Diggin' Up Our Family Tree

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  1. Biographical Sketch of John McKee.
    [McKEE, JOHN, was born Jan., 1802, in Harrison county, Ky., came to Sangamon county with his sister and brother-in-law, Ivins Foster. He was married in Sangamon county to Mary Browning, who was born in Boone county, Ky. They had four children, namely--

    WILLIAM D., born Sept. 14, 1836, in Sangamon county, married April 23, 1863, to Sophronia Sweet. They have two living children, ELIZABETH D., and MORRIS E., and live near Sweet Home, Nodaway county, Mo.--1874.

    REBECCA, born March 25, 1838, in Sangamon county, married August 5, 1862, to J. W. Woods, who was born August 5, 1839, in Belmont county, Ohio. They have one child, WILLIAM W., and reside at Loami, Sangamon county, Illinois.--1874.

    JAMES, born in Sangamon county, married to Nancy J. Barbre, have two children, and live near Sweet Home, Nodaway county, Mo.--1874.

    JOHN, born Sept. 30, 1844, in Sangamon county, married Sept. 29, 1863, to Caroline Williams, have one child, MARTHA, and live in Loami, Illinois.

    Mrs. Mary McKee died in 1846. Mr. M. is married again, and lives one and a half miles east of Loami, Illinois.--1874.]

  2. Biographical Sketch of John Montgomery Walker.
    [Among the representative men of McDonough county, none stand higher in the estimation of the people, or of those who were intimately acquainted with him, than did John Montgomery Walker. He is a son of the well-known Cyrus and Flora (Montgomery) Walker, the former a Virginian, the latter a Kentuckian, the daughter of Thomas and Polly Montgomery. John M. was born at Columbia, Adair county, Kentucky, April 29, 1820, where he resided until 1833. When a lad of 13 years of age, he came to Macomb with his father, where he went to school, and finally graduated at the McDonough college. He was a thorough student. Soon after he entered the office of his father, Cyrus Walker, and read law with him. In 1841, he applied for, and obtained, a license to practice law in Illinois and Iowa. He opened a law office in Burlington and subsequently practiced in that city, and also Fort Madison, Iowa, and for many years had an extensive practice. He was characterized as a gentleman of fine qualities and a lawyer. He returned to Macomb after several years, and again entered upon the practice of law. On the 13th of July, 1845, he was united in marriage to Margaret Sample, at West Point, Iowa. She was noted as the belle of Lee county. After a companionship of over 18 years, she departed this life August 2, 1863. She was a devout, christian woman, a consistent member of the Presbyterian church, and was universally respected by all who knew her. A son and two daughters had passed on before to the better world above.]

  3. Biographical Sketch of John Mosshart.
    [Republic County, KS
    JOHN MOSSHART, farmer, P. O. Chester, Neb., was born in Tuscarawas County, Ohio in 1842, and was raised there until 1861, when he enlisted in the Eightieth Ohio Volunteer infantry, serving until June, 1865. After coming out of the army, he emigrated to Iowa, locating in Benton County, where he was farming the most of the time. In 1870 he came to Kansas, locating in Republic County, and took a homestead on Section 30, Township 1, Range 2, of 160 acres. There were no improvements on the prairie at that time, and but few settlers in the county. Has 190 acres under the plow, forty-five acres fenced for pasture, and about five acres of forest trees planted. Has a fine peach orchard of 250 trees, 125 apple trees, thirty plum trees and seventy-five grape vines, besides a large amount of blackberries and raspberries. Has since added forty acres, which takes in Rose Creek, making a fine pasture, as there is plenty of water and fifteen acres of timber. He is raising considerable stock; has forty-two head of cattle, 140 hogs, and usually buys and feeds a car of stock every winter. Has done well. He came here without anything, and had to go sixty-five miles to market, and has met with many draw-backs, but has mastered them all, and is as thrifty a farmer as there is in the township. Has a good house and stable, and a pleasant home. Was married in 1869 in Benton County, Iowa, to Miss Elizabeth Blotter. They have four children--Olive May, Edward C., Alice Maud, and Charles J. Is a member of the Anti-Horse Thief Association.]

  4. Biographical Sketch of John Newell Weiss.

  5. Biographical Sketch of John Nyce.
    [John Nyce, on the 21st of September 1724, bought of his father, Hans Neues, of the Northern Liberties, two hundred acres on the West Bank of Society Run, and fronting on the German tract. He made a will on the 5th of February, 1738-39, which was probated on the 22d of June, 1743, in which he appointed as his executors his wife, Mary, and Henry Antes. His plantation consisted of two hundred and ninety acres, and his entire estate, real and personal, was appraised at £913 6s., Pennsylvania currency. The children of John and Mary Nyce were:
    John
    Joel
    Zacharias, born December 25, 1735
    William
    George
    Susanna, who married Peter Fedelee
    Mary, who married, March 29,1748, John Ringer
    John Nyce, Jr., about the year 1747, married Catharina Hahn, and settled at
    Indian Creek; their children were
    Elizabeth
    Philip
    John
    Abraham; he died about the year 1756.
    Zacharias Nyce married, in 1756, Margaret Hahn ; their children; were
    Maria, born December 13, 1758
    Catharine, born April 20, 1760
    Susanna, born March 9, 1762
    Elizabeth, born February 15, 1764
    Johannes born June 3, 1767
    Margaret, born November 30, 1777.

    They lived in Frederick township; he died at the age of fifty-six years and four days; his wife was buried September 7, 1798. George Nyce, who succeeded to his father's estate, was a tanner in Frederick Township. He married (first) Anna Dotterer, daughter of Berhard and Gertrude Dodderer, of New Hanover township; their children were John, Maria and Joseph. He married (second) ____ Fuhrman; their children were:
    George (born February 15, 1760)
    Jacob
    Nancy
    Mary
    Elizabeth
    Catharine
    He died December 5, 1789, aged sixty-four years. The name of this family is variously spelled, Nice, Nyce and De Nice. George S. Nyce resides upon a portion of the original homestead.]

  6. Biographical Sketch of John P. Casper.
    [TOWN OF BEETOWN
    JOHN P. CASPER, farmer, Sec. 35; P. O. Beetown; was born in 1820, in Prussia, Germany; a son of Michael Casper; he was 26 years of age when he emigrated to America and located in the fertile regions of Grant Co., Wis. He was married in 1852 to Barbara Sike, daughter of Peter Sike; they have eight children - Mary, Peter, Joseph, Willie, Frank, Nichols, Christian and Anna. He has been School Treasurer one term. Has 240 acres of land, valued at $2,500. In politics, he is Democratic; is a member of the Catholic Church.]

  7. Biographical Sketch of John P. Porter.
    [JOHN P. PORTER - Not only a pioneer of pioneers of Bingham county, Idaho, but also one who fully demonstrated his patriotism and loyalty to his country by serving faithfully as a soldier in the great Civil war, and who is now pleasantly and prosperously located near Blackfoot, Idaho, John P. Porter is certainly entitled to something more than a mere mention in any volume treating of the progressive and representative men of the state. He was born on June 14, 1844, in the rough coal-mining county of Sullivan, Pa., being a son of Latney and Sophronia (Brown) Porter. The father, a son of William Porter, was born in 1806, in the state of New York, and in early life came to Sullivan county, Pa., then thickly covered with forest, and, being an energetic and public spirited individual, he was not only engaged in extensive farming and lumbering operations, but was prominent in the Whig and Republican parties of his place and period. The mother of our subject was a native of Massachusetts, and she is still living in vigorous mental and physical health at the age of seventy-eight years, on the old Sullivan county homestead, being the mother of twelve children. John P. Porter was reared amid the primitive scenes and occupations connected with the establishment of civilization in the county of his birth, and was but sixteen years of age when the President's message, calling for volunteers to aid in the great struggle of the civil war, flashed over the wires of the country, and with patriotic fervor he at once enlisted, becoming a member of Company B, Fifty-eighth Infantry, serving three most momentous years in the historic Army of the Potomac, one year with the Eighteenth Army Corps, and being in many engagements and bloody battles, among them that historic one of Cold Harbor, and the bloody attack upon Petersburg, where his corps was the first in action and was also the first to plant the Union flag on Fort Harrison after its capture. In this engagement Mr. Porter was in the greatest Danger his whole military life. On June 24th, just at the close of the two hours' time in which the artillery were shelling the works at Petersburg, and while the troops were lying on the ground waiting for the signal to advance, he heard a sound, and, looking up, saw that the Confederates had charged in force and were within twenty feet of him. In the struggle which ensued two Confederates dropped dead at his head and one at his feet, but he escaped uninjured. After his honorable muster-out of service at the close of the war, Mr. Porter returned to Pennsylvania and there conducted farming and lumbering operations until 1869, when he made the first step in his westward course by going to Iowa, thirty months thereafter proceeding to Minnesota, where he remained one winter and then returned to Pennsylvania. Three years later he emigrated to Nebraska for one year's residence, becoming a citizen of Saline for one year, and from that state went to Kansas and after two years started westward across the plains with an ox team and two cows, his destination being Washington Territory.

    Upon arriving at the beautiful Blackfoot River in Idaho in July, 1880, he was so pleased with the place and its surroundings, and the opportunities presented, that he here took up a homestead of 160 acres, engaged in farming and stock raising, being the pioneer agriculturist in several departments of that great industry, for he was the first to dig an irrigating ditch, the first to cultivate crops and was among the very first to plant fruit trees on the west side of the Snake River. From the very date of his arrival at this place Mr. Porter has been a forceful factor in everything that tends to the development of this section of the county and has been, as a consequence of his energetic and discriminating efforts, most highly prospered, also gaining and retaining the esteem and confidence of his associates and acquaintances. In the circles of the Republican Party he is known as an energetic worker, and he is also prominently connected with the Grand Army of the Republic organization. On September 2, 1867, Mr. Porter married with Miss Martha J. Warburton, also a native of Sullivan county, Pa., and a daughter of John and Hannah (Mullen) Warburton, her father being a native of Liverpool, England, coming to Pennsylvania at the age of eleven years, there passing his entire subsequent life as an energetic business operator and an active Republican politician. Mr. and Mrs. Porter had seven children, of whom Lillian E. and Walter E. are living, and the following are deceased: Estella, who is buried in Pennsylvania; America, who died in Iowa; an infant who passed away in Pennsylvania; Minor, who died in Kansas; Lowell, who is buried at Blackfoot, Idaho. This memoir will be, perhaps, best completed by giving a detailed account of some of the experiences in battle that were the lot of Mr. Porter during his service in the Civil war. They will speak most vividly to the people of the present generation of the perils encountered in the struggle to preserve the integrity of the Union and inculcate lessons of patriotism. The first two years of Mr. Porter's military life were passed in Virginia and North Carolina.

    His regiment then moved north and participated in many bloody battles and engagements, among them that of Cold Harbor, where they were encamped on the field. They landed at Fortress Monroe on the morning of (9 Mar 1862) the day when the Monitor and the Merrimac met in their historic encounter. Going to Norfolk, they assisted in the capture of that city. Then they were at Suffolk, where they were quartered for the most part of the winter of 1862-3. In the spring of 1863 they were sent to Newbern and on to Washington, NC, in this latter place passing the winter of 1863-4. They were assigned to the Eighteenth Army Corps in the spring of 1864, joined General Butler, and were participants in the attack on Richmond which, on account of the dense fog, failed of success. On June 3, 1864, occurred the momentous battle of Cold Harbor, in which they took effective part and Mr. Porter was in great danger. On June 3d, behind the Rebels' breastworks, at break of day a charge was made, and, after being captured twice by the enemy and three times by Northern forces, Mr. Porter was struck twice by bullets, one on the arm and once on the leg, but not severely injured by either ball. He lay under fire behind the works among the dead from morning until night with his head resting against one dead man's legs, lying across another body, while another's head pressed against his side. On the 14th of June he was again in Petersburg and on June 24th, while on picket duty, between Appomattox and the Waldon Railroad, the Rebel shells played on them for two hours and then the Confederates charged in force. Mr. Porter looking up from the trench discovered the Rebels within twenty feet of him. He fell back, fired his gun at them, and in the struggle that ensued one man dropped dead across his feet, two Rebels dropped over the breastwork close by the head of Mr. Porter, and fired several shots so close to him that he could have pushed his finger into the muzzle of their guns. Later, Mr. Porter was sent to gather up prisoners and was detailed as guard in front of the breastworks. In climbing over the breastworks in fulfillment of his duty, then a very dangerous undertaking, he first put his canteen and haversack over, and, stepping back a few paces, he made a running jump and landed safely on the other side, but at the spot where he went over many bullets struck. Landing in a field of grain, after lying for a few moments he crawled away through the grain and took up his outpost duty, which he safely carried out. On the last day of September, at Fort Harrison, his brother, Miner F. Porter, was so severely injured by a shot that he died that evening. On October 17, 1864, Mr. Porter was mustered out and returned home. Two more brothers, Charles and Daniel, were in service, making four gallant soldiers for the Union from this one family."]

  8. Biographical Sketch of John Ralson. Village Record. 07 Jun 1862.

  9. Biographical Sketch of John Ralston.
    [Biography Hon. JOHN RALSTON, was born in Vincent (now West Vincent) township, Chester county, November 4th, 1744. His grandfather, John Ralston, was a native of the north of Ireland; was in the battle of Boyne Water under King William, on the 1st of July, 1690; emigrated to this country in August, 1728, and settled in Pikeland (now West Pikeland) township, Chester county. He brought with him his son ROBERT RALSTON, (father of the subject of this sketch) who had been born in Ireland, October 3d, 1722. Robert Ralston was several years a Member of the State Legislature, and died at his residence in Pikeland township, Feb19th, 1814, at the age of ninety one years. Hon. John Ralston, was on the side of Independence in the Revolution, and was in the service of both as Captain and Colonel. When Gen. Washington was about removing his headquarters from the Yellow Springs to Reading, he sent for Capt. Ralston, who was then at home on furlough, putting his crops, and engaged him to pilot him part of the way. This Capt. Ralston did, escorting him as far as the falls of French Creek, when another guide was pressed into the service, and he returned home. On one occasion, his dwelling was burned by English scouts, and he thrice secreted himself in a barn to prevent being arrested by the enemy. The various other public employments he was entrusted with in those eventful times, bears testimony to his character for patriotism. He was for forty one years, an active, useful and intelligent magistrate, and the leading man in the part of the country in which he resided. All the law transactions of his neighborhood, passed in a manner through his hands. He took his seat on the bench, on the County Court, when the Courtwere held by the Justices of the Peace, in November, 1784, and continued in that station until the formation of the Constitution of 1790, under which, on the 26th of August, 1791, he was again commissioned a Justice of the Peace by Gov. Mifflin. On the 7th of April, 1802, he was appointed by Gov. McKean, an associated Judge of the Courts of the county, the duties of which office he performed with singular fidelity, the last twenty years of his life. He lived a life of usefulness rarely witnessed, and died at his residence in Vincent township, on the 1st of September, 1825, in the 81st year of his age. He was interred at St. PeterChurch in Chester Valley, and the great concourse which attended his remains to the grave, testified to the high esteem, in which he was held by his fellow citizen. [NOTAE CESTRIENSES]

    At a meeting of the court and members of the bar of Chester County, held on the occasion of his death, it was "Resolved, That the meeting entertain a high sense of the long and faithful services of Hon. John Ralston, late an associate judge of the courts of this county; that we cherish a sincere respect for his memory as a man, and for his character as an officer of the court, and deeply lament the loss which, in common with the public, we have sustained by his death."

    He married Catharine Miller, and had five sons and two daughters,— Robert, William, John, James, Mary, Catharine, and George, of whom Mary alone survives. William married Mary Heffelfinger in 1805, and died in 1825. Catharine became the wife of Samson Davis. Mary married John Bingaman, and after his decease became the wife of Henry Rimby.]

  10. Biographical Sketch of John Smith.
    [JOHN SMITH
    John Smith was born in Rowan County, North Carolina around 1800. In March of 1822 he married Elizabeth Martha Koonts oor Koons. She was born in 1806 and was the daughter of George Koonts and Mary Elisabeth Eller. In the fall of 1823 the family of George Koonts and John Smith moved to Henry County, Indiana where John worked as a road supervisor and farmer. Around 1837 or 38 they moved to Adams County, Illinois. children born to this family were Mary, who married George Greybil [Graybill], Patience who married Levi Greybil [Graybill], Hannah who married Perry Omen, James Saxton and George Greybil, Elizabeth Martha who married John Winegar, Lydia married Peter Frain, Nathan Sanford and John Sharpe. Stephen married Mary Catherine Frain. Samuel Joseph married Rachel Yokum, two sons died in infancy.
    After the death of his wife Elisabeth in Adams County, he married Sarah Winegar. Their children were Rhoda Ann, Hiram, Samuel Carolos [Lot] and Abraham who married Olive Melissa Knopp. Several children died in infancy.

    In the fall of 1847 Stephen Smith helped some friends and relatives move to Council Bluffs and he stayed there through the winter. Due to illness in the family and bad weather John Smith did not come all the way until April of 1848. He built the first house in what is now known as Macedonia Township and lived there six or seven years, In 1853 or 4 he built a house in Grove Township. He build a saw mill on Farm Creek and on Jordon Creek. Up until then the pioneers had been making their houses of round logs. However, the elements were against him and his saw mills were either washed away or damaged so badly he gave it up and devoted his life to farming. We know that he had a kind heart because when the Mormons were sick and starving out along the Platte he and some of his sons took some grain to the mill to be ground and took it to them so they could bake bread at least.

    He served several terms as commissioner of his township and was a member of the County Board when the courthouse at Council Bluffs was built.

    John Smith helped organize the first Religious Organization in Grove Township around 1863 and a church was built on the road north of the McKenzie Blacksmith shop near the Lawrence and Hollis Frain farm. Some of the first members were John Smith and wife Sarah, E. W. Knopp and wife, A. J. Fields and wife Sarah, James Otte and wife Mehitable, Levi Greybil [Graybill] and wife Patience, John Winegar and wife Eizabeth, Joseph Smith and wife Rachel and Stephen Smith. John Smith was president of the organization. John and Sarah and many of their descendants wre buried in the Latter Day Saints Cemetery in Grove Township.

    Children of Stephen Smith and Mary Catherine Frain were Henry, George M., Mrs. Clara Bogue, Willard and Arthur.

    Children of Peter Frain and Lydia Smith were George, Elisabeth, Mary and Margaret.]

  11. Biographical Sketch of John T. Withrow.
    [John T. Withrow was born at Seven Mile, Ohio, September 19, 1882, a son of Albert and Emma (Brooks) Withrow, the former born near Cotton Run, and his wife near Four Mile. Both the families of Brooks and Withrow were early settlers of the Miami valley and have watched the country develop from a frontier outpost to an agricultural center. After marriage Albert Withrow and his wife located on a farm near Seven Mile which he farmed all his life and eventually passed away there leaving his widow on the old homestead. Their union was blessed with the following children: W. B.; Susan, now Mrs. Arthur Mendenhall; Ella, now Mrs. Hunt; Jennie; John T., the subject of this biography; Anna, now Mrs. Bell; and Eliza. John T. Withrow became imbued with the elements of knowledge at the common schools of Nine Mile, Ohio, after which he began farming on his father's property. Following his marriage he moved to the old Black homestead of 112 acres in Reily township and here he has resided since that date. Beyond getting all out of his farm which is possible by industry and careful husbandry and making all improvements consistent with the march of progress, he has taken great pride in breeding fine Duroc Jersey hogs. He was very active in war work with a resultant success. Politically he is a Republican, but leans towards the Progressive wing. In 1905, he married Miss Nellie R. Black, daughter of Elias and Lucinda Black. To them have been born three children: Robert, aged thirteen; Marjorie, aged ten; and Ely, aged five.]

  12. Biographical Sketch of John Vanderslice.
    [VANDERSLICE, JOHN, a retired merchant, was born two and a half miles from Phoenixville, Pa., May 27, 1801. His father, also named John, was a prominent and prosperous farmer in Pikeland township, of which he was an early settler, and where his son, the subject of this notice, passed his youth and received his education. In 1826, after his marriage, for four years he worked on his father’s farm upon shares. Two years subsequently he was engaged in butchering, after which he purchased a farm of eighty acres, for three thousand dollars, near Kimberton. During the ensuing seven years he cut some twelve hundred dollars’ worth of wood upon this land, and disposed of most of the tract for nine thousand four hundred dollars, reserving about one acre, upon which he erected a house, which was his home but a short time, for nine months later he sold it for fifteen hundred dollars. He then purchased a seventy-five-acre farm in Phoenixville. In January, 1840, he established his home upon this land,— a piece of real estate which eventually realized him a fortune, inasmuch as one-half of Phoenixville has been built upon the lots sold by him since 1840. He erected upon these lots one hundred and twenty houses, thereby greatly advancing the growth and prosperity of the place. He now owns twenty-six houses, also built by himself, and which he leases to tenants.

    In the year 1841, Mr. Vanderslice, in partnership with Mr. Samuel Cornett, embarked in the coal and lumber business, connected with which for many years was a dry-goods and grocery store. These undertakings were financially successful. In 1855 he took his son, Addison S., into partnership, having previously purchased Mr. Cornett’s interest; the coal and lumber business was thus continued until Jan. 11, 1879, when Mr. Vanderslice retired from the firm, leaving his son to continue the business, and which he is still conducting.

    Mr. Vanderslice is a firm Republican, and did much, by liberal contributions and otherwise, to assist the Union cause during the war of the Rebellion. In 1822 he became a member of the Masonic fraternity, an order in which he has always been an active worker, and in which he has attained high rank, having taken the 32d degree; he served as treasurer of Phoenix Lodge, No. 75, for thirty-three years, and has held the same office in the chapter since the year 1861.

    He was married in 1825 to Elizabeth Custer, a native of Evansburg, Montgomery Co., Pa., where she was born in the year 1805. Of the nine children born of this union seven are now living, viz.: Lavina C., wife of J.B. Morgan, cashier of the First National Bank of Phoenixville; Engelbert F., formerly engaged in merchandising and farming, but now employing two teams in hauling; Addison S., merchant; Angie C., wife of Dr. Levi Oberholtzer; Nehemiah C., studied medicine but not now practicing; John A., a farmer; and Eliza, wife of Horace Lloyd, teller in the First National Bank of Phoenixville. All of his children are residing in Phoenixville or its immediate vicinity, the farm of his son John being in Montgomery County, about two miles distant.

    Mrs. Vanderslice was baptized Oct. 9, 1834, since which date she has been an earnest and faithful member of the Baptist Church of Phoenixville.

    Mr. Vanderslice has held many positions of honor and trust in the community in which he has so long resided, having been several times elected a member of the town council, serving for three years as a director of the First National Bank of West Chester, as a member of the school board of Phoenixville for several years, beside holding other offices of prominence, in all of which his sterling qualities and marked ability have been conspicuously displayed. He was one of the originators of the Phoenixville Bank. He sold the ground upon which the water-works are located, and was influential in promoting that enterprise. He was also the owner of the ground on which the Masonic Hall was subsequently erected, in the construction of which he was greatly interested. In 1865 he was one of the corporators of the Morris Cemetery, and one of the three persons who sold the land (21 acres) which constitutes this beautiful burial-place. He has also frequently acted as executor, administrator, and guardian, performing these trusts with scrupulous fidelity. In 1855 he purchased an extensive tract of land in the West, comprising 1800 acres, which he subsequently sold, realizing a handsome profit. Although but one of many large business transactions in which he has been engaged, this one bears witness to his skill and judgment. At the time of his marriage he possessed scarcely a dollar, but now, as the result of his foresight, energy, and enterprise, he ranks among the wealthier citizens of the county.

    He is in many respects a remarkable man. Considering his age— eighty years— his mental faculties are remarkably active and vigorous, while his physical appearance indicates a man of much younger age. His countenance is pleasant and agreeable, his manners courteous and affable, indicating that benevolence which has been one of his characteristics. Since Oct. 9, 1834, he has been a consistent member of the Baptist Church of Phoenixville.

    Mr. Vanderslice has been an extensive traveler. He has had several strokes of paralysis, the first occurring about eleven years since; the second attack came near having a fatal termination, but after doctoring for three years with some of the best physicians of New York and Philadelphia without apparent benefit, he began to travel for his health. On May 15, 1851, he left Philadelphia in the steamer "City of Glasgow" for Liverpool, England.(55*) He had a fine passage of eighteen days’ duration; after spending four days in Liverpool, he started for London, stopping at all the prominent intermediate towns; he remained in the great metropolis ten days, visiting the World’s Fair, then went to Paris, from thence he traveled over nearly all Continental Europe, visiting its cities, watering-places, and other points of attraction. This trip was but the beginning of his journeyings. He spent one winter in Cuba, was in London and Paris five times, at Rome three times, in Egypt twice, and at Jerusalem; he visited San Francisco and South America; he has also been in every State of the Union and in four of the Territories. His last trip was one "around the world"; he went across the continent to San Francisco,— it being his second visit to that place,— crossed the Pacific Ocean to Yokohama, in Japan, proceeded thence to Hong-Kong, Singapore, Bombay, and Calcutta; crossed the Indian Ocean to Aden, traversed the Red Sea to its head, passing through the Suez Canal, visiting Cairo, Alexandria, Brindisi, Naples, Pompeii, Vesuvius, Rome, the Mont Cenis tunnel, Geneva, Paris, London, and Liverpool, whose port he left April 29, 1875, arriving home the 11th of May following.

    Mrs. Vanderslice is still living, at the advanced age of seventy-five years, and in the full possession of her faculties. This worthy couple have a pleasant home in Phoenixville, where, surrounded by their children, they are enjoying that ease and comfort which their lives of care, industry, and frugality have so well entitled them to enjoy.]

  13. Biographical Sketch of John W. Martin.
    [JOHN W. MARTIN, merchant and grocer of Mays, was born in Chester County, Pa., February 16,1837. He was the son of Major Benjamin L. and Sarah (Christman) Martin, who were also natives of Chester County, Pa. His father served as a Major during the late war. He was the son of John and Ruth Ann (Stevenson) Martin, who also were natives of Pennsylvania. When he was two years old his parents settled in Wayne County, this State, where our subject was reared and where his parents still reside. The father, B. L. Martin, served as Auditor of Wayne County, from 1853 to 1861, and during the greater part of that time our subject was his deputy. In the meantime he had provided himself with a collegiate education, having spent six years in Whitewater College of Centerville. In 1861 he resigned the deputy auditor-ship to accept the position as deputy Secretary of State under Judge William A. Peelle. At the end of two years he entered the service of the Union Army and served in a creditable manner until the close of the war. On retiring from the service, he returned home and he was married in Aurora, this State, to Jennie J. Jones in the fall of 1866. She was born in Aurora, Ind., being the daughter of Jonathan and Sophia Jones. Shortly after his marriage Mr. Martin went to Grenada, Miss., where he was engaged in merchandising two years. He then returned to Wayne County, Ind., and two years later he engaged in mercantile pursuits in Chester and Bethel, both of Wayne County. In about 1876 he entered the employ of the Maddux Bros, of Cincinnati as traveling salesman, in which capacity he continued three years. He then came to Rush County and engaged in merchandising in Raleigh, and also farming in the vicinity of that place. He continued in this way six years. By this time his health was seriously impaired and he retired from business and spent one year recruiting it. February 1, 1887, he opened a general store in Mays, this county, to which his attention is now directed. He is the father of four children, Stella A., Inez S., Alice Blanche and Jessie, all living. Mrs. Martin is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Martin is a member of the Masonic fraternity and a Republican in politics. While a resident of Wayne County he served as Justice of the Peace one term. He is an intelligent man with good business qualifications and a first class citizen. His father is also an ardent Republican and has represented Wayne County, this State, two terms in the State Legislature.]

  14. Biographical Sketch of John W. Smith.
    [John W. Smith son of Henry S. and Cynthia (Mitchell) Smith natives of New York and Tennessee, was born in Herald's Prairie May 7, 1836. His parents were married in this county, it being the second marriage of both of them. His father's first wife was Lavisia Boone, daughter of Joseph Boone. His mother's first husband was G. B. Linsicomb, a native of Mississippi. By this union there were three children, only one living, daughter, who married J. B. F. Smith, of Gallatin County, and is living in Nevada. Mr. and Mrs. Henry S. Smith were the parents of four children - John W., Marietta (Mrs. V. O. Salsbury), Elbert N., and Alice (deceased).

    Mr. Smith died Aug. 20, 1844. Mrs. Smith was married to her third husband, Lewis S. Bayley. They had three children --Isaac, George, and Cynthia A. Mrs. Bayley died in the 1880. John W. Smith being left a half-orphan, and being the eldest child was thrown on his own resources at an early age. In his fourteenth year he commenced to work for himself. He went to work for J. B. Dagley, at $4 a month for the first year. From this small beginning has come one of the representative men of White County. Feb. 27, 1856, he married Rebecca W., daughter of Lewis and Judy Hedges, of Gallatin County born Jan. 11, 1834. To them have been born eleven children - Emulus Idola, born Dec. 20, 1856 (deceased); Judith A., Jan. 27, 1859 (deceased); Cynthia A., Oct 3. 1861 (Mrs. J. H. Taut, deceased); Orlena E., Nov. 14, 1863; Isola, Feb. 12,1866; Isaac F., Aug.1, 1868; Lester, June 18. 1871; Edward, March 27,1873 (died in infancy); Henry Orval, March 4,1874; Oscar, July 20, 1877; Ina, March 31, 1879. Mr. Smith has a pleasant home, fine buildings, and farm of 160
    acres, eighty under improvement.]

  15. Biographical Sketch of John Wesley Withrow.
    [In the history of the residents of Henry county to whom success in life has come as the reward of persistent and earnest labor and, who, because of the former activity in business affairs, are now enabled to live retired, mention should be made of John Wesley Withrow, who was formerly connected with farming interests, but now makes his home in Geneseo, enjoying a rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves.

    When central and northern Illinois was still largely a pioneer district, his birth occurred in White county, this state, on the 19th of October, 1834. His parents were Neely and Polly (Eveleth) Withrow, the former born near Louisville, Kentucky, and the latter in New Harmony, Pennsylvania. The Withrow family is of Irish descent. The grandfather, William Withrow, was a native of Kentucky and followed the occupation of farming in order to provide for his family. He married Rebecca Dagley, and both lived to an old age, rearing a family of eight children, namely: Neely, Samuel, Polly, Rebecca, William, John, Rachel and Charles. The maternal grandfather of John W. Withrow was a native of Pennsylvania and died in early manhood. His widow afterward joined the colony at New Harmony, Pennsylvania, and subsequently became one of the pioneer women of White county, Illinois, living near Shawneetown. She, too, however, was comparatively young when called to her final rest and at her death left five children: Sylvester, Cyrenus, Mrs. Abigail Hull, Mrs. Amanda Walton and Polly. It was the last named who became the wife of Neely Withrow, who in his early boyhood had accompanied his parents on their removal from Kentucky to White county, Illinois. In 1835 he arrived in Henry county, stopping first in Red Oak Grove, near Bishop Hill, with his brother Samuel. They built a double log cabin and remained there until the fall of 1836, when they removed to Phenix township and first took up claims, while later they purchased land from the government. Neely Withrow began to improve his farm and built a house and placed some of the land under cultivation, but his death occurred there January 25, 1839, when he was not quite twenty-nine years of age. He was recognized as a man of genuine personal worth and as a public spirited citizen, and was elected the first justice of the peace in his township. His widow long survived him and reached the venerable age of eighty-six years, her birth having occurred February 12, 1806, while she died in 1892. Both Mr. and Mrs. Withrow were devout members of the Methodist church. Their children numbered four sons and a daughter: Amariah, now living in Geneseo; James, deceased; John Wesley; Lucy, who became the wife of Robert Barge and has passed away; and Neely, living in Central City, Nebraska.

    John Wesley Withrow was only one year old when brought by his parents to Henry county, where he has lived continuously since 1835. He was reared in Phenix township and attended the old time subscription schools in the days when the teacher "boarded 'round." It was an old log schoolhouse, made without any nails, the logs being fastened together with pins, with a puncheon floor and seats made of split slabs. It was heated by a fireplace and the birch rod formed a terrifying feature in the matter of discipline. Later when the district schools were organized Mr. Withrow pursued his education therein. He was only five years of age at the time of his father's death, but he lived at home until he attained his majority. His mother married again, her second husband being Harvey Hickcox, by whom she had three children, two of whom died in early life, while Eunice became the wife of Asoph King and removed to Central City, Nebraska. Mr. Hickcox died November 4, 1853, when Mr. Withrow was sixteen years of age. At that time the latter was assisting in the work of the home farm and following the death of his stepfather the care of the place largely devolved upon him. Prior to his marriage he purchased forty acres of land and after his marriage he rented land for a time and later made other purchases, adding to his holdings as opportunity offered until he was once the owner of nine hundred and twenty acres. His first forty acres had a mortgage of four hundred dollars upon it, on which he paid twenty per cent interest in advance. Such an exorbitant rate was discouraging, but he never allowed obstacles or difficulties to bar his path and with characteristic energy set to work to make the best of his opportunities. He lived in Phenix township until 1870 and then removed to Hanna township, where he engaged in general agricultural pursuits until 1893. In that year he took up his abode in Geneseo, purchasing a fine home on Palace Row. He is now living retired save for the supervision which he gives to his invested interests, which yet include six hundred acres of the valuable farming land of this part of the state.

    On the 1st of January, 1860, Mr. Withrow was married to Miss Arvilla M. Allen, a daughter of Jonathan and Charlotte (Hatch) Allen. Mrs. Withrow was born in Lee county, Iowa, February 12, 1843, and her parents were natives of Jefferson county. New York. Her paternal grandfather, Jonas Allen, was likewise a native of the Empire state and always followed farming. He married Sarah Dyke and died at Iron Bluffs, Nebraska, when he had reached an advanced age. His wife passed away in Fremont, Nebraska, at the home of her son. They reared seven children, Luther, Abram, Jonathan, Gilbert, Lois, Emily and Ann Mahala.

    The maternal grandfather of Mrs. Withrow was Jacob Hatch, a native of New York, who also followed farming. His wife bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Wilde and died in Iowa. Mr. Hatch lived to be nearly one hundred years of age and spent his last days in Utah. The children of his first marriage were Hosea, Almira, Charlotte, Polly, Anna, Leighton, Isaac, William and Lewis. Having lost his first wife, Jacob Hatch married again but had only one daughter by the second union.

    Mr. and Mrs. Allen, the parents of Mrs. Withrow, were reared and married in New York and on removing westward settled first in Lee county, Iowa, but in October, 1847, came to Henry county, Illinois, taking up their abode in Phenix township. For a long period they were connected with farming interests, but at length removed to Geneseo, where Mr. Allen died in 1876 at the age of sixty-four years and his wife passed away in 1865. He held various township offices, the duties of which he discharged in a prompt and capable manner. For several years he was one of the county supervisors and served on the committee that built the jail. Unto him and his wife were born five children: Nancy Adaline, who became the wife of Charles Linnell; Mary Angeline, the wife of James Withrow; Arvilla M., the wife of John W. Withrow; Lois A., the wife of Albert A. Colbert; and Dora A., the wife of Byron Coe.

    The home of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Withrow has been blessed with nine children. Francis O., the eldest, nrarried Ella E. Kerr, and they have one son, Howard H., who married Mabel Wilkinson. Ira W., the second of the family, married Lucina Fuller, and they have three children, Roy W., Hazel G. and Claude F. Ida E. is the wife of Sherman W. Shafer and the mother of four children, Minnie B., John W.; Mary A. and Donald E. Nina D. is the wife of Clinton F. Luther and has two children, Francis Allen and John Withrow. Effie A. married James Dana Buck, who died in June, 1895, leaving a daughter, Hattie R. George O. married Florence May Fuller and their four children are Otis D., Ethel A., Charles and John Wesley. E. Lilburn died when a little more than a year old, Minnie Gertrude died when six months old. Raymond F., the youngest of the family, married Maude M. Schnabele.

    Mr. Withrow is entitled to wear a Grand Army button from the fact that in 1865 he responded to the country's call for troops, enlisting in Company K, One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He served as a private and was mustered out in August, 1865. His life work has been that of a successful farmer, whose energy and carefully directed labors brought him the success that makes him one of the entensive landowners and prosperous citizens of the community. For seventy-four years he has lived in Henry county and few of its settlers have so long witnessed its growth and development. He has witnessed many changes here for the county in his boyhood days was largely an undeveloped and sparsely settled district. Today almost every acre of land is under cultivation and the county contains some of the finest farms in this great state. Mr. Withrow has lived to see many changes in the methods of farming for the old time scythe, sickle and flail have given way to the thresher, self-binder and reaper. He has witnessed also many changes in other lines of life and rejoiced in what the county has accomplished as the work of improvement has been carried steadily forward. He is one of the best known citizens of this part of the state and his record is a most creditable one, indicating what may be accomplished along the lines of determined and honorable labor.]


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Revised: 30 March, 2014