Collection: History of Madison County Indiana

History of Madison County Indiana

The book presently being added is volume 2 of John Forkner’s “History of Madison County, Indiana.” This volume contains the biographies submitted by “subscribers” to the manuscript prior to its publication. Generally, most county biographical volumes of history provide a rich view of the life of inhabitants in said county.

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Biography of Chancey Vermillion

CHANCEY VERMILLION. On the first day of January, 1910, Chancey Vermillion, a pioneer resident of Richland Township, and Madison County, died at his home, full of years and leaving behind him a record for useful living that will be an honor to his memory far into the future, For seventy-six years he was a resident of Madison County, and few there are who won a more secure position in the hearts and minds of the people than did he, A farmer of the most prosperous order, he was long known to be a man of means, and he retained to his last years an active interest in farms and farming in and about the County. A son of Jesse and Catherine (Justice) Vermillion; he was born on the 12th of May, 1834, on the home farm in Monroe Township, where the family settled when they migrated from Lawrence County, Ohio, Jesse Vermillion was then a young man, ‘just launching out into independent life, and he gained a foothold in the new country in 1835 by entering a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of government land in Monroe Township, where the family home was maintained for years. There the children were reared, and there Chancey Vermillion passed the early years when character was being firmly moulded and habits of integrity and industry formed that were destined to direct...

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Biography of Alva Thorn

ALVA THORN. one of the most progressive and successful agriculturists of Madison County, is the owner of a handsome farm of 260 acres, located in Van Buren Township, and has the added distinction of belonging to that class of self-made men of which this County is justly proud, His methods of farm management show sound judgment combined with deep scientific knowledge of his vocation, and the results of his labors demonstrate the fact that high-class farming as an occupation may be made profitable as well as pleasant, He has been a resident of this region throughout his career, and during this time has firmly established himself in the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens through his public spirit and strict integrity. Alva Thorn was born on a farm in Van Buren Township, Madison County, Indiana, and is a son of Charles and Eliza (Knight) Thorn , His father, a native of Illinois, came to Madison County as a youth with his parents, Stephen and Jane (Lewis) Thorn, the former of whom entered land here from the United States government and continued to follow agricultural pursuits throughout his life, Charles Thorn followed in the footsteps of his father, adopting the vocation of tilling the soil, and through a life of industry and perseverance succeeded in becoming a substantial and influential man of his community, He and his wife were the...

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Biography of Rev. Robert Sellers

REV. ROBERT SELLERS, pastor of the East Main Street Christian Church, at Elwood, Indiana, was born near Franklin, Johnson County, Indiana, February 10, 1857, and is a son of Nelson and Sarah T. (Pritchard) Sellers, His paternal grandfather, Samuel Sellers, was a soldier during the War of 1812, and subsequently became a pioneer of Johnson County, Indiana, where he was for many years engaged in farming, and where his death occurred in advanced years, burial being made near Nineveh. He and his wife were the parents of six children: Martin, Cynthia, Pollie, Sallie, Betsey and Nelson, On the maternal side, the grandparents of Rev. Sellers were Lewis and Susan (Martin) Pritchard, natives of Kentucky, and early settlers and farmers of Johnson County, where both passed away, Their children were: Curtis, James, John, Robert, Nancy, Sarah T. and Jane. Nelson Sellers was born in Indiana, and was reared in Scott County, but subsequently went to Johnson County, where he secured a farm and spent the rest of his life in making a home for his family. A faithful member of the Christian Church, and a loyal and public-spirited citizen, he was widely known, and well merited the esteem in which he was universally held, Born July 8, 1825, his death occurred January 6, 1901, while his wife, also a native of Indiana, was born February 16, 1830, and passed to...

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Biography of Joseph Draper

JOSEPH DRAPER. In the eighty-fifth year of his life, Joseph Draper, whose home is in what is known as Scotts addition, and who is the owner of a section of land in Monroe Township, is one of the venerable old men of Madison County, has been a farmer, has grown many thousands of bushels of corn and wheat and other grain crops during his career, and his record is one of which his family and fellow citizens may well be proud, Joseph Draper was born December 18, 1828, in South Hampton, Virginia, the old Dominion state, a son of Thomas and Mary (Turner) Draper, Thomas Draper was also born in that section of Virginia, but his father, Ephraim Draper, came from England in colonial days, and located in Virginia, Thomas Draper, after all his children had been born in Virginia, moved out to Ohio, settling near Canton, and later moved to Rush County, Indiana, which was his home until his death, His ten children are mentioned as follows: Loren E., Ephraim W., John E., Thomas J., deceased; Joseph; Martha, Edna, Mary and Marcella, deceased; and Margaret, who lives in Hancock County, Indiana. Joseph Draper when a boy came to Indiana, and had his education in the common schools during the days before the modern free school system was adopted in Indiana, He worked on the farm and remained with...

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Biography of Joseph Chambers

JOSEPH CHAMBERS, The oldest living representative of one of the pioneer families of Madison County, Joseph Chambers, who lives retired at his home in Lafayette Township, has had many varied and interesting experiences during nearly seventy years of residence in this vicinity. His home is a fine farm of two hundred acres, about five miles northwest of the city of Anderson, Concerning the Chambers family and his early reminiscences in this County, Mr. Chambers has furnished some valuable data which in succeeding paragraphs will be incorporated for preservation in this work, A brief outline of facts concerning his life and the family history is given preceding this account which comes directly from this interesting old citizen. Joseph Hiram Chambers was born in Bartholomew County, Indiana, on the 4th of January, 1845, His parents were Franklin and Mary (Drybread) Chambers, Franklin Chambers, the father, was born in Lawrence County, Indiana, a son of Hiram and Hannah (Thompson) Chambers, Hiram Chambers brought his family to Madison County in 1840. His children were named as follows: Franklin, John, Malinda, Miller, William, Emily, Jane, Elijah, Caroline and Bassald, Hiram Chambers spent the remainder of his life in this County.’ He had four brothers, James, Francis, William and Smith, and one sister, Nancy Short, but all are deceased, James lived on the farm in Delaware County now owned by Miles Walters, and of his...

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Biography of Martin M. Beeson

MARTIN M. BEESON, In America, pre-eminently a land of self-made men, opportunities for achieving success are to be found as in no other land. The youth of energetic spirit, ambitious nature and industrious habits may here establish a position for himself in any of the various vocations of life, provided that he respect the principles of integrity and honorable dealing, for his fellow-citizens will quickly recognize and appreciate the force of character and persistent determination which have enabled him to work his way from a humble position to one of independence and prominence, Madison County is fortunate in that it numbers among its best citizenship many men who have been the architects of their own fortunes, and in this class undoubtedly stands Martin M. Beeson, of Van Buren Township, the owner of a valuable tract of 120 acres of laud, located on the Thorn road, about four and one-half miles north of Summitville, Mr. Beeson is a native of the Hoosier State, having been born in Johnson County, October 29, 1867, and is a son of Isaac and Emma (Hendricks) Beeson. Isaac Beeson was a native of Wayne County, Indiana, from whence he removed to Johnson County, and in 1875 came to Madison County, his subsequent agricultural operations being carried on in Boone and Van Buren Townships, He became a substantial citizen and moderately successful agriculturist, and died in...

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Biography of Purl Dean

PURL DEAN. In the personnel of the live business men of the thriving town of Summitville, Indiana, Mr. Dean, of the well known firm of Dean & Tomlison, stands for progress, aggressiveness and honesty in the execution of his business interests, He is known in Madison County as possessed of rare business acumen, which is a requisite that is a direct aid in the advancement of any village, town or city. Mr. Dean is a native of Madison County, Indiana, and was born March 29, 1873, the only child born to his parents, Calvin and Dee (Reed) Dean, both residents of Grant County, Indiana. The father is a native of the Blue Grass state of Kentucky, and his life has been spent as an agriculturist, although much of his time has been devoted to the work of an auctioneer. Mr. Dean of this review has been reared in Madison and Grant counties and received a good practical education in the public schools, and the town schools, Most of his boyhood days were spent on one of the pretty Indiana farms of North Central Indiana, and he well knows the value of that training which the farmer lad receives, if he wishes to lay the proper foundation stones of life. In business he has been eminently successful. As an agriculturist he has met with success, and in the buying and...

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Biography of Edgar W. Farmer

EDGAR W. FARMER, a railway postal clerk on the New York Central Lines between Cleveland, Ohio, and St, Louis, Missouri, lives on Indiana Avenue, North Anderson, He was born here February 23, 1868. The Farmer family is better known, probably, than any other family in Anderson Township outside of the city of Anderson and ranks among the older ones in the County, Charles M. Farmer (April 16, 1846-June 27, 1910) and Mary L. Cummins Farmer (Nov. 27, 1848- Nov, 16, 1900), the parents of Edgar, moved from Henry County, Indiana, immediately after their marriage and bought two acres of land of Isaac Clifford. There were then about six houses in what is now known as North Anderson. Indiana Avenue was then a mud road lined by woods on both sides except an occasional clearing for a dwelling, A. little house was built on the land purchased, and here the children, Edgar W., Harold W., and Jessie M., and John S. were born, Charles, the father, had been left an orphan at the age of nine years and was the oldest of a family of four children, His first work was in a brick yard at twenty-five cents a day, From this on he toiled early and late, managed carefully and lived frugally, By this means he kept his mother in comfort, supported his brothers until their death in early...

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Biography of Rev. Balthasar Biegel

REV. BALTHASAR BIEGEL, The cross and the emblems of the Catholic church were exhibited in Elwood many years ago, when the first Mass was celebrated in the house of John Buchanan, then situated on the corner of Main and Sixteenth streets, and thereafter services were frequently held in what was called “The Section House,” which was later removed to South B street and is now occupied by Mrs. William Rooney, During these pioneer days the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was als0 offered up in the house of Bernard Bauer, then on East Main street, at the home of Gustav Kramer on South Anderson street, and in that of Bridget Smith, located two doors east of the present site of the St, Joseph’s Church, and now owned by William Fessler, Prior to 1860 the village was, at irregular intervals, visited by missionary priests, these bold and self-denying workers, including Father Maloney, Father Clark and Father Fitzmaurice, who came from Indianapolis, Lafayette and Anderson to minister to the spiritual needs of the few scattered Catholics, In 1860 the place became a station and thereafter was regularly attended on week days by Father McMahon, who was pastor at Anderson from 1860 to 1865, During Father McMahon’s time, two lots, each 66×132 feet, were purchased from William Barton and Peter Well, then on Simmons, but now South A street, each costing sixty...

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Biography of William E. Thompson

WILLIAM E. THOMPSON. Since the pioneer days of Madison County this section of Indiana has known and has been influenced by four generations of the Thompson family, and representatives of three generations are now living and are active workers in the business enterprises of Anderson, The four generations of the family have alike been distinguished for exceptional business talent, enterprise and large public spirit, and as individuals they have contributed many important services to the life and activities of the County. William E. Thompson & Son are prominent in Anderson as contractors and builders, and many of the fine business structures and other works are credited to their industry and skill. William E. Thompson, the head of the firm of William E. Thompson & Son, of Anderson, was born in Madison County, in the village known as Prosperity, five miles north of Anderson, March 19, 1858. His father, James A. Thompson, was born October 12, 1834, at Milton, Wayne County, Indiana. The grandfather was the Rev. William A. I Thompson, one of the remarkable characters in the early history of Indiana, His regular occupation was farming, but for many years he was devoted to the ministry of the Baptist church, one of the old-time preachers who performed his work without salary, ministering for the good of the souls and the welfare of his community. An interesting sketch of Rev....

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Biography of Newton Burke

NEWTON BURKE was born in Connersville, Fayette County, Indiana, and died in July, 1907, He was a contractor, a vocation he continued to follow during the best years of his life, A veteran of the Civil war, he participated actively in a number of important engagements, and was honorably discharged at the close of his term of enlistment, after which he took up his abode in Anderson and here plied his trade up to the close of his long and useful life, His widow, who survives him, still resides in Anderson, and is now in the sixty-second year of her age, enjoying hale spirits and in full possession of her...

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Biography of George F. Thurston

GEORGE F. THURSTON. A man of enterprise, intelligence, and excellent business capacity, George F. Thurston, living two miles east of Summitville, stands high among the wide-awake, progressive farmers of this section of Madison County, A native of Boone Township, Madison County, Indiana, he was born January 16, 1864, a son of John F. and Margaret (Morris) Thurston, of whom a more extended notice may be found elsewhere in this work, in connection with the sketch of R. O. P. Thurston. Educated in his native Township Mr. Thurston attended the Dead Dog school as a boy and youth, in the meantime obtaining on the home farm practical experience in farming, Finding the occupation most congenial, he rented the farm where he now lives a year before attaining his majority, and began the battle of life for himself, taking up his residence in the old log house standing upon the place, This farm was entered- from the government during the administration of President Jackson by Robert Spear, who erected the first frame blacksmith’s shop put up in this section of the state. At the end of two years of successful farming Mr. Thurston received a sum of money from the parental estate, and immediately invested it in land, buying the farm which he had been renting, He has now one hundred and twenty acres of rich and productive land, on which...

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Biography of George T. Beebe

GEORGE T. BEEBE. In the fall elections of 1912, when the voters of Madison County elected George T. Beebe to the office of County treasurer, they voiced the expression of their confidence in his integrity, his absolute reliability and his ability to handle the affairs of one of Indiana’s leading counties, It is generally found that the people of a community are not slow in recognizing true worth in an individual, and the man selected to handle the financial resources of a section is invariably one who has made a success in his private affairs, In the case of Mr. Beebe there has been no exception to this rule, for his career has been one of earnest effort, concluding in well merited success, a success all the more commendable in that it has been entirely self gained, Mr. Beebe was born at Draw Bridge, Sussex County, Delaware, January 23, 1856, His father, John S. Beebe, was a native of Virginia and an early settler of Delaware, where for many years he was a prosperous farmer. He married Miss Elizabeth Carey, a native of Delaware, and both are now deceased, They became the parents of eight children, all of whom lived to years of maturity. George Thomas Beebe received his early education in the public schools of his native state, and in 1877 came to Madison County, Indiana, where for...

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Biography of John C. Johnson

JOHN C. JOHNSON. Honesty and stability of character are the foundation stone of a young man’s life, and in the formative period, when fitting himself for the battle of life, with those attributes of character, together with a fair measure of ambition, one is sure to arrive at the goal of his desires. Mr. Johnson is a native son of Madison County, Indiana, and has here resided all his life, His days here have been as an open volume to the citizens of Van Buren Township and the contiguous territory, and the people of his Township have conferred upon him the highest honor in official position in their gift,-that of Township trustee, The supervision of the schools, highways, bridges, etc,, and all pertaining to the interest and welfare of the Township have received his closest attention, and now, in the winter of 1913-14, his friends and acquaintances have solicited him to become a candidate on the Democratic ticket for the office of County clerk, and with straightforward honesty he is making the canvass, his candidacy seeming to meet the approbation of all. A man of a jovial, kind and social nature, he makes friends easily and holds them steadfastly, and it is the expectation of many that Ike will carry the election at the head of his ticket, As one who thoroughly understands the requirements of modern education, he...

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