The name of Studabaker is one which has been prominent in the annals of Wells county from the early pioneer era of its history up to the present time, and of this fact numerous evidences are given within the pages of this publication, where will be found specific mention of various members of the old and honored family. In the case at hand we have to do with the present incumbent of the office of county clerk and one who is an able, representative young business man, commanding the high regard of the people of his native county, where he has passed practically his entire life.

Hugh Dougherty Studabaker was born on a farm on the banks of the Wabash river, in Lancaster township, Wells county, Indiana, on the 10th of September , 1869, being a son of Major Peter and Sarah (MORGAN) Studabaker. Major Studabaker was born in Darke county, Ohio, on the 26th day of February, 1833, being a son of Abraham and Elizabeth (HARDMAN) Studabaker. In 1847 the Major came to Wells county, and in 1851 entered into partnership with his half brother, John Studabaker, in the dry goods business in Bluffton. On the 28th of October of the following year, was solemnized his marriage to Miss Sarah Morgan, a daughter of John Morgan, who came from Lancaster county, Ohio, and who was extensively engaged in the milling business. In 1858 Major Studabaker was elected treasurer of Wells county, and was chosen as his own successor in 1860. On the 15th of August, 1862, he responded to the call for volunteers to aid in suppressing the Rebellion, and was commissioned captain of his company, while on the 1st of June, 1863, he received his commission as major. He enlisted as a member of Company B, One Hundred and First Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which he rendered most valiant service, continuing at the front until victory crowned the Union arms and participating in the grand review in the city of Washington, in May, 1865, while on the 24th of the succeeding month he was honorably discharged in Louisville, Kentucky, arriving at his home on the 4th of the following July. In the battle of Kenesaw Mountain he received a severe wound in his left foot, and from the effects of this injury, which resulted in bone erysipelas, his death eventually occurred. He passed away on the 19th of May, 1888 at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Anna THORNBURG, of Farmland, Indiana. In 1866 he accepted a position in the First National Bank of Bluffton, and two years later, in ompany with John Studabaker and Hugh DOUGHERTY, in honor of the latter of whom the subject of this sketch was named, he became concerned in the organization and establishing of the Exchange Bank, and he continued to be actively identified with this institution until his death. In 1874 he was elected to the office of county commissioner, and was reelected in 1876 and 1880. No man in the community held more uniform confidence and esteem, for he ordered his life on a high plane of rectitude and honor and had the kindliness and urbanity which ever make for the securing of warm and abiding friendships. His wife survived him by about a decade, passing away on the 24th of October, 1899, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Anna Thornburg, in Bluffton. Mrs. Studabaker was born on the 4th of September, 1835, so that she was nearly sixty-four years of age at the time of her demise. Of this union were born four sons and two daughters, the subject of this review having been the sixth in order of birth. Of the other children we incorporate the following brief record: George W., who married Olive KEMP, in 1876, is now a resident of Bluffton; James M., who married Emma ERVIN, in 1881, is now residing in Colorado; David was drowned in the Wabash river, on the 10th of June, 1868, at the age of eleven years; Anna E. married John H. Thornburg, in 1882, and they now reside in Bluffton; and Alice S. married Charles E. LACEY, in 1887, and they reside in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Hugh D. Studabaker received his early educational discipline in the public schools of Bluffton, being graduated in the high school as a member of the class of 1886, notable as having been the largest class ever graduated in the high school, its membership numbering thirty-six, while the superintendent at the time was Professor Philemon A. ALLEN, who is still an honored resident of Bluffton. Mr. Studabaker was seventeen years old at the time of his graduation, and during his school days he continued to reside on the home farm, near Bluffton, while from the age of eleven years until that of nineteen he incidentally conducted a milk business, supplying a representative line of patrons in the city. After the death of his father he went to the city of Chicago, where he was engaged in the basket business from December 1, 1889, until the 1st of the following June, being associated in this enterprise with his cousin, William Studabaker, and his brother James M. He then returned to Bluffton, and in November, 1890, he here associated himself with William A. LIPKEY, under the firm name of Lipkey & Studabaker, and established himself in the meat market business, from which he withdrew in November, 1892, and became a stockholder in the North Furniture Company, of Bluffton, simultaneously becoming actively identified with its operations in the manufacture of furniture. The enterprise, owing to the financial panic, was forced into the hands of a receiver in the latter part of the following year, entailing a loss of about two thousand dollars to Mr. Studabaker, while the other stockholders met with similar relative losses. Thereafter the subject was again associated with Mr. Lipkey in the meat market business until March, 1895, when he turned his attention to the timber business, in which he became associated with Israel T. ALLEN, under the firm name of Allen and Studabaker. The firm furnished the timber utilized in the Indiana oil fields and continued until the depreciation in the prices of the local oil product, in 1896, when the venture proved no longer profitable, Indiana oil at that time being sold as low a figure as forty cents a barrel. In the fall of 1896 Mr. Studabaker entered into partnership with Forrest CUMMINS and engaged in the insurance busines, under the firm name of Cummins & Studabaker, and he was thus placed until the summer of 1897. At the fall election of 1898 Mr. Studabaker was defeated by Clem HATFIELD for the office of county clerk, his opponent receiving a majority of only two votes, and his result being accomplished by extraordinary political exigencies, involved in general dissatisfaction with the long continued power of the Democratic party in Wells county and through popular clamor for an investigation of the county records. On the 1st of February, 1899, Mr. Studabaker engaged in the grocery business in the Bennett store, on Market street, but in August of the same year he was forced out of business by a fire which practically destroyed his entire stock of goods. In November following he again engaged in the meat market business with his former partner, Mr. Lipkey, and this association continued until December, 1900, when Mr. Lipkey’s interests were purchased by the subject’s brother, George W., and the latter continued to be actively identified with this enterprise until the 4th of August, 1902, when he withdrew from the firm.

In the meanwhile, on the 18th of the preceding January, Mr. Studabaker was re-nominated for county clerk, as candidate on the Democratic ticket, securing a plurality of one hundred and thirty votes in the nominating convention, while at the November election he received a gratifying majority over the Republican candidate, Samuel P. ROUSH, his plurality being one hundred and ninety votes. From this fact it will be seen that the political status of the county had again become practically normal and that the popular disaffection had been overcome. Mr. Studabaker entered upon the active discharge of the duties of his office on the 1st of January, 1902, and it is certain that his administration will be a careful and painstaking one and one that will meet with popular endorsement. Mr. Studabaker has ever been a staunch supporter of the cause of the Democratic party and has taken an active interest in local affairs of a public nature. Fraternally he is identified with the National Union, an insurance organization, is also a member of the Baptist church, while his wife holds membership with the Methodist Episcopal church.

In the city of Bluffton, on the 4th of August, 1891, at the residence of Henry THOMAS, on East Cherry street, Rev. J. H. JACKSON, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church, solemnized the marriage of Mr. Studabaker to Miss Mary Rebecca COOK, who was named in honor of Mrs. John Studabaker, a particular friend of her parents. She was born in Bluffton on the 31st of March, 1870, being a daughter of John Henry Louis and Eliza (DEAVER) COOK, the former of whom was born on the 22d of February, 1817, while his death occurred in Bluffton, on the 2d of January, 1879. His wife, who was born at Deavertown, Ohio, on the 1st of June, 1833, still survives and makes her home with her daughter the wife of the subject.

Mr. Cook was born in the town of Rinteln, province of Hessen, Prussia, his father being a government prosecutor and a man of influence and prominence. The son was educated in the University of Leipsic, and was a silk merchant in the fatherland prior to coming to America, in 1850, being thereafter engaged in mercantile business during the balance of his active life. Of his children three sons and two daughters are still living, namely: Dr. Luzern H., who is engaged in the practice of his profession in Bluffton; Henry Douglass, who is a grocer in Bluffton; Arthur L., who is engaged in the furniture business in the city of Chicago; Bertha, who is the wife of Prof. William A. WIRT, of the Bluffton public schools, and Mary R., the wife of the subject. Mr. and Mrs. Studabaker have three children, namely: Alden Koch, who was born July 31, 1892 at the old Studabaker homestead, in Lancaster township, near Bluffton; Mildred Eleanor, who was born in the same home, on the 1st of February, 1894, and Hugh Dougherty, Jr., who was born at the northeast corner of Miller and Williams streets, Bluffton, on the 19th of September, 1896.

Biographical Memoirs of Wells Co., IN, 1903, B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Pg 430
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge

The gentlemen to a brief review of whose life and characteristics the reader’s attention is herewith directed is among the foremost business men of Bluffton and has by his enterprise and progressive methods contributed in a material way to the industrial and commercial advancement of the city and county. He has in the course of an honorable career been most successful in the business affairs with which he has been identified, and is well deserving of mention in a book of this character.

John E. Sturgis is a native of Ohio, having first seen the light of day in Wayne county, that state on the 22d of May 1844. His father, Thomas Sturgis, was born near Lough Neagh, county Armagh, Ireland, December 25, 1802, and was a son of Rev. William and Elizabeth (GRATZ) Sturgis. In 1812 William Sturgis and family emigrated to America, landing at New York city on the 25th day of June of that year. Shortly afterwards they removed to Pennsylvania and settled at Shippensburg, where the father died soon afterward, leaving a widow and eight small children to mourn his loss. Thomas Sturgis, the father of the subject, when about eighteen years of age, began learning the hatter’s trade, which is completed and followed for a number of years. He was married in Pennsylvania, August 5, 1826 to Elizabeth BRASIER, who was born in Chambersburg, that state, and was a daughter of Rev. Jacob BRASIER, a United Brethren minister. In 1834 Thomas Sturgis and family moved to Dalton, Ohio, where he followed his trade until 1853, in which year he moved to Wells county, Indiana, and purchased a partially improved farm in Lancaster township. On this place he settled and was there engaged in farming until his death, which occurred March 24, 1882. His demise was preceded but a short time by that of his wife, hers occurring on February 5, 1882, after a happy wedded life of over fifty-five years. They left ten children, fifty-one grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Both had lived long and useful Christian lives and were among the highly respected citizens of the county. Mr. Sturgis was a man of strong convictions and took great interest in the political issues of the day. he was a firm believer in the principles of the Democratic party and cast his first presidential ballot for Andrew Jackson in 1824. In 1840, during the exciting contest between Van Buren and Harrison, rather than lose his vote, as was threatened, he with his brother Joseph, walked twenty-five miles to New Philadelphia the evening before the election, secured their papers and returned home the next morning prepared for business at the polls. he was the father of eleven children, of whom one died in infancy, the others all growing to maturity. They were all well educated and became useful and respected members of society. Of the ten children who gained their majority, brief mention is made as follows: Charlotte, deceased, was the wife of W. T. WHITE, of Bluffton; William is a resident of Missouri; Joseph resides on the old homestead in Dalton, Wayne county, Ohio; Elizabeth is the wife of John WHITAKER and resides in Wells county; Elmer Y. is a resident of Bluffton; Lemuel D. also resides in Wells county; Catherine is the wife of Jonathan MARKLEY and lives in this county; Thomas J. is a successful dentist of Bluffton; John is the subject of this review and Mary is the wife of Andrew SHOEMAKER, of Geneva, Adams county, Indiana.

John E. Sturgis came to Wells county with his parents, being at the time but nine years old, and has practically made this his home ever since. In 1861, when the somber cloud of war hung over the country and the President called for volunteers to assist in the suppression of the rebellion, young Sturgis, though but a little past seventeen years of age, was among the first to tender his services to his country, enlisting in October, 1861, in Company H, Forty-seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under Capt. S. J. KELLER, of Bluffton, and Col. James R. SLACK, of Huntington. This company was organized at Huntington and immediately went to Indianapolis, where, in December, 1861, it was sworn into service and soon afterward went to the front. They were first sent to Camp Wickliff, Kentucky, and their first engagement of any note was at Island No. 10, on the Missouri river. Mr. Sturgis had a part in all the engagements in which his regiment participated, and was neither sick, wounded nor taken prisoner, being always ready for duty. They who are familiar with the history of the Rebellion know what the Forty-seventh Indiana went through and can see readily that young Sturgis performed his full share in the defense of his country’s flag in her hour of peril. He was fearless and brave and served gallantly until the close of the struggle, receiving an honorable discharge in December 1865.

Upon quitting the army Mr. Sturgis returned to Wells county and in the following spring he entered the Eastman Business College, at Chicago, where he pursued the regular course, after which he again returned to Bluffton. In 1867 he went to Mendon, Mercer county, Ohio, and, in company with Dr. Daniel B. ROETHER, engaged in the drug business. In October of the same year he returned to Bluffton and was married, the lady of his choice being Miss Emeline E. SANDERSON, who was born in Carlisle, Ohio, June 25, 1847, the daughter of Lemuel and Lucinda (KINERT) Sanderson. In 1868 Mr. Sturgis disposed of his drug business at Mendon, Ohio, and removed to Bluffton, where he engaged as clerk in the drug store of Stockton & Johnson, with whom he remained until 1872, in which year he opened up a drug store on his own account in Bluffton, conducting this successfully until 1886, at which time he was elected to the position of treasurer of Wells county. Disposing of his business, he took charge of the office, the duties of which he faithfully and efficiently performed for four years. At the close of his term of office, Mr. Sturgis again established himself in the drug business, in which he has since continued. He also served as city treasurer of Bluffton from 1877 to 1885, filling this position also with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents. In his political views Mr. Sturgis is a staunch Democrat and takes an active interest in the success of his party. In matters religious he and his wife subscribe to the Presbyterian faith, to the support of which he contributes liberally of his means and in the local congregation of which he is one of the trustees. He is also a worthy member of Lodge No. 147, I. O. O. F., Bluffton.

To Mr. and Mrs. Sturgis have been born three children, Nina L., Estella E. and Ruby. Nina is unmarried and still makes her home under the parental roof; Estella is the wife of M. A. STOUT, a prominent business man of Bluffton, and Ruby married Dr. Homer ROBINSON, one of Bluffton’s most skilled and successful dentists. The Sturgis family was established in Wells county many years ago and has always been looked upon as one of the most enterprising and respected families in the county. The members of the family may look back with just pride to their ancestors, knowing that thus far no member of the family has been connected with any dishonorable transaction by which the family ‘scutcheon might be marred.

Biographical Memoirs of Wells Co., IN, 1903, B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Pg 435
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge

This ex-soldier of the Civil war, but now a peaceful agriculturist in Liberty township, Wells county, Indiana, and as broad-minded in the time of peace as he was patriotic in the time of war, was born in Lancaster township, Huntington county, Indiana, July 15, 1845, a son of James A. and Elizabeth (WAGNER) Sprowl. James A. Sprowl was born in Virginia, and when young was brought to Indiana by his parents, who settled in Lancaster township, Huntington county. Joseph Sprowl, father of James A., purchased wild land when he reached the country, before the Indians had been expelled therefrom, and in that comparative wilderness James A. grew to manhood, the country in the meantime becoming settled up and modernized. James A. there passed the remainder of his life, with the exception of four years spent in Iowa, and was famous among the Indians as a hunter. He lived until the ripe age of eighty-six years. The children born to James A. and Elizabeth Sprowl numbered nine and in order of birth were named as follows: Mary A., the wife of James BARTON; William, a resident of Bluffton; John W.; Achasa Jane, widow of Mr. COLLINS, lives in Iowa; Susan, the wife of Frank HORNER; Joseph, a resident of White county; Sarah, married to John HUFF; Francis resides in Bluffton; Miner, wife of John HORNER, and Christina, who died in childhood.

John W. Sprowl was reared in Lancaster township and at the age of eighteen enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Thirtieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under Colonel PERRISH and General SHERMAN. He served two years, being honorably discharged at Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1865. He had taken part in several skirmishes and twelve regular battles, including those of Pea Ridge, Kenesaw Mountain and Atlanta.

At the cessation of hostilities Mr. Sprowl returned to his father’s home and assisted on the farm until his marriage, July 25, 1867, to Miss Isabel EDGAR, who was born in Pennsylvania July 13, 1843, a daughter of Atkinson and Mary Ann (MOUNSEY) EDGAR, natives of England, who came to the United States about 1842. They engaged in farming in the Keystone state until 1844, when they came to Wells county, Indiana, remained here about one year and then went to Huntington county, where Mr. Edgar bought forty acres of farming land, to which he added until he owned one hundred and sixty acres. This he subsequently sold and bought one hundred and sixty acres near Warren, which he also sold, and next purchased two hundred acres near Kelso, Huntington county, on which he resided until ten or twelve years prior to his death, when he went to live with his son John, at whose home he passed away in 1891. The mother of Mrs. Sprowl died when she was but three weeks old, and her father then married Jane MOUNSEY, sister to his first wife, and who had come to Indiana with him. Atkinson EDGAR and first wife had a family of six children, viz: Mary, Sarah and John, deceased; Jane, widow of Jefferson McELHANY; Elizabeth, wife of Jonathan LOWERY, and Isabel. To the second marriage of Mr. Edgar were also born six children namely: Martha, widow of Napoleon WILLIAMS, Atkinson, Thomas and three who died in infancy.

John W. Sprowl, for two years after his marriage, lived with his father-in-law and cultivated the farm. He then settled on his own farm of eighty acres, which he still occupies, but which was then in a swamp deep in the woods. Seventy acres of this place Mr. Sprowl has cleared up and drained and has put under cultivation. When he settled here he had two horses, two cows, a few pigs and some sheep, and the cabin of logs was twenty by eighteen feet, with a framed kitchen attached, these improvements having been made by himself.

Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Sprowl have been blessed with five children, viz; Lucinda, who was born in February, 1869, is now the wife of Daniel MASTERSON, of Liberty township, and has two children, Raymond L. and Jason; James A. died at the age of twenty-two years; Henry N. is married to Etta MEDRETS and is the father of four children, Dora B., John W., Lottie M. and Roy; Jonathan E. married Celestia FUDGE, who bore him one child, Otis Elmer, but the father is now deceased, being killed by an engine while pumping oil; Rosa B., the youngest of the five, was married to Allison MELLING, but was called away in February, 1896, leaving two children, Ora O., who has been reared by Mr. Sprowl, and Gus M., who died when five months old. Mr. Sprowl, who is a gentlemen of the kindest impulse, has also reared Melvin LUCKY, whom he took in charge when but three weeks old and who will soon arrive at his majority.

Mr. and Mrs. Sprowl are members of the United Brethren church at Mount Zion and in politics Mr. Sprowl is a Democrat. He is now superintendent of fourteen and three-quarters miles of gravel road and has at different times filled various township offices. He is one of the most public spirited men in his township and is widely and favorably known, being ready and willing at all times to aid with his means and advice all projects designed to promote the convenience and happiness of his fellow citizens.

Biographical Memoirs of Wells Co., IN, 1903, B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Pg 533
Submitted by: Colleen Rutledge

HON. JOHN P. GREER, attorney at law, came to Kansas, September 22, 1856, and after remaining a few days at Leavenworth, came to Topeka, and bought a claim one and one-half miles west of Tecumseh, and engaged in farming. In 1857 he went to Tecumseh and opened a law office there, which he removed to Topeka in 1861, but still resided at his farm, which he afterwards rented, and built a house in the city for the residence of his family. Judge Greer published the Topeka Tribune, the first daily paper issued in the city, in 1861, being editor at that time. It passed into other hands, and in 1865 he purchased the office and again published the paper about two years, being editor-in-chief, with A. L. Williams as associate editor a portion of the time. In 1869 he was appointed American Consul to Matamoras, Mexico where he remained a little over a year, and was then obliged to resign his position on account of ill health, occasioned by the climate. Judge Greer was a member of the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention, and of the last Territorial Legislature. He was twice elected to the office of Probate Judge, and held district court between the terms of Gilchrist and Morton, being appointed by the governor to fill the position. He was a member of Gov. Robinson's staff, with rank of Colonel, and has held the office of Justice of the Peace, and many minor local offices. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, October 21, 1824, and educated in the schools of his native town. In 1849 he graduated from the law department of the University of Indiana, but commenced practice at Troy, Miami County, before he entered that institution. He was admitted to the bar of the Tenth Judicial District of Indiana in 1846, and after leaving the law school was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1846 he removed to Bluffton, Wells Co., Ind., and remained there until he came to Kansas. He was married in Milton, Miami Co., Ohio, June 22, 1845 to Elizabeth PATTY, a native of Miami County. Judge Greer served in the Second Kansas Militia (Col. Veale's regiment) during the Price Raid, and was badly wounded at the battle of the Blue. Judge and Mrs. Greer have two grandchildren--the children of his son, Elbridge Greer, who was Assistant Secretary of State at the time of his death, which occurred in 1874. Elbridge Greer was Captain of Company I, Eleventh Kansas Volunteer Infantry, serving a little more than three years.

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL. Shawnee County --
Submitted by: Dusti

JOHN BOWMAN, merchant and post-master at Tocsin, was born near Massillon Stark County, Ohio, and came with his parents, Richard S. and Mary (Shaffer) Bowman, to Wells County in October, 1857. The family then consisted of the parents, our subject and his brother Byron. The family located on a farm near Bluffton, where the parents still reside. One daughter, Jennie, was born in this county, now the wife of Ross Cherry, and resides at the homestead. Byron married Maggie Ulmer, and is a merchant at Bluffton. Our subject was reared upon a farm, where he acquired a practical education which was completed at the Bluffton High Schools. He engaged in the mercantile trade in that city in January, 1886, and November 5 of that year he became a resident of the new village of Tocsin, purchasing the stock of goods formerly owned by Samuel Kunkle. His goods in Bluffton were sold prior to his removal, to Albert Shepherd, and Mr. Bowman now devotes his time and attention to the mercantile trade in Tocsin. His is the only store in the village, and he carries a large stock and does an extensive business. He was married December 27, 1876, to Elizabeth E. Williams, daughter of James S. Williams, a resident of this county, who has lived within her boundaries forty-two years. Four children have been born to this union— Harry O., Louis E., Albert and Jesse W. The latter is deceased. Mrs. Bowman died December 18, 1885, and March 17, 1887, Mr. Bowman married Eliza J. Archibold, who was born near Tocsin, Wells County. Mr. Bowman was appointed postmaster of Tocsin January 31, 1886, vice Samuel Kunkle, resigned in 1886.

Submitted by: Carrie L. Scheuerman
Biographical and historical record of Adams and Wells counties, Indiana. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1887. pp. 804-805.

Deb Murray