A. E. Hough J. W. Klise.

The county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... online

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five years old. The family affiliates with the Methodist Episcopal
church, of which Mr. Fenner has been a member some years.

Thomas M. Ferguson, a veteran of the civil war, has long been
identified with the industrial, political and fraternity interests of
Paint township. His father, John Ferguson, a native of Ireland,
brought to this country by his parents when eighteen months old,
married Sarah Patton, a native of Kentucky then living in High-
land county, and subsequently settled in Clermont county, Ohio,
where he followed his trade as a carpenter and died in 1849. Two
years later his widow, with four children, came to New Petersburg
and made her home in Highland county until her death at the age
of eighty-five years. Of her ten children only two are now living,
these being the subject of this sketch and his brother, Delos S., who
resides at Leesburg, Ohio. The names of those who have died are
Jane, William W., Allen, James P., Joseph C, Samuel N., Eliza-
beth A. and Sarah. Thomas M. Ferguson was bom in Clermont
county, near Marathon, Ohio, December 16, 1836, and while



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302 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

still a boy began working out on farms by the month, giving his
scanty wages to his mother. In 1857 he came to Rainsboro and
spent a year with James Rowe learning the trade of harness-making
after which he was employed in a carriage shop four years perfect-
ing himself as a trimmer. He eventually mastered all the details
of this useful handicraft and, since 1865, his main business has been
that of carriage trimming and harness-making. October 10, 1861,
he enlisted as a private in Company D, Sixtieth regiment Ohio vol-
unteer infantry and served with it in Virginia under Fremont, tak-
ing part in the engagements at Cottontown, Harrisonburg, Cross
Keys and Harper's Ferry. At the latter place the fighting continued
from September 11, 18G2, for several days, finally ending in the
surrender of the Federal troops to the Confederate forces under
Stonewall Jackson. Mr. Ferguson and his comrades were sent to
the parole camp at Annapolis, Md., and from there to Camp Doug-
lass, where they were discharged November 10, 1862. From that
time he remained at home until June 13, 1863, when he reenlisted
as a private in Company A, Second regiment Ohio heavy artillery,
and shortly after the organization was appointed first sergeant.
This command was detailed to guard bridges and railroads from
Louisville to Bowling Green until ^lay, 1864, when it was sent to
Cleveland, Tenn., where it remained for some months and during
the time was engaged in a lively fight with Wheeler's cavalry. In
November the regiment was in an engagement at Strawberry Plains
and later took part in what was known as the Stoneman raid through
southwestern Virginia. They returned to Knoxville January 1,
1865, where they guarded government property until July, 1865,
and next month were discharged from the service at Camp Chase.
Mr. Ferguson served twelve years as constable of Paint township
and is now serving his ninth year as justice of the peace. He was
appointed postmaster at Rainsboro under Harrison's administration
to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Y. C. Miller. He is con-
nected with the Bainbridge lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, and
is a charter member of Lodge No. 452, Knights of Pythias, in which
he has held all the offices. He helped to organize Trimble post of
the Grand Army of the Republic, was its commander for eight years
and is now adjutant. In September, 1859, he was married to Rose
McKenna, by whom he has five children: Austa, wife of F. M.
Ubanks of Rainsborough ; Florence, wife of Henry Ubanks of Sink-
ing Springs ; Jennie, wife of Charles Elton, of Jefferson ville ; Will-
iam S., school teacher, and C. M., a traveling salesman.

Floyd E. Femeau, prominent among the younger farmers of
Brush Creek township, is a grandson of Henry Femeau, who was
one of the pioneers settlers of that township, and a man of note in
his day. Henry Ferneau's children were, Aaron; Mary Ann, wife



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 303

of Joseph West ; Martha, wife of Austin' Pepple ; Maria, wife of
Cyrus Franklin ; Joshua, John, Henry and Joseph F. * Joseph F.
Femeau, father of the subject of this sketch, was bom in Brush
Creek township, September 17, 1836, and was for many years one
of the prosperous farmers of the township. He married Abigail
, White, of Highland county, and their children were, Roxanna, who
died in infancy ; Henry A., Ella, Elizabeth, Floyd E. ; Myrtle, wife
of Joseph Wilson; Ada, wife of Oscar Hixon; Maude, wife of
Charles Kelly. Floyd E. Femeau was born June 7, 1868, in Brush
Creek township, and educated in the district school, and at the famous
Normal college at Valparaiso, Ind. On August 30, 1892, he was
married to Retta, daughter of Jacob and Jane Tener, of Adams
county, and they have three children: Ada B., bom December 31,
1897 ; Emmet, bom March 4, 1900 ; and Kenneth, born March 14,
1901. Mr. Femeau is the owner of land in Highland and Pike
counties aggregating 216 acres, and has proved his ability as a skill-
ful farmer and good business man. He has been honored by the
people of his township with the office of justice of the peace, and is
a member of the Masonic lodge, Xo. 196, of Bainbridge, of the Odd
Fellows lodge of Petersburg, of the Knights of Pythias, Uniformed
rank, No. 492, of Cynthiana, and of the Modern Woodmen at Sink-
ing Spring.

Joseph Wilson, a representative of Pike county in the Ohio legis-
lature in 1899, is a grandson of James 'Wilson, a native of Penn-
sylvania who settled in Highland county at an early day, and mar-
ried Sarah Horn. They had four sons and three daughters : Louis,
Joseph, James and Enos; Eliza, wife of John Parrott; Nancy, wife
of Henry Williams, and Julia, wife of Christian Hamilton. Enos,
father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Highland county,
January 2, 1819, and lived a useful and honorable life in this and
Pike counties. His wife was Amelia Femeau, of Pike county,
bom February 14, 1823, and they had four children: John, Marga-
ret, E. Fullerton, living at Boulder, Col., and Joseph Wilson. The
latter was bom in Pike county, February 2, 1866, and was educated
at the district school and the Normal college at Valparaiso, Ind.,
and at Delaware colleg"e, Ohio. His life since then has been one of
notable success as a farmer and prominence and influence in public
affairs. He is the owner of 865 acres of land in Highland ana Pike
counties, and for about twelve years has made his home near the
town of Cynthiana. He has held the offices of justice of the peace,
township trustee and others, and in 1899 was elected to the legisla-
ture. His wife is Myrtle, daughter of Joseph F. and Abigail
(White) Femeau, and they have three children. Ion, Owen, and
Margene.



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304 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

Emery L. Ferris, president of the Merchants National Bank of
Hillsboro and for more than thirty-six years prominently connected
with the monetary interests of the city, is from the great Empire
State of the east, whence have come so many men eminent in the
world of finance. He is a son of Rev. Philo and Nancy M.
(French) Ferris, and was bom in Madison county, N. Y., August
15, 1833. In youth he attended the schools at Cazenovia, in his
native county, and later accompanied his parents to Wisconsin where
the father who was a Methodist minister, had pastoral charge of
one of the churches of his denomination. In early manhood Mr.
Ferris went to Chicago and obtained a position in the money depart-
ment of the American Express company which he retained until his
removal to Hillsboro in 1865. In the spring of 1866, in partner-
ship with Judge Foreman Evans, Mr. Ferris engaged in the private
banking business in a building situated on the comer of Main and
High streets, which was successfully prosecuted for about fifteen
years. February 1, 1880, the institution was organized as The
Merchants National Bank with a capital of $100,000 and the follow-
ing officers: H. Strain, president; E. L. Ferris, cashier; A. Mat-
thews, assistant cashier. At the present time Mr. Ferris is presi-
dent and John Matthews cashier of this bank. By strict integrity,
correct business methods and financial ability Mr. Ferris has not
only benefited the institution of which he has charge but the city and
county as well, meantime gaining for himself an honorable stand-
ing in the world of finance and trade. September 15, 1868, he was
married to Sallie Matthews, a lady of distinguished ancestry on both
sides of the family. Her grandfather, Hon. John Matthews, was
not only of the earliest but one of the most useful and influential
of Highland county's original settlers. He arrived from North
Carolina in 1805 and located on Clear creek three miles northeast
of the site on which Hillsboro now stands, where his first experi-
ences Avell illustrate the trials and devices of the early pioneers. He
suspended his provisions for safety from beech limbs near the camp
while his cabin was being built in the usual crude and hasty man-
ner. In 1806, a year and a half before Hillsboro was laid out, John
Matthews taught the first school at the Sam Evans schoolhouse, two
and a half miles east of the present town. In 1807 he was elected
the first magistrate of Liberty township and eventually reached the
position of associate judge of Highland county, which he held many
years with honor to himself and was highly respected by the public.
In 182*1 he married Mary Hussey and had a family of twelve chil-
dren, several of whom rose to distinction in politics and the profes-
sions. Albert G. Matthews, one of his sons, and the father of Mrs.
Ferris, studied law and for many years was a successful practitioner
at Hillsboro, rising to the dignity of probate judge of Highland
county. He was a native of Highland county and an honored mem-



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 305

ber of the bar until his death. January 8, 1846, he married Marga-
ret J., daughter of Gen. J. J. McDowell, a Virginia gentleman of
the old school who was bom in 1800 and died in Highland county
in 1877. Judge A. G. Matthews has several living children. The
children of Mr. and Mrs. Ferris are Margaret, who resides with her
parents, and Emery L., Jr., who graduated with honor in the Harv-
ard Law School, class of 1901, and is a practicing attorney in New
York city with the firm of Anderson & Anderson.

James M. Fettro, one of the representative and prosperous farm-
ers of Liberty township, comes of patriotic pioneer ancestors whose
descendants have made the name an honorbale one throughout High-
land county. The founder of the family in Ohio was Joseph Fet-
tro (formerly spelled Fittro), who served in the war of 1812, spent
most of his life in Pennsylvania and when well advanced in years
migrated to Highland county, where he died. His son Abraham
resided in Fenn township, Jacob made his home in Paint, and Polly
married Solomon Gaines of Liberty township. John Fettro, the
eldest of his father's nine children, was bom in March, 1805, and
acquired ownership of a farm of one hundred acres about a mile east
of Hillsboro where he lived many years. He married Eebeccai
Plaint, a native of Virginia, bom in 1802, who lost both her parents
in childhood and was reared by her aunt, Mrs. Thompson. She died
in 1890, long surviving her husband, who passed away in 1872.
The children of John and Rebecca (Plaint) Fettro were Harriet,
wife of Adrian Vanpelt, of New Petersburg; Joseph, who resides
in California; Elzira, wife of William Ervin; James, further
sketched below; Sarah, wife of James Ervin of Highland county;
John, who was a soldier of the civil war and died at the age of thirty-
five years ; Rebecca, widow of Jacob Pennington and residing near
Hillsboro; Mary, who died when about twenty years old; Nancy,
wife of E. C. Camp, a major in the United States army and later
in the coal trade at Knoxville, Tenn. James M. Fettro, the fourth
of the children, was bom in Highland county, Ohio, November 19,
1834, and educated in the district schools. His first wife was Mar-
garet, daughter of Thomas and Hannah Hogsett, who were early set-
tlers of the county and progenitors of a strong family connection.
The children by this union were Laura, wife of Harley Russell, a
liveryman of Galvia, Illinois ; Anna, wife of Xewton Miller of Hills-
boro; Stella, wife of John Link, a farmer of Liberty township.
September 25, 1877^ Mr. Fettro married Lizzie, daughter of Isaac
and Sarah (Broadstone) Roads, descendants of one of the pioneer
families. Mr. Roads, father of Mrs. Fettro, formerly conducted
a tannery and leather store in Hillsboro. The only son by the sec-
ond marriage was Harry Edward Fettro, who is engaged in farm-
HвАФ 20



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306 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

ing as a partner of his father, and married Libbie E., daughter of
Charles W. and Kate (West) Hiestand. She has a twin sister, Lou
D. Hiestand; their births occurred December 28, 1881 and their
mother died in March, 1895. Lillie Edith, eldest daughter by the
second marriage of James M. Fettro, is the wife of James Hogsett,
and Nellie Marie, the youngest daughter, is attending schooL Mr.
Fettro has seventy-seven acres in his homestead on Kocky fork, which
is well equipped as to buildings, orchards and other essentials of
good husbandry, and he also owns 125 acres of land near the Brouse
diapel.

Henry Foraker, a worthy citzen of Paint township, residing one
mile northwest of Rainsboro, is a grandson of Henry Foraker,
a native of Delaware, who married Mary Taylor. Their son, Jacob
Foraker, married Tena Spargur, of a noted pioneer family of Hi^-
land county, and they had nine children : Henry, the subject of this
sketch; Susan, Mary Ann, Samantha, Margaret, James, Trimble,
Rufus, and one that died in infancy. Henry Foraker was bom
December 1, 1842, in Highland county, and reared upon the farm.
In early manhood he married Lydia, daughter of Eichard and Eliza
Cooper, of Delaware, bom December 1, 1846. They have had six
children: Gertrude, born June 12, 1866, now the wife of Gilbert
Baham, of Ross county; Joseph, bom April 28, 1868; Oliver, bom
February 3, 1870; Margaret, bom January 3, 1872; Theodosia,
bom May 20, 1874, who married Edward Gossett May 10, 1897;
and John, bom September 28, 1877. Florence O. Ogle, a grand-
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Foraker, bom March 21, 1886, has made
her home with them for a number of years. Mr. Foraker has a good
farm of about ninety acres near Rainsboro, where he makes his
home, and he is reckoned among the skillful farmers and good citi-
zens of the county. He and his wife are members of the Methodist
church at Rainsboro.

Joseph Benson Foraker was born July 5, 1846, in the county of
Highland, in a pioneer cabin about one mile north of Rainsboro.
The Foraker family came to Ohio from Virginia because of their
strong distaste for the institution of slavery. J. B. Foraker was
brought up upon his father's farm, and assisted in the work inci-
dent to rural life. Besides the cultivation of the fields there was a
grist and saw mill which demanded attention and but few idle hours
were spent by the boys on the farm. When in his sixteenth year
the civil war broke out and the patriotic impulses of young Foraker
impelled him to enlist in the Eighty-ninth Ohio regiment He was
made sergeant in August, 1862, and first lieutenant in March, 1865,
and was brevetted captain for efficient services. He was in the bat-
tles of Missionary Ridge, Kenesaw Mountain, and Lookout Moun-



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. gQT

tain, and manehed with Sherman from "Atlanta to the sea." He
was but nineteen years of age when he was mustered out of the serv-
ice, and he could look back with pride to the fact that no unsoldierly
act had cast a shade upon his record, but that step by step he had
risen from the ranks to an honored and responsible position in the
service of his country. After returning from the war he spent two
years at the Ohio Wesleyan university at Delaware, and from there
went to Cornell university, where he graduated in July, 1869. In
1879 he was elected judge of the superior court of Cincinnati, a
position he held for three years. He was nominated by the Repub-
licans in 1883 for governor, but was defeated by Judge Hoadley;
was renominated and elected in 1885 and reelected in 1887. He
was nominated for a third term in 1889, but was defeated by James
E. Campbell, of Butler county. As governor his administration
was clean and pure, brave and conscientious, and won the admira-
tion of all, without regard to paVty names and convictions. As an
orator Senator Foraker has but few equals.

"I would express him simple, grave, sincere;
In doctrine incorrupt; in language plain.
And plain in manner; decent, grave, chaste.
And natural in gesture.''

He is able to breathe into the souls of others the fire of his own cour-
age and purpose. J. B. Foraker is a political leader., a statesman
as honest as he is strong and through all the years of his political
life has had the confidence and esteem of his countrymen. In
speaking of politics and political leadership we use the term in its
broad sense, having no special reference to any one party but to the art
of government, or the science whose subject is the regulation of man,
in all his relations as a member of a state. We might define poli-
tics to be the theory and practice of obtaining the ends of civil soci-
ety as perfectly as possible. Politics is in its higher definition
statesmanship ; for by state we understand a society formed by men,
with the view of better obtaining the ends of life by a union of pow-
ers and mutual assistance. It was this great principle of mutual
relationship and aid and the security and stability of such forms of
political thoughts as would secure to all the people the highest good,
that has filled the mind and heart of the senior senator from Ohio
during all the years of his public service. While it is true that men
in high places are not free from the criticism that their greatness
provokes, the triple plate of steel that incases the person of High-
land's favorite has enabled him to resist with perfect safety the
onslaughts of his political enemies. His generous love of liberty
made him a ready and eloquent champion of the cause of Cuban
emancipation and independence, and he has the proud privilege of



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308 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

hailing another nation and race made free by his efforts, joined to
that of others, and another star, which if not added to the starry
flag he followed so gallantly in the sixties, yet a star still, shining
in the blue vault of God, harbinger of that glorious hour when all
the nations of the earth shall be free and all men everywhere be per-
mitted to have a free and untrammeled start in the race of life.

George W. Fox, one of the industrious and enterprising farmers
of Liberty township, is descended from an old Pennsylvania family
long resident in the *'City of Brotherly Love/' There dwelt Con-
rad and Charlotte Fox, who had nine children and among the num-
ber a son named Christian, born October 26, 1811, and later an emi-
grant to Ohio where he died at the age of seventy-three years. He
married Mrs. Eilzabeth (Weber) Wurtz, whose two children by her
first husband, Conrad Wurtz, were Mariah Elizabeth, at present
engaged in the dressmaking business at Dallas postoflSce, six miles
northeast of Hillsboro ; and John Jacob, who served as a soldier in
the civil war, was held in prison for some time and died in 1865 at
Hillsboro. The children of Christian and Elizal^eth (Wurtz) Fox
were Emma, a dressmaker with her half-sister at Dallas ; George W.,
further noticed below ; Caroline B., who died at the age of twenty-
eight years ; Charles M. and Charlotte M., twins ; Carrie B., deceased
wnfe of Albert Depue of Knoxville, Tenn. ; Francis A., who died
at sixteen years of age ; and Lewis A., superintendent of a lead mine
at Carthage, Mo. George W. Fox, eldest of his mother's second
family of children, was married February 28, 1890, to Emma,
daughter of Samuel and Mary (Black) Lyle, members of old and
long established Highland county families. Samuel Lyle came with
his parents to Ohio in 1815 when he was an infants His father
first bought land in Concord township, which he gave to his eldest
sons, and subsequently settled on the Rocky fork in Liberty town-
ship, about five miles east of Hillsboro. Here he died and here his
son Samuel grew to maturity and spent all the days of his life. In
1841 he married !Mary Black, of Virginia, by whom he had seven
children, including the present wife of George W. Fox. For many
years Mr. Fox has been one of the industrious and thrifty farmers
of Liberty township. He owns a small tract near the Brouse chapel,
but resides on the Spargur farm of 244 acres opposite the old Heis-
tand homestead. This place was rented by Mr. Fox about twelve
years ago and since then has been skilfully cultivated and greatly
improved under his energetic supervision.

Major Anthony Franklin, a notable Ohio pioneer, was bom in
Amherst county, Va., July 17, 1778, of a family that was honor-
ably represented among the oflScers and soldiers of the Revolution.
On account of the early death of his father he was apprenticed in



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 309

youth to the carpenter's trade, with Gen. Nathaniel Massie, and came
to Massie's frontier station, Manchester, about 1795. He also
assisted General Massie in his surveys in Ohio, and in compensa-
tion received several tracts of the wild forest land, upon one of which
he made his home, early in the last century, in Brush creek town-
ship, which he occupied for sixty years, and which after him was
owned and occupied by his son-in-law, James P. Keech. Upon
selecting this "Franklin farm" for his home, Mr. Franklin married
Polly, daughter of Captain Nelson, of Kentucky, and they began
their home in the wilderness, with George W. Barrere, at the site
of New Market, twelve miles away, as their nearest neighbor. Mr.
Franklin also kept open house for travelers on the road from Chilli-
cothe to Cincinnati, and entertained many noted men. In the mili-
tia he had the rank of major, and he was the first sheriff of High-
land county elected by the people. Of his ten children, Nelson A.
served in the legislature from Pickaway county and afterward
moved to Missouri; Maria married John W. Spargur; Joel was a
business man at Circleville, Larue, and Lincoln, Neb. ; Thomas
Wingfieldwent west and settled in Illinois; Patsey married James
P. Keech ; Polly married and went to Illinois ; Cyrus- served in Gen-
eral Morgan's regiment in the Mexican war, afterward moved to
Iowa and later to Missouri, and was a gallant cavalry officer in the
service of the Confederate States; while the youngest child, Johipt
Nelson, who also made his home in Missouri, fought for the Union,
as did also several of the grandchildren of Major Franklin.

James P. Keech, who resided for many years on the Franklin
farm, was born September 9, 1820, in Lancaster county. Pa., son of
William Keech, also a native of that state, who came west and set-
tled near Larue, Marion county, following his trade as a black-
smith, an important function in that day, until his death, which
occurred at a comparatively early age. His six children were,
James P., Mary, Ann, Jane, David H., and Margaret M. James
P. learned the trade of his father in youth, but in early manhood
was married to Martha E. ("Patsey") Franklin, as has been noted,
and they began housekeeping and farming on a tract of land belong-
ing to Major Franklin in Marion county, where they lived until
they came to the Brush creek farm in 1852. His wife, bom on this
farm July 9, 1817, and died there in November, 1894, was a most
estimable woman. She was the mother of six children; John H.,
deceased; William A. of Hillsboro, Ohio; and Cyrus F., of Lincoln,
Neb. ; James L., subject of this sketch ; Mary M., of East Monroe,
and Eobert, the latter deceased. James P. Keech is yet living, in the
latter years of a successful and honorable life. He is the owner of
over 300 acres of land, and has served several terms as township
trustee. His son, James L. Keech, was bom August 2, 1852, and
now resides upon the old homestead, or Franklin farm. He is one



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310 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

of the prominent younger men of the township, highly respected and



Online LibraryA. E. Hough J. W. KliseThe county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... → online text (page 35 of 63)