Nelson Wiley Evans.

A history of Adams County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time, including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the country's growth .. online

. (page 102 of 120)
Online LibraryNelson Wiley EvansA history of Adams County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time, including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the country's growth .. → online text (page 102 of 120)
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death. He conducted his farm from 1872 until 1884. In the latter



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 797

year his health g^ave way and he was unable thereafter to farm or attend
to any active business. From that time until his death on September
2, 1893, he was an invalid. He died of pulmonary consumption brought
on by the hardships and exposures of his service in the Civil War. His
life was undoubtedly shortened many years on account of his army serv-
ice, and of him it may be truly said his life was a sacrifice to his country.
Captain Murphy was a large man of powerful physique and commanding
presence. His personal appearance would attract attention anywhere.
He was of a pleasant and courteous disposition and very well liked by
his neighbors. In his own business he was a good manager and he
v/as a forceful man in the community. He was a Whig and a Repub-
lican. At one time he was a Trustee of his Township. He was a
candidate for County Treasurer on the Republican Ticket, in 1869, but
was defeated. He was a member of the Masonic order and was always
a good citizen. His widow still survives. His eldest daughter, Sarah
Ann, is the wife of Dr. James S. Berry, of Peebles. His second daughter,
Mary A., is the wife of William Custer, of Peebles. His son, John
Andrew, is at home with his mother. His son, Canova Vandexter,
resides in Clinton County and is a farmer. His son. George Washing-
ton, lives on the home farm north of Locust Grove. His son, William
David, is a physician in Fayette, Fulton County, Ohio.

John William Morrison.

His birth was November 12, 1853. He was the son of James Mor-
rison and Mary J. Cobler. his wife. His grandfather, William Mor-
rison, married a daughter of Ralph Peterson. Our subject was educated
in the common schools and was a farmer all his life. His father was a
member of Company K.. i8rst O. V. I. He enlisted October 7, 1864,
and died March 16. 1865, while home on furlough, from the results of
the service, when his son, our subject, was but twelve years of age. He
was left the eldest of seven children, with his widowed mother, to face
the world and hold the family together, and right nobly did he bear his
burden. These children ranged from twelve to one year of age, three
brothers and three sisters, whose care, support and education devolved
almost wholly on him. That they have taken their places in the world
in honorable positions is largely due to the example and force of char-
acter of their elder brother.

Our subject was married October 29, 1884, to Miss Margaret E.
Carson, daughter of James Carson and Eleanor Greathouse, his wife,
a woman of a most lovely and lovable disposition. The marriage was
a very happy one. He and his wife located near Peebles. His domestic
happiness was not, however, to last long. In June, 1896, he was taken
with a catarrh of the bowels and the disease steadily progressed till the
sixth of July, 1897, when he passed from Earth to Heaven.

During the thirteen years of his married life he was blessed with
four children ; two of these died in infancy and twb, a daughter, Mary
Ellen, and a son, Alfred Alonzo, survive.

In his political views he was a Democrat. He was not a member
of any fraternal organization. He was a member of the Chrisian Dis-
ciple Church and lived up to its teachings. In all his tastes he was



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798 HISTORY OP ADAMS COUNTY

domestic. He felt that he belonged to his wife and children as well as
they to him, and for this reason was not a fraternity man. He believed
in doing the duty nearest to him and pursued it. Dying in the prime
and high noon of life, he was not permitted to demonstrate what his
energies, his mind and heart could accomplish, but his career to its
ending gave promise of a life full of usefulness and honor. He was
reserved in his intercourse with his fellows, unassuming and even tem-
pered. He was honoraWe, just and obliging. He was most sym-
pathetic with those in sickness or affliction, and they could and did most
gratefully appreciate his ministrations.

He left a record of human sympathy, of religious feeling and ex-
perience, of affection in his family and among his friends, of industry,
economy, which will yield a sweet smelling incense so long as it shall
remain. He did not live in vain and his memory is a benediction
speaking blessed words to those who feel his loss.

Henry F. MoGovney.

Henry Francis McGovney was, for twenty years, a prominent char-
acter and moving spirit in the fierce political contests for which Adams
County is conspicuously notorious. He was a Democrat of the Jack-
son school. He believed in the principles and party doctrines as laid
down and exemplified by that saint of Democracy, and by his works he
proved his faith. The death of Henry F. McGovney lost to the Democ-
racy of Adams County a faithful adherent and one of its safest coun-
sellors. He served his party as a soldier in the rank and file as faith-
fully as when a leader of its hosts. He gave to it, in financial support,
more than he ever heceived from it. His party adherence sprang from
love of principle, not from hope of gain. His party elected him Sheriff
of Adams County in 1879, and again in 1882. In 1891, he received the
nomination for the office of County Treasurer, but was defeated with
others on the ticket through the efforts of the Populists, a i>oHtical
organization which drew largely from the Democratic party in Adams
County. In 1893, he was endorsed by Senator Calvin S. Brice for the
United States Marshalship for the Southern District of Ohio, but through
the efforts of Ex. Gov. James E. Campbell, chiefly, it is said, betweeti
whom and leaders of Democracy in Adams County there existed great
political animosity. President Cleveland was persuaded to ignore Sen-
ator Brice's recommendation, and he appointed another instead.

Henry F. McGovney was above the average in stature, of good per-
sonal appearance, had an open, pleasing countenance, and was social and
kind in his intercourse with friends and acquaintances.

Quiet and unobtrusive in his relations with men, yet he had courage
when aroused such as made him no mean antagonist. An only son,
reared to years beyond man's estate imder the guidance of a loving but
judicious father, surrounded with the comforts, but free from the foibles
of life, he began his career as farmer, merchant, and politician, evenly
poised and well equipped for the work which afterwards distinguished
him in those respective spheres. He was the son of Scott McGovney and
Hannah Fear, and was horn and reared on the old homestead on Brush
Creek in Jefferson Township, near the Osman bridge. He received the
rudiments of an English education in the county schools of that vicinity.



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 799

In his twenty-seventh year, he married Sophia Phillips, a daughter
of Henry Phillips, at the lime one of the largest landholders in Adams
County. She died in October, 1896, and her loss saddened the remainder
of his life. He had no children. He was prominent in Masonic circles
and had served as Master of West Union Lodge, F & A. M., and was
at the time of his death a member of Calvary Commandery, at Portsmouth,
Ohio.

On Thursday, December i, 1898, he died at the Good Samaritan
Hospital in Cincinnati, from the effects of an operation performed there
for cancer of the stomach. His remains were brought to his home in
^yest Union and interred in the new Old Fellows Cemetery. He was in
his forty-eighth year at the time of his death, having been bom February
10, 1850.

Oeorse 8. MoCom&iok.

George S. McCormick was born March 2*j, 1822, near Steam Furnace,
in Adams County. His father, James McCormick, was a native of Penn-
sylvania, and his mother, whose maiden name was Hannah Hawk, was a
Virginian. They were married in Pennsylvania, and very soon thereafter
loaded their household goods upon a flatboat at Pittsburg and floated
down the Ohio, landing at some point near Wrightsville in the year 1808

James McCormick was a collier and molder, and soon found employ-
ment among the furnaces which were then the principal industry in Adams
County. He made his permanent home near Old Steam Furnace, where
the subject of this sketch was bom, never leaving the county except during
the War of 1812, when he served with Gen. Wm. H. Harrison at Fort
Wayne.

To him and his wife were born nine children, in the order named:
Mrs. Jane Page, Mrs. Elizabeth Freeman, Mrs. Mary Wamsley, William,
James, Charles, Mrs. Hannah Mitchell and George. Of these only Mrs.
Margaret Freeman is living at this time ( 1898).

James McCormick was a man of magnificent physique, broad-chested,
strong of limb and active. He had a firm set jaw, with a double row of
teeth above and below, and soon became known as ^'Uurr'' McCormick,
a name given him because of the fact that his hair, which was usually
cropped close, stuck straight out. and was of a reddish hue, about the
color of a ripened chestnut burr.

His advent among the fumace men of course created considerable
speculation as to whether or not he was what they termed a "good man."
He had hardly taken his place in the foundry before he was challenged
by the **bully" of the furnace to a test at fisticuffs. McCormick was a
strict Presbyterian, and did not believe in fighting, but when it come to
a question of whether he should fight or be whipped, he chose the former,
and soon made short work of his adversary.

This established his reputation at that fumace, but it did not end
his troubles. Knowledge of his ability soon sped to rival fumaces, each
of whom boasted their best man, and since he would not leave his home,
pilgrimages w^re made to the furnace in which he found employment in
order that he might be challenged, and the question of which had the
best **bullv" be thus settled. It is said that he never met defeat. He was



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800 HISTORY OP ADAMS COUNTY

regarded a strong man, not only physically, but mentally and morally, and
many of his good qualities were inherited by the subject of this sketch.

In the early days of Adams County the opportunities of securing
even a common school education were very meager. Three months of the
year, George Smedley McCormick walked miles through mud and rain
to the little log school house, for it was only in the dead of Winter, when
all labor was at a standstill, that time could be given to the development
of the mind. By sturdy perseverance and close application, at the age of
eighteen, he found himself competent to teach, and took charge of his first
school on the West Fork of Scioto Brush Creek. He followed this pro-
fession for six years, teaching in both Adams and Scioto Counties. One
of his first schools was in Nile Township, Scioto County, and the building
is still standing. It is a log structure about fifteen by twenty feet, with
one log left out of the side for a window. This crevice w^as closed by
means of window glass and greased paper. Just under it, running the
entire length of the building, was a desk, called the writing desk, at which
the entire school were obliged to seat themselves when taking instructions
in that branch. *

His salary was seldom more than $12.50 per month, from which he
saved until he was enabled to attend through two terms of the Ohio
Wesleyan University, then in its infancy. He was a man of frugal habits,
and of good business judgment. He never speculated, but was content
to see his worldly store increase through the legitimate profit of trade. The
first piece of money he ever earned was a **fi' penny bit," which he received
from his brother-in-law, ]Moses Freeman, for ploughing corn one day on
hillside ground prolific of stones and roots. As the value of the coin was
but six and one-fourth cents, the reader will understand how well it was
earned. With characteristic thrift he placed this money at interest, an
elder brother being the borrower, and to the latter's surprise on the day of
settlement the piece had doubled itself.

He began his career as a merchant in 1846 at the little village of
Commercial, ane mile and a half below Buena Vista and just within the
borders of Adams County. His capital consisted of one hundred and fifty
dollars, saved from his earnings as a school teacher, and five hundred
dollars borrowed from his brother-in-law, the Rev. Jesse Wamsley, of
"Bill Town,'' now Wamsleysville.

In 1848, he built for Mr. Wamsley the first house erected in Buena
Vista, after it was platted as a town, and placed in it the first stock of
goods ever sold in that village. The site selected was the spot on which
stands the family residence, in which he passed his last days. This house
came into his possession about ten years before his death, though removed
to another site, and is still in use for residence purposes.

In the Spring of 1850, he removed to Rome, this county, where he
conducted a successful business for nine years. His health becoming im-
paired, he purchased a farm in Nile Township, Scioto County, to which
place he removed his family in 1859. In '62 and '63, he was engaged in
merchandising for the second time in Rome, having for a partner George
Laflferty, during which time his family remained on the farm.

After five years spent in farming he removed to Portsmouth in 1868,
where he engaged in the grocery business. In 1870, he returned to his



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 801

farm, and in 1875 the second time went to Buena Vista, where he remained
constantly engaged in business until within a year of his death.

He began life with empty hands, a strong will and a clear intellect,
and succeeded in leaving behind him ample provision for the wants of
those nearest and dearest to him. He loved an honest man, and if there
be added to his honesty intelligence, he always strove to make of such an
one a friend. It was an impossibility for him to be anything but charitable,
and the readiness with which he forgave those who dealt with him un-
justly was often a source of annoyance to his friends and business as-
sociates. This forgiving spirit cost him many a dollar, but amply were
he and his frends repaid when, during his last illness, he rejoiced that he
could leave the world bearing malice towards no man.

He was a man of many strong friendships, and especially did he like
at all times the company of the young.

In those early days Masonry meant much, and he took a very great
interest in the work, being at one time an officer in the lodge at West
Union, although he lived as far away as Rome. He was also an Odd Fel-
low, and a member of the Methodist Church. In politics, he was an en-
thusiastic Democrat but was broadminded enough to recognize merit in
any party and often voted for those of opposite party affiliations. He held
a nimibcr of Township offices as a matter of duty imposed by good citizen-
ship, but declined many honors proffered by his party which would have
carried him into the arena of active party politics.

He was married in 1847 ^^ Nancy Fleak, of Cincinnati. Seven chil-
dren were born to them, only two of whom are now living. Charles A., a
merchant at Bucna \'ista, and A. F. McCorniick. an attorney at Ports-
mouth. Ohio.

Crookett MoGovney

was born June 19. 1823. in Liberty Township, Adams County. Ohio. His
father was Thomas McGovney and his mother's maiden name was Jane
Graham. He attended the common schools in Liberty Township, and near
his uncle, John Graham, on Ohio Brush Creek. He also took a course
of bookkeeping at West Union. His wife was Sarah Holmes, the daugh-
ter of Thomas Holmes. She was born November 28, 1824. They were
married December 20. 1849. Directly after his marriage, he and his wife
went to Olive Furnace in Lawrence County, where he was the furnace
storekeeper for two years. From 1851 to 1854, he was storekeeper for
Robert Scott & Company at Mt. Vernon Furnace in Lawrence County.
In September, 1854, he made what now appears as a business mistake.
He left the furnace region and returned to Adams County. He went into
the dry goods business at Bentonville, but only remained in it for six
months. At the end of that time, he built the flour mill in Bentonville in
connection with Thomas Fpster. He remained in this business until the
Spring of 1857, when he sold out and went to Missouri. By August, 1857,
he tired of that experiment and returned to Adams County. He estab-
lished a dry goods business at North Liberty and continued in it six
months, when he sold out to William L. McVey. He bought the flour
mill at the same place and operated it until August, 1858, when he sold
out. He removed to Manchester and bought the flour mill on Front
51a



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802 mSTORY OP ADAMS CJOUNTY

Street. He conducted this business and a coal yard in connection with it
until March, 1866, when he disposed of it.

In 1863, he, David McConaughy and George S. Kirker, went into the
pork packing business as Kirker, McGovney & Company. It proved dis-
astrous and he sunk $4,000. From 1866 to 1872, he and William Hender-
son, his son-in-law, conducted the dry goods business at Manchester. In
1872. he went into the planing mill business in Manchester and continued
it until his death. This business was quite profitable and successful. He
had two children, a son and daughter. His son, Lafayette, is a farmer
near Aberdeen. His daughter, Caroline, was married to William Hender-
son,. November 16, 1868.

Mr.McGovney had a natural taste and aptitude for business. He
would have had success in any business he undertook unless he labored
against conditions he could not control. Had he remained in the furnace
region, he would have been one of the principal iron masters of the dis-
trict. He succeeded in everything he undertook but pork packing, and
would have succeeded in that were it not he was subject to conditions he
could not control. The chief features of his character were industry and
energy. When in a given situation where others were ready to g^ve up
and die, he began to work. He was always cheerful. While he was losing
money m the pork packing business, he never ccmiplained. He worked for
years under a business adversity which would have discouraged most
men and soured them. He gave no outward sign of his losses, but went
right along, just as agreeable to the public as though he were making
money. He carried a mountain of debt and paid it off, principal and in-
terest. While he lost money in the pork packing business, he made it
back in the. furniture business.

In politics, he was a Democrat and acted with that party until the
second election of President Lincoln, when he became a Republican and
remained such all his life. He was a very strong Union man and loyal
to the Government in the Civil War. He never held any office but that
of Village Councilman and never belonged to any secret society. He was
never a member of any church, but inclined to the doctrines of the regular
Baptist Church. He was frequently chosen Councilman of Manchester
and fulfilled his duties most acceptably. He dignified the office and was
the best one the village ever had. He had a good judgment of all kinds
of property. He was relentless and untiring in the pursuit of business.
He was the leading spirit among the business men of Manchester for years.
His integrity was as fixed as adamant. He took sick and died at a time
when his life was as fidl of business cares and responsibilities as it had
ever been, but he met the final call with the utmost calmness and phil-
osophy. He took sick August 27, and died September 2, 1890, of Bright's
disease. Ten men like him would have made a city of Manchester.

Slims Dyer Molntlre

w^as born December 31, 1824, and was reared a farmer's son. He was
married first to Caroline Patton, daughter of John and Phoebe Patton, on
the third of March, 1852. The children of this marriage were Ambrose
Patton, now living at Lima, Ohio ; Ruth, wife of Henry Brown, of Wash-
ington C. H. ; Lizzie, wife of J. G. Glasgow ; Mary, wife of J. H. Morrison,



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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 803

of Book waiter, Neb. His first wife died October 28, 1865, and on August
I, 1867, he was married to Sarah Marlatt, daughter of Silas and Jane
(Cane) Marlatt, of Eckmansville. The children of this second marriage
were Pearl, wife of Dr. E. F. Downey, of Peebles ; Jane Faye, Anna L.,
Wilber, and Andrew Homer, residing at home.

While a young man, S. D. Mclntire taught school until his marriage,
and after that was a farmer in Wayne Township the remainder of his life.
He was a mem1)er of the U. P. Church at Cherry Fork, Ohio, and a ruling
elder for many years. He was Justice of the Peace for Wayne Township,
1857 to 1865, eight years. In politics, he was a Republican and anti-
slavery man. His father. Col. Andrew Mclntire, has a separate sketch
herein, and is also referred to in the article under the title of "The Cholera
of 1849."

'Squire Mclntire, as he was familiarly known, was a man of high
character, honest and honorable in all his dealings, and highly respected.
He enjoyed the confidence of all who knew him. His widow survives him
and resides with her four younger children on the old farm on which he
lived and died.

Henry Harrison Meohlin,

manufacturer and dealer in lumber, of Winchester, Ohio, was bom April
i3¬ї 1854, at Jasper, Pike County, Ohio, son of H. H. and Nancy (Coulter)
Mechlin. William Mechlin, his grandfather, was one of the early settlers
of Pike County, having emigrated from Butler County, Pennsylvania, in
the twenties. His mother was a daughter of James Coulter, of Irish
descent.

Our subject spent his boyhood on a farm in Pike County. He had
such schooling as the t)istrict school of his vicinity afforded. As soon
as he became of age, he became a traveler, visiting nearly every state
and Territory in the United States. In 1879, he returned to Pike County,
and engaged in the mercantile business for a period of three years and
was quite successful. He then traveled through the South and Southwest
until 1885, when he returned to Pike County.

He was married at Waverly, Ohio, to Miss Anna Burns, daughter
of Robert Burns, April 18, 1886. After this, he settled at Coopersvillc,
Pike County, and engaged, in the timber business. He remained here
until 1893. when he removed to Winchester, Adams County, where he en-
gaged in the same business, and has since continued it. He owns and
controls the most extensive lumber and sawmill business in the county,
using more timber than any mill in the county. Since his location, he has
cut and removed more timber than any like plant in the county. His mills
are near the depot and are equipped with the most modem machinery.
He uses electric lights, having a dynamo, which furnishes light to his
plant and offices. He has six children, five boys and one g^rl, Rexford
K., James C, H. Mark. Russell P., Marjory, and Colin N.

He is a Republican and a member of the Methodist Church. He is
a member of the Knights of Pythias*, Lo<lge No. 484, at Winchester.

WilUam I.. MiUnr

was born January 19. 1857, at North Liberty, son of John W. and Mary
(Foster) Miller. John Miller, his grandfather, was a native of Wash-
ington County, Pennsylvania, and emigrated to this county in 1846, and



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804 HISTORY OP ADAMS CX)UNTY

settled near West Union. He married Mary Hamilton, of Pennsylvania,
of Scotch descent, a sister of the Rev. James Hamilton, a noted Presby-
terian minister. John W. Miller, the father of our subject, was the sec-
ond son. He was born April 23, 1829, in Washington County, Pennsyl-
vania, where he was a playmate of the Hon. James G. Blaine, in his boy-
hood. He married Mary A. Foster, daughter of Col. Samuel Foster.
Col. Foster's wife was Elizabeth McNeill, bom July, 1829. He was Col-
onel of the Militia and Sheriff of Adams County from 1837 to 1841.

Our subject spent his boyhood on the farm, received a common school
education, and pursued his studies further at the Normal school at West
Union. He engaged in teaching for several years, and for four years
he traveled as an agent for a publishing house in Cincinnati. He was ap-
pointed School Examiner of Adams County in September, 1895, and
served thre'e years during the same period he was a teacher.

In 1898, he removed to a farm in Wayne Township, and now gives
his entire attention to the same, being the Gen. William Mclntire farm,
a noted "Station** in the days of the Underground Railroad.

He was married on September 19, 1887, to Kate R. Ellis, daughter



Online LibraryNelson Wiley EvansA history of Adams County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time, including character sketches of the prominent persons identified with the first century of the country's growth .. → online text (page 102 of 120)