Clarence O. Rayn was born in Bear Creek township, Jay county, Indiana , February 7, 1873. His parents were Alexander and Caroline (Mendcnhall) Rayn. The father is now a resident of Portland . The mother died when Clarence was about four years old. He has one sister living at Winchester , Indiana . The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm and attended school regularly and finished his schooling at the university at Ada , Ohio . He began the printer's trade at the age of seventeen, working in the News office at Ridgeville, which was then owned by his brother-in-law, W. L. Day. By working at the trade he made much of the money that made it possible for him to attend various normal schools and prepare himself for his chosen profession, that of newspaper work. At the age of twenty-two he bought a second-hand printshop at Portland and moved it on wagons to Mendon , Ohio , where he launched his first newspaper, and the first in that town. He remained there until 1896 and then sold it to O. F. Geiger, the present owner. He then returned to Geneva and worked in the office of the Geneva Herald for his brother, O. G. Rayn, now deceased, and in April, 1897, he purchased the Herald office and by hard work and skillful management has it and a snug little home paid for. He also owns the brick building in which the Geneva Herald office is located.

On September 19, 1897, he married Miss Pearl Leota Dutton, youngest daughter of five children born to James W. and Sarah (Grant) Dutton, two highly respected people. Mrs. Rayn was born May 7, 1876, in Mendon, Mercer county, Ohio . She was one of the best known and most highly respected young ladies of that community. She was a member of the Church of God , but now belongs to the M. E. church of Geneva , of which Mr. Rayn is also a member. He at present is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Daughters of Rcbekah and Pythian Sisters. Mrs. Rayn is also a member of the two latter orders, in good standing, and at this time is noble grand of Sylvia Rebekah Lodge, No. 327.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 489)


While it may be as the immortal bard said, "There's a destiny that shapes our ends, rough hew them though we may," to the unimaginative, practical man of affairs of today more potent seem the qualities of integrity, ambition, industry and confidence in one's self in making for and in guaranteeing permanent success. It is the rugged man, the wide-awake man and the man who makes every thought and effort count for its utmost that is headed toward business or any other kind of worldly success. Such a man as distinguished from many others is Rudolph Schug. Still a young man, measured by modern standards, he stands high in the business world of successful men of his community and state, and his success and prominence were achieved through his own efforts without help from individuals or outside sources. Left fatherless at the tender age of four years, Mr. Schug was deprived of the advantages of a father's counsel and advice. He was born in French township, Adams county, Indiana, August 13, 1864. His parents were Karl and Catherine (Roush) Schug. His father was born in Germany and in early life he came to this country. He lived for a time in Ohio , where he followed his trade pf wagon-making. After removing to Indiana , in 1864, he took up the business of farming, which he followed successfully until his death, four years and six months later. He was the father of eight children, seven of whom arc still living. Young Schug experienced many hardships during his youth, but was determined to surmount circumstances regardless of how adverse they might be. He obtained a meager education in the schools of his township and supplemented this through his own ingenuity. He was a hard worker and ambitious. Reaching manhood, he continued in the farming business and made it a paying enterprise. When oil was discovered in northeastern Indiana he caused wells to be put down on his farm and there are today nine producing wells. His various other business enterprises prospered and his wealth increased. He interested himself in politics and as a Democrat was chosen township assessor for French township, which office he ably filled for five years. Then he was elected a township trustee for the same township and served in this capacity for four years.

In 1889 he was married to Miss Mina Reppert, a daughter of Frederick and Eliza (Sellemeyer) Reppert. His wife's father and mother were among the older settlers in Adams county, and her mother is still living at the advanced age of ninety-five years. During the decade that preceded the year 1903 the prosperity of Berne and surrounding territory had grown wonderfully. The necessity of an additional bank became apparent to many. This necessity proved the opportunity for which the active brain of Rudolph Schug was looking. He began at once to organize a bank. Taking the idea as his own and working out the details of a new banking institution, he personally solicited stock subscriptions among his neighbors and business men of Adams county and was rewarded in February, 1903, by seeing the People's State Bank a realized and active institution. The bank was capitalized at forty thousand dollars, and three years later increased to fifty thousand. Mr. Schug became its first cashier, which position he still holds. The bank has grown to a strong and reliable institution, even when measured by the older and more pretentious institutions of the state. There are seventy-three stockholders in the bank, representing more than a million and a half dollars in personal wealth and all reside in Adams county.

But Mr. Schug is interested in other business enterprises than the bank he founded. He was treasurer and secretary of the Berne Artificial Stone Company two years; is a director in the Berne Manufacturing Company and served three years as treasurer of the Great Northern Indiana Fair Association. Mr. Schug and his family live in the handsomest home in Berne . It is a large eleven-room house, built of artificial stone and entirely modern. It is a center of local social life and its hospitality is lavishly extended.

Mr. and Mrs. Schug have become the parents of seven children, all of whom live with their parents. The children are : Stella May, Oliver Perry, Urban D., Luster, Homer, Nelson R. and Emma.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 485)


Among the younger men who have taken a high place in the annals of contemporary northeastern Indiana is Jesse Rupp. Comparatively speaking, Mr. Rupp is a newcomer to Indiana , but in the short period he has been located in this section of the state and in Adams county he has come to be considered a strong man and a financier of high order. He was born in Archbold, Fulton county, Ohio , January 22, 1874. He is the son of the Rev. Daniel and Catherine (Short) Rupp. His father is one of the best known and most highly esteemed men of his county. He has been a prosperous farmer for many years and is a minister of the Mennonite denomination. Jesse is one of three sons born to his parents. The eldest, Aaron, is deceased. Daniel follows his father's occupation of farming in Fulton count)', where he was born. It may have been because Mr. Rupp did not show an early inclination for agricultural pursuits that another sphere of life was planned for him. As a youth he showed aptitude along studious lines and attended the Archbold common and high schools. He graduated from the first high school that community had. Following the completion of his high school course he attended the Northwestern Normal School at Wauseon , Ohio . He then attended the Tri-State College at Angola , Indiana , and completed his school days with a business course at Peoria , Illinois . He engaged in teaching for the ensuing six years, and during this period taught in schools of three states. Returning to Archbold, he entered the banking business, and from 1897 until 1904 was associated with the Farmers' and Merchants' Bank of that place. He advanced through successive grades of employment until he was chosen cashier of the bank. In 1905 he was offered the position of cashier of the Berne Bank and assumed his duties in that institution. The Bank of Berne was organized in 1891 and has been a sound financial institution since its foundation. It was conceived and organized by leading citizens of Adams county and the original capital was forty thousand dollars. From the first the bank prospered and a short time ago moved into a handsome new building in the very center of the Berne business district. The new building was erected at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars. The bank is conducted along the best lines of modern banking. At present the capital stock is fifty-two thousand dollars; the surplus in excess of thirty thousand dollars and deposits more than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Under the direction of Mr. Rupp the bank has developed and bids fair to continue one of the soundest and most responsible financial institutions of the state.

In 1898 Mr. Rupp married Miss Clara Stauffer, a daughter of Amos and Ellen (Morrow) Stauffer. Both of her parents were among the pioneer settlers of Adams county and settled and established a farm home in Hartford township. To Mr. and Mrs. Rupp three children have been born. These are: Allen E., Grace L. and Emerson J. Mr. Rupp is a fine type of the modern, young, aggressive business man. He is alive to all that makes for the betterment of his fellow citizens and takes an active part in promoting live ideas and sane projects. He is a Democrat in politics. With his family he takes part in the social and religious life of Berne and is esteemed by all who know him. Mr. Rupp, since coming to Indiana , has been active in Sunday-school work and is now serving his third term as president of the Adams County Sunday- School Association.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 483)


William Holle, of Union township, is a native of the fatherland, having been bom in Prussia , Germany , on November 11, 1848. His parents were Henry and Louise (Kettler) Holle, also natives of Prussia , who emigrated to America in 1857. They came at once to Adams county and for three years lived on rented land in Root township. In 1861 Mr. Holle purchased eighty acres of timber land, which he cleared and improved and developed into one of the best farms of the locality. Here they lived until their deaths, the father dying August 8, 1897, at the age of seventy-eight years, and the mother in January, 1905, when upwards of eighty years of age. They were the parents of six children : William, Frederick, Engel, who died when about three years old; Louise, the wife of W. F. Bleeke; Sophia, the wife of Frederick Thieme, but who is now deceased, and Emma, the wife of Martin Bleeke.

The subject of this sketch was nine years of age when the family came to America and he spent his young manhood in Root township, this county, living with his father until 1875, when he settled on the farm where he now resides. He has devoted much of his attention to the cultivation of his farm, but during the past thirty years has given much attention to the sawmill business, in which he has been equally successful.

On September 19, 1875, Mr. Holle married Miss Sophia Bleeke, a daughter of Christian and Louise (Fahlsing) Bleeke, and to this union have been born ten children: Johanna, the wife of William Koldewey, but who died at Ft. Wayne, Indiana, on February 12, 1906; Martin, deceased; Henoch, a minister at Omaha, Nebraska ; Charles, who died at the age of four years ; Justinus, Otto, Matilda, Ludella, Lucy and Lona.

Mr. and Mrs. Holle are members of the Emanuel Lutheran church, in which he has been trustee, and when the church was erected he was president of the building committee, and thus was closely associated with this enterprise. He has many fine qualities of character and justly merits the high regard which is bestowed upon him by those who know him. Mr. Holle owns one hundred and twenty acres of land in section 16, where he resides, and also owns a farm of one hundred acres in section 9, Union township.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 481)


John A. Ehrman, a well-to-do citizen of Union township, Adams county, Indiana, was born on. his father's farm in Van Wert county, Ohio , on July 5, 1856. His parents were Christian and Margaret (Bienz) Ehrman, the latter of whom died in 1860, at the early age of thirty-four. The father was a soldier in the Civil war and was killed at the battle of Gettysburg . They were the parents of four children: Ernma, deceased; John A., Catherine, the wife of William Gove, of Plymouth , Indiana , and Lizzie, the wife of Martin Schumm.

The subject of this sketch, at the time of his mother's death and near the time of his father's entrance into the Union army, went to live with Charles Custer, in Root township, this county, where he remained until eight years of age, when he went to live with William Gerke, where he resided until his marriage. He was educated in the German Lutheran school of Root township and in the public schools, and has supplemented this education by a liberal course of reading and close observation of men and events. At the time of his marriage, in 1880, he settled in Allen county, Indiana, for one year and then removed to Decatur , where he engaged in the implement business for one year. At the end of that time, in the spring of 1884, he settled on the farm where he now resides, to which he has devoted his attention with such success that he is now in a comparatively comfortable financial position. His eighty acres of land are well improved and produce all the crops common to this locality.<> On April 3, 1880, Mr. Ehrman married Miss Caroline Bleeke, who was born in Union township, Adams county, on November 1, 1859, the daughter of Frederick and Mary (Bievelheimer) Bleeke, and third in order of birth in their family of ten children. Mr. and Mrs. Ehrman are the parents of nine living children: Rosa M., the wife of Ernest Gallmeir; Selma K. T., the wife of August Nahrwoid; Nora C. L., the wife of Otto Hertz; Lawrence W., Lydia S., Mary P., Martin H. F., Edwin H. and Clemeans H. H. Mr. Ehrman has taken a deep interest in all local public affairs and has held the office of justice of the peace for three terms and is the present township assessor. He and his wife are members of the Emanuel Lutheran church, in which organization he has been a trustee for two years.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 481)


Chris Stengel is one of the successful business men and most highly respected citizens of Berne . Comparatively speaking, he is a newcomer to his home city and Adams county, but in the years he has been located in Berne he has firmly established himself. He was born in Dannenfels, Rheinphalz , Germany , December 13, 1865. His parents, Henry and Catherine Stengel, were natives of the fatherland and lived in their native village until their deaths. Their son lived with them during his childhood and early manhood and acquired a substantial education in the schools of his village. When he was about twenty-two years of age he was impressed with the greater opportunities offered in the American republic to young men. This thought took firm hold of him and in the end he decided to forsake his fatherland and embark on a venture across the Atlantic. Accordingly, in 1887, he sailed for New York , which city he reached without incident. His first few months in this country were spent in the Atlantic seaboard metropolis. Then he considered that he would still better his fortunes by going westward. This he did, and established himself in Ashland county, Ohio. He lived in Ohio for the succeeding two and one-half years and then came to Indiana . He came directly to the Adams county village of Berne , where he entered the drug business with Mr. J. F. Lachot, who was already established. He continued in the partnership arrangement with Mr. Lachot until 1892, when he severed his connection with him and formed a partnership with James S. Craig. The new firm became known as Stengel & Craig, and in 1894 James S. Craig sold his interest to his son, John W. Craig, and this firm has since conducted the business.

In 1891 Mr. Stengel was married to Miss Millie E. Craig, a daughter of James S. Craig, his first associate in business. As a result of this marriage three children have come to brighten the home of Mr. and Mrs. Stengel. These children are: Auleta, Ernest and Charlotte.

From the inception of his present business venture it has proven highly successful. The store is one of the largest and best equipped in the county and carries between five thousand and six thousand dollars' worth of stock. Mr. Stengel is an able and enterprising business man and the firm's business continues to prosper. He takes a live interest in the affairs of his county and as a Democrat has served his fellow citizens in public offices. He served as a member of the town board for two years and lias been city clerk for seven years, his term beginning in 1901. He is an earnest member of the German Reformed church and with the members of his family contributes to the aims and ambitions of this denomination.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 479)


Among the moulders of public opinion in Adams county, Indiana , the place occupied by Mr. O. M. Ryf is an enviable one. He is a young man, several years this side of thirty, but he is the proprietor of a paper that has become an established institution of his home county and is in every way progressive and aggressive. The owner of this paper, with whom this sketch is concerned, was born in Monroe township of Adams county, July 5, 1884. He is the son of Ferdinand and Lena (Kneuss) Ryf. His parents were born in the Swiss republic and after their marriage came to America . They settled in Berne , where the father began to follow his trade of shoemaker. He also opened a shore store and conducts this business today.

The subject of this sketch was the third in order of birth of nine children that have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Ryf. He received his education in the Berne schools and was a satisfactory student. After graduating from the schools he determined to enter the newspaper business. Nothing daunted by the history of the many failures that have come about through newspaper ventures, he secured a small plant and in 1903 published the first edition of "The Berne News." From its start his paper was popular and filled a need of the people of his city and county. Its success was assured and as it is managed along progressive and liberal lines its success is in no jeopardy. An interesting fact in connection with the beginning- of the paper and a fact that demonstrates the ability of its publisher is that within seven months of its beginning the paper had a circulation in Adams county of eight hundred copies. This circulation is growing in a healthy manner.

Mr. Ryf is developing into one of the strong men of the younger generation of Adams county. He takes an active and intelligent part in the affairs of his county and in the workings of the Democratic party, of which he is a member. His fraternal affiliations are with the Knights of Pythias, Berne Lodge, No. 398. He is a member of the German Reformed church.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 477)


It is doubtful that any representative of the younger portion of the present generation living in Adams county has gained more distinction of a desirable quality or has to a greater extent the entire esteem of his fellows than Fred Rohrer, the editor and publisher of the Berne Witness. As a citizen he has and does take an active interest in municipal and county affairs and as a man he lives to a very high standard. He is a patron of education and a firm believer in the principle of doing things heartily that will advance the commercial prosperity and the intellectual development of his community. He is one of the best known newspaper men of northeastern Indiana and his paper wields a strong influence in shaping the policies of the district it covers. The success as a business venture with which this paper has met and its prestige as a medium for the circulation of news and profound editorial thought are due in large measure to the energy, ability and fearlessness of its owner.

Fred Rohrer is a native of the Swjss republic. He was born near Berne , the capital of the republic, December 9, 1867. He is the second in point of birth of a family of fourteen children. He is a son of John Christian and Rosina Rohrer, both of whom are still living at Berne, in Adams county. His paternal grandfather was a weaver of linens in Switzerland and spent all of his life in that country. April 26, 1883, the family of John Christian Rohrer, consisting of his wife and six children, left their homes in the little Alpine republic and started for the larger republic on the west side of the Atlantic ocean. The journey was made without incident, and the family landed in safety at New York , May 9, 1S83. They pushed westward and settled in Wayne county, Ohio , where they remained for two years. At the conclusion of this period the eider Rohrer decided to move to Indiana and accordingly he came to Adams county with his wife and four of his children. Two brothers, Fred and Ernest, remained a year longer in Wayne county-, working for farmers on the Sonnenberg. They finally came to Adams county and settled with their parents April 2, 1886.

The early youth of Fred Rohrer was spent in Switzerland . When he was about three years of age his parents moved to the city of Berne . Fred attended the primary schools of Berne and when thirteen years of age passed the examination for admission to the school that corresponds here to a high school. He pursued the course in this institution and the last two years of his attendance took special work in the gymnasium and swimming school, anticipating entering the "pontoniers," a division of the Swiss army, after his graduation. He hecame a very skillful swimmer and on two occasions won the third and the second prizes offered for contestants in public swimming events.

After coming to his father's home in Adams county he supplemented his excellent preliminary education by a thorough four years' course at the Tri-State Normal College at Angola , Indiana . His career at this institution was marked by academic successes. He was an earnest student and applied himself with energy and intelligence. He completed the scientific course at the normal college and in addition specialized in the fine arts, commercial department, shorthand and vocal and instrumental music. He was graduated "cum laude" with the class of '96 and left the institution with the best wishes of his professors and with high estimates for his future success. As the result of his final examination and all class work in the ommercial department he received an average of 99 1-6 per cent., the second highest ever received at that school up to that time. The highest recorded was 99 1/2 per cent.

However, study was not the one incident of Fred Rohrer's early days in Adams county. He worked on a farm in this county for some months after he arrived and also clerked in the store of Allison, Morrow & Co. for eight months. Following this employment he worked some years for Sprunger, Lehman & Co. before he went to the normal college at Angola . There was one interruption to the school career of Mr. Rohrer. After he had been a student at Angola for two years he was persuaded by the Rev. John A. Sprunger to go to Chicago and engage in missionary work. He went to Chicago and attended the Moody Bible Institute until the spring of 1893. At this time Mr. Rohrer, in connection with the Rev. John Sprunger, Mrs. Sprunger, Miss Mary Gerber and Miss Katie Moser, founded the "Light and Hope Missionary Society." This society established a hospital, deaconess home and a rescue home at the intersection of Harrison and May streets. An orphanage was also established at Berne , Indiana . Mr. Rohrer was chosen secretary of the society and continued as such until October 31, 1893. He then returned to Berne , Indiana , and assumed charge of the orphanage and taught school. After some months in Berne following his marriage Mr. Rohrer again resumed his studies at Angola . During the days that followed he gained the impetus that finally landed him in the newspaper business. During his last year at Angola he was employed in the composing room of the Steuben Republican and there learned the printer's trade. His idea after returning to Berne following his graduation from the normal school was to return to the missionary society and teach the children of the orphanage printing. However, since Berne was a town with a population of one thousand and without a paper, some of the citizens induced him to give Berne a "mouthpiece." Accordingly he established the Berne Witness. The first issue of this paper appeared September 3, 1S96, and it has become a power in its community. The path of the newspaper publisher is far from a rosy one at best. The Witness had its troubles before it was firmly established. But Mr. Rohrer was a man whom it was difficult to discourage, and he kept at the business of publishing his paper until he assured himself that it was on a permanent and paying basis. The paper assisted in driving the saloon element out of Berne and Mr. Rohrer gained such distinction by his virile appeals to public pride and his adoption of a radical public policy that the Witness and the editor had the eyes of thousands upon them. He was assaulted three times and his home was dynamited during his crusade, but in the end was victorious and carried his remonstrances through the highest courts in the state and through the courts of public sentiment with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his friends and the consternation of his enemies. He is a Republican in politics, but he does not allow party considerations to bias his view of the right course to pursue. He supports the man rather than the party and willingly votes for Prohibitionists or Democrats if the candidates of these parties seem preferable. He takes an active interest in temperance work and has been a member of the German Temperance Society of Berne since its organization in 1886. He is a consistent member of the Mennonite church and serves as its clerk and is also a teacher in the Sunday-school, and gives this denomination his hearty and substantial support.

The marriage of Mr. Rohrer and Miss Emma Reusser, who was a deaconess in the Chicago establishment of the Light and Hope Mission, occurred November 16, .1893. The wedding was celebrated in the house that is still their home. His wife is a daughter of Jacob Reusser, one of the three men who named the city of Berne . Mr. and Mrs. Rohrer are the parents of four children: Ira Dwight Rohrer, born October 18, 1894; Paul Frederick Rohrer, born July 4, 1S97; Ruth Adina Rohrer, born January 28, 1901, and Margaret Helena Rohrer, born April 29, 1904.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 473)


Among the earliest of the pioneers who came to Adams county when the country was the wildest sort of a wilderness, when the nearest trading post was at Fort Wayne, and Indians and wild beasts contested the ownership of the land with the white men, was Lewis Andrews, father of the subject of this sketch. The elder Andrews came to Adams county in 1837 and located in Washington township. The trip was made from the east to Indiana by wagons, and the pioneer walked every step of the way. At the time of the arrival of the Andrews family in Adams county the land was in a primitive state. Dense woods covered almost every portion and the work of clearing a farm was one of the most arduous that had to be performed. But the indomitable spirit of the pioneer was not easily crushed, and in time the farm was cleared of its timber and a permanent home established. After years of labor Lewis Andrews found himself in possession of a fine estate, well cleared and improved and a fine heritage for the children that had been born to himself and his estimable wife. These children were nine in number and six are still living. Those living are: Martha, H. J., Hattie, James W., Addie and O. P.

H. J. Andrews was the fourth in point of birth of this interesting family. He spent his boyhood on his father's farm, and when he became old enough to take an active part in the operation of the farm he contributed to the work of clearing the broad acres and in improving the estate. His birth occurred March 17, 1866, and until a few years ago he lived on his parents' farm. He secured a more than ordinarily good education in the schools of his township and under the direction of his father learned the lessons that usually come to a farmer's son. In time he became a skillful farmer, possessing a keen appreciation of the value of modern methods and equipment.

Some time after the death of his father the old farm was sold and the family moved to Monroe, Monroe township, Adams county. For a time the subject continued in the business of farming and in 1902 established a livery business in Monroe . This business he has built up until it is successful and on a fine paying basis.

Mr. Andrews never married and lives with his aged mother in a pleasant home in Monroe . He, like his father before him, is a Republican in politics, but does not take an active part in party affairs. He has never been a candidate for official preferment. His mother is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 471)


The subject of this sketch is a native of Adams county, having first seen daylight on February 20, 1869, and therefore is yet in the prime of life. His father, William F. Fulk, is a native of Trumbull county, Ohio, and prior to his coming to this county was a prominent member of the constructional force of the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad (now a part of the Erie system), this capacity he creditably filled for several years, or until 1865, when he resigned, came west and bought the two-hundred-and-forty-acre farm which at this time is one of the finest in this county.

Soon after coming here he met Miss Emma Sovine, a native of Adams county. They were married soon after and to this union were born six children. Three of whom still survive, as follows: William E. and John H., of Bluffton, Indiana, and Louis P., the youngest, who is a prominent drug clerk, employed with the drug firm of Smith, Yager & Fulk at Decatur, Indiana. William E., the eldest, is familiar with the details and general management required in making a good farm out of a dense for est. Two brothers and a sister next to him died in infancy, therefore the bulk of the labor around the home and on the farm fell to him, and thus he did not have many of the opportunities of the boys of today. But all of this did not get the best of him, as he made good use of his time in various ways, which in later years have been a great credit to him. He mastered the common school course and on April 23, 1889, graduated, capturing the first prize awarded by John F. Snow, the county superintendent of public instruction. After which he successfully taught six terms in the public schools in one room at No. 6, Kirkland township, this county. He had a native talent for mechanics and under the careful instructon of his father, who was an able mechanic, he became not only a workman of ability, but also a first-class designer. At the close of the last term of school taught by him he was asked to become an aspirant for county surveyor. This he reluctantly consented to after much persuasion, and as a result of his efforts was elected and assumed the duties of this office on November 12, 1894, and became his own successor in 1896 and 1898 without opposition.

To him the residents of Adams county can well feel proud for the advanced values of their realty, and especially the farmer, since by careful engineering and push he succeeded in having constructed the Decatur and Bluffton macadam road, which is said to be not only the first, but one of the best macadam roads in northeastern Indiana .

Prior to 1894 there had been an attempt to improve the highway in Adams county by using gravel as an improved surfacing material, but after a few years of trials and enormous costs incurred by continual repairing Mr. Fulk decided to make or attempt a radical departure in the subject of improving the highway with crushed stone or macadam. With various authors or their works in his library, and in contact with various United States Government officials at Washington, D. C, he set to work to create an improvement in the highways of Adams county. The results were so highly satisfactory that before the close of his official career he had over a quarter of a million dollars of the people's money invested in macadam roads, and as a further sanction of his efforts in improving the highways of the county as begun by him is evidenced by the fact that the county commissioners are continually loaded with petitions for macadam roads. Another vital interest that was projected by him during his career as county surveyor and which has placed greater values on farms located in the county was the conversion of open public or located drains into tile drains of large capacity, thereby removing an unsightly scar from farms, adding to their value many bushels of grain, and removing all the serious inconveniences attending the presence of an open ditch. His ability and knowledge of public improvements were honorably recognized by state and national officials, so much so that he has been commissioned by three ex-governors of the state of Indiana on request of the director of the bureau of highway and irrigation at Washington, D. C, to attend the sessions of the National Road and Irrigation Congress in various large cities of the union.

On December 11, 1900, Mr. Fulk was admitted to the bar as a person able to follow the profession of a lawyer. The Hon. D. D. Heller, then judge of the Adams circuit court, presided. He also acted in the capacity of city civil engineer for some time and on July 5, 1903, accepted the official capacity as superintendent of the water works at Decatur , Indiana , which position he still occupies. This office he hesitated to assume on account of the financial emharrassment of the plant, which was sadly crippled by bad management in some way or another, but on assuming the management of the same with a debt of several thousand dollars, by careful attention to business he has again placed the water works plant on a profitable basis.

On December 23, 1894, the subject of this sketch joined fortune with Miss Lydia E. Ashbaucher, third daughter of Christian and Malena Ashbaucher, residents of French township, Adams county, Indiana. To this union were born six children : Hubert C, deceased by an accident; Mary Irene, Raymond A., Christena A., Mabel E. and Carl V.

He has always moved in the capacity of a public-spirited citizen, always in line for public improvements, bringing values to the highest marketable price so far as the general public is connected with progressive measures of a legitimate purpose. In politics he has always espoused the Democratic faith and has always remained faithful to the trust conferred upon him, being at all times a hard worker for the improvement of public conditions.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 467)


Eli W. Johnson, who is now successfully conducting a general store in Monroe, is a native of the Hoosier state, having been born in the same locality in which he now resides, on December 19, 1879. He is a son of Joseph P. and Emily (Walton) Johnson, the former of whom was a native of Ohio , coming to Indiana in an early day. They were the parents of six children: R. O., Lena, Eli W., subject of this sketch; Sylvester, Chester and Arden , all of whom are now living except the last named. The father of these children is still living at Monroe , having spent practically his entire life at farming, though in recent years he has engaged in the timber business, buying and selling vast quantities of this product. He is the owner of a splendid farm of one hundred and twenty acres in this county and is considered one of the leading and most progressive citizens of the county.

The subject of this sketch after attaining mature years spent three or four years in the southwestern states, principally Arizona and Old Mexico, where he was engaged in various employments. On returning to his native locality he established his present business, that of a general store, in which he has been successfully engaged ever since. He carries a large and complete line of all the commodities ordinarily carried in a store of this character and his dealings are characterized by the strictest, integrity, commanding - it all times the absolute confidence of all who have dealings with him. He is public spirited and a deep thinker and exerts his influence in favor of all those things which go to the upbuilding of his community. He is also interested in other enterprises, owning stock in a creamery and the bank at Monroe. Fraternally he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, No. 6840, of which he is now serving as clerk, and of Decatur Lodge, No. 15, Knights of Pythias. In politics he is a Republican.

The subject was united in marriage in April, 1907, to Miss Sadie Weldy, a native of Adams county, daughter of Christ Weldy, a retired farmer of Decatur .

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 467)


John Hendricks, who formerly was a successful farmer on section 3, Monroe township, but who is now living in the town of Monroe , Monroe township, was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio , Tune 24, 1839. He is a son of Thomas and Lydda Hendricks.

Thomas Hendricks was born in Harrison county, Ohio, on November 22, 1811, and Lydda Hendricks was born in the state of Maryland on October 12, 1812, and came with her parents to Ohio, when six years of age. Thomas and Lydda Hendricks were married in July, 1834. The subject's maternal grandfather, John Renecker, was born in Maryland , near the city of Baltimore , April '4. 1788, while his wife, Mary, was born in Maryland , April 9, 1790. They were among the early settlers of Ohio . The paternal grandfather was a native of Pennsylvania , born December 22, 1779, and his wife was born June 26, 1784. Thomas Hendricks died January 13, 1883, at the age of seventy-one years, and his wife on March 2, 1895, at the age of eighty-two. They were the parents of seven children, three boys and four girls, of whom the boys and one girl grew to maturity.

When the subject was nine years of age he accompanied his parents from Ohio to Van Buren county, Iowa , where they remained nearly five years, returning in the spring of 1853 to Henry county, Ohio . The young lad gained a great deal of pleasure from these trips, the return trip from Iowa being made largely by water by way of the Ohio to Cincinnati , and thence by canal from Delphus to Florida , Henry county, Ohio . After a short sojourn in that locality the family came by way of canal to Fort Wayne , Indiana . Subsequently the family located in Adams county, which at that time was but slightly improved, dense forests and swamps covering nearly all of the territory embraced within the present county lines. They located about one mile south and a quarter of a mile east of what was called Monroe , though it was but a dense wilderness. Here the family resided for a period of almost thirty-four years. The subject remained at home until attaining his majority and in the fall of i860 went to Ottawa county, Ohio , where he obtained employment in a saw mill until the following spring, when he returned home, and during the following summer was employed on the farm.

In the spring of 1862 he took employment at the carpenter's trade, but on Auguth 9th of that year, upon the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion, he enlisted in Company H, Eighty-ninth Indiana Infantry, in which he served during that terrible conflict, being engaged in all of the battles, skirmishes and marches in which his regiment participated. Among the most important of these may be mentioned Munfordville, Kentucky; Sherman's March to the Sea ; Pleasant Hill, Louisiana; Bayou Lamare, Yellow Bayou, Tupelo, Mississippi; Nashville, Tennessee; Siege of Mobile, and the eleven-hundred mile march through Missouri, when Mr. Hendricks traveled with his regiment on foot two thousand three hundred and sixty-three miles, by steamer seven thousand one hundred and thirty-two miles and by rail one thousand two hundred and twelve miles. On August S, 1865, Mr. Hendricks received an honorable discharge and returned to Adams county.

From 1866 to 1896 Mr. Hendricks engaged in the cultivation of the soil on the old home farm, his original possession of eighty acres having been augmented by a subsequent purchase of thirty-five acres. Since 1896 Mr. Hendricks has, as stated at the opening of this sketch, resided in Monroe , where in peace and comfort he is spending the declining years of his life, rich in the regard and esteem of those who know him.

On August 19, 1866, Mr Hendricks married Miss Margaret E. Ray, who was born in Harrison county, Ohio , on July 7, 1845, a daughter of George W. and Eleanor Ray. These parents came to Adams county, Indiana, in 1848 and with the exception of three years spent in Ottawa county, Ohio , lived here during the remainder of their lives, the father dying in November, i860. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks have been born four children : Levi N., James V., George A. and William A., all of whom attained maturity and married. Levi M. died in August, 1902, at the age of thirty-five, leaving a wife and three children; James V. and George A. are living on the old home farm and William A. is engaged as a clerk in a general store in Monroe .

In January, 1896, Mr. Hendricks made a trip over the scenes of the old conflict in the southland, passing over many of the identical roads where as a boy in blue he endured the hardships and privations of the march in defense of Old Glory, his route being between Cincinnati, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; Montgomery, Alabama; Americus, Georgia; Fitzgerald, Georgia; Macon, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge and Chickamauga. Two years later, in 1898, Mr. Hendricks went to Richmond , Virginia , to take a look at the old historic battle fields of that region. He attended several national encampments of the Grand Army of the Republic, including the ones at Indianapolis , Louisville and Cincinnati .

Mr. Hendricks has taken an active personal interest in the welfare of his community and served as one of the committee which established the boundary line of the town of Monroe prior to its corporation, and also served as inspector at the first election held by that town in February, 1904. He also had the distinction, in 1905, of putting down the first cement sidewalk in the town, and since that year has continuously served as a member of the town council, and is now serving as president of the board.

He is a member of Sam Henry Post, No. 63, Grand Army of the Republic, at Decatur , Indiana , and in politics is a Democrat. Religiously he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 463)


Joseph S. Lower is a native of Tuscarawas county, Ohio , and was born October 2, 1843. He is a son of William and Catherine (Munia) Lower. Both of his parents were born in Virginia . William Lower was born in Brook county, Virginia, in 1814. His father was Samuel Lower, who moved to Ohio and settled in Defiance, where he died. William Lower came to Indiana and settled in Adams county in 1852. He brought his wife and family with him and purchased land in Union township. He was an earnest member of the United Brethren church and in 1870 was ordained and licensed a preacher of this denomination. He continued to farm and preach until his death. He was a fine example of a Christian man and was an eloquent preacher. He and his wife became the parents of the following eight children : Esther Ann , Catherine, Martha, Joseph, William, Ammistee, Margaret, Joshua, John W. and Sylvester, both of the latter being ministers of the gospel. Another child, the third in order of birth, died in infancy. William Lower died September 10, 1877, and his wife survived until 1899. He was a Republican in politics.

The youthful Joseph Lower was but a small child when he accompanied his parents from Ohio to Indiana . He was educated in the common schools of his neighborhood and among the wholesome influences of his father's home. He lived on the home farm until he became of age. By this time he had saved some of the money he had earned, and with this money he purchased a farm in Union township. He continued to live on this farm with the members of his own family until 1887, when he sold his land and purchased a farm in Root township, on which he is still residing.

The marriage of Joseph Lower and Miss Rebecca Jane Congelton was solemnized in Root township in 1867. Mrs. Lower is a daughter of Daniel and Ann a (Nelson) Congelton, and was born in Adams county. Her parents came to Indiana and settled in Adams county in 1848 and purchased land. Her father died in 1854 and his wife in 1892. They were the parents of the following children : David, Rachael, Theodore, Jane, Elizabeth, Perry, Hiram, Rebecca, Winfield, Mary, Emily and Margaret. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lower are the parents of three children : Nora A., the wife of Frederick Linn ; William, who married Dora Peterson, and Homer D., who married Ada Archbold.

Mr. Lower is counted among the strong and substantial men of his township. He is in eveiy sense of the term a good citizen and is prominent in all movements that have for their object the betterment of the condition of the county and the increase of its prosperity. He is a modem farmer and cultivates his fine tract of one hundred and sixty acres, and he has improved it until it has become one of the most attractive, most valuable and productive farms in the entire township. He is a Republican so far as is political affiliations are concerned, but although a consistent member of this political party and an earnest worker for its victories, he has never aspired to public office. Like his father before him, he is an earnest Christian, and with his wife and the members of his family, is a supporter of the United Brethren church. He is a trustee of the church of this denomination in his neighborhood. He is everywhere respected and his advice and counsel are frequently sought on matters of the greatest importance. Mr. Lower and Miss Congelton were married by Rev. J. W. Wagoner.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 461)


William Schamerloh, a respected and progressive citizen of Union township. Adams county, Indiana, was born in the township in which he lives on September 19, 1859, and was reared on the parental farmstead. He has always resided in this township and has merited the high position which he holds among his fellow citizens. He is the son of Christian and Caroline (Kruckeberger) Schamerloh.

William Schamerloh was educated in the German and public schools of his native township and remained at home until his marriage, April 12, 1885, when he engaged in farming for himself, and has been so engaged during the subsequent years. His place is well improved, contains one hundred and twenty acres and is considered among the choice farms of the township.

On April 12. 18S5, he married Miss Ann a Bienz, who was born in Willshire township. Van Wert county. Ohio , on March 20, 1866. To this union have been born three children : Adolph C. J., Adelia E. A. and one- who died in infancy. Mr. Schamerloh has taken an active interest in local public' affairs and was a member of the Union township band for twelve years. He and his family are members of the Emanual Lutheran church, in which organization he holds important offices. Mr. Schamerioh is a Democrat in politics.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 459)


Edward C. Bleeke, who owns a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres of land in Union township, this county, and who is justly numbered among the respected agriculturists of his locality, was born in the township where he now resides on the 5th of November, 1S63. His parents were Frederick and Mary (Bevelheimer) Bleeke, the former of whom was born in Prussia and the latter in Pennsylvania . Coming to America at the age of ten years, Frederick Bleeke and his wife located in Adams county, where they were numbered among the early settlers, and here they remained until their deaths, he dying in his seventy-eighth year and she in her fifty-seventh. Their ten children were named as follows: William F.; Louisa, the wife of William F. Reinking; Caroline, the wife of John A. Ehrman; Christine, the wife of Henry Bischoff; Edward C. ; Helena, the wife of Frank Lankeuau; Mary, the wife of George Runge; Sophia, the wife of Herman Jaebker; Ferdinand, and a daughter, who died in infancy.

The subject of this sketch was reared under the parental roof and was early inured to the toil and hardships incident to farm life. He gained a fair education in the public schools and has been a close observer and wide reader throughout his life, so that today he is considered among the well read and intelligent men of his community, farming has been his chief occupation and in this he has been eminently successful. He is the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of the old homestead farm, on which has been erected a number of good buildings, and he has conducted the place in such a manner as to bring it to a high standard of agricultural excellence.

In Union township, on October 6, 188S, Mr. Bleeke married Miss Pauline Thieme, who was born in Union township, the daughter of Godfrey and Amallea Thieme. To this union have been born six children: Herbert, Reinhold, who died at the age of four years; Ella, Edna, Victor and Herhold. This family are faithful and active members of the Emanuel Lutheran church and command the uniform respect of all with whom they come in contact.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 459)


William P. Barkley, one of the successful farmers of Union township, Adams county, Indiana, is a native Hoosier, having been born in the township where he now resides on the 2d day of February, 1870. He is the son of Elias and Mary (Clam) Barkley, respected and honored early settlers of Union township, the father now deceased, having died in his seventy- second year. The mother is living in Allen county. They were the parents of seven children, five sons and two daughters, of whom the subject of this sketch was fifth in order of birth. He received his education in the common schools of Union township and has always applied himself to agricultural pursuits, in which he has been successful to a satisfactory degree. He is the owner of sixty acres of as good land as can be found in the township and takes pride in the calling to which he has applied himself. His farm is adorned with a number of neat and substantial buildings and the place is characterized by well-kept fences, up-to-date agricultural implements and other evidences which indicate the owner to be a man of good judgment and splendid ideas. Mr. Barkley is a staunch and enthusiastic Democrat in politics and has always taken a deep interest in the welfare of his township, and has held the office of constable.

With his wife Mr. Barkley is affiliated with the United Brethren church. In Van Wert county, Ohio , on September 2, 1893, Mr. Barkley married Miss Ocie Miller, a native of that county, a daughter of William and Margaret Miller. They are the parents of two children : Ransom E. and Alonzo F. Mr. Barkley has endeavored to so live as to merit the respect of his fellow citizens and iias at all times been considered among the leading representatives of his township.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 457)


William F. Reinking, whose farm of eighty acres in section 17 in Union township, Adams county, Indiana, is among the most productive and valuable in the locality, was born in Preble township, Adams county, on July 21, 1855. His parents were Conrad and Mary ( Christianer) Reinking and of their nine children the subject was fourth in order of birth. He was reared in Preble township and remained under the parental roof until attaining majority, shortly after which he located on the farm where he now resides. It comprises eighty acres of choice land, seventy acres of which are under the plow and which are devoted to all crops common to this locality. He has erected substantial buildings and the place is well improved otherwise.

On April 21, 1878, Mr. Reinking married Miss Louise Bleeke, who was born in Union township on March 4, 1S58, the daughter of Frederick and Mary (Bievelheimer) Bleeke, and to this union were born eight children: Gustav C. F., Alvine M. L., the wife of Henry Eix; Lizzie C. M., the wife of Edward Lahnnan; Edwin W. H., Reinhard H., George E., Blandine C, Hugo M. Mr. and Mrs. Reinking are members of the Emanuel Lutheran church and takes an active interest in the official and social organisations connected with that church.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 455)


Philip L. Andrews, editor and business manager of the Decatur Journal, is a native of this county, having been born on December 16, 1859, and is the son of Robert N. and Sophia (Bolinger) Andrews. Mr. Andrews was reared on the paternal farmstead and attended the common schools of Adams county. He subsequently supplemented this schooling by attendance at Lebanon , Ohio , and Portland , Indiana , and during the following ten years was engaged in school teaching. He read law and was admitted to the bar, but finding this calling not to his liking, he withdrew from the profession after about two years, and in 1897, he was appointed postmaster at Decatur under President McKinley, which position he filled satisfactorily for four years and six months. He went to Missouri at the expiration of his term and engaged there in the manufacture of staves and shingles. Subsequently he returned to Decatur and has since been identified with journalism in the capacity of editor and business manager of the Decatur Journal. This paper, which was founded in 1876, is an eight-page, seven-column weekly and has been the only paper advocating and supporting the Republican party in Adams county. It enjoys a wide circulation and contains all the current events. Mr. Andrews has always been an active member of the Republican party and takes a deep interest in the general welfare of the community.

On April 8, 1905, he married Miss Laura Marker, who died very suddenly on the 21st of October, 1906. Fraternally Mr. Andrews is a Mason, being a past master of Decatur Lodge, No. 751, Ancient Free and Accepted Mason, and past high priest of Decatur Chapter, No. 112, Royal Arch Masons.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 455)


Adam J Bienz, who owns one hundred acres of choice land in section 8, in Union township, Adams county, Indiana, which he maintains at the highest standard of excellence, is a native of Willshire township, Van Wert county, Ohio , where he was born on October 26, 1859. His parents were Jacob and Elizabeth (Pfleger) Bienz, the father a native of Germany , and the mother of Ohio . They are still residents of Van Wert county and are the parents of eight children : Louis, Margaret, George, Adam J., Frederick, Mary, Ann a and Emma.

The subject of this sketch, who was the fourth child in order of birth, was reared on his father's farm in Ohio , where he made his home until his marriage, after which he worked on his father's farm on shares for three years. At the age of eighteen he commenced to learn the carpenter's trade, which he followed for several years. Carpentering and farming have been his principal occupations throughout life. Eventually, in 1S92, he moved from Van Wert county, Ohio , to Adams county, Indiana, and located on the farm which he now occupies. He has erected a number of neat and substantial buildings and has otherwise improved the place so that it is now considered one of the choice farms of the locality.

Mr. Bienz has been married three times. His first wife was Pauline German, by whom he had one child, Minnie. This wife died in Willshire township, Van Wert county, Ohio , at the age of twenty-seven, and Mr. Bienz subsequently married Christina Reinking, the daughter of Ferdinand Reinking. To this marriage was also born one child, Paula. Mrs. Christina Bienz died at the age of thirty-one, and on May 14, 1900, Mr. Bienz married Miss Matilda Bleeke, a native of Union township, who was born on May 29, 1874, and was the daughter of Christian and Mary (Rupp) Bleeke. Her parents are both now deceased, the father dying at the age of seventy-eight and the mother at sixty-five years old. They were the parents of ten children, of whom Mrs. Bienz was the ninth child in order of birth.

To the subject and his wife have been born three children: Erwin C. F., Amalie A. E., and Martin G. The entire family are members of the Emanual Lutheran church.

Submitted by: Margie Roop Pearce
Snow's History of Adams County, Indiana, John Fletcher Snow, B. F. Bowen, Indianapolis, IN, 1907, (image 453)

Deb Murray