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Jay County Indiana Biographies


John S. WILT, an enterprising business man and a member of the firm of Wilt & Spade, lumber manufacturers of South Portland, was born in Darke County, Ohio, in 1840, a son of Daniel and Martha (Edger) Wilt, the father born in the State of Ohio and the mother a native of Ireland. John S. was reared a farmer, which avocation he followed until thirty-five years of age. He was married in November, 1864, to Miss Martha Ivans, a native of Randolph County, Indiana, and a daughter of Edward and Sarah Ivans. They have three children living -Frank, who was born in 1867; Joseph, born in1869, and Harry, born in 1880.  Mr. Wilt resided in his native county until thirty-nine years of age. He followed the grocery business at Palestine, Ohio, for eighteen months, after which he was employed for a year in the Grangers' store. He then came to Portland, Indiana, where he arrived October 10, 1879, and here he engaged in the grocery  business on an extensive scale. About two years later he began operating a saw-mill, which he followed over two years, when he sold it to D. R. Roberts. He then purchased 167 acres of land eleven miles northeast of Portland, which he soon afterward exchanged for an interest in his present business. Mr. Wilt began life for himself with but small means, but by persevering industry and good management he has prospered in his business enterprises, although he has lost thousands of dollars by going security for failing friends, he is still numbered among the well-to-do citizens of Portland. He was reared in the Friends Society, and still adheres to the faith of that religious denomination. He is a member of the Odd Fellows order. While living in Ohio he was master of a Grange for five years. He is a man of generous impulses, and gives liberally toward all enterprises which have for their object the public good or the advancement of his town or county.

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