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Joseph Whitehill (1786-1861)


Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 29 January 2005

The History of Warren County Ohio
Part III. The History of Warren County by Josiah Morrow
Chapter VIII. The Distinguished Dead
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)
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Joseph Whitehill was born in Lancaster County, Penn., on the 30th of December, 1786. His family was of Scotch descent, but his immediate ancestors had lived for many years in Lancaster County. His father, Joseph Whitehill, removed with his family, about the year 1800, to Botetourt County, Va., and settled near Fincastle. Joseph Whitehill, the elder, died here [sic?] in the year 1808. He had been in easy circumstances, but had met with reverses, and at his death his family was slenderly provided for. The subject of this notice, then a young man of twenty-one years of age, and the oldest surviving son of the family, took upon himself the care, direction and maintenance of the family, consisting of six sisters and a younger brother. The family occupied a farm near the town of Fincastle.

During the war of 1812, Mr. Whitehill, who was a Lieutenant in a militia company raised in Botetourt County, was ordered with his company to Norfolk, Va., to assist in the resistance of a threatened attack from the British at that place. He was engaged in this service for several months, and, during a part of the time, was in command of the company, on account of the sickness and death of his Captain.

In 1815, the family determined to remove to Ohio, and accordingly, in November of that year, they left Fincastle and came to Warren County. The first winter succeeding their arrival here they spent on a farm in the neighborhood of Waynesville. In the spring of the following year, they removed to a farm near Lebanon. Some two or three years afterward, Mr. Whitehill contracted for the purchase of the farm in the vicinity of Lebanon lately owned by Jehu Mulford, and, in fact, made one or more payments for it; but, owing to the hard times following the war of 1812, he was unable to complete the payments, and was consequently compelled to give up the land, and to sacrifice what he had already paid, as well as the cost of improvements which he had made. He continued the business of farming in the vicinity of Lebanon until his removal to the town. On account of severe and long-continued attacks of rheumatism, which rendered him permanently lame, he was unable personally to work much at farming, and devoted a considerable part of his time to the employment of hauling produce and merchandise to and from Cincinnati, which, at that time, was a business of very considerable importance. In 1826,

he was elected Sheriff of Warren County, and, at the commencement of his term of office, took up his residence at Lebanon. This office he held for two consecutive terms. After the expiration of his term of office, he purchased a farm about three miles north of Lebanon, to which he removed. In 1830, he was elected a Representatvie from Warren County in the Legislature, and was re-elected to the same position in 1831, and in 1832, and again in 1834, serving in that office, in all, four years. During his last term of service in the House of Representatives, he was elected Treasurer of State, and was three times re-elected, and held this office for four consecutive terms of three years each. Upon the commencement of his term of office as Treasurer of State, he removed to Columbus, where he ever afterward resided. Mr. Whitehill was never married. His eldest sister, Jane Whitehill, who also remained unmarried, resided with him. He acquired quite a large estate, but, by the failure of several institutions in which he hai invested largely, toward the close of his life the greater part of his property was swept away. His death occurred at Columbus, Ohio, on November 4, 1861, when he had nearly completed his seventy-fifth year.

Mr. Whitehill was not a man of much knowledge of the sort that is derived from books, he having had but little time for the acquisition of that kind of knowledge in his early life, which was one of labor and activity, rendered necessary by reason of the responsibilities imposed upon him, and to which reference has been made. But he was a m»n of strong sense and sound judgment. His disposition was frank and generous, and his manners were popular. He enjoyed in an eminent degree the affection of his relatives and friends, and the respect and esteem of his acquaintances.

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This page created 29 January 2005 and last updated 15 March, 2005
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