William Brooks, retired farmer, was born in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, February 3, 1797, and is consequently one of the oldest men in the county. His father, James Brooks, was in the Revolutionary War. He has been a resident of this county for over sixty years. He has been twice married; first, to Emily Wallace, who died at the age of forty. The fruits of this union were four children. Ellen Jane was born Dec. 20, 1826; James, July 4 1829; Mary Ann, Jan. 28, 1830; and William W. , Oct. 25, 1832. All are now living but James, who died at the age of fifteen. Mr. Brooks's second wife was Jane Wallace, who bore him one daughter, Emma Eliza, Oct. 3, 1855. Mrs. Brooks died Mar. 26, 1881, aged 75 years. She was a constant attendant of the Presbyterian Church, of which she was a member, and a devoted wife and beloved mother. Mary Ann Brooks married James McMechan Nov. 11, 1863, her husband dying May 14, 1880, aged fifty-nine years. He was born in Milford Township. They have had three children. William D. was born Aug. 26, 1865, and James E., Feb. 23, 1867. The third one died in infancy.
John M. Buhl, farmer, was born in this county, in the township he now lives in, on the 4th of September, 1852. He was married in Hamilton on the 23rd of October, 1877, to Anna B. Sutler, daughter of Conrad and Catherine Sutler, who became residents of Butler County in 1839. They have one child, Elizabeth, born Oct. 4, 1878. The parents of Mr. Buhl are Elias and Sarah Buhl, the maiden name of the latter being Houseleth. Elias Buhl was out in the war of the Rebellion for two and a half years.
Colonel George F. Elliott was born on the 8th of April, 1826 in Liberty Township, a quarter of a mile from the old Spring Meeting-house. He is the youngest of seven sons of the Rev. Arthur W. Elliott and Mary Pierce, both of Baltimore County, Maryland. They had also four daughters, of whom one was younger than George. At fourteen years of age he went to St. Clair, where he worked on the farm, and going to school occasionally. The last place of that kind which he attended was in the basement of the Episcopal Church in Hamilton, kept by Mr. Wade. He was married in September, 1852, to Miss Eleanor Hueston. Daughter of Thomas Hueston, who had been out with Wayne as captain of pack-horses, and was also a soldier of the War of 1812. He was a brother of Matthew Hueston. Mrs. Elliott's mother's name was Mary Hardin. She was the daughter of Samuel Hardin, and early settler of Colerain Township. Colonel Elliott, upon his marriage, received form his father two hundred acres of land, upon which he now lives, and which he cultivated until 1857. He then went into the firm of Long, Black & Alstatter, traveling and working for them four years, in the sale of reapers and mowers.
When the war broke out he raised a company to defend our imperiled Union. It was Company C, Sixty-ninth Ohio, and went out in September, 1861, continuing in the service until March, 1863. He was appointed major, August 9, 1862, and lieutenant-colonel, October 24,1862. He refused higher appointments. At the battle of Stone River he had command of the regiment from the beginning to the end of that conflict, a period of six days, having scarcely any thing to eat, and couching upon the hard ground without a blanket. He came home on account of the health of his wife, which had been seriously affected by the loss of one of her children by a railroad accident. On his return, he continued farming till 1866. He then went into the distilling business, remaining in that until December, 1869. During the last two years he ran distilleries No. 1 and No. 2, but on the date just mentioned made an assignment. He refused to go into bankruptcy, and finally nearly all of his indebtedness was settled up. The establishment had paid the government over two millions of dollars as a tax on distilled spirits during the time in which he had connection with it. Out of the wreck was saved a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, on which the colonel now lives. He continued in the same business until September, 1873.
The first office he was elected to was that of member of the decennial State board of equalization, in October, 1880. This is a very important position. In 1881 he was a candidate for State senator, being nominated by acclamation for the services he had rendered in the board of equalization. He was defeated by twenty-seven votes. He has had four children. Charles was born in 1858, and Frank in 1864. Thomas Arthur was the one who was killed by the railroad. He was three years old at that time. Colonel Elliott is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is universally liked. After a long life in this county, there is no one to whom he can not go up and shake hands, whether he is white or black, rich or poor. He is never idle.
James J. Everson, the son of James Everson and Rachael Mills, was born March 7, 1836, in Reily Township. His parents were early settlers. He was married in September, 1857, to Mary Ann Garver, born in Reily Township, February 16, 1838. Her parents were Samuel Garver and Elizabeth Keiver. They have had three children: Addie L. was born August 1, 1860; Eva May, October, 1862, and Samuel A. Curtiss, July, 1864. Mr. Everson is a farmer, and has been supervisor for four years.
John W. Eaton is a native of Rowan County, North Carolina, and came to this county in 1814. He is the son of Ebenezer Eaton and Nancy King. The former came to this county in 1809, but the mother never did. He was married in Hamilton, Ohio, February 13, 1861 to Jane Stewart, a native of County Down, Ireland, and daughter of William and Mary Stewart, who came to this county thirty years ago, and are still living at Oxford. They have seven children. Nancy Jane was born November 28, 1861; Mary Phebe, August 20, 1863; Martha Ann, April 11, 1865; Robert Chambers Stewart, February 13, 1868; Emily Eliza, July 27, 1870, and William Ebenezer, May 30, 1873. Mr. Eaton is a farmer, and has now been a resident of the county sixty-seven years. At the age of fourteen, while cutting down some trees, his left leg was broken by a tree falling on it, and has since been lame. He was kept on a straw bed for twelve weeks, and since then, from time to time, he has been afflicted with rheumatism.
James R. Foster was born in St. Clair Township, and married Nancy Wilcox, April 18, 1860. He was the son of Sullivan Foster, and followed the occupation of a farmer. Mrs. Foster was born January 16, 1836, and is the daughter of Edward Wilcox, and Margaret Evans, being the fourth of seven children. The mother is still living. She came to this county in 1812. Mr. And Mrs. Foster had four children. Sarah A. was born July 6, 1862; Lillie M. , December 16, 1865; Gracie E., August 13, 1868, and John E., January 13, 1871. Mr. Foster died May 11, 1871.
George Garbet, the son of Joseph Garbet and Barbara Hill, was born in Yorkshire, England, January 3, 1832, and came to this county in 1853. He married December 12, 1860, in St. Clair, Butler County, Caroline Young, born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, February 6, 1830. Her parents were Matthias and Susan Young, the former being born March 21, 1792. They came to this county in June, 1840. Mr. and Mrs. Garbet have had four children. John Wilson was born May 18, 1861 ; George Grant, March 11, 1863; Charles Elsworth, October 28, 1866, and Gemirah, September 8, 1868. Mr. Garbet was among the hundred days' men in 1865, but did not go out, furnishing a substitute, who went to the State of Virginia, staying some three weeks over time.
Mrs. Barbara Geyer was born in Germany, April 9, 1838, settling in this county in 1852. Her parents were Philip Spareberger and Catherine Young. She has been twice married. Her first husband was Peter Werner, who died in 1869. On the 2nd of June, 1875, she was again married. Her husband is Robert Geyer, who was then a widower. Her children were Catherine, born May 27, 1856; Elizabeth, born March 2, 1861, dying the same Fall.
Samuel B. Garver, born in St. Clair Township, September 7, 1843, is the son of Joseph L. Garver and Hannah Beeler. He was married February 15, 1866, in St. Clair Township, to Sarah C. Riley, daughter of Henry C. Riley and Mary Timberman. She was born March 24, 1845. They have had four children. Mary E. was born March 22, 1867; Joseph L., February 16, 1870; Susan J., November 1, 1875; and Henry R., December 25, 1879. Mr. Garver owns a farm, but in the season runs a threshing machine.
Barton S. James was born in Hanover Township, September 3, 1831. His parents were Barton and Wilhelmina James, who are now both dead. He was married November 30, 1854, in Hamilton, to Mary Jane Longfellow, daughter of John Longfellow, who came to this county in 1804, and Elizabeth Stephen. Mrs. James was born in St. Clair Township, May 11, 1832. They have had seven children. Charles E. was born November 1, 1856; Harry, December 12, 1859; Eveline W.E., November 28, 1860; Benjamin F., Jr., September 25, 1862; William B., August 26, 1865: Olive May, December 10, 1867; and Olive L.V., April 28, 1871. Mr. James was a farmer, but at the time of his death held the appointment of clerk of the Court of Common Pleas. He died December 2, 1879, aged forty-nine years, two months, and twenty-nine days. Three children are also dead. Henry S. died January 3, 1860, aged one year and twenty-three days; Olive May died November 12, 1875, aged seven years, eleven months, and two days; and Charles E. died July 1, 1878, aged twenty-one years, seven months, and twenty-four days.
Jacob Kumler was born in Pennsylvania, August 31, 1811. His father was Henry Kumler, and his mother, Susanna Kumler. The former was an eminent minister of the United Brethren Church, in which he served as a bishop for twelve years, dying at the age of seventy-nine. The mother lived to the great age of ninety-five. They came to this State in 1819. Jacob Kumler was married at Dayton, Ohio, to his first wife while still very young, he being a little less than twenty years old. She was Fanny Burtner, the child of George and Catherine Burtner. She had the following children: George B. Kumler, born May 29, 1832; Abraham, born October 30, 1833, now living in Clinton County, Ohio; Margaret, born February 27, 1838, now living at Jacksonburg; John M., born August 31, 1840; Simon, born June 21, 1842; Francis M., born December 24, 1845, now living in Cumberland, Ohio; Benjamin F., born January 22, 1849, now living at Millville; Fernandez B. O., born October 3, 1852, now living at Millville; and Louis A., born May 21, 1856, now living at Hamilton.
He was married July 7, 1859, to Martha A. Shields, daughter of James Shields, an eminent pioneer, who represented his county twenty-one years in the Legislature, and was also a member of Congress. A sketch of him will be found elsewhere. Mrs. Kumler's mother was Jane Wright. She was a native of Virginia. Mr. Kumler has followed the business of farmer nearly all his life, and is now retired. He was township trustee for the years 1874 and 1875. Of the children, George B. Kumler was a member of the Ninety-third Regiment, and was killed at the battle of Stone River, December 31, 1862; Simon Kumler was a member of Company C, Thirty-fifth Regiment, and was killed at the battle of Mission Ridge, November 25, 1863; John M. Kumler was a member of the Fifteenth Regiment United States Army, and was seriously wounded at the battle of Chickamauga, September 20, 1863. He was left on the field, taken prisoner, and never heard of afterwards; Abraham and Francis M. Kumler were in the hundred days' service, in Colonel Thomas Moore's regiment. The latter is now a minister of the Presbyterian Church. No family can show a more noble record than this, and none are better known in the State.
William McKee was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, at Huyckston Creek, July 16, 1805. His father was John McKee, and his mother, Elizabeth McClintock. He settled in this county in October, 1844. He was married February 21, 1828, to Louisa Stipp, also a native of Bourbon county, where she was born December 10, 1811. They have had eleven children, the first six being born in Bourbon County, and the others in this county. John McKee was born February 26, 1829; William M., January 17,1832; Mary L., June 3, 1834; Samuel A. and Eliza J., August 6, 1837; Jane E., October 2, 1839; George H., January 31, 1842; Ann E., January 14, 1845; Thomas D., January 22, 1847; Sarah, May 28, 1849; Joseph C., November 14, 1851; James R., June 21, 1854, and Edward S., January 6, 1858. Four of his sons were in the late war. John, late postmaster in Hamilton, was a captain; William was in Texas, and was impressed into the Confederate service; Samuel entered the service, but was soon discharged on account of being blind in one eye; and George H. went out on the last call and remained till the close of the war. Mr. McKee is a farmer. His wife is the daughter of George Stipp and Sidney Miles.
Adam Plannett was born in New York City, June 2, 1838. He is the son Adam and Charlotte L. Plannett and settled in this county in 1873. Previous to this, he had been in almost every State and Territory in the United States, following different occupations. In 1863 and 1864 he was probate judge of Benton County, Oregon. His wife, Christiana M. Grau, was born in Germany, February 3, 1846. Her parents are Frederick and Dorretta Grau. She was married in Hamilton, September 6, 1875, and to their union one child has been granted-Charlotte L., born August 15, 1877. Mr. Plannett is now a tanner and currier.
Joseph Poppel was born in Germany, November 12, 1830. His parents were John Poppel and Theresa Touler. He came to this country in 1859, having previously married, on the 12th of March, 1855, Magdalena Plumb, daughter of Matthew Plumb. She was born in Germany, December 26, 1829. The fruits of this union have been as follows: Charles was born March 12, 1856; Mary, November 23, 1857; Agnes, May 5, 1860; Joseph, April 26, 1862; Anna C., June 8, 1865; John, September 13, 1867; Frank, April 28, 1869; and William, September 29, 1875. Mr. Poppel is a farmer and fruit raiser, having on the place he now owns about eighteen acres of fine fruit trees of different varieties, all in good bearing order. He is also a stonemason. His daughter married John Weise, April 13, 1881.
Henry C. Riley, son of James Riley and Nancy Yercus, was born in Jefferson County, Virginia, October 10, 1802. His parents came to this county in 1809, and he in 1833. He was married December 27, 1827, in Ross Township, to Mary Timberman, daughter of George Timberman, and Anna Stephenson. She was born in Tennessee, October 11, 1812, and after being a faithful wife for forty-five years, died September 25, 1872. She bore him fourteen children, Nancy, William, George W., James M., Mary Jane, Thomas Jefferson, Rebecca Ann, David T., Eliza E., Sarah C., Annie T., Susan L., Martha C., and Margaret A. Rebecca Ann married Joseph Straub, Sarah C. married Samuel B. Garver, and David T. married Mary Morris. He has living fourteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He has always been a farmer, and has several times been supervisor. His brother Joshua was in the War of 1812.
James Smith, once sheriff of Hamilton County, lived for a great portion of his live in St. Clair Township. He was born December 22, 1763, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and emigrated to the West in the year 1792, in conjunction with General James Findlay, with whom he formed a partnership after his arrival, which lasted more than ten years, under the firm name of Smith & Findlay. Their store was near the foot of Broadway, on Front Street. A short time after his arrival he was appointed sheriff of the county, and on the formation of the State of Ohio, he was elected to that office by the people, being the first one thus honored. So long did he hold the shrievalty that he was commonly known a "Sheriff Smith." During a portion of this time he was collector of the revenue of the government of the United States for the Northwestern Territory and of the taxes for the county. Few men in the Northwest had more influence in the affairs of the community than he, and none exercised it more wisely. He acted for a time as the private secretary of General St. Clair, who was governor of the Territory, and enjoyed his confidence and esteem. He was captain of the first light infantry company raised in Cincinnati, and when the second war with Great Britain broke out, went to the front as paymaster of the First Regiment, third detachment of the Ohio Militia, and was in Fort Meigs when it was besieged by the British and Indians during that war.
About the year 1805 he came to Butler County, settling on the place in Section 21, St. Clair Township, at the mouth of Four-Mile Creek. Here he remained until his death, which occurred in 1834. He was a man of much capacity, benevolence, and public spirit, and gave his children the advantage of good educations. His widow and they(except two of the younger ones, who died in infancy) survived him. The late Charles K. Smith and John C. Smith, a public man of Wayne Township were his sons, and James Smith, who married a sister of Almon Davis, of this county. They are now all dead.
William Sipp, son of William Henry Sipp and Appalonia Brown, was born in Bavaria, Germany, April 5, 1818, and settled in this county in July, 1840. His mother followed him to this country in 1846, dying the same year. His father died in 1842. In March, 1845, he was married at Cincinnati, Ohio, to Catherina Bahn daughter of Christian and Elizabeth Bahn, her birth occurring in Germany, August 15, 1822. The parents never came to this country. Mr. and Mrs. Sipp have had ten children. Louisa was born December 29, 1845; Wilhelmina, February 12 1848; Adam, January 2, 1849; William, January 14, 1850; John, February 14, 1852; Elizabeth M., June 9, 1853; Christian, September 9, 1855; Jacob, September 5, 1857; Valentine, October 12, 1860; and Jacob, November 24, 1862. Louisa, Adam, Elizabeth M, and Jacob are dead. Mr. Sipp has been supervisor of St. Clair Township for three years. His occupation is that of a farmer.
David Chamberlain Scott was born in Milford Township, Butler County, August 3, 1848, being the son of John Scott, who was also born in Milford Township, and Jane C. Gaston, who was born in Hamilton County. He married on the 14th of January, 1874, Agnes Mary McKee, who was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, September 15, 1849. She is the daughter of Samuel McKee and Margaret Ann Marshall. They came to live in this county in 1854, and the father is now dead. They have one child, Harry McKee, born April 22, 1877. John Scott was born in this county in 1810, and still resides on the same farm on which he was born. David C. Scott has always lived in this county, with the exception of about one year he spent in Danville, Vermillion County, Indiana. He had one brother, Alexander J., in the army for three months. David C. Scott also enlisted, but was discharged, on account of his age.
John P. Troutman was born in St. Clair Township, October 30, 1851. He is the son of John Troutman and Margaret Petry. They came to this county in 1819. The father died in 1856, but the mother is still living. On the 14th of September, 1871, he was married , in Hanover Township, to Mary L. Engel, daughter of George Engel and Appolonia Gaze, who are still living in Lemon Township. Mrs. Troutman was born in Auburn, Butler County, August 20, 1854. She has two children. Anna Emma Louise was born December 19, 1873, and John Jacob, June 5, 1876. Mr. Troutman has been supervisor two terms, constable one term, and is now school director, as well as supervisor. His grandfather, Peter Troutman, was in the War of 1812. John Troutman is a farmer, and has been through life. At present he makes a specialty of raising fine blooded stock. He has some of the finest Poland China hogs in America. Durbin Ward, one of these, weighs three hundred and fifty pounds, at eleven months old, and Forest Ranger, one year old, exceeds him in weight. He has full-blooded sows to match them. He makes a specialty of raising fine horses for roadsters-George, St. Clair, and Melbrina Whip.
Jeremiah Warwick, farmer, was born Aug. 6, 1811, in St. Clair Township, being the fourth child of J. W. and Genesee S. Warwick, the entire family consisting of twelve children, nine sons and three daughters. He was brought up at the place of his birth, receiving but a limited education, and early became accustomed to labor upon his father's farm. In the year 1805 his father (whose name was also Jeremiah) and Wilkins Warwick patented one hundred and sixty-four acres of land on Section 17 of St. Clair Township. The brothers joined forces, uniting their money in one sum for the purpose of making the purchase, and afterwards dividing the land in proportion to the money which each had advanced. Wilkins received on hundred acres, and Jeremiah sixty-four. On these tracts of land the old-fashioned cabins were erected, the floor at first being the naked ground, and afterwards split logs. The land was entirely covered with timber, chiefly white oak, blue ash, sugar maple, and other deciduous trees, and there was a large growth of underbrush.
In those days there were no facilities for education. There were no public schools, and private schools were not numerous. The pioneer children were behind even those of the towns. Jeremiah Warwick, the younger, attended a school kept by Jonas Ball, who taught in the Winters. He was unable to go more than two or three weeks each session, until he had reached the age of fifteen. Nevertheless, he learned to read, write, and go forward in Pike's Arithmetic as far as the single rule of three. After leaving school he, by his won exertions, learned how to keep books, and from time to time added to his literary information, but his principal occupation in his youth was in assisting his father in clearing the farm.
When he was about nine years old a somewhat noted teacher of vocal music, John Hall, came into the neighborhood and introduced the patent note system. He organized schools in various localities by subscription, charging each scholar fifty cents for thirteen afternoons or evenings. There was then no definite length of lesson known to music masters. He traveled from school to school as a sort of musical circuit rider, and was thus engaged every day, the schools being conducted in the dwellings. One was held in the cabin of Jeremiah Warwick, Sen., and the subject of this sketch was accustomed to stand on the outside of the house as a listener. He soon became infatuated with music, and developed in this line much talent. At the age of eighteen he began singing in public, and afterwards followed teaching for some time as a profession. The book then used was called the "Masonic Harmony," which subsequently was supplanted by the "Union Harmony." He obtained his musical education without any assistance, pursuing his studies in the evening and during leisure hours. While engaged in giving instruction he had usually six schools, one for each evening during the week. His compensation was thirty dollars per term of thirteen evenings. He also sung from a work called Mason's "Harp," and a book composed and published by a noted preacher by the name of Rineheart. His earliest recollections of music teachers are of John Hall and William Kirkwood. He recollects many of the early settlers of the county, those who made the first beginnings in the county.
He was married at the age of twenty-seven, on the 27th of Sept. 1838, to Miss Lydia Smith, the daughter of Daniel Smith, who emigrated from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 1818. About the date of his marriage he purchased a farm in Section 8 of St. Clair Township, on which he has since resided. He became a member of the United Brethren Church in 1852. He has led a life remarkable for sobriety, honesty, and integrity of purpose, and is now reaping the reward of his industry.
Genesee Warwick, one of the pioneer mothers of Butler County, was born in Sussex County, Delaware, on the first day of Nov. A.D. 1783. Her father was Allen Short, and her mother was Rachel Messick, both of whom were highly respectable citizens of Sussex County. Allen Short was born in England, from which country his father emigrated while he was yet a child. The Messick family was one of the oldest in Delaware. The parents of Genesee were the owners of a farm of about three hundred acres in Sussex County, upon which they lived. There was a large settlement of the Short family in Sussex County, consisting of the brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts of Allen Short. Mr. Allen Short, after his marriage, lived near his father's residence until Genesee was about three years of age. When at the age of thirty years he died, leaving his wife and five daughters, the youngest being Genesee. Mrs. Short, who was a woman of wonderful energy and industry, carried on the farm for three years, assisted by her daughters, whom she taught to knit and spin when but six years of age. Mrs. Short then married Mr. Joseph Brooks, by whom she had one son, Finley Brooks, the father of Rev. Joseph Brooks, who, a short time before his death, in 1878, was elected governor of Arkansas, but in the contest with Baxter, his opponent, as to who should be inaugurated, was forced to relinquish his office to prevent civil war.