ABRAM ATEN — The subject of this sketch is one of the representative citizens of Johnson County, Ind., and a resident of Franklin. He was born in Preble County, Ohio, on September 7, 1824, and is the fourth of ten children born to Aaron M. and Margaret (De Mott) Aten. The parents were natives of Henry County, Ky., the father having been born in 1795, and the mother in 1794. The grandfather on the father’s side, was Adrian Aten, who emigrated from Henry County, Ky., to Preble County, Ohio, where his death occurred. The grandfather on the mother’s side, was Abram De Mott, who also removed from Henry County, Ky., to Preble County, Ohio, where he also died. The parents of our subject were married in Ohio, and 1840, emigrated to Johnson County, Ind., and settled in Franklin Township, two miles southwest from the town of Franklin; the mother died in Johnson County in the fall of 1850. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church. The father removed to Cumberland County, Ill., in about 1869, where he died July 23, 1874, in his seventy-ninth year. He also was a member of the Presbyterian Church. He was united in marriage to Martha Banta, in 1851, who died in about 1861, and he was married the third time in about 1863, to Miss McKinley, in Illinois, who survived her husband and died in Illinois, in April, 1887. Our subject was reared on the farm and attended the schools of the neighborhood, and the county academy in Franklin, and secured more than an average education for those days. After leaving school, and when a young man, he conceived the idea of teaching school, and accordingly set out to find a school. In the township of White River he found a teacher holding school in the Wyric neighborhood (E. W. Wyric, now a merchant of Franklin, being a scholar), who was unable to teach arithmetic. A discussion arose among the patrons of the school as to whether “arithmetic to the single rule of three” should be taught or not, and our subject being an adept at ciphering, entered into the contest and expressed his views so strongly, that when a vote was held he was chosen teacher, and at the expiration of that quarter, succeeded the teacher who could not work in figures. Beginning with that school, our subject taught three months’ schools for five winters, and then turned his attention to farming. He was united in marriage on December 9, 1852, to Eliza Jane Thompson, who was born in Johnson County, Ind., on August 1, 1832, and was the daughter of William and Susan Thompson, who were natives of North Carolina, and among the first pioneers of Johnson County. She died February 9, 1872, leaving three daughters and one son as follows: Susan M., born March 19, 1854, now the wife of Taylor Wheat, of Franklin; M. Alma, February 28, 1859, now the wife of Edward Jewett, of Shelbyville; Florence, December 22, 1862; Riley W., February 1, 1856, and died September 22, 1881. Our subject was married a second time on November 18, 1874, to Jennie Epperson, who was born in Rockbridge County, Va., on December 25, 1839, and is the daughter of Lyttleton and Elizabeth (Flint) Epperson, who were both natives of Rockbridge County, Va., and came to Indiana during the forties, and remained there some time, dying in Aurora, this state, with cholera, about the year 1845, both dying in one week. To this union a daughter – Opal, was born November 12, 1877. In the death of Riley, the only son, our subject suffered an irreparable loss, as he was a young man of rare intellectual attainments and worth. He was an apt student, and graduated from the Franklin high school, and but for his failing health would have entered college. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for some time before his death turned his thoughts on religious subjects, and the hereafter. After leaving school he studied dentistry, and for several years practiced that profession. He was a young man universally respected, and beloved by all who knew him, and his death was regretted by all. Mr. and Mrs. Aten and the three older daughters are members of the Methodist Church, of which he has served on the official board. He is a strong advocate of prohibition, and in politics, is a republican.
Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker
Banta, D.D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888.