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John M. Hinchman biography


The gentleman whose life history is briefly outlined in this review is one of the leading business men of Greenfield, and has long held prestige as an enterprising and representative citizen of the county of Hancock. His grandfather, Joseph Hinchman, a native of Virginia, came to Indiana in an early day and settled in Rush county, where he purchased land, improved a farm and became a successful agriculturalist. Among the children of Joseph Hinchman was a son John, who was a young man when the family came to this state. He lived in Rush county until 1851, at which time disposed of his interests there and changed his abode to Hancock county. Purchasing a tract of land in the township of Center, partly cleared, the remainder being in the condition that nature had created it. He cleared and improved his place until it became one of the finest farms in the above township, and as a tiller of the soil he ranked for a number of years with the most successful and enterprising men of the community in which he lived. In addition to agriculture, he dealt quite extensively in live stock of all kinds and also took an active interest in public affairs, filling several township offices and at one time served acceptably as a member of the board of county commissioners.

John Hinchman married Charlotte Blacklidge, of Rush county, her father, John Blacklidge, moving to that part of the state in pioneer times from Kentucky, where she was born and reared. Mrs. Hinchman was an excellent woman, a pious member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and lived to advanced age, departing this life in the year 1892. Mr. Hinchman is still living, having reached the patriarchal age of eighty, in full possession of his mental powers and physically fairly strong and vigorous for a man of his years. He has always been active and industrious, successful in business far beyond the average farmer, and as a Republican long wielded a strong influence in upholding the principles and doctrines of his party. Five children were born to John and Charlotte Hinchman: Joseph V., a physician and surgeon of Hebron, Nebraska; Nancy, wife of Dr. M. M. Adams, one of the well-known medical men of Greenfield; John M., of this review: Rhoda and Rebecca, twins, the former the wife of Abel Morris, of Rush county, and the latter the wife of Fred Goldsmith, a hardware merchant of Kingsley, Kansas.

John M. Hinchman, whose name appears at the head of this article, is one of Hancock county’s native sons, born in Greenfield on the 15th day of February, 1852. He enjoyed the advantages of a common school education in his youth and remained with his parents until eighteen years old, meantime assisting with the farm work and learning the lessons of self-reliance and laying broad and deep a solid foundation upon which his subsequent career as an enterprising and successful man of affairs was based. In the year 1870 he left the paternal homestead and started into the world as an independent agent to make his future and carve out a destiny. He engaged in the grocery trade in Greenfield and from a comparatively modest beginning has gradually risen in the scale of success until he now stands at the head of his line in the county seat, owning one of the largest and best selected stocks in the city and commanding a business which had made his name widely known throughout the county of Hancock.

Additional to general groceries, Mr. Hinchman is largely interested in buggies, wagons, carriages and vehicles of all kinds, of which he carries a full stock, his success in this line of trade being fully as great as the grocery business, yielding him large financial returns every year. As a business man none stand higher than he. By diligent attention to his various enterprises, he has accumulated a large fortune, owning at the present time, in addition to fine property in Greenfield, five good farms in the county, three in Center township and one in the township of Vernon, the whole embracing three hundred and eighty-seven acres of as fertile and valuable land as the county of Hancock can boast.

Mr. Hinchman is a man of keen and discriminating judgment, plans carefully all of his undertakings and rarely fails of realizing that which he starts out to accomplish. By his genial social qualities he has won a large number of friends, among whom are many of his best customers, and his honorable dealing in every transaction has won for him an enviable reputation in commercial circles, not only in Hancock county, but with many leading wholesale firms in Indiana and other states.

While eminently social in his relations, with the business public Mr. Hinchman is a man of deeds rather than words. Wherever known his word has all the binding sanctity of a written obligation, his integrity having always been unassailable and his personal honor so far above reproach that nobody has ever dared to utter a breath of suspicion against his character or criticize adversely the rectitude of any of his intentions. Measured by the standard of dollars and cents his success has been far in advance of that attained by the majority of his business friends of Greenfield and Hancock county, while in the essential qualities of honorable and upright manhood and all the requisites of intelligent and progressive citizenship he easily holds rank with the most enterprising and progressive men of the city of his residence. Those who know him best are loudest in their praise of his sterling qualities and there are few men in Greenfield as widely and favorably known and none excel him in the interest which he manifests in promoting the general prosperity of the community.

Mr. Hinchman was united in marriage, in 1875, to Miss Emma Boyd, of Hancock county, daughter of Philander Boyd, whose sketch will be found elsewhere in these pages. Two children have been born of this union, John Boyd, a doctor of dental surgery, who married Bessie Birge, and Jesse, who died at the early age of four years.

Mr. Hinchman has never been an aspirant for any kind of public or political preferment, although, as previously indicated, he is a public-spirited man and takes an active interest in all enterprises having for their objects the commercial, industrial and general good of the city of Greenfield and Hancock county. He was a prime mover in the organization of the Greenfield Gas Company in 1884, and as a member of the Board of Trade has been untiring in his efforts to bring the city to the favorable notice of investors.

Socially Mr. and Mrs. Hinchman are deservedly popular, their hospitable home being well known to the best society circles of Greenfield, and their influence has always been exerted in behalf of good moral and general culture.

source: Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 303-305.