Morgan County Indiana

Madison Township Bios


Madison Township Biographies
Morgan County, Indiana

JOHN B. COX, deceased, was born November 12, 1829, in Morgan County, Ind., and here made his home until the day of his death, which occurred October 11, 1865.  He was reared as a farmer, and educated at the public schools and at Franklin College, in Johnson County, Ind.  September 20, 1853, he was married in his native county to Harriet Landers, daughter of the Hon. William Landers, an early settler of Morgan County, and had born to him three children, Florence C., Emma S. and Ida B.,  all of whom were still living at the
time of his death.  Mr. Cox was one of the most extensive farmers and stock-dealers in Morgan County, and was one of the firm of Fee, Conduitt & Cox, wholesale dry goods merchants of Indianapolis.  He was a cheerful and honorable man, a liberal and consistent Christian, a devoted, active and prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Upon his death-bed he appropriated $1,000 to be expended in annual payments toward supporting the circuit minister in charge of the church to which he and his family belonged.  He was also a prominent Mason, by the rites and ceremonies of which order his funeral and burial services were conducted.  He left an extensive property, most of which had been acquired by his own industry.   The three little girls, under the care and guidance of a Christian mother, have grown to womanhood.  Two of them, Mrs. J. L. Matthews and Mrs. C. H. Sheets, reside at Mooresville (at which place Mrs. Cox has lived since 1869), and the other Mrs. Dr. Stuckey, in the city of Indianapolis.

THOMAS ELY is the tenth of twelve children born to David and Sarah (Claypool) Ely, natives of Virginia, and of German and English descent.  Thomas Ely was born in Lee County, Va., January 2, 1826;  in 1837, he came with his parents to Hendricks County, this State, where his father died in 1845;  he came with his mother to this county, in 1847, and located in Brown Township, but a short time afterward came to this township, and here his mother departed this life, in 1857.  Mr. Ely has cleared from the forest a fine farm of 135 acres, which is well tilled and equipped, and stocked with horses, cattle, hogs and sheep.  December 28, 1848, he married Martha J., daughter of Calton and Nancy (Jones) Grisham, and a native of Morgan County. The children born to this union are Reuben, Elizabeth, Benjamin F. and Drusilla. Mr. Ely is a Democrat, and was once elected Justice of the Peace of Madison Township, but declined the office;  he is an advocate of temperance and an Odd Fellow, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

DAVID T. EVANS was born in Metcalf County, Ky., August 7, 1843, is the third of fifteen children born to Robert and Lucy (Button) Evans, and came to Indiana in 1861 with his parents.  He worked at farming until 1877, when he began mercantile business at Redhouse, now know as Waverly.  Three years later, he moved to Exchange, Ind., remained one year, and then came to Landersdale, where he is now doing a first-class business. July 3, 1878, he married Sophronia E. Smith, daughter of William H. Smith, and a native of Kentucky.  Three children have been born to this union, Elsie, Elmer and William R. Mr. Evans was Postmaster at Exchange for a  year, and has been Deputy Postmaster at Landersdale since March 1, 1881.  He is a member of Waverly Lodge, No. 318, I. O. O. F., and also of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Mrs. Evans is a member of the Christian Church.

ANDREW J. GOODPASTER (deceased) was born in Bath County, Ky., November 24, 1822, was the son of Michael and Margaret (Carpenter) Goodpaster, and was reared a farmer.  September 19, 1844, he married Scythia Carpenter, also a native of Bath County, born February 20, 1824, and daughter of Michael and Sallie (Jones) Carpenter.  The month following his marriage, Mr. Goodpaster came to this township and settled on a farm which had been entered by his father-in-law, built a cabin and reduced the forest to a home, where he lived until his death, July 18, 1865.  His widow now  conducts the farm, which consists of eighty acres, and is well cultivated and stocked. She is a consistent Christian, an amiable woman, and the mother of six children-- Sarah M., Andrew Jackson, Mary M., Betsy Ann, Nancy J. (deceased), and Lou, the last named now a teacher.

WILLIAM LANDERS (deceased) was born in Virginia December 18, 1789, and died in Madison Township, this county, December 10, 1851.  When he was but a mere child, his parents removed to the State of Kentucky, where his mother died, and from whence his father came into Indiana.  Our subject arrived in Morgan County in the year 1819, and at once purchased from the Government a large tract of land, upon which he settled and spent the rest of his life.   Before leaving Kentucky, he was married to Ibbie Stone, who died in Morgan County October 3, 1821.  She had borne her husband five children, viz., Jonathan, William, Joshua, Nimrod and Jeremiah, Joshua being the only one now living.  November 29, 1822, our subject was married, in Jackson Township, to Delilah Stone, a younger sister of his first wife.  She bore him the following children, viz., Washington, who died in the thirtieth year of his age;  Franklin, now the Hon. Franklin Landers, of Indianapolis;  Sarah, wife of Cyrus Vickery, of Iowa;  Ibbie, who died in 1838 at ten years of age;  John, now of Landers & Co., Indianapolis; Martin, died in 1852, about twenty years of age;  Harriet, widow of J. B. Cox;  and Jackson, now of Landers & Co., Indianapolis.  The mother of these children died
March 11, 1883, and the following from the obituary notice published in the Indianapolis Journal of the following day pays a fitting tribute to a noble woman:   "The pioneers of the 'New Purchase' are leaving one by one, and in a few years none will remain to tell of the early settlement of this section of the State.  The last to leave was Mrs. Delilah Stone Landers, the venerable mother of the Hon. Franklin Landers, who died in this city yesterday morning, at the home of her son, Jackson Landers, in the eighty-fifth year of her age.  Mrs. Landers was born in Mercer County, Ky., November 15, 1798.  In the fall of 1819, her father emigrated to Indiana, and settled in Morgan County, near the Marion and Johnson County lines.  In 1822, she was married to William Landers, one of the earliest settlers of this section of the State.  She bore him nine children, six of whom are now living, three of them--Hon. Franklin Landers, John Landers and Jackson Landers, being well known residents of this city.  When Mrs. Landers was married, her husband had five small children by a former wife.  These, with the nine she bore him, grew up under her care and guidance, and became respected and honored citizens.  What brighter crown than this could gild her brow. After her husband's death, she continued to reside upon the farm and direct its cultivation until some ten years ago, when she removed to this city, and has since lived here with her sons.  She conducted her farming operations with success, and added much to the patrimony left by her husband.  She was a member of the first Baptist Church organized in the section where she lived. 
She died in the assurance of a blessed immortality. Her memory will be revered by those who grew up around her, for she was a good woman, abounding in those virtues which honor womanhood and make the word better."  At his death,  William Landers had been for several years one of the Associate Judges of Morgan County;  he was  also County Commissioner for a number of years, and at a very early date  was elected Justice of the Peace, and held the office for about sixteen consecutive years. About the year 1835, he made the race for the Legislature against Dumont, the issue being based upon the internal improvement schemes so largely undertaken by the State about that time, Landers maintaining that the undertaking was too great, that the State was financially incapable of meeting such gigantic obligations and, though defeated, he lived to see his opponents go down, and the correctness of his theories demonstrated.  In politics, our subject was an uncompromising Democrat, and his life and influence were such as to mold and shape the politics of the community in which he lived, and it is somewhat remarkable that, though he has been dead nearly a third of a century, the township in which he lived and died has never once given a Republican majority.  At the time of his death he was a Master Mason, and had been for many years a consistent member of the Baptist Church.

GEORGE W. LOWE was born in Guilford County, N. C., July 4, 1832, and is the fifth of seven children born to Absalom and Sarah (Cobble) Lowe, natives of North Carolina and of German extraction.  In 1832, while George W. was yet an infant, the family came to Hendricks County, this State, remained a year, and then came to this township, purchased a farm, developed it from the wilderness, and here the father  died in July, 1877, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church;  his widow, now eighty-three years of age, still survives.  On this farm George W. Lowe was reared  until eighteen years old, when he entered upon an apprenticeship of three years at carpentering.  June 20, 1858, he married Sarah J., daughter of John Simpson, a native of Kentucky;  and now the mother of three children--William W., Anderson and Noel. In politics, Mr. Lowe is a Democrat, and Assessor of Madison Township, having been elected for four years.  He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his son William is now a teacher. The home farm contains 161 acres, and is well stocked and improved.

EZRA A. OLLEMAN was born in Mercer County, Ky., October 6, 1828, and is the eldest of four children born to James and Mary (Tisinger) Olleman, natives respectively of Virginia and North Carolina.  At the age of fourteen, Ezra lost his father; he was then employed at driving cattle from Indianapolis to New York, at $6.50 per month;  was thus engaged, alternating with farming, until 1846, when he began a three years' apprenticeship at cabinet-making in Cincinnati.  In 1849, he came to Mooresville, and for three years conducted business as cabinet-maker, then sold out and engaged in merchandising at Waverly until 1858;  he next purchased 320 acres of land in this township, on which he has since resided, with the exception of three years, when he was employed as associate editor of the Indiana Farmer at Indianapolis.  During this period he also established, in company with James Buchanan, the Sun, the first paper ever published in the interests of the Greenback National party, of which party he was the first Chairman of the State Central Committee, and also first Chairman of the State Executive Committee.   Through the regular session of the Legislature of 1863-64, and the called session of 1864-65, he served as a Republican, having been elected from a district that usually gave 700 Democratic majority.  In the spring of 1863, he enlisted in Company D, Seventieth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, but was discharged on account of physical disability.  August 16, 1849, he was married  to Amanda M. Kelley, daughter of James S. and Eliza (Whetsel) Kelley, natives of Harrisburg, Penn., and Wheeling, Va.  Her father was a soldier in the war of 1812, and the Whetsel family came to Indiana in 1819, and settled on the banks of the White River, in Harrison Township, this county.  Mr. and Mrs. Kelley  were married in December, 1826;  were the parents of four children, and died respectively in 1862 and 1852, members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Mr. and Mrs.Olleman are the parents of five children, Orlando A., Alma Belle, Flora E., Laura E.and Edward L., and are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Mr. O. is also a member of the Mooresville Masonic Lodge, No. 78.

JOHN B. RINKER, farmer and stock grower, was born in Washington County, Ind., May 2, 1825, and is the son of Levi and Elizabeth (Craycraft) Rinker.  In 1829, the  family came to Clay Township, this county, where the parents closed their lives.  John R. (?) Rinker was educated at the subscription schools of his early days, and remained  upon the home farm until February 2, 1851, when he married Elizabeth Clark, a native of Morgan County, and daughter of John and Rebecca (Matthews) Clark.  The children born to this union were three, Frank, Eli M. and Anna E.  Their mother died January  29, 1874, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and on March 30, 1875, Mr. Rinker married Ella Beckley, a native of Kentucky, and daughter of James and Elizabeth (Christie) Beckley.  One child, Walter A., has crowned this union.  Mr. Rinker is a Democrat, and for three years was Township Trustee.  He owns a well-improved farm of 100 acres, made by his own exertions.  His daughter, Annie E., is a prominent teacher in the schools of the county, and his wife, Mrs. Ellen Rinker, for twelve years taught in Hendricks and Morgan Counties, this State, and one term in Missouri.  Mr. Rinker  is a Methodist and his wife a Baptist.

JOHN SAWYERS, farmer and stock grower, was born in Guilford County, N. C., January 22, 1825, and is the youngest of the eight children born to John and Sarah (Tansy) Sawyers, natives of the same State, and of English descent.  The family came to this State about the year 1832, the parents dying in this county.  John Sawyers was reared on a farm, and after reaching his majority traveled through a number of the  Western States.  On his return, he married Phoebe Lindley, daughter of Edward and Joanna (Kirk) Lindley, and to this union have been born ten children:  Dayton, Ella (now Eversol), Anna, Ola, Lillie (now Pugh), Mattie, Ida, Lewis, Bernice and Wallace. Mr. Sawyers has always provided for himself and is now the owner of 740 acres, well improved and stocked.  He makes a specialty of stock-raising, and ships largely to Indianapolis.  He is a member of the Society of Friends, while his wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

RUFUS B. SMITH was born in Harrison Township, this county, October 16, 1845, and is the second of nine children born to Robert and Cynthia (Stotts) Smith, natives of Ohio and Indiana respectively, and of English extraction.  He was reared on the home farm, and was educated at the common schools.  February 7, 1865, he enlisted in Company E, One Hundred and Forty-eighth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, served seven months,and was honorably discharged in September of the same year.  February 3, 1868, he married Harriet P. Paxton, a native of Tennessee, and daughter of William and Mary Paxton.  The following children were born to this marriage:  Anna G., Guy O. (deceased), Dovie, Nellie, Robert Walter and Bertha.   Mr. Smith is the owner of 495 acres of well-improved land, and is largely engaged in the live stock trade--growing and buying, and shipping extensively to Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.  On his land is also one of the town-ship schoolhouses.  In politics, Mr. Smith is a Republican, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

HENRY T. SWEARENGIN was born in Randolph County, N. C., April 19, 1819, and came with his parents to Morgan
County in 1836.  On the 27th of December, 1843, he was happily married to Mary M. Parks, who bore him eight children, of  whom two died in early childhood.  In July, 1846, he and wife were baptised in the Christian Church at Mt. Gilead, in which he became a Deacon in 1847 and a Trustee in 1860, and of which he continued a leading and consistent member until his death, January 20, 1884, at the age of sixty-four years nine months and one day.  His widow still resides on the old homestead of 500 acres, in the management of which she is assisted by two of her sons--the youngest now twenty-three years old.  Mrs. Swearengin was born in Mason County, Ky., April 10, 1826, and is the daughter of William and Henrietta (Thomas) Parks, natives of Kentucky, and of English extraction;  they came to Indiana in 1840, located in this township, and here died in 1849 and 1879 respectively, at the ages of fifty-five and seventy-nine years.

BENJAMIN R. WATSON, farmer and carpenter, was born in this township October 21, 1838, and is the fourth of the five children born to Thomas and Mary (Royston) Watson, natives of Virginia and North Carolina, and respectively of Irish and English extraction. Benjamin Watson was reared on a farm, but received a good education at the subscription schools, and subsequently taught in the public schools of Morgan County for seven and one half years. November 22, 1859, he married Elizabeth Woodward, a native of Morgan County,
who bore him four children--Thomas B., Mary M., Andrew I. and Alfred. December 14, 1874, Mr. Watson, having lost his wife, married Rachel M. Perisho, a native of Clarke County, Ill. As a farmer, Mr. Watson owns and manages a farm of fifty-six acres, and as a carpenter has followed the trade for over thirty years. He was one year Secretary of Grange Lodge, No. 1246, at Brooklyn, Clay Township, and in politics he is a Democrat.

CYRUS A. WATSON, farmer and stock-grower, was born in this township August 17, 1829, and is the eldest of five children born to Thomas and Mary Ann (Royston) Watson, natives respectively of Virginia and Tennessee, and of Welsh and Irish descent. They erected the first log cabin in Madison Township in 1819, and came here to reside in 1823, having purchased two farms, and also having entered about 400 acres of land. Here Thomas Watson, who had served his country in the war of 1812, died in 1856; his widow still survives, at the age of seventy-seven. Cyrus A. Watson was reared a farmer, and at his majority began for himself by clearing away the forest, the country still being more or less a wilderness; he is now the owner of a well improved and well stocked farm of 200 acres. December 12, 1869, he married Susan, daughter of Daniel and Frances (Langyer) Thornberry, all natives of Virginia. To this union one child, Samuel, was born January 17, 1871. Mr. Watson is a Freemason, an Odd Fellow and a Democrat, and has held the office of Township Trustee four terms. His wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

ANDREW WRIGHT, a pioneer of Madison Township, was born in Harrison County, Ind., August 8, 1808, and is the eldest of ten children born to William and Mary (Inyard) Wright, natives respectively of Kentucky and Pennsylvania.  William Wright served as a Lieutenant in the war of 1812, and came from Kentucky to Indiana about the year 1807;  he settled in Harrison County, and there died, a respected pioneer. Andrew Wright was reared a farmer.  May 15, 1834, he married Elizabeth Blunk, who bore him ten children, two of whom are yet living, Mary A. and James.  The mother of these having died, Mr. Wright married Roema Harden, who bore him two children;  she died in 1865.  Mr. Wright next married Delia Hornady.  In the spring of 1834, Mr. Wright came to this township and purchased 120 acres of unimproved land, to which he has since added eighty acres.  His farm is now well improved, and  well stocked with horses, cattle, hogs, sheep and  the necessary farming implements. In politics, Mr. Wright is now a Republican, although his first ballot was cast for Andrew Jackson for President.  He is an advocate of temperance, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.




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