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Fairfield County, Ohio
History & Genealogy



Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of Fairfield Co., Ohio.
by C. M. L. Wiseman
Publ. F. J. Heer Printing Co., Columbus, O.  1901

Transcribed by Sharon Wick

pgs. 320 - 352


        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 County.
     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 Reber.
     Thomas Reber, the oldest son, was born in 1806,

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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 BeeryMr. 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 esteemed.
     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, late

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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.

     Their 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 Coffman.
     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 Hockhocking.
     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, TheodoreWilliam, his son, married Flora Dysinger and moved to Indiana.
     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 CruitGeorge, son of Jacob, married Anna Kiger and moved to Wells county, Indiana.

     Alonzo, son of Jacob P., married Dora, daughter of Daniel Kellerman, and moved to Bluffton, Indiana, where he is a very prominent banker and citizen.
     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 OtisEmma 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 fruit.
     His son Theodore married a daughter of Henry AlspachRufus was a Union soldier and was killed in battle.  Joseph married a Miss Harrison.
     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 2 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.



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This Webpage has been created by Sharon Wick exclusively for Genealogy Express  2008
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