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Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 1150-1163 Clinton Myers to Noah Swank

CLINTON MYERS, [page 1150] a farmer and nurseryman of Jefferson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born on the farm he now owns and occupies, July 10, 1842, a son of Emanuel and Elizabeth (Furner) Myers, natives of Maryland and Juniata county, Pa., respectively, and of German descent.

Michael Myers, a native of Strassburg, Germany, and grandfather of Clinton Myers, came from Maryland to Ohio in 1803, and purchased a section of land in Jefferson township, on a portion of which Clinton still resides. His wife bore the maiden name of Billmyer, and their male children were named Moses, Martin, Michael, Emanuel and Menassah, beside whom they were the parents of three daughters.  Michael Myers was a man of considerable wealth in his day, lived to see his section of land in Montgomery county cleared up and improved, and on this land he died, a respected pioneer, at a good old age.

Emanuel Myers, father of Clinton Myers, was reared in Jefferson township, on the paternal homestead, where he passed all his life, and died in 1853, aged fifty-seven years.

Clinton Myers, only child born to Emanuel Myers and wife, was reared to farming on the old Myers homestead, where, with the exception of five years passed in Miami township, Montgomery county, he has always resided. The common schools of his native township afforded him a plain education, and general farming, in connection with the growing of nursery stock, has always been his occupation. In 1866 Mr. Myers married Miss Phebe J. Holderman, of Jefferson township, and to this union several children have been born, of whom three are living, viz: May (Mrs. Charles S. Billman), Howard M. and Musetta E. In his politics Mr. Myers is a democrat, and has served as a member of the board of agriculture for two terms; he is a Knight of Pythias in his fraternal relations, and being a member of one of the oldest families of Jefferson township and an upright and useful citizen, is held in high estimation by the community in which he lives.


BENHART ORTMAN, [pages 1150-1151] a successful agriculturist of Clay township, Montgomery county, Ohio, is a native of Hanover, Germany, born August 31, 1847, and is a son of Henry and Ricky (Pansing) Ortman, natives of the same country, where their marriage took place.

Henry Ortman was born October 18, 1817, was reared a farmer, and to his marriage were born twelve children, eight of whom reached years of maturity, viz: Benhart, Mary, John, Frederick, Minnie, .Lizzie, Henry and Ricky. In 1848 Henry Ortman, with his wife and child, Benhart, sailed from Bremen for America, and after a voyage of seven weeks landed in New Orleans, whence he came direct to Miamisburg, Montgomery county, Ohio. There he worked as a miller, and also as foreman in an oil factory, until 1861, when he settled on the farm of ninety-five acres in Clay township, now occupied by his son Frederick, and where he died November 19, 1875, a member of the Lutheran church. He was in politics a democrat, and a man of moral life and greatly respected in his neighborhood. He brought up with careful training those of his children who grew to maturity, all of whom were born in Montgomery county with the exception of Benhart, who was but an infant when he was brought to the United States by his parents. Mrs. Ortman, mother of Benhart, passed away November 19, 1888, a devout member of the Lutheran church.

Benhart Ortman received a good common-school education, and was trained as a farmer and carpenter. August 2, 1873, he married Annie Cook, who was born April 9, 1847, in Hanover, Germany, a daughter of John and Catherine (Deilts) Cook, or Koch, as it was spelled in German.

John Cook was born in Hanover, Germany, October 18, 1817, a son of Henry and Annie (Benhart) Cook, who were the owners of a farm of twenty acres, were quite well-to-do, and were the parents of the following named children:  John, Henry, Klass Henry, Cort Henry, Paul and Mary. The father was a soldier in the German army for five years and with Napoleon I in the campaign against Moscow, and, like all the rest in that famous retreat, nearly perished with cold and hunger. He died in Germany at the age of fifty-one years, a member of the Evangelical church. John, his son, the father of Mrs. Ortman, was a blacksmith by trade, and to his marriage with Catherine Deilts, who was born July 5, 1815, in the same German village with himself, and was a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Blotner) Deilts, there were born, in the old country, two children, Annie and Catherine. Mr. Cook came to America in 1851, landed in New York in July, after a passage across the ocean lasting seven weeks, came to Montgomery county, moved thence to Darke county, and there cleared up a farm of fifty acres. Later he sold this farm and came to Clay township, Montgomery county, bought a farm of eighty acres, and here passed the remainder of his life.

Mr. and Mrs. Ortman, after their marriage, lived for two years on the Cook farm, and in 1877 bought thirty acres of the Cook homestead, whereon Mr. Ortman erected a handsome residence and,, a number of other good buildings. In 1890 he took up his residence on his present place of fifty-two acres, which he has also converted into a fruitful and most pleasant farm and delightful home.  In politics Mr. Ortman is a democrat, but has never been an office-seeker. By diligence and attention to his calling he has gained a comfortable competency, and has won for himself and family a well-deserved respect.


PHILEMON W. PEIRSON, [pages 1151-1152] a resident of Wengerlawn, Montgomery county, Ohio, and one of the old settlers of this county, is a son of a pioneer of Clay township. Jonathan Peirson, his grandfather, was born near Trenton, N. J., and married Sarah Lalon, who was born January 27, 1767. Both the Peirson and Lalon families were of Irish descent.  Of the Lalon brothers ten were in the Revolutionary war.

Jonathan Lalon and his wife were the parents of the following children, beside Sarah: Millicent, born October 22, 1787; Elizabeth, born June 30, 1790; Rachel H., born May 12, 1796; Edward B., born June 28, 1801, and Sarah V., born April 15, 1806.

Jonathan Peirson, father of Philemon W., was born in New Jersey, July 2, 1793, and in 1816 married Mary Hart, born in New Jersey, June 27, 1794. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was engaged in a fight off Sandy Hook. To Mr. and Mrs. Peirson there were born the following children: George W., born February 3, 1817; Sarah, born June 22, 1819; Jonathan J., born September 6, 1821; Mary A., born December 9, 1823; Philemon W., born January 14, 1826; Samuel F., born April 23, 1828; Andrew J., born July 11, 1832; and Elizabeth A., born May 29, 1837. Jonathan Peirson, the father of these children, removed with his family to Ohio in 1816, making the journey with horses and wagon, and, upon arriving in this state, settled in Warren county, and there bought land. After living there until 1829, he removed to Montgomery county and entered land just west of Mr. Carmony, and cleared up about ten acres. After living on this land about one year he settled on 160 acres, upon which his son Philemon now lives. At that time it was all woods, but he built a log cabin, and by dint of hard and persistent labor cleared up his farm and made a good home. Both he and his wife were members of the Old School Baptist church, and in politics he was a democrat.  He was a sturdy pioneer, and everywhere noted for his honesty, high character and sterling worth.  He lived to be sixty-four years old, dying October 2, 1857.

Philemon W. Peirson, the subject of this sketch, was born in Warren county, Ohio, and received but a limited education, that being received in the old-fashioned subscription school. He was reared a pioneer among the early pioneers of Montgomery county, on his father's farm; and on September 6, 1846, married Elizabeth Myers, daughter of Martin and Eva (Besecker) Myers.  Mr. and Mrs. Peirson settled on the old homestead, and upon this farm they still live. They are members of the German Baptist church, and in politics Mr. Peirson is a democrat. He is a well-known citizen, and has been a hard working and industrious man, and enjoys the respect and confidence of all.  The Peirson family is one of the old pioneer families of Montgomery county, and is descended from the best of ancestry.  Mr. Peirson has a good farm of 100 acres, with valuable improvements upon it, including a most pleasant residence.

Mr. and Mrs. Peirson adopted Rachael A. Smith when she was three years old, rearing her as if she were their own child. She married John Elsner, and they had a son named Henry Weslay. Mr. Elsner died, and his widow then married Cyrus Palmer, and by him has three children. When she married the second time Mr. Peirson gave her thirty-one acres of land.


CHARLES F. POWELL, M. D., [pages 1152-1153] regular physician and surgeon of Mad River township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Wayne township, same county, September 23, 1857.  He is a son of John C. and Hester A. M. (Wells) Powell, the former a native of England, the latter of Virginia. They were the parents of nine children, five sons and four daughters, six of whom are now living, as follows: Jennie, wife of S. M. Houck; Louisa, wife of B. F. Stoner; John W., Albert H., Charles F. and William G.

John C. Powell was brought to this country by his parents when he was a boy. They landed at Wilmington, Del., and afterward lived in Pennsylvania until about 1832, when they removed to Dayton, Ohio, and here Mr. Powell engaged in mechanical work. He cast his first vote in 1836, in the brick building which stood where the old court house now stands. After reaching Dayton Mr. Powell learned the trade of millwright, which he followed for a number of years. He then married and engaged in farming.  His marriage took place in 1839, and in 1889 he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding. They are now living in Wayne township, where they have lived for more than fifty years. Mr. Powell has always been an industrious man, and has accumulated a competency, and at the present time has a finely improved farm.  He and his wife are members of the United Brethren church. Mr. Powell was for many years a member of the school board, has served also as constable and justice of the peace, and has always been much esteemed in the community.

The paternal, grandfather of Dr. Powell removed to Lawton, Mich., and died there at an advanced age.  He and his wife reared a family of six children.  While living in England he served as a soldier in the British army.  The maternal grandfather lived in Miami county, on a farm near Tippecanoe, and was one of the early settlers there, having come from Virginia, his native state.  He was a slaveholder, but becoming satisfied that slavery was wrong he emigrated to Ohio freeing his slaves.  He died in Miami county, at a ripe old age, highly respected by all that knew him, for his sense of right and justice and for the blameless character of his life.

Charles F. Powell, M, D., was reared on the farm in Wayne township, and received his education in the district schools. Then, attending Miami Medical college, he graduated from that institution in 1880. After completing his medical studies he began the practice of his profession in Osborn, Greene county, Ohio, and after seven years of laborious practice was obliged to abandon that calling on account of ill health. Going to California and remaining there for some months, he returned much improved in health, and resumed the practice of medicine in Osborn, but shortly afterward was again compelled to abandon it, for the same reason as before.  Selling his home, he removed to Montgomery county in 1887, purchasing a part of the farm on which he is at present living, and entered upon farming for his health, with very beneficial results.

Dr. Powell was married June 9, 1881, to Miss Alia Eaton, daughter of Amos and Susan (Stutsman) Eaton, of Mad River township. To this marriage there have been born three children, two sons and a daughter, viz;  Milo E., Lottie B. and Cyrus W. Dr. Powell is a member of the Order of United American Mechanics, and though in former years a republican is now a prohibitionist. Both he and his wife are members of the Central Church of Christ of Dayton, and active in religious work. His farm contains 100 acres of land, and lies about four miles from the court house.


JACOB PULS, [pages 1153-1154] one of the pioneer farmers of Jackson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Lebanon county, Pa., November 15, 1816. His father, Jacob Puls, Sr., also a native of the Keystone state, descended from a colonial family of German extraction, was a carpenter by trade, and married, in Lancaster county, Pa., Polly Knouse, to which union were born Solomon, George, Polly, Jacob, Daniel, Samuel and Catherine. In 1821 Mr. Puls brought his family to Ohio and settled on the Germantown and Farmersville pike, in Jackson township, Montgomery county, where he passed the remainder of his life on his farm, dying at the age of seventy-two years, a member of the German Reformed church.

Jacob Puls, the subject of this biography, grew to manhood in Jackson township, and learned the carpenter's trade, at which he worked for twenty-five years. He married, in Jackson township, in April, 1841, Miss Elizabeth Basore, who was born in Lebanon county, Pa., about 1816, a daughter of Adam and Mary (Creiter) Basore, who had settled in Montgomery county and were the parents of Philip (who died in Pennsylvania), David, Elizabeth, Joseph and Daniel. Mr. Basore died here at the age of sixty years.  Mr. Puls, after his marriage, lived one year in Farmersville, and then bought eighty acres in this township, on which he lived for thirty years and which he greatly improved; about 1870 he settled on his present farm, which is one of the best in the neighborhood, and contains 160 acres.

The children born to Jacob and Elizabeth (Basore) Puls were named Mary A., Rachel L. (who died at sixteen years of age), Eliza (who died at the age of nineteen), William, Joseph and Allen. Of these Mary A. is married to Elijah Oldfelter, a farmer of Indiana, and has six children; Eliza was married to Jacob Stiner, but died two years afterward, leaving one child; William, a farmer in Germantown, married Althea Rodeheffer, and is the father of seven children; Joseph and Allen live on the home farm. Mr. Puls has now fourteen grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.   The mother of the above family died August 12, 1880, a devout member of the Lutheran church and a woman of many virtues.  Mr. Puls has been a member of this church since he was twenty years of age and has been an elder for thirty-five years, and for many years a trustee. He has been liberal in his contributions toward its support and aided materially toward the erection of the Lutheran church edifice south of Farmington. In politics he is a democrat.

Mr. Puls has led a long and useful life, has always been industrious and thrifty, but nevertheless generous, and has always maintained the integrity of an upright character.


HENRY N. REED, [pages 1154-1155] now of Clay township, was born in Madison township, Montgomery county, Ohio, August 7, 1827, educated in the pioneer school-house of that day, and was trained to the life of a farmer.

Peter Reed, his father, was born in Pennsylvania in 1804, of German ancestry, and was still a young man when he came to Ohio and settled in Montgomery county, married Wilhelmina Neipmann, and bought a tract in the woods of Madison township. He cleared off the forest and brought forth a fertile farm, on which he passed the remainder of his days, and died in 1886, at the good old age of eighty-two years. His children were born and named in the following order: Abraham N. (now deceased), John N., Henry N., Michael N. and Benjamin N. Mr. Reed was a member of the German Baptist church, to which, also, his family gave adherence, and was one of the solid farmers of Madison township, well-known as a useful and upright citizen.

Henry N. Reed, on attaining his twenty-fifth year, entered into the bonds of matrimony, August 26, 1852, in Clay township, with Miss Mary Cloppert, who was born September 2, 1825, a daughter of John and Elizabeth Cloppert, who also came from Pennsylvania. Mr. Cloppert was a substantial farmer, owning 115 acres in Clay township, and had a family of eight children: Henry, Mary, Betsey, Susan, David, John, Isaac and Ephraim. He died at the age of eighty-four years, a member of the German Baptist church. Mr. Reed and his young wife went to housekeeping on a rented farm in Clay township, on which they lived and prospered until 1859 or 1860, when Mr. Reed bought a tract of sixty-five acres, in the same township, cleared off the timber, erected a good house and all the necessary farm buildings, and soon had a most comfortable home as well as a profitable farm. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Reed was blessed by the birth of five children, viz: Sarah, Mary A. (who died at the age of twenty-two years), Catherine, John and Susan. These children are all married and the four survivors are well situated in life. Sarah married Jacob Perny, a farmer of Kansas; Mary A. was married to N. J. Niswanger, and became the mother of three children; Catherine became the wife of John Procter, a farmer; John, now farming in Kansas, married Delia Mills, who has borne him three children; Susan is the wife of A. B. Turner, and is the mother of four children.

Mr. and Mrs. Reed are consistent and faithful members of the German Baptist church, to the support of which they contribute liberally of their means, and also give their active moral support in the advancement of both its spiritual and material progress. In his political views Mr. Reed is a democrat, and is a strong advocate of temperance. His life has been a well-spent and useful one, and he has fairly earned his conceded place as one of Clay township's best citizens.


JOHN REEL, [pages 1155-1156] of Farmersville, Ohio, one of the most venerable men in the state and probably the oldest in Montgomery county, springs from German stock, his great-grandfather having come to this country from Germany. Peter Reel, father of John, was a farmer of Virginia.  He married Elizabeth Folk, by whom he had the following children: Daniel, Polly, Sallie, Jacob, Abraham, Susannah and John. Peter Reel was a citizen of Berkeley county, Va., and lived to be a middle-aged man, dying from an accident. He was a man in comfortable circumstances, and owned slaves. While he was a member of the Lutheran church, his wife was a member of the German Reform church. Both died in Virginia. All of the children are now deceased except the subject of this sketch.

John Reel was born in Berkeley county, Va., December 19, 1803, on Dry Run, about three miles from Martinsburg. When his father died he was nine years old, his mother dying three years later. From that time on he was reared by his guardian's son-in-law, David Wolf. While his educational advantages were but limited, yet he learned to read and write and got as far as the ''Rule of Three," in arithmetic. In 1812, he went with David Wolf to Washington county, Md., and there lived until he was twenty-six years old. Coming to Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1829, he made a journey to the Ohio river on foot, having a pair of saddle-bags, in which he carried his personal effects. Reaching the Ohio river at Wheeling, he went to Cincinnati, walked thence to Dayton. Going on to Germantown, consisting at that time of but a few houses, he went to work for the Rev. J. King, whose sister, Ann Maria King, Mr. Reel married July 29, 1829. Mrs. Reel was born in 1801, in Martinsburg, Va., a daughter of Jacob King, who came to Montgomery county in 1828, settling in German township, with his son. Rev. J. King, a minister of the United Brethren church. Jacob King was the father of the following children: Jacob, John, Isaac, Ann Maria and Elizabeth. Mr. King was an aged man when he came to Ohio and had then retired from active life. He was a wagon-maker by trade, and had lived for many years at Hagerstown, Md. In religion he was identified with the United Brethren church, of which he was one of the first members.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. John Reel, during the first week of September, 1829, moved to his present farm, then containing 100 acres, thirty of which were cleared. Mr. Reel had carefully saved his wages and was thus enabled to pay for his farm, which by industry and thrift he greatly improved and made a pleasant home. He and his wife were the parents of the following children: Elizabeth, Eleanor, Magdalena, Ann Maria, Jacob, David K. and Catherine, the latter of whom died quite young.

Mr. and Mrs. Reel were members of the United Brethren church, in which he was a class leader and trustee for many years. Politically, Mr. Reel was in early life a democrat, then an old-line whig, then republican, and at last a prohibitionist. He voted for Andrew Jackson for president in 1828, for William Henry Harrison in 1840, for John C. Fremont in 1856, for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and 1864, and has voted for one of the candidates at every presidential election since.

He has always been an honored citizen, retiring in disposition, frugal and temperate in his habits, and has reared an excellent family. Now, at the age of ninety-three, he is still strong and vigorous, and well preserved.

Of his children, Elizabeth Reel married Henry Snyder, and has one son; Eleanor married Daniel Stiver, and has four children; Magdalena married Frederick Ade, and has one child living; Maria married John W. Moyer, now deceased, and had one child, who is also deceased.  Mr. Reel's children are devotedly attached to him and are striving to make his declining years free from all care.


JAMES A. RICE, [page 1156] one of the most experienced farmers of Carrollton Station, Jefferson township, Montgomery county, Ohio (the post-office being named West Carrollton), was born in Frederick county, Md., May 24, 1825, and is a son .of James and Rebecca (Drill) Rice, both natives of Maryland, and, respectively, of English and German descent.

James Rice came from Maryland to Ohio in 1835, and, with his small family, located in Harrison township, Montgomery county, but afterward removed to Van Buren township, following farming as an occupation, although he had been reared a miller.  Mrs. Rebecca Rice died before the family moved to Van Buren township, but the father survived for some years and died in Van Buren township on the farm on which his children were reared.

James A. Rice, from the age of ten years, lived in Montgomery county, was educated in the common schools, and has all his life been a farmer. He began on his own account by renting a place in Van Buren township, on which he lived for twenty-five years, when he came to Jefferson township, in 1861, and purchased the farm of eighty-eight acres, on which he has since resided, and on which he has made most of the improvements. His farm is a model one, is unsurpassed in fertility, and been brought to its present state of perfection through the exertions and skill of Mr. Rice himself, aided by his elder children. Mr. Rice's marriage took place September 16, 1847, to Miss Hannah Updyke, daughter of Albert and Rebecca ('Reeder) Updyke, of Van Buren township, and the result of the union has been the birth of nine children, viz: Charles, Albert, Oliver, Newton, Wilson, Willie, Elmer, Emma and Olive. In politics Mr.  Rice is a democrat, but has always been devoid of ambition as an office seeker, contenting himself with the exercise of his franchise.  He has been industrious and is now enjoying the reward of that industry, while his high standing in the community in which he lives is well deserved.


FRANK J. RIEGEL, [pages 1156-1157] farmer of Jackson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Berks county, Pa., April 11, 1831, a son of David and Elizabeth (Kaucher) Riegel, of whom further facts may be read in the biography of John Riegel. When but one year old he was brought by his parents to Ohio, was reared on the home farm among the pioneers and received the usual education of the backwoods schools.  He married, in Jackson township, December 1, 1853, Miss Catherine Weaver, who was born June 23, 1831, in this township, a daughter of John I. and Catherine (Pence) Weaver.

John I. Weaver was a native of Pennsylvania, was born in 1799, of German parentage, and at the age of eight years was brought to Ohio by his parents, who settled in Jackson township, Montgomery county.  Here he grew to manhood, married Miss Pence and went to farming on a tract of 160 acres, which he cleared up from the wild woods, adding to it until he owned about 500 acres, which at his death he divided among his children. These were named Sarah, Malinda, Mary M., Catherine, Urias, John D. and William A.  In politics Mr. Weaver was a democrat and served as township trustee and treasurer.  He died at the age of eighty-eight years, a deacon and elder in the Slyfer Lutheran church. John Pence, the maternal grandfather of Mrs. Riegel, came from Virginia, and died in Montgomery county, Ohio, at the advanced age of seventy-two years.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Riegel settled on the John B. Miller farm, in Jackson township occupying 124 acres, and have now one of the best improved farms in the township. Their marriage has been blessed with three children—Amanda H., Ellen N. and Altha I. Mr. Riegel is a consistent member of the United Brethren church, in which he has been a class leader for many years, and Mrs. Riegel is a member of the Reformed church. In his politics Mr. Riegel is a democrat and an advocate of the free silver doctrine, and is also an ardent prohibitionist. Of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. Riegel, Amanda H. is married to Allen Bussard, a farmer of Butler county, and has two children—Franklin P. and Elva E.; Ellen N. is the wife of John M. Ebbert, principal of the Nineteenth district public school, Dayton, and has three children—LeRoy, Robert Laird and Wendall; and Altha I. is married to Paris Binkley, a former hardware merchant of East Fifth street, Dayton, and now of San Diego, Cal.


CHRISTIAN ROHRER, [pages 1157-1158] farmer and dairyman of Mad River township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in this township, October 13, 1842. He is a son of Manin and Elizabeth (Kreider) Rohrer, both natives of Lancaster county, Pa. They were the parents of five children, two sons and three daughters, as follows: Christiana, Tobias, Maria (wife of Franklin P. Grimes), Christian and Martha, the latter the wife of E. J. Williamson.

Martin Rohrer was a distiller by occupation, and came to Ohio in 1834, settling on the farm upon which Christian, his son, now lives. Upon this farm he lived until his death in 1844, when he was forty-eight years of age. His wife survived him a number of years, dying when she was sixty-three. Both were members of the Lutheran church. Mr. Rohrer purchased 1,200 acres when land was cheap, and so became a comparatively wealthy man.

The paternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, Christian Rohrer, was born in Germany, came to the United States and settled in Pennsylvania.  He and his wife reared a family of nine children, only one of whom is still living—Jacob, who is now eighty-four years of age. Each of the others lived to be at least eighty-five years of age.  Christian Rohrer was a miller by trade, and also a farmer.  His death occurred in Pennsylvania. The maternal grandfather of the subject, Henry Kreider, was also a native of Germany, came to the United States, followed the calling of a farmer, in Pennsylvania, and died in Lancaster county, that state.

Christian Rohrer, whose name opens this sketch, was born and reared on the farm upon which he still resides.  His early education was received in the district school, and afterward he attended Farmers' college, at College-Hill, Hamilton county, Ohio, taking a two-years' course.  Returning to the farm, he was married, August 13, 1861, to Miss Caroline Caries, daughter of Daniel and Livonia (Rogers) Caries. To this marriage there have been born four children, as follows: Alice, George C., Rodney K. and Sylva C. Alice married the Rev. J. M. Bolton, of the Presbyterian church, and has one child, Carl;  Sylva C. married Anna Nobling, and has one child, Esther. The others have not married.

Mr. and Mrs. Rohrer are members of the United Brethren church, and Mr. Rohrer, as a republican, served as township clerk three terms. He owns 250 acres of land, farming 150 acres. For the past four years Mr. Rohrer has been engaged in the dairy business, having one of the best equipped dairy farms in the country. He is painstaking and methodical in the conduct of this enterprise, and has met with the success that follows thrift.


WILLIAM RHOADES, [pages 1158-1159] farmer, of Jackson  township, Montgomery county, Ohio, is a son of one of the pioneers of that township, and springs from Pennsylvania-Dutch ancestry. His grandfather was Philip Rhoades, a farmer of Bedford county, Pa., who removed to Montgomery county between 1800 and 1805, bringing his family with him. Buying land in Jackson township, one mile west of where William Rhoades now lives, he built thereon a log cabin and cleared his farm. At that time there were but few settlers in Jackson township, so that Mr. Rhoades may justly be considered one of the original pioneers. H was a member of the Slyfer Reformed church, and politically was a democrat. He died on his farm at an advanced age. His children were as follows: John, Jacob, Henry, Lewis, Polly, Sallie and Esther.

John Rhoades, the eldest son, and father of William Rhoades, was born in Bedford county, Pa., August 10, 1792, and was therefore about ten years of age when his parents came to Ohio. When they reached Dayton, Ohio, after a long and tedious journey with teams and wagons, they found a small hamlet with only a few cabins clustered together. Young Rhoades was reared among the pioneers, received the best education obtainable in those early days, which was very limited, but being of an inquiring and active mind he gained a great deal of practical knowledge which he could not have acquired at school, and became a thoroughly successful farmer and sound business man.  He married Catherine Ruby, who was born in Virginia, and who was a daughter of Jacob Ruby, who came to Montgomery county at about the same time with the Rhoades family. The children of Jacob Ruby were as follows: Jacob, John, Samuel, Sarah, Rebecca and Catherine.

John Rhoades settled on the land upon which his son William now lives, about 126 acres, which he purchased of his brother George. About twenty acres of this land had been cleared. The rest of it Mr. Rhoades cleared, and erected upon it some of the best buildings then to be found anywhere in that part of the country. He was industrious and of sound judgment, and consequently prospered and aided all his children to get a start in the world. These children were as follows: Barbara, Mary, John, Jacob, Catherine, Sarah, George, Anna, Peter, William and Lydia. Mr. and Mrs. Rhoades were members of the Reformed church, and aided to erect the original log building in which this organization worshiped, and also its present brick structure. Politically Mr. Rhoades was a democrat, and was always a strong supporter of his party.

William Rhoades, the subject of this sketch, was born on the old homestead farm, February 4, 1840. Having been educated as well as could be in the common schools, he began early to work on the farm, to ride. the horse in tramping out grain on the barn floor, and to perform other kinds of labor, then familiar to all but now superseded by improved methods. When he was thirty-two years of age he married Matilda Stiver, the ceremony being performed December 15, 1872, and his wife being a daughter of Henry and Sophia (Rickle) Stiver. For fuller mention of Henry Stiver the reader is referred to his biography published elsewhere in this volume.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Rhoades settled on the old homestead upon which they have ever since resided. They are the parents of the following children: Amanda A., Charles E., John H., William F,, Perry M., Matilda C. and Forrest L. Mr. Rhoades is a member of the German Reformed church, and Mrs. Rhoades of the Lutheran church, Mr. Rhoades being a liberal supporter of religious work. He has an excellent farm of 126 acres, which he has greatly improved. Politically he is a democrat, and he is a man that has made his own way in the world by means of integrity of purpose and action.


JONATHAN SCHELL, [pages 1159-1160] one of the oldest and most respected residents of Jefferson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born in Berks county, Pa., December 10, 1810, a son of Henry and Margaret (Lesher) Schell, who were also natives of Berks county and of Revolutionary antecedents. Peter Schell and John Lesher, respectively the paternal and maternal grandfathers of Jonathan Schell, were born in Germany, came to America in their young manhood, and both became soldiers in the war for American independence, Mr. Lesher having command of a company and having fought in the battles of the Brandywine and of Bunker Hill. Both these grandfathers finally became permanent settlers of and farmers in Berks county, Pa., where they passed the remainder of their days.

Henry and Margaret (Lesher) Schell, parents of Jonathan, came from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 1820, and located in Miamisburg, Montgomery county, where the father at first followed his trade of cooper; but farming was his principal occupation through life, although in his latter years he engaged in the manufacture of plow points. His death took place in 1864, and that of his wife in 1866, leaving to mourn their loss the following family of children: John; David; Catherine, now Mrs. Anthony Emert; Jonathan; Molly, now Mrs. Fred Yaukey; Sarah, now Mrs. Israel Staley; and Martha, now Mrs. Joseph Kutz.

Jonathan Schell, it will be seen, passed the first, ten years of his life in Pennsylvania. His later youth and earlier manhood were spent in Miamisburg, Ohio, in learning and in working at the cabinetmaker's trade, but later he engaged in farming near that town, and there lived until 1851, when he moved to the farm he now occupies in Jefferson township, on which he has made many substantial improvements, including all the buildings, and which he has brought to a most excellent condition of productiveness. In' his early youth, Mr. Schell helped to break the first furrow for the Miami canal.

The marriage of Mr. Schell was solemnized, in 1831, with Miss Elizabeth Gebhart, daughter of George and Elizabeth (Cramer) Gebhart, the union being blessed with ten children, of whom eight are still living, viz: Peggy (Mrs. Amos Weaver), Henry, George, Martin, Jonathan, David, William and Samuel. Since the age of fifteen years, Mr. Schell has been a member of the Lutheran church—-a period of over seventy years—and his seven sons and son-in-law worship in the same faith; in politics, they all are democrats.

David P. Schell, son of Jonathan and Elizabeth (Gebhart) Schell, was born in Miami township, April 19, 1850, and grew to manhood in Jefferson township, where he was educated in the public schools, and at the age of twenty began farming on his own account. Since 1872 he has lived on his present farm of eighty-six acres in Jefferson township, part of which he cleared from the forest and all of which he has improved and placed under cultivation.   The buildings, which are modern and substantial, have been erected by him, and the farm, as a whole, will compare favorably with any other of its size in the township.

Mr. Schell was united in marriage December 23, 1870, with Miss Mary M., daughter of George and Margaret (Beachler) Stine, of Jefferson township, and this union has been blessed by the birth of six children, viz: Cora (wife of Charles Brown), Jemima (Mrs. William Hartzell), Clara, Edna, Mary and George. The family are all members of the Lutheran church and enjoy a very high social standing among their neighbors.


OWEN G. SHIVELEY, [pages 1160-1161] one of the oldest and most respected farmers of Jefferson township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born here on the old Shiveley homestead, November 3, 1815, and was reared among the pioneers of the county.

Christian Shiveley, Sr., his grandfather, was born near Hagerstown, Md., of German descent.  He was married in his native state, and there were born to him children in the following order: Jacob Christian, Daniel, David, Susannah and Elizabeth.  Mr. Shiveley came to Ohio in the old pioneer days, settled in Jefferson township on 160 acres of land, and cleared up from the woods a comfortable home, and on this farm passed the remainder of his days, dying a highly honored citizen and a member of the Baptist church.

Christian Shiveley, Jr., son of above and father of Owen G., was also born near Hagerstown, Md., but moved thence to Pennsylvania, where he married Miss Susannah Gripe, who was born in Huntingdon county, that state, a daughter of John and Susannah (Rench) Gripe. The father of Mrs. Shiveley was a prosperous farmer and a minister in the German Baptist church. His children were named William, John, Joseph, Elizabeth, Susannah, Hannah and Catherine.  Mr. Gripe came from Pennsylvania as a pioneer to Montgomery county, Ohio, and settled in Madison township, where he purchased a considerable body of land, and at his death was able to leave 160 acres to each of his children. After marriage Mr. Shiveley first located on a farm in Huntingdon county, Pa., and there eight children of his were born. Of these children, Christine and John died when young; David is also deceased; Owen G. is the subject of this sketch; Samuel; William died in Peru, Ind.; Elizabeth and Susan are also deceased. The father of this family settled on a farm in Montgomery county, Ohio, some time prior to 1810—probably about 1804 or 1805—as may be inferred from the fact that he erected a two-story stone house in Madison township in 1811; his original farm contained 160 acres, which he cleared from the woods and subsequently increased to 400 acres. He was a member of the German Baptist church and died in that faith when about sixty-six years of age.

Owen G. Shiveley was reared to farming among the pioneers of Montgomery county, there being but one house in Dayton—and that a log one—when his father settled in the county. He was permitted to attend the old-fashioned log school-house of his district as much as possible and received a very fair education. On the first day of January, 1845, he married Miss Hannah Ullery, a native of Madison township and a daughter of Joseph and Catherine (Gripe) Ullery.  Her father, Joseph Ullery, was born in Huntingdon county, Pa., was a pioneer of Madison township and settled on a farm on Wolf creek, but later moved to a farm near South Bend, Ind.  His. children were born in the following order: Samuel, Stephen, John, Joseph, Jacob, David, Susan, Elizabeth, Catherine, Hannah (Mrs. Shiveley), Barbara and Esther.

After his marriage, Mr. Shiveley occupied a part of the home farm for a year, and then came to his present place in Jefferson township—then all in the forest—where he has carved out a pleasant home. Mrs. Shiveley here died, January 26, 1890, a member of the German Baptist church, and the mother of the following children: Christian R., Joseph U., Noah H., Francis M., Aaron V., John D., Susannah, Elizabeth and Esther.  In politics Mr. Shiveley is a democrat and has served in several public offices. For more than twenty-five years he was assessor of Madison township; he was also decennial land appraiser, was trustee of Jefferson township eight years, and United States enumerator of census one term. He was also treasurer of the Dayton & Western Turnpike company for over thirty years. He has filled every position with honor and credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the people, and no man today stands higher than he in the esteem of the citizens of Montgomery county.


JAMES W. SMITH, [pages 1161-1162] a retired farmer of Harrison township, was born within four miles of Dayton, on the Troy pike, north of the city, November 17, 1843. He is a son of Henry and Elizabeth (Deardorf) Smith, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Berks county, Pa. They were the parents of ten children, six sons and four daughters, as follows: Hannah, widow of James W. Lowry; Jacob, John; Margaret, wife of S. M. Foote; Benjamin, deceased; Mary J., widow of John S. Protsman; Martha, wife of S. W. Massey, of Osborn, Ohio; Franklin, deceased; William H. and James W. Henry Smith was by occupation a farmer, and at an early day settled near Springboro, Ohio. After living there a short time he removed to Dayton, where he remained for several years, and then bought a farm four miles north of Dayton, to which he removed, and added to it until at the time of his death he had about 700 acres of land. He was largely engaged in hauling wood to Dayton, and thereby became widely known as "Wood Smith." He and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church; in fact, they were among the founders of Ebenezer Methodist church, which many remember to the present day. His death occurred January 14, 1861, in his sixty-sixth year, while Mrs. Smith died December 9, 1878, at the age of seventy-seven years,

The paternal grandfather of James W. Smith was a native of North Carolina. The maternal grandfather, Jacob Deardorf, was a native of Pennsylvania, came to Ohio in 1801, and settled near Springboro. He made the journey down the Ohio river by flatboat, landed at Cincinnati, and came thence direct to Springboro. Here he engaged in farming and in running a saw-mill for a number of years, reared a family of five children, and died upon his farm.

James W. Smith was reared on the farm in Harrison township, and received a good education in the common schools. At the breaking out of the war he enlisted in the Eighty-fourth Ohio volunteer infantry, and served three months. After the war had closed be began farming and has followed that calling ever since, with the exception of about two years spent in Osborn.

Mr. Smith was married March 5, 1872, to Miss Susanne Neff, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Doan) Neff. To them have been born no children. They are members of the First Reformed church of Dayton, and Mr. Smith is a member of Reed Commandery, No. 6, K. T. He is also a member of the Old Guard post, G, A. R., and in politics is a republican.

In 1895 Mr. Smith retired from farming and is now living free from care and responsibility, enjoying the results of his early labors, and the confidence and esteem of his fellow-men.  He owns forty-six acres in his home place, and seventy-four acres in a farm in Harrison township.  He has always been a progressive farmer, and has taken great interest in forwarding the prosperity of the county and city.  His beautiful home is on the new Troy pike, two and a quarter miles from the court house in Dayton.


NOAH SWANK, [pages 1162-1163] farmer, of Montgomery county, Ohio, and now residing in Clay township, is a native of this county and was born in Perry township, as was his father before him.

John Swank, his grandfather, was the founder of the family in Montgomery county. He was a farmer and cleared up a tract of 160 acres from the woods of Perry township. He was twice married, and had born to him the following children: Jacob, George, Aaron, Jabez, Joseph, John, Moses, Elizabeth, Sarah, Fannie, Susannah and Mary—Joseph being the only child by the first marriage. The father of these children died from the effects of an accident when about fifty years of age—a most respected pioneer.

John Swank, sixth of the above sons and father of Noah, was reared on the home farm in his native township of Perry.  He married Miss Barbara Nicewonger, a native of Clay township and a daughter of George Nicewonger, a pioneer, who settled here when the Indians roamed the country at their own free will. John Swank and wife settled on a small farm in Clay township, which by hard work he cleared up and increased to eighty acres, and on this farm his son, Jabez Swank, now lives. John Swank was a minister in the church of the Brethren in Christ, and for thirty years preached in Perry, Clay and the surrounding townships, continuing in the ministry until his death, which occurred in August, 1878, when he had reached his fifty-sixth year. His children were five in number, and were named Noah, Jabez, Levi, Frances and Sarah, the last named of whom died in infancy.

Noah Swank was born January 6, 1849, was reared a. farmer and received a good common-school education. October 30, 1873, he married, in Fairfield county, Ohio, Miss Sarah Huddle, who was born September 7, 1850, a daughter of Daniel and Barbara (Beery) Huddle. The father of Mrs. Swank, Daniel Huddle, was a son of Abraham, a native of Virginia, who early settled in Fairfield county, cleared up a farm, and was the father of the following children beside Daniel: Catherine, Rebecca, Barbara, Elizabeth, John, Sallie, Mary, Joel and Abraham. He was a sturdy pioneer, a member of the United Brethren church, and lived to an advanced age.

Daniel Huddle was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, in 1815, was a farmer, and married in his native county, becoming the father of the following children: Eli, John, Abraham, Noah, Daniel, Samuel, Solomon, Catherine, Elizabeth, Sarah and Lydia. He owned a nicely-cleared-up farm of 180 acres, and died in 1877, at the age of sixty-two years, a member of the United Brethren church.

Mr. and Mrs. Noah Swank have had born to their marriage seven children, viz: Theodore, Agnes, Charles E., Minnie and Ella, and Ira and Irving, twins, who died at the age of five months. The family are members of the United Brethren church, in which Mr. Swank is a trustee arid steward. In his church work Mr. Swank has always been active and ardent, and has contributed largely to the erection of two houses of worship. In politics he is a republican, and has held the office of township trustee.  He has a finely cultivated farm of 165 acres, well improved in all respects, and is one of the most substantial and respected citizens of Clay township.

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