J. L. Toner, one of Edinburg’s most enterprising citizens and businessmen, is a native of Lycoming County, Pa., and the oldest of a family of ten children, born to John and Susan (Latchaw) Toner, of the same state. The parents moved to Indiana in 1853, settling at Edinburg, Johnson County, where their deaths occurred at the advanced ages of eighty-four and seventy-eight years, respectively. Of the twelve children of John and Susan Toner, but three are now living, namely: J. L., Solomon and Deborah (Mrs. Sharp), all of whom make their homes in Edinburg. The subject of this sketch grew to manhood in his native state, and at the age of eighteen, went to the city of Pittsburg, thence later, to Shelby County, Ind., where, for about one year, clerked in the dry goods store of N. Teal, Shelbyville. He subsequently accepted a similar position with Isaac Sorden, Esq., in Shelbyville and Edinburg, and in 1856 purchased his employer’s stock in the latter place and began the mercantile business upon his own responsibility. Shortly after engaging in business, he erected what is now the Central Hotel, designed for dry goods store and hall, which he subsequently sold, and purchased a flouring-mill, operating the latter quite successfully for six years. The mill afterward burned, entailing upon him a heavy loss, aggregating over $10,000. The next business venture in which Mr. Toner became interested, was a mill for the manufacture of hominy, which he erected in 1872 at a cost of $15,000. He disposed of this in 1883, and for one year thereafter was engaged as a grain and flour broker, a business which proved financially remunerative. In 1886, he built a large elevator in Edinburg, and began buying and shipping grain, a business which he still carries on. He is at this time one of the largest grain dealers on the J., M. & I. Railroad, buying and shipping as much as any other man similarly engaged in Johnson County. In his various business enterprises Mr. Toner has met with more than ordinary success, which has resulted principally from two causes: first, a wonderful energy, and, second, a remarkably good judgment. He has accumulated a handsome competence, much of which has been expended in the material improvement of Edinburg. He has built a number of substantial buildings in the city, one of which, his private residence, represents a capital of over $23,000. Mr. Toner was united in marriage to Miss Malinda C. Shipp, daughter of Samuel Shipp, of Frankfort, Ind., on the 28th day of September, 1848. To Mr. and Mrs. Toner have been born four children, only one of whom is now living, namely: Susan, wife of C. M. Hess, of Indianapolis.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D. D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, page 453.