J. B. Payne, the subject of this sketch, is senior member of the firm of Payne, Johnson & Co., millers, and proprietors of the Pearl Roller Mills, of Franklin, Johnson County, Ind. He was born at Vernon, Jennings County, Ind., on June 21, 1849, and is the son of Leland and Julia (Butler) Payne. The father was born at Newburg, Ohio, October 26, 1818, and was the son of George M. Payne, who was born at Lebanon, Conn., on January 9, 1791, and he was the son of Stephen Payne, a native of Connecticut (see sketch of Dr. P. W. Payne). Our subject’s mother was born in Jennings County, Ind., on September 28, 1822, and was the daughter of James Butler, a native of Virginia, and came to Indiana in 1818. She died on March 6, 1850, while our subject was but nine months old. Leland Payne came to Franklin in 1854, and engaged in the milling business in co-partnership with Ebenezer Baldwin, whose daughter he married the same year. Mr. Baldwin retiring from the mill in 1881, and Mr. Payne took as a partner in the business, John W. Ragsdale, in July, 1882. In April, 1884, Mr. Payne retired from the firm, and his death occurred the same year. Until 1854, our subject was reared on a farm in Jennings County, by an aunt, and at that time joined his father in Franklin. He was educated in the public schools of Franklin. After finishing school, he clerked in the woolen mills of Baldwin & Payne (his father) for two years, and next entered the flour mills of the same firm as a clerk. In 1871, he engaged in the drug business in Franklin, at which he continued until 1873, when his health failing him, he spent a year in Minnesota. Returning to Franklin, he engaged in the planing-mill business, and continued until 1879, and then removed to the farm, where he remained until 1884, when he returned to town and engaged in his present business. He is a member of the Masonic and Knights of Pythias fraternities, and a member of the Christian Church. In 1871, he married Ellen Williams, of Wayne County, Ind., who was born in Rush County, Ind., on August 8, 1850, and is the daughter of Thomas Williams. To this union three children have been born. Mrs. Payne and two of the children are members of the Christian Church.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D. D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, page 647.