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Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio
Pages 1261-1277 Solomon Spitler to John Francis Allen

SOLOMON SPITLER, [pages 1261-1263] one of the pioneer settlers of Montgomery county, descended from an old colonial family of Virginia, and originally from German stock, was born January 1, 1830. John Spitler, the pioneer of this family in Montgomery county, was born in Rockingham county, Va., February 6, 1785. He was a son of Jacob Spitler, whose log cabin was still standing a few years ago. John Spitler settled in Montgomery county when twenty years of age, in 1805, in company with his sister, who was named Mrs. Barntrayer, Joseph Limert and Jacob Franz and wife. All traveled on horseback, a distance of 500 miles, through the woods and over mountain ranges. They stopped near Gunckel’s mills, where Germantown now stands, and remained there one year. Mr. Barntrayer concluded to move to Covington and he and Mr. Spitler built a house there. Remaining only a short time, Mr. Spitler removed to Brookville, where he cleared four acres of land for Daniel Cripe, and while there married Barbara Rohrer, in 1807, theirs being the first wedding in Clay township. Barbara Rohrer, born in 1788, was the first white child born west of the Miami river, and was a daughter of Joseph Rohrer and his wife. They were married by Rev. Jacob Miller, the first German Baptist or Dunkard minister to labor in the state. The newly married couple settled, in 1808, on a quarter-section of land belonging to Mrs. Spitler’s father, and here Mr. Spitler cleared up his farm and built his log cabin, continuing to improve and add to his farm until he owned 1,100 acres. Upon this farm he and his wife lived sixty-three years of their lives.

The first plow used by Mr. Spitler had a wooden mold board, and his first cast-iron mold board was made to order in Lebanon, Ohio. For some time he was engaged in assisting to survey the state road from Dayton to Greenville, a Mr. George, of Dayton, being the surveyor.

Mr. and Mrs. Spitler were the parents of eleven children, all of whom were reared on the old homestead, and all of whom lived to be men and women and married. Their names were as follows:  Mary, Jacob, Joseph, John, Susan, Andrew, Betsey, Samuel, Hannah, Barbara and Solomon. When Mr. Spitler died there were seventy-three grandchildren, sixty-three great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. To each of his children he gave a farm. This noble pioneer and head of a most excellent family was a man of gentle disposition, upright and honest, and had the respect of all who knew him. He died on his farm in Clay township, March 24, 1874 at the patriarchal age of ninety years. He was a man of great mental power and clearness of thought, which he retained to the last.

Joseph Rohrer, the father of Mrs. John Spitler, came to Ohio from Virginia, having previously gone to Virginia from Pennsylvania, and upon reaching Ohio settled on the west back of the Miami river near Dayton. When he reached Dayton he was offered six lots in the best part of the town in exchange for his wagon. From this place the family moved down the river to what is known as the Troxel farm, near Miamisburg, at that time knowing of but one family west of the Miami river, and that one lived four miles below. In 1804 he removed to Clay township, and followed Wolf creek until he found the big spring on the Wormon farm, where he located, taking up three quarter-sections of land. His family then consisted of himself, his wife, three sons and one daughter, the children being named as follows:  Joseph, Daniel, John and Barbara. Mr. Rohrer was the first settler, and for some time he was the only white family in Clay township. The Rohrer boys went to northern Indiana and settled there.

Solomon Spitler, the subject of this sketch, and son of John Spitler, was born on the old homestead upon which he now lives. His education was such as the common schools of the day afforded, and on May 25, 1851, when he was twenty-two years old, he married Elizabeth Limbert, who was born August 11, 1833, in Clay township, and was a daughter of Henry and Catherine (Wagner) Limbert, the former of whom was born July 27, 1787, in Lancaster county, Pa. Henry Limbert, whose father died when he was six years old, removed first to Maryland, and came thence to Montgomery county as one of the oldest settlers, about 1825, locating on 160 acres of land in Clay township. He was a class leader in the United Brethren church, of which he was a member, and as democrat he served as township trustee. His death occurred when he was eighty-two years odd, June 27, 1869. He was a man of strong character and excellent citizenship. He and his wife were the parents of eleven children, as follows:  John, Barbara, Lewis, Henry, Polly, George, Levi, Adam, Susan, Elizabeth and Sarah.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Spitler lived on the Spitler farm one year, and then moved to Miami county, where they lived five years, at the end of which period they returned to Clay township, Montgomery county. They have lived on the old homestead for fifteen years. They have had the following children:  Phares C., Joseph L., Jesse B., Emma L., Homer Y. and William W. As a republican Mr. Spitler has served as township trustee, and as school director for twelve years. Mr. Spitler is a man of high character, a good citizen, and is bringing up an excellent family, giving them a good education, and instilling into their minds a love of morality, religion and country, the result of which must be a high grade of citizenship.


RICHARD SUNDERLAND, [pages 1263-1264] of Vandalia, Ohio, one of the pioneer settlers of Montgomery county, is of patriotic ancestry. His grandfather, Richard Sunderland, was born on the Monongahela river in Pennsylvania, and was of Scotch ancestry, and his father, Peter Sunderland, great-grandfather of the present Richard, was a teamster in the war of the American Revolution.

Richard Sunderland, the grandfather, married Nancy Martin, in Pennsylvania, and their children were twins, William and Elizabeth. He moved with his family to Montgomery county, Ohio, when these children were quite small, his brother Peter coming here at about the same time—probably about 1800. In the probate judge’s office of Montgomery county is a curious, musty volume of records, in which may be found a copy of the first will ever recorded in the county. The date is June 6, 1802, and is that of Gennet Van Norsdall, of Hamilton county, Territory of the United States. Northwest of the River Ohio. The witnesses to this venerable document were James Snowden and Richard and Peter Sunderland, the signature of each being attested by “his mark.”

Richard Sunderland entered 640 acres of land, north of Centerville, in the pioneer cemetery near which place lie the remains of Peter Sunderland, the father of the two brothers who attested the will above mentioned. Peter Sunderland, the brother of Richard, also settled near the same place. The house in which Richard Sunderland lived was burned, and he built a new log house, which also burned down the first night it was occupied by him. Then in 1804 he removed to Butler township, and there entered 404 acres of land, for which he paid $2 per acre, and which was then covered over with woods. This is where James Sunderland now lives. Richard Sunderland was a captain in the war of 1812 and was stationed six months at Fort Greenville. In politics he was a whig, was an honored citizen, and lived to be eighty-eight years old. The memory of this hardy pioneer and defender of his country’s liberty is still fondly cherished by the old settlers, as well as by the surviving members of his family.

William Sunderland, father of the subject, was born in Pennsylvania, in 1794, and when his father brought his family to Ohio, coming down the Ohio river in a flatboat, he was very small. Growing up among the pioneers, he received a fair education for the times, a much better one than that of the average pioneer. He had a good deal of stock, much of which ran wild in the woods. Coming as he did in almost daily contact with the Indians, he learned their language, and was thus able to transact all kinds of business with the native owners of the forests. He was accustomed to go among them with the products of his farm, drawing these products with his ox team. He married Margaret Miller, who was born in Kentucky, and was a daughter of James Miller, a famous Kentuckian, a justice of the peace, and an early pioneer of that portion of Ohio where Mr. Sunderland lived. William Sunderland settled on the home farm after his marriage, and his children were Richard, Elizabeth, James, Nancy, Mamie and John. Mr. Sunderland lived to be about seventy-three years age, was a thrifty and successful farmer, and, at the time of his death, owned about 800 acres of land. Politically he was first a whig, and in later life a republican. His death occurred in 1870.

Richard Sunderland, the subject of this sketch, was born in Montgomery county, June 28, 1818, on the old farm homestead. His education was such as was then obtainable in the primitive schools of the day. When he was twenty-one years of age he married Eleanor Reed, the ceremony being performed March 20, 1839, in Butler township. Eleanor Reed was born in that township in 1822 on the Reed homestead, and was a daughter of Isaac and Mary (Compton) Reed.

Isaac Reed was an original pioneer, and settled on the farm which he cleared, and upon which his children were born. These children were Nancy, Margaret, Mary, Eleanor, Aaron and Isaac. Mr. Reed came from one of the Carolinas, and died when sixty-five years old.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Sunderland settled in Butler township, and lived on one of his father’s farms for two years, at the end of which time his father bought for him the Compton farm, upon which he lived for twenty-five years. In 1860 Mr. Sunderland bought his present farm of 138½ acres, and by thrift and good management he has added thereto until he now owns 310 acres of land, and has a most pleasant home. By his first wife Mr. Sunderland had three children, as follows:  Aaron, Mary E. and William. The mother of these children died in 1855, aged thirty-two years, and a member of the United Brethren church; and on March 13, 1856, Mr. Sunderland married Nancy Wells, who was born June 23, 1835, in Butler township, on the Wells homestead, and was a daughter of Samuel and Mary (Johnson) Wells, who were among the oldest settlers.

Samuel Wells was of Virginia stock and was himself born in that state. He came to Ohio when he was but eight years old and was left an orphan at an early age. He grew up among the pioneers and cleared up one of the finest farms in Butler township. He married Mary Johnson, of North Carolina, who was a daughter of David Johnson, who died in that state, and whose widow removed to Ohio, settling in Butler township. At this time Mary was but seven years old, and rode a pony all the way from North Carolina to Ohio. Samuel Wells and his wife were members of the Christian church. Their children were:  Rebecca, Mary, William, Nancy and Sarah, all of whom are yet living. Mr. Wells lived to be eighty-seven years old, and died on his farm. He was born in Maryland in 1798, and settled in Miami county in 1817 and in Butler township in 1822.

Mr. and Mrs. Sunderland settled on a farm adjoining the homestead, removing to their present home in 1860. To them have been born the following children: Jeannette, Lola and Flora (twins), Addie, Samuel, Maggie, Effie and Edwin. Mr. and Mrs. Sunderland are members of the United Brethren church. Early in his life Mr. Sunderland was a whig, but later became and now is a republican. For fifteen years he served as trustee of Butler township, and has served as appraiser of both Butler and Randolph townships. During the late Civil war he was of great service to the Union cause, in making up the quota of his township, in aiding the families of the soldiers, and in many other ways. He has always been a great reader of current literature, and has thus kept abreast of the times. His judgment is highly respected, and he has served for many years on the grand jury with credit to himself and his follow citizens.


JOHN Q. A. COOVER, [pages 1267-1268] whose post office is Spanker, Ohio, is one of the most prominent farmers of Butler township, Montgomery county. He springs from Pennsylvania-Dutch stock. Michael Coover, his grandfather, was born in Cumberland county, Pa., November 1, 1781, and became a farmer and one of the early ministers in the United Brethren church. He married in Pennsylvania, April 14, 1807, Elizabeth Shopp, who was born in the same county with himself, August 20, 1788, and their children were John M., Jacob, George, Michael, Samuel, Sarah, Isaac, David, and William H., all but the last born in Pennsylvania. In 1829 the Rev. Mr. Coover removed to Montgomery county, Ohio, settling on the farm on which the subject of this sketch now lives. The farm then contained 120 acres, which he cleared from the woods, with the exception of a small portion. He was a prosperous man, and bought more land, until at length he owned 234 acres, and became a very wealthy and substantial farmer.

He was one of the earliest of the United Brethren ministers in Butler township, and rode a circuit for many years, becoming well known for many miles around. Beside carrying on his farm and preaching among the pioneers, he ran a distillery for many years, as was the custom in those days. The United Brethren church of Butler township was organized in 1829 at his residence, services being held there and at the residences of other members, until a church edifice was erected at Vandalia. Mr. Coover died April 19, 1839, aged fifty-seven years.

John M. Coover, father of John Q. A., was born February 13, 1808, in Cumberland county, Pa., He was about twenty-one years old when he came to Ohio with his parents. He followed farming all his fife, and married Mary Duncan, who was a daughter of William Duncan, one of the earliest pioneers of Butler township.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Coover settled on the Coover homestead, upon which they lived all their remaining days. Their children were Benjamin F., Martha E. and John Q. A. Mrs. Coover died when her youngest child was but six weeks old. Politically in his early life Mr. Coover was a whig, taking an active interest in politics, and being a member of the state legislature in 1860 and 1861. He was a man of integrity and of true Christian character. He died in 1876, in his sixty-ninth year, regretted by the entire community in which he had so long lived.

John Q. A. Coover was born February 13, 1847. He was educated first in the common schools, then at the Otterbein university at Westerville, Ohio, and then at Wittenberg college, Springfield, Ohio. At this latter school he remained three years. He has always followed farming and has been very successful. He was married June 18, 1874, to Sella C. Beardshear, who was born in Montgomery county, May 21, 1855, and is a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Colemen) Beardshear, both of whom were of Scotch-Welsh ancestry.

John Beardshear was born in Pennsylvania, and came to Ohio in 1802. He became a substantial farmer of Harrison township, and married in Montgomery county, in 1848, Elizabeth Coleman, daughter of Robert and Mary (Van Cleve) Coleman. They had the following children:  William, Sella C., Rilla M. and Emma D. Mr. and Mrs. Beardshear were members of the United Brethren church, and the founders of Beardshear chapel, Mr. Beardshear being the principal contributor to the building of the church edifice. In politics he was a republican. He was a man of excellent moral and christian character, exerting a wide influence of good, and died January 20, 1873, aged about fifty-eight years, honored by all his follow-citizens.

William M. Beardshear, LL. D., son of John Beardshear, is a graduate of Otterbein university, and a post-graduate of Yale college. He was president of Western college, at Toledo, Ohio, for eight years, and is now president of the Iowa State Agricultural college, at Ames, Iowa.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Coover settled on his father’s farm, where they still reside. The farm now consists of 250 acres, and is in an excellent state of preservation. Upon it Mr. Coover erected a pleasant and tasteful residence in 1880. To Mr. and Mrs. Coover there have been born the following children:  Winifred F., Leila A., Mabel E. and John W. The parents are members of the United Brethren church, of which Mr. Coover has been a trustee for several years. Politically he is a republican, and has served as township trustee for four years. He is a member of the Industrial Order of Foresters, council Cooper, Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Coover is a man of liberal education, and a most valuable member of the community, his education rendering him a practical business man, as well as a practical farmer. Mrs. Coover attended Otterbein university at Westerville, Ohio, and is a highly educated woman, and a suitable helpmate for her husband.


JOHN W. UNDERWOOD, [pages 1268-1269] of Vandalia, Ohio, one of the honored citizens of Butler township, Montgomery county, and who has served as justice of the peace for twenty-five years, sprang from sterling English ancestors, who settled in Virginia in colonial times. His grandfather, Joseph Underwood, was a farmer in the Shenandoah valley, Virginia, and there lived all his days, dying at the great age of ninety years. His children were John and William.

John Underwood, the eldest son of Joseph, and father of John W., was born in the Shenandoah valley, Virginia, May 5, 1776. When yet a young man he removed to Lexington, Ky., and was there married to Miss Mary Scudder, daughter of James Scudder, of that place. Shortly after their marriage John Underwood and his wife removed to Ohio, in 1808, settling in Shelby county. They located on 160 acres of land, which he cleared of its heavy timber and made a good farm and a comfortable home, building the first brick house in the county. His children were Lucinda, William, Esther, Hugh M., Sarah and John W. John Underwood served his country as a soldier in the war of 1812, under Gen. Anthony Wayne, and participated in the battle of Fallen Timbers. He and his wife were life-long Methodists, and were among the early members of the Methodist Episcopal church in Ohio. Mr. Underwood lived to be about eighty-one years of age, dying in 1857 at the residence of his son, John W.

John W. Underwood was born May 6, 1828, in Shelby county, Ohio. His education was received in an old-fashioned log school-house, made of large, round logs, with a stick and clay chimney at one end, and with slabs for benches. At that time there were no regular school books, but instead any books that could be found in the community were taken to school for the pupils to read and study. Among these books, when young Underwood attended school, were the New Testament, the life of Daniel Boone and an English reader. Thus it was possible for him to receive only a very limited education in the schools; but this was supplemented by private instruction at home, sufficient for all the really practical purposes of a farmer’s life.

Mr. Underwood was married March 28, 1852, in Montgomery county, on his own farm to Miss Margaret Hoover, who was a daughter of Felix and Lydia (Fry) Hoover, and who was born in Miami county, Ohio, in December, 1832. Felix Hoover was a native of Kentucky, and he and his wife settled in Miami county some time in the ‘forties on a farm of eighty-eight acres, upon which they lived until his death, which occurred in 1846. His children were John, Margaret, Harriet, Mary, Isaac, Wilson, Adam, Elizabeth and Lydia. Politically he was a democrat, and was always actively interested in the success of his party, though not an office-seeker.

Mr. Underwood settled on the parental homestead, which he farmed for two years, and then purchased a canal boat on the Miami & Erie canal, and was on the canal for ten years. During this period he bought two more boats, and was unusually successful and prosperous. Returning to the homestead in 1864, he has since followed farming. To Mr. and Mrs. Underwood there have been born the following children:  Frank, John, Alice, Charles, William, Shannon, Adam and Emma. In politics Mr. Underwood was formerly a whig, but upon the organization of the republican party became a republican and has so remained ever since. During the late Civil war he was one of a committee whose duty it was to see that the quota of the township was filled, and in all ways he was essentially the friend of the Union soldier.

Mrs. Underwood is a member of the United Brethren church. Mr. Underwood has been one of the township trustees for over thirty years. He was elected justice of the peace in October, 1871, and has served in that capacity ever since. During his entire career as justice of the peace he has had but four cases appealed to higher courts, though his docket contains the record of about 1,500 cases. Esquire Underwood is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and was one of the earliest members of Vandalia lodge, No. 57, I. O. O. F. He has always taken an active interest in all matters pertaining to the education of the young and to the improvement of the schools. As a public-spirited man he has taken deep interest in the improvement of the public highways, believing that the condition of such roads indicated to a great extent the state of the civilization of the people. He stands high in the community for his sterling worth, integrity of character and high sense of justice. Esquire Underwood, in 1890, was one of the appraisers of real estate in Butler township, and it is much to the credit of his work and his judgment that no changes in his valuations were made by the board of equalization. He is, in short, one of the most intelligent and reliable of the citizens of his township and county, and a credit to the community in which he lives.


JACOB CARMONY, [pages 1269-1271] a citizen of Wengerlawn, Montgomery county, Ohio, and a native of this county, was born July 10, 1823, in Washington township. He is a son of Jacob and Mary (Stensel) Carmony, the former of  whom was a son of John Carmony, who was of Pennsylvania-Dutch descent. John Carmony was a farmer of Dauphin county, Pa., and descended from one of the original settlers of that state. He was the father of the following children:  Jacob, Sarah, Mary, John, Joseph, Catherine, Margaret and George, all of whom were born in Dauphin county, Pa. John Carmony removed to Ohio with horses and wagon in 1810, and settled two miles south of Centerville, Washington township, Montgomery county, there entering 160 acres of land, which was covered with timber. This land he cleared and developed into a good farm. He erected a log cabin near a fine spring, and this cabin stood for many years. For some years he ran a still on his farm, and in this way supplemented his agricultural labors. In religion he was a Lutheran and in politics a democrat; was known far and wide for his high character, and lived to be seventy-two years old.

Jacob Carmony, his son and the father of the subject, was born in Dauphin county, Pa., October 17, 1790, and was reared among the pioneers. He was about twenty years old when his father came to Ohio, and in this state he followed farming. On June 9, 1814, he married Mary Stensel, who was born January 4, 1796, in Mason county, Ky., and was a daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Allen) Stensel. Henry Stensel was born in central New York, of Catholic parents. In the year 1774, before the Revolutionary war, the Indians were friendly with the white settlers, and were frequently at his father’s house. When the war broke out Henry was about thirteen years of age, and the Stensel family were at the settlement a few miles from the farm. One day Henry, his two brothers, and all the men who worked for them, returned to the farm to look after the stock they had left there, and while they were thus engaged they discovered the Indians coming toward them, the boys ran for their lives, the savages giving chase. William Stensel was shot and scalped, and the other brother made his escape to the settlement. Henry was captured and was kept for several years a prisoner among the Indians. He was, however, at last traded to the British troops, and allowed to return to his home.

From the time of his capture to his release, Henry had greatly changed in appearance. He looked in fact more like an Indian than a white man, and none of his family recognized him but his mother, who identified him by a scar on his face. Soon after Henry came of age he had a disagreement with his parents on religious matters, he having united with the Old-School Baptists, and when he was twenty-one years of age he went to Kentucky, working his way to Lexington, which was then only a frontier station. Here he remained a couple of years, and by industry and hard work prospered, becoming a land owner. Henry Stensel married Elizabeth Allen, sister of Jeremiah Allen, and in 1802 moved to Montgomery county, Ohio, and settled in the woods of Washington township, on 160 acres of land which he converted into a fine farm and excellent home, there passing the remainder of his days, dying in 1833, when he was seventy-two years of age. He was a man of high character and was much beloved by the old settlers. He was a great hunter, and was a bosom friend of Simon Kenton, who is well known to all familiar with the early history of Ohio. His children were as follows:  Martha, Mary, William, Jeremiah, Enoch, Henry, Elizabeth, Sarah, Clarissa, Isaac and John.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Carmony settled in Washington township, on a farm in the woods, which he cleared of its timber. This farm contained seventy-five acres of land. He and his wife were the parents of the following children:  Henry, John, Elizabeth, Martha, William and Jacob. Mr. Carmony lived to be seventy-eight years old, and died at the home of his son, Jacob, in 1868. Politically he was a democrat, and in all respects was an estimable citizen.

Jacob Carmony, the subject of this sketch, was born July 10, 1823, in Washington township, on his father’s farm. Reared a farmer’s boy, he received a common-school education, and at the age of twenty-three married Mary Tice, who was born April 24, 1829. She was a daughter of Joseph and Jane (Hulse) Tice, the former of whom was born February 22, 1801, in Monmouth county, N. J. Joseph Tice was a son of Elias and Sarah (Horn) Tice, Elias Tice being a tavern keeper, at whose tavern George Washington was frequently a guest. Joseph Tice was married January 22, 1826, to Jane Hulse, who was born March 14, 1805, in New Jersey, and was a daughter of Anthony and Mary (Vaughn) Hulse. The Tice family were descended from four different nationalities—English, Irish, German and Scotch, and the Hulse family were of Dutch stock. Joseph Tice removed to Ohio in 1833, settling at Centerville, Montgomery county, where he for some years worked at his trade. In politics he was a democrat, and in religion a Universalist. His children were Ann E., Mary, Jerome, Sarah A., Anthony and Joseph. Mr. Rice lived to be about seventy years of age, dying in 1871. His wife had died February 21, 1852.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Carmony settled on land in Washington township. In 1866 he bought about 166 acres of land, only half of which was then cleared, but the whole of which he brought under cultivation. He and his wife are the parents of the following children:  William J., Joseph T., Mary J., Franklin, Armita, Clarissa, Sarah E., Henry J. and Jacob S. Mr. Carmony is a democrat in politics, and Mrs. Carmony is a member of the New-School Baptist church. Both are excellent people, liberal in their views, charitable in their deeds, and enjoy the respect and confidence of all that know them.


AARON MILLER, [pages 1271-1272] a prominent and substantial farmer of Madison township, Montgomery county, Ohio, is a son of John and Susan (Bowman) Miller. John Miller was a son of Daniel Miller, the noted pioneer of Montgomery county, who lived on Wolf creek, and who is frequently referred to in this volume. John Miller was eleven years of age when brought to this county by his parents in 1804, was given the best education obtainable in the country schools of his day, and was brought up to farm life and labor. Remaining at home until he was thirty-three years of age, he then married Mrs. Annie Sollenberger, a widow, whose maiden name was Winger. To this marriage there were born six children, as follows:  Annie, Susan, Aaron, Sarah, Mary and Moses. By her first husband, Mrs. Sollenberger had two children, John and Elizabeth.

John Miller settled on a farm containing 160 acres of land in Harrison township, which at the time was covered over with timber and which his father had entered. This farm he cleared up from the woods, and by prudence and good husbandry became a prosperous man. He added other acres to his possessions until he had 240 acres in his home farm, 160 acres in Madison township, and also eighty acres in Harrison township. To each of his children he gave a good home, and to each of the Sollenberger children he gave eighty acres of land in Indiana.

Daniel Miller and his sons built flat-boats, which they loaded with the products of the farm and still, and thus laden permitted them to drift down the Ohio and Mississippi river to Natchez and New Orleans, where they sold their products and boats, returning by steamboat. They made three such trips, and did well with their merchandise. Daniel Miller, after settling on Wolf creek, cut a road from his home to Dayton, which village at the time contained not more than two or three houses with shingle roofs.

Aaron Miller, the subject of this sketch, was born January 25, 1834, in Harrison township, on a farm, and was well educated in the common school. On March 18, 1855, he was married to Miss Eva Olinger, who was born in Madison township March 23, 1838, and is a daughter of John K. and Nancy (Kuntz) Olinger. John K. Olinger was born in Trotwood and was a son of John and Eva (Kagen) Olinger, coming to Montgomery county about 1804. John K. Olinger settled in Madison township, near Salem, and cleared up a farm of about 160 acres of land. He and his wife reared the following children:  Susan, Eva and Mary. Mr. Olinger was a member of the German Baptist church, a republican in politics, and a man of exemplary character. He died when sixty-nine years of age.

Mr. and Mrs. Miller, after their marriage, lived on a farm for one year, and in 1856 removed to a farm he had purchased, containing 168 acres, upon which they have lived ever since. This farm he has greatly improved in every way, but especially with excellent buildings, including a large residence. Mr. Miller’s life has been that of a progressive, well-informed farmer, and he has gained merited prosperity and success.

To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Miller there have been born six children, as follows:  John; Jane, who died at the age of thirty-three years; Andrew, who died when twenty-one years old; Moses, who died in infancy; Martha and Lorinda. In religion Mr. Miller is a member of the German Baptist church, and in politics a republican. Of his children, Jane married Dr. Samuel Toman, and left four children; Martha married John H. Conway, and has two sons; Lorinda married Clayte Brosier, a resident of Dayton, and John married Lizzie Gunther, and has one son. Mrs. Aaron Miller died January 20, 1896.


REV. JESSE KINSEY, [pages1272-1273] a leading minister of the German Baptist church and a substantial farmer of Clay township, Montgomery county, Ohio, is a native of the county and was born November 5, 1836, of Pennsylvania-German descent.

David Kinsey, his grandfather, was born in Lancaster county, Pa., was there married to Margaret Eltzroth, and became the father of eleven children, viz:  Elizabeth, Polly, Jacob, Rebecca, Susan, Eli, David, Sallie, Catherine, Delilah and Nancy. In 1805 he brought his family to Ohio with a horse and wagon, first camped at Cincinnati, and then came directly to Dayton, arriving in the spring. Dayton was then but a small hamlet of a few log houses, and the party, which comprised four families—the Kinseys, the Crips, the Millers, and another, whose name is forgotten, settled near Wolf Creek. Mr. Kinsey entered 160 acres in the woods, and being a strong, robust man, soon developed, with the assistance of his sons, a good farm and comfortable home. Game was very plentiful, and food was easily obtained from this source at the beginning. Mr. Kinsey in the early day was a noted teamster, for which his great strength well-fitted him, and in that capacity he made many trips to and from Dayton. The three families who came with his were all members of the German Baptist church, and at first meetings were held in the cabins of the settlers, but through the energy of Mr. Kinsey a log church-building was soon erected, and large numbers of German Baptists from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia came flocking to the neighborhood, and thus a moral and christian community was early founded in Clay township. David Kinsey prospered in his new home, and owned at one time over 1,000 acres of land, and after giving to each of his children an eighty-acre tract, had left a fine farm for his own use. He lived to reach the age of eighty years, was conspicuous and influential in the affairs of his township and county, and left to his family a heritage much more valuable than his land—that of an honored name.

Jacob Kinsey, son of David, the founder of the family in Montgomery county, was born October 19, 1805—the fall of the year the family came here. He was reared on the farm among the pioneers and received his limited education in the frontier school, but was very intelligent and possessed of an excellent judgment, which afforded him a compensatory substitute for mere book-learning, and he, also became a leader in the community. He married Miss Susan Boyer, who was born in Botetourt county, Va., March 14, 1812, a daughter of Samuel Boyer, who came to Ohio about 1815, and who was a blacksmith by trade, but bought 160 acres of land in Montgomery county and became an opulent farmer. His children were named Susan, Elizabeth, Henry and Eli. He died at the age of seventy years, a member of the German Baptist church.

Jacob Kinsey and his wife went to housekeeping on the old homestead, where he passed all the active years of his life, and then retired to Stringtown, where he bought a small place, on which he died December 30, 1882, at the age of nearly eighty years, beloved and respected by all who knew him. He was a deacon in the German Baptist church, and a sincere Christian. To Mr. and Mrs. Kinsey were born the following children:  Noah, Jesse, Margaret, Harriet, David, Sarah, Elizabeth, Susan, Mary A., and four who died in infancy.

Rev. Jesse Kinsey received a very good common-school education and was reared a farmer. He married, February 23, 1860, Miss Christina Wolf, who was born December 28, 1840, in Madison township, Montgomery county, a daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Miller) Wolf. Jacob Wolf was born in Pennsylvania, of German descent, and when a young man came to Ohio with his father, who settled in Greene county, where he grew to manhood, became a wealthy farmer, owning 500 acres of land in the Miami valley and died in 1863, at the age of seventy-five years, the father of the following children:  Daniel, Mary A., Susan, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Catherine, Sarah, Christina, Joseph, Harriet, Lydia.

For the first five years of their married life Mr. Kinsey and wife lived on a rented farm in Randolph township, Montgomery county, and in 1865 purchased their present farm, which is now finely improved and cultivated and comprises 112 acres. To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Kinsey no children have been born, but they have reared four orphans, viz:  Samuel Graybill, William Danner, Christian Wolf and Emma E. Wolf, whom they have cared for and educated with as much devotion as if they were their own. Mr. Kinsey has long been active in church work, began preaching about 1868, and was ordained an elder in 1883, as well as minister. His voice is influential in its councils and his labors as a minister tireless and faithful.


IRVIN THOMAS, [pages 1273-1274] of Center, Ohio, a veteran soldier of the late Civil war, was born in Clay township, Montgomery county, Ohio, January 29, 1838. He is a son of Isaac and Tamar (Mendenhall) Thomas, and was reared a farmer boy. On August 21, 1862, when he was twenty-four years of age, he enlisted at Dayton, Ohio, in company A, One Hundred and Twelfth Ohio volunteer infantry, under Capt. Thorn. In November this regiment was consolidated with the Sixty-third, and he became a member of company H. of the new organization, his captain being now O. L. Jackson. He veteranized in January, 1864, and was honorably discharged at Camp Dennison, Ohio, July 18, 1865. He was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., having served his country faithfully and well for nearly three years. He was in the battle of Parker’s Cross Roads, and in the famous Atlanta campaign, during which the Union troops were constantly under fire for nearly four months. While on this campaign he was in the battles of Dallas, Resaca, Pumpkin Vine Creek and of Kenesaw Mountain, and was then on detached duty as cook for Dr. Stewart, of the First division, Seventh army corps. On July 22, 1864, he was taken sick and for three days lay under a tree at Decatur, Ala., at the end of which time he was ordered away to avoid capture by the rebels, who were about to take possession of the town. He was taken care of by comrade Henry Meshler, of Clay township, and partially recovered, but on account of exposure contracted a deafness from which he has not recovered. Shortly afterward he rejoined his regiment, and was in the battle of Jonesboro, afterward going on the great march to the sea. He was also in the battle of Snake Creek Gap, and marched on to Washington, D. C., participating in the grand review. Then going to Parkersburg and thence to Louisville, he was mustered out at the latter place.

Mr. Thomas participated in all the battles in which the Sixty-third was engaged after he joined it, and endured with courqge all the hardships of a soldier’s life.

After the war was over he returned to Montgomery county, where he has since resided. Mr. Thomas has been married twice—first on November 7, 1858, at Phillipsburg, Ohio, to Sarah Tibbs, daughter of Jackson and Mary (Falkner) Tibbs. To this marriage there have been born five children, who are still living, as follows:  Arnold C., Francis O., William W., Cora O. and Webster E. Mrs. Thomas, the mother of these children, died in 1881, a consistent member of the Christian church. Mr. Thomas was next married to Mrs. Ellen Pugh, daughter of John Smith.

After the close of the was Mr. Thomas engaged in farming in Clay township, on his father’s farm, and in 1872 purchased from his father eighty-five acres of land. Upon this farm he lived until he removed to Phillipsburg, in 1892, building in this place an attractive residence. Mr. Thomas takes a deep interest in all things pertaining to the welfare of the old soldiers and the good of the country in general. He has manifested the strictest integrity in his dealings with his fellow-men during all of his life, and as a consequence he is held in the highest esteem by all who know him.

Isaac Thomas, father of Irvin Thomas, was born in North Carolina, and removed to Clay township, Montgomery county, in 1826 or 1827, being thus one of the pioneers in that part of the county. He cleared a farm of ninety-two acres of land, and through toil and economy prospered greatly, eventually becoming the owner of about 400 acres of land. He lived to be about seventy-six years of age, his children being Parmelia, Harriet, Milo, Caleb, Seth, Irvin and Susannah, twins, and Elam. Seth Thomas was a soldier in the same company with Irvin, and died at Memphis, Tenn., in September, 1863. Mr. Thomas was a Quaker in religion.

Irvin Thomas has been an Odd Fellow since July 28, 1874, a member of Phillipsburg lodge, No. 594, of which lodge he has been treasurer twelve years. He is also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, of Foster Marshall post, of Brookville. His mother, Tamar Mendenhall, was born in Miami county, Ohio, September 1, 1802, and was the daughter of Caleb Mendenhall, a Quaker pioneer of Miami county, Ohio. She was the first white child born in Union township, Miami county, and a woman of excellent character.


ISAAC STOCKSLAGER, [pages 1274-1275] one of the old settlers of Butler township, Montgomery county, is of German ancestry. His grandfather, John Stockslager, was born in Maryland, the father of John coming from Germany. John Stockslager owned a good farm of 160 acres of land in Washington county, Md., and was the father of the following children:  John, Katie, Jacob, Philip, Conrod and Betsey. He died on his farm in Maryland, when about eighty years of age. In religion he was a Lutheran.

John Stockslager, eldest son of the above, and the father of Isaac Stockslager, was born in Washington county, Md., was a farmer by occupation, and married Regina Schlenker, who was a daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Schlenker. John Stockslager and wife were the parents of four children, as follows:  Isaac, Barbara, John and Jacob. They were all born in Maryland, where Mr. Stockslager had a farm of 160 acres of land. He was killed when a young man by being run over by a heavily laden wagon. He was a member of the Lutheran church, and devoted to his religion and to his family.

A few years after the death of her husband Mrs. Stockslager came with her children to Ohio, settling in Butler township, Montgomery county. This was in 1833, and Mr. Schlenker reached Dayton, Ohio, by team, May 1, 1833. His children were as follows:  Daniel, Solomon, Polly, Sallie, Betsey and Lavina. One daughter he left in Maryland. He lived to be an aged man, dying in Montgomery county. He was a member of the Lutheran church and a man of sterling character.

Upon arriving in Montgomery county, Mrs. Stockslager rented a house in Union, and there made her home. After a few years she married John Lambert, by whom she had one daughter, Elizabeth, who died when eighteen years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Lambert bought a farm of forty acres in Butler township, and upon this farm she died at the age of eighty years. She was a woman of many fine traits of character and a consistent member of the Lutheran church.

Isaac Stockslager, the subject of this sketch, was born December 7, 1823, in Pennsylvania, and was but ten years old when he came to Ohio with his mother. Receiving a limited education, he was reared a farmer, and married, July 9, 1846, in Butler township, Mary Cress, who was born February 15, 1823. She is a daughter of John and Catherine (Plummer) Cress, the former of whom was a native of Virginia, and of German and Irish stock. He came to Montgomery county a young single man, married Catherine Plummer, and had by her the following children:  Jacob, David, Andrew, Sophie, Simon, Alexander, John, Mary and Betsey. John Cress became a prosperous farmer and lived to be an age man.

Isaac Stockslager and wife, after their marriage, settled on the homestead farm. From his earning prior to his marriage he had saved $500, which he applied in partial payment on a farm of eighty acres, and by the utmost economy and persistent industry he not only accumulated the funds to complete his payments, but also added sixty-nine and a half acres to his original purchase. The latter portion of his farm he has given to his children, and has still the original amount, eighty acres, for himself. He and his wife had two children who lived to mature years. John died when seven years of age; Louis at the age of seven months, and Amanda and Jacob are still living. The parents of these children are members of the Adventist church. Politically, Mr. Stockslager is a republican. He has always been a hardworking man, and is highly esteemed as a man and as a citizen wherever he is known.


JOHN FRANCIS ALLEN, [pages 1275-1277] a representative farmer of Wayne township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born on the old Allen homestead, on which he still lives, May 27, 1869, and is a son of Stephen Johnes and Margaret (McConnaughey) Allen, of whom further mention will be made.

Col. John Allen, grandfather of John Francis, was born in Monmouth county, N. J., November 19, 1797, and was a son of William and Sarah (Johnston) Allen, natives of the same state. The mother died about the year 1801 and the father in 1811, and the orphaned John was bound as an apprentice to a blacksmith until his majority, when, having learned his trade, he came on foot to Ohio, worked here at his trade a few months, and then returned to New Jersey He there married Margaret Johnes, of Middlesex county, N. J., a daughter of Bergen and Martha (Titus) Johnes. June 4, 1830, Col. Allen came back to Ohio, bringing his wife and three children—Sarah, Andrew J. and Stephen J. He remained in the vicinity of Franklin for a few months, and then, September 15, 1830, settled on 160 acres in Wayne township, in the extreme northern part of Montgomery county, on which farm John F. Allen, the subject, now lives. Here were born his two younger children, William and Alice. He was an intelligent and practical man, accumulated 1,000 acres of land, and as a democrat served as township trustee for twenty-three years. Mrs. Allen was called away December 14, 1871, and Mr. Allen lived to be eighty-five years, four months and seven days old, at which great age he passed away, a greatly honored citizen.

Stephen J. Allen, father of John F. Allen, was born near Hightstown, N. J., April 28, 1830, and was but six weeks old when brought to Ohio by his parents. He was reared to hard work on the farm, received the ordinary common-school education, and on March 16, 1854, in Wayne township, married Miss Margaret McConnaughey, who was born March 28, 1829, in Miami county, a daughter of David and Anna McConnaughey, who were old settlers of that county. David McConnaughey was of Irish descent, was a substantial farmer, and his estate still remains in the possession of his descendants. His children were named Maria, James, Thomas, John, William, David, Margaret, Ann, Robert and Belle.

After his marriage, Stephen J. Allen settled on the old Allen homestead, having received from his father 162 acres, to which, by his thrift and good management, he added until he owned 950 acres, becoming one of the most solid farmers of the township. In politics he was a democrat, as such filling the offices of township treasurer, clerk, and trustee, and serving as treasurer of Montgomery county for two terms, ending with 1884. In this latter office he became well and widely known to the people of the county, who entertained for him the highest confidence and regard. His children were named William, Anna M., David F. and John F.

John Francis Allen was reared on the original Col. Allen homestead, and was educated in the common school, the high school and the commercial college at Dayton, and the law department of the university of Michigan, at Ann Arbor. He inherited 450 acres of farm land from his father, and his life has been passed chiefly in agricultural pursuits, although other lines of industry have also engaged his time and attention.

September 23, 1891, he married, in Dayton, Miss Esther W. Keplinger, a native of that city, born May 19, 1868, a daughter of David and Mary Elizabeth (Whitley) Keplinger, and this union has been blessed with two children—Margaret Esther and Anna Mary. Mrs. Allen is a member of the Presbyterian church at Dayton. In politics Mr. Allen is a democrat. Beside managing his large farming interests, he is a director in the Eagle Paper company, of Franklin, Warren county, Ohio, a director in the Cast Steel Plow company, of Dayton, and secretary and treasurer of the Miami Coach Horse company, of Tippecanoe City, Ohio.

The great-grandmother of Mrs. Allen was Mrs. Catherine Thompson, who died at the age of eighty-two years. She had previously been Mrs. Catherine Van Cleve, and was the mother of Benjamin and William Van Cleve. She was the first female resident of Dayton, to which place she came on the 1st of April, 1796. She was also one of the earliest inhabitants of Cincinnati, having moved to that place before its name was changed from Losantiville, and when two small hewn-log houses and a few log cabins constituted the whole town. Her first husband, John Van Cleve, was killed by the Indians on June 1, 1791, within the present corporate limits of Cincinnati. Her second husband, Samuel Thompson, was drowned in Mad river. She was the mother of thirteen children, and her grandchildren numbered eighty-seven, and her great-grandchildren ninety. She was a worthy member of the Methodist church.

The parents of Mrs. Allen are David K. and Mary E. (Whitley) Keplinger, of Dayton. The father was born in Mad River township, Montgomery county, Ohio, July 24, 1838, and is the son of William and Eliza (Kneisley) Keplinger, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. The mother was born in Richmond, Ind., on May 2, 1842, and is the daughter of James and Effie (Van Cleve) Whitley, natives of Virginia and Ohio respectively. For thirteen years David K. Keplinger has been a trusted employee of the United States Express company in Dayton. His children are named Kneisley, Eva Stella, Esther Wagner, William Whitley, Bertha Cora Etta, Emma and Morris. The parents are members of the Lutheran church, and in politics Mr. Keplinger is an uncompromising republican.

Mr. Allen has a delightful country residence and a fertile and profitable farm. He is a factor in the affairs of his township, of which he is one of the most active and useful citizens and an honored member of society.

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