Rev. Andrew Jackson Bixler, an Ohio man by birth and a veteran Union soldier, came to Marion, Kansas, over forty-five years ago and gave the best years of his active career to the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is now living retired in a comfortable home at Marion.
His had been a life of almost ceaseless activity and devoted to the welfare of church and society. His birth occurred on a farm in Stark County, Ohio, October 6, 1844. His parents were David L. and Catherine (Richards) Bixler. His father, who was born in Maryland in 1796, moved at the age of seven with his parents to Berks County, Pennsylvanis, and there his early life, until the age of twenty, was spent on a farm. His parents having died in the meantime, he came to Stark County, Ohio, which was then a comparatively new district in Northern Ohio. The site of the present City of Canton contained only a few buildings, and he went a little distance away from that center and established a home on Government land. He developed a good farm and made agriculture his vocation until July 20, 1867. He was a life long member of the Church of the Brethren. He was twice married, and was the father of eighteen children by his two wives. In 1818 he married Miss Markley, a native of Pennsylvania, and their five children were named Daniel, Christina, Esther, John and George, all now deceased. In 1826 he married Catherine Richards, who was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, June 2, 1806, and died June 13, 1871. Her thirteen children, nine sons and four daughters, are briefly given record as follows: Israel, born July 19, 1828, died in 1907; Mary Ann, born June 26, 1830, died in 1875; Levi, born January 27, 1831, was a Civil war soldier in the First Michigan Light Artillery and died in 1898; Jacob, born January 17, 1833, was in the Union army with the Seventy-ninth Ohio Infantry, and died in 1892; David, born January 30, 1834, died in 1890; Catherine, born June 7, 1836, died in 1907; Benjamin Washington, born May 7, 1838, is now living at East Akron, Ohio, was a Union soldier in the 104th Ohio Infantry; Elizabeth, born August 31, 1840, died in 1905; Susan, born June 26, 1842, died in 1902; the tenth in age is Rev. Andrew J.; Henry, born September 7, 1846, served in the Civil war with the Twenty-fifth Ohio Infantry and died in 1912; William, born March 17, 1846, fought for the Union with the Twenty-fifth Ohio Reglment, and for many years had been a prominent minister of the Brethren Church at East Akron, Ohio; Louis, born May 14, 1850, followed the profession of private detective and died in 1902. This is truly a notable family. All of them grew up and lived past middle age, most of the sons were soldiers of the Union, and all achieved honorable position in life.
Andrew Jackson Bixler lived in the peaceful and orderly environment of the homestead farm in Stark County, Ohio, until he was twenty years of age, in the meantime attending the local schools. On October 5, 1864, the day before his twentieth birthday, he enlisted in Company C of the Seventy-first Ohio Infantry. He saw a little more than a year of active service, being mustered out at San Antonio, Texas, October 16, 1865. Though he went into the army when the canse of the Confederacy was on the wane, he was a participant in two of the bloodiest battles of the war. His regiment was part of the Army of the Cumberland, under General Thomas, and he fought in the battles of Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville. Though exposed to many dangers he was never wounded and his record is without flaw, since he was never in a guard house for dereliction of duty nor in a hospital.
At the close of his army service he returned to his old home in Stark County, and for three years attended an academy at Marlboro. He also taught school in Stark County five years, and it was in that role that he appeared in Kansas when he came to the state in 1871. He put in five years teaching in different districts in Marion County. In the meantime he had manifested a strong bent for the ministry and in 1879 was qualified as an itinerant minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. That was his work for thirty-three years, and though now on the retired list is a member of the Southwest Kansas Conference. Soon after coming to Kansas he located a homestead in Marion County in 1872, and he still owned the quarter section, now highly developed as a prosperous farm. Since 1915 he had enjoyed the comforts of his good home in Marion. During 1915 Rev. Mr. Bixler was chaplain at the Kansas State Military Home at Fort Dodge. He is an esteemed member of Pap Thomas Post No. 42, Grand Army of the Republic, at Marion, and is a Knight Templar Mason.
Shortly after coming to Kansas, at Marion, on July 11, 1872, he married Miss Margaret Ann Stage, who was born at Ligonier, Indiana, April 10, 1849, a daughter of S. S. Stage. Mrs. Bixler went hand in hand and heartily in sympathy with the work of her husband as a minister and she had also tanght school for fifteen years in Indiana and Kansas. The death of this good woman occurred at Marion July 22, 1903. They were the parents of four children, two sons and two daughters, namely: William Edgar, Nellie, Walter and Clara Mand. Clara Maud is with her father, and is keeping up the home for him.