History of Wells Counties, IN, Pg 651 The Lewis Publishing Company, 1887
Pioneer Benedict and Merchant
Few of the older generation of Wells County pioneers retained the confidence and affection of all classes as long or as firmly as Bowen Hale. He was a Kentuckian, born in Mason County, July 4, 1801. His grandfather was an Englishman and a slaveholder, who freed his chattels after they had cleared his Maryland plantation and partially transformed the tract into a family homestead. John Hale, his father, was born in that state, but moved to Ohio while Bowen was an infant, served in the War of 1912 (1812) from that state, and in 1837 located in Whitley County, Indiana, where he died at the age of seventy-three. The youth of Bowen Hale was passed on his father’s farm in Greene County, Ohio, near the old town of Bellbrook. He assisted his father both in his tannery and on his farm. In that neighborhood, also he attended school in a backwoods cabin and even taught a few months himself. His mother having died when he was
quite young the boy remained with his father until he reached his majority, when he left home and learned the chair-making business, which he followed for several years, working in Dayton, Xenia and Cincinnati. During this period he took a trip South, going down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in a steamboat. In the state of Mississippi he followed house-painting, having become skilled in that trade while painting chairs in the shop.
Starts Trading Post Near Murray
After his return from this trip Mr. Hale engaged in the mercantile business in Bellbrook, Ohio, until 1834, when he sold his interest in the store, and came to Wells County in 1835, his physician having advised him to go West for his health, telling him that unless he do so he could not hope to live very long. Consequently, he started into the woods to seek a home. He came down the Wabash River, and being charmed with the fertile lands along the Wabash, he stopped near the Town of Murray and resolved
to make this his home. His father three years later passed by these lands and settled on the higher and more broken lands in Whitley County. Here Mr. Hale entered forty acres of land, hired a man to build him a cabin, and started to Cincinnati for a stock of goods, having resolved to start a post to trade with the Indians and the few white inhabitants in the county, there being only about twelve white families within the limits of Wells. On his return, in the spring of 1836, he found that his cabin had not been built; but he went to work, and with the assistance of Henry Miller and others, soon had a comfortable cabin, suitable for store-room and living-room. His customers were mostly Indians, who were peaceable, yet like most men, red or white, were dangerous when filled with firewater. His stock of goods consisting of brass rings, whiskey and such articles of clothing as the Indians usually wore, were converted into pelts, there being but little money in the country.
These pelts were conveyed usually on Henry Miller’s wagon to Dayton, Ohio, or Cincinnati, and there sold. As a matter of course, he left nothing behind in his cabin, as the Indians ransacked that as soon as he was gone. The trip to Dayton and Cincinnati usually took about three weeks or longer.
Not a Mighty Hunter
Although Mr. Hale had made his home in this wild country, and in common with all that hardy race of pioneers, the first settlers of Wells county, had many narrow escapes from wild animals and wild men, yet he was strictly a man of peace, and never was a hunter, and tells with considerable satisfaction that he never killed but one deer in his life, and that he stood in the door of his cabin and shot. Seeing the deer quietly grazing in front of his door, an Indian who was present picked up his gun to shoot it, when Mr. Hale asked him to let him shoot, and he took his gun and shot, killing the deer. He often said he had all the hunting he wanted in keeping the turkeys, squirrels and
other animals out of his corn fields.
Mr. Hale was first married in 1837 to Miss Sarah JAMES, a native of Virginia, who died in two years and three months after her marriage without children. His was the first marriage of a resident of Wells County. At the time there was no justice of the peace accessible and he therefore took his bride to Fort Wayne to have the knot legally tied. In the year 1840 he married Miss Mary Ann DEAM, of Montgomery County, Ohio, a daughter of Adam Deam, probably from Virginia, who afterward removed to Wells County and settled near Murray to built the first grist mill at that place. Adam Deam had four sons—Abraham, William, John and James P. each served as treasurer of Wells county; and four daughters, Rachel, Mary Ann, Harriet and Ann. Mrs. Hale died in the year 1872, leaving Mr. Hale again a widower. They had eight children, seven of whom survive—John D., clerk of Adams County; Hon. Silas W., of Geneva, Adams County; James P., of Bluffton, deceased; Lewis B.,
deceased, residing on the old homestead; Emerillas, wife of A. R. VANEMON; Jane, the wife of Daniel MARKLEY, and Mary, living at home with her father. At the organization of Wells County in 1837, Bowen Hale was elected to the office of auditor, clerk and recorder, or rather these three offices were then combined in one. He continued to hold these three offices until 1841, when an auditor was elected and he was relieved of the duties of that office. Ten years later Wilson M. BULGER was elected recorder, leaving Mr. Hale with the office of clerk, which he continued to hold until 1855, making a total of twenty years in the clerk’s office alone, his time having expired by the limit of the constitution, and although urged to accept it again he declined to do so. He also for a short time during this period held the office of postmaster, he being the first postmaster in the county. In the year 1858 he was elected to the office of magistrate and filled the office for three years. Again in
the year 1865, he was elected, against his wishes to the office of county commissioner. Being indisposed at the time, he was not even aware that he was a candidate until the date of his election. Thus is his history the history of Wells County; coming into public life before the organization of the county, for twenty-six years he was a servant of the people of Wells County, and her interest was his interest, and to say that he did his work well is wholly unnecessary. The people have said as much by their ballots. Never were the affairs of any county better or more honestly administered. His records are neat, legible, perfectly formed, accurate and complete and excite the admiration of the most skilled attorneys.
A Bluffton Merchant
When he removed from his farm near Murray Mr. Bowen brought his dry goods store with him and continued in that business for a short time, his store being a log cabin on Market Street, the town being then in the woods with heavy timber and
thick underbrush in all the streets. Hon. John Studabaker became his rival in business, his store being also on Market Street, and they cleared the brush out of the street so that they might be able to see from their boarding-house a square away, to their respective places of business.
Lost a Good Lawyer But Poor Speller
Mr. Hale tells, among many instances of his early pioneer life, of a young limb of the law who landed in Bluffton with the avowed intention of practicing his chosen profession. He sought Mr. Hale and asked permission to make the clerk’s office his law office for a short time, which request was granted and the young lawyer sat down to work. Concluding it would be well to advertise his business, he wrote his card on a sheet of paper and posted the same on a tree standing at the crossing of Main and Market streets. When Mr. Hale went to supper he walked up and read it, and after the young lawyer’s name, in large letters, were the words "Eterney at Law." Mr. Hale
informed the young man of his mistake, who immediately tore down the advertisement and left town; he located in an adjoining county, and now bears the honorable title of "Judge." Thus, by a mistake in spelling the town lost a lawyer, judge and citizen.
Mr. Hale was always a democrat, his first vote for president being cast for Andrew Jackson. he never was, however much of a politician, according to the usual application of that term, and never electioneered for himself; it is said that he once started out for that purpose, but was so disgusted with the business that after going a few miles in the country he turned his horse toward home and never tried it again. When the Civil war broke out, two of Mr. Hale’s sons enlisted, and at the Battle of Missionary Ridge John D. was shot through the body, and lay in the hospital at Chatanooga, Tennessee. Mr. Hale, even then an old man, went to Chattanooga and brought him home. In 1858 Mr. Hale retired with his family to his farm, where he passed his last
years at a venerable age. In his earlier life he became a member of the Universalist Church, and was for many years a trustee of that church at Bluffton, and was to the end a believer in the doctrines as taught by BALLOU, CHAPIN and others. He also joined the Masonic Lodge at Bluffton, was for many years a member of Bluffton Lodge, No 145, and to the last, maintained the high standard of their tenets.
Standard History of Adams and Wells Counties, IN, Pg 292 The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1918
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge
GABRIEL MARKLEY, deceased, one of the early settlers of Wells County, was born in Maryland, January 11, 1814, a son of Jonathan Markley, also a native of Maryland. When he was three years old his parents removed to Pennsylvania, thence to Madison County, Ohio, where he resided upon his father’s farm until 1836. During that year he was married to Miss Hannah, daughter of Solomon TUTTLE, who was born in Athens County, Ohio, March 30, 1818. One year after marriage Mr. and Mrs. Markley immigrated to Wells County, this State, which was then a dense wilderness. Here he entered seventy-two acres of land from the Government on section 18, Harrison Township, on the Wabash River. There were then only four white families in that part of the county. He erected a cabin and began to clear and improve a farm. By industry and good management, he added to his original purchase from time to time, until he owned a landed estate of eleven hundred acres,
most of which was in a state of cultivation. Mr. and Mrs. Markley passed through all the usual hardships of pioneer life. When he first arrived here his property consisted of a horse and a cow; the latter died soon after reaching here. They were the parents of twelve children, of whom eight survive—Jonathan, Nancy A., wife of Daniel SHOEMAKER, John W., Henry C., Oliver P., Mary A., now the wife of William A. MARKLEY, Isabel, now Mrs. William PRELLIMAN, and Daniel F. Both parents were active members of the Christian church. Mr. Markley died June 12, 1873, and his wife March 30, 1883.
History of Wells Co., IN, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1887, Pg 723
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge
LEWIS PRILLAMAN, farmer, Harrison Township, was born in Miami County, Ohio, March 26, 1825, the oldest son and the second of nine children of William and Sarah Prillaman, natives of Virginia. The father was a son of Christopher Prillaman, probably of German descent. The mother was a daughter of Obadiah WINTER, a native of New York and of English ancestry. William Prillaman came to Miami County when eight years of age, with his parents, where he was reared on a farm, and was there married. He followed farming until 1830, then removed to Shelby County, remaining until May 14, 1838, when he removed with his family to Wells County and purchased eighty acres of land on section 12, of David MILLER, for $500. He afterward purchased 200 acres, for which he paid $2.50 per acre. He bought it of Jesse WHITMORE. Mr. Prillaman has served as county commissioner, and in 1842-’43 he represented his county in the Legislature. Himself and wife were active members of the
Christian church, and politically he affiliated with the Democratic party until 1854, then joined the People’s party. He died March 16, 1855. His wife survived him eighteen years, and died April 8, 1873, at the age of sixty-eight years. They started in life without means, but by dint of hard labor and close attention to his business he accumulated a large property. By honest and upright dealings he won the confidence and esteem of all who knew him. Our subject was thirteen years old when he came with his parents to wells County. His youth was spent in assisting his father in clearing and improving his farm, and in attending the subscription school of the early day. In 1845 he commenced teaching school, teaching for two years at $12 per month. He was married May 27, 1847, to Miss Maria STUDEBAKER, a daughter of William and Sarah (THOMPSON) Studebaker. After his marriage he settled upon a portion of the farm his father had purchased, and turned his attention to agriculture.
In 1855 he purchased his father’s farm, and now has a landed estate of 280 acres of improved land. It is conceded to be one of the best farms in the county. They had eleven children, ten of whom are living—Albina, died at the age of three years; Marie, wife of P. ROGERS; William; Sarah J., wife of John BIXER; Lucinda J., wife of Charles CAPP; Henry A., Cora Bell and Cora May (twins), Zella L., Mary L. and Lewis D. Mrs. Prillaman died May 1, 1850 and March 30, 1855, Mr. Prillaman was married to Miss Elizabeth M. BAYMAN, daughter of William Bayman, a native of Darke County, Ohio. The second wife died in 1868, and September 1, 1870, Mr. Prillaman married Marie MASTERSON, a native of this county, and daughter of Conklin Masterson. She lived until January 12, 1873, and June 1, 1883, he married Laura A. RIPPLE, of Mahoning County, Ohio, and a daughter of John Ripple, who came to Adams County in 1864. Mr. Prillaman has served in several township offices, and in 1868 was
elected county commissioner for three years, being the only Republican commissioner elected in the county. Himself and wife are members of the Christian church.
History of Wells Co., IN, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1887, Pg 899
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge
HENRY C. MARKLEY, farmer, Harrison Township, was born on the farm where he now resides July 18, 1855, a son of Gabriel Markley. He was reared on his father’s farm, and remained at home until his death, then succeeded to the old homestead. He was married October 23, 1883, to Miss Alice WILLIAMS, daughter of James and Harriet (BULLINGER) Williams, and they have two children—Alta Bell, born September 15, 1884, and James Thomas, born December 31, 1885. Mr. Markley owns 352 acres of improved land, in a good state of cultivation. Himself and wife are members of the Christian church, and politically he is a Prohibitionist.
History of Wells Co., IN, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1887, Pg 992
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge
John Markley, was born near the city of Baltimore, Maryland, March 10, 1809, and died December 19, 1870. His wife, who in her maidenhood bore the name of Melinda WILSON, was born in Madison county, Ohio, January 12, 1816, and died April 20, 1888. John Markley remained upon the home farm during his boyhood, assisting his father in the clearing and development of the land, receiving in the meantime but little education. On the 2d of March, 1834, he was married to Melinda Wilson, the daughter of Valentine Wilson, reputed to be the wealthiest man in Madison county, Ohio. In 1835, accompanied by his young wife and his brother Gabriel and wife, he emigrated to Wells county, Indiana, and located on the north bank of the Wabash river, five miles above where the city of Bluffton now stands. He entered there two hundred acres of land and proceeded at once to the task of clearing and developing it. He at first erected a rude log cabin, in which they made their home for a number of years and in which the subject was born. Subsequently Mr. Markley was enabled to purchase five hundred acres of additional land, which he cultivated with marked success for a number of years. Healways followed the pursuit of farming, in which he was prosperous, was honorable and straightforward in his intercourse with his fellow men and enjoyed the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends and acquaintances. When he first went to that locality there were not enough settlers there to fill a jury and officer a court. In politics he was a Republican and took a keen and active interest in all things affecting the interests of his county. He and his wife were members of the Christian church and were consistent and faithful in the performance of their religious duties, bringing up their children in the light of the gospel and of their own examples. They were the parents of eleven children, briefly mentioned as follows: Valentine is deceased; Rachael Ann is the wife of Stephen ADSIT, of Hoopeston, Illinois; Jonathan J. is the subject; William D. live at Vera Cruz, Harrison township, this county; Hester is deceased; Matilda J. is the wife of CAPT. E. Y. STURGIS, of Bluffton; Amanda, deceased; Ellen is deceased; Louis P. lives at Vera Cruz, this county; Samuel T. resides at Elwood, Indiana, and Wilson A., of Harrison township, this county.
Biographical Memoirs of Wells Co., IN, 1903, B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Pg 447
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge
JONATHAN J. MARKLEY
Each business or calling if honorable, has its place in human existence, constituting a part of the plan whereby life’s methods are pursued and man reaches his ultimate destiny. Emerson said that "All are needed by each one." And that is as true in one avenue of life’s activities as in another. However, the importance of a business or profession is in a very large measure determined by its beneficence or usefulness. So dependent is man upon his fellow men that the worth of each individual is largely reckoned by what he has done for humanity. There is no class to whom greater gratitude is due than to those self-sacrificing, sympathetic, noble-minded men whose life work has been the elevation of their fellow men to a higher conception of God, their duty to him and their duty to their fellow men. There is no known standard by which their beneficent influence can be measured, but it is certainly safe to say that to no class of men in the country today indebted for the present high moral and spiritual standard of the community in as large a degree as to the early ministers of the gospel, those earnest and consecrated men who, disregarding personal comfort, spread abroad a knowledge of the Christ and taught the great truths of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The subject of this sketch for many years labored faithfully in the cause of the Master and by a long life of earnest and self-denying toil accomplished great good in this community and now possesses the confidence and respect of all who know him. Because of the prominent part he took in the development of this region he is justly entitled to representation in a volume of this character.
The first ancestor of the subject of whom anything definite is now known was his great-grandfather, probably Gabriel Markley by name, who was driven by religious persecution from Holland in the year 1720. With a number of his fellow countrymen, he emigrated to America and settled first in Maryland.
His son, Jonathan Markley, grandfather of the subject was born in Maryland in 1760. In 1815 he emigrated to Pennsylvania and after residing there a few years went to Madison county, Ohio, where he remained until his death. The subject’s father, John Markley, was born near the city of Baltimore, Maryland, March 10, 1809, and died December 19, 1870. His wife, who in her maidenhood bore the name of Melinda WILSON, was born in Madison county, Ohio, January 12, 1816, and died April 20, 1888. John Markley remained upon the home farm during his boyhood, assisting his father in the clearing and development of the land, receiving in the meantime but little education. On the 2d of March, 1834, he was married to Melinda Wilson, the daughter of Valentine Wilson, reputed to be the wealthiest man in Madison county, Ohio. In 1835, accompanied by his young wife and his brother Gabriel and wife, he emigrated to Wells county, Indiana, and located on the north bank of the Wabash river, five miles above
where the city of Bluffton now stands. He entered there two hundred acres of land and proceeded at once to the task of clearing and developing it. He at first erected a rude log cabin, in which they made their home for a number of years and in which the subject was born. Subsequently Mr. Markley was enabled to purchase five hundred acres of additional land, which he cultivated with marked success for a number of years. He always followed the pursuit of farming, in which he was prosperous, was honorable and straightforward in his intercourse with his fellow men and enjoyed the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends and acquaintances. When he first went to that locality there were not enough settlers there to fill a jury and officer a court. In politics he was a Republican and took a keen and active interest in all things affecting the interests of his county. He and his wife were members of the Christian church and were consistent and faithful in the performance of their religious
duties, bringing up their children in the light of the gospel and of their own examples. They were the parents of eleven children, briefly mentioned as follows: Valentine is deceased; Rachael Ann is the wife of Stephen ADSIT, of Hoopeston, Illinois; Jonathan J. is the subject; William D. live at Vera Cruz, Harrison township, this county; Hester is deceased; Matilda J. is the wife of CAPT. E. Y. STURGIS, of Bluffton; Amanda, deceased; Ellen is deceased; Louis P. lives at Vera Cruz, this county; Samuel T. resides at Elwood, Indiana, and Wilson A., of Harrison township, this county.
Jonathan J. Markley, the immediate subject of this biographical sketch, was born in Harrison township, Wells county, Indiana, on the 7th of March, 1839, his birth taking place in the little log cabin which his father first erected on the clearing he had made there. The subject remained at home until he attained his majority, faithfully assisting his father in the arduous task of clearing the land and
cultivating the soil, and developing at the same time that strength of body and those sturdy qualities of character which served him so well in the after years of his life. During his teens he received the advantages of such mental training as was to be obtained in the common schools of the neighborhood. Not being satisfied with such education as he had received, after attaining his majority he secured a position as teacher in the schools of Vera Cruz, holding this position for three years and also teaching one year in another school. In this way he earned enough money to enable him to enter Liber College in Jay county, this state, where he spent three years in earnest study. During his attendance at college he found it necessary to work out on Saturdays and in evenings in order to defray his expenses. He selected his studies with a view of entering the ministry and all his ambitions and efforts were centered upon that purpose. Upon leaving college he returned home, but after
remaining there about two years he, in 1871, came to Lancaster township and occupied forty acres of land which he had previously purchased. He was a member of the Christian church and in 1869 he began preaching, his first charge being the Christian Church at Murray, Lancaster township. That his services in the capacity of a pastor and minister of the gospel were satisfactory is evidenced by the fact that he was retained in this one charge for the remarkably long period of thirty-one years, a period in which his influence in the community was constantly manifest and acknowledged by all who were conversant with his labors. In 1900 Mr. Markley resigned his ministerial work and retired from active pastorate, much to the regret of many who had sat under his preaching and been the recipients of his ministrations. During this long pastorate he labored earnestly and indefatigably for the uplifting of those with whom he came in contact and by an exemplary life influenced many to turn from sin and
follow the teachings of the Nazarene.
In 1898 Mr. Markley erected a handsome large brick house and in 1900 he erected a fine new barn, being now the owner of one of the finest pieces of farm property in Wells county. From the original tract of forty acres he has, by thrift, economy and enterprise, been enabled to increase his holdings to two hundred and forty acres of as good land as can be found in Wells county. Mr. Markley enjoys the distinction of being one of the oldest ministers in the county and also of having married more couples and preached more sermons than any other preacher in the county. In politics he has been a lifelong Republican and has always taken a keen interest in the trend of public events, though at no time an aspirant for public office. A bit of early history is connected with Mr. Markley’s home in the fact that where his house now stands occurred the first marriage ceremony performed in the county, a minister from Ft. Wayne officiating. The couple then married are
yet living at Buena Vista, the wife having celebrated her eighty-fourth birthday during the first week in July, 1902. Another noteworthy fact is that Mr. Markley officiated at the funerals of eight of his neighbors within two years, all residing within sight of his home and their aggregate ages being six hundred and forty-three years.
On the 18th of January, 1871, Mr. Markley was united in the holy bonds of matrimony with Miss Mary M. HUFFMAN, who was born August 18, 1840, the daughter of Philip and Margarite Huffman, of Bluffton. This union has been a most happy and congenial one and in many ways Mrs. Markley has proven her devotion and faithfulness to her husband’s best interests. A devout and consecrated Christian, she has always so lived as to cast no discredit upon the religion which she professes and by her many acts of charity and kindliness has endeared herself to a host of warm and loyal friends.
Biographical Memoirs of Wells Co., IN, 1903, B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Pg 447
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge