LOUIS NEWBURGH, [page 1027] president of the Louis Newburgh company, packers of leaf tobacco, with their Montgomery county, Ohio, office and warehouse in Germantown, and an office and salesroom at No. 232 East Fourth street, Cincinnati, Ohio, was born January 22, 1839, at Pottsville, Lancaster county, Pa. Shortly after his birth his parents moved to New York, and in the spring of 1842 they moved to Chicago. In 1855 they went back to New York, and in 1859 their son Louis entered the tobacco business as a clerk. In the year 1860 he moved to Cincinnati, entered into the cigar-leaf jobbing business, and in 1876 purchased a warehouse in Germantown, Montgomery county, and began packing tobacco. In January, 1893, he formed the corporation known as the Louis Newburgh company, and admitted his son (S. M. Newburgh), his son-in-law (Alexander Pappenheimer), and brother (Henry Newburgh) to the firm.
About the year 1880, Louis Newburgh concluded from his experience that the tobacco raised in Ohio had so deteriorated in quality that it could no longer compete with cigar-leaf raised in other states. He conceived the idea of introducing seed that would be an improvement, and, with this end in view, procured from the island of Cuba a quantity of seed which he distributed among the growers of Montgomery and Warren counties. The hot and dry summer of 1881, however, was detrimental to the germination of the seed, and the growers became discouraged and refused to make another attempt at propagation.
Mr. Zimmer, of Miamisburg, knowing that the Ohio seed had degenerated, and that something was required to improve the tobacco product, continued the propagation of this seed until he produced seed that was acclimated, and from that time a filler tobacco has been grown that is unsurpassed throughout the United States, and Mr. Zimmer has received due credit by its being named Zimmer's Spanish tobacco. The quantity at first produced was very small—some 300 boxes; this has since increased, so that there are now produced from 35,000 to 45,000 boxes annually. The Louis Newburgh company purchased and packed of this variety last season over 12,000 boxes, and are now recognized as the largest packers in Ohio, if not in the United States.
Louis Newburgh began his career as a packer with the determination to put up his goods in an honest and careful manner, and to acquire a reputation for his house; and to this policy, faithfully carried out, is due the high standing of the company throughout the country. The officers of the company are: Louis Newburgh, president; S. M. Newburgh, vice-president; Alexander Pappenheimer, secretary; and Henry Newburgh, treasurer.
OLIVER PERRY NISWONGER, [page 1028] a traveling salesman of Miamisburg, Montgomery county, was born in West Senora, Preble county, Ohio, November 21, 1853, and is a son of John D. and Mary (Ruse) Niswonger, both natives of Montgomery county. His paternal grandfather, Samuel, and great-grandfather, John Niswonger—both from Fincastle, Va., and of Swiss descent—were among the pioneer farmers of Montgomery county, Clay township, where they lived and died, and are buried in the cemetery at Salem, Ohio. The wife of Samuel was a Miss Dillon, of Irish birth, and their children were Polly (Mrs. Louis Kimmel), Betsey (Mrs. John Overhulser), John D., James, Sally (Mrs. Slengsby Barnes), Samuel, Catherine (Mrs. Andrew Faulkner), Eliza (Mrs. Ruel Vorhees), Prudence (Mrs. Andrew Spitler), and Levi. Of these the father of Oliver P. was born in Clay township, Montgomery county, April 13, 1811, where he grew to manhood. His business has been farming, buying and shipping stock and dealing in grain, and he has been a resident of Preble county, Ohio, for upwards of fifty years. His wife was a daughter of John and Mary (Heckathorn) Ruse of Madison township, Montgomery county, who bore him eight children—Horace, Maggie, Ann, Eva (deceased), Samuel (deceased), Levi, Oliver P. and James B.
Oliver P. Niswonger was reared in Preble county, was educated in the common schools, and began life for himself in 1876 as a traveling salesman for agricultural implements, which business he has followed up to this time. He has been a resident of Miamisburg since 1882. He married, September 2, 1876, America, a daughter of Henry and Delilah (Harsh) Frazer, of West Senora, Ohio, and has three children, Charles H., Myrtle and Dorman D. Mr. and Mrs. Niswonger are consistent members of the German Reformed church, and in politics Mr. Niswonger is a republican. Socially the family stands very high in the community, and Mr. Niswonger's genial qualities have not only made him popular on the road, but have won for him hosts of friends at and near his immediate home. In his business career, Mr. Niswonger has been in the employ only of firms of national reputation, such as W. N. Whiteley, of Springfield, the McCormick company, of Chicago, and the Warder, Bushnell & Glessner company, of Springfield, Ohio.
BERNARD J. PANSING, [pages 1028-1029] a prosperous business man of Miamisburg, Ohio, was born in this place May 20, 1847. He is a son of John Henry and Johanna Lucie (Borcherring) Pansing, the former of whom was born in Diepholz, Hanover, Germany, December 13, 1803, and was there reared to manhood.
John Henry Pansing learned the cabinet-maker's trade, and served twelve years in the German army. In 1836 he came to the United States, located in Cincinnati, and there worked at his trade a year and a half, removing to Miamisburg in 1838. In Miamisburg he established himself in business as an undertaker, cabinetmaker and dealer in furniture, erecting the building on Main street now occupied by David Clark for business and residence purposes. He continued in that business up to the time of his death, but in connection therewith, on account of ill health and the consequent need of outdoor occupation and exercise, he carried on truck farming near Miamisburg for several years.
On January 3, 1837, he married Johanna Lucie Borcherring, then of Germantown, Ohio, but formerly of Hanover, Germany. By this marriage he had nine children, six of whom grew to adult years, as follows: Wilhelmina, now deceased; Louis F., deceased; Bernard J.; William H.; Melinda M., wife of Jacob Swartz, and Martha M., wife of Joseph Rockey. Mr. Pansing and his family were, and those still living are, members of the Evangelical Lutheran church, and in politics he was a democrat. His death occurred March 4, 1879, and that of his wife, November 13, 188o.
Bernard J. Pansing came to man's estate in Miamisburg, and received his preliminary education in the public schools. His business education was received in the Miami Commercial college of Dayton, Ohio. His business career was begun with the Hunter Cutlery company, which company was engaged in the manufacture of cutlery in Miamisburg, and which he assisted to organize in 1872. After remaining connected with this company until 1876, he and his brother, William H., formed a co-partnership which, under the firm name of Pansing Bros., engaged in the general grocery and hardware business. In 1893, he and others organized the Citizens' National bank of Miamisburg, of which he is a stockholder, and in which he served for two years as a director. He erected, or more accurately, remodeled the building now occupied by Pansing Bros., for business purposes, and has in all his business career and connections been recognized as a straightforward and honorable gentleman.
Mr. Pansing was first married to Miss Chrissie A. Schuster, daughter of Christian and Mary (Kline) Schuster, of Miamisburg. By this wife he had two children, viz: Ida N., and Mary L. His second wife was, before her marriage, Emma Dill, daughter of Lewis and Louisa (Shaffer) Dill, of Germantown, and by her he has had three children, viz: Wilbur, Bernice and Dill, the latter deceased. Mr. Pausing is an Odd Fellow, a member of the encampment, and of the Daughters of Rebekah. He has passed all the chairs and is now adjutant of the Second regiment, P. M., I. 0. 0. F. He has been a member of the Miamisburg board of education for three years, of the board of health for six years, and in politics he is a democrat. Mr. Pansing and wife are members of the Evangelical church, and are earnest workers in the cause of religion. Both are fervent believers in the value of education, and are doing what they can to prepare their children for a successful and rational career. In 1883 Mr. Pansing erected a fine residence on East Linden street, in which he and his family now live, and are surrounded by a large circle of admiring friends.
EMORY C. OBLINGER, [pages 10291030] cashier of the First National bank, of Germantown, was born in Germantown, Ohio, June 5, 1865, a son of David L. and Mary A. (Clark) Oblinger, both natives of Montgomery county.
Gabriel Oblinger, paternal grandfather of Emory C., was a native of Pennsylvania and among the pioneers of Germantown, Ohio, where he first engaged in merchandizing, in 1825, in which he continued for many years, residing in that town until his death in 1874. His children were David L., Ellen (Mrs. Dr. J. J. Antrim), Orion, Daniel, Elizabeth (Mrs. Noah W. Kumber), Clayton and Catherine (Mrs. Charles Rohrer).
David L. Oblinger, father of Emory C., was born in Germantown in 1839. On attaining his majority he engaged in business with his father, and later embarked in the dry-goods trade, under the firm name of D. L. Oblinger & Co., in which he continued up to his death. His wife was a daughter of Levi L. and Mary L. (Gunckel) Clark, pioneers of Germantown, and granddaughter of Thomas and Catherine (Lehmen) Clark, of Lebanon county, Pa., on the paternal side, and on the maternal side of John D. Gunckel, a pioneer of Montgomery county, Ohio. The issue of this union was one son, Emory C.
Emory C. Oblinger was reared in his native town, was educated in the public schools, and at the age of nineteen embarked in the grocery business in Germantown, in which he continued for five years. In 1889 he was appointed assistant cashier of the First National bank of Germantown, and was promoted to cashier in 1890, a position he has since held with credit to himself and to the management of the bank. In September, 1888, Mr. Oblinger married Pearl, daughter of George and Maria (Emrick) Schafer, of Sunsbury, Ohio, and to this marriage has been born one son— David L. Mr. Oblinger is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and of the I. 0. 0. F., and politically is a republican. It will be seen from the above that Mr. Oblinger descends from two of the oldest pioneer families of German township. Emory C. Oblinger has well maintained the good name of his ancestors, and is now looked upon as one of the brightest young business men of Germantown.
IRA S. OWENS, [pages 1030-1032] one of the veteran soldiers of the late Civil war, sprang from sturdy Welsh stock. William Owens, the founder of the family in America, was a settler in Virginia during colonial days. His son William was born in Brunswick county, Va., March 9, 1779, became a farmer, and married Lucy Wright, who was born in the same county, June 19, I/73. Their children were Samuel Thomas and George B. William Owens emigrated to Greene county, Ohio, in 18 n, and cleared up a farm of fifty acres, two and a half miles south of Xenia. Here he remained until his death, which occurred in his eighty-fourth year, December 26, 1862, at the residence of his son, Capt. Samuel Thomas Owens, of Xenia, Ohio. He was a typical pioneer, a man of high character and a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which faith he brought up his sons. In politics he was in early life an old-line whig and later a republican.
Rev. George B. Owens, father of Ira S., was born July 14, 1800, in Brunswick county, Va., and was about two years old when brought to this state by his parents. He received a common-school education and afterward engaged in teaching school, continuing in this vocation for many years. He became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church when twelve years of age, and was for a long time a minister in that church, riding on horseback to his different appointments through the country for many miles. He was licensed as a local preacher in 1842, and in 1850 was employed as a supply on Concord circuit by Dr. Elliott, presiding elder. In 1851 he was employed on Franklin circuit and in 1852 on Camden circuit. In 1853 he was admitted into the Cincinnati conference and filled the following appointments: Venice circuit, two years; Cumminsville circuit, 1856 and 1857; Monroe circuit, 1858-59; Laurel circuit, 1860; Enon, 1861; Rayville, 1862 ; and Bethany, 1863.
Rev. Mr. Owens was a man of more than ordinary talents, was a sweet singer, a powerful preacher, and often witnessed great revivals of religion among his people. In 1829 he married Miss Eleanor Brewington, who was born of English parents in Maryland. To this marriage there were born the following children: Ira S.; William R.; Thomas L., who died when eight months old ; and John F. Rev. Mr. Owens died November 23, 1862, at residence of his son Ira, two and a half miles south of Xenia, in his fifty-fourth year.
Ira S. Owens, the subject of this sketch, was born March 1, 1830, on the homestead of his grandfather in Greene county, Ohio. Reared a farmer, he received a good common-school education. On December 15, 1856, when he was twenty-six years old, he married in Greene county, Miss Malinda Middleton, who was born June 14, 1831, in Greene county, Ohio, and a daughter of John and Susan (Mussetter) Middleton. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Owens settled on her father's farm, living there one year, and then moved to the Owens homestead, where they remained until his enlistment in the army. This occurred at Xenia, Ohio, October 7, 1861, in company B, Seventy-fourth Ohio volunteer infantry, to serve three years or during the war. His captain was Stephen A. Bassford. Later he was transferred to company C, under Capt, Samuel T. Owens, his uncle. He served faithfully until January 26, 1864, when he veteranized at Nashville, Tenn., in the same organization, re-enlisting for three years or during the war. He was honorably discharged, on account of the termination of the war, June 10, 1865. He was in the battles of Stone River and on the famous Atlanta campaign, participating during that great campaign in the battles of Buzzard Roost Mountain, Resaca, Dallas, Pumpkin Vine Creek, Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahoochie, and in the general engagement at Atlanta, in which Gen. McPherson was killed. He was also in the battle of Jonesboro. He then went on the march to the sea with Sherman, marched on to Goldsboro, was in the Carolina campaign, and went on to Washington, D. C., where he participated in the grand review. At the battle of Stone River, December 31, 1862, he was wounded, being shot through the left thigh, and was taken to the field hospital, but one week later rejoined his regiment. He was taken sick on the march from Murfreesboro to Chattanooga, and was in the hospital on this account one week at Manchester. He was then in hospital at Nashville eight weeks, where he was made ward master of ward 3, remaining in this capacity about six months. During the entire period of his service, with the exceptions noted, he was an active soldier, and always with his regiment on the march and in battle when it was thus engaged. He was, however, not in the battle of Chickamauga, being in the hospital at that time. But he rendered good service to the wounded in that battle. After the battle of Stone River Mr. Owens was detailed as head clerk of the mustering officer of Gen. Negley's headquarters, and served in this capacity for three weeks. He was promoted to corporal in 1862, and served as such officer to the end of the war; After the war he returned to the old homestead, the same year going to Putnam county, Ind., where he bought a farm of eighty acres, and where he taught school two winters. His wife died October 24, 1869, and he then moved to Yellow Springs, Greene county, Ohio, where he lived with his mother for two years. His children by his first wife were John W., James Allison, Lura E. and Alice. At Yellow Springs he again married, on March 21, 1872, his second wife being Catherine Real, by whom he had no children. She died in 1890.
Mr. Owens followed farming in Greene county until he removed to Beavertown in 1891. Afterward he removed to Byron, Greene county, and was there made postmaster under President Harrison's administration, serving about one year. He then removed to Union in 1893, and was appointed notary public by Gov. McKinley, May 9, 1894. His second wife having died, as stated above, he married on May 7, 1891, at Beavertown, Miss Elizabeth Real, a sister of his second wife. Mr. and Mrs. Owens are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and he is a steward of the church. In politics he is a republican, and is a man of undoubted honor and integrity, taking great pride, as he is justified in doing, in his record as a soldier. He is a member of Yellow Springs lodge, No, 420, F. & A. M., is a man of excellent literary attainments, and has written a volume on Greene's County's Soldiers in the Civil War. He is a member of Austin Macy post, No. 671, G. A. R., and is a poet of no mean ability. He has written many war poems and was a newspaper correspondent during the war. Mr. Owens is thus shown to be a man of excellent parts and talents, and he is everywhere recognized as an honorable citizen and an upright man. Mr. Owens is at the present time correspondent for the Dayton Herald.
WILLIAM H, PANSING, [page 1032] a well-known business man of Miamisburg, Ohio, and a member of the firm of Pansing Bros., was born in this place December 26, 1849. He is a son of John H. and Johanna Lucie (Borcherring) Pansing, mention of whom is made in the biographical sketch of Bernard J. Pansing. William H. Pausing came to manhood in Miamisburg, and was educated in its public schools, and also at the Miami Commercial college at Dayton. After completing his education he began life for himself as a farmer and continued to follow farming until 1875. On March 1, 1876, he engaged in the general grocery, hardware, iron and steel business in connection with his brother, Bernard J. Pausing, under the firm name of Pansing Bros., and has continued a member of the firm ever since. His straightforward dealings with all persons with whom he comes in contact are calculated to build up the strength of the firm, largely adding to its trade and reputation.
Mr. Pansing was married October 14, 1875, to Amelia R. Shupert, daughter of George and Mary M. (Troxell) Shupert, of Miamisburg. To this marriage there have been born four children, as follows: Charles H.; Howard, deceased; Mary M. and Ruth. Mr. Pansing has always taken great interest in religious and Sunday-school matters. He has been a member of the Lutheran church since he was fifteen years of age, and for the past twenty-two years has been a member of the choir, For seven years he has led the Sunday-school in singing, and in all ways has been a very active and useful member of both church and Sunday-school.
In 1884 he erected the business block now. occupied by Mr. Clark, on Main street, and he owns and occupies a fine residence on Park avenue. Mr. Pansing is an Odd Fellow and a Patriarch Militant, uniform rank. Politically, he has always been a democrat, and as such served two years in the city council of Miamisburg, with entire credit to himself and with satisfaction to his constituents. He and his brother, Bernard J., have contributed largely to the erection of the present Lutheran church building, as did also their father, and the brothers are doing their full share toward its support.
GAMALIEL PEASE, [pages 1032-1033] one of the extensive tobacco growers and general farmers of Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, is a native here and was born May 31, 1837, a son of George and Ellen (Wheatley) Pease.
George Pease, his father, was born in Suffield, Conn., November 25, 1798, and in his early manhood followed the profession of school-teaching. In 1825 he came west, crossing the mountains by stage to Pittsburg, Pa., where he and a companion purchased a canoe and floated down the Ohio river to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he passed the winter. In the spring of 1826, he came to Miami township, Montgomery county, and until 1828 stopped with his brother Perry, who was proprietor of a distillery at Lamme's Mills, and for a short time had charge of the distillery. He then moved to Carrollton, where he had charge of the mill office for his brothers, Horace and Perry, until 1848, when he purchased a home and engaged in miscellaneous activities. He was for a number of years treasurer and general manager of the Great Miami Turnpike company, but in 1868 retired from active business life.
The first marriage of George Pease took place August23, 1831, with Miss Ellen Wheatley, daughter of Richard and Hannah (Dunbar) Wheatley, of Washington township, to which union were born four children, viz: Mary and Mindwell, both now deceased; Gamaliel, and Ellen W., now Mrs. H. B. Ulm. Mrs. Pease died November 16, 1839, and the second marriage of Mr. Pease occurred April 6, 1841, with Miss Mary A. Lamme, daughter of David Lamme, one of the pioneers of the Miami valley, To this marriage were born three children —Horace L., David W. and Harriet (Mrs. George W. Hayes). Mr. Pease died February 23, 1880. He was made a Mason, in 1822, in Apollo lodge, at Suffield, Conn., and at the time of his death was an honored member of Minerva lodge, No. 98, at Miamisburg. He was also one of the organizers of the Presbyterian church at Carrollton. In politics he was first a whig and later a republican, and although active as a party man never sought political preference. In business he was a man of the most scrupulous integrity, and his death was sincerely mourned by the entire community in which he had passed so large a portion of his useful life.
Gamaliel Pease, the subject of this memoir, was educated in the common schools of Miami township and in the Miami Valley institute. In 1850 he went from Carrollton to Dayton and learned the molder's trade in the Buckeye foundry, and worked at this trade until 1857. In 1859 he returned to Carrollton, farmed for one year, and was then employed for a year in the distillery of his uncle, Perry Pease. December 14, 1861, he enlisted in company G, Sixty-ninth Ohio volunteer infantry, and took part in the battles of Gallatin, Murfreesboro (or Stone River), Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge. February 14, 1864, he was transferred from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Columbus, Ohio, where he was employed in the recruiting service until honorably discharged, February 20, 1865. After the war, he was engaged for five years in bridge building.
Mr. Pease was united in marriage, March 18, 1869, with Miss Mary Leisz, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Wagner) Leisz, of Carrollton, and to this union have been born five children, viz: Oscar M., Jennie Gertrude (Mrs. Harry C. Weaver), George, Calvin and Myrtle. Since about the time of his marriage Mr. Pease has been engaged in general farming and tobacco raising, in which he has been eminently successful. Mr. Pease is a member of Al Mason post, No. 598, G. A. R., and is a republican. He and his family are among the foremost in the community, and he is a man who has faithfully filled all the stations of life, either as civilian or soldier.
JOHN B. PIATT, [pages 1033-1034] an ex-soldier of the Civil war, and an old resident of Trotwood, Montgomery county, Ohio, is a native of the county and was born September 17, 1836, a son of James and Barbara (Olinger) Piatt. The father of James, who was a native of Rockingham county, Va., was of French-Huguenot descent, and the father of the following named children: Isaac, Jacob, Abraham, Solomon, David, John, James, Jane and Polly. Don Piatt, the poet, was also of the same ancestry.
James Piatt, the father of John B., was born in 1806, in Rockingham county, Va., and when a boy came to Montgomery county, Ohio, and here married Barbara Olinger, a daughter of Jacob Olinger, who came from Pennsylvania and was a pioneer of this county. To James and Barbara Piatt were born the following children: Rebecca, Jacob and John B. The death of Mrs. Barbara Piatt took place in 1838, and for his second wife, Mr. Piatt married Eliza McWhiney, of Scotch-Irish extraction, and to this union were born William, David, James and Eliza. The five sons of James Piatt all served as soldiers in the Civil war. Their father died in 1857.
The mother of John B. Piatt died when he was but two years old and he was reared by Maj. Elijah Culbert, who sent him to school and taught him blacksmithing at Post Town, where the major owned a shop and foundry. April 29, 1861, Mr. Piatt married Miss Rosanna Steckly, a native of Wittenberg, Germany, born November 16, 1843, a daughter of Matthew and Margaret Steckly, whose children were named Regina, Rosanna, and Catherine. Mrs. Steckly having died about the year 1847, Mr. Steckly embarked for America and landed in New York, where he remained three months and then came to Ohio, locating first at Dayton, and then upon a farm purchased by him in Madison township, Montgomery county, where he passed the remainder of his life, a member of the Lutheran church.
Leaving his young wife and babes at Poast Town, Mr. Piatt enlisted, in March, 1864, at Dayton, in company E, Seventy-first Ohio volunteer infantry, under Capt. Samuel McConnell, to serve three years unless earlier discharged because of the close of the war. He was in the battle of Jonesboro, Ga., fought Hood's troops in a skirmish at Franklin, and was in the two-day fight at Nashville, December 15 and 16, but was wounded the first day, a rifle ball striking his left side. The ball, however, was flattened by striking his cartridge box, belt and haversack, before reaching his body, otherwise he would have been shot through. As it was, he was partly paralyzed in the left side, which caused his confinement in hospital until honorably discharged at Camp Dennison, Ohio, through general orders, in 1865, after a service of about sixteen months, On his return to Post Town he resumed his trade as soon as possible, although his physical disability compelled him to employ an assistant in his work.
In 1867, Mr. Piatt opened a shop in Trotwood, has prospered, and has erected a comfortable residence. His children were eight in number, and were named Lizzie A. (who died at the age of twenty-five years), Ella G., Reuben S., Laura B. (who died aged fifteen), Clyde, Glenn, Pearl (who died at eleven months), and another son who died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Piatt are members of the Christian church, and in politics Mr. Piatt is a republican. . He is a member of the Old Guard post, No. 23, G. A. R., of Dayton; of Trotwood lodge, No. 754, I, 0. 0. F., which was organized in 1886, during which time Mr. Piatt has missed but few meetings, in which he has passed all the chairs, and was formerly noble grand of the lodge at New Lebanon. He has given his children excellent school advantages, his daughter, Ella G., having been a teacher for seven years, and he and his family are held in the highest esteem not only by the residents of Madison and adjacent townships, but throughout the entire county.
JOHN PLOCHER, [pages 1034-1035] the well-known contracting carpenter and builder of Miamisburg, Ohio, is a native of Germany and was born at Muehlheim, Wurtemberg, October 27, 1847, a son of John and Mary (Zeiler) Plocher. His paternal grandparents were Andrew and Katrina (Schlatterbach) Plocher, the former being a farmer of Muehlheim; the maternal grandfather, Michael Zeiler, was also a farmer of the same district, and served as a soldier in the German-Russian war of 1809. John Plocher, the father of our subject, was a grain dealer, and died at Muehlheim in 1866, at the age of forty-nine years.
John Plocher, the subject of this biography, lived in his native town until about twenty years old. He was educated in the common schools of Muehlheim, and there also served an apprenticeship of two years at the carpenter's trade, and worked one year as a journeyman. In 1867 he came to America, passed seven weeks in Cincinnati, Ohio, working at his trade, and July 26, of the same year, settled in Miamisburg. Here he followed his trade as a journeyman until 1880, when he engaged in contracting on his own account, in which he has made a thorough success, having constructed many of the residences of the city and done the woodwork on a number of business houses. Since 1886 he has been favored with contracts for the erection of most of the factories built in Miamisburg, including three twine factories and the Enterprise Carriage works, and has, beside, built several of the finest homes erected in the city since that date.
Mr. Plocher was united in marriage June 7, 1870, with Miss Mary Voegele, daughter of Martin and Barbara (Smith) Voegele, of Miamisburg, and this happy marriage has been followed by the birth of two children—Robert A. and Anna B. The family are members of the Lutheran church, on the board of trustees of which Mr. Plocher has served sixteen years. In his fraternal affiliations he is a member of the D. 0. H. and of the A. 0. U. W.; in 1883 he served as grosse barde of the state lodge of the D. 0. H., and has been treasurer of his local lodge for seven years. In politics Mr. Plocher is a member of the democratic party, and under its auspices has served as a member of the city council of Miamisburg. He has proven himself worthy of all the trusts that have been reposed in him, having filled his responsible duties in every position with faithfulness and with strict integrity, and has won for himself the esteem of the entire community.
THOMAS LUTHER PRUGH, [pages 1035-1036] of Van Buren township, Montgomery county, was born on the farm upon which he now resides November 27, 1835. He is a son of John and Catherine (Haynes) Prugh, both of whom were natives of Maryland. They were the parents of ten children, eight of whom grew to manhood and womanhood, and four of them are still living, as follows: Rev. Dr. P. C. Prugh, of Butler, Pa., born September 13, 1822; Jacob V., born August 3, 1831, now a farmer of Van Buren township; Mrs. Catherine A. Fauver, born January 22, 1834, now the widow of Samuel Fauver; and Thomas L., with whom this sketch deals. The other children, now deceased, were as follows: Jessie, born August 28, 1817; David H., born November 27, 1818, and died August 5, 1872; John W., born November 7, 1820, and died June 16, 1851; Henry, born May 25, 1824, died July 24, 1828; Nathan, born July 28, 1827, died August 7, 1828; Gideon G., born July 20,1829.
John Prugh, the father, was by occupation a farmer. He came to Ohio in 1813, locating in Van Buren township and purchasing 160 acres of land, paying therefor $13 per acre. In the spring of 1820 he moved upon the farm where Thomas L. now lives. He was always a hard-working, industrious man, honest in his dealings with others and successful in his own affairs. He was the youngest son in a family of sixteen children; was born November 25, 1794, near Westminster, Frederick county, Md., and lost his father when he was but ten years of age. His wife, Catherine Haynes, to whom he was married November 26, 1816, was born May 27, 1791, also in Frederick county, Md. She died in 1876, and he died on his farm two years later, at the age of eighty-five. Originally they were both members of the Evangelical Lutheran church, but later they identified themselves with the Reformed church, and were unusually zealous Christian people. When the British made an attempt to invade the city of Baltimore during the war 1812, John Prugh was called out as a soldier in her defense. He always took an active interest in politics, being early in life a whig, and afterward a republican until his death.
John Prugh's father, Conrad Prugh, was of German descent, and, as stated above, was the father of sixteen children, one of whom, Abner Prugh, died in 1891, at the age of 100 years and some months. Conrad Prugh was a farmer during his entire life, and died in Maryland. The father of Catherine Haynes was also a native of Maryland, and died there at an advanced age.
Thomas L. Prugh received his education in the district school, and after his marriage continued to live on the farm on which he was born. Until his parents became too old to take care of themselves, he and his father carried on the farm work together, the other children having all been well started in life. Still later Mr. Prugh purchased the farm, and owns it at the present time. On December 15, 1857, he married Miss Catherine Mason, daughter of Philip and Melinda (Conover) Mason. To this marriage there have been born three children: J. Mason, Nettie and Frances Pearl. J. Mason married Anne Kemp, of Germantown, and has two children—Thomas K., and Catherine. Nettie married James P. White, of Washington township, and has one son, James Prugh White. Frances Pearl is now attending Monmouth college, Ill.
Mr. and Mrs. Prugh are members of the United Presbyterian church, and are people in excellent standing, both in church and in society. Mr. Prugh and his son own about 285 acres of land, all of which is finely improved. His life has been marked by untiring industry and habits of thrift, and his property has been accumulated by his own good management.
Mr. Prugh is a republican, and while he has never aspired to office, yet he was recently elected to the office of township trustee, and holds the position at the present time. During the late Civil war he belonged to the 100 days' service, but owing to the old age of his parents he sent a substitute to the front, remaining at home to care for them. He has taken an active interest in educational matters, and has been a member of the township school board for fifteen years. All who know him place in him the most implicit confidence, and all highly esteem him for his great worth as a citizen and neighbor.
HON. WILLIAM A. REITER, [pages 1036-1037] attorney at law, was born in Miamisburg, Ohio, January 6, 186o. He is a son of Rev. Dr. Isaac H. and Margaret J. (Heilman) Reiter, fuller mention of his father being made in the memoir which follows this brief biographical notice.
William A, Reiter was educated in the public schools of Miamisburg and at Heidelberg university, from which latter institution he was graduated in 1880. For two years afterward he studied law in the office of Capt. Adam Clay, of Miamisburg, and was admitted to the bar in 1882, since which time he has been devoted to the earnest practice of his profession. Though never actively engaged in politics, he has several times been honored by his democratic fellow-citizens with political preferment. In the spring of 1888 he was elected mayor of Miamisburg, and while holding that office was, in 1889, elected to represent Montgomery county in the state legislature, serving his constituency with such ability and credit that he was re-elected to that office in 1891. In 1893 he was elected to the board of education of Miamisburg, and is now president of that body.
Mr. Reiter is a member of the Reformed church, a knight templar Mason, and a Knight of Pythias. He is a public-spirited citizen, and enjoys the respect of all, without distinction of party or creed, while, as a lawyer, few men of Mr. Reiter's years have attained a more enviable position at the bar of this county.
REV. DR. ISAAC H. REITER, [page 1037] for many years a distinguished citizen and minister of the gospel, of Miamisburg, was born in Berks county. Pa., February 4, 1819, and in 1831 removed with his parents to Wooster, Ohio. His earlier years were spent under religious influences and training, and he united with the Reformed church in 1842. Being well educated in his youth, he taught school for several terms, and while engaged in Bible distribution and railroad clerking he privately prosecuted his studies. From 18 51 to 1854 he was a student in the theological seminary at Heidelberg university, graduating from the seminary in June of the latter year. In November following he was ordained a minister of the gospel, and was pastor of the Miamisburg Reformed church from 1854 to 1874, a period of twenty years. From 1874 to 1895 Dr. Reiter was engaged in general church work, preaching only occasionally. From 1873 to 1882 he was editor of the literary department of the Heidelberg Teacher & Instructor, and from 1880 to 1882 was editor of the Christian World. He also supplied considerable matter for the Lives of the Fathers, published in six volumes, and at the same time performed other literary and statistical work.
Dr. Reiter served as stated clerk of the general synod of the Reformed church for thirty-five years, and of the Ohio synod for twenty-five years. He was long officially identified with the educational institutions of the Reformed church at Tiffin, Ohio, and for thirty-five years was an active member of the board of regents of Heidelburg university. For twenty-seven years he was a member of the board of trustees of Heidelberg Theological seminary, and received the honorary degree of master of arts from Heidelberg university in June, 1866, and from Ursinus college the degree of doctor of divinity in June, 1874.
He was a member of the board of education of Miamisburg twenty-four years and of the board of examiners six years, He wrote a history of the public schools of Miamisburg, which was published in the Miamisburg Bulletin, beginning January 5, 1883, and continuing through nine numbers. No one was ever more closely identified with the moral, educational and religious interests of Miamisburg than was Dr. Reiter, and at his death, which occurred November 8, 1895, the entire community felt that it had suffered a loss that could not be repaired.
FLEMING RICE, [pages 1037-1038] a retired farmer, living in Van Buren township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Frederick county, Md., September 26, 1822. He is a son of James and Rebecca (Drill) Rice, both natives of the last named county and state. They were parents of six children, five sons and one daughter, five of the six still surviving, as follows: Fleming, James A.; Louisa, wife of John Waltz, of Muscatine, Iowa; John W., and Milton.
James Rice, the father of these children, was a miller in his early manhood. About 1826, he came to Ohio and located in Lancaster, removing thence to Chillicothe in a few years. He then moved to a point about four miles north of Dayton, and about five years afterward removed south of Dayton to Dayton township, now Van Buren township. The family was then too poor to purchase land, so rented a farm. There James Rice died in September, 1842, at the age of fifty-five years, his wife having died about five years before. Both were members of the Protestant Episcopal church, and though poor, were upright, honest and reliable people.
The paternal grandfather of Fleming Rice lived in Maryland until his death, which occurred in middle age. He and his wife reared a family of two sons and five daughters. The maternal grandfather also died in Maryland.
Fleming Rice was ten years old when brought by his parents to Montgomery county. Here he grew to manhood, receiving his education in the district schools. When his parents died he and his next younger brother took care of the other members of the family, giving them the best education the country then afforded. In 1843 Fleming married Miss Catherine Fenstmacher, by whom he had four children, as follows: Hester Jane, John W., Mary and Franklin. Hester Jane married Daniel Peters, of Preble county; John W., married Clara Bellman, and has three children. Mary married Jacob Sheets, and has one child. She and her husband live two miles south of the soldiers' home, on the Germantown pike. Franklin, who married Victoria Dryden, has three children, and resides in Dayton, Mrs. Catherine Rice died in January, 1864, a member of the German Reformed church.
Mr. Rice married, in 1867, Miss Mary E. Miller, daughter of John and Mary E. Miller, To this marriage there were born three children: Annie E., Charles D., and Olive Leora. Annie E. married Sherebiah Bradford, and has one child. Charles D. married Elsie Gebhart, and Olive Leora lives at home. Mrs. Rice is a member of the German Reformed church. Politically Mr. Rice is a democrat, and as such has held several township offices. He has been quite successful in the accumulation of property, having four fine farms, one containing 160 acres; another 105 acres; one north of Dayton, 122 acres, and the home farm, 103 acres. His home farm lies between three and four miles south of Dayton. Having lived in Montgomery county sixty-four years he has seen much of the wonderful development of this rich valley. He is well known throughout the county as one of its most substantial, reliable and progressive farmers. He has always worked hard, and, beginning with nothing but his hands and a determination to accomplish something, has become independent, and now enjoys the respect of all both for what he has done and for what he is still capable of doing. Kind-hearted, hospitable and generous, Mr. Rice has many friends among all classes of people. He is one of the public-spirited men of the county, always ready to aid worthy enterprises, modest in his bearing, and genial in disposition.
WILSON RICE, [pages 1038-1039] a well-known educator of Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Van Buren township, May 24, 1861, a son of James A. and Hannah (Opdyke) Rice. His paternal grandparents were natives of Maryland, but settled in Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1835, and his maternal grandparents, Albert and Rebecca (Ruder) Opdyke, were old residents of Van Buren township.
Wilson Rice was reared in Jefferson township, was educated in the common schools, spent two years at the Northwestern Ohio Normal school, Ada, Ohio, and later took a commercial course at A. D. Wilt's college, Dayton, Ohio. In 1882 he began his career as a teacher in the common schools, in which vocation he has successfully continued, and since 1889 has been a resident of Germantown.
Mr. Rice has been twice married. His first wife was Miss Amanda E., daughter of W. S. and Elizabeth (Shroyer) O'Neill. of Van Buren township; his second wife was Miss Rilla, daughter of David and Elizabeth (Spring) Huber, of Germantown, by whom he has two children—David L. and Olive M. Mr. Rice is a member of the Reformed church, of the F. & A. M., I. 0. 0. F., K. of P., and of the Foresters. He is a democrat and served as postmaster of Whitfield, Montgomery county, from September, 1890, to January, 1895. In 1895 he was elected trustee of German township and has served his constituents faithfully in both capacities. As an educator he has won golden opinions from the people of Germantown, and as a citizen he stands high in the esteem of the community.
JOHN RISON, [pages 1039-1040] bridge builder and contractor of Miamisburg, was born in Perry county, Ohio, July 25, 1832. He is a son of Peter and Elizabeth (Wood) Rison, who were natives respectively of Virginia and Pennsylvania. His paternal grandfather, Peter Rison. was a farmer of the state of Virginia. Peter Rison, father of John, settled in Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1838, locating near Dayton, and later removed to Butler township, and engaged in farming, which occupation he followed until the time of his death, which occurred in 1849. Six of his children grew to maturity, as follows: Thomas, who died while serving his country as a soldier during the late Civil war; John; Peter, now deceased; Henry, deceased; Emanuel, deceased; and David C., of Van Wert, Ohio.
John Rison was reared in Montgomery county, from the time he was six years of age, and was educated in the common schools. At the age of eleven he was thrown upon his own resources, and for the first six years thereafter worked on a farm. Arriving at the age of seventeen he engaged in bridge building on the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railroad, and this line of work he followed for six years. Afterward he became superintendent of bridge building for other parties, continuing thus engaged for several years, and about 1870 embarked for himself in the same business, that of bridge building and contracting, which he has continuously and successfully followed ever since. He has been a resident of Miamisburg since 1852.
During the late Civil war he was a member of company D, One Hundred and Thirty-first Ohio volunteer infantry, beginning his service as captain of his company, and retaining that position throughout. He was appointed judge advocate at Annapolis, Md., but declined the office, and was honorably discharged with his company at the expiration of his term of service. He was married January 10, 1857, to Elizabeth Dininger, of Germantown, Montgomery county, by whom he has four children, of whom only one survives, Annetta. Capt. Rison is a royal arch Mason, a Knight Templar, an Odd Fellow, belonging both to the encampment and canton, is a member of the Daughters of Rebekah, and of the Grand Army of the Republic. He served as a member of the city council of Miamisburg for fourteen years as a republican, having belonged to that party ever since attaining his majority. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and an excellent member of both church and general society. Mrs. Rison died April 2, 1893. She was a Lifelong member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and her estimable character and excellent qualities endeared her to all who knew her.
JESSE J. ROGERS, [pages 1040-1041] of Randolph township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Clinton county, August 8, 1846, and is a son of Reuben and Deborah (Jeffery) Rogers. He was but fourteen years of age when he came to Montgomery county, and resided here about two years, receiving his education in the common schools, and then went to Moscow, Clermont county. There he enlisted, August 15, 1862, and was mustered into the three years' service, at Cincinnati, in the First independent Ohio battery, under Capt, George P. Kirtland. He was soon promoted to be corporal, served until the close of the war, and was honorably discharged June 26, 1865. He took an active part in the battles of South Mountain, Fisher's Hill, several severe engagements in West Virginia, Fayettsville, Stevenson Depot, Lynchburg, New River and Bunker Hill, Va. The young soldier endured many hardships beside through severe and continued marching, and was seized with rheumatism, for which he was treated in camp, as he declined going to hospital. He was tenacious in the performance of his duty, and was in all the marches, skirmishes and engagements in which his regiment took any active part.
After the close of the war Mr. Rogers returned to Montgomery county, and here married, October 20, 1866, Miss Sarah D. Landis, who was born in Randolph township, November 28, 1847, a daughter of John and Sarah (Dougherty) Landis. To this union there have been sent nine children: William, Edward, Sarah, Charles, Bertha, Herbert, Webster, May and Harley—all born within the limits of Montgomery county.
Mr. Rogers first located, after marriage, in Salem, where he was employed in the still-house of H. M. Turner for two years; lived in Baltimore, Montgomery county, for about three years, and in 1874 bought a farm in Randolph township, which then comprised but forty-eight acres, but which he has, through his diligence and economy, increased to fifty-four acres, improving it with substantial buildings, orchard, etc., and lived upon it until March 1, 1897, when he moved to Perry township. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers are members of the Christian church, in which he is a class-leader and superintendent of the Sunday-school. In politics Mr. Rogers is a republican, with a strong leaning toward the prohibition party, and is a member of Marshall post, Grand Army of the Republic, at Brookville.
Reuben Rogers, father of Jesse J. Rogers, was born in New Jersey, of English descent. He was a sailor in early life, and after his marriage with Miss Jeffery came to Ohio and bought a farm of 160 acres in Clinton county, but shortly afterward sold this farm, moving to Highland county, where he purchased another farm, and there passed away in the Methodist faith at the age of eighty-four years. His children were, in order of birth, William H., Elizabeth, Alice, Lydia, Jesse J. and Sarah; Of these, William H. was a soldier for three years in the Fifty-ninth Ohio volunteer infantry.
Jesse Rogers, father of Reuben and grandfather of Jesse J,, was a ship-owner and sea-captain of Ocean county, N, J.
John Landis, the father of Mrs. Sarah D. Rogers, was a substantial farmer, owning 110 acres of land, was a member of the Dunkard church, and lived to be seventy years of age, leaving a family of eight children, viz: Israel, Mary, Anna, Kate, John, David, Sarah and William.
The Jeffery family were of old colonial descent, and tradition has it that they were related to the historical John Rolfe, who married the Indian princess, Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan.
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