Among the enterprising men of affairs whose life and character are familiar to nearly every citizen of Wells county, the name of Levi Huffman stands out clear and sharp. Distinctly a progressive man and as such deeply interested in everything pertaining to the material advancement of the county, and the promotion of its industrial growth, he fills no insignificant place in public esteem, but on the contrary enjoys much more than local repute in the various vocations with which he is identified. Mr. Huffman is a native of Wells county and the son of Henry and Catharine (BAKER) Huffman, the father born in Clark county, Ohio, and the mother in the state of Pennsylvania. The father of Henry was Adam Huffman, one of the earliest settlers of Clark county; Mrs. Huffman was the daughter of Adam Baker, a representative of one of the oldest families in the part of Pennsylvania where he lived.

In 1840 Henry Huffman came to Wells county, Indiana, and entered the land in Jackson township now owned by the subject and at once began the preliminary work of clearing a farm. Up to that time the land was as nature created it and the first thing necessary was some kind of a habitation for the family. In a short time a log cabin of the conventional type was erected and it served the purpose for which intended until replaced in 1867 by a frame, one of the first buildings of the kind in the township of Jackson. When Mr. Huffman took possession of his place the woods were so dense that a person going fifteen rods from the house was in danger of getting lost. To clear away such growth and prepare the ground for tillage required an immense amount of hard labor, but by patient endurance the forest gradually disappeared before the woodman’s sturdy strokes until in the course of time nearly all of the ninety and a half acres was in a fine state of cultivation. Later Mr. Huffman added to his original purchase until his place included one hundred and seventy acres of as fertile soil as the county could boast, and the farm is now considered one of the most valuable pieces of land in this part of the state. He made many substantial improvements and soon took high rank with the leading agriculturists of his township.

Mr. Huffman died on this place in the fall of 1883, just four weeks and three days after the departure of his faithful companion. This was his second wife, his first having died a number of years previously, after bearing him four children, Jacob, Catherine, Sallie and Peter, all living at the present time. The maiden name of the first wife was Elizabeth EVERSOLE. By the second marriage, to which reference is made in a preceding paragraph, Mr. Huffman was the father of ten children, whose names are as follows: Frederick, George, Henry, Lydia, John, Samuel, Levi, Eliza, Eva and Mary, all but the last named living. The death of but one in a family of fourteen children after they had grown to the years of maturity is perhaps unparalleled in the history of any other family in the state. It is evidence of a strong and vigorous ancestry, supplemented by correct habits of living on the part of the descendants, all of the children being fine specimens of physical manhood and womanhood.

The birth of Levi Huffman occurred October 20, 1850, on the farm which he now owns and occupies. He inherited a strong constitution and by faithful outdoor exercise early developed a vigor of body which enabled him while still a youth to perform a man’ labor at all kinds of farm work. In the winter time he attended the public schools of Jackson township until his twentieth year, spending the other seasons as his father’s assistant in carrying on the farm. He commenced life for himself by working a part of the home place on the shares, in addition to which he also rented land of his neighbors and in this way succeeded within a few years in getting a very good start in the world. He continued to live under the parental roof until his marriage, which was solemnized on the 31st of December, 1874, with Miss Martha COOLMAN, daughter of William and Mary A. (McKEE) Coolman, natives of Ohio, and early settlers of Huntington county, Indiana. Soon after taking to himself a wife Mr. Huffman moved into a little old log house on a forty-acre tract of land which his father subsequently purchased and during the seven years following he lived on this place and prospered in his labors. At the expiration of that time he took charge of the home farm for the purpose of looking after his father, who, by reason of old age and infirmities incident thereto was no longer able to manage the place or attend to his business affairs. With filial devotion and affection most commendable, the subject continued to care for his parents as long as they lived and after their death he sold a piece of land in Blackford county which he had purchased the meantime and bought the old family homestead. Since taking possession in 1883 Mr. Huffman has made the farm one of the finest in the township and, as already stated, he soon became one of the most enterprising farmers and stockraisers in the county of Wells. among the many valuable improvements which he has made are a large and commodious barn, erected in 1884, and the fine modern residence, built five years later, besides the other buildings which every first class farm contains. At the present time Mr. Huffman owns four hundred acres of land, all lying in the Indiana oil fields and on this are forty-seven producing wells which yield him the handsome income of seven hundred dollars per month. From this source alone he has become a wealthy man, the returns from his agricultural and live stock interests also adding very materially to the large fortune now in his possession. Mr. Huffman is a careful and conservative business man and has made many judicious investments, all of which return him a liberal margin. he owns a half interest in a large business block in the town of Warren and a number of dwellings and other property in Montpelier, and looks forward to making still greater investments in country and city real estate. He is now chiefly engaged in looking after his large business interests, but devotes a considerable portion of his time to the breeding and raising of fine live stock, in which industry he has a wide and growing reputation. Mr. Huffman pays especial attention to shorthorn cattle, of which he keeps on hand a herd of from twenty-fine to thirty-five, all first-class animals, many of them representing hundreds of dollars in value; he has also met with most encouraging success raising Poland China and Duroc breeds of hogs, supplying many of his neighbors and others with this valuable stock, besides marketing a large number every year, thus materially increasing his income.

With all his success as a farmer and business man, Mr. Huffman is quiet and unassuming in demeanor, having no desire to boast of his achievements, realizing that worldly wealth does not constitute truest riches. In the best sense of the term he is a Christian and as such looks upon material possession only as a means of accomplishing good among his fellow men. A number of years ago he united with the German Baptist church and began that religious life which has since characterized him and he is now one of the most active workers in the congregation with which he worships. His wife is also a member of the same communion and in many ways has demonstrated her faith in good works among those with whom she mingles. Mr. and Mrs. Huffman have been kind and charitable to the worthy pool and no legitimate enterprise for the moral advancement of the community has ever appealed for their assistance in vain. They are highly esteemed by the people of their neighborhood and those who know them best are the most profuse in their praise. Mr. Huffman reads much and has decided opinions on the leading questions of the day. He has been a pronounced Democrat all his life and takes an active interest in local and general politics, never missing an election, unless unavoidably detained, nor hesitating to express his opinions upon the questions at issue.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Huffman has been blessed with two children, the older of whom is Ardella, now the wife of Watson HAYWARD, who lives on the subject’s farm in Huntington county; Josephine A., the younger, married Daniel Roscoe HARDMAN and lives with her parents, her husband having charge of the home farm. Mr. Huffman has in his possession an old parchment deed, dated August 5, 1837, and bearing the signature of Martin Van Buren.

Biographical Memoirs of Wells Co., IN, 1903, B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Pg 192
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge

America is indebted to no one race or nationality for so many of the sterling qualities which characterize Americans of today as much as it is to the German emigrants who came to this country during the early settlement of the colonies. Few of them had much in the way of material wealth, but they were well supplied with industry and thrift, an ambition to better their condition and a steadfast firmness of purpose that nothing could overcome. Once believing themselves to be right, no persuasion, argument or coercive force could divert them from the course they had determined upon. This national characteristic is often severely criticised, is frequently referred to as "pig-headedness," but there is little doubt that that trait of American character so noticeable and so highly commended as "stability"comes from this very source. That which is denounced as "pig-headedness" in the early German settler is commended as "firmness" and "stability" in his descendant of the third or fourth generation.

The subject of this sketch, A. T. Studabaker, of Harrison township, Wells county, Indiana, is one of those same descendants. If the name did not tell of it, or if he was not able to trace his genealogy to that source, the determination, firmness and steadfastness of purpose which he discloses in every walk of life would pronounce him, beyond all cavil, as of this same German descent. For years he has been the only voter of his precinct who at each successive election casts a Prohibition ticket. It is not in casting a Prohibition ticket that the German descent is disclosed in him; it is shown in the persistence with which he clings to his opinions, the tenacity with which he adheres to his views in the face of all opposition and in a cause that to others appears absolutely hopeless. He believes he is right, and he will stay right, even though the heavens fall.

A. T. Studabaker is the son of William and Sarah (THOMPSON) Studabaker and was born in Darke county, Ohio, July 18, 1830. His grandfather was Abraham Studabaker, a descendant of an old German family that came to America and settled in one of the colonies long before the Revolutionary war. He was a man of mature years and recognized influence at the breaking out of the war of 1812 and took an active part in the agitation that made it necessary for the struggling but dauntless colonies, for a second time, to grapple with their old oppressor. He was a sincere patriot and took an active part in public affairs during that interesting period. William Studabaker was born in Warren county, Ohio, February 7, 1807. When he was one year of age his parents moved to Darke county, Ohio, where Gettysburg now stands. At the time his parents located in Darke county the county was very wild and Indians and beast of the forest were plenty. There were two classes of Indians, hostile and friendly. William at this time was very weakly. Some of the friendly Indians, visiting his father, saw the condition of the then small boy, and, believing they could restore him to health, stole him away while his parents were in the clearing at work, he having been left in the care of a little girl, his cousin Nancy Miller, who afterwards became the wife of Orrin PERRIN and now lives near Murray, Wells county, Indiana. The little girl ran to the clearing to give the alarm to the parents and the father remarked, "He is a friendly Indian; he will bring him back." They continued coming and bringing him back almost every day for about a year. During this time William became very much attached to them, and when they would come and go away without him, he would cry after them, and up to the day of his death he would say nothing against the friendly Indians, but would remark that he believed the medical treatment he received from them was the means of prolonging his life. A few years later he moved with his parents to a farm near Greenville, Ohio, where he remained until he was twenty-one years of age. He was then married to Sarah A. Thompson, in the month of March, 1828. After his marriage he located on a farm near Greenville, the one now known as the county farm. He lived on this farm eleven years, and in the year 1839 moved to Wells county, Indiana, locating on the farm now owned by Lewis Markley. He remained on this farm about six years, and then moved across the river on his farm where he remained up to the time of his death. he was a man of wonderful constitution, and with that constitution he made a success of all his undertakings in life. In moving to Wells county in an early day, he with his companion had to endure many hardships connected with a pioneer life. No roads existed, only as they were "blazed" out through the woods, the dwelling place of the Indians and wild beasts, no bridges as we now have, and when the settlers came to a swollen stream, they would plunge into it, sometimes the horses being compelled to swim and the water running into the wagon-bed. Mr. Studabaker cleared up the farm that Lewis Markley now lives on, also most of the farm on which he lived when he died. While clearing up his farm he was compelled to go to Greenville for a greater part of his provisions, and part of the time he went into Ohio to mill. His nearest milling point at the time was Huntington, Indiana, he sometimes going to mill on horseback and sometimes going down the Wabash in a canoe. A few years later a mill was built at Bluffton, and one time Mr. Studabaker, in company with John Markley, went to mill at the latter place in a canoe, at which time he came near being drowned. After their grinding was done they started home, and in coming out of the mill-race by some mishap they were drawn out into the swift current of the river and in spite of their utmost efforts were carried over the dam. In going over Markley leaped out, caught to the edge of the dam and saved himself. Mr. Studabaker went over with the canoe and was taken under the water by the suck of the dam. But being a good swimmer, and having presence of mind, after making several efforts to swim, but being beaten back by the force of the current, he dived to the bottom, swam down the river a few rods, came to the surface and started for the shore, being rescued by Benjamin Nutter.

Mr. Studabaker accumulated property quite rapidly, at one time owning upwards of two thousand acres in the upper valley of the Wabash. he was a man of much public spirit and always took a leading part in all public improvements. Sincere in all his convictions, he was a man of rare Christian character, a consistent member of the church, in the full faith and fellowship of which he died in 1881. he and his wife were the parents of ten children, Mariah, A. T., Mary A., Ben, John, David, William T., Louisa and J. M., who were twins and George W.

As soon as A. T. Studabaker had matured sufficiently to be of use on his father’s farm he was constantly employed in the labor thereof. During the winter months when little could be done outside of caring for the stock, he attended the district school and laid the foundation for a good education. Later he took a course in the schools of Bluffton, then turned his attention to teaching. he was in the educational work three terms in Wells county. He remained on the farm with his father, assisting in caring for the family, until he was twenty-three years of age.

On the 6th day of March, 1853, A. T. Studabaker was united in marriage to Miss Louisa DeWITTE, a lady of good education and fine attainments. Her family came west from New York in 1839 and settled on the old Adam Hall place. Her father was a man of energy and industry, who in his time had done much hard work. At his marriage, A. T. Studabaker, the subject hereof, was worth a few hundred dollars. With this he erected a comfortable home on his present farm, in June, 1853. It was then in the midst of the woods. It took time, labor and money to carve a productive farm out of the primeval forest, but each was expended ungrudgingly by the owner, with the result that at this time no more comfortable home or desirable farm may be found for miles around. He is the owner of two hundred and eight acres of the productive bottom lands of that region. Like his father and grandfather before him, he has engaged in the raising, purchase and sale of live stock. Early in life he was schooled in the art of estimating the weight and value of animals at a a glance. In this line his knowledge is such and his experience so valued that his judgment is almost infallible on these points. he is accorded the credit of having bought more stock than any other man in Wells county.

To Mr. and Mrs. Studabaker have been born eleven children, nine of whom are still living. Harriette is the wife of Marion FRENCH; Lewis and Henry both died in infancy; William L. is married and lives at Elwood; Mary J. is the wife of Joseph CARTER, a resident of Grant county; Noah is engaged in the purchase of grain at Van Buren; Abby and Ida are twins, the former of whom is the wife of W. A. BOWMAN, the latter the wife of Charles HELMS; John is married, the father of a family and lives in Harrison township; Lillie is the wife of L. L. BAUMGARTNER and Minnie M. is the wife of Ed. HUFFMAN, who lives on the old home place with Mrs. Huffman’s parents.

In politics Mr. Studabaker was at one time a Democrat, but espoused the cause of Greenbackism when that political doctrine first began to command public attention. Since then he has become a most profound Prohibitionist. Single-handed and alone he has fought for years the battles of the Prohibition party in Harrison township. At each successive election the ballots of the township are counted and one solitary Prohibition ticket is always found in the box. Everybody knows that it was voted by A. T. Studabaker. It never increases, it never diminishes, but it is always there. The other voters of the township look for it as confidently at the next election as they do that that event will come around. He has been honored by his party with the nomination for representative from Wells county, has also been placed upon the ticket as a candidate for treasurer of the county and when placed on the county ticket has shown himself better than his party by the larger vote which he received. When gravel roads were being built in Indiana he became a contractor and built some twenty miles in Wells county and several in Grant county. Mr. and Mrs. Studabaker are both church members and have been since 1858, for years attending what is known as the Six-mile Christian church.

Few men in Wells county are better known than Mr. Studabaker. His business is such as to bring him in contact with a large number of people all over the county. For a man so set in his purposes, firm in his convictions, extreme in his likes and dislikes, he is a man with many warm friends. he is honest, truthful and manly, qualities always admired by people whose good opinion is worth having. As a neighbor he is generous, as a citizen he is public spirited, as a father he is indulgent, and as a husband he is loyal and true. While his neighbors indulge in some amusement, at this expense, in so tenaciously adhering to Prohibition principles, all accord him the credit of sincerity. They may question his judgment—his course shows that he has the courage of his convictions.

Biographical Memoirs of Wells Co., IN, 1903, B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Pg 272
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge

Success in this life comes to the deserving. It is an axiom demonstrated by all human experience that a man gets out of this life what he puts into it, plus a reasonable interest on the investment. The individual who inherits a large estate and adds nothing to his fortune cannot be called a successful man. He that falls heir to a large fortune and increases its value is successful in proportion to the amount he adds to his wealth. But the man who starts in the world unaided and by sheer force of will, controlled by correct principles, forges ahead and at length reaches a position of honor among his fellow citizens achieves success such as representatives of the two former classes neither understand nor appreciate. To a considerable extent the subject of this sketch is a creditable representative of the class last named, a class which has furnished much of the bone and sinew of the country and added to the stability of the government and its institutions.

D. D. Studabaker is a native of Wells county, his birth occurring in Harrison township on the 4th of May, 1840, a son of the pioneers, William and Sarah A. (THOMPSON) Studabaker. He was reared upon the parental homestead and attended the subscription schools. Though his earlier education was necessarily limited, he has by close observation and contact with the world become well-informed and thoroughly in touch with modern business methods. David early formed an inclination for dealing in stock. he remained with his father until he was twenty-two years of age and in 1862 undertook to operate the farm of Capt. Peter Studabaker while the latter was absent in military service. The subject farmed this property until 1866, when he settled on a farm adjoining the one on which he now lives. He has engaged in the various lines related to agriculture, including farming, stock grazing, buying and selling, in all of which he has been successful, achieving an enviable reputation through his straightforward and honorable business methods. He was an extensive stock-shipper of the county to within twenty years, though since that time he has confined his operations principally to baling and shipping hay and straw. Aside from the varied interests pertaining to the farm. Mr. Studabaker has also done some contracting in the construction of gravel roads in this and Grant counties, his efforts in this line being the greatest of any citizen of the county. He built the second gravel road to the county, the one from Bluffton to Mount Zion, and among others which he constructed were the following: The Markle, Gregg, Bluffton and Rifeton, Little, Poor Farm, Air Line, Stahl, Keystone, Gavin and others, the total amounting to fifty miles in Wells and eight in Grant county. He bears the reputation of an honest and conscientious contractor and all of his transactions in which the public interests have been involved have been conducted so as to win the approbation of the people.

In the winter of 1865 Mr. Studabaker was united in marriage with Miss Esther E. STAHL, the daughter of Abraham and Rebecca Stahl. She was born in Ohio, but her parents came to Wells county in the spring of 1838, settling in Nottingham township. To this union have been born six children, three of whom are deceased. Those living are Hugh, an engineer on the Rock Island Railroad; Sarah, the wife of Ross DeVORE, and Nora, who is at home. Mr. Studabaker is affiliated with the Democratic party. Though not a member of any church, he has ever been a liberal contributor to their support and casts his influence invariably on the side of morality and the higher interests of the community. With him to see and understand the right is to do the same under all circumstances, fearlessness in the discharge of duty being one of its dominant characteristics, while he is ever careful and considerate of the feelings and opinions of those from whom he may honestly differ.

Biographical Memoirs of Wells Co., IN, 1903, B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Pg 570
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge

Deb Murray