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Davis Furnas


Transcription contributed by Martie Callihan 10 April 2005

The History of Warren County Ohio
Part V. Biographical Sketches
Wayne Township
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)


DAVIS FURNAS, farmer; P. O. Waynesville. In the settlement of Wayne Township, we find the Furnas family among the early pioneers, and we are able to trace the ancestors to one John Furnas, born at Standing Stone, Cumberland Co., England, June 5, 1736; his wife, Mary, was born in same county, Sept. 12, 1742; they were married March 24, 1762, and emigrated to South Carolina the same year; they had four sons and three daughters; Robert, next to the youngest child of John and Mary Furnas, was born at Bush River, S. C., June 27, 1772, and there grew to manhood and married Hannah Wilson, June 6, 1796; she was born in South Carolina July 28, 1778; in 1802, Mr. Furnas made a prospecting tour to Ohio, making the round trip on horseback, a great portion of which was through an unbroken forest; after examining several localities, he selected the tract of land to which, in 1803, he removed his family and commenced to open out a farm, amid all the many trials and deprivations of pioneer life of that day and locality, often compelled to subsist for days on hominy and venison, being unable to get his grain manufactured into flour and meal, the nearest, mill being thirty miles distant through the forest, the roads to which were mere paths that could only be traveled on horseback; in 1812, as there was no market nearer, he drove a large lot of hogs to Baltimore, Md.—no small undertaking; but he lived to see those vast forests give place to waving fields of grain and thriving towns; instead of the plodding ox team hauling heavy loads over the mud roads, the rushing locomotive passed his door, transporting immense trains of the products of the country to the principal markets of the world; the speedy and daily mails and the telegraph conveying news over thousands of miles with the rapidity of thought. Mr. Furnas was an earnest Christian, a devoted member of the Society of Friends; a man of undoubted integrity, of strong and superior judgment, and universally esteemed by all who knew him; he departed this life Feb. 16,1863, aged nearly 91 years; his wife died Feb. 17, 1864, aged 88 years; they had traveled the journey of life together sixty-seven years, almost "threescore and ten;" they had eleven children, of whom Seth, the last child, born in South Carolina and the father of our subject, was born March 26, 1803, being 6 weeks old when his parents started for their new home in the wilderness of Ohio; in this county, then, he was raised and brought up to manhood, inured to the sturdy influences of pioneer life; was married, Nov. 1, 1826, to Dinah, daughter of Edward and Margaret Kinley, natives of North Carolina, who emigrated to Warren County in 1801, being among the earliest of the settlers; by this union, Mr. Furnas and wife had three children—Davis, Robert and Mary, now Mrs. Mosier. Mr. Furnas, about 1836 or 1837, purchased and located upon the farm where Seth W. Furnas now lives, and there he resided till his death, Aug. 24, 1878; his wife died Aug. 5, 1880; they had traveled together and borne the hardships of life and enjoyed its pleasures for over half a century. Mr. Furnas was a firm and devoted member of the Society of Friends, and the general firmness of principles and nobleness of character which made his father pre-eminently beloved and respected seemed to be possessed by him to a high degree. Our subject, the eldest son, was born Jan. 25, 1829, and grew to manhood, and married, Sept. 1, 1852, Jane S., daughter of John and Elizabeth Satterthwaite, by whom he had six children.; five now survive—Seth, born July 1, 1853; Elizabeth, born Aug. 10, 1855.;

Anna D., Jan. 27, 1858; John D., Feb. 15, 1861; and Edwin S., born April 18, 1888. Mrs. Furnas died April 19, 1868, aged 40 years. Mr. Furnas, after his marriage, located upon the place where he now lives and has since resided; has a fine farm, with good improvements, constituting a pleasant home and residence. Mr. Furnas possesses many of the characteristics of his noble ancestors, is a man of good education and literary taste and shrewd business tact; is a friend of progress and education, and is giving great attention to the education of his children and the general welfare of his family.

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