Biographical and Historical Record - Adams and Wells Co. Indiana Lewis Publishing Co. Chicago, IL 1887
DAVID M. KERR, a prominent citizen of Adams County, engaged in farming on section 23, Monroe Township, was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania January 24, 1824. His parents, James W. and Rosanna (MeLelland) Kerr, were also natives of Pennsylvania, and of Scotch extraction, the father born April 20, 1797, and the mother born October 12, 1801. They were married June 21, 1821, and to then were born eleven children, six sons and five daughters. The father was a shoemaker by trade. He died in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, in 1846, and the mother died in the fall of 1864 in Crawford County, Ohio. Both were members of the Presbyterian church. David M. Kerr, the subject of this sketch went to Indiana County, Pennsylvanna, when eighteen years old, and there followed the carpenter's trade until 1850, since which time he has been engaged principally in farming. He was married November 14, 1851, to Nancy Robinson, who was born in Perry County, Pennsylvania, January 22, 1831, going with her parents to Crawford County, Ohio, when young, where she lived until her marriage. Of the seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Kerr four are living - John N., William M., Robert B. and Irvin. Mr. Kerr has given his children good educational advantages, and at the present time three are engaged in teaching school in Monroe Township. Mr. Kerr was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in Company E, One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio Infantry, and was in the Fourteenth Army Corps. He received a gun-shot wound in his leg Septeniber 20, 1863, at the battle of Chickamauga, which caused his final discharge February 17, 1864. He then returned to his home in Crawford County, Ohio, and in 1865 came to Adams County, Indiana, settling on his farm in Monroe Township in November of that year, where he has since followed general farming. His first purchase was forty acres which was heavily covered with timber. His farm now contains eighty acres of well-improved land, which is under good cultivation. In polities Mr. Kerr is a Democrat, and has held local offices. He is a comrade of John P. Porter Post, G A. R., at Geneva. Both Mr. and Mrs. Kerr are members of the Christian church.
Biographical and Historical Record - Adams and Wells Co. Indiana Lewis Publishing Co. Chicago, IL 1887
ANDREW G. BRIGGS, hardware merchant, Geneva, is a native of Hancock County, Ohio, born January 31, 1860. His father, William H. Briggs, came with his family to Wabash Township, this county, in the spring of 1871. He received a common-school education, and when fifteen year of age went to clerking in the dry good house of E. C. Kern, where he remained until 1879. He then went to Celina, Ohio, and clerked in a boot and shoe and grocery store remaining until February, 1882, then came to Geneva and purchased the hardware store of George W. Donart, in 1882, which business he still follows. Mr. Briggs was married November 27, 1883, to Miss Margaret R. Day, a native of Celina, Ohio, born October 3, 1864. Her father, James Day, is a prominent attorney and common pleas judge. He was born in Hancock County, February 10, 1840. His wife was formerly Fannie M. Small, born in Hayesville, Ashland County, Ohio, December 26, 1846. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. and Mrs. Day have four children - Mrs. Briggs, Annie L., Elizabeth S. and Edna.
Biographical and Historical Record - Adams and Wells Co. Indiana Lewis Publishing Co. Chicago, IL 1887
JOHN A. FONNER, farmer, sections 27 and 28, Root Township, owns 210 acres of land in one body. He came to this county in 1841, with his parents, two brothers and five sisters, and one sister was born after coming. They settled in the woods, which were full of game of all kinds, and the river was full of fish. The first school Mr. Fonner attended in this county was held in a blacksmith shop. It was built of round logs and stood at Monmouth. The shop was filled with puncheon seats, and writing-desks were put around the wall. Mr. Fonner thinks there was no floor in the house either before or after it was converted into a schoolhouse. This was his first introduction to an Indiana school-room. It was a subscription school. Mr. Fonner was born in Greene County, Pennsylvania, September 11, 1826. He lived in his native county until he was six years of age, when his family removed to Athens County, Ohio, settling upon an improved farm, which belonged to the Ohio University, which his father bought. When he was fourteen years old his father sold the land, leaving it in the fall of 1840. The father would not leave the State until he had voted for General Harrison for President. He had formerly been a Democrat, but having been a soldier under General Harrison he wished to vote for him for President, and he was a Whig ever after. The family spent the winter in Troy, Miami County, where corn was 12 cents a bushel. Provisions both for man and beast were very cheap. But when they came to Indiana they found corn was from 75 cents to $1.00 per bushel. They had five horses and several cows and young cattle, and they spent the winter, previous to coming here, in Ohio, because they could winter their stock so much cheaper in that State. Mr. Fonner's parents were John and Mary (Crouse) Fonner. The father was born in New Jersey in 1788, and died in September, 1852. The mother was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1799, and died in 1854. Both were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. The father is buried in Alpha cemetery and the mother in Monmouth cemetery. The mother was a noble Christian woman, and had a great love for her family. Her education was superior for that day, and she was a teacher by profession. Mr. Fonner, our subject, was married January 9, 1856, to Miss Elizabeth Pillars, who was born and reared in Adams County. Her father, Benjamin Pillers, was born in Pennsylvania in 1816, and her mother, Sarah A. (Rice) Pillers, in Culpeper County, Virginia, May 27, 1815. Her family came here in 1839 and settled in Root Township, on section 14, which was then a wilderness. The farm is now owned by F. Kukelbam. The father built a sawill on the stream called �Seventeen-Mile-Creek,� which ran through his farm. There was an Indian trail through the farm, and the nearest neighbor was Jonas Pence, on the farm now owned and occupied by the subject of this sketch. They had to go to Fort Wayne for their milling. There were five children in her father's family, and all are living but one, Nancy Heartless, who died in Root Township a short time since. The others all live in the same township. Mr. and Mrs. Fonner have five children Edith May, born September 18, 1858, wife of J. Robert Christen; Sarah A., born February 12,1862, wife of A. J. Smith; Mary A., born July 27, 1864, living at home; Nellie E., born December 7, 1866; John H., born July 10, 1872. Mr. and Mrs. Fonner are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and Mr. Fonner votes the Republican ticket. His grandfather, John Fonner, was probably born in New Jersey, and died in Pennsylvania. He has no knowledge of his grandmother Fonner. His maternal grandfather, John Crouse, was born in Pennsylvania, and died in Missouri. He knows nothing of his maternal grandmother. Mrs. Fonner's grandfather, William Pillers, was born in Pennsylvania and died in this county. Her grandmother, Mary (Baxter) Pillers, died this county, and both are buried in Alpha cemetery.
JOHN WOY, farmer, resides on section 22, Root Township, where he owns 120 acres of land. He came to this county in the spring of 1851 and settled upon farm he now owns and occupies. There were eighteen acres underbrushed and a log cabin had been built. It was 18 x 20, and it is still standing, being used for a stable. He lived in this cabin until 1858, when he built his present frame house. Mr. Woy was born in Carroll County, Ohio, April 13,1829. His father died when he was a babe, and he lived at home with his mother until his marriage. His father, George Woy, was born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and died in 1830, aged between fifty and sixty years. His mother, Catherine (Fredline) Woy, was also born in Somerset County, and was married in that State. They removed to Carroll County, Ohio, after five of their children were born. They settled in the wilderness and were among the pioneers of that county. The mother died on the farm where they first located in 1874, in her eighty-sixth year. Both are buried in the Emanuel Church cemetery. They were members of the Lutheran church. The father died from the accidental discharge of his gun. John was married November 29, 1849, to Miss Elizabeth Worley, who was born in Carroll County, Ohio, where she was reared and educated. She died July 5, 1859, leaving one child, Silas Luther, who was born September 19, 1851, and died in 1860. Both are buried in Monmouth cemetery. March 15, 1860, Mr. Woy married Hannah Dunlap, nee Bonbrake, who was born in Carroll County, Ohio, in 1836, where she lived until her first marriage with William Dunlap. They went to Hardin County to live, where Mr. Dunlap died. They had one child that died in early infancy. Mrs. Woy was a daughter of Henry and Sarah (Bowman) Boubrake, who were natives of Pennsylvania. The father died October 12, 1878, in Stark County, Ohio, aged seventy- three years, eight months and twenty-nine days. The mother is still living in Stark Connty at the age of seventy-four years. Her grandfather, Daniel Bonbrake, was probably born in Pennsylvania, and he died in Huntington County, Indiana. Her grandmother, Sarah (Tedrow) Bonbrake, was also born Pennsylvania and died in Huntington County. Her maternal grandparents, Jacob and Hannah Bowman, were natives of Pennsylvania and died in Stark County, Ohio. They were probably of German origin. Mr. Woy has served as township trustee two terms, and is now serving as jury commissioner.
LEONARD W. JOHNSON, of Washington Township, was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, August 5, 1836, and came to Adams County with his parents, James and Eliza Johnson, in 1837. He was reared and educated in this county, and endured all the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company H, Eighty-ninth Indiana Infantry, which was attached to the Sixteenth Army Corps in the army of the West. He participated in the battles of Fort Derusa, Yellow Bayou, Bayou de Glaze, Bunker Hill, Tupelo, Lafayette, Nashville, Fort Blakely and others of minor importance. He was honorahly discharged in the fall of 1865 and returned to Adams County, where he has since been a resident. He was married October 23, 1866, to Miss Priscilla Wisner, a native of this county, born September 23, 1846, and daughter of David and Lydia Wisner, who were among the first settlers of Adams County. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have had seven children, five of whom are living - James M., Martha J., Lena L., Florence A. and Verna M. Mr. Johnson owns a good farm of seventy acres, and is a successful farmer. Politically he is a Democrat, and religiously a member of the Christian Union church. His mother is living, and is in her eighty-eighth year. Mrs. Johnson's father, David Wisner, was twice married. His first wife, Mary Brooks, at her death left four children, two sons and two daughters. In 1838 he left his native State, Pennsylvania, and came to Indiana, and in 1839 married Lydia Allen, a native of Ohio. To them were born six children, four sons and two daughters. The father died in 1868, aged seventy-three years. When he came to Adams County he bought eighty acres of land two and a half miles south of Decatur. The nearest mill at that time was at Fort Wayne, and the mother was often obliged to grind buckwheat in the coffee-mill with which to make bread for the family.
SALEN CLENDENEN, one of the prosperous farmers of Hartford Township, a son of James and Mehitable (Fox) Clendenen, was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, the date of his birth being March 9, 1833. In 1837 he was brought by his parents to Adams County, Indiana, where he was reared on his father's farm on section 25, Hartford Township, receiving a common school education. On arriving at manhood he engaged in farming for himself which he has since followed. He was married in August, 1857, to Miss Elizabeth Pontius, a native of Pickaway County, Ohio, who died in June, 1858, leaving one child - Lavinia. Mrs. Clendenen was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Clendenen was again married October 1, 1861, to Miss Elsie Proutty, who was born in Morrow County, Ohio, March 9, 1836, a daughter of Stephen and Mary (Barhan) Proutty. To this union have been born the following children - William F. (deceased), Sarah J. and John R. Mrs. Clendenen's parents are natives of New York and Maryland respectively. They were married in Ohio, and in 1848 settled in Wells County, Indiana, where both died. The father was a farmer by occupation, and for several years was also in the ministry. Both were consistent members of the Baptist church. To them were born ten children, six sons and four daughters. Mr. Clendenen has met with excellent success in his general farming, and now has a fine farm containing 260 acres, 150 acres being under a high state of cultivation. He has a comfortable and commodious frame residence, which was erected in 1874 at a cost of $1,800, and good farm buildings, the entire surroundings of his farm proving the owner to be a thorough, practical farmer.
NATHANIEL P. HEASTON was born in Randolph County, Indiana, May 14, 1825. His father, David Heaston, was a native of Virginia, born in 1793. His grandfather, John Heaston, was born near Frankfort, Germany, and immigrated to the United States about the time of the Revolutionary war. He first settled in Philadelphia, where he engaged in the mercantile trade. He received Continental money for his goods to such an extent as to cause his failure. From there he went to Rockingham County, Virginia, where he followed school teaching. In 1803 he removed to Butler County, Ohio, residing there about four years, then settled near Dayton, where he followed school teaching until his death, which occurred when he was about eighty years of age. He was married in Germany and his wife died in Philadelphia. They had five children, three girls and two boys. He married a second time, and they had six children, four boys and two girls. David Heaston was a son of the second marriage. He came with his parents to Ohio in 1803, where he grew to manhood in Hamilton and Montgomery counties, and received a limited education in the common schools. He was married at Dayton, in 1817, to Catherine Pressel, a native of Pennsylvania, who came with her parents to Ohio and settled near Dayton. She was born in 1794. They removed to Randolph County, Indiana, in 1819, and were among the earliest settlers in that part of the county. They lived there until their demise, the father dying December 18, 1865, and the mother in 1876. They had accumulated quite a property, being the owners of 600 acres of land. The mother was a member of the Dunkard church. The parents reared three children, our subject being the second child. He was reared on a farm in Randolph County, and received an elementary education in the common schools. He also attended the seminary at Cambridge City, Wayne County, and at Winchester in Randolph County. He remained at home on the farm until 1848, when he joined the engineer's corps, and helped to survey the route for the Bee Line Railroad, from Indianapolis to Union City, consuming four years of time. The last two years he was promoted to the position of first assistant civil engineer, which position he occupied when the road was completed in December, 1852. He then resumed farming and dealing in stock. In 1866, he, with others, erected the City Flouring Mills, at Winchester, and in four years sold out his interest and came to Geneva, where he engaged in the hotel business, in connection with surveying, an occupation he still follows. Mr. Heaston was married February 19, 1857, to Sarah J. Pullen, born near Liberty, in Union Connty, this State, June 8, 1837. Her pareuts, David and Martha (Williams) Pullen, were natives of Virginia, and emigrated to Union County, Indiana, in an early day, where they followed farming, and lived there until their decease, the father dying December 19, 1878, aged seventy-nine years, and the mother February 4, 1881, aged eighty years. They were the parents of twelve children. Mr. and Mrs. Heaston have had four children - Joseph Willard, born November 11, 1857; Clara Idelle, born November 10, 1861; Martha Olive, born January 17, 1867; Charles David, born August 5, 1874, died April 1, 1883. Mr. Heaston has been a member of the Masonic order since 1856, becoming a member of Winchester Lodge, No.56, A. F. & A. M., of which he is still a member. Politically he is a staunch Democrat, and an active worker in his party. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in New York City, held July 4, 1868, which placed Governor Seymour in nomination for the Presidency. He also takes a great interest in local affairs and public improvements.
JOHN YOUNG was born in the State of Pennsylvania in 1828, and died in Blue Creek Township, Adams County, Indiana, June 13, 1874. He was a son of Peter and Margaret (Gilbert) Young, who were of German descent. His father being a farmer he was reared to the same avocation, which he followed through life, his youth being spent in his native State, in assisting with the farm work and attending the schools of that early day, where he received but limited educational advantages. In 1852 he went to California, where he was engaged in mining for six years. He was united in marriage in Adams County, Indiana, in 1860, to Miss Catherine Kitsler, a daughter of Nathan and Christena (Everett) Kitsler, natives of Columbia County, Pennsylvania. Of the seven children born to this union six are living - Lucy is the wife of F. A. Fry, of Illinois; Mattie; Austin, attending school at Valparaiso; Frances F., Chancey E., and Agnes F. A daughter, Addie, died June 12, 1886, eight days before her twentieth birthday. She was much beloved by her companions, and left many friends to mourn her untimely death. Mr. Young bought 120 acres of land in Blue Creek Township, when he first came to Adams County, and to this he added until he had accumulated a fine property consisting of 200 acres, which is still occupied by his widow. The farm is carried on by her sons with the assistance of hired help, and is under a fine state of cultivation. Beside the home farm the widow owns an additional two acres of land. In politics Mr. Young affiliated with the Democratic party. He was a member of the Odd Fellows order. Mrs. Young and her children, with the exception of the youngest child, are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Their postoffice is Willshire, Ohio. The parents of Mrs. Young were pioneers of Adams County. Both are now deceased, her father dying in 1872, and her mother in August, 1885.
JOSEPH CROZIER, farmer, section 15, Union Township, came to this county in October, 1841, and first settled on the farm now owned by Elijah Krick. He lived on that farm two years, then entered his present farm from the Government, and has occupied it since that time. It was then in a perfectly wild state. He built his log cabin which stood on the site of his present barn. Mr. Crozier was born in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, October 5, 1816, and when he was a child was taken by his parents to Perry County, same State, where he grew to manhood. He was married in Stark County, Ohio, May 19, 1839 to Miss Christina Raver, who was born in that county September 11, 1821. After their marriage they lived in Stark County until their removal to this county. Mrs. Crozier died June 10, 1858, leaving seven children - Samuel, born December 4, 1842; George, born February 10, 1845; Elias, born March 16, 1846; James, born September 2, 1848; Joseph, born July 7, 1850; William, born February 15, 1852, and Sarah Jane, born February 10, 1856. Samuel died in hospital, while in the army, in New Orleans, in February, 1865, being a member of the Forty-seventh Indiana Infantry. George died at home. Elias also died at home February 22, 1873. William Henry and Elizabeth died in infancy. August 10, 1858, Mr. Crozier was married to Anna Trimble, who was born in Crawford County, Ohio, August 27, 1826, where she passed her childhood. She removed with her mother to Van Wert County, where the latter died February 15, 1873, at the age of seventy-seven years. She was born in Muskingum County in 1796. The father died in Crawford County, when Mrs. Crozier was quite young, aged over seventy years. There were eight children in her father's family, Mrs. Crozier being the third child; only two of the children are living - Mrs. Ensworth, of Union Township, and Mrs. Crozier. Mr. Crozier's parents were Samuel I. and Mary (Lear) Crozier. The father was born in Pennsylvania in 1786 and served in the war of 1812. He died in Allen County, Indiana, in July, 1872, and is buried near Mapleton. He was a blacksmith by trade, and followed blacksmithing most of his life. The mother was born in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, and died in Allen County, this State, about 1857, aged sixty years. Mr. Crozier and his present wife have had no children. His grandfather Crozier was born in Ireland, came to America and settled on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. He died in that State. The Lears were of German ancestry. Mr. Crozier�s grandparents, Hugh and Mary Trimble, died in Crawford County, Ohio. They were of Irish descent. Mr. Crozier was the oldest of eight children in his father's family.