Benjamin Comly


BENJAMIN COMLY, was born on Big Short creek, Smithfield township, Jefferson county, May 9, 1827, the fourth son of David and Sarah Coml;y. The latter were married in 1821 and settled on what was known as the Jacob Holmes farm, which was obtained from the government by the latter for his services as a spy during the revolutionary war. On this site was built the first Methodist Episcopal church on this side of the Ohio river, which has always borne the name "Holmes" in honor of that distinguished patriot. When the wild game became scarce in the valley, Mr. Holmes exchanged this beautiful home for one on the Tuscawaras valley. David Comly was born in Washington county, Penn. in 1798 and died September 1866. Sarah Whinery, his wife, was born March 3, 1796 and died April 13, 1858. The Comly family moved to Ohio in 1812 and settled first at Smithfield then in the Tuscarawas valley near Leesburg. Three years later they came to Jefferson county. The Comly family came to America in the colony with William Penn. At one time Jacob Comly, an ancestor of Benjamin, advanced money to William Penn, and took for security a mortgage on lands where the city of Philadelphia now stands. Some effort, rumor says, was once made to look the title up, but the matter passed into forgetfulness. Benjamin Comly was married in 1858 to Mary E., daughter of William and Sarah E. Hope, and they have two children: Mary Eva and Anna B. Sarah E. He and family now live at Mt. Pleasant but he still owns the old Comly-Holmes homestead of 260 acres and is proud of the title of farmer, having spent the vigor of his manhood in that calling. He is now president of the board of the Mt. Pleasant high school, his associates being Dr. James V. Finley and Capt. James Thacker. Mr. Comly was appointed by William Reed to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Dr. Updegraff in 1882. The latter was the life and support of the school. As president of the board, assisted by Mr. Reed, he did valuable service. Mr. Comly served his senatorial district as member of the state board of equalization in 1878-9. He had little early schooling, but by the aid of his library, one of the best in the county, and by his contact with men in high social and business standing, he has steadily grown in intellectual strength, in influence, usefulness and honor. Mr. Comly is a member of the Masonic order and is a republican. He is a strong advocate of education, and a friend to every good enterprise. John Comly, grandfather of Benjamin, was born in 1753. His parents died during his early childhood, and he was raised by his brother-in-law, Richard Hooker. John married Hannah Vaughn, who was born in 1756 and in 1778 they moved to Washington county, Penn. and in 1812 to Smithfield, Ohio, where he died April 28, 1828. Hannah his wife, died in Washington county, Penn. in 1810. John and Hannah Comly had ten children: Sarah, who married Col. Gault, of Columbus, Ohio; Elizabeth, who married Richard Baxter, of Carrollton, Ohio; Rachel and Ellen, who married brothers of the name of Hunter, influential people of Virginia; Hannah, a lady noted for scholarly attainments and womanly worth; and James and John, who settled in Perry county, Ohio. Some of the descendants of the latter have been noted, both in politics and war. James Comly, of Columbus, cousin of Benjamin, served in the late war as general. Sarah, the mother of Benjamin, was the daughter of William and Abigail (McMillen) Whinery, of Columbiana county. Of a worthy family, she was a woman of fine education and spared no pains in the culture of her children, of whom there were six. The oldest was Dr. John Comly, of Harrisville, Ohio. The next, William and James, twins, the latter now dead. William is still living at the Davis homestead. His wife, Susan, was daughter of Josiah Glover. The only daughter, Eliza J., wife of Kenworthy Hoge, died, leaving one son, Dr. William Hoge, of Portland, Ohio. David, the youngest, lives on Short Creek. He married Anna, daughter of Charles Kinsey, of Moorefield, Ohio.

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