A. E. Hough J. W. Klise.

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

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vania a family named Cloud, and James Sharp afterward met and
married their daughter Margaret, with whom he lived happily until
his death in the seventy-fourth year of his age. Of his nine chil-
dren six are living, including Daniel Sharp, who was bom in Union
township. Highland county, Ohio, February 4, 1837. He grew up
on his f ather^s farm, was trained to all kinds of work connected there-
with, and on reaching maturity, himself became a farmer and has
since continued in that occupation. He has met with his share of
success and at present owns 275 acres of good land, besides a large
stone quarry, which he had operated for thirty years. Being a good
business man and popular citizen, Mr. Sharp was twice elected to
the office of township trustee and served out both terms. In 1863
Mr. Sharp was married to Catherine, daughter of James and Mar-
garet (Mann) Bobbitt, early settlers and well-to-do people of Union
township. James Bobbitt was a miller by trade, long owned and
conducted a mill at Lynchburg, and built the one owned by Mur-
phy & Sons. He died December 26, 1896, aged seventy-eight years,
and his wife December 20th, 1893, in her eighty-fifth year. Mr.
Sharp and wife have two children, a son and daughter. Frank
married Miss Mattie McDaniel, of Highland county, and has three
children: James D., Mabel and Florence. Leora B. became the,
wife of Polk McDaniel, a merchant of Willettsville.

William Shawver, one of Perin township's substantial citizens and
mechanics, is descended from an old pioneer who settled in Highland
county before the war of 1812. The senior William Shawver was
bom in Virginia about 1793, reared by an uncle and learned the
trade of a blacksmith. Before he was twenty years old he was swept
westward by the great tide of emigration then setting in that direc-
tion, and landed in Highland county when it was just beginning to
assume something like a civilized shape. William was young, robust
and filled with the pioneer's hopefulness, so he set manfully to work
and did his share towards converting the w^ildemess. He married
Margaret, daughter of William and Sarah (Ruble) Brooking, who
were also Virginians, and in the course of years added to the rising
generation the following large family of children : Sarah, wife of



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476 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

Harvey Baker of Dodsonville ; Vincent, carried off by cholera at the
age of twenty; Mary, wife of Jasper Wasson (deceased) ; Rebecca,
wife of Charles Shaffer, of Midland City ; Xancy, who married John
Clark, of Cincinnati, and died in Missouri; Eliza, widow of Jere-
miah Moler, now at Independence, Iowa ; Margaret, widow of John
Stroup, of Clermont county; Peter, who died at the age of thirty-
five; Charles, died in youth; William, sketched further below;
George, a farmer of Kansas ; Alsada, widow and second wife of Jas-
per Wasson ; Lucinda died at the age of twenty, and Evaline died
after arriving at maturity; William Shawver, tenth of the children
in age, was bom in Highland county, Ohio, July 5, 1839, received
the ordinary schooling, and after he grew up learned the carpenter's
trade. In February, 1865, he volunteered as a recruit in the One
Hundred and Eighty-fifth regiment, Ohio vohmteer infantry, and
was later transferred to the One Hundred and Ninety-second regi-
ment, of which he was a member when the war closed. While at
Camp Chase he contracted the measles and was for a long time in
hospital there and at Camp Dennison. His brother Peter was also
in the service. After his return home from the army, Mr. Shawver
resumed work and for the last twenty years has been engaged in car-
pentering. He has a comfortable home on the Careytown and Xew
Vienna pike about midway between these towns in Penn township.
Highland county. He married Mary A., daughter of Thornton
West, a native of Wales, who came to Clermont county at an early
day. The latter was married in DeWitt county, Hlinois, to Julia M.
Williams, who was brought there by her parents from Kentucky.
William and Mary (West) Shawver have six living children, of
whom the eldest is William Harvey, telegraph operator and carpen-
ter at Madisonville, near Cincinnati; he married Nettie, daughter
of Squire Riley of Blanchester, and his children are Hazel, Harry,
William Morris and Harold. Oscar A., second son of William
Shaw\^er, married Ida, daughter of Frank Hampton of Madison-
ville, and is connected with the car shops at that place. Delia May,
eldest daughter of Mr. Shawver, married Charles Stout of Lima,
and is the mother of Leora May, Oscar C, Carl, Bryan and Everett.
Iva Lou Shawver married G-. W. Osborne, a traveling salesman of
Washington Court House. Altha B. married Albert Lytle, a black-
smith at Highland, and her children are Lizzie, Ray, Ruth, Leonard,
and Floyd. Bertha E. died in infancy. Mary, wife of Charles
Smith, resides with her father. Quinnetta, the second-born child,
died in infancy. Mrs. Mary Shawver, the mother of these children,
died February 14, 1901.

Jacob P. Shivers, formerly a merchant and postmaster at Ifew
Petersburg, and now engaged in farming near that place, was bom
August 26, 1869, son of Robert E. Shivers, a native of Virginia.



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 4^7

The latter came to Highland county in his youth, before the war of
the rebellion, in which he served as a soldier of the Union, in the
Eighty-ninth regiment Ohio infantry, for two years from 1861, retir-
ing from the service on account of disabilities incurred in the cam-
paigns for the preservation of the nation. In June, 1865, Eobert E.
Shivers married Ruth B., daughter of Jacob Pearce, one of a noted
early family in Highland county. Her mother's maiden name was
Jane Brown. To them were bom the subject of this sketch ; Carl F.
Shivers, living at Xew Petersburg; Jennie M., deceased; Leora G.,
wife of Kichard Harrington, farming at Rainsboro ; Sarah M., wife
of S. P. Blaser, a farmer near New Petersburg; Robert E., living at
home ; Lillie May, wife of Ernest Perie, a farmer near Xew Peters-
burg; Bessie C, Ruth Ann and William. Jacob P. Shivers was
married June 19, 1895, to Emma Elizabeth Montgomery. She is
a daughter of John W. and Sarah E. (Wolfe) Montgomery, and her
father is a son of Thomas Montgomery and his wife Hannah Spar-
gur, both members of pioneer families for many years prominent in
the county. Mrs. Shivers' brothers and sisters are: Emma Eliza-
beth, Vernon O., Clarence R., George W., Essie M., Frederick N.
and Cecil L. Mr. and Mrs. Shivers are leaders among the younger
people of the township, and everywhere held in high esteem. Two
children have been bom to them: Leslie H., March 23, 1896, and
Hazel M., July 10, 1898.

Isaac N. Smith, M. D., one of the progressive citizens of Green-
field, Ohio, has long been identified with the professional life and
business development of that place and of western Ross county.
Though a native of Fayette county, he was educated in Greenfield
and there spent his boyhood and early manhood. His father, Will-
iam Smith, now a venerable man more than eighty-six years old, goes
back in recollection to almost to the very beginning of Highland
<»unty. His birth took place in Greenfield, July 17, 1815, or about
ten years after the county was created by act of the legislature. Of
later years he has made his home in Greenfield. Isaac N. Smith,
after receiving such literary education as the common schools
afforded, attended the South Salem academy, and later matriculated
at the Medical college of Ohio and devoted himself assiduously to
preparation for his chosen profession. In 1874 he finished the
course at that excellent institution and was graduated with the d^^ee
of M. D. From that date up to the present time, with the exception
of one year. Dr. Smith has been in continuous practice at Greenfield.
From tiiat point he is called in the line of his professional duties to
attend patients over a wide area of territory in the adjoining coun-
ties of Ross, Fayette and Highland. He is also special examiner for
the Phoenix life insurance company of Xew York. But it is not
simply as a physician that Dr. Smith has been an integral feature of



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478 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

Greenfield's life. He has been identified more or less directly with
all the enterprises calculated to advance the development of the com-
munity. He is a stockholder in the Home Telephone company,
whose organization was a distinct gain to the business and social life
of the city. Dr. Smith has been a member of the first Presbyterian
church for over thirty-seven years, having attached himself to that
organization in 1864.

Anthony Sonner, notable among the pioneers of Highland county,
and a soldier in the Ilevohitionary war, was a native of Virginia,
where he married Elizabeth, daughter of George A. Geeting, one of
the early bishops of the United Brethren church. They resided in
the Shenandoah valley before coming to Ohio, and had six children —
George, William, David, Jacob, Ann and Sarah — ^with whom they
came we^t and settled in the northeastern part of White Oak town-
ship, on White Oak creek. Anthony Sonner and his sons built the
first substantial grist mill in Highland county, at their place of resi-
dence, which was known for many years as Sonner's mill, and was
one of the widely known land marks of the county in early days.
Anthony and his wife were the moving spirits in the organization of
the United Brethren church in the county, and both lived long and
useful lives, he passing aAvay at the age of eighty-two years, and she
at eighty, mourned by their children and grandchildren and many
friends.

Jacob Sonner, a younger son of Anthony and Klizabeth Sonner,
was a miller by trade, and carrieil on the Sonner mill for many years.
He was bom in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia, came to High-
land county with his parents, and was one of the prominent men
among the early settlers. He was fairly successful in business,
owned a farm of three hundred acres besides the mill property ; was
honored with several township offices, and was an active member of
the United Brethren church. He died at the age of seventy-five
years and his wife at sixty-eight. The latter was Christina Ambrose,
a native of Virginia, and the mother of eight children: William
Sonner, now a prominent resident of White Oak township; George,
deceased ; John Anthony, in Hlinois ; Matthias, in Missouri ; Isaac,
of Salem; Anthony, in Hlinois; Elizabeth, deceased, and Rachel, in
Illinois.

William Sonner was bom April 8, 1823, on the farm now owned
by William Workman, in White Oak township, and remained at his
father's home until early manhood, when he married Priscilla Robin-
son, a native of Ross county, and began housekeeping on the old
home farm. Later he removed to Indiana with his family and
remained there four years, but then returned to White Oak township
and bought a farm. Since then he has increased his land holdings
to 294 acres and has prospered as a farmer and stock raiser. He is



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 479

a member of the Christian church and an active Eepublican in poli-
tics. His seven children are: Minott, a resident of Taylorsville ;
Charles, deceased ; Sarah, Avif e of John Davidson, of Concord town-
ship ; William, of White Oak township ; Melissa and James, at home,
and John, deceased.

ilinott E. Sonner, grandson of Jacob Sonner, and son of William,
was bom on the farm now owned by A. J. Fender, in White Oak
township, December 30, 1865, and was educated in the district school
and the Hillsboro high school. The excellent education thus obtained
enabled him to teach school with much success for eight years in
early manhood. He married Mary E. Hatcher, a native of the same
township, and daughter of R. J. and Rachel Hatcher, and they lived
for three years on the Hatcher farm, after which they removed to
Taylorsville, where they still live, with one child, Floyd H. Mr.
Sonner, in 1895, purchased of E. L. Ruble, a general store at Tay-
lorsville, which he has since managed with much success, dealing
also in farm implements and machinery, and owning a small farm.
He was appointed postmaster at his town in 1896, and he still holds
this position. In politics he is a Republican, and in religious affairs
he is a member of the Christian church.

George Sonner, the eldest son of Anthony Sonner, was bom Jan-
uary 1, 1804, and married Hannah Caley, daughter of Frederick
Caley. They began housekeeping on the farm where their son,
Greorge, now lives. He was an intelligent, industrious and success-
ful farmer, owning 175 acres of land, which he cleared and put in
good condition. His death occurred at the age of sixty-two years,
while his wife survived to be seventy-two. Their children were
four in number, of whom Cynthiana, Samuel and Mary Jane are
deceased, and George, a well-known citizen of AVhite Oak township,
is the only survivor.

George Sonner, the younger, was bom where he now lives, August
26, 1848, was educated in the district school, and in early manhood
married Edna, daughter of John M. Dorman, of Highland county.
He is the owner of seventy-five acres of w^ell-improved land, and he
is engaged in the management of this, and is one of the busy men of
the township. He is a member of the United Brethren church, a
Republican in politics, and highly regarded by his neighbors. Mr.
Sonner and wife have two children, both living at home, Berger C.
and James L. The former is engaged in operating various kinds of
steam farm machinery. The latter is a teacher in the public schools
of Highland county, having secured his first certificate when he was
seventeen years old.

Lewis J. Sonner, tile manufacturer and enterprising citizen of
Hamer township, is a grandson of Jacob Sonner, who, as has been



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480 '^^-^ COUNTY OP HIGHLAND.

mentioned, built the first gristmill in the township, it being located
on White Oak and put up about the time the old Gossett mill was
erected on the same stream in the south part of New Market He
married Tena Cailey and had eight children. Isaac Sonner, sixth
of these children, was born in White Oak township about 1839, and
as he grew up was instructed by his father in the milling business.
In early manhood he married Isabelle, daughter of Philip Gibler of
Highland oounty, and located in White Oak township, where he was
engaged in the mill until a few years ago. He then changed his
occupation to that of farming and has since followed that business
in Hamer township. His six living children are Ellen, wife of
John Bell of New Market township; Edward, of Salem township;
the subject of this sketch; Jessie, of Delawaiie county; Philip, of
Wisconsin; and Carrie at home. Annie, the youngest child, has
passed away. Lewis J. Sonner, second of the children in age, was
bom in White Oak township. Highland county, Ohio, September 5,
1863, and upon reaching manhood engaged in the threshing busi-
ness, which he followed about eleven years while living in New Mar-
ket towTiship. Subsequently he located at Winkle postoflSce and
embarked in the sawmill business, which he continued about five
years and disposed of his interests. His next venture was as a
manufacturer of tile, in which line he met with success, using the
latest improved machinery and doing a good business with the neigh-
boring farmers. His dwelling and barn were built with all the
modem improvements and are among the best in the township. As
a business man he is enterprising and resourceful, full of energy and
push and an advocate of progress and development In the spring
of 1902 he was elected assessor of Hamer township on the Republi-
can ticket^ and his popularity is attested by the fact that though the
township is usually overwhelmingly Democratic, he received a plur-
ality of twenty votes. He is a member of East Danville lodge, Xo.
844, order of Odd Fellows, and one of the most popular men in the
fraternity. In early manhood he was married to Mattie E., daugh-
ter of Jackson and Narcissus Walker, of Highland county, W whom
he has three living children : Warren, Cordie and Glenn. Two died
in infancy.

Joseph W. Spargur, a noted pioneer of Highland county, was bom
in Surrey county, X. C, March 1, 1781, son of John W. and Chris-
tina Spargur, and was there married to Rachel, daughter of Bowater
and Phoebe (Sumner) Burrows. In the year 1804 Joseph W. tad
his family, and his brother Reuben, came to Highland county, and
settled on Fall creek, a mile west of the site of Xew Petersburg, and
in what is now Paint township. After some years spent in clearing
their farms, they built in 1810 a grist mill on Fall creek, which is
now owned and operated by Milton Worley, who has recently remod-



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 481

eled it. In 1815 the brothers sold their mill and lands and Eeuben
returned to Xorth Carolina, while Joseph packed his goods and
moved, cutting a road through the forest as he went, to the Rocky
fork of Paint creek. There, in partnership with David Eeese, he
bought several thousand acres of wild land, built a log house and
within a year built a log dam across the creek, and began the erec-
tion of a saw mill, grist mill, wool-carding and fulling mills, which
he successfully operated for a few years, a period during which the
country was rapidly taken up by new settlers. He also built him
a substantial brick dwelling house, which is yet in use. Then he
encountered disaster. Having gone to Pittsburg, with a lot of flour
and other supplies that he had hauled to the Ohio river from the
mills, he made what seemed a satisfactory sale on sixty days' time,
but was annoyed by a dream that his mills had been washed away
and John, his oldest son, drowned. On reaching Portsmouth he
received confirmation of the dream, that a flood in the creek had
swept away his dam and wrecked his mills, but when he got to Sink-
ing Spring he was told the glad news that his son was not drowned.
Still later he received advices that the firm to which he had sold his
goods had become bankrupt, so that the old saying was verified that
disasters never come singly. Within two years, however, this ener-
getic pioneer had built the new mills that are yet in operation, and
he replaced the old dam with a permanent stone structure. By his
first wife, Rachel, he was the father of ten children. After she died,
in 1823, he married, in 1824, Abigail Moore, and they had eight
children. All of the children were reared to manhood and woman-
hood. Mr. Spargur died March 6, 1845, and his second wife sur-
vived to January 23, 1886. About the year 1856 several of his chil-
dren and their families emigrated to Iowa, and others have gone
west from time to time, so that the family is represented in nearly
every state west of Pennsylvania, while collateral branches from
Xorth Carolina are found throughout the south and southwest

Philip Spargur, a brother of »Toseph, came from ^N'orth Carolina
in 1809, and settled on a large tract of land near the present site of
New Petersburg, with his wife and ten children. In 1833 another
brother, Henry, and family, and with them, the father, John W.
Spargur, came and settled near Spargur's mills, where the father
died in a few years, and was interred in the Quaker cemetery in
Paint township. Henry had twelve children, making forty children
in all for the three brothers. In 1846 two sons of Joseph Spargur,
Joseph, Jr., and Allen, bought of the administrator of their father's
estate several hundred acres of land, including the mill privileges.
Subsequently a division was made, and Allen took part of the lands
and the mill, which he operated until his death, February 4, 1864.
Allen was bom October 20, 1815, and was married in 1839 to Eliza-
H-31



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482 THE COUNTY OF HIGHLAND.

beth (daughter of John Wade), who is yet living in Rainsboro at
the age of eighty-two years. Nine children were bom to them, of
whom five grew up — Mary A., wife of Elisha Beaver, living on a
farm near Kainsboro, mth four sons and two daughters living;
Henry W., a lumber dealer at Bainb ridge, who married Elizabeth
Kerns, and has four children: John S., a merchant, who married
Anna Murdock, and has four daughters living; Marnida E., wife of
E. F. Lucas, a farmer of Marshall township, who has two children ;
and Joseph A. W. Spargur, a prominent citizen of Brush Creek
township.

Joseph A. W. Spargur was bom June 9, 1844, was educated in
the district school, and in youth taught school in Iowa. At twenty-
one he leased the Spargur mills, operated them two and a half years ;
then was a retail merchant in New Petersburg for three years ; next
was a commercial traveler for two years. Leasing the Spargur mills
again in 1875, he bought out the interest of the heirs in 1884, put
in the roller system, and since then has maintained the mill, with
constant improvement, as one of the best in the county. This his-
toric mill is now in the hands of the third generation of the family.
Mr. Spargur was married October 19, 1869, to Clara C, daughter
of Dr. A. A. and Ruth A. (Pearce) Murdock of Xew Petersburg.
She is a granddaughter of James and Susannah Murdock, pioneers of
Paint township, and Benjamin and Catherine Pearce, very early
settlers of this community. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Spargur
are Olive M., bom in 1872, who was educated in the common schools
and the female academy at Hillsboro, taught school two terms, and
in 1892 married J. W. Watts (son of State* Senator Watts, and
grandson of Thomas Watts, who was an Ohio pioneer from Vir-
ginia), who is an attorney at Hillsboro; Ernest^ bom in 1875, a grad-
uate of the N'orthwestem Ohio university at Ada, and bookkeeper in
the Farmers' and Traders bank at Hillsboro; Leon, bom in 1877,
and educated at the university at Ada, and now assisting in the man-
agement of the Spargur mills ; Bessie A., a graduate of the Hills-
boro high school; Boy, bom in 1881, educated at the Hillsboro high
school and a machinist at Springfield; and Herbert, bom in 1884,
now taking a three years' course at the Ohio Normal university at
Ada.

On August 19, 1875, the heads of the Spargur families of the
county held a reunion and dinner at Kedkey's grove near Rainsboro,
with such success that a meeting was set for the next year at about
the same date. This was attended by more than a thousand of the
Spargur family and their friends, and the reunion, which has ever
since been had annually, speedily became one of the most popular
events in the county. A speaker's stand was erected, at which many
prominent men have been heard, with music for the entertainment
of the gathering. During the last twenty-four years it is estimated



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 483

that the annual attendance has been as large as five or six thousand
people, who meet for the quiet and whole-souled enjoyment of fra-
ternal relations.

Berry W. Spargur, of Paint township, a successful farmer and
worthy citizen, is a grandson of the pioneer, Joseph W. Spargur,
mentioned on preceding pages. His father, James Spargur, bom
March 31, 1827, was the son of Joseph W. Spargur by his second
marriage to Abigail Moore, who was born January 15, 1807, died
January 23, 1886. James married Elizabeth, daughter of Berry
Smith. Her father came to Highland county from Henry county,
Va., in 1807, being at the time but a youth, and in 1820 married
Isa Beavers, daughter of Thomas Beavers, another Virginian pio-
neer. By a second marriage, to Rebecca, daughter of Greorge W.
Butler, James Spargur had several children: Flora and George,
who died about thirty years of age ; Maggie, wife of J. J. Hughes ;
■Amanda, wife of Henry Copeland ; Fannie, widow of Werter Eitr
tenhouse ; Olive, wife of Sylvanus Boss ; James, of Paint township,
and Charles (deceased), and Rosa. Berry W. Spargur, son of
James and Elizabeth, was bom December 25, 1850, on the farm
where he now resides. He received a good education, and was
engaged for three years in teaching school. Since then he has given
all his time to farming, in which his industry and good judgment
have been rewarded with a gratifying d^ree of remuneration. He
bought his present farm of 180 acres, three miles south of Rains-
boro, in 1876, and has recently built a handsome home. His farm
is a model one, and very productive of grain and livestock, and a
good young orchard is coming into bearing. In June, 1888, he was
married to Flora Countryman, daughter of William and Mary
(Stultz) Countryman, and of one of the old and influential families



Online LibraryA. E. Hough J. W. KliseThe county of Highland: a history of Highland County, Ohio, from the ... → online text (page 56 of 63)