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Jay County Indiana Biographies


I was -born in Columbian County, Ohio, November 23rd, 
1834. My ancestors on the father's side came from England, 
settling in Pennsylvania. They were members of the society of 
Friends. My father was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 
November nth, 1790, and moved with his father to Ohio, Colum- 
bian County. He was twice married, I being the youngest of the 
last marriage. My parents move to Jay County Indiana in 1837, 
when I was three years old. My grand parents on my mother's 
side come from Ireland before the revolutionary war. Grand- 
father died on the passage, and was buried in the ocean. The 
children were put out amongst strangers on their arrival in 
America, Mad Anthony, or General Wayne, taking my grand- 
father. He and young General Wayne were raised boys to- 
gether. My grandfather's name was George McNely. He mar- 
ried in Philadelphia a Quaker girl by the name of Jane Register, 
moved to Columbian County, Ohio, after they had three children. 
The only thing I can remember when we lived in Ohio was stand- 
ing at the fence with my father watching the carriages as the 
Friend Quakers went by to yearly meeting at Damascus. Moved 
to Indiana in 1837 in the fall, father, mother and three children 
then at home. We were accompanied on our trip to Jay County 
by Aaron Register and wife, and they had a carriage, we a big 
wagon. Thomas Register and Enoch Hunter (young men) came 
along. All I can remember on the road out was some men kill- 
ing our dog. He had treed a squirrel, but never came back to 
the wagon. The men, I think, were drunk. I remember f lie 
men and the boys with us having a racket. We were nine days 
on the road, making the quickest trip that had been made My 
oldest brother, William, and brother-in-law, Abraham Smith, had 
moved out some two or three years before we came. Brother 
William had a house up and an acre or two of ground cleared 
Though my father was not one of the early pioneers, yet we had 
some of the experience of pioneer life. In my mind's eye I can 
see the old log cabin with its small windows, its puncheon floor, 
the stake ridden roof, stick chimney and clapboard door with the 
latch string always out. I can see the small patch of ground 
around the house, and remember how year by. year it widened, 
and the neighbors seemed to get closer together as the woods 
disappeared. My brother, older than myself, was quite a hunter 
in a small way, though he never killed a deer or turkey. He was 
death on mink and opossum. The worst small varment dreaded 
by the hunter was the porcupine, for the dog was almost sure to 
get his mouth full of quills, then they had to be pulled out with 
the bullet molds or pinchers. Never saw but one Wolf and that 
after it was killed. Remember hearing them howl after night; 
never killed but one wild turkey. The deer used to come in our 
meadow to pasture, three or four at a time. Mother was a great 
nurse in sickness and used to go far and near when the diphtheria 
broke out first. She was a faithful hand, never fearing for her- 
self. She was something of a tailor, having worked at the trade 
in her younger days, and long hours after we were in bed she 
often plied her needle making garments for the neighbors. Can 
see her yet at the old spinning wheel, and how well I remember 
the wall pickings, quiltings and log rollings, the visits to her 
neighbors in winter on the big sled, in warmer weather on foot 
with the hickory bark torch to light us home. My father was a 
jovial, jokey man, but very firm. I always knew that when he 
told me anything that he meant it. Remember when one of my 
cousins was married Eli (Paxson) he and his wife were at our 
house for dinner my father asked the young lady if she could 
make a shirt. Yes, she said. Well, then you can get along, for 
Eli can make a shift, he has made many a one. One night a 
cousin was staying at our house, something got after the chickens, 
the young man (Joe Davis) jumped out of bed, jerked on his boots 
and ran to the hen house. As he came up something started to 
run for the woods, and having no club or anything to kill it with 
Davis jumped onto it and stamped it to death. When he came 
in to the light and looked at his boots they were full of porcupine 
quills. Our new ground was plowed with a single shovel with a 
cutter in front to keep it from catching on the roots. Many were 
the rides my brother gave me and my sister sitting between the 
plow handles. Must say it was not very smooth riding, as the 
plow jumped over the roots. I was always a sickly child. When 
about two years old I fell in a bucket of water where mother was 
washing, drowned so they had to fetch me to. Then had the 
whooping cough, was twice laid down for dead ; then the third day 
ague. Dr. Arthur says he gave me quinine enough to kill a 
horse, but outlived it all. It seemed to fall to my lot to go for the 
doctor when any one else was sick. I first went to school at 
West Grove, then to Balbec, but finally a school house was put 
up close to us which went by the name of Paxson's school house. 
My father died in 1862. Mother afterward married and moved 
to Randolph County, Indiana, where, after my marriage, we lived 
for seven years till mother's death, on November 23rd, 1869. 
I was married to Deliah B. Manley, daughter of Jeremiah 
L. and Mary A. Manley. My wife's parents moved from Athens 
County, Ohio, to Jay County, Ind., in 1851, making the trip in a 
big wagon, when their oldest child was a little over one year old, 
remained in Jay County about four years, then went back to 
Athens County, Ohio, where they remained two years, then again 
moved back to Indiana, Jay County. You people that load your household goods on the train, 
then take the express and reach 
your destination in so short a time, know nothing about the hard- 
ships of a trip of two or three weeks in the big wagon. Not many 
of the women of Jay County have made their trips in a big wagon 
of that distance before they were seven years old. Mr. Manley 
was a cooper, so that occupation came in good play in the new 
county; he was also somewhat of a shoe maker. On one occasion 
he had piled in a lot of wood and roots for the morning fire, laid 
his boots on the wood when they were taken off at night. His 
wife getting up first to build the fire, piled on the wood and with 
them both of the boots, not noticing the difference till they were 
badly burned. 
Getting home late one night after a hard day's work for a 
neighbor some miles away, Mr. Manley lost his way in the woods 
and was followed by a lot of wolves. Knowing that he was not 
far from home he called to his wife to make the dog bark. Guided 
by this he soon got home. Another experience his wife had re- 
turning home one evening on foot with her sister-in-law and two 
children (having been to see her father-in-law, some four miles 
away), Mrs. Manley saw some wolves in the woods close to the 
path. Being cool-headed, she picked up one of the children,, 
telling her sister-in-law to pick up the other, said, lets walk a little 
faster, never telling about the wolves till they reached home. 
Manley tried farming, then the goods business, finally studied 
law, in the practice of which he was proving very successful at the 
time of his death, in Geneva, Adams County, December 6th, 1880, 
aged 54, leaving a family of six children. 
Many little incidents of early life will never be told in history, 
but I wish to drop a few of them; especially wish to remember the 
faithful old pioneer dog, not the fine-haired, imported dog, but 
the old that has stood his part. Remember our old dog would 
go for the cows as far as he could hear the bells and even farther. 
He has been seen a mile from home standing on a big stump list- 
ening for the bell. Then the old harvest field in which the 
dinner and evening pieces were brought out and how myself 
and sister used to dozen the sheaves; they must be six on a side 
and laid even. The sickle was only used for down wheat when 
I was a boy, but will carry a scar on my finger from its use while 
I live. Have raked wheat after the cradel and bound the end 
sheaf many a day for 25 cents per day. On one occasion I had 
taken mother to town in an old-fashioned jumper, as they were 
called; a pin sled with a hickory pole for a shaft and a clapboard 
bed on it. There was a fine haired young fellow from the east in 
town. As it chanced I knew his name, which was Pointer. As 
I drove up and hitched he came up, pushed his hat back, marched 
around our sled and said, do you call that a cutter? No, sir; I re- 
plied; its a pointer. A what? A pointer, I answered. He 
looked at me a moment and walked off. Always made it a prac- 
tcie to tell mother where I was going when I went away. For 
several years before my father's death he was troubled with palpi- 
tation of the heart. We never let him go any where alone. We 
used to haul stove wood to Camden, a distance of three miles. 
Froze my feet once on the road. We lived on the line of the under- 
ground railroad, as it was called. Many times I have seen the 
darkies going by our house after night to the next station, just 
north of us, on their road to Canada. Was raised a Republican, 
but in 1884, realizing that the party would not stand out for the 
destruction of the liquor traffic, I pulled in with the Prohibition 
party and have worked with them ever since. Never took a drink 
in my life, do not use tobacco, and my brother that is now living, 
can say the same. Though the forests of timber has been cleared 
away and the log house given place to the fine mansions in our 
county, we can see a forest of sin growing around us that it be- 
hooves US to clear away. The open saloon, the gambling den, 
prostitution, Sabbath descretion making a far worse wilderness 
than has been cleared away. Brothers get your prohibition ax 
and help clear it away. 

SOURCE-Reminincises of Adams, Jay and Randolph Counties
Author: Lynch, T. A., Mrs., b. 1854, comp. cn
Publisher: [Fort Wayne, Ind., Lipes, Nelson & Singmaster, job printers
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Language: English
Call number: 31833008272400
Digitizing sponsor: Internet Archive
Book contributor: Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center
Collection: americana
Notes: No TOC. Very tight margins. Some pages have text bound too far into gutters.

Published 1897 by Lipes, Nelson & Singmaster, job printers in [Fort Wayne, Ind .
Written in English.

Edition Notes

Compiled by Mrs. Martha C. M. Lynch. cf. Introduction

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