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William Zion



The pioneer whose name heads this sketch was among the first to come to the city of Lebanon, then a mere crossroads, so to speak. Strong and active, just in his early manhood, eager for the fray, which he proved, on occasion, in after life. He was born in Abington, Va., January 1812. He was the son of Jacob Zion and Catharine Zion, who were early citizens of Rush County, Ind., coming as early as 1828. Mrs. Catherine Zion died there in the year 1834; is buried at Rushville. Mr. Jacob Zion died in the state of Iowa, in the year 1864. They were of German descent. William Zion was married to Amelia Sims, in Rushville, December 13, 1832. She was the daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth Sims, who were also early citizens of Rush County. Mrs. Elizabeth Sims died at Rushville, March 20, 1834. Mr. Sims died in Clinton County, Ind., January 16, 1862. Amelia Sims, now Mrs. Amelia Zion, was born in Brookville, Ind., May 29, 1814. In 1834 Mr. and Mrs. William Zion came to Lebanon, where he at once, as stated above, entered upon the scenes of an active life, and from first to last was foremost in all the undertakings and improvements, not only in Lebanon, but throughout the county and state. He soon after arriving engaged in the mercantile business in a small way, increasing his stock as his business grew up. Later he was at the head and front, and for years “Zion’s store,” on the corner, was a household word. Twice did he build up on the old corner; first, a large two story frame in 1843, which stood until the year 1866, when the present brick building was erected by him. He retired from the mercantile business in 1862, when other matters engaged his attention. He was an earnest and devoted friend and encourager of railroads, and much of his time and means were devoted to the building of the two roads now entering Lebanon. The beautiful little city of Zionsville was named in honor of him, as he had done so much in getting the town started, which now is a thriving little city of 1,500 inhabitants.

In 1847 he built the brick house adjoining Lebanon, where he lived the remainder of his life, and where the family now reside, and where he operated a fine farm for years. When Mr. Zion first came he worked at his trade, that of carriage making and blacksmithing, and was its first of the kind in Lebanon. Mr. Zion was many years ago made a Master Mason in Thorntown, and during life was a supporter and member of this ancient and honourable body. He served as county sheriff, being elected in the year 1836. In all his relations in life, both public and private, he acted well his part; always discharged his duty with fidelity. In person, Mr. Z. was a large man, full six feet high, dark eyes and hair, good features. He died March 15, 1880; is buried at the new cemetery, east of the city he done so much for, and where a suitable monument marks the resting place of one of the pioneers of Boone County. We must not forget his wife, who is yet living, a well preserved lady of seventy-four years, whose portrait, as well as Mr. Zion’s, will be found in another part of this work. Also, a letter from Mrs. Zion contributed to the Patriot, of this city, dated December 20, 1886, which we have been permitted to copy in the “Early Life and Times in Boone County.” In all the relations of life Mrs. Zion has proved a worth helpmate from the cabin down to the present day. Not more than three or four persons are now living in Lebanon when Mrs. Zion first came. She has a vivid recollection of all the events of the city and county for fifty years; is a fine conversationalist, and is well informed, especially on pioneer life. The publishers of this work are under obligations to her for valuable information about Lebanon.

The following are their children’s names: Charlotte F., born October 23, 1833; married to L. M. Oliphant, November 12, 1850; she died August 15, 1854. George, born March 27, 1836; died in infancy. Elizabeth K., born March 29, 1836; married to Wm. Oden, June 22, 1858; died May 1, 1868. Parrisada A., born March 7, 1840; married to Moses Hall, of Kentucky, December 2, 1862; reside in Lebanon. Mary L., born April 30, 1842; married to Dr. A. O. Miller, August 21, 1862; reside in Lebanon. Mr. Miller has served as county auditor, served with distinction in the late war, is now county health director. Theodore L., was born August 18, 1844; was married first to Hattie Combs, February 18, 1868; the second time to Mrs. Wear, of Anderson, Ind., where he now resides, and is the present (1886) marshal. He was also in the late war, 10th Ind. Reg. Eliza A., born July 23, 1846; married to A. Morris, September 1, 1868; resides in Indianapolis. James M., born September 22, 1848; married to Millie Loveless, October 5, 1869; reside in San Francisco, Cal. Charles M., born September 7, 1854; married to Mary Clemens; reside in Lebanon. Mr. Zion is one of the young attorneys of the bar of this city. William A., born October 25, 1850; married to Elizabeth Buchanan; reside in the city of Chicago, Ill.

Source Citation: Boone County Biographies [database online] Boone County INGenWeb. 2007. <> Original data: Harden & Spahr. "Early life and times in Boone County, Indiana." Lebanon, Indiana. May, 1887, pp. 392-394.

Transcribed by: Julie S. Townsend - July 7, 2007