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434 - History of Vermillion County Biographical and Historical Record of
Vermillion County, Indiana

later. The mother married a second time, and lived in Vermillion County until her death in May, 1863. Mr. and Mrs. Sexton are the parents of one daughter, Mary Ellen, now the wife of Robert E. Stephens, of Newport. Mr. Sexton has been one of the leading merchants of Newport for twenty-five years, beginning here before the time of railroads. He brought his stock of goods with which he commenced business, from La Fayette. In 1861 he erected the store building now occupied by H. B. Rhoads. In 1862 he bought 160 acres of land adjoining the village of Newport on the east, and on about ten acres of this tract he laid out an addition to the town in March, 1872. He was president of the First National Bank of Newport for five years, being one of the organizers of that institution. He was a director of the bank during its entire existence, and also after it was changed to the Vermillion County Bank. In early life in his political views he was a Whig, casting his first Presidential vote for Henry Clay in 1844, but has been a Republican since the organization of that party. For fifteen years he served as commissioner of Vermillion County. He and his wife are worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Newport.



WESLEY SWITZER, who has been identified with the interests of Vermillion County for many years, is a native of Ohio, born March 24, 1821. His home is on section 6, Highland Township, the land having been entered by his brother John Switzer about the year 1824. After partially improving the land he had sold it to his father, Peter Switzer who settled here in 1834. Peter Switzer was a native of the State of Virginia, born May 9, 1769. He was reared in his native State, and was there married October 24, 1794, to Mary Hoover, who was born in Virginia May 3, 1774. They left Virginia for Ohio, and were among the pioneers of Pike County, where the father cleared a large farm of heavily timbered land. Several of his children had settled in Indiana before he came to the State, in 1834. He lived on the land now occupied by his son, Wesley, until his death which occurred November 14, 1844. He was a consistent member of the Methodist church for many years, and was held in high esteem by all. In politics he was a Whig. his widow survived him about four years, her death taking place November 26, 1848, in her seventy-fifth year. Peter Switzer and wife had born to them ten children, seven sons and three daughters, and of this once numerous family only three are living -- Absalom in Marion County, Illinois; Mary Ann, wife of Charles Loney of Grant County, Wisconsin, and Wesley, the subject of this sketch. The latter came to Vermillion County with his parents, at that time a lad of about thirteen years, and here he grew to manhood amid the scenes incident to pioneer life. He was married June 3, 1841, to Miss Nancy Henderson, a native of Pickaway County, Ohio, born July 12, 1823. This union was blessed with twelve children, nine of whom are living -- Mary Ann, William, Sarah, John, Peter, David, Rose Ann, Lincoln and Nancy Main. After a married life of more than forty years Mrs. Switzer died April 10, 1882. She was a devoted wife and mother, a kind neighbor, and was respected by all who knew her. Wesley Switzer has made farming the principal avocation of his life, and is classed among the prosperous agriculturists of Highland Township, and is now the owner of the farm on which he settled with his father's family in 1834. He is always interested in


Biographical Sketches - 435

any movement calculated to promote the public welfare, and by his honorable and upright dealings he has gained the confidence and esteem of the entire community.



ANDREW J. BECK, a progressive farmer of Highland Township, is a native of Fairfield County, Ohio, born June 2, 1838, a son of Nicholas and Sarah Jane (Ferguson) Beck, the latter dying when our subject was a child. He was reared in his native State, remaining there until April, 1861. He then went to Vermillion County, Illinois, and in June following he came to Highland Township, this county. In the fall of 1861 he enlisted in Company I, Forty-third Indiana Infantry, and was in the service of his country until June 14, 1865. He participated in many of the severe engagements of the Southwest, including the battles of Island No. 10, New Madrid, Fort Donelson, siege of Fort Pillow, the battles at Memphis, Helena, Jenkins Ferry and Marks Mill. Mr. Beck was married in Highland Township, in 1866, to Miss Nancy A. Shaw, who was born in the same township in 1837. Mrs. Beck is a daughter of Hiram Shaw, one of the well known and highly respected pioneers of Highland Township. He was born in Ohio, in 1805, coming to Vermillion County, Indiana, with his mother when a young man. His father was a soldier in the war of 1812, and died in the army before the close of the war. The Shaw family first settled in Eugene Township, and later came to Highland Township. Mr. Shaw purchased land on sections 17 and 18, in the south part of the township, where he lived until his death, which occurred in February, 1878, at the age of seventy-three years. His wife, Rachel (Gerrard) Shaw, died the following May. They left a family of seven children -- Alias, Samuel, Mrs. Nancy A. Beck, Rachel (wife of Courtland Mack), Hannah (wife of John Lunger), Caleb and Martin Luther, all yet living but Martin L., who has since died in Kansas. The following children died before the parents: Mary Elizabeth, Cynthia, Hiram and Sarah Jane. At his death Mr. Shaw left a valuable property, which he had acquired by persevering industry and good management, and the farm occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Beck is a part of his old homestead. Mr. and Mrs. Beck have had born to them five children, of whom four are living -- Malinda E., born July 9, 1868; Martin A., born December 8, 1870; Laura Ettie, born February 10, 1873, and Sarah May, born May 10, 1878. The eldest child, a son, died May 3, 1877, in his tenth year.



JOHN ANDREWS, a prosperous agriculturist of Vermillion County, engaged in farming and stock-raising on section 18, Helt Township, was born in Clermont County, Ohio February 19, 1811, a son of James Andrews who is now deceased. The father was a native of Pennsylvania, and was an early settler of Ohio. He came to Helt Township among the early pioneers, settling in Helt Township in 1823, when Indians and wild animals were the principal inhabitants. Here the subject of this sketch was reared amid the wild surroundings of pioneer life, and was early in life inured to hard work. He received but limited educational advantages, and never attended school until reaching the age of eighteen years. He has always followed farming with the exception of 1832-'33 when working in the lead mines at Galena, Illinois. He has been very successful in his agricultural pursuits, and is now the