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

Vermont. The mother was a daughter of one of the old pioneers of the Buckeye State, and was born in Preble County in 1804. Benjamin R. Whitcomb, in 1813, when fifteen years of age, emigrated with his father from Vermont to Preble County, Ohio, where he was married. In 1827 he brought his family to Indiana, and for two years lived at Terre Haute, where he engaged in packing pork, shipping down the river. From Terre Haute his business was transferred to Roseville, Parke County, and carried on there one season. In 1830 he became a resident of Clinton, Vermillion County, engaging in business at this place the same year. He was the pioneer merchant of Clinton, and was in the strictest sense of the term a self-made man. A man of strict integrity, his word was considered as good as his bond, and often was worth as much to him in business as large capital was to other men. He was active and enterprising in business matters, and was always successful. The capital which he brought with him to this county was mainly invested in salt, then worth more than money. He brought herds of cattle from the East, which he sold to good advantage in the new country. He also dealt extensively in pork as a packer and shipper, and made many trips to New Orleans on his own flat-boats, and was generally the strongest as well as the jolliest man in the crew. He never forgot a favor nor the name or face of any man with whom he had any dealings. No man has ever been more favorably remembered by the pioneers and early settlers than he. In politics he was first a Whig, and later a Rebpulican. He was an ardent supporter of John C. Fremont, with whom he was personally acquainted. In his later years he was a consistent member of the Methodist church. He died in 1861, the death of his wife taking place about one year before. Five of the children born to them are living -- Mrs. Derexa Barber, living near Terre Haute; John, whose name heads this sketch; Mrs. Susan F. Warren, a widow, residing at Terre Haute; James, living in Florida, and Mrs. Carrie Watson, living in Colorado. Two daughters and one son, born in this county, died in early childhood. John Whitcomb, the subject of this sketch, was but a child when brought by his parents to Vermillion County, and his elementary education was obtained in the schools of Clinton, completing his education at Wabash College. At the age of sixteen years he entered his father's mercantile establishment, and there the foundation of his successful business career was laid. He became his father's trusted assistant, and later became a partner in the business, which continued until 1854. He then engaged in the mercantile business at Urbana, Illinois, but before the war returned to Clinton and commenced an active, successful business career, which continued until 1881 since which time he has led a comparatively retired life. He has always been a public-spirited man, taking an active interest in the advancement of his township or county, but has never been an office-seeker. In politics, like his father, he was a Whig, and since its organization has affiliated with the Republican party. In the campaign of 1856 he was elected to the Indiana General Assembly, the first Republican ever elected from his district, but he retired from the field, his business demanding his whole attention. During the years 1868 and 1869 he was a partner in a wholesale hardware store in Indianapolis, but not having the exclusive management, he retired from that business. He has large real estate interests in Vermillion County and vicinity, most of his land being well improved and very pro-


Biographical Sketches - 459

ductive. He also has large tracts of land in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Florida. Mr. Whitcomb has been twice married. He was first married in February, 1848, to Miss Margaret Whitcomb, who was born in Ohio in 1827, and died in 1868, leaving at her death five children -- Charles, now a hardware merchant in Clinton; Clara; Anna, who died at the age of twenty-five years; Benjamin H., dealer in agricultural implements at Clinton, and Cora, wife of F. M. Shepardson, of Granville, Ohio. Mr. Whitcomb was married a second time, January 30, 1870, to Miss Lydia A. Parks, a daughter of Barzilla Parks, of Washington County, New York, where she was born April 29, 1840. To this union three children have been born, as follows -- Larz A., Arthur W. and Nena. Both Mr. and Mrs. Whitcomb are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.



WILLIAM C. COOK, farmer, section 6, Vermillion Township, is a native of Vermillion County, and a representative of one of its pioneer families. His parents, Dr. Joseph and Margaret (Dallas) Cook, were well-known and prominent citizens of the county. His father was one of the largest farmers and stock-breeders, his stock farm consisting of 1,560 acres of fine land, and beside this he stood high in his profession and was well known all over the county and this part of the State. He died in 1875, aged fifty-five years, lamented by all who knew him. His family consisted of thirteen children, five of whom are living -- William, Charles F., Joseph F., Addison and Bertie C. Charles married Cora Patrick and has two children -- Fleta and Grace. Joseph married Drue Campbell and has three children -- Nettie, Roy and Mary. Addison lives in Edgar County. He married Bell Campbell and has one child -- Jennie. William C. Cook has a good farm of 120 acres, and is one of the successful young farmers of the county. He was married October 16, 1879, to Lucinda, daughter of Enos and Jennie (Cloy) Campbell, pioneers of Vermillion County. They have two children -- Clyde C. and Fleetwood. Mr. Cook is a member of the Odd Fellows order, Lodge No. 594, at Newport.



C. S. DAVIS, a member of the real estate firm of Dalla & Davis, and one of the active and enterprising business men of Newport, is a native of Indiana, born in Parke County, in the year 1844. His father removed with his family to Vermillion County, in 1856, and is now living near Summit in Helt Township. Our subject was a soldier in the war of the Rebellion, enlisting in December, 1863, in Company C, Twenty-third Indiana Infantry. He was in the Twenty-third Corps in the Atlanta and Nashville campaign and after the close of the Nashville campaign he was transferred east with that corps, and operated in North Carolina, and participated at the close of the war in the grand review at Washington. After the war Mr. Davis attended school for a time, then went to Salina, Kansas, where he preempted a claim, and remained there engaged in farming about five years. He then sold his farm and returned to Vermillion County, and for a time taught school during the winter terms, and during the summer months engaged in the manufacture of brick. He was engaged in mercantile pursuits about three years, in business at Newport, Highland and Hillsdale. He was united in marriage to Miss Mary A. Martin, a native of Parke