Through a period of six decades the name of Gripe has been prominently connected with the history of Kosciusko county. It is an untarnished name and one that is familiar to the people of this section of the state by reason of the honorable and useful lives of those who have borne it.
Samuel Gripe, of this review, is a gentleman whose history forms a connecting link between the pioneer past and the modern present. He saw the country when it seemed almost on the borders of civilization, its land wild and uncultivated, its forests standing in their primeval strength and beauty, its few log cabin homes like niches in the surrounding wilderness, and its evidences of development few. In the work of progress and improvement that has since wrought such marvelous changes he has borne his part and today he ranks with those strong-armed, firm-willed, substantial and valued citizens of the county who laid broad and deep the foundation of its present prosperity and fitted it for the still greater progress which future years have in store.
Samuel Gripe is a native of Montgomery county, Ohio, and a lineal descendant of John Gripe, who came to America from Germany in a very early day and settled in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. In the latter county and state was born many years later a grandson of the above John Gripe, Jacob by name, who when a young man went to Montgomery county, Ohio, and settled in Dayton, when that now flourishing city was an insignificant backwoods hamlet of perhaps a dozen small log cabins. Entering land within the present limits of the place, he cleared and developed a farm and for a number of years thereafter assisted in paving the way for the wonderful civilization for which that highly favored section of the Buckeye state is so justly celebrated. In his young manhood Jacob Gripe married Mary Wilond, who was reared in the family of her husband's father in Pennsylvania, her parents having died when she was quite small, leaving her to the care of friends. After making a good home near Dayton and occupying the same until 1836, Mr. Gripe made a tour of inspection through various parts of northern Indiana, and being pleased with the advantages which Kosciusko county presented as a future agricultural region, entered a tract of land in what is now the township of Jackson. Returning to Ohio, he disposed of his interests there as soon as he could advantageously do so, and with his family moved in 1838 to his new home in the wilds of Kosciusko. Addressing himself with strong will to the task of clearing his land, he in due time removed a goodly portion of the forest growth and was at length rewarded with a comfortable home, which he occupied until death called him from the scenes of his earthly toils and struggles. Jacob Gripe was a good man and figured prominently during the pioneer period not only as a strong and stalwart woodsman and tiller of the soil, but also, as a minister of the gospel, having been the first preacher of the German Baptist church to proclaim the peculiar tenets of that faith in Kosciusko and counties adjoining. He was instrumental in organizing a number of local congregations in the new country and while he lived looked after their interests with fatherly care and ministered to his people in holy things as long as his strength permitted him to discharge the duties of his sacred office. His family consisted of ten children, six sons and four daughters, namely: Esther, Elizabeth, Susan, Sarah, Samuel, Hannah, Barbara, John, Jacob, Mary, David and Catherine.
Samuel Gripe, the direct subject of this sketch, was born April 18, 1828, in Montgomery county, Ohio, and when a lad of ten years accompanied his parents to a new home and a new destiny in the county of Kosciusko. Reared amid the active scenes of pioneer times, he experienced the hardships and vicissitudes which fall to the early settlers and while still young in years learned how to wield the ax with telling effect and to perform other duties required of the backwoods farmer. Circumscribed by conditions of which boys of the present day have no conception, his life was somewhat isolated and from early dawn to dewy eve he labored hard and faithfully, assisting to clear the farm and reduce the soil to cultivation. He recalls the fact that throughout one long, cold, bitter winter it fell to him to furnish all the wood needed to keep the temperature of their log cabin above the freezing point, and although the task was a hard one he did the work manfully and well. Deer were then so plentiful that but little skill was required to keep the table supplied with the choicest meat, while other game, such as squirrels, pheasants and wild turkeys, were also numerous and easily obtained. Mr. Gripe states that when he was a lad of twelve he shouldered his father's rifle and went to the wood in quest of deer. He was not long in dislodging a fine buck and taking deliberate aim had the good fortune to bring the noble animal down with the first shot, quite a skillful feat for one so young. After that he killed a great many deer and as long as wild game continued in the country he was considered one of the surest shots in the neighborhood where he lived. In a diminutive log cabin, sparsely furnished with log-legged, backless benches and a few other necessary appliances, he was inducted into the mysteries of the alphabet, and though many long years have elapsed since first timidly entering the building he easily recalls the teacher, one Gabriel Swihart, whose qualifications for the office appear to have based upon strength to inflict corporal punishment rather than upon ability to impart knowledge. Later he went to school to Joseph Ulrich, a typical pedagogue of the olden times, and as the years went by he continued to prosecute his studies both in English and German until he became fairly well educated. Another fact in connection with the early day worthy of passing notice is the raising of Jacob Gripe's frame barn, which proved quite an important event in the community, as it was the first structure of the kind erected within the present limits of Jackson township. To secure the necessary assistance the boys invited every man within a radius of ten miles, and after the frame was all joined and put in proper place a season of jollity and manly sports was indulged in by all the strong young men present.
Mr. Gripe was reared a farmer and when old enough to select a vocation wisely concluded to devote his life to the cultivation of the soil. The better to carryon his life work, he took to himself a wife in the person of Miss Salome Frantz, whose parents, natives of Virginia, came to Kosciusko county in 1840 when Mrs. Gripe was a miss of twelve years. Shortly after his marriage Mr. Gripe moved on an eighty-acre tract of woodland in Clay township, now the township of Lake, where he built a cabin for the reception of his bride and then began the arduous work of felling timber, removing stumps and in many other ways preparing the soil for tillage. After living on this place four years and fitting about twenty acres for cultivation, he sold it for fifteen hundred dollars and with the proceeds purchased a farm in the eastern part of Jackson township. The greater part of the latter was improved by his labor and in due time the place became one of the best farms in that section of the county, and he made it his home for a period of about twenty years. Subsequently he bought, for twelve thousand dollars, the beautiful place of two hundred and forty acres in Jackson where his son Nichols now lives, going in debt to the amount of four thousand dollars, every cent of which was paid within two years following the purchase.
Mr. Gripe's business transactions have demonstrated financial ability of a high order, and his career throughout has been characterized by sound judgment, keen discernment and concentration of purpose which have enabled him to carry to successful issue every enterprise to which his energies have been addressed. In a word, he has been a successful money getter, and the large fortune which he now possesses is the reward of his industry, thrift and superior management. When they started in life for themselves he gave to each of his six children twenty-three hundred dollars, thus enabling them to begin the struggle unhampered by the circumscribed financial environment which marked the beginning of his own career as an independent factor in worldly affairs. By long and arduous toil and rigid economy at a time when economy was an absolute necessity, he learned to place a proper value upon dollars and cents; however, he is by no means illiberal with his means, but on the contrary has been free in his benefactions to all worthy objects and enterprises. After a long and very active life, marked by great industry and thrift, he found himself in possession of a sufficiency of this world's goods to enable him to spend the remainder of his days in the enjoyment of that rest and quietude which he so well and nobly earned; accordingly about the year 1889 he turned his large agricultural interests over to other hands and since that elate has been living a life of honorable retirement on a small place, the care of which helps the time from banging heavily upon his hands.
Politically Mr. Gripe is a Republican. He had the pleasure of casting a ballot for the party's first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, and has voted for each succeeding candidate from that time to the present. While deeply interested in political matters and a careful student of the great questions of the times, he is not a partisan, nor has he ever entertained any ambition in the direction of public office. In 1849 he united with the German Baptist church and during all the years intervening between that and the present his daily walk and conversation have marked him as an humble and sincere follower of the man of Nazareth. His good wife is also a member of the same church and, like her husband, is noted for her piety and zeal in the Master's service. Mr. and Mrs. Gripe are among the oldest and most highly esteemed people of Kosciusko county, noted far and wide for their generous hospitality and beloved for their many amiable qualities of head and heart. They are deservedly popular with all who know them, live happily and contentedly in their cozy country home, the doors of which are ever open to the poor and needy, and are now crowning a life of activity and usefulness with an eventide of well earned rest and wholesome recreation. They have children as follows: John, deceased, Nicholas, Mary, Jacob, Catherine and Abraham L., all well settled in life.
Progressive Men and Women of Kosciusko County, Indiana
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
JACOB S. KOONTZ.
Highly respected as a citizen and honored as a patriotic defender of the stars and stripes in a war which tested the solidity and perpetuity of American's free institutions, the subject of this brief review is distinctively one of the leading men of the township where he maintains his residence and is in every way worthy of mention with the progressive and representative citizens of Kosciusko county.
Jacob S. Koontz was born September 1, 1842, in Columbina county, Ohio, and is descended from German and Dutch ancestry. His father, Jacob Koontz, a native of Pennsylvania, was the grandson of a German soldier, who came to America during the war of the Revolution in the service of the English government. Being a conscript and by no means liking the idea of opposing the little army of patriots struggling for their liberties against a tyrannical king, this ancestor, John Kutz by name, deserted his command and cast his fortunes with the colonists, with whom he fought courageously until independence was secured. Shortly after the close of the war he married and settled in Pennsylvania, where he reared a family and became a wel1to-do tiller of the soil. His grandson, Jacob Koontz referred to above, was born in Pennsylvania and about the year 1835 migrated to Columbiana county, Ohio. He had married in Pennsylvania Anna Kutz, whose ancestors came front Holland in an early day and settled in Maryland. Subsequently, 1835, the Kutz family removed to the county of Columbiana, where Jacob Koontz, shortly after his marriage, purchased land and engaged in the pursuit of agriculture. He continued to live there until 1893, when he disposed of his interest and came to Kosciusko county, Indiana, where he spent the remainder of his days, dying here about two years after his arrival; his wife preceded him to the other world, departing this life in Ohio in the year 1875 . To Jacob and Anna, (Kutz) Koontz were born nine children, whose names are as follows: Robert, John, Elizabeth, Mary, Jacob S., Isaac, William, Eli and Anna M. Of this number Jacob S., Robert and Isaac served with distinction in the late Civil war and proved their loyalty to the government on many of the bloodiest battle fields of that great struggle.
Jacob S. Koontz spent his childhood and youth amid the quiet scenes of rural life and when old enough to perform manual labor was put to work on the farm, where in due time he developed a strong and vigorous physique which served him well in the arduous experiences through which he subsequently passed while following the old flag through the sunny southland. With limited educational advantages, he made the most of his opportunities:, but at the age of nineteen closed his books, laid aside the implements of husbandry and with true patriotic fervor tendered his services to the government, which at that time was being threatened by the armed hosts of rebellion. In 1861 he enlisted in Company G, Eighty-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, for the three-months service and immediately thereafter accompanied his regiment to West Virginia, where he remained until the expiration of his term. Animated by a laudable desire to serve his country still further, Mr. Koontz became a member of Company B. Twelfth Ohio Cavalry, enlisting for three years or during the war, and it was not long until his regiment was actively engaged with the enemy in the states of Kentucky and Virginia. He took part in a number of encounters, in one of which, at Marion, Virginia, he was struck by a rebel bullet which caused him to be carried from the field in a helpless and dangerous condition. By reason of the defeat and falling back of the Union forces, the wounded, among whom was Mr. Koontz, fell into the hands of the enemy and from December 29, 1864, till March of the year following he was held a prisoner of war. He suffered greatly from his wound and within three months after being exchanged was honorable discharged, being mustered out of the service in June, 1865. For a period of twenty-four years Mr. Koontz carried in his body the leaden missile which pierced him at the battle of Marion, being relieved of it by a skillful surgical operation performed in 1889. He proved a gallant soldier under many dangerous and trying circumstances, always ready for any duty, however onerous, and never shirking a responsibility, no difference into what situation it led him. By reason of his injury, from the effect of which he has never entirely recovered, he is now the recipient of a pension from the government which he so gallantly defended, but no monetary consideration can ever repay him for services well and faithfully rendered, nor does he ask reward for the wound received in the discharge of duty at a time when he faced death that our nation might remain as its founders formed it.
Returning home at the expiration of his period of enlistment Mr. Koontz was, united in marriage, September 1, 1865, to Miss Mary E. Weaver. Mrs. Koontz was born May 14, 1847, in LaGrange county, Indiana, and is the daughter of David and Harriett (Whiteleather) Weaver. Her parents were of German lineage and were both natives of Ohio. They were the parents of twelve children, four sons and eight daughters, of whom there are seven children yet living. David Weaver was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, in 1822, and died in 1894. He was a farmer and merchant. In religion he was a Methodist, and in politics was first a Whig and later a Republican. His wife was born in the same county in 1825, and her death occurred in 1863. Mrs. Koontz received a good common-school education and since her marriage has been a noble and true helpmate to her husband.
After his marriage the subject engaged in farming as a renter in Columbiana county, Ohio and later moved to Grant county, Wisconsin, where he purchased an eighty acre farm which he cultivated for a period of two years. Disposing of his land at the end of that time, he returned to his native state, where he continued agricultural pursuits three years and then engaged in the hotel business at North Georgetown, where for six years he ministered to the wants of the traveling public with success and financial profit. In the year 1879 he sold his hotel and moved to Jennings county, Indiana, where he again turned his attention to farming, renting for a period of two years and then purchasing a place of one hundred and sixty acres, which was subsequently enlarged by an addition of sixty acres. After clearing and fitting for tillage one hundred acres and living on the place ten years he sold out and, in 1887, came to Kosciusko county, where he leased land for one year and then bought one hundred and fifty acres, and later eighty acres more, now constituting a farm of two hundred and thirty acres in Jackson township.
Mr. Koontz's life has been one of great activity and since coming to this county his industry has been rewarded by the handsome competence which he now enjoys. He has made many valuable improvements on his farm, including a beautiful dwelling and substantial barns and outbuildings, while the fertility of the place has been increased to its greatest productive capacity. His home is one of the most beautiful and attractive in Jackson township and as a farmer he easily stands in the front rank of Kosciusko's most enterprising and successful agriculturists and stock raisers, sparing neither labor nor expense to make his place as nearly ideal as possible, and doing all within his power to raise the standard of agriculture in the highly favored locality where his home is situated.
Mr. Koontz has been a lifelong Republican and, like every good citizen, looks upon the ballot as one of man's' most sacred possessions. An active worker for the party he has had no ambition in the direction of office notwithstanding which fact his fellow citizens, in 1895, elected him assessor of Jackson township, a position he most faithfully and worthily filled until 1900, inclusive. While a citizen of the Buckeye state he achieved considerable repute as a shrewd politician and for several years his hotel at North Georgetown was the favorite rendezvous of some of the leading party workers, among whom may be mentioned President McKinley, who upon several occasions was his guest. He was chairman of the Republican township committee when McKinley first ran for congress and to him was accorded the honor of publicly introducing that distinguished American to the first audience he ever addressed in North Georgetown. He was also a delegate to the convention which first nominated McKinley for the lower house of the national legislature. Between Mr. McKinley and Mr. Koontz a feeling of warm personal friendship existed as long as the former lived, a fact of which the subject feels deservedly proud, and he also points with pride to the fact that he was one of the President’s strongest adherents in the convention above referred to.
Mr. Koontz possesses the happy faculty of winning and retaining friends, and since becoming a resident of this county he has made a large circle of acquaintances, among whom his name is held in very high esteem. All who know him are united in their praise of his integrity and sterling qualities of manhood, and as a citizen, keenly alive to the public good and assisting by all the means at his command every enterprise calculated to promote the material and moral interests of the community, none are more aggressive or have taken a mere active part with both influence and means. With him to see and understand the right is to do the same under all circumstances, regardless of consequences, fearlessness in the discharge of duty being one of his dominant characteristics, while at the same time he is careful and considerate of the feelings and opinions of those from whom he may honestly differ.
Mr. Koontz is a firm believer in religion and its efficacy as a great moral force for the regeneration of society and the world. For a number of years he has been a devout member of the Christian church, active in the good work of the congregation with which he is identified and liberal in the support of the gospel at home and in lands beyond the seas. Mrs. Koontz also belongs to the same body and with heo husband is highly regarded as a worker and planner for the dissemination of religious truth in the community where she lives. Mr. Koontz delights to recall the stirring scenes when, as a soldier on the march, in the tented field or in the smoke and carnage of battle, he met and helped to crush the hosts of treason who had in view the disruption of our beloved country and the destruction of its institutions. Like other patriots of that dark and gloomy period, he is an active worker in the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization in which are kept alive the sentiments of loyalty, patriotism and love of country which every true American should guard and cherish.
Mr. and Mrs. Koontz have been blessed with two children, the older of whom is Herbert L., whose birth occurred on the 11th day of June, 1877. He is a young man of excellent reputation, a graduate of the commercial schools at North Manchester and Indianapolis, and served in the One Hundred and Fifty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the late Spanish-American war. In 1898 he was united in marriage to Miss Myrtle Grove, of Indianapolis, in which city he holds an important position as superintendent of a large coal company. The other child died in infancy unnamed. During the county convention of 1902 the convention nominated Mr. Koontz as a member of the county council of Kosciusko county.
Progressive Men and Women of Kosciusko County, Indiana
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
A citizen of the United States can wear no greater badge of honor than the distinction of having served the government in the memorable four years of war between the states. It is a sacred family inheritance of renown, to be prized like a jewel by all future descendants and kept bright and untarnished by other acts of valor, patriotism and loyalty in the interests of free government. Even in this day, when there are many of the old soldiers living, no one can see one of them dressed up in his faded uniform without feeling a glow of pride and without showing him studied deference. But the ranks of the old phalanx are fast going down before the shots of death, and ere long none will be left to recount the actual experiences of that bloody time. In the meantime, while they are still with us, let us pay them suitable honor for their sacrifices, patriotism and sufferings. The subject of this memoir was one of the "boys in blue." He was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, December 18, 1832, and is the son of John and Hannah (Cooper) Nighswander, the father of German and the mother of Irish descent. Great-grandfather Nighswander was born in Germany and emigrated to America about the year 1781. He established himself in Pennsylvania on a farm and there passed the remainder of his days. He conducted a sawmill in connection with his other duties. His wife bore him four sons and one daughter. The grandfather of the subject was born and reared in Pennsylvania, and one of his sons was John, the father of Robert. John was twice married, his second wife being Miss Hannah Cooper. To this marriage were born seven boys and four girls, as follows: Isaac was married, but his wife is deceased, and he lives in Franklin county, Pennsylvania; he served four years as a private in the Civil war; Willis, deceased, was also a private in the Rebellion; Robert, subject; Isaiah, who served as a soldier in the Rebellion and was in the Third Maryland Cavalry, died in Andersonville prison; John, who also was in the Third Maryland Cavalry in the Rebellion; Mary E., deceased, who married Samuel Cozy; Nancy, the wife of Benjamin Bright, lives in Seneca county, Ohio: Hannah B., the wife of a Mr. Lawrence, a veteran of the Civil war, lives in Seneca county, Ohio; Katie married and lived in Ohio until her death; Aaron, unmarried, who resides in Franklin county, Pennsylvania. Robert Nighswander also served with distinction in the Great Rebellion. In August, 1861, he enlisted in Company B, Fifty-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under Captain S. B. Ment, and after a season spent in camp of instruction was sent with his regiment to Virginia. Thence they moved to New Creek, and later, at Moorefie1d, Mr. Nighswander saw his first battle. He was engaged at Romney, and at the bloody battle of Fredericksburg, during the "mud campaign," fought with great gallantry for two days. He went with his regiment through the Peninsular campaign and suffered intense hardships, not having his clothes off for five weeks and sleeping on his arms the whole time. He fought at the second battle of Bull Run, and though he was in the thickest of the fight, and his regiment lost heavily, he escaped without a wound. He was at Culpeper Court House also and fought bravely with his regimental companions. He participated in the engagements at Cedar Mountain, in the movement up the Shenandoah valley and fought at Cross Keys . He was hotly engaged at the bloody battle of Chancellorsville, where "Stonewall" Jackson was killed, and at the desperate and decisive battle of Gettysburg, after which his regiment was transferred to Sherman's army and participated in the "march to the sea." He participated before this in the assault on Look Out Mountain and so on down to Atlanta and thence to the sea. In all he participated in twenty-eight pitched battles, besides almost innumerable skirmishes, marches and campaigns, and throughout all of them showed splendid pluck and loyalty. Think of it. Here were five boys in one family who entered the Federal service at the commencement and served until the end, several of whom suffered from galling wounds and one of them died of starvation and hardship in prison . Should this not be called "The Soldier Family?" And what a splendid inheritance to leave to children. How proud coming generations will be to narrate the gallantry and sufferings of these heroic brothers. The subject came through the entire war without a serious wound. At Gettysburg eighteen minie balls pierced his clothing until he looked almost like a sieve. That old uniform should have been framed and placed in the state house at Indianapolis. He now gets the small pension of ten dollars per month for the disabilities contracted in the service. After serving four years he was honorably mustered out in the fall of 1865 at Cleveland, Ohio.
Upon his discharge from the army Mr. Nighswander returned to Bloomville, Ohio, and went to work an a farm by the month and so continued until 1868, when, on September 5 of that year, he was united in marriage with Miss Rebecca Shock and to them were born three bays and two girls: Cora A., the wife of Thomas Shoe, whose father was a private in the Rebellion; their four other children are deceased. Mrs. Nighswander was born in Seneca county, Ohio, April 25, 1845, and was the daughter of Jacob and Magdalena (Shanour) Shock. The latter couple were the parents of eleven children, four sons and seven daughters, of whom ten are living. All are residents of Ohio except her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Cooley, a resident of Ionia, Michigan, and Mrs. Nighswander. Jacob Shock was born in Stark county, Ohio, in 1814, and died in 1878. He was a lifelong farmer. Magdalena Shock was born on a farm in Pennsylvania June 23, 1818, and her death occurred August 21, 1901, at the advanced age of eighty-three years, one month and twenty-one days. She was but three years old when brought by her parents to Ohio. She was a faithful and consistent member of the German Reformed church. Mrs. Nighswander was reared and educated in her native county. For thirty-four years have Mr. and Mrs. Nighswander traveled life's journey together, sharing each other's joys and sorrows. She has been a faithful wife and a loving mother and was kind and genial in her manner. In 1898 the subject erected his pleasant and comfortable residence at a cast of about twelve hundred dollars, a residence which is a credit to the township.
Mr. Nighswander is an enthusiastic Republican, believing in voting the way he shot during the war. He is active and prominent in all local affairs. He is a member of Post No. 1l4, G. A. R. He is in comfortable circumstances, and though not a member of any church he and his good wife contribute liberally to all worthy movements. They are passing their old age in quiet and with the respect of everyone who has the honor of their friendship.
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Progressive Men and Women of Kosciusko County, Indiana
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
ROBERT M. JONTZ.
It is interesting to note the various ways by which the first settlers came from their homes in the east to the unbroken wilds of the west and also how later settlers came out. It was a common occurrence for the father to come out first, walking the whole distance, selecting his tract of government land, going to the nearest land office and paying for the same and then walking the entire distance back to his eastern home to get ready to move his family out. Then all were loaded into a wagon or wagons and slowly driven to the wilderness home. If a log cabin had not been built on the first visit, the first thing to, be done was to erect one and while this was being done very often the family lived in the covered wagon. Then land must be cleared before a crop of any sort could be raised. When the first crop was harvested the family were then self-sustaining. The family represented by our subject passed through just such experiences. He was born on section 11, Seward township, Kosciusko county, Indiana, March 28, 1852, his parents being Jacob and Catherine (Kelson) Jontz, the father coming originally from Pennsylvania and being of English descent. When Jacob Jontz was yet a boY in Pennsylvania his father died and soon afterward he came to Ohio to live with an uncle, Michael Jontz. While thus engaged he grew to manhaod and married, his wife being the daughter of Robert Nelson, of Wayne county, Ohio. Previous to this event Michael Jontz had come to Kosciusko county, Indiana, and entered one hundred and sixty acres with money furnished by Jacob Jontz, who had earned the same by working by the month for Michael. In 1851 Jacob came from Wayne county, Ohio, to Seward township, Kosciusko county, Indiana, and located on his land. He brought his family and few belongings in a wagon, the distance being about two hundred and fifty miles. Previous to this, however, he had come out and had cleared a small tract of the land and had erected a small log cabin, in which to place his family when they should be removed to the Indiana home. Upon his arrival with his family he began in earnest to clear off the heavy timber. In time one hundred and twenty acres were cleared and in 1868 a good frame house was built, said to have been the best in the county at that time. It is still standing. Jacob Jontz was a man who attended closely to the work of his farm, and was quiet and unassuming in his habits and manner. He was thoroughly honest and died with the respect of all who knew him. The mother died in 1872. The father lived with his sons, Robert and Abraham, until his death in 1896. He was the father of six children, as follows: Robert M. and Abraham, twins, born March 28, 1852; Abraham married Miss Melissa Oldfather and lives in this township; Susan, who wedded John Haney and lives in Silver Lake, Indiana; Ross, who died when a boy; Emma, who died a young maiden; Lee; Ella, who became the wife of Reese Dillingham and is deceased. Robert M. and his twin brother, being the oldest children of the family, were required to assume much of the responsibility of the parents. They assisted materially to clear off the forest and to raise the crops of grain, receiving the meanwhile a fair education. In 1888 Robert Jontz married Mrs. Martha Maggart, widow of William Maggart and daughter of Lewis Cornwell, her father having been a resident of this county for thirty years. She was born October 3, 1859. To subject the following children were born: Bennie, born October 25, 1888; Charles, born September 17, 1890; Gordon, born February 4, 1893; Edna, born February 4, 1897; Ray, born December 16, 1899. When Bennie was born Gen. Benjamin Harrison was the candidate for president, and the boy was named for him. Mr. Jontz has followed farming all his life, has been successful and is highly respected. He is al Republican and takes much interest in the affairs of his party, having represented his township in county conventions. He is well known and has the respect of everybody.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
This active and progressive farmer and stock raiser of Lake township, Kosciusko county, Indiana, well deserves mention in a volume devoted to the biographical memoirs of the prominent and influential citizens of this county. He was born in Franklin township August 2, 1868, a son of Albert and Katie (McNeal) Tucker, who were the parents of six children, namely: Norman, the subject; Charles M.; Lee; Curtis; Nellie; and Ora. Lee, Curtis and Nellie are deceased. Albert Tucker is an extensive farmer and stock raiser of the county and his biography will be found elsewhere in this volume.
Norman Tucker was educated in the common schools of the district and acquired an excellent education under the prevailing conditions which environ the average country school. The extensive business operations of his father served to broaden his practical views on business matters, and his judgment of all kinds of stock was not only exceptionally good, but was early developed, thus quickly qualifying him for the business career in which he has been so successful.
On October 22, 1897, Norman Tucker led to the marriage altar Miss Nellie Creiglebaum, a daughter of Nathaniel and Rosa (Bitzer) Creiglebaum, natives of Ohio. Mrs. Tucker was educated in the common schools of her native state and is a lady of fine attainments and presides with grace and dignity over their delightful home. As her maiden name indicates, she is of German descent. On the consummation of the marriage ceremony, which was performed at the home of her parents, in Chillicothe, Ohio, they immediately came to Franklin township, going to the home farm of his father, where he remained, until 1899, when he moved to his present farm of three hundred and sixty acres located in section 10. Here he follows fanning and stock raising and is meeting with remarkable success. His broad meadows and extensive fields are specially well adapted to the grazing of cattle and hogs. He is always a heavy purchaser of young cattle in the spring of the year, pasturing during the summer and rounding them up on grain during the fall, thus putting them in the best possible condition for market. His sales will average two carloads of cattle each fall, and are shipped to such market as promises the best returns. Much of his time is consumed in buying stock, which requires his absence from home.
In politics Mr. Tucker is a Republican, and being so generally on the road has acquired a knowledge of politics in their relation to the business affairs of life that enables him to discuss intelligently any question in issue. He is a live and active worker in local and county elections and his influence in behalf of his party is felt and appreciated. Among his friends and neighbors it is well known he has no aspiration for political preferment, as the duties of office would cause a sacrifice of his business interests. Mr. Tucker is still a young man, being but little past thirty years, and there are many years of usefulness in store for him. That he will develop into a man of exceptional usefulness in this section of northern Indiana is undoubtedly true, and the future for him is indeed bright. Mrs. Tucker is a member of the united Brethren church. Mr. and Mrs. Tucker are the parents of one child, Freda D., born May 31, 1899. She is a bright little girl, and under the wholesome influences of her parents, surrounded with all that can add to her happiness, her future is indeed promising. Mr. and Mrs. Tucker enjoy the friendship and esteem of many friends, which will constantly increase with the coming of years.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
JOHN L. ARTHUR.
In the old countries of the world, particularly in those governed, by kings or emperors, there is a sharp contrast drawn between persons of title and the laboring classes. The aristocratic members of those countries, from time immemorial, have tried to make it appear that the kings or emperors ruled by divine authority, and the families of the nobility attempted to establish their own superiority over the working classes by claiming the same authority. As a consequence, labor was looked upon in those countries as degrading, instead of being the noblest calling to which man can turn his hand. In our country, on the other hand, it has been the aim to ennoble labor, and the result has been to make the farmer and the artisan the peer of the wisest and best in our land. And this view is borne out by such men as the subject of this memoir. He was born in Wabash county, Indiana, January 23, 1855, and is the son of Shelby and Rebecca (Neff) Arthur. The Arthur family are originally from the Old Dominion and are of Scotch descent, while the Neffs, who also lived in Virginia, are of German descent. While in Virginia the Arthur family were the owners of slaves, and Shelby was reared on a plantation where many of them were kept and owned. In his youth he became familiar with the auction block from which the slaves were sold like cattle at so much per head. The Arthurs and the Neffs lived not far apart in Virginia, and Shelby and Rebecca became acquainted in early life and upon reaching maturity married in that state in the year 1840. Shelby was educated better than usual, as his parents gave him the benefit of private instruction under tutors. Three children were born to Shelby and wife in Virginia, and, then the parents, not wishing to rear their family in contact with slavery, concluded to leave Virginia for one of the free states. Accordingly, they loaded all their effects needed in their new home and which were not sold, in two wagons and in 1847 started for the new home in Indiana. Mr. Arthur had been out prospecting in 1844, and had bought a small farm in the northern part of Kosciusko county, but had sold the same a year later.
The trip of the family to their new home was made in the fall of the year, when the roads, such as there were, were in very bad condition. It required five weeks to make the journey. They stopped in Wabash county, where they bought a farm of eighty acres, all covered, with heavy timber. A small spot was cleared, and a rude log cabin was erected. In the meantime, while Mr. Arthur was building his log cabin, his family lodged with a family named Fogarty. Mr. Arthur owned this farm until a few years ago, when he sold it and now lives in Roann. He made great improvements on the same, and did much of the clearing himself, being materially assisted by his boys. As time progressed, he built a better house and better barns for his stock. Three of their children were born in Virginia: James W., Charles F. M. and Joseph; after they came to Indiana the following children were born: Nancy M., John L., Sarah E., Julia A. and Rosa A. All of these children are still living. James married Miss Mollie Prince, and is an attorney at law in North Manchester, Indiana; Charles married Miss Mollie E. Samsel and is the editor of the Wabash Times, of Wabash, Indiana; Joseph married Miss Kate Prince, who died in 1874, and he then married Miss Leva Fague, and upon her death married Miss Me1issa Kemper and lives in Silver Lake; Nancy became the wife of S. J. Johnson and lives in Virginia; John L., subject; Sarah married Arthur Kennedy and lives in Roann; Julia married Jacob Wagner and resides in Wabash county; Rosa married Burris Johnson and resides in North Manchester, Indiana.
John L. Arthur was reared in Wabash county, on his father's farm. He attended the country schools, and finished with a course at the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, taking the studies prescribed for teachers in the commercial and the teacher's courses. Thus he was prepared for teaching and accordingly secured his certificate . During the winter of 1875-6 he taught his first term and afterward taught three others. On September 30, 1876, he was united in marriage with Miss Surfine Haney, who was born March 14. 1856, being a native of Wabash county. Their children are as follows: James C., born September 4, 1883; Julia R., born March 12, 1889; Glenn, born May 14, 1892; Arthur A., born October 5, 1893, and two that died in infancy. In the spring of 1877 Mr. Arthur moved to this county. He learned the drug trade with Dr. P. J. Burket and John Valentine and worked at the same for three years. In 1880 he began to learn telegraphy at Silver Lake and remained there two years. In 1882 he was appointed agent at Summitsville, Indiana, and remained there until 1887. He then was engaged in fitting gas fixtures in the fields for a time. He entered the office of the Big Four railroad as bill clerk and in 1890 was transferred to Berrien Center, Michigan, in 1891 he was transferred to Silver Lake as station agent and remained until December, 1900. In the spring of 1901 he returned to the farm, having been elected trustee of Lake township. He is a Democrat and is strong in the councils of his party. He was a member of the school board of Silver Lake, is a member of the Masonic lodge, serving as master for six years, represented his lodge in the grand lodge, and is also a member of Lodge No. 576, I. O. O. F., having passed all the chairs in the latter. He is one of the most prominent citizens of the county, and his name and honor are above question.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher
CHRISTIAN E. FRANTZ.
One of the oldest, most substantial and highly respected agriculturists of Lake township, Kosciusko county, Indiana, is Christian E. Frantz, who descends from one of the ante-Revolutionary families of Virginia, of remote Dutch extraction, although Christian E. was born in Clarke county, Ohio, January 28, 1817, and is a son of Jacob and Sarah (Eversole) Frantz. The original Frantz family came to America in 1727, and of its members Michael, the first to arrive, settled in Pennsylvania; later another of the family came over the ocean and settled in Virginia; from the latter it is inferred that the Indiana family has its descent. The record of descent is briefly given as follows:
(I) Michael Frantz was born in Switzerland, September 1, 1687, and came to America in the ship "Molly," John Hodgeson, master, from Rotterdam, arriving here September 30, 1727. He died in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, in 1748.
(II) Michael Frantz was born in Germany in 1725, and accompanied his father upon his emigration to America in 1727. He married Magdalena Zug, and moved to Botetourt county, Virginia, where his death occurred in 1807. Their children were Michael, Johannas, Abraham, (III) Christian, Jacob, Daniel, Peter, David, and a daughter who married a Mr. Gharst.
(III) Christian Frantz was born about 1766 and was united in marriage to Mary Garst. He was a clergyman in the German Baptist church and was also an agriculturist. He came from Virginia and settled on a farm in Clarke county, Ohio, among other early pioneers, to whom he preached in the German language. He died March 6, 1850, and his wife died August 8, 1838, and their remains lie buried in the graveyard in the northeast quarter of section 7, Pike township, Clarke county, Ohio. They were the parents of the following children: (IV) Jacob, Christian, Elizabeth, Catherine, Mary, Magdalena, Esther, Anna and Sally.
(IV) Jacob Frantz was born March 22, 1784, and died December 19, 1851. He was a miller in Virginia and accompanied his father to Ohio, where he engaged in farming. He married in Ohio, March 22, 1813, Sarah Ebersole, who was born about 1789, and died September 27, 1855. Their children are noted as follows: John, born July 18, 1815, married Susan Frantz, and they had the following children: Katy, Jacob, Mary and Sarah, (V) Christian E., the subject, Phoebe, born April 10, 1819, married Joel Ohmart and they have one son, Eli. Anna, born April 17, 1821, unmarried. Elizabeth, born December 7, 1825, married Lewis Myres and they had children, Simon, William, Aaron, John Ezra, Noah, Mary Ann, Sarah Elizabeth and Clara Idelia. Aaron, born April 10, J830, married, July 17, 1853, Mary Ryman, and their children are Lewis, Adam, Sarah, Elizabeth, Simeon, Samuel Ryman, Jacob Christian. Harrison, John Eli, Mary Catharine.
(V) Christian E. Frantz was reared on the home farm in Ohio, and there also acquired a limited education in a subscription school. He early became acquainted with Miss Mary Heckman, who lived with her parents on a farm about three miles from the Frantz homestead, and this acquaintanceship eventually culminated in warmer feelings, resulting in their marriage, March 7, 1844. The parents of this lady were also natives of Virginia, but she was born in Ohio, January 26, 1824, and, considering the limited school facilities the country afforded in that early day, secured a very fair education. To this marriage have been born ten children, of whom eight grew to maturity and six still survive, whose names are as follows: Hannah R., married to David Miller; Phebe E., wife of John W. Ulrich; George, who is married to Lizzie Kripe; Matthew, married to Anna Teeter; Simon, married to Mary Snepp;• Reuben, married to Kate Snell and living in North Manchester, Indiana; Minervia, widow of Noah Buttenbaugh; Martha, deceased wife of Levi W. Witter.
Three years after marriage Christian E. Frantz and wife came to Kosciusko county, purchased eighty acres in section 13, Lake township, and here they still make their home, but have since added to the farm until it now comprises two hundred and ten acres. The first purchase at that time, 1847, was all woodland, infested with wild animals of a savage nature, although game was also abundant. There were no roads through the wilderness stretching from Clarke county, Ohio, to the new home in Kosciusko county, Indiana, but they managed to drive a wagon through by frequently cutting a way, and the journey consumed a week's time.
Mr. Frantz was very hard-working, however, and prospered. Life in the wilderness was not altogether one of toil, and there were periods of relaxation passed in hunting or fishing and in the enjoyment of the various "bees," such as log-rolling, house-raising, corn-shucking, quilting, etc., in which the sparsely settled neighborhoods all gladly took a part and greatly enjoyed themselves. As time progressed, Mr. Frantz added to and improved his property, until now, at the age of eighty-five years, although still a worker, he is enjoying his days in a fine brick house and is surrounded with all the luxuries of modern country life. Mrs. Frantz has been a worthy helpmate to her husband, and has heroically borne her part in the battle of life, standing shoulder to shoulder with her husband. They have secured to themselves a competence of at least thirty thousand dollars, every cent of which has been accumulated through their own industry and thrift, as when they settlec1 in this county they had nothing, not even chairs to sit on.
Mr. and Mrs. Frantz have been members of the German Baptist church since 1861, and have very freely contributed from their means to its support, and there is no family in Lake township more highly respected than theirs. In politics Mr. Frantz is a Republican, but his first presidential vote was cast for the Whig ticket, headed by William Henry Harrison, of "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too," fame.
B. F. Bowen, Publisher