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336 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana
the vocation of a teacher, studying as opportunity afforded. He studied law principally without a preceptor, and whatever success he has attained has been due to his own efforts. He was admitted to the bar of Vermillion County at Newport, in 1876, and immediately entered upon his legal career. He practiced alone about one year, and was then associated with C. Ward for two years. He then practiced alone for several years when the firm of Sawyer and Gibson was formed which continued about two and a half years. The firm of Conley & Sawyer was formed in November, 1886. Mr. Sawyer was united in marriage to Miss Amanda Duncan, a native of Hendricks County, Indiana, who came to Vermillion County in 1877. Their only son, Herbert, was born in Newport. In politics Mr. Sawyer affiliates with the Democratic party.



ROBERT J. GESSIE, one of the representative citizens of Vermillion County, was born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, November 5, 1809. His father, Christian Gessie, was also a native of Cumberland County, born January 17, 1788, and for some time was a merchant in the town of Newville, that county. He died March 12, 1816, at the age of twenty-eight years. After the death of his father, Robert J. went to the home of an uncle where he lived until reaching the age of seventeen years. He then started in life on his own account, leaving his uncle's house on foot with knapsack on his back, and walked to Trenton, New Jersey, where he was first engaged as clerk in a hotel, remaining in this position about a year. He then clerked in a store for a time when he secured a position as clerk in the chancellor's office. He was married at Morrisville, opposite Trenton, in November, 1829, to Miss Sarah Yard, who was born in New Jersey, and immediately after his marriage he took his first trip west accompaied by his wife, going to Philadelphia by boat, thence by stage to Pittsburgh, and from there by boat down the Ohio River to New Albany, Indiana. After remaining in Indiana about a year he returned to New Jersey in the fall of 1830, passing the following winter at the home of his father-in-law at Morrisville. He then turned his attention to teaching, and taught his first school at Pennsylvania Manor, on the banks of the Delaware, and in the spring of 1832 he taught at Hatboro, north of Philadelphia. In the spring of 1833 Mr. and Mrs. Gessie again started westward, stopping at Columbus, Ohio, where he began teaching school, but soon after accepted a position as clerk in a store in that town. In the spring of 1835 he went to Chicago, Illinois, where he found employment as a clerk, and remained there until 1837. That year he came to Vermillion County, Indiana, and engaged in the mercantile business at Perrysville, and in the spring of 1838 he formed a partnership with Asaph Hill, which lasted several years. During this time he purchased the farm in Highland Township on which he now resides. After the dissolution of the partnership above referred to Mr. Gessie spent some time in settling up his business, and also carried on a general agency for a number of years. In 1848 he was elected to the Indiana State Legislature, serving two terms. In the spring of 1853 he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, for the purpose of selling goods for the firm of Blachly, Simpson & Co., and being a successful merchant he rendered valuable service to the company. In 1862 the firm of Blachly, Simpson & Co. went into liquidation, and Mr. Gessie remained to assist in settling the business,


Biographical Sketches - 337
which occupied about two years. Mrs. Gessie died in March, 1864, leaving two sons -- William and Charles. Mr. Gessie was married a second time, to Miss Mary Ann Morse, a relative of the famous electrician Professor Morse. Since 1864 Mr. Gessie has lived somewhat retired from active life, residing on his beautiful farm near the village of Gessie this town being laid out on his land and named in honor of him. In politics Mr. Gessie was originally a Whig but has been a staunch Republican since the organization of that party. Religiously he is a strong believer in the principle of universal salvation. Mr. Gessie has always taken an active interest in the advancement of the cause of education. No man has been more prominently connected with the history of Vermillion County, and none are better known or more highly respected than Robert J. Gessie, the subject of this sketch.



AARON H. WADE, deceased, was born in Butler County, Ohio in 1819, a son of Aaron and Julia (Ward) Wade, of English descent. When he was five years of age his parents moved to Parke County, Indiana, where he grew to manhood and lived until 1857, when he moved to Vermillion County, making this his home until his death, which occurred March 22, 1886. In early life he worked at the carpenter's trade and later devoted his attention to farming, at which he was successful and at his death left a good farm of 260 acres, where his widow and her family now live. Mr. Wade was an upright, honorable Christian gentleman, a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was respected by all who knew him. He was married in 1849 to Laura Vanlandingham, a native of Greene County, Indiana, born in 1827, a daughter of Thomas and Mary Vanlandingham. Her grandfather Hamilton was a cousin of the distinguished Alexander Hamilton, and her grandmother was a cousin of Commodore Thomas McDonough, of the United States Navy. To Mr. and Mrs. Wade were born seven children, six of whom are living -- Belle, wife of John T. Harris, of Indianapolis; Thomas V., James D., Laura, wife of Julius Groves; Emma and John A. Samuel is deceased. Mrs. Wade is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and one of its active workers. She is a prominent citizen of the township and has many friends, who honor her for her many womanly qualities.



NELSON C. ANDERSON, one of Vermillion County's most active and enterprising business men, was born in Wood County, West Virginia, the date of his birth being August 13, 1837. He is the ninth in a family of ten children of Edward and Elizabeth (Statts) Anderson, both of his parents being natives of Wood County, West Virginia. They came with their five youngest children to Vermillion County, Indiana, and made their home near Clinton in 1853, where the father bought a tract of 160 acres. He did not live long in his new home, his death occurring in September, 1855, at the age of sixty-seven years, his widow surviving him until 1859. Their children are as follows: Michael, still living in Wood County, Virginia, being seventy-six years old July 10, 1887; John came to Vermillion County a few years after his parents had settled here, and is now living in Helt Township; Samuel and Peter died in West Virginia; Mrs. Sarah Smith died in Vermillion County; Mrs. Eliza Hupp, Mrs. Rebecca Sparks and Elijah also