Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 1069- 1083 Joseph Weaver M.D. to Hon. Lewis Henry Zehring

JOSEPH WEAVER, M. D., [pages 1069-1070] the oldest male resident of Miamisburg, Ohio, and one of the most prominent citizens of the place, was born three miles south of Dayton, December 22, 1816. He is a son of George and Elizabeth (Hoch) Weaver, natives of Pennsylvania, who settled in Montgomery county, Ohio, in the year of his birth. His father, George Weaver, a farmer by occupation, reared to maturity eleven of the twelve children that were born to him, and at the present time seven of the eleven survive.

Joseph Weaver, when but twelve years old, located in Miamisburg, and worked for Drs. Isaac and John Treon for his board, clothing and education, until he was eighteen years of age.  For four years subsequently he remained with them as a student of medicine.  In the winter of 1836-37 he attended a course of lectures at the Ohio Medical college of Cincinnati, and in 1838 began the practice of his profession at Miamisburg. Soon afterward he engaged in the drug business, in which he continued for three years in connection with his medical practice. He then sold out the drug business and confined his attention to his profession, in which he successfully continued until 1870, a period of thirty-two years. In 1873 he embarked in the lumber business, in which he still continues, and in 1884 he erected a large planing-mill, which he has since operated. Since 1889 he has also been engaged in the coal business. For many years he has dealt in real estate, and has erected a large number of houses in Miamisburg, several of which he still owns.

Dr. Weaver was married, in 1841, to Fannie Swar, daughter of John and Susan (Kauffman) Swar, of Miamisburg, and to this marriage there were born several children, as follows: Minerva (Mrs. Rev. H. N, Weaver), John, Charles, Nora (Mrs. Dr. William Shuler), Anna (Mrs. John Walters), Louisa (Mrs. William Kauffman), and Clara. The doctor has twenty-two grandchildren. He is a member of the German Reformed church; in politics, originally a whig, he has been a republican since that party was organized. His first presidential vote was cast for Gen. William Henry Harrison, in 1840, and his last for Gen. Benjamin Harrison, in 1892. Dr. Weaver's memory is perfect, and his reminiscences of early days are exceedingly interesting. In the sixty-eight years of his residence in Miamisburg, the older generations have all passed away, and he stands now, hale and vigorous, nearly alone, but apparently with many years of active life and usefulness before him, the only representative of the men who knew the place before it became a town and the only one living who assisted in its organization.

 

HENRY WEAVER, [pages 1070-1071] the well-known retired blacksmith of Miamisburg, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Van Buren township, of the same county, October 26, 1825, and is a son of George and Elizabeth (Hoch) Weaver, natives of Lancaster county, Pa.

John Weaver, the paternal grandfather of Henry, was also a native of Lancaster county, Pa., but was one of the pioneers of Montgomery county, Ohio, having come to this state in 1806. He entered, or purchased, a large tract of land in Van Buren township, cleared up a fine farm for himself and family, and at his death was able to endow each of his children with a handsome piece of farm land.

Joseph Hoch, the maternal grandfather of Henry Weaver, was likewise a native of Lancaster county, Pa., and a pioneer farmer of Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio.

George Weaver, father of Henry, settled in Van Buren township in 1816, and cleared up a farm, on which he passed the remainder of his life. To his marriage with Elizabeth Hoch were born twelve children, of whom eleven grew to maturity, viz: William, George, Jeremiah, Joseph, Lucy A. (Mrs. Jacob Drayer), Mary A. (Mrs. Richard M. Miller), Henry, Isaac, Sarah (Mrs. David Furlong), Elizabeth (Mrs. Dr. John Treon), and Daniel.

Henry Weaver, whose name opens this biographical notice, was reared in Van Buren township, where he received a fair education in the pioneer log school-house, and where he served two years as an apprentice to a blacksmith. Having fully learned the trade, he worked as a journeyman for five years, and then established a shop of his own in his native township, which shop he conducted for another period of five years, and then came to Miamisburg, where he passed thirteen years in the prosperous prosecution of his trade, and at the end of that period was enabled to retire to private life and to live on the competency his industry and thrift had so worthily gained him.

Henry Weaver was happily married, in 1850, to Barbara A. Kauffman, daughter of Henry and Maria (Bear) Kauffman, of German township, and to this union have been born eight children, of whom six grew to maturity, viz: Amos; Mary, who is the wife of Miles Blossom; Etta, widow of Amos. K. Clay; Harry, Theodore, and Lizzie E., who died in March, 1893.

Mr. Weaver, now one of the most substantial citizens of Miamisburg, has owned and occupied his present residence since 1873. He is surrounded by a circle of pleasant neighbors and sincere friends, in whose esteem he holds a high position, and is also much respected by the community at large. Although a democrat in his party affiliations, he has never been a partisan in the office-seeking sense of the word, but has contented himself with giving voice to his principles through his vote at the polls.

 

GEORGE WASHINGTON WEAVER, [pages 1071-1072] the pioneer and most prominent merchant of Miamisburg, was born in Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, September 27, 1824. He is a son of Philip and Magdalena (Gebhart) Weaver, and is of Swiss origin. His paternal grandparents were Jacob and Margaret (Gebhart) Weaver, both natives of Pennsylvania, who came to Ohio in 1804, settling on Little Bear creek, Jefferson township, Montgomery county. Here Mr. Weaver cleared and improved a farm, upon which both he and his wife lived the rest of their lives. Jacob Weaver was born February 28, 1762, and was a son of Jacob Weaver, of Alsace-Lorraine, who was one of three brothers who were driven from their native land by religious .persecution during the last century.

Jacob Weaver, grandfather of George W., was the father of ten children, as follows: Henry, a soldier in the war of 1813; Michael, Jacob, Peter, Philip, John; Magdalena, wife of Jacob Beachler; Gretchen, wife of George Gebhart; Eva and William. Of these children, Philip, the father of George W. Weaver, was a farmer, and a most industrious, temperate Christian gentleman. His death occurred July 12, 1851, when he was fifty-three years of age. His wife, Magdalena Gebhart, was a daughter of George and Elizabeth Gebhart, who came from Pennsylvania, and settled in Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1805. Their children who grew to maturity were as follows: William; Elizabeth, wife of Nelson Shade; George W.; Rachel, wife of Eli Eck; Malinda, wife of Daniel Bookwalter; John P., Jacob; Lavina, wife of Wilson Gebhart; Noah; and Magdalena, wife of Philip Weaver.

George W. Weaver, the subject of this sketch, was reared on the old homestead and remained there until he was twenty-one years of age. The education he received was limited to that furnished by the common schools of his youthful days. In 1845, with a borrowed capital of $150, he embarked in the grocery business at Miamisburg, and in this business he has been engaged ever since, meeting with all the success that could be desired. In 1861 he added a hardware department to his business, and has always been and still remains the leading and most extensive merchant of the place. For twenty-five years he was a large dealer in agricultural implements, buggies, etc., and in this department of trade was as successful as in those of groceries and hardware.

Mr. Weaver was married Octobers, 1845, to Rebecca Rowe, daughter of Henry and Sarah (Squires) Rowe, and has eight children, as follows: Sarah M., wife of H. C. Hoff; Ellen, wife of R. J. Smith; Mary A. L., wife of F. C. Ampt; George C., Charles E.; Louisa E., wife of Robert G, Weber; Emma C., wife of Franklin Alter; and Harry C.  Mr. Weaver is a member of the Reformed church, and has held the offices of deacon, treasurer and trustee. In politics he is a republican, and in every relation of life has always been recognized as a man of the highest integrity and honor, enjoying the regard of both the social and business elements of the community.

 

WlLLIAM PERRY WEAVER, M. D., [pages 1072-1073] one of the most successful and prominent physicians of Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Jefferson township, this county, Octobers, 1851. He is the son of William and Sarah (Beck) Weaver. His paternal grandfather, Jacob Weaver, was born in Lancaster county, Pa., December 28, 1762, and settled in Jefferson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1805. In this township he cleared and improved a farm, on which he lived the rest of his life. His father, Jacob Weaver, came from Alsace-Lorraine, and in early manhood settled in Pennsylvania, serving later as a soldier in the Revolutionary war.   The wife of Jacob Weaver, pioneer of Montgomery county, Ohio, was Margaret Gebhart, who bore him ten children, as follows: Henry, a soldier in the war of 1812; Michael, Jacob, Peter, Philip, John, Magdalena (Mrs. Jacob Beachler); Gretchen, (Mrs. George Gebhart); Eva, and William, the latter being the father of the subject of this biographical sketch.

William Weaver was born on the old homestead in Jefferson township, September .25, 1811, and was reared as a farmer and a distiller, conducting the latter business on Bear creek. He lived and died on the old Weaver homestead, his death being caused by injuries accidentally received, January 24, 1857. His wife was a daughter of Richard and Susan (Snepp) Beck, the former of whom was a native of England, at one time a resident of Montgomery county, and later a large landholder on the Wabash river, near Fort Wayne, Ind. William Perry was the only child of the marriage of William and Sarah (Beck) Weaver.

William Perry Weaver, M. D., was reared in his native county, was educated primarily in the public schools thereof, also in Notre Dame university and in Wittenberg college. In 1868 he began the study of medicine by taking a course of lectures at Miami Medical college, at Cincinnati, Ohio, and finished his medical education at the Cincinnati college of Medicine & Surgery, graduating from this institution in 1871. Locating immediately in Miamisburg, he has since had an extensive practice and has established himself in the confidence of the public to the fullest extent.

Dr. Weaver was married, October 31, 1871, to Katie Burnett, daughter of Patrick C. and Mary (Coughlin) Burnett, of Cincinnati. By this marriage he has two children, W. Burnett and Genevieve. Dr. Weaver is a member of the Montgomery county Medical society, and has been a surgeon of the Big Four Railroad company for upward of fifteen years. He has been assistant surgeon of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad company since 1894, He is a, member of the board of health, and is a stockholder and director of the Miamisburg Twine & Cordage company. Fraternally he is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and in politics a republican. In all respects Dr. Weaver is a man worthy of confidence and esteem, and enjoys the high regard of all who know him.

 

CHRISTIAN WEBER, [page 1073] representative business man and citizen of Miamisburg, was born in Ruxheim, Germany, February 14, 1826. He is a son of Christian and Anna M. Weber, who came to the United States in 1837, locating in Buffalo, N. Y., where the former, who was a weaver by trade, resided until his death. He was a most excellent man, and, dying, was mourned greatly by all who knew him.

Christian Weber, the younger, was reared in Buffalo from the time he was eleven years of age, receiving a limited education in the public schools. At the age of eighteen he established himself in business as a wholesale and retail tobacco and cigar dealer, in which he was successfully engaged for nine years in Buffalo. In 1853 he removed to New York city, where he was engaged in the wholesale tobacco trade until 1862, in the meantime traveling extensively through the tobacco-growing sections of the country, buying largely for himself and others. In the year last mentioned he removed to Miamisburg, Ohio, and has since resided in that thriving place, being occupied from 1862 to 1880 in buying and selling tobacco, and meeting with uniform success.

Mr. Weber was married in 1862 to Miss Lucella M. Grove, daughter of George A. and Christiana (Kercher) Grove, of Miamisburg. By this marriage he has seven children living, as follows : Robert G., Amelia, Edmund C., Eliza J., John H., Oliver A, and Margaret L. Mr. Weber was one of the organizers of the Citizens' National bank, of Miamisburg, and is a stockholder and director of the bank at the present time. He is also a stockholder and director of the Kauffman Buggy company, and is largely interested in other important enterprises. Prior to the war Mr. Weber was a whig, but since then has been a democrat. Both he and his wife are members of the Reformed church, of Miamisburg, and maintain an excellent standing, both in religious and social circles.   They are doing all in their power to educate their children properly, and thus to make of them good and useful citizens of the republic.

 

WILLIAM D. WELSH, [pages 1073-1074] an enterprising farmer and citizen of Miami township, Montgomery county, was born in Clear Creek township, Warren county, Ohio, November 28, 1836, a son of Samuel and Jemima (Blackford) Welsh, natives of Harper's Ferry, Va., and Warren county, Ohio, respectively. On the paternal side he is of Scotch-Irish descent. His maternal grandfather, Nathaniel Blackford, was a native of New Jersey, and one of the pioneer farmers of Clear Creek township, Warren county, Ohio, where he died; Samuel Welsh was one of the later settlers of Warren county and was a carpenter by trade, but in later life engaged in farming, and died in Clear Creek township, in 1879. His children were named Catherine (Mrs. Joseph Githens), Mary (Mrs. Thomas Link), William D., John B., James, Ruth, Emma (Mrs. Jacob Swanager) and Nathaniel.

William D. Welsh was reared in Clear Creek township, Warren county, Ohio, and in Union county, Ind. In 1855 he located in Miami township, Montgomery county, where he has since resided, engaged in farming, and has occupied his present farm since 1879.

December 23, 1862, Mr. Welsh married Miss Anna E., daughter of John and Jane (Vandever) Crain, of Miami township, and has three children: Charles, Bert, and John C. During the late Civil war Mr. Welsh was a member of company B, One Hundred and Forty-sixth Ohio volunteer infantry; he enlisted in May, 1864, and was honorably discharged, at the expiration of service, in September, 1864.  He is in politics a republican. His course through life has been such as to win the respect of all who know him, as he has filled all his duties, as civilian and soldier, with an eye single to the welfare of his fellow-men.

 

SAMUEL WENGER, page [1074] a former resident of Randolph township, now a resident of West Milton, Miami county, Ohio, is a highly esteemed citizen. He is a son of Christian and Mary (Klepinger) Wenger, and was born March 5, 1835, on the old Wenger homestead in Randolph township, Montgomery county. Receiving the usual common-school education of the days of his youth, he early began to work at the varied tasks of the farm, becoming proficient in the use of the old-time scythe and cradle.  He well remembers the first combined mowing and reaping machine introduced into the country.  He fully appreciates the great changes made by the introduction of the various kinds of farm implements, rendering the cultivation of great tracts even easier than was the tilling of a few acres by our forefathers.

On November 29, 1858, he married Miss Elizabeth Waybright, in Randolph, she having been born July 7, 1834, on the Waybright homestead. She is the youngest of ten children born to Jacob and Elizabeth (Fetters) Waybright. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Wenger lived for about five years on the Waybright homestead, and then removed to Miami county, Ohio, two miles southwest of Wes Milton, where he purchased 104 acres of his father. This farm he greatly improved and by thrift and industry added to it until he at length owned about 500 acres. In 1886 he bought a fine piece of property in West Milton, consisting of half a block of ground and a fine residence. In 1874 Mr. Wenger erected on his farm a substantial brick house, and also built a good barn and other farm buildings. Altogether his is one of the best farms and homes to be found in this part of the country. To Mr. and Mrs. Wenger there have been born the following children: Mary A., John V., Amanda, who died when twenty-eight years of age, and Valeria A. Mr. and Mrs. Wronger are members of the German Baptist church, and in politics Mr. Wenger is a democrat. As such he has been honored by his fellow-citizens by election to the office of township trustee, in which position he served two years, and he has also been elected to other offices. He was a member of the school board for a considerable time. Both Mr. and Mrs. Wenger are of sturdy pioneer stock and rank with the best people of the county. He stands very high for the sterling qualities of manhood which he possesses, both by inheritance and by culture, and is bringing up his children in the ways of good citizenship, realizing that the strength of the nation depends very largely upon individual character.

 

JOHN WENGER, SR., [pages 1074-1075] one of the most substantial farmers of Randolph township, and a descendant of an early pioneer of Montgomery county, was born March 6, 1837, one-half mile west of Harrisburg, in the old Wenger homestead, which was upon the national road. He is a son of Christian and Mary (Klepinger) Wenger, for fuller mention of whom the reader is referred to the biography of Joseph Wenger, elsewhere published in this volume. He was early put to work riding the horses that tramped out the grain on the barn floor, and gaining farm knowledge during the years that should have been spent at school.   His education was therefore to a considerable extent neglected. When a young man Mr. Wenger spent many a day handling a scythe or reaping grain with a cradle, beginning to swing that primitive tool in the oat-fields when he was but little more than fifteen years of age.  He began to plow when between nine and ten years of age, raked hay with a hand rake, and well remembers the first farming machinery that was introduced in his part of the county.

He married when twenty-three years of age, March 8, 1860, in Union township, Miami county, Ohio, Miss Mary C. Waybright, who was born in Montgomery county, near Harrisburg, and is a daughter of Daniel and Nancy (Kinsey) Waybright.   Daniel Waybright was a son of Dr. Jacob and Lizzie (Fetters) Waybright, the former being one of the early pioneers of Randolph township. Jacob Waybright was a farmer and a good citizen, and for many years a prominent practitioner of medicine in Montgomery county. Daniel Waybright was born in Randolph township, became a successful farmer, and was the father of the following children: Sarah, Mary C., Margaret, Lucinda, Rebecca, Salome, John and Ira. He lived to be about sixty years of age, dying in 1876. In religion, he was a Dunkard, and preached many years. He was well known for many miles around, as a man of sterling worth and character, and was highly regarded everywhere as a most energetic and useful citizen.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Wenger settled on the farm now owned by him. At the time it consisted of no acres of land, which Mr. Wenger has greatly improved, and to which he has added other tracts, until at the present time he owns about 330 acres, all of which he has acquired by that industry and careful management which have made him one' of the most prosperous farmers of his county. He and his wife have had the following children:   David P., Martha, Lucinda, Daniel W., John H., Enos E., Anna M., and Frank S. Mr. and Mrs. Wenger are members of the German Baptist church, and in politics, he is a democrat. Mr. Wenger's life has been a busy and useful one, and his unblemished character is recognized throughout the community which has always been his home.

 

JOSEPH WENGER, [pages 1075-1077] one of the reliable farmers of Randolph township, is a son of one of the ancient pioneers of Montgomery county. His grandfather was John Wenger, who was of Pennsylvania-Dutch stock, was born in Pennsylvania and was married in that state to a Miss Long, by whom he had the following children: Christian, John, Joseph, Tobias, Annie, Esther, Mary, Fannie, and Barbara.   John Wenger came to Ohio with his family in 1824 or 1825, settling on about 100 acres of timber land near Little York. This land he cleared of its timber, lived upon it the remainder of his days, and became a substantial farmer and a model citizen. He was a minister of the church of the Brethren in Christ, preaching the gospel many years. Attaining a great age, he died rich in the esteem of all who knew him.

Christian Wenger, his eldest son, was born in Lancaster county, Pa., in 1806. In Pennsylvania he received a good common-school education, and came with his father and others to Ohio when he was about eighteen or twenty years of age. Arriving in Montgomery county, he married Polly Klepinger.

Mr. and Mrs. Wenger soon after their marriage first settled near Little York, and later moved near to Harrisburg, Montgomery county, on a farm, which Mr. Wenger improved and to which he added until he owned 240 acres in a body, beside several other pieces. He gave to his children in the aggregate 1,000 acres of land, demonstrating not only his great industry, but that he was an unusually judicious manager and capable business man. He and his wife had the following children: Mary, Elizabeth, Nancy, who were born at Little York, Pa.; Samuel, John, Joseph, Amos, Levi and David, twins, and William, these seven being born on the Ohio homestead. Their parents were members of the church of the Brethren in Christ, of which Mr. Wenger was a deacon for many years. Politically he was in his earlier life an old-line whig, but later was a democrat. Of a naturally robust constitution, he lived to be eighty years of age, dying November 1, 1885, on his farm. He was endowed with the gift of saving, but was at the same time generous and was always kind to the poor and needy.   He aided to build different churches in Montgomery county, and was in all ways a man worthy of the regard and confidence of the people.

Joseph Wenger, the subject of this sketch, was born April 9, 1840, on the old homestead near Harrisburg. Reared a farmer's boy, he received the common-school education of the district school. When twenty-four years old, on March 24, 1864, he married Miss Mary Ann Niswonger, who was born November 9, 1841, and was a daughter of George and Elizabeth (Warner) Niswonger. George Niswonger was a son of John and Elizabeth (Circle) Niswonger, the former of whom came from Virginia, and whose children were as follows: Rachel, George, Fannie, John, Elizabeth, Nicholas, Nellie, Eli and Mollie. In religion John Niswonger was a member of the German Baptist church, and came to Montgomery county in 1804 or 1806, settling in Clay township, on a farm which is now owned by Frank Klepinger. He was thus among the earliest of the pioneers, the Indians not having then left the county.

George Niswonger was born in Montgomery county about 1806, growing up among the pioneers, marrying Elizabeth Warner, and rearing the following children: David, Eli, Catherine, Mary Ann and Moses. Mr. Niswonger settled on land near Salem, consisting of 160 acres. This land he cleared of its timber and made of it a good farm and pleasant home for his family. To his original farm he constantly added other tracts until he had 500 acres. He and his wife were members of the German Baptist church, he having been a deacon for many years. Believing strongly in educating the young, he gave each of his children the best instruction possible, and lived to be seventy-four years of age, dying on his home farm. He was of the purest men of his day, honest and straightforward in his dealings, and highly esteemed by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wenger settled permanently on their present homestead of 120 acres, to which he added forty acres, making 160 acres in one tract, and eighty acres in another farm. Of his first homestead of 120 acres he cleared up thirty acres, greatly improved his farm, and in 1879 erected a good, substantial farmhouse. To him and his wife there have been born the following children: Elizabeth, Ella, Sallie, George, Edna, William H., Oille Bell and Nettie C. Mr. and Mrs. Wenger are members of the German Baptist church, and have given their children good educations, so far as their means would permit. He himself was a member of the school board six years in succession. Mr. Wenger is one of the most industrious and progressive farmers of this township and county, and a substantial citizen. Aided by his faithful wife he has brought up an excellent family of children.

 

AMOS WENGER, [page 1077] one of the prominent farmers of Randolph township, is a son of Christian and Mary (Klepinger) Wenger. Amos Wenger was born April 24, 1842, on the old Wenger homestead, and received the common-school education of the day. He was brought up on the farm, and when yet a boy rode the horse while tramping out the grain on the barn floor, at a time when he should have been at school. He became an expert in the use of the old-fashioned scythe in mowing grass, and of the cradle in cradling grain. He well remembers the first combined mower and reaper that was introduced into his neighborhood, and he has kept pace with the march of progress in the manufacture of agriculture implements and their growing use upon the farm. When he was twenty-four years of age, on May n, 1866, he married Mary Huffer, who was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, and is a daughter of John and Mary (Olinger) Huffer. John Huffer was of German ancestry, came from Maryland, and settled in Montgomery county at an early day. His children were as follows: John, Catherine, Julia, Lizzie, Mary and Sarah. Mr. Huffer lived for some time on the Wenger homestead, consisting of about 100 acres, and then removed to Miami county, upon a farm near Pleasant Hill, where he died at about seventy years of age. He was a member of the German Baptist church.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Wenger settled on the homestead farm of 130 acres, which Mr. Wenger, by industry and careful management brought up to a high state of cultivation. He erected substantial and excellent farm buildings, and by wise thrift added to his possessions until he owned 300 acres of good farming land. To Mr. and Mrs. Wenger there were born the following children: Emma, born April 10, 1869; Lucy, born May 20y 1871; Charles, born March 20, 1879; Sallie, born February 19, 1881; Ezra, December 30, 1882. Mrs. Wenger died November 7, 1884, a member of the German Baptist church, and a woman of many virtues and excellent qualities of head and heart.

On December 6, 1885, Mr. Wenger married Mary Landis, a daughter of Samuel and Susannah (Erstine) Landis, and born August 22, 1858. Samuel Landis was a son of Felix Landis, who came from Pennsylvania, was a farmer, and married while yet living in Pennsylvania, Miss Elizabeth Garver. Felix Landis was one of the earliest of the pioneers of Montgomery county, and became one of this county's most substantial citizens.

Mr. and Mrs. Wegner have two children: Albert, born December 7, 1886, and Walter, born January 17, 1897. Both are members of the German Baptist church, old order. Mr. Wenger has served as a member of the school board, and is a valuable citizen. His father, Christian Wenger, was one of the best known of the pioneers, and a man of excellent standing in every relation of life.

 

LEVI WENGER, [pages 10771078] one of the prosperous farmers of Randolph township, and a son of one of the pioneers of Montgomery county, was born on the Wenger homestead, August 26, 1844. He is a son of Christian and Mary (Klepinger) Wenger, for fuller mention of whom the reader is referred to the biography of Joseph Wenger, elsewhere published in this volume. Levi Wenger received the common-school education obtainable in the district schools, beginning to work early in life. When he was a boy, farm machinery had not been brought into use to any great extent, horses being used to tramp out grain. He was often employed in the winter time upon the farm, when he should have been at school. He well remembers the first combined mower and reaper that he ever saw, and other machines as they were invented and put upon the farm. He has spent many a day mowing with the old-fashioned scythe, reaping with a cradle, and raking hay with a hand-rake. The change to the present system has been very great and has been made with great rapidity, and none appreciate the march of improvement more than does the intelligent farmer.

When he was twenty-eight years old Mr. Wenger married, on September 23, 1873, Miss Amanda Smith, born in Clay township on the Smith homestead, and a daughter of Abraham and Catherine (Long) Smith. Abraham Smith was of Pennsylvania-Dutch stock, from Lancaster county, Pa., and a farmer. He came to Montgomery county, Ohio, and settled at Greencastle, southwest of Dayton, where he ran a wagonmaker's shop for some years. At this place he was married and had the following children: Cyrus and Amanda, and one that died young. Mr. Smith moved to Clay township, on sixty acres of land, to which he added by thrift and industry until he owned a farm of 100 acres. He was one of the hard-working, prosperous men of his township, was a democrat in politics, and he and his wife were members of the church of the Brethren in Christ. He died in 1892 when he was seventy-five years old.

After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Wenger lived for one year on the Smith homestead, at the end of which time they removed to the Wenger homestead, where they have since lived. This farm Mr. Wenger has greatly improved, among the improvements being a fine, large brick house and other good buildings, such as are needed on a well conducted and well regulated farm.

To Mr. and Mrs. Wenger there have been born the following children; Dora C., Jesse W,, Bertha J., Rosella, Rollin, Leroy and Stella A. The parents are members of the church of the Brethren in Christ. In politics, Mr. Wenger is independent, and he is well known for his strict integrity and high character. He comes of the best pioneer stock, is the head of an excellent family, and is one of the highly honored citizens of Randolph township.

 

JEROME WERTZ, [pages 1078-1079] a retired merchant of Miamisburg, and a prominent citizen, was born in Jefferson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, September 14, 1831.  He is a son of Daniel and Sarah (Weamer) Wertz, natives respectively of Franklin and Somerset counties, Pa., who settled in Franklin, Ohio, in 1808. There Mr. Wertz followed his trade, that of carpenter, until 1818, when he removed to Jefferson township, Montgomery county, where he cleared and improved a farm, and where he was engaged in the manufacture of wind mills. Upon this farm he lived the rest of his life, dying September 28, 1873. His wife died March 10, 1859. They were the parents of the following children: Catherine, wife of Jacob Mullendore; Anthony, deceased; Mary, wife of George Getter; Sarah, wife of Daniel Lambert; Jacob, deceased; Nancy, wife of Daniel Mueky; Elizabeth, wife of Frederick Stine; Caroline, wife of Peter Lambert; Lavina, wife of Aaron Mullendore; Harriet, wife of Joseph Hartzell; Daniel; John, deceased; Jerome; and Rachael, wife of Jacob Beachler.

Jerome Wertz was reared in Jefferson township, and received a limited education in the common schools. While yet a young man he learned the tinner's trade, which he followed in Miamisburg for ten years. In 1857 he removed to Anderson, Ind., where he conducted a tin store for two years, returning to Miamisburg in 1859 and to his father's farm in 1860. Upon this farm he remained until 1863, and then again returned to Miamisburg, where he was engaged in merchandizing until 1884. For five years thereafter he was engaged in farming in Jefferson township, and, in 1889, retired from active life altogether, and has since resided in Miamisburg.

Mr. Wertz, on June 9, 1858, married Sarah A. Schenck, daughter of William and Margaret (Small) Schenck, of Miamisburg, and to this marriage have been born five children, viz: William S.; Calvin A., deceased; Laura, Alfred and Willis. During the late Civil war Mr. Wertz served his country as a member of company E, One Hundred and Thirty-first regiment, Ohio volunteer infantry, and was honorably discharged at the expiration of his term of service. Politically he is a republican, and he is a member of Al Mason post, No. 508, G. A. R. In religious matters both he and his wife are Methodists, and are excellent people in all respects, enjoying the fullest confidence of all their friends and acquaintances. It will be seen that Mr. Wertz has led an active and industrious life.  His business tact and thrift have won him a competence, and he is now enjoying in ease the fruits of his earlier and arduous labors.

 

WALTER C. WILSON, [pages 1079-1080] the worthy and experienced superintendent of the public schools of West Carrollton, Miami township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Jackson township, in the same county, October 9, 1862, and is a son of John R. and Susan (Oldfather) Wilson, natives respectively of Jackson and German townships, and descendants from early settlers of Montgomery county.

John Wilson, paternal grandfather of Walter C., was a native of Washington county, Pa., of Scotch-Irish descent, and in 1815 settled in Jackson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, where he cleared up and improved a farm from the wilderness, and there resided until his death, in 1874. His wife, Susan (Ault) Wilson, was also a native of Washington county, Pa,, and bore her husband twelve children, named Hiram, Joseph, Jacob, Mary A. (Mrs. Jacob Oldfather), Elizabeth (Mrs. Thomas Smith), Sarah (Mrs. Henry Oldfather), John R., Henry, Susan (Mrs. Wesley Kline), Anna (Mrs. William H. Oldfather), Lucy (Mrs. A. M. Sterling), and Jenny.

Samuel Oldfather, maternal grandfather of Walter C. Wilson, was a son of Jonathan Oldfather, a Pennsylvanian who came to Ohio in 1804 and settled in German township, Montgomery county.

John R. Wilson, father of Walter C., was reared on a farm, but in 1867 embarked in mercantile business in Farmersville, Montgomery county, and also engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes, and continued in these lines until 1876, when he became a sub-contractor in the mail service, which occupied his time until 1891.  During this interval he was also postmaster at Farmersville for four years. His children who grew to maturity were named Walter C., Ora, Etta (Mrs. Joshua Albaugh) and Harry.

Walter C. Wilson received his elementary education in the common schools of Jackson township and later attended the National Normal university at Lebanon, Ohio, and Antioch college at Yellow Springs, Greene county, Ohio. He began his business life as a baker, and also learned the barber's trade. In 1880 he began teaching, and in this profession discovered his forte, which he has since pursued with much credit and success.  His first graded school was at South Lebanon, Warren county, where he taught one year; he then went to Bellbrook, Greene county, and taught four years; since 1890 he has been superintendent of the public schools in West Carrollton, in which position he has given the greatest satisfaction to the community and won for himself an enviable reputation.  For six years, 1890 to 1896, he has also been associate principal of the normal department of Antioch college.

Mr. Wilson was united in marriage, September 18, 1884, with Miss Amanda Snethen, daughter of George and Catherine (Stahl) Snethen, of Warren county, Ohio, and to them have been born three children: Clyde S., K. Grace and Morris C. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and in politics Mr. Wilson is a democrat. Fraternally, he is a member of the I. 0. 0. F., and the 0. U. A. M., and socially he and his wife enjoy a very high standing.

 

DANIEL W. YOUNG, SR., [pages 1080-1081] of Miamisburg, and a retired hotel proprietor, was born in Munichweiter, Rhine province, Germany, January 16, 1839. He is a son of Daniel and Wilhelmina (Von Brecht) Young, his paternal grandparents having been Philip and Catherine (Weber) Young, and his maternal grandparents, Julius Von Brecht and wife.

Daniel W. Young's early education was received in the public schools of his native country, and in his twelfth year he was admitted to the university at Speyer, with the view to being trained for the ministry of the Evangelical Protestant church. He had previously attended an art training school and had become proficient as an ornamental painter. And as will be seen. later on, this latter training entered, in part, into his future course of life. In 1853 he sailed for the United States from Havre, on the ship Arlington, and, after a tedious voyage of sixty days, landed in New York. From this city he went by canal to Buffalo, and thence by rail to Saint Louis, where he joined his uncle, Peter Weber, a noted musician, who sent him to Walter & Cook's business college, from which institution he graduated with honor in the spring of 1856. He was next employed as clerk and steward in a hotel, remaining in this position for two years.  In 1858 he went to Zanesville, Ohio, where he was employed in a confectionery store until the fall of 1859, when he removed to Miamisburg. In 1860 he entered the employ of Bookwalter & Kauffman, carriage builders, as foreman of their painting department, and was engaged with them, and the various firms that succeeded to that business, for a period of nearly eleven years. In 1870, having purchased the Valley house, he engaged in the hotel business, and conducted this hotel for two and a half years. Selling out the Valley house, he removed to Dayton, and there conducted the Gait house for three years, at the end of which time he returned to Miamisburg, purchased the Arcade restaurant, thoroughly renovated and remodeled the building, and conducted the restaurant until 1888. He then took charge of what is now known as the Hotel Young, and carried on a successful business until 1895, when he retired from active participation in business affairs.

In 1891 Capt. Young went to Germany, on a visit to his aged mother and other relatives, this being his first visit to his native land after he left there in 1853, In 1861 he married Elizabeth Jacobus, daughter of Frederick and Catherine (Graft) Jacobus, of the Rhine province, Germany, and pioneers of Miamisburg. To this marriage there have been born three children that are still living, as follows: F. Henry, Daniel W., Jr., and Charles. During the late Civil war Capt. Young served in the Morgan raid, and, notwithstanding he was the youngest member of his company, he was elected captain. He now has in his possession three commissions that were given him, one as captain of company I, Fourth Ohio volunteer infantry; one as captain of company D, Seventh Ohio volunteer infantry, and one as captain of company E, Thirteenth Ohio volunteer infantry.

Fraternally Capt. Young is a member of Schiller lodge, No. 38, I. 0. 0. F., of Dayton, of the Knights of Pythias lodge of Miamisburg, and was the founder of and is past grand master of Mozart lodge, A. 0. U. W. He is at the present time serving his second term as grand master of the D. 0. H. Among other positions of trust that he has held may be mentioned that of president of the Miamisburg Cemetery association, which he has held for the past eight years, and under his efficient management of the affairs of the association the cemetery has been brought into a condition of high perfection and beauty.   In politics Capt. Young is a democrat, and a man of high character and undoubted patriotism.

 

HARRISON WOLPERS, [pages 1081-1082] a prominent dry-goods merchant of Germantown, Ohio, was born in Germantown, November 11, 1845, a son of Charles 0. and Louisa (Schwartz) Wolpers.

Charles 0. Wolpers was a native of the duchy of Brunswick, Germany, born in 1795, came to America in 1814, and settled in Germantown, where soon after his arrival he opened a store near Gunckel's mill. Beginning on a small scale, he gradually enlarged his operations in proportion to the demands of trade. After some years of success he erected a business structure on the lot now occupied by the dry-goods establishment of H. Wolpers & Co., where he continued business for a short time. He spent several years, also, in Bellefontaine, Ohio, which was then called Bellville, but Mr. Wolpers changed the name to Bellefontaine, which it has ever since retained. On. his return to Germantown he engaged in the drug business, and was also interested in a distillery. He was a well-educated man, a classical and scientific scholar, and was a diligent student throughout his life. He was also a practical chemist, and erected a laboratory, where he manufactured various articles for medical purposes.   In 1824 he married Louisa Schwartz, daughter of Dr. Schwartz, of Baltimore, Md., who was a native of Germany and a Revolutionary soldier. To Mr. and Wolpers were born eight children, three of whom grew to maturity — Frederika, Vandalena (Mrs. Lewis Eminger), and Harrison, our subject.

Harrison Wolpers was reared and educated in Germantown, and began his business career as a boot and shoe merchant in that town, in 1865. In this he continued one year and since 1866 has been in the dry-goods business, as a member of the firm of D. L. Oblinger & Co., Oblinger & Wolpers, as H. Wolpers, and since 1892 as H. Wolpers & Co., the business having been established by Gabriel Oblinger in 1825.

May 2, 1870, Mr. Wolpers married Eliza J., daughter of Joseph F, and Eva (Coblentz) Kemp, of German township, the marriage resulting in the birth of six children, five now living: Eva (Mrs. Edwin Chryst), Charles F., Frank, Lulu and Laura ; and one, Harry, deceased. Mr. Wolpers is a member of the Lutheran church and of the F. & A. M. In politics he is a republican, and during the late Civil war he held the offices of assistant assessor and assistant deputy collector of internal revenue. He has been a member of the Germantown school board for nine years and has always done his full duty as a citizen, while as a business man he has met with abundant success and prosperity.

 

LEVI ZEHRING, [page 1082] a retired farmer of Germantown, Ohio, was born in German township, Montgomery county, June 15, 1819, a son of Peter and Elizabeth (Bonebrake) Zehring, His paternal grandfather, Lewis Zehring, was a native of Lebanon county, Pa., and a son of Henry Zehring, who was a son of Ludwig Zehring, a pioneer of Lebanon county, Pa., his ancestors being from Baden, Germany.

Peter Zehring was born in Lebanon county, Pa., November 2, 1793. He was educated in his native state, where he learned the shoe-maker's trade, and in May, 1816, settled in German township, Montgomery county, Ohio, and followed his vocation until 1818, when he married Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Dewalt and Christiana Bonebrake. He then engaged in farming, clearing and improving most of the farm of 136 acres on which he settled, and where he died August 8, 1858. Both he and his wife were members of the United Brethren church. In politics Mr. Zehring was a stanch democrat.

Levi Zehring, the only child of Peter who grew to maturity, was born and reared on the old homestead, and received a limited education in the schools of his day. He continued to live on the homestead until 1882, when he retired and removed to Germantown, where he has since resided. He was an industrious and able farmer, and made many improvements on the old homestead. He married, February 5, 1846, Ann Maria, daughter of Barnard and Elizabeth (Swartzly) Zehring. She was the granddaughter of Philip Swartzly, one of the pioneers of Montgomery county, who helped to lay out the present city of Dayton. Mr. Zehring has one son living, Amos, of whom mention will be made hereafter. Mr. Zehring is one of the best known citizens of German township. While not a member of any church, he is a believer in Christianity, and is a supporter of the United Brethren denomination; in politics he is a democrat.

Amos Zehring, a prominent farmer of German township, was born on the Zehring homestead, where he now resides, December 28, 1847, and is the only son of Levi and Anna M. (Zehring) Zehring. He reached the years of manhood in his native township, where he received a common-school education. He has always followed farming as an occupation, and,, with the exception of four years, has always lived on the old Zehring homestead. In September, 1871, he married Mary, daughter of John P. Hildreth, of Jay county, Ind., and has five children—Oscar 0., Eva M., Willie A., Levi E. and Aaron Earl. Mr. Zehring is a member of the United Brethren church, is president of the township school board, and in politics is a republican. He is honored wherever known, and is a most well-to-do farmer, as well as an excellent citizen.

 

HON. LEWIS HENRY ZEHRING, [pages 1082-1083] mayor of Miamisburg, and familiarly known as Judge Zehring, was born in Miamisburg July 12, 1840, son of Samuel and Mary (Wenger) Zehring.

In his native town Judge Zehring grew to manhood, securing a good education in the public schools. At the age of twenty years he began teaching school, and followed that vocation for twelve years, and during a part of that time was also engaged in farming. He was principal of the grammar department of Miamisburg's school for three years, and taught a select school one year.  In 1874, while on the farm, he was elected justice of the peace, and the following year removed to Miamisburg, where he has since resided and through successive re-elections has continuously held the office. For two years he served in the city council, and as mayor seven years, and is the present incumbent of that office, and for four years rendered efficient service as a member of the board of school examiners. He has been connected with the fire department ever since 1865, with the exception of five years spent on his farm, and has been its president since 1892. From January, 1891, to January, 1894, he held the office of county commissioner, and was a member of Montgomery county's soldiers' relief committee for four years.

In 1863 he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth, daughter of Emanuel B. Gebhart, of Miami township, by whom he has two daughters: Laura M., wife of Oliver P. Dosch; and Blanche, now a student of Yale college.

In politics the judge is a democrat, and a recognized leader in the councils of his party. Fraternally, he is a Mason, and has attained the thirty-second degree, and for twelve years he served as worshipful master of Minerva lodge, No. 98, of Miamisburg.  In all matters pertaining to the public good Judge Zehring takes a commendable interest, and as public official or private citizen has proved true to every trust reposed in him.

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