Mrs. Julius K. Wilkinson), Reuben L., Nannie C., John M. and Jackson P. Mr. Lloyd has successfully followed farming through life, now owning 200 acres of improved land. A stanch Republican in politics, he manifests an active interest in the welfare and public prosperity of his township, county and State, and he and wife are members of the Missionary Baptist Church.
THOMAS MADDEN, a prominent citizen of Grass Township, is, as his name indicates, a native of the Emerald Isle, his birth occurring in the year 1823. He is the youngest but one in a family of three children born to John and Ann Madden, his mother’s maiden name being the same before a after marriage. Thomas Madden remained in Ireland until about the age of twenty-five years, and during this time received a limited education. A portion of his father’s family having preceded him, he came to the United States in the year 1848 and first settled in Hamilton County, Ohio, which was his place of residence for ten years. In 1860 he removed to this county and State, and here he has since resided. He is a Catholic in religion, a Democrat in politics, a farmer by occupation, a citizen highly esteemed by his neighbors, and the owner of 290 acres
of improved land. On coming to this country he barely had money sufficient to defray his passage, and in all respects he is a self-made man. In January, 1853, he married Mary Page, an estimable lady, and by her he is the father of three children: John (married Linda Fella), Mary (wife of Benjamin Fisher) and William.
EDWARD MAIER, of the firm of E. Maier & Co., was born at Baden, Germany, April 18, 1861, being the fourth in a family of six children born to the marriage of Gervas Maier and Josephine Stehle. He was reared by his parents until fourteen years of age, securing in that time a fair education, and at that age was apprenticed to William Yachle to learn the tinner’s trade. In three years he had completed his apprenticeship, and for a time thereafter followed the occupation at various places in his native country. Thinking to better himself in a newer country, he started for America May 18, 1880, and on the 3rd of the following June landed at New York City safely. He came directly to Spencer County, Ind., where he had an uncle living, but shortly thereafter secured a position as tinner at Troy, Ind. A few weeks later he was employed at
Grandview, this county, by Mr. Tonini, with whom he remained until April, 1884, when he removed to Chrisney, where he has since resided. He is a young man who has worked hard for the deserved success with which he has met, and to his credit can be said that no young man enjoys a better reputation for integrity and industry than does Mr. Maier. He is a Democrat and a Catholic.