JOHN SPITLER, [pages 1277-1279] a descendant of one of the pioneer families of Clay township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born here, on the original Spitler homestead, April 10, 1814, and is now one of the oldest citizens of his native township.
Jacob Spitler, his grandfather, was a native of Lancaster county, Pa. Jacob’s father was slaughtered by Indians in a massacre in that county about the time of Braddock’s defeat, but his mother escaped with her three children—Jacob, John and a daughter. Jacob married in Pennsylvania a lady who had borne the maiden name of Bookwalter, but who was the mother of four children by a former husband, named Lane, from whom descended the Gen. James Lane, of Kansas border war fame. After his marriage Jacob Spitler removed from Pennsylvania, to Berkeley county, Va., thence to Rappanhannock county, and finally to Botetourt county, where he died at the age of sixty years, his wife following him to the grave within a week. Their children were named Cally, Joseph, Jacob, Betsey, John, Polly, Samuel and Anna.
John Spitler, son of Jacob and father of subject, was born in Berkeley county, Va., February 9, 1785, was reared a farmer, and came to Ohio in 1805, in company with his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Buntraeger, riding horseback more than 500 miles. Late in the same year Mr. Spitler settled in Clay township, Montgomery county, on the present site of Brookville, and in 1807 married Miss Barbara Rohrer, who was born in 1789, in Lancaster county, Pa., a daughter of Joseph Rohrer, who settled in Clay township in 1804, being the first of the pioneers. Joseph Rohrer, a native of Pennsylvania, was left an orphan at the age of six years, was reared a farmer, and married Mary Raesor. He became well to do, owned about 1,400 acres of land in Clay township, and at his death, when fifty-five years of age, gave 320 acres to each of his living children, who were named Barbara, John, Joseph and Daniel; two others died young, one of whom was a boy that was drowned at the Pinnacles, at the first settlement on the Miami river.
After marriage John Spitler cleared up a large farm in Clay township, and during his active life became possessor of about 2,000 acres. He bequeathed 160 acres to each of his eleven children, who were born and named in the following order: Polly, Jacob, Joseph, John, Susan, Andrew, Elizabeth, Samuel, Hannah, Barbara and Solomon, all of whom lived to reach mature age. Mr. Spitler was a man of great strength of character, and made his mark as a leader of men, being wise in counsel, and always consulted when it became necessary to adjudicate or arbitrate difficulties among his neighbors. He lived to the advanced age of nearly ninety years and died in 1874, a conscientious member of the German Baptist church, of which his wife was also a member.
John Spitler, whose name opens this sketch, was educated in the first school-house erected in Clay township and was reared to be a thorough famer. April 11, 1839, he married Miss Esther Warner, who was born in Randolph township, March 5, 1820, a daughter of Jacob and Rosannah (Ligenfelter) Warner. Her father, Jacob, was born on a farm in Bedford county, Pa., and came to Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1812, settled in Randolph township and cleared a farm of 160 acres. By his first wife he was the father of thirteen children, of whom Mrs. Spitler was next to the youngest, and by his second wife there were born four children. The second wife bore the maiden name of Susan Bruebaker, but at the time of her marriage with Mr. Spitler was the widow of a Mr. Warner, a distant relative of Mrs. Spitler’s mother. Jacob Warner lived to be sixty-two years of age, and his widow survived him thirty years, dying at the great age of ninety-seven.
For some little time after marriage John Spitler lived on the homestead, but in 1841 moved to Darke county, where he cleared from the woods a farm of 160 acres, and later returned to Clay township, Montgomery county, where he pursued his vocation as a farmer until 1894, when he retired. Mr. and Mrs. Spitler had born to them a family of fourteen children, born in the following order: Oliver, Barbara, Elizabeth, Solomon, Susan, William, Hannah, Lydia, John, Benjamin, May E., Ephraim W., Flora M. and Charles S. In their religion Mr. and Mrs. Spitler are German Baptists, and in politics Mr. Spitler was in his early years a whig, casting his first presidential vote for Gen. William Henry Harrison, but with the change of parties fell into line with the republicans, and was a sound Union man. His son Solomon served for three years in company H. Sixty-third Ohio volunteer infantry, in defense of the national flag during the Civil war.
Dr. Ephraim W. Spitler, son of John and Esther Spitler, was born July 2, 1859, and received an excellent academic and collegiate education; he taught school five years in Darke, Miami and Montgomery counties, studied medicine under Dr. J. H. Spitler, and graduated from the Medical college of Ohio, at Cincinnati, in 1885. He began the practice of his profession in Jamton, moved to Phillipsburg in 1886 and is a successful and progressive physican.
The marriage of the doctor took place April 26, 1885, in Miami county, to Miss Emma A. Hershey, who was born in that county, March 20, 1861, a daughter of John P. and Elizabeth (Kolp) Hershey. Her father, John P. Hershey, is a native of Lancaster county, Pa., and before coming to Ohio, in 1849, was the first conductor on the Pennsylvania railroad between Mount Joy and Philadelphia. He is the father of seven living children and still survives at the age of seventy-five years. In politics Dr. Spitler is a republican, and fraternally is an Odd Fellow.
LEVI BAKER, [pages 1279-1281] one of the most prominent business men of Brookville, Clay township, Montgomery county, Ohio, was born here June 11, 1836, on his father’s farm, and is a descendant of one of the oldest pioneers in the county, Michael Baker, and of one of the wealthiest ante-Revolutionary families of Pennsylvania, whose genealogy will be given at the close of this memoir.
Michael Baker, grandfather of Levi, and his wife, Elizabeth (Smucker) Baker, came from Somerset county, Pa., to Clay township in 1805, and settled on a tract of 200 acres of land in the wilderness, on which there was a camp of 200 Indians, who were friendly and proved to be good neighbors. He cleared up this farm and added to his possessions until he was the owner of about 2,000 acres. Mr. and Mrs. Baker had a family of ten children, viz: John, Samuel, Jacob, Michael, Benjamin, Catherine, Elizabeth, Susannah, Annie and Mary. The father lived to be over eighty-two years of age, and his wife expired at the age of eighty, both devoted members of the Dunkard or German Baptist church, and the large property was distributed among the various children.
Benjamin Baker, son of Michael, and father of Levi, was born on the original Baker homestead in Clay township, March 24, 1810, and was reared to agricultural pursuits. He received as good an education as the schools of the neighborhood afforded at that early day, and in 1830 married Miss Frances Niswanger, the union resulting in the birth of twelve children, viz: Sadie, Malinda, Noah, Levi, Cyrus (who died at the age of five years), Mary, Simon, Amanda, Sarah H., Sylvester, Jonathan and Minerva.
About 1850, Benjamin Baker engaged in the grain trade in Brookville, being the first to enter into that business in the village. He built a warehouse, and hauled his grain by wagon to Dayton until 1853, when the railroad was constructed and a track or switch extended to his warehouse. For a few years he was associated in this trade with Richard Reily, but in 1860 Levi, his son, bought Mr. Reily’s interest, and the business was continued by father and son until 1866, when the father retired. Benjamin Baker was a most energetic and enterprising business man. He was one of the founders of Brookville, opened its first general store, and was its first station and express agent. He at one time owned about 500 acres in different farms—one of 150 acres one-half mile east of Brookville—and in connection with his grain trade was a large buyer and shipper of tobacco.
Benjamin Baker was at first a whig in politics, was one of the original republicans of Montgomery county, and during the Civil war was a pronounced Union man. In religion he was a member of the German Baptist church, in which faith he died, and was highly esteemed for his Christian benevolence and unswerving integrity.
Levi Baker was reared on his father’s farm and received an excellent common-school education. January 10, 1856, he married, near Brookville, Miss Catherine Ganger, daughter of George and Elizabeth (Richard) Ganger, and to this union was born one child, Mary A., who married Louis Cotterman, and died at the age of twenty-two years. Mrs. Catherine (Ganger) Baker died in 1876, a member of the United Brethren church. The second marriage of Mr. Baker took place October 17, 1878, at Chambersville, Va., with Miss Rebecca Koontz, who was born January 3, 1861, a daughter of Abraham and Susannah (Floro) Koontz. Abraham Koontz was from Pennsylvania, was of German descent, was married in Rockingham county, Va., and was a resident of that state at the outbreak of the Rebellion, when he was drafted into the Confederate service, but escaped and brought his family to Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1861, or 1862, and settled near Harrisburg. Here he worked at his trade as carpenter until his death, at the age of about forty-nine years, a member of the German Baptist church and the father of the following children: Sarah, Catherine (who died when thirty-seven years old), Minerva, Rebecca, Mary and Alice.
Levi Baker began his business life as a farmer, which vocation occupied his time for four years; he then joined his father in the grain trade at Brookville, and in 1867 built a residence in that town, but had the previous year bought his present farm of 114 acres. For several years he was in partnership, in the grain trade, with Daniel Litter, but for the past nine years has been associated with Daniel C. Williamson. This firm bought their brick warehouse in 1885, Mr. Baker being also a buyer and a shipper of tobacco on a large scale. The firm of Baker & Williamson do an extensive business in grain, and are also the station and express agents in Brookville.
In politics Mr. Baker is a republican and served as assessor in Clay township for thirteen years; he is postmaster of Brookville, having been appointed under the Harrison administration; he has been land appraisor two terms, a member of the school board and of the town council, for three years county infirmary director, and is the present town treasurer. He is president of the Citizens’ Bank of Brookville, and is in every way energetic and progressive as a business man and citizen. To Mr. and Mrs. Baker have been born two children, named Edith Lillor and Arlie Levi.
It may be proper here to trace the Baker family of Ohio to its origin in America. George Peter Baker, who was born and who lived and died in Strasbourg, Germany, had four sons who came to America in 1727, viz: George, Jacob, Henry, and Peter. Of these, George died a youth; Jacob married, but died without issue; Henry died a bachelor; Peter inherited property from his father, and the accumulated property of his brothers through long leases and also by will. Part of this estate is now covered by Fairmount park, in Philadelphia, and by the zoological gardens in the same city. To this valuable estate the Baker family of to-day still lay claim, as the original deed granted it “To Peter Baker, his children and grandchildren forever;” and, being thus entailed, the claim is considered to be valid. Peter had born to him two children—Jacob and Elizabeth. Jacob married Hannah Lemon, and Elizabeth married Leonard Ellmsker. Jacob had born to him ten children, of whom one, Lemon Baker, is the great-grandfather of Isaac Baker, of Lawrence, Kans. Peter, to whom the above mentioned estate was granted or devised, was the great-great-grandfather of Levi, the subject; Jacob was the great-grandfather; Michael, who settled in Montgomery county, Ohio, was the grandfather, and Benjamin the father, as has already been shown. Many members of the Baker family went to Canada about the beginning of the present century, and in that country have been found the bibles containing the old family records, establishing the identity of the many heirs there and in the United States without a missing link. One of these ancient volumes is 165 years old and another is 135, but the records are all legible and convincing.
SOLOMON BEYL, [pages 1281-1282] an old settler of Wayne township, Montgomery county, Ohio, an ex-soldier and a successful farmer, was born in Northampton county, Pa., February 6, 1830, of sterling German ancestry.
Jacob Beyl, his father was also a native of Northampton county, Pa., was born in 1806, and was a son of Jacob Beyl, Sr., who owned a large farm on which he passed all his life, and reared a family, of whom the names of Jacob, John and Joseph only can be remembered. Jacob, father of Solomon, was reared on his father’s farm, and was married in Lehigh county, Pal, to Magdalena Hartman, who was born in that county July 27, 1804. Immediately after his marriage, Jacob Beyl went to housekeeping on his father’s farm, and there all his children were born, viz: Elizabeth, Solomon, Catherine, Matilda, Sarah, John and William. In 1838 Jacob Beyl brought his family to Ohio by means of wagons, and for about four years lived at Fairfield, Greene county, where he purchased forty acres of land, but about 1844-45 removed to Jasper county, Ind., where he purchased a tract of eighty acres; he was not, however, satisfied with the change, and four months later returned to Ohio, and for two years conducted a grocery business at the market-house in Dayton and on Third street. About 1846 he moved to Wayne township and purchased the farm on which Solomon, his son, now resides, and which then comprised 147 acres, of which but forty acres were cleared. The remainder he himself subsequently cleared and improved, eventually converting it into a profitable and comfortable farm, where he passed the remainder of his days and died at the age of eighty-five years. He and wife were members of the Lutheran church, in which he had been an elder for many years; in politics he was first a whig, afterward a republican, and for two years was a justice of the peace. He was of a very liberal disposition and was the chief factor in the erection of the Lutheran church at Osborn, contributing freely of his own means for that purpose; and this, united with many other generous acts, won for him universal respect and gratitude.
Solomon Beyl, it will be seen, was about eight years of age when brought by his parents to Ohio. He here received a good common-school education, was reared to a sound understanding of agriculture on the home farm, and was also taught the millwright’s trade. October 21, 1852, he married, in Wayne township, Miss Mary Rubsam, who was born in Union county, Pa., September 11, 1835, a daughter of Henry and Mary (Shane) Rubsam.
Henry Rubsam, father of Mrs. Beyl, was born in Fulda, Germany, August 24, 1798, a son of John and Cornelia (Swanger) Rubsam, the former of whom was a baker by trade and lived and died in the land of his birth, and whose children were named John J., Phebe J., Henry, Benedict, John, Frances W., Ludwig, Catherine, Elizabeth, Carl and Theresa. Of these, Henry Rubsam left his home at the age of nineteen years, came to America and for some years followed his trade of fuller and then became a farmer, He married, in the Keystone state, Mary Shane, who was born in Lycoming county, September 18, 1804, a daughter of Jacob and Susannah (Swartz) Shane, of Pennsylvania-Dutch stock, and the parents of nine children, viz; Mary, Michael, Peter, Rosannah, William, Sophia, Jacob L., Theresa and Susan. For some time after marriage Henry Rubsam continued to follow his trade in Pennsylvania, and in 1835 came to Ohio, settled on eighty acres of land in Wayne township, Montgomery county, cleared up and improved his place, and here reared his children—Eliza, Sarah, Henry, Mary, John and Jacob (twins) and George. He was a republican in politics, and in religion a German Baptist.
Solomon Beyl, after his marriage, settled on the old homestead, which he has increased from its original dimensions to 205 acres and greatly improved. His children were named, in order of birth, as follows: Jacob (who died at the age of two years), Emma, John, George, Mary and Minnie. Mrs. Beyl is a member of the German Baptist church. Mr. Beyl is in politics a stanch republican. His enlistment took place August 22, 1862, in Osborn, Ohio, in Capt. Aaron Spangler’s company F. One Hundred and Tenth Ohio volunteer infantry, to serve three years, and he was honorably discharged, with the rank of corporal, at a Cleveland hospital, in June, 1865, on account of the close of the war. He took part in the battle of Winchester, Va., was captured and sent to Libby prison, thence to Belle Isle, and at the close of thirty-three days was paroled. He returned home, but at the end of three months rejoined the army at Alexandria, Va., where he was stricken with rheumatism and was sent to the Howard hospital, in Washington, D. C., whence, having contracted smallpox, he was transferred to a hospital in Georgetown, D. C. and then furloughed home. On reaching Columbus, Ohio, he was so enfeebled that he was sent to Cleveland. He there recovered sufficiently to do light duty, and was one of the guards at the time that the remains of the martyred Lincoln lay in state in the city of Cleveland.
On his return home Mr. Beyl resumed his agricultural pursuits, in which he has prospered and is now recognized as one of the most substantial farmers of Wayne township and one of its most honored citizens. He still holds his affection for his old comrades in arms, being a member of Steele post, No. 623, G. A. R., in which he at one time served in the office of quartermaster.
CHRISTIAN A. COLER, [pages 1282, 1285] of Dayton and Farmersville, Ohio, and one of the leading farmers of Jackson township, springs from old colonial stock of Maryland. His ancestry is both German and English. Adam Koller, as he spelled the name, was a native of the northern part of Maryland, and owned a farm on the line between that state and Pennsylvania (Mason & Dixon’s line), his land lying chiefly in Pennsylvania. His children were Joseph, John, Polly and Elizabeth. In religious belief Adam Koller was a Lutheran, and was opposed to slavery. He lived to be seventy years of age, and his wife lived to be seventy-five.
Joseph Koller, son of the above, was born on his father’s farm in Maryland, was reared a farmer and married, in Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Eby, daughter of Christian and Susan (McDaniel) Eby, the Eby family being of German and the McDaniel family of Scotch-Irish ancestry. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Koller first settled in Baltimore county, Md., on a farm, but came to Ohio in 1832, locating in Montgomery county, in Jackson township, on 160 acres of land, which was partially cleared, and which Mr. Koller finished clearing. This he made into a good farm and upon it he passed his remaining days. He died at the early age of forty-five years, a member of the German Baptist church. Mrs. Koller died at the age of eighty-nine years, an exemplary mother and Christian, a member of the Gerrman Baptist church. Mr. Koller was well educated for his day, and was an unusually successful man, accumulating by his thrift and good management 540 acres of land. The children born to him were Susan, Christian A., Noah and Jane.
Christian A. Coler was born May 26, 1825, in Baltimore county, Md., and was therefore seven years of age when brought to Montgomery county by his parents. He was well educated in his youth, attending not only the common schools, but also Wittenberg college and, later, Miami university, from which he graduated in 1858. He had been a teacher for several years before entering college, teaching in both Ohio and Indiana. After his graduation he resumed farming and married Catherine Bear, born in 1840, in German township, Montgomery county, Ohio, and a daughter of Henry and Lydia (Swihart) Bear.
Henry Bear was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, and was of German stock. He was a son of an early pioneer of Montgomery county, was a good farmer, and by his first wife had one child, Catherine; and by his second wife, Ellen Bruner, the following children: Albert S., Florence, Ira, Paul and Myrtle. Mr. Bear is still living and is now eighty-three years of age.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Coler settled in Jackson township, on the line of German township, on a farm of 264 acres of land, which Mr. Coler purchased. After sixteen years of successful farming he removed to his present farm, where he owns 165 acres of excellent land, beside several pieces of property in the city of Dayton. In 1894 Mr. Coler moved to West Dayton, but spends several months during the summer and fall on his farm, two miles southeast of Farmersville, on the Germantown and Farmersville pike. In 1862 Mr. Coler was commissioned captain of company C, Twelfth regiment, Ohio national guard, which position he held until entering the United States service in the spring of 1864. On the call of the president for troops, Mr. Coler reported for duty May 2nd, and was commissioned first lieutenant of compny F, One Hundred and Thirty-first regiment, Ohio volunteer infantry, was on duty in Virginia and Maryland, was honorably discharged August 25, 1864, and with his company returned to Dayton. Politically Mr. Coler is a republican and Mr. and Mrs. Coler were present at the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, the first president of the party. Mr. Coler was a member of the Sixty-first general assembly of Ohio, the only man save one elected on the republican ticket in Montgomery county in the fall of 1873. While in the legislature in 1875, he advocated the enlargement of the Miami & Erie canal to the capacity of the Erie canal of New York, and introduced a resolution to that effect.
Mr. and Mrs. Coler are members of the Baptist Brethren church. Mr. Coler being an educated man, has always taken a deep interest in educational matters, and has for several years served as manager of the Farmers’ institute, to which he has contributed papers. He is a member of the G. A. R., Carlton Bear post, 516, Germantown, also a member of the P. of H., and has always sympathized with the interests of the farmers. He has also taken an active interest in school affairs, serving as a member of the school board for several years. Mr. Coler is a man of wide reading and has a well-selected library. He has long enjoyed the confidence of the people and has been called upon to settle a number of estates, and has transacted much business with the courts. A public-spirited man, he has aided churches, favored good roads, and encouraged all enterprises calculated to advance the public good. In the many positions of trust which he has filled, he has been faithful and true, having given entire satisfaction to all who were associated with him, and having won credit for himself in every capacity.
LEWIS F. HOFFMAN, [pages 1286-1287] of Randolph township, Montgomery county, Ohio, is a son of one of the early pioneers. His ancestors were of strong Pennsylvania-Dutch stock. His great-grandfather came to the United States from Germany in about 1750, when he was sixteen years of age. The tradition is that two brothers came to American at that time, and that their services were sold to pay their passage across the sea, as was often the case in those early days.
George Hoffman, grandfather of Lewis F., was born June 21, 1775, was married in Perry county, Pa., to Elizabeth Limpard, and their children were as follows: Philip, Joseph, John, Catherine, Barbara, Martha, Jesse, Lewis, Levi and George. The father, George Hoffman, was a farmer and also manufacturer of woolen goods in Pennsylvania, and in 1819 removed to Montgomery county, Ohio, with his wife and children, making the journey with a team on five horses and a big wagon. He settled in Randolph township, one mile south of Harrisburg, where he bought land. He cleared this land from the woods, and experienced all the hardships and deprivations of pioneer life, becoming a most substantial farmer, owning 300 acres of productive land. George Hoffman lived to be nearly sixty-four years of age, dying April 1, 1839. He was a prominent minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was among the first to preach at Concord, before there was any church building erected in that part of the country, the meetings being held in his house. He was cone of the founders of the church at Concord, and was accustomed to preach in all parts of the county. He died on his farm, regretted by all who knew him as a man of great worth and usefulness.
Joseph Hoffman, father of Lewis F., was born in Pennsylvania in 1801, and was about eighteen years of age when he drove the team brought to Ohio in 1819. Receiving his education in the subscription schools of his youthful days, he was brought up to farm labor and became a good farmer and business man. In his early life he was a teamster, and hauled flour, whisky, etc. His first wife was Sarah Worman, and by her he had the following children: Eliza, David, Anna, Levina, Solomon, Mahala, Jess, Levi and Sarah. After his first marriage Mr. Hoffman settled in Randolph township, on 106 acres of land, which he bought of his father, and by toil and economy he added to this farm of eighty acres, so that he had a good farm of 186 acres, which he partially cleared from the woods, and upon which he erected a comfortable dwelling. After the death of his first wife he married Mary Fry, by whom he had two children, Lewis F. and William R. Mr. Hoffman was a practical and successful farmer. He also followed teaming to Cincinnati, and afterward to Dayton for some time. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and in politics was in his early life an old-line whig and later a re publican. His two sons, Lewis F. and William R., entered the one hundred days’ service, in company A. One Hundred and Forty-seventh regiment, Ohio volunteer infantry. Their time having expired, William R. re-enlisted for one year, and died while in service, at Columbus, about sixty-two years, leaving the record of a busy and useful career.
Lewis F. Hoffman was born on his father’s farm, November 15, 1842, and received the common-school education of the time, which was of a higher order than that obtainable in the boyhood of his father or of his grandfather. On May 2, 1864, he enlisted in company A, One Hundred and Forty-seventh Ohio volunteer infantry, for one hundred days, and was discharged from the service, by reason of expiration of his term of enlistment, in August, 1864. His service was rendered at Arlington Heights, and on the farm of the Confederate leader, Gen. Lee, and he saw quite active service during Gen. Early’s raid on Washington.
On September 24, 1867, he married Miss Mary A. Maugens, who was born January 10, 1847, near Tippecanoe, Miami county, Ohio, and is a daughter of John and Olive (Jenkins) Maugens, the former of whom was born in Frederick county, Md., of German ancestors. John Maugens was a son of David and Catherine (Blickenstaff) Maugens. The Maugens family is an ancient one in Maryland. The children of David and Catherine Maugens were Elizabeth, John and Mary. David Maugens was a well-to-do farmer, and lived to a great age. John Maugens came to Ohio when a young man, was married in Miami county, and his children were David K. and Mary A. Mr. Maugens, who was a capable and enterprising citizen, died in Miami county when his daughter, afterward Mrs. Hoffman, was nine months old. Olive Jenkins, his wife, was a daughter of Esquire David Jenkins, a pioneer of Miami county. David Jenkins was twice married, his first wife being Rosetta Russell, and his second wife Ann Pierson. Mr. Jenkins was a well-known pioneer and a justice of the peace for forty years. In early times the elections were held at his house.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman settled on the home farm of fifty-four acres, which he has greatly improved and brought to an advanced condition of productiveness, and upon which he is engaged in the raising of nursery stock. His children are as follow: Homer K., born November 10, 1868; Theodore C., born November 10, 1871; Albert, born May 31, 1876; and Howard, born September 7, 1882. In politics Mr. Hoffman is a republican, and has six times been elected trustee of Randolph township, serving nine years. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Hoffman takes great interest in educational affairs, and has served on the school board for six years. Fraternally he was formerly a member of St. John lodge, of the Masonic fraternity, and is a member of Little York lodge, No. 696, I. O. O. F., and has filled all the chairs. Mr. Hoffman is a progressive and capable citizen, standing high in the estimation of his friends and neighbors.
DANIEL BOOMERSHINE, [pages 1287-1289] of Farmersville, Montgomery county, Ohio, and a prominent farmer of Jackson township, is a grandson of one of the original pioneers. He springs from German stock, his grandfather, Henry Boomershine, having been born in Prussia, Germany. Henry Boomershine was impressed into the German army and became one of King George III’s Hessian soldiers in the war of the Revolution, coming to America with them to aid in suppressing the revolt against the rule of that king. Like many others of the Hessian troops, he took advantage of his opportunity to remain in America and to become a citizen of the country.
Settling in Pennsylvania, he married and became the father of the following children: Peter, Henry, Jacob, Abraham, John, Susan and Elizabeth. Mr. Boomershine moved with his family to Ohio some time during the last decade of the eighteenth century, settling in Hamilton, Butler county. In 1802 he moved to German township, Montgomery county, settling on the north line of the township on 160 acres of land, all of which was covered with dense woods, he being one of the very first to settle in that part of the country.
Mr. Boomershine was one of the first members of the Evangelical Lutheran church in his vicinity, and in politics was a thorough-going Jacksonian democrat. He was a typical pioneer and the founder of his family in Ohio. He lived to the great age of eighty-eight years, dying in 1836.
Abraham Boomershine, father of Daniel, was born in Hamilton, Butler county, December 25, 1801, and was three months old when his parents came to Montgomery county. Reared in the wilderness, he attended one of the old-fashioned log school-houses, 14X14 feet in size, which was four miles from his home and which was reached by going through the woods the entire distance, a path having been made and marked out for the purpose. This school, however, he attended but a short time, learning to read German at home. Becoming a farmer, he married Catherine Cook, who was born in 1794, in Berks county, Pa., and was a daughter of Frederick and Margaret Cook, the former of whom was of Pennsylvania-Dutch stock, and a pioneer of Jackson township. Abraham Boomershine settled at first in Germantown, where he lived two years, and then removed to eighty acres of land in the woods, one-half mile from Farmersville, on which not a stick of timber had been cut. By hard work he cleared up this farm and added other acres thereto until at length he owned 239 acres, and became a wealthy and substantial citizen, erecting excellent farm buildings, among the best in his township. He and his wife had the following children: Henry, Abraham, Michael, Lewis, Daniel, William F., Elizabeth, Catherine and Sarah. The parents were members of the Lutheran church, and in politics Mr. Boomershine was a democrat. He died in June, 1889, at the great age of eighty-nine.
Daniel Boomershine was born June 18, 1838, on the Boomershine homestead. Receiving a common-school education, he was reared a farmer, and on June 6, 1867, married Sarah A. Peck, who was born August 13, 1844, in German township, and is a daughter of James W. and Phebe (Snethen) Peck. James W. Peck was born in Kentucky, August 22, 1803, of English ancestors, and his wife was also born in Kentucky, February 8, 1808. They were married in Montgomery county, August 17, 1834. James W. Peck came to Ohio when a boy, and received the common-school education of his day. While a young man he followed teaming, and settled on eighty acres of land in German township, which were covered over with timber, but which he cleared and made fertile and productive. His children were: Susannah, George E., Mary J., Hannah, James F., Elizabeth, John, Samuel, Sarah, Alexander and Matilda. Mr. and Mrs. Peck were members of the Christian church of Franklin, and in politics Mr. Peck was a republican. Mrs. Peck died January 10, 1865, aged about fifty-eight years. Mr. Peck died November 4, 1869, aged sixty-six years.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Boomershine settled on the old homestead, lived there three years, and then one year at Boomershine mill. He then removed to Farmersville in 1871, and worked six years in a mill in which he owned an interest with his brothers, Michael, Lewis and William—a flouring and saw-mill on Big Twin creek. He was afterward engaged in the butcher business for five years; he bought the Boomershine homestead in 1883 and entered into the lumber and coal business. As a democrat he has held the office of constable for six years, and has been collector of delinquent taxes for twenty-two years, and treasurer of the town of Farmersville four years, also treasurer of Jackson township six years, all, as will be seen, being offices of trust. He was one of the charter members of Farmersville lodge No. 482, F. & A. M., and has held the offices therein of junior warden, junior deacon and treasurer.
Mr. and Mrs. Boomershine are members of the Reformed church, of which he has held the office of treasurer. To Mr. and Mrs. Boomershine there has been born one son, Clement L. Boomershine.
Clement L. Boomershine, who is at present mayor of Farmersville, was born September 14, 1868, on the Boomershine homestead. He was first taught in the public schools, and afterward attended the Heidelberg university at Tiffin, Ohio where he graduated June 21, 1889. After teaching school in Jackson township one year he was elected justice of the peace in 1890, and has ever since filled that office. He was elected mayor of Farmersville in the spring of 1893, and re-elected in the spring of 1895. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and secretary of his lodge. Politically Mr. Boomershine is a democrat, and is deservedly popular not only in Farmersville but throughout the county, where his professional and business ability are generally recognized. When first elected justice of the peace he was but twenty-two years of age, and when first elected mayor of Farmersville he was only twenty-five years of age, facts which in themselves testify strongly to his ability and popularity.
SHEREBIAH JOSEPH BRADFORD, [pages 1289-1292] a prosperous farmer of Van Buren township, Montgomery county, and a member of a prominent Ohio family, and one of the oldest families of the United States, was born October 12, 1870, on the farm upon which he now resides. He was trained to be a farmer, and has made an unquestioned success in that vocation. He is a son of George G. and Elizabeth (Butterfield) Bradford. On the first of September, 1892, he was married to Miss Annie E. Rice, daughter of Fleming and Mary E. (Miller) Rice, and has one child, George Fleming. Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Bradford are members of the United Presbyterian church, and in politics he is an independent republican. He farms 165 acres of the old homestead, upon which his grandfather settled many years ago. It is finely improved and has upon it one of the best orchards in the county.
George G. Bradford, father of S. J. Bradford, was born on the farm upon which he now lives, March 14, 1833. He is a son of George G. and Margaret (McCandless) Bradford, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. They were the parents of nine children, five sons and four daughters, only two of whom are now living, viz: J. J. and George G., the latter being the father of S. J. Bradford. George G. Bradford, the grandfather, was a farmer and died in 1841, when his son, George G. was eight years of age. His wife died in 1882, aged seventy-six years. She and her husband were members of the Presbyterian church, and he was a soldier in the war of 1812.
The great-grandfather of S. J. Bradford was of Scotch-Irish ancestry and a native of Pennsylvania. He came to Ohio at an early day, and located in Van Buren township, north of Beavertown, Montgomery county, where he bought land and lived until his death, which occurred when he was very old. He had a family of eight children. The maternal grandfather of George G. Bradford was James McCandless, of Scotch ancestry and a schoolteacher.
George G. Bradford, father of S. J. Bradford, has always lived on his present farm. After his father’s death this farm was divided between him and his brother, George G. still later purchasing his brother’s share. On March 29, 1860, he married Miss Elizabeth Butterfield, daughter of Sherebiah A. and Mary Butterfield. To this marriage there were born six children, three sons and three daughters, four of whom are still living, as follows: Annie, Sherebiah J., Jennie and Blanche. Annie married William Bryan, of Dayton, and has two children, Alonzo and Marguerite. Sherebiah J. married Miss Annie E. Rice, and is living on the farm. Jennie and Blanche are living at home. Mr. and Mrs. George G. Bradford are members of the United Brethren church, and in politics he is a republican.
The Bradfords of Van Buren township descended from John Bradford, who was a first cousin of William Bradford, the second governor of Massachusetts. John Bradford, the founder of the family in this state, came to Ohio in 1800, settling in Beavertown in 1801, and bringing with him a family of nine children. Here he carried on farming, and here died at an advanced age. He was a native of Pennsylvania, and married Miss Mary Gillespie July 15, 1782. To them there were born twelve children, the names and dates of birth of whom are as follows: Robert, born January 7, 1784, and died March 4, 1795; George G. born April 29, 1787, and died June 1, 1840; John, born April 25, 1790, and died February 9, 1863; Jean Eleanor, born March 14, 1792, and died April 19, 1831; James G., born January 27, 1794, and died October 14, 1823; William, born May 15, 1796, and died September 25, 1862; Samuel D., born September 22, 1798; Mary, born December 15, 1800, and died June 28, 1812; Margaret, born February 22, 1803, and died March 16, 1856; David D., born July 30, 1805, and died April 8, 1833; Martha Allen, born October 27, 1807, and died April 16, 1808; Allen, born December 12, 1809, and died October 25, 1866.
John Bradford, father of the above-named children, died March 22, 1820. Robert Charlton and Jean E. Bradford were married May 29, 1817. James G. Bradford and Caty Ann Conover were married October 7, 1817. John Bradford and Rachel Retenhouse were married September 9, 1819. George G. Bradford and Margaret McCandless were married March 29, 1821. John Bigger and Mary Bradford were married October 23, 1823. Joseph Bigger and Margaret Bradford were married October 26, 1825. William Bradford and Margaret Logan were married May 2, 1825.Samuel D. Bradford and Mary Ann Johnston were married April 24, 1827. David D. Bradford and Serphina Crane were married May 10, 1827. Allen Bradford and Eliza Johnston were married December 20, 1831.
John Bradford was one of the first settlers in the vicinity of Dayton. He came to Ohio in the year 1800, and located near Cincinnati, where he remained one year, and then entered 160 acres of land a short distance south of Dayton, upon which he moved with his family in 1801. To him and his wife there were born twelve children, of whom all save two lived to adult years. All of those that reached maturity followed farming for a living. In 1801, when Mr. Bradford settled near the present site of Dayton, there were but four log cabins within about five miles, and one of these was on the bank of the river at the head of what is now known as Main street.
George G. Bradford, grandfather of S. J. Bradford, was born in Redstone, Pa., and came with his father, John Bradford, to Cincinnati. Afterward he located on a farm near Beavertown, which farm was later owned by George D. Bradford. George G. Bradford married Miss Margaret McCandless, daugher of James McCandless. To this marriage there were born nine children, as follows: James J.; Mary A.; John; Jane A.; William; George G., father of the subject of this sketch; Margaret; Martha D.; and Joseph A., all of whom lived to be men and women. George G. Bradford was a member of the Associate Reformed church, and in politics he was a whig. His death occurred June 1, 1840, and his widow died September 17, 1872.
James J. Bradford, son of the above-named George G. and Margaret Bradford, and who is a deacon in the United Presbyterian church, supplied this work with most of the history and genealogy of the Bradford family. He was born February 13, 1822, and, of course, had but limited educational advantages in his youth. He lost his father when he was eighteen years of age, and the duty of caring for the family devolved upon him. For eleven years he worked for his mother by the month, and this was the way in which he began life on his own account. By dint of hard work, integrity of purpose and a natural aptitude for business, he became a prosperous and wealthy man. On February 13, 1861, he married Miss Harriet P. Wead, who was born August 26, 1819, and was a daughter of Robert and Mary Wead, of Van Buren township. To this marriage there was born one daughter, Mary G., born July 30, 1862. James J. Bradford has been for many years a deacon in the United Presbyterian church. In politics he is a republican, and while he has not sought office, he has been elected to various positions of honor and trust. His wife’s parents, Robert and Mary Wead, settled near Beavertown in 1799. Then reared a family of eleven children, ten of whom lived to become men and women, but only four of them are now living. The father of Mrs. Bradford, Robert Wead, was born September 17, 1781, in York county, Pa. He was by trade a tailor, and removed with his family to Kentucky in 1797, remaining in that state two years. He married Miss Jane Gipson, who was born February 13, 1784, the marriage occurring September 30, 1806. They were the parents of two children, John S. and Mary J. Mrs. Wead died November 7, 1811, and for his second wife Mr. Wead married Miss Mary Gipson, who was born April 5, 1788. Their marriage took place November 25, 1813, and they became the parents of nine children, as follows: Ebenezer G.; Eliza; Harriet P.; William W.; James W.; Samuel G.; Margaret H.; Joseph W., and one that died in infancy. The others lived to become men and women, but only four of them are now living. Mr. Wead was a member of the Associate Reformed church, and in politics was a whig. His second wife died September 12, 1871, and he died July 30, 1873, being then nearly ninety-two years of age. He had lived on his farm near the asylum more than sixty-seven years.
Elizabeth (Butterfield) Bradford, mother of S. J. Bradford, is a daughter of Sherebiah and Mary Butterfield. Mr. Butterfield was a descendant and representative of an ancient and noble family of Scotland, which for about three hundred years owned one of the renowned castles of that country. At the time of the contest between England and Scotland, which resulted in the union of the two kingdoms, an old man and his five sons were banished to the American colonies. They landed in Boston, Mass., and it is from them that the Butterfields of this country have descended. One of these five sons was the father of Benjamin Butterfield, the father of John Butterfield, the father of Jeremiah Butterfield, the latter of whom was born in Massachusetts March 4, 1776. In 1787 John Butterfield traveled through the northwest territory now Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and on into the country then belonging to Spain. In 1800 he made a second journey through this great section of country, accompanied by his brother and brother-in-law, who returned in the fall. He was engaged in surveying and assisted in establishing the Ludlow line of survey.
In 1799 Jeremiah Butterfield married Mary Campbell, a native of Massachusetts, who was born in 1781. Returning to New York he then in 1802 brought his wife to their new home in the wilderness, and erected his first cabin within the limits of Hamilton county, Ohio. Here he owned upward of a section of land, which he cleared and improved, but afterward built a house in Butler county, where the remainder of his life was spent. Mr. Butterfield traveled thousands of miles in the wild western country, and endured many hardships seldom experience even by the pioneers. He traveled on foot, on horseback, and in every way then in vogue. He swam and waded streams, exposed himself to danger from wild beasts and Indians, as well as to the diseases peculiar to a new and unsettled country, yet came through all unharmed. After settling in Butler county he dealt largely in hogs, making frequent trips by means of flat boats to New Orleans. On arriving in that city he sometimes found the market overstocked with hogs. and would then take ship for Havana, Cuba.
Sherebiah Butterfield, eldest son of Jeremiah, was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, was reared a farmer and was familiar with all the trials and hardships of the pioneer farmer’s life. He used to accompany his father in his trips down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans. His marriage was celebrated in 1828, and his grandson, Sherebiah J. Bradford, has in his possession a gun which Mr. Butterfield’s uncle carried through the Revolutionary war, and which his father carried on his journeys in the northwest.
In the entire city of New York there is perhaps no more interesting spot than Trinity churchyard. Upon one of the tombstones therein is the following epitaph:
“Here lies the body of Mr. William Bradford, Printer, who departed this life May 23, 1752, aged ninety-two years. He was born in Liecestershire, in Old England, in 1660, and came over to America in 1682, before the city of Philadelphia was laid out. He was Printer to this government for upward of fifty years, and being quite worn out with old age and labor, he left this mortal state in the lively hopes of a blessed immortality.
“Reader, reflect how soon you’ll quit this Stage.
You’ll find but few attain to such an Age.
Life’s full of Pain: Lo! Here’s a place of Rest.
Prepare to meet your God, then you are blest.”
“Here also lies the body of Elizabeth, wife to the said William Bradford, who departed this life July 8, 1731, aged sixty-eight years.”
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