The gentleman of whom the biographer now writes is widely known as one of the honored pioneers of Johnson county and for over a half century he has been a valued factor in the development of the same, prominently identified with the varied interests of his community. His well-directed energies in the practical affairs of life, his capable management of his own business interests and his sound judgment have demonstrated what may be accomplished by the man of energy and ambition, who, persevering often in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, proves that he is the possessor of those innate qualities that never fail to bring success if property directed, as they have evidently been in the case of Mr. Ditmars.

John T. Ditmars, whose fine farm of three hundred and seventy acres in Franklin township is numbered among the best farms in Johnson county, was born on January 7, 1830, in Somerset county. New Jersey, and is descended from good old Holland-Dutch stock. His parents were Garrett and Sarah (Verbryck) Ditmars, natives also of New Jersey, while his paternal grandfather, Peter Ditmars, was also a native of that state. In April. 1830, Garrett Ditmars emigrated to Warren county, Ohio, where he remained six years, and in the spring of 1836 the family settled in Johnson county, Indiana, where the father occupied a farm two miles north of Franklin. Two years later they moved to Union township, where the son resided until the father’s death. Sarah Verbryck, the subject’s mother, was born January 20, 1785,and was the daughter of William and Rebecca (Low) Verbryck, the father having been an honored citizen of his locality. He was a soldier in the war of the Revolution, attaining to the rank of major and lived to the advanced age of ninety-six years. To the subject’s parents were born thirteen children, of whom twelve were reared to maturity, and four are now living, namely: Cornelius, who lives west of Franklin; John T. of Hopewell; Rebecca (Mrs. Donnell), of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Richard V. of Franklin. The deceased are William, Mrs. Mary Hall, Mrs. Jane Van Nuys, Mrs. Margaret McCaslin, Mrs. Caroline Van Nuys, Peter, Magdalena, Jacob and Edward.

The subject of this sketch received but little opportunity for securing an education, as the facilities in that line were primitive and somewhat limited in his youth. He attended for awhile what was known as the Turkey Hill school house, but the greater portion of his early years was given to assisting in the cultivation of the home farm. At the age of twenty-one years he hired himself to his eldest brother at twelve dollars a month and was employed by him at farm labor for two years. A few years later he bought a small tract of land near Hopewell, which he farmed for about four years, but sold this and planned to buy better land. In 1866 he bought the nucleus of his present farm, for which he paid sixty dollars an acre, and as he was prospered [sic] he added to the farm until he became the owner of one of the best farms in the county, now comprising about three hundred and seventy acres. Mr. Ditmars has farmed according to the best methods of the period and has been intelligent and progressive in adopting new ideas when their practicability has been demonstrated. The present splendid and comfortable residence was erected in November, 1884, and there are also other excellent buildings on the farm, all of which are surrounded by nice lawns and evergreen hedge, which gives the place an attractive and inviting appearance.

Politically, Mr. Ditmars has been a life-long Republican, having voted for General Scott, John C. Fremont, Abraham Lincoln and every Republican candidate for President since. His religious affiliation is with the Franklin Presbyterian church, of which he became a member in 1887, and in the winter of 1913 he donated to that church a ten-thousand-dollar pipe organ, a donation which has been duly appreciated by the membership and the congregation. He is extremely liberal in all his views as to local improvement and his hand is active in advancing the welfare of the community in every way possible. A man of generous impulses and genial disposition, he readily makes friends and always retains them. Having gained by his earnest efforts and consecutive labor a competence for himself, he is now enabled to take life easy and he is every ready and willing to help those less fortunate than himself. Because of his earnest character and business success he is eminently entitled to representation in a work of the character of the one at hand.

Branigin, Elba L. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Indianapolis IN: B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., 1913, pp 720-721.

Transcribed by Lois Johnson