GEORGE W. HARNER
GEORGE W. HARNER, a prominent and influential citizen
and large property owner of Allen County, residing in section 23, German
township, was born April 22, 1850, in Mercer County, Ohio, and is a son
of Ruhel and Sallie (Ryder) Harner.
Ruhel Harner was born and reared in Mercer County where he was
married. He was the soul of loyalty and patriotism, and when the Civil
War cast its dark cloud over our country, he was among the first to
enlist in the 31st Regiment, Ohio Vol. Inf. However the company had
more than its quota and he was sent home. He reenlisted in the same
regiment but was sent home from Columbus, Ohio, on account of sickness.
he then tried enlisting as a teamster, but was no more successful than
before and his fourth enlistment resulted as the previous ones had
done. Soon after the fourth failure he again enlisted as a teamster and
was sent to the front where he forfeited his life in behalf of the
country and the flag he loved so well. On New Year's Day, 1864, while
out foraging at Cumberland Gap, the entire company of 35 men, except two
were taken prisoners by the enemy and sent to Libby Prison, the
"Inferno" of the Rebel stronghold where so many brave boys in blue
suffered agony and death. Not one of this party of 33 ever breathed the
air of freedom again. Of the two who escaped capture, one was Miles
Ryder, an uncle of our subject, and the other a sick man whom Mr. Ryder
managed to hide from the enemy. After three weary days of hiding and
untold hardships, they succeeded in returning to the camp in safety.
George W. Harner was reared in Mercer County and attended district
school until his 13th year, when he left the school-room to learn his
lessons in the larger school of experience. The family owned 130 acres
of land in Center township, Mercer County, and it was here he first
engaged in farming. After several years devoted to agricultural
pursuits, he became a commercial traveler and for 10 years was engaged
in selling farm machinery for the McCormick, Deering and International
harvester companies. He has made a success of whatever he has
undertaken and has been able to accumulate considerable property, being
constantly engaged in buying and selling land.
On August 25, 1870, Mr Harner was married to Charlotte Walker,
daughter of Samuel and Susan (McMullin) Walker, of Wayne County, Ohio,
and nine children have been born to them, namely: W. V., born February
8, 1871; B. F., born December 8, 1872; C. O. born September 11, 1875;
Harry, born August 28, 1877; Edward, born April 26, 1881; Lillie May,
born September 9, 1883, deceased October 27, 1902; Elden, born July 1,
1889; Oscar, born July 9, 1892; and Hershell, born March 17, 1897. W.
V. Harner married Ida Turner, of Indiana and resides at Montpelier,
Indiana, where he is a driller in the oil field. B. F. Harner, who
resides at Van Buren, Indiana, and is working in the oil field, married
Mary Shillinger of Lima and has four children. C. O. Harner, who
resides near his father's place, married Pearl Wooster and has four
children living and one deceased. Harry Harner, who resides at Van
Buren, Indiana, and works in the oil field, married Annie Blaize, of
Lima, and had four children, one of whom is dead. Edward Harner married
Louie Judkin. Mr. Harner is a member of the I. O. O. F. lodge at elida
and a member of the United Brethren Church at Lima. He was a church
trustee for 15 years while residing in Mercer County.
SAMUEL SPYKER, for many years a prominent resident of
Shawnee township, was the father of Joel Spyker, a sketch of whom
apperars elsewhere in this work. Locating in Shawnee township early as
1837, he materially aided in the development of what is now one of the
richest townships in Ohio, clearing his farm and assisting in the
building of roads.
Samuel Spyker was born at Circleville, Ohio, November 13, 1813, and
was a son of Henry and Elizabeth (Todd) Spyker, his father being a
native of Pennsylvania and his mother, of Kentucky.
His parents were pioneers of Pickway and Allen counties, dying in
the latter at advanced ages.
Samuel Spyker was reared in his native county and acquired the
trades of plasterer and brick mason. He worked on a farm and at his
trades in Pickaway County until 1837, when he located in Allen County,
settling upon a farm in section 25, Shawnee township, which is still
owned by his heirs. He cleared this farm, as well as a 100 acre tract
east of the homestead and in the same section. Here he resided until
his death in 1897, in Shawnee township thereby losing one of its most
substantial and public-spirited citizens.
Samuel Spyker was first married December 13, 1835, to Sarah Weaver,
a daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Fox) Weaver, and they had eight
children, seven of whom reached maturity as follows: Martin; Lewis;
Elizabeth, wife of Francis Stevenson; Allen; Mary, wife of Francis
Mohler; Henry, deceased; and Jacob. After the death of Mrs. Spyker,
Samuel Spyker formed a second union August 13, 1851, with Margaret
Losch, a daughter of Michael and Eva (Smith) Losch, by whom he had 12
children, as follows: Jonathan; Sarah, Samuel, Peter and Theodore, all
deceased; Effie, wife of D. Tippy; Charles, deceased; Joel ; Nettie;
Addie; and twins who died in infancy. Two of his 12 sons served with
distinction in the Civil War.
Politically, our subject was a lifelong Democrat. In religious
connections both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal
JOEL SPYKER, one of the substantial and prominent
citizens of Perry township, president of the Consumers' Fuel, Building &
Supply Company, a large oil operator and producer for a number of years,
has recently taken possession of his fine farm of 240 acres in section
9, Perry township. Mr. Spyker was born in Shawnee township, Allen
County, Ohio, March 29, 1865, and is a son of the late Samuel Spyker,
whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume.
Joel Spyker attended the schools of Shawnee township, passed two
years in academic study at Cridersville, and later went to Ottawa, where
he was graduated in 1887. He then returned to the old homestead farm in
Shawnee township, but soon interested himself in the oil industry and
became a large operator and producer in the Ohio and Indiana oil fields.
For a considerable period he was the most extensive operator of this
section. Mr. Spyker is gradually reducing his interests in this line,
disposing of his oil properties in order to give more attention to his
productive farm in section 9, Perry township. He is still associated
with the German-American and the Niagara oil companies and is the
president and a stockholder of the Consumers' Fuel, Building & Supply
In point of location, fertility and improvements the farm owned by
Mr. Spyker is among the finest in the county. In connection with other
interests he operates a dairy for which he keeps a herd of choice Jersey
cows. Amid beautiful surroundings, his stately brick residence has been
constructed according to the most modern architectural designs, and is
the type of an ideal rural home, in which is combined the advantages of
the country and the conveniences of the city. The out-buildings are
also modern and commodious. The great barn, especially is convenient,
sanitary and even ornamental, and the lighting is entirely by
In 1887 Mr. Spyker was married to Mary Driscoll, who was born in
Williams County, Ohio, and is a daughter of Dennis Driscoll, who died
when Mrs. Spyker was but 18 months old. Mr. and Mrs. Spyker have a
family of five children, viz: Lawrence K., Gertrude, Florence, Erma and
Elenor. The family is identified with the Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Spyker has always been a leader in movements conductive to the
public welfare. He has served for four years as a member of the Lima
Board of Education, and has evinced much interest in all movements
tending to civic advancement. His fraternal connections include
membership in Solar Lodge, No. 783, and Lima Encampment, No. 62, I. O.
O. F. He also belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America.
JOHN N. BAILEY
JOHN N. BAILEY, one of Spencerville's prominent and
esteemed citizens, president of the Farmers' Bank of Spencerville, has
been one of the leading members of the Allen County bar for many years.
Mr. Bailey was born in Moulton township, Allen County, which section now
is included in Auglaize County, September 3, 1839, and is a son of
Christopher and Nancy (Noble) Bailey.
Thomas Bailey, the grandfather, was born in Virginia and there
married Mary Timberlake, a member of an old family still prominent in
the " Old Dominion." In 1808 Thomas Bailey and wife migrated to Ohio as
pioneers in Highland County. They brought with them their son
Christopher, then a babe less than one year old, who was reared in
Highland County under the conditions which made the youth of that period
and locality robust of frame and strong of brain. He taught school,
studied civil engineering by himself, followed farming and remained in
Highland County until 1835. He was 28 years of age when he came to
Allen County and entered 160 acres of land, in Moulton township, which
he developed into a fine farm. Here he reared a creditable family with
comfort, and after a long and useful life, during which he had filled
almost all the offices of trust and responsibility in the county, he
passed away in 1891. His wife preceded him in 1888. During his earlier
years he adhered to the family religious belief, the Baileys being
Quakers as far back as the perilous days of their religion in the reign
of King Charles II; but later he became identified with the Methodist
Episcopal Church, of which he was an exemplary member.
Christopher Bailey was married, first, to Phoebe Baker, who died
after the birth of two sons, Jacob and Walter, both of whom are now
deceased. He married, second, Nancy Noble, who was born in Clinton
County, Ohio, in 1815. The issue of this marriage was as follows: John
N, of Spencerville; Girard, a practicing physician of Mercer County, who
served in the Civil War as captain of his company; Joshua, who was a
member of Company B, 99th Reg., Ohio Vol. Inf., and lost his life in the
battle at Paris, Kentucky, during the Civil War; Greene, a farmer in
Auglaize County, Ohio, and Elisha, who died in early manhood.
Until his 17th year our subject lived at home, attending the district
schools and assisting in the work on the farm. He then learned the
carpenter's trade, at which he worked during the summer seasons and
taught school in the winter, until he was 40 years of age. Although his
success was sufficient to insure him a comfortable income, it was not in
the line in which his inclinations led, his ambition being to enter the
legal profession. When not otherwise engaged, he read by himself and
during the winters of 1880 and 1882 attended the Cincinnati Law School,
where he was graduated in the latter year. He located at Spencerville
where he still resides, and is considered one of the most active as well
as capable practitioners in the county. His named has been associated
with the successful prosecution of many of the most important cases
which have come into the courts in this section of the State. He is the
owner of several large stock-farms in Spencer and Amanda township.
Since 1891 he has been president of the Farmers' Bank of Spencerville,
which he and his son-in-law, Austin Britton, who was cashier,
established in that year.
Mr. Bailey was married, first, to Minerva Baber, who died at the age
of 36 years survived by thee children: Mary A. (Wilson); Minnie, wife of
O. P. Hephart; Alice (Williams) deceased; Emma (Britton); Charles T.,
Lillian M., wife of Bert Colt, of Spencerville; and Arthur H., who
married Bertha Eysenbach. The second marriage of Mr. Bailey was to Mrs.
Hannah Caldwell, of Darke County, Ohio. she is a lady much interested in
the Sunday-school work of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which the
Politically Mr. Bailey is affiliated with the Republican party.
Fraternally he is a Mason, being a member of Acadia Lodge, No. 306, of
Spencerville, and belongs also to the Knights of Pythias. Mr. and Mrs.
Bailey have traveled extensively; in 1889 he enjoyed a long sojourn in
Europe where he visited many points of historic interest.
CYRUS D. CRITES
CYRUS D. CRITES, cashier of The First National Bank of
Lima and a leading citizen of Lima and Allen County, is a member of one
of the best known and most highly respected families of the county. He
was born in German township, Allen County, Ohio, May 11, 1855, and is a
son of Jacob and Mary J. (Cremean) Crites. He remained on his father's
farm working in summer and attending the district school in winter until
2 years of age, except that the last three winters he taught school in
he then left the farm to accept the principalship of the schools at
Cridersville. Auglaize County, in which position he served four
consecutive years, during which time he served as secretary and
president of the Auglaize County Teachers' Institute. His last year in
educational work was as principal of the schools at Beaver Dam, Allen
County. In 1881 he entered the office of the county auditor of Allen
County as chief deputy. He served for a period as deputy United States
marshal for the Northern District of Ohio under the first Cleveland
Administration, relinquishing this position to assume the duties of
county auditor of Allen County. Having accepted the appointment of
national bank examiner for Northern Ohio under the second Cleveland
administration, he resigned the county auditorship September 1, 1894, six
weeks before the expiration of his second term. On April 1, 1895, he
resigned the bank examinership to assume the management of The First
National Bank of Lima as its cashier, which position he still holds.
Mr. Crites has always been active in Democratic politics of the
State, district and county. He served as a member of the Democratic
State Central Committee form 1889 to 1904 and as its chairman from 1892
to 1894. He directed as chairman the Ohio campaign of 1892, which
resulted in a division of the electoral vote. He was a member of the
Ohio Democratic Executive Committee of 1901, when Col. James Kilbourn
was the candidate for Governor.
On June 17, 1891, Mr. Crites was married to Grace A. Cass, daughter
of Dr. D. W. Cass, of Findlay, Ohio. He has two bright sons: Clarence
Daniel, born January 23, 1893; and Virgil Cass, born January 15, 1895,
both now enrolled at the Cloyne School, Newport, Rhode Island. Mr. and
Ms. Crites are prominent in the social life of Lima.
MR. Crites is a truly representative citizen of Lima and Allen
County, active in all things looking to the good of the city and
community. He was one of a committee of three to plan the successful
reception for th e State commission and the presentation before this
body of the claims of Lima for the proposed new State Hospital for the
Insane. He is regarded as one of the best financiers in Ohio and has
made The First National Bank what it is to day one of the soundest
institutions in Ohio. A portrait of MR. Crites accompanies this sketch.
DAVID C. BIXEL
DAVID C. BIXEL, jeweler and optician, one of the
leading business men of Bluffton, was born on a farm one mile north of
the town, May 26, 1866, and is a son of Abraham and Magdalena
The father of Mr. Bixel now lives retired at Pandora, Putnam County,
having been a farmer all his life. He was born May 18, 1843, and came
to Allen County when a child of three years. He married Magdalena
Schumaker, who was born March 31, 1842, in Richland township, and is a
daughter of Rev. Peter and Elizabeth (Sutter) Schumaker, the former of
whom was pastor of a Mennonite Church. They were natives of Germany,
where the father of Mrs. Schumaker, Peter Sutter, spent his whole life.
The children born to Abraham and Magdalena Bixel were 11 in number,
seven sons and four daughters, our subject being the second in order of
Mr. Bixel remained on the farm until he was 13 years old and then
spent several years at La Porte, Indiana, wher he learned the
watchmaking and optical business in Hutchinson's Optical and Watchmaking
School. For the past 12 years he has been established at Bluffton,
where he not only has one of the largest and most complete jewelry and
optical stores, but also deals in pianos and other musical instruments.
On December 3, 1892, Mr. Bixel was married to Delilah Baumgartner,
who was born in Wayne County, Ohio, near Mount Eaton, January 1, 1867,
and is a daughter of Peter and Barbara (Lehman) Baumgartner. The four
children of this union are: Dora, Mildred, Gordon and Fern.
In political sentiment, Mr. Bixel is a Democrat and he has more than
once been elected to responsible township offices. In the conduct of
his business and in his intercourse with his fellow-citizens socially,
he has established a reputation which insures him the respect and esteem
of the community.
D. A. WHIRRETT
D. A. WHIRRETT, city treasurer of Delphos, was born in
Marion township, Allen County, Ohio, April 3, 1863, and is a son of
William A. and Salome (Herring) Whirrett.
William A. Whirrett was born at Hagerstown, Maryland, January 31,
1825, and moved with his foster parents to Ohio about 1838. His own
father had owned a woolen mill at Hagerstown, but had died when William
was two years old. He spent years of his youth and early manhood along
the Auglaize River and frequently ferried travelers across, this being
prior to the building of the canal. The nearest house to the one in
which he lived was seven miles distant. For a number of years he was in
the employ of H. Ricker, engaged in hauling lumber. William A. Whirrett
was married in Allen County, January 20,1853, to Salome Herring, who was
born in this county in May, 1833, and is an adopted daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. Stookey. Our subject's parents still reside at Delphos.
Mrs. Whirrett can recall many of the interesting incidents of her
girlhood. She attended the primitive log school-house and, being of
quick intelligence, soon picked up enough knowledge to teach a
subscription school, for which she was paid about $2 a month and boarded
around in the homes of the district. Her spare time was taken up in
making her homespun garments. She learned all the masteries of cooking
at an open fireplace and with a Dutch oven. She wore home-made shoes
as did every one else and read and sewed and studied by the light of a
candle. In her childhood deer and wolves were still numerous around her
home. The interesting tales of her pioneer life would fill a volume.
She remembers that her mother was the first to be buries in Woodlawn
Cemetery south of Elida, whose location she selected.
Philip Herring, father of Mrs. William A. Whirrett and grandfather
of our subject, came to Allen County about 1827 or 1830. He was a
weaver and wove all kinds of intricate-patterned coverlets and
bed-spreads. For 40 years he was a magistrate in German township. He
purchased grain at 37 cents per bushel and hauled it from the county
near Elida to Sandusky, where he was able to sell it at $1.50 a bushel.
To our subject's parents 12 children were born, the survivors being:
Elizabeth, wife of A. F. Bectel, of Elida; T. J., a clerk in the master
mechanic's office on the "Clover Leaf" Railroad; J. W., of Spencerville,
a member of the firm of Whirrett Brothers; D. A., of this sketch; and
Ida May, wife of W. H. Beilharz of Chicago.
D. A. Whirrett was five years old when his parents moved to Delphos,
and here he was reared and obtained his education. After leaving
school, he assisted his father in the latter's lumber-yard and from that
turned to his present business, that of manufacturing and wholesaling
wood stirrups, sweat-scrapers, etc., at Delphos. Being unmarried, he
still resides with his aged parents.
In April, 1902, Mr. Whirrett was elected city treasurer on the
Democratic ticket. He has been more of less prominent in political life
for a number of years and frequently has represented his party at
important conventions. The offices and factory of Whirrett Brothers,
one of the most important industrial concerns of the western section the
county, are situated on the west side of the Miami and Erie Canal, north
of the Delphos Mills.