Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of
Fairfield Co., Ohio.
by C. M. L. Wiseman
Publ. F. J.
Heer Printing Co., Columbus, O. 1901
SKETCH OF THE HOOKER
pgs. 320 - 352
AND THE BRIGHT FAMILY - PIONEERS ALL
John Bernhard Reber came from one of the German
states to America in the year 1738 and settled in Berks
County, Pennsylvania. His descendants have been
numerous in Berks County for one hundred and
ninety-three years. One of his descendants,
Morris Reber, is at this time a resident of
Reading, Berks County. John
B. Reber was the ancestor of the family of this
county (Fairfield). Peter and Valentine,
brothers, belonged to the third or fourth generation
from Bernhard. They left behind them eight
brothers and sisters. When
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the Amish came to this county in 1835 they told John
Reber that he had many relations in old Berks
Valentine and Peter Reber,
brothers, came to Fairfield County from Berks County,
Pennsylvania. Peter came here a single man
in 1801 and made his home in Lancaster. He married
a daughter of Frederick Arnold, a farmer living
north of town. They reared a large family.
Peter was a hotel keeper and owned considerable
property in town. John Reber, a
distinguished merchant of Lancaster, and George
Reber, a lawyer, were his sons. David
Bright, Sr., married a sister of the Rebers
and came to this county in 1800 and settled where
Jacob Bright now lives in Greenfield.
Peter Reber and his family are more fully
sketched in " Centennial Lancaster."
Valentine Reber was born in Berks County,
Pennsylvania, and came with his young wife, who was
Magdalena Van Reed, to Fairfield
County in 1805. He had in 1803 visited the country
and decided to make it his home. He purchased
Section 10 of Amanda township, upon which he made his
home during his life. He was an intelligent,
industrious, enterprising and influential man. He
reared a family of thirteen children, all of whom filled
an honorable position in life, and left to their
children the immortal heritage of a good name.
Valentine Reber was a member of the Ohio
Legislature in the year 1820. He left to his
children each 160 acres of land, or its equivalent.
He died in the year 1828, still in the prime of old age.
His widow married for her second husband, William
Stage, but the union was not a happy one.
His old homestead is now owned by the heirs of Henry
Thomas Reber, the oldest son, was born in
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and married Rachel, the daughter of Jedediah
Allen, a famous man of the neighborhood. He
lived for some years on the Allen farm,
but later moved to Wyandotte County and purchased of the
Armstrongs or at government sale, a very fine
farm near Upper Sandusky. Here he lived and
prospered, accumulating a fine estate. A Sandusky
banker told the writer that Reber's bank balance
never fell below $25,000.00. His son Felix
lived and died in Marion County, Ohio.
Reber found on his farm, when he purchased it, a
good brick home, one that had been used by Armstrong,
a half-breed, as a hotel. The writer, when a
youth, spent one night in this famous hotel and partook
of fruit grown in the old Indian orchard. This
fine farm adjoins one equally as good, but not so large,
of another Fairfield County man, Solomon Beery.
Mr. Reber has been dead several years.
John Reber, one of the sons of
Valentine, was raised upon his father's farm, but
early engaged in selling goods at Adelphi, Ohio, in
which he was not successful. He gave up the
business and commenced farming and cattle feeding in
Walnut township, Pickaway County, Ohio. In this he
was very successful and before he had reached three
score and ten he was a very wealthy man for the period
in which he lived. He was a bachelor, lived in
good style, was hospitable, kind and generous, and
before or at his death, divided an estate of $400,000.00
among his relatives. A nephew resides upon his old
home farm. John Reber was highly
Dr. William Reber married Susan Huston
and moved early to Brandon, Miss., where he spent his
life. He reared two. daughters known to the
writer, one of whom became the wife of W. L. Clement,
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THE REAM FAMILY
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THE VAN METRE FAMILY
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THE COURTRIGHT FAMILY
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Theodore Williamson, the pioneer and the
ancestor of the large family in this county, was born in
Berkeley County, Virginia, in 1774. He came to
Ohio and settled in this county near Royalton in the
year 1807. He died Apr. 15, 1870, aged 96 years.
His wife was Miss Rhoda Prater, of
Virginia. She died September, 1857, aged 79 years.
They were the parents of a large family of sons and
daughters, all of whom were farmers and reputable
citizens. The oldest son, George W.,
married Elizabeth Kemp. They lived
on the farm now owned by Albert Williamson,
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near the upper falls of the Hockhocking. He died
Dec. 10, 1879. His wife died Jan. 19, 1889.
oldest son, Theodore Williamson, married a
sister of Henry Alspach. He lived
for years on a fine farm near Hooker, and was
known as the neatest and best farmer of that vicinity.
He sold his farm and moved to Omaha, to which city his
sons, Seymour and Charles, had preceded
him. He now lives, near Columbus, Ohio. Seymour
married a Bookwalter; Charles married
Miss Annie Wiseman of Lancaster, Ohio.
Henry, son of George, married a Miss
Tipton. He owns a good farm in Bloom township
but makes his home in Lancaster. He was a Union
soldier, and left his right arm in Southern soil.
Albert, son of George, married Rose
Dysinger. He owns the home farm, but rents
and conducts an implement store, or warehouse, in
Lancaster. Sarah married Zepheniah
Courtright,; Zona married William
Coffman; Lorinda married John E.
Courtright Elizabeth married Isaac
Bollenbaugh, and Amanda married John
A good family of children survive Zepheniah
Courtright and wife.
Abraham Courtright and his sister Mary
reside upon the home place of 300 acres. One of
his daughters married H. J. Knisely, a farmer and
grain dealer of Carroll, Ohio. Another daughter
married Reber Allen, and another daughter
married Andrew J. Musser, late treasurer of this
county. Silas, a son of Zepheniah
Courtright, lives near the upper falls of
Jacob P. Williamson, son of Theodore, was
born in 1804. He died Mar. 16, 1876, aged 72
years. He married Elizabeth Odell
and lived upon the home
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place of the pioneer, Theodore. William,
his son, married Flora Dysinger and moved
Silas J. Williamson, son of Jacob, was
born Dec. 14, 1831. He married Susanah
Kiger. He lives on the old pioneer farm.
John, son of Jacob, married Hannah
Cruit. George, son of Jacob,
married Anna Kiger and moved to Wells
son of Jacob P., married Dora, daughter of
Daniel Kellerman, and moved to Bluffton,
Indiana, where he is a very prominent banker and
Rhoda, daughter of Jacob, married John
Madden they live on Muddy Prairie, near Amanda.
Cholista married James Robinson
and died some years since. Etta married
David Cole, and they moved to Wells county,
Indiana. Catharine married George
Otis. Emma married Robert
Cruit, one of the prominent and successful farmers
of Hocking township.
Isaac Newton, son of Theodore, the
pioneer, married Elizabeth Peters,
daughter of Samuel Peters. She is
living at a very old age, but is well and hearty, bright
and happy, in the home so long endeared to her by toil
and happiness. Mr. Williamson died
Dec. 16, 1890, aged 82 years. Mr. Williamson
was a good farmer and a lover of and a judge of good
His son Theodore married a daughter of Henry
Alspach. Rufus was a Union soldier and
was killed in battle. Joseph married a
Tunis married Ella Alspach,
daughter of Joseph Alspach. Samuel
died young and did not marry. Mary married
G. Stanbery; Althea married Frank
Philbrick; Anna married Clay
Johnson; Emma never married. John
Williamson, son of Theodore, married a
Miss Ingman. He died recently.
His home was on
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a farm near Royalton. His son, Clark
Williamson, married a daughter of Charles
Reber and a grand daughter of Valentine
Reber. His daughter married Dr.
Silbaugh of Lancaster, Ohio. Milton
Williamson married a Miss Groff and
they live on the home place of John Williamson.
Henrietta married George Ward,
Sophia and Maria are single women.
Silas, the son of Theodore, married
Lucinda Shawan, a sister or niece of R. W. Shawan,
the great merchant of Tiffin, Ohio. Shawan,
in early life, worked upon a farm in Amanada township,
and fed cattle in the winter for a small sum of money
per month. He went to Tiffin at an early day,
prospered and was rated a millionaire.
We know but little of the family of Silas
Williamson. His son Thomas married a Miss
Hooker. William Williamson, a son of
Theodore, married Catharine Griffith and
moved to Missouri, where they died. Levi
Williamson, son of Theodore, married a
daughter of James Grantham, and moved to
Iowa, where they died. Eliza, daughter of
Theodore Williamson, married George W.
Halderman, both long since dead. Ara
married Henry Huber, who once lived where
George Creed now lives. They moved
to Shelby County, Illinois. Zero married
Enos Prater and they moved to Ross county,
Ohio. Both now dead.
This completes the record of the children and
grandchildren of the old pioneer so far as we have been
able to trace the family.
On the farm near the house of Silas J. Williamson,
in sight of the Royalton road leading from
Lancaster, there are two very remarkable elm trees.
They were found there by the pioneer, Theodore
Williamson, and preserved. Eighty-two years
ago they were
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15 inches in diameter. One of them measures 2½
feet from the ground, 20 feet in circumference.
The other 23 feet. Their tops cover a space of
ground 90 feet in diameter. Apple trees planted 75
years ago still bear fruit.