W. O. Absher.

Portrait and biographical record of Auglaize, Logan and Shelby Counties, Ohio : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies and portraits of all the Presidents of the United States online

. (page 54 of 76)
Online LibraryW. O. AbsherPortrait and biographical record of Auglaize, Logan and Shelby Counties, Ohio : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies and portraits of all the Presidents of the United States → online text (page 54 of 76)
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first settlement of the family in this country was
in Virginia in the seventeenth century, six gen-
erations ago. and the name w.as firet spelled "Ren-
wick." afterward "Uennick." and finally "Renick."
I'ho srandfather of our subject. R<i1iert Renick,
wa.-. a native of the Did Dominion, and he fol-



lowed the pursuit of agriculture in Greenbrier
County, that State, until about the year 1800,
when he came to Clarke County, Ohio. He entered
land from the Government, and at one time owned
thirteen hundred acres on the site of the city of
Sprinyffield, Ohio, but traded it for Wosteru land,
.-ill of which he lost, lie improved a farm, and
operated a large still-house and gristmill on
Buck Creek. Grandmother lienick. whose maiden
name was Mary Hamilton, and whom he married
on the 23d of December, 17;iO. w.-xs a native of
Greenbrier County, Va. The}- reared seven chil-
dren. After the death of his wife, Mr. Reuick
married !Miss Elizabeth Knight, on the 21st of
Ainil, 1813, but no children were born to this
union. Mr. Renick died on the 23d of October,
1828. He was a man of excellent judgment and
unusual business acumen.

His son and the father of our subject. John H.
Renick. was born in Clarke County, Ohio, on the
4th of .January-, 1804, and in this county he was
reared, passing much of his boyhood and ^-outh in
his father's mills. After reaching man's estate, he
came to Logan Countj-, Ohio, and on the 16th of
October, 1835, bought land from the Government.
This farm was in the woods, and not a stick had been
cut except where the Indians had cut trails, and
amid these wild surroundings and far from neigh-
bors, he began in true pioneer style. He married
3Iiss Elizabeth Rea, a native of Pennsylvania, born
in 1806, and the young couple began housekeep-
ing in a very primitive and economical w.ay.
Manv and vast were the improvements made on
this land, and both worked hard to make a pleas-
ant and comfortable home. Indians were numer-
o\is for the first few years, and deer, wolves, and
turkeys were very common. To Jlr. and Mrs. Ren-
ick were born ten children, wlio were named in
the order of their birtijs: .Tames H. (deceased),
William A. (deceased). Xancy .1.. Robert H. (de-
ceased), Mary I. (deceased). Mary E., Louisa J.,. 7ohn
R., one who died in infancy, and Sarah (deceased).
At the time of his death, which occurred on the
31st of March. 1886. 'Sir. Renick was the owner of
tw<.> hundred and sixty acres of well-improved
land. lie had removecl to Ihuitsville, retired
fnim the active duties of life, and there received

his final summons. He was a member of the
United Presbyterian Church, and was an Elder for
forty years. A "Whig at first in politics, he be-
came a Republican, and held a number of town-
ship offices. His wife, who was also an .active
member of the United Presbyterian Church,
passed away on the 12th of October, 1876.

Our subject, like the average boy of his d.ay, di-
vided his time between assisting in the farm and
in attending the district schools, where he received
a good practical education. He remembers when
the country w.as a wilderness, and when deer were
quite plentiful. When twent3'-three years of age,
he started out to make his own way in life, and
was married on the 2d of February, 1869, to
Miss Selina Reed, a native of Ohio. Five children
blessed this union: Josie E. (Mrs. Smith), Robert H.,
Edward E., Euphemia M.,and Mattie Fern. Mre.
Renick died in the year 187!), and our subject's
second marriage occurred on the 6th of Januar}-.
1880, to Miss Mary Fulton. One child, Mary B.,
has been born of this union. Mr. Renick is the
owner of two hundred and sixty acres of fine, pro-
ductive land, which was the original land settled
by his father, and which he purchased from the heirs.
jNIixed farming and stock-raising have been his
principal occupations, and he has met with the best
of success. He and Mrs. Renick are members of
the United Presbyterian Churcii at lluntsville,and
he has been an Elder in the same for a number of
years. Like his father, he 6U|)ports the principles
of the Repulilican party, is now Township Treas-
urer, and has held the position of Township


yTLLIAM BOWSHEK. In this volume may
be found the biography of many intluen-
, ^ tial citizens who have plodded up the
steeps of honor and prosperity with remarkable
energy and success. The life of Mr. l^iwsher fur-
nishes another example of tlii,~ kind, as he is nnw
the owner of eighty acres of imiu-oved land. In-



cited on section 32, Duchouquet Township, Au-
glaize County, and thereupon is devoting his en-
ergies to agricultural pursuits. Progressive in
every way. he is well known and highly esteemed
as one of the enterprising farmei-s who have done
so much to render this county one of the well-
improved portions of the Buckeye Stjite.

The father of our subject, Benjamin Bowsher,
was a native of Pennsylvania, and was a stone-
mason and brick-layer by trade, but after coming
to Ohio followed the occupation of a farmer. He
aided in the erection of the Burnett House, in
"Wapakoueta, and also the old court house in Lima,
William Bowsher, the grandfather of our subject,
also hailed from Pennsylvania, and during the
War of 1812 was one of the patriots in that strug-
gle. He came to Ross County, this State, in 1808,
where he w.as ranked among the very earliest set-
tlers. The great-grandparents of our subject were
natives of Germany.

The maiden name of the mother of our subject
was Elizabeth He Long; she w.as born in Pennsyl-
vania in 1809, and w.as a daughter of Jacob De-
Long, also a native of that State, and of German
parents. The parents of Mr. Bowsher located in
Allen County, this .State, in 18.36, making their
home in Shawnee Township, just three miles from
the present home of our subject. The farm w.as a
wild tract of timber land, and their only neigh-
bors were three and four miles distant. Indians
and wild animals were numerous,and often proved
verv troublesome. The father, however, being
very fond of hunting, often went on trips with
the red men, and in this way jirovided his familv
with tlie necessities of life. The elder Mr. Bow-
sher cleared a tract of eighty acres of land, and
departeil this life in 1874. His good wife, who
survived him several years, followed him to the
better land in 1888. They were the parents of
fourteen children, eight of whom are living at the
prcbcnt time. In religions affairs, they were zeal-
ous members of the Luthei-an Church, in which
denomination the father held many of the promi-
nent ottices. In politics, he voted with the Dem-
ocratic party.

"William n..w<lier was born Ortolicr 17. !>:'. I. in
!!•»> CViuiilv. this Slate, and was an infant i>f

eighteen months when taken by his parents to Al-
len County. There he grew to mature years, and
was given no opportunity for receiving an educa-
tion until reaching his tenth year, when he at-
tended a subscription school two months in each
year. After the establishment of free schools in
his district, he was enabled to attend three months
out of each year for ten years. He earlj' began to
assist his father in carrying on the home farm, and
when ready to establish a home of his own chose
agriculture as his life occupation.

He of whom we write rem.ained at home until
reaching his majorit}', when he began working out
for other parties clearing land, for which he re-
ceived §10 per acre. In November, 1858, he was
married to Miss Sarah, daughter of George and
Mary (Wriggle) Shappell, natives of Pennsylv.a-
nia, whence they removed, when young, to this
.State. The parents were married in Ross Count}',
and in 1855 came to this county and located on
section 32, Duchouquet Township, where their de-
cease occurred in 1856 and 1889 respectively. The
parents' famih- included eleven children, ten of
whom are still living. Three sons, George, D.aniel,
and Nelson, served in the Union armj- during the
late war, the latter of whom was taken prisoner,
but was soon paroled. Mrs. Bowsher was born
May 27, 183G, in Fairfield County, this State, and
after her marriage with our subject located on what
is now their present farm. Mr. Bowsher was com-
pelled to go in debt in purchasing his estate, but
being industrious and economical, and aided by
the good advice of his wife, he was soon enabled
to pay off the incumbrance on his land, which, by
its neat appearance, indicates the thrift and enter-
prise of its owner.

Of the nine children born to our subject and his
wife, we make the following mention of the seven
who are living: Missouri married J.acob DeLong,
and has one child: Nelson married .Susan Culp.
and is the father of two children; George married
Sophia Wieselnieyer, and h.as a family of two chil-
dren; Solomon, Rufus, Mollie, and Emma are all
unmarried. With their children, Mr. and Mrs.
P.owsher are intluential members of the Evangeli-
rai Church. Dur subject is a sensible, well-in-
formed man. luauly and straightforward in his



character, and, as a loyal cilizL-ii should, takes a
fairly active part in politics, throwing the weight
of his influence with the Democratic party, of
whicli he has been a devoted adherent for many


PAMKL AV. KoCII. To tlie person who
J closely applies himself to an}- occupation
which be has chosen as his calling in life,
there can only come oue result — that of success
and a high place in the esteem of those among
whom he has made his home, and Mr. Koch is no
exception to the rule, for it has only been by in-
dustry and strict attention to agricultural pursuits
since 185.5 that lie has attained to the position that
he now enjoys.

The grandfather of our subject, .Jacob Koch,
was a native of Pennsylvania, or was born in Ger-
many just before his father came to America, and
the latter's wife's father w.as a soldier m the IJev-
olutionary War. .Taeob Koch was a farmer and
carried on his farming operations in Pennsylvania
until his death, when forty years of age.

The father of our subject. Daniel Koch, was
born in Berks County, Pa., in the year 1803, and
when growing up learned the blacksmith's trade,
which he followed until 1837, when he became
Superintendent of iron works in Cumberland and
Perry Counties, Pa., and thus continued until 1855.
He then came to Logan County, Ohio, and located
in De Gratf, where he spent the remainder of his
life, engaged in tilling the soil. He was a hard-
working man and a good manager. He died in
1882. A Lutheran in his religious views, he li_)ok
a great deal iif interest in church work and was
also active in all (ither enterprises of a worthy na-
ture. He was at one time a Whig in polities, and
later in life became a Republican, but his brothers
were all Democrats. He married Miss Susan Man-
miller, a native of Berks County; Pa., born in 1808,
and to them were liorn five children, namely: .Jacob,
Daniel (our suliject), Barbara Ann, Ann Caroline,
and Catherine. ()iilv two are now livinir. Tlie

mother died in September, 18'J0, when eighty-two
years of age. She was a Presbyterian in religion,
and took a deep interest in her church and all other
good work. Her father. David Manmiller, was
born in Pennsylvania, and followed various occu-
pations for a livelihood, running a dye-shop for
some time and farming for a number of years. He
died when sixty-flve years of age and was also of
German descent.

Daniel W. Koch was born in Schuylkill County,
I'a., in October. 1829, and remembers distinctly
the pioneer log schoolhouse where he received his
education, the split logs for benches, the rude
writing-desk and other inventions of back-woods
d.ays, but he subsequently attended one season at
Reading, Pa., and later two terms at Bloomfield
Ac.tdemy. When sixteen years of age, he clerked
for one year in a dry-goods store at Petersbur;:.
Perry County, Pa., and then took charge of the
books in the iron works atFio Forge, Perrv County,
and at Laurel. Cumberlaml County, Pa., and also
one year at Mt. Holly Iron Works. In 1854. he
became Superintendent under his father and kept
books for several years. In 1852, the gold fever
came over him and he went to California via the
Isthmus, and was eng.iged in mining there for
eighteen months. In 1853, he retimied to the
E.ast and in April. 1855. bought his present farm.

In 1857, Miss .Susan Ilensinger, a native of
Cumberland County, Pa., born on the 10th of No-
vember, 1822, became his wife and, although they
had no children of their own, they reared a o-irl,
Jennie, from the age of two years, and became very
much attached to lier. She married Jacob A. Shaw, a
Superintendent of the Columbus (Ohio), public
schools. They gave her an excellent education,
sent her three years to Oberlin College, and she is
a very fine musician. Mr. Koch has one hundred
and sixty acres of land just outside the corpora-
tion of DeGrarT. and is engaged in fanning and
stock-raising. He has made a complete success of
this occupation and is one of the prominent
.and substantial men of tlie county. He has made
many improvements on his place, h.is a good resi-
dence and frame liam. and lately built a tenant
house. He is a Methodist and his wife is a meni-
l)er.jf the Church r,f C.d.



In politics, he advocates tlie principles of the
Republican partly, was Clerk of the township for
twelve years anci also Trustee for many years. In
May, 1864, he enlisted in Company F, One Hun-
dred and Thirty-second Ohio Infantry, and was
made Second Lieutenant of his company. He was
sent to Petersburghandattaclied to the Eighteenth
and Tenth Army Corps of the Army of the Poto-
mac. On the 10th of September, 1804, he was
mustered out at Camp Chase. Mr. Koch has shown
his appreciation of secret organizations by becom-
ing a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted
Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows. He is also a member of the Grand Arraj' of
the Republic and was Commander of the first post
organized in Dc Graff. He is now serving his
twenty-fifth year .as Secretary of the Jlasonic order.
He has also filled all the chairs of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows' lodge and has been per-
manent secretary for ten years. He also belongs to
the Knights of Honor. He is a stockholder and
one of the Directors of the gas well. Mrs. Koch
is a member of the Daughters of Rebekah Lodge.


/f^\ C. PEPPLE. It is a great pleasure to trace
(I! ^^ the history of those of the early pioneers of
^^J Auglaize County, Ohio, who have perse-
vered through trials and hardships and have at
last reached a point where they can enjoy the
wealtli and prosperity which rightly belongs to
them. In the life of the parents of our subject,
AVilliam and Rebecca (Miller) Pepple, we find such
a history, and the popularity that belongs to such
people is the just meed which neighbors are glad
to pay to their worth and work.

The father was born in Champaign County, Ohio,
and there grew to manhood. About 1832, he was
married to Miss Miller, a native of Champaign
County, Ohio, and the daughter of John Miller,
who was also a native of that county. About 1838,
Mr. Pepple and family moved to Auglaize County,
and cleared a farm of two hundred acres on section

19, Wayne Township, and on this the father has
resideil ever since. When they first located on this
farm there were very few settlers, scouting parties
of Indians made their ai)pearance quite frequentlyi
and wild animals were plentiful. jNIr. Pepple first
built a round-log cabin but supplemented this by
a hewn-log structure a few yeare later and then a
good substantial frame building was erected. He
worked hard to clear and improve his farm, and
although one of the oldest pioneers in his section,
he still enjo^'S comparatively good health, and his
fine farm shows the indisputable proofs of the
hand of a thorough and SNStcmatic farmer. Five
of the seven children born to his marriage are
now living, viz.: C. C, John, P., M. R. and Lydia.
These children were given the advantages of a
good common-school education and two of them,
C.C. and Mary J. (who is deceased) have been school
teachers. One child, P. Pepple, was a soldier in
the late war, enlisting in Company B, Forty-fifth
Ohio Infantry, and served three years, or until the
close of the war. In several engagements, when
nearly all his company were taken prisoners, he
escaped by lying among the dead until the enemy
had passed. He was honorably discharged at the
close of the war. The mother of these children
was a member of the Methodist Church, and died
in that faith in 1880. Mr. Pepple is still living
and is in his eighty-second ye.ar. In politics, he is
a Democrat, and his first Presidential vote was for

The original of this notice, C. C. Pepple, first
saw the light in Champaign County, Ohio, in 1834^
and, like the average farmer's boy, received his edu-
cation in the common schools. He remained under
the parental roof until twenty-one years of age,
and after his marriage, in 1855, he started out
for himself as a farmer in Auglaize Countj'. He
cleared a wild piece of land in "Wayne Township,
and although he began life with limited means, he
is now one of the prosperous farmers of the county,
and is the owner of four hundred and sixty-five
acres of well-improved and well-cultivated land.
He has a cozy and comfortable home, and is verj-
pleasantly situated indeed. He married Bliss
Catherine Gilroy, a daughter of John Gilroy, and
a native of Auglaize County, Ohio. Eight cliil-



dren have been born to tbis union, but only five
are now living, viz.: Sarali Jane, Arnold O., .Tames,
John W. and Minnie Blanch. All tliese children
have received good educational advantages, and
Arnold is a school teacher. The eldest son, Riley,
■was killed by a horee falling on him when seven-
teen 3-ears of age.

Mr. and Mrs. Pepple are worthy members of the
Methodist Church, and he has been Trustee and
Steward in the same. At the present time he is
Secretary. Lilve his father, he is a stron» advo-
cate of Democratic principles, and lias held the
office of Township Treasurer for eleven years. He
also held the office of County Treasurer, being ap-
pointed to that position by commissioners after the
defalcation of Treasurer Lucas. He finished out
the term of Lucas, and afterward served one term,
serving in that capacity- with credit and ability.
During the war, he was drafted into the army and
made an'angeraents to enter service. However, his
services were not needed.

\T[_^ OX. WILLIAJI H. WP:ST. A volume of
J jl this chaiacter would be incomplete did it
i^i^' not contain a biographical sketch of Judge
((®) West, whose life has been such as to com-
mand tlie respect and admiration even of his po-
lititiil op|JOnenls. An eminent jurist, lie w.os
chosen Judge of the Supreme Court of Ohio, and
served efficiently in that capacity until failing
siglit forced liira to resign. As the most promi-
nent citizen of Bellefontaine, and one of the intlu-
ential men of his party in the State, a few facts
with regard to his personal career may encourage
many of our readers to greater elf orts for success in
life, and others will lie stirred to noble deeds of
generosity for the public weal.

Born at Millsborough, 'W.ashington County. Pa..
February d. 1821. our subject is the son of Samuel
and :Mary (Clear) West. As early as l!:*:]!). he ac-
companied his father to Knox County. Ohio,
where he aided in developing a farm fruiii the

wilderness. Perhaps his early struggles .assisted in
developing the characteristics of firmness and de-
termination which ever afterward were firmlv im-
planted in his nature. In ISlti, lie was graduated
from Jefferson College, in Penns^-lvania. dividing
the honore with Cien. A. B. Sharpe. During the
two ensuing years, he taught school in Kentucky,
and later accepted a tutorship in Jefferson College.
After filling that position with marked ability for
one year, he accepted an adjunct professorship at
Hampden Sidne\' (Va.) College.

Having resolved to enter upon the study of law,
our subject commeueed his legal studies in the
office of Judge William Lawrence, of Bellefontaine,
witli whom he formed a partnership upon his ad-
mission to the Bar. From the first, he w.as recoo'-
nized as an able attorney and it was not hina-
before he worked his way to the foremost ranks
among the brethren of the legal fraternity. Two
characteristics were especially noticeable .as mental
attributes, and these were his capacity to .assim-
ilate his legal studies to his remarkable intellec-
tual qualities, and an unusual facility of utterance.
When to these we add the delicate organization
that seemed to vibrate to the touch of p.ossion. we
have the powerful advocate %vho in court con-
.vinced the judge and' won the jury, and became
known throughout the nation as "the Blind Mau

In the legal fraternity of the West, the position
occupied by Judge West has been most conspic-
uous and influential. He is a recognized author-
it\- on civil and corporate law, and in familiarity
with these departments is equaled by few and sur-
passed by none. While on the Supreme Bench of
Ohio, he was so unfortunate as to lose his si-rht,
but with it came no loss of power. His trained
mind and wonderful memory enabled him to dis-
pense with his eyes, and for years it has been a
spectacle of great interest to the Bar to witness
his conduct in charge of a case in court. Without
the le.ast aid from anyone, without the sliijhtest
pause in the jirocuedings. .and without perceptible
hesitation, he unravels intricate facts and quotes
the law applicable to tlieni.

In 1854, Judge West joined in an appeal to all
parties after the rejieal of the .■\li - i.iii-i Cuuipro-



raise, th:it vesulted in .1 convention at Columbus,
Ohio, where he was one of the prominent speak-
ers. He has always been influential in the ranks
of the Republican party, ami has been one of its
leaders in the State. In I8.")7 and 18G1, be was a
member of the St.ate Legislature, serving in the
House, and in 1863 was elected to the Senate. He
was a delegate to the Presidential convention
held at Chicago, when Abraham Lincoln w.as nom-
inated for the highest position in the gift of the
people. In 1865, he was chosen Attorne^'-General
of Ohio, re-elected in 18G7 to the same office, and,
in 1869, was tendered, although he declined to ac-
cept, the position of Consul to Rio Janeiro. In
1871, he was elected Judge of the Supreme Court
of Ohio, which he held until 1873.

Doubtless the most important event in the pub-
lic life of Judge "West occurred in 1877, when his
part}- nominated him for Governor of Ohio. At
that time, a grave crisis was at hand; the great
railroad strikes bad arrested the wheels of nearly
all the locomotives of one hundred and fifty
thousand miles of operating railroads, and the
newly-named candidate for governor had to meet
the issue involved in the conflict. The issues be-
tween capital and labor had been carefully studied

' by Judge West, and he recognized then what the
whole world appreciates now, that this is the great
issue of civilization and must be solved before the
wheels of progress will again revolve. In his first
address after his nomination, he uttered .•\dvanced
views on the subject for whicli public opinion was
not then prepared, but whicli are now conceded
to be correct. His defeat naturally resulted. He
lust the eminent position to wliich he otherwise
would have arisen, l)ut he carried b.ack to private
life the honor that comes of a courageous defense
of principle.

Judge West was twice married. His firet wife,
wliose maiden name was Elizabeth Williams, died
in 1K71, leaving the following children: Will-
iam A.. John E. and .Samuel A. He w.as after-
ward married to Clara G. Gorton, who has been his
devoted helpmate during the years that have come
and gone. Although in feeble healtli, he still con-
tinues the practice of his profession, more espec-
ially on account of his sons. William A. and John

E., who inherit much of his ability and have the
promise of eminent positions in future ■< .,is. In
his pleasant home at Bellefontaine, loved and re-
vered by all who know him, the "Blind Man Elo-
quent" is passing the twilight of his life. Mr.

Online LibraryW. O. AbsherPortrait and biographical record of Auglaize, Logan and Shelby Counties, Ohio : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies and portraits of all the Presidents of the United States → online text (page 54 of 76)