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Fayette County, Ohio
History & Genealogy


History of Fayette County, Ohio & State of Ohio

By R. S. Dills -
Publ. Odell & Meyer Publishers, Dayton, Ohio



Concord Twp. -
JOHN MARTIN DEER, (Concord Township) farmer and stock raiser, is a son of Abraham and Elizabeth Deer, who were natives of Virginia.  They came to Ohio about 1830, and settled on the waters of Rattlesnake Creek, in Highland County.  Here the father died about 1865.  The mother is still living, and is more than seventy years of age.  They were the parents of seven children, four sons and three daughters:  William died when quite young; Mary married, and lives in Ross County, this state;  Henry married, and lives in Ross County, this state; Henry married, and resides in the State of Indiana; David S. died in his twenty-second year, and was unmarried; Anna A. married Mr. Patch, and lives near Washington; the mother is living with her; one child died in infancy.
     John M., our subject,  was born in Highland County, Ohio, Nov. 22, 1837.  He married Anna E. McCleland, Dec. 23, 1858.  They have had six children, four sons and two daughters.  The daughters both died in infancy.  James W., Edmund L., Rufus L., and Cary O.,  are at home with their parents, working on the farm.  Mr. Deer and wife entered upon their married life with but little of this world's goods; but by real industry and frugality, rigidly adhering to his one legitimate business, and the blessing of a kind Providence, they are the possessors of some two hundred and fifty-two acres of most excellent land, located a short distance west of Sugar Creek, on the Snow Hill pike, where they reside in a magnificent brick house, built by John Cox, Esq., a few years since.
* Source: 
History of Fayette County, Ohio & State of Ohio - By R. S. Dills - Publ. Odell & Meyer Publishers, Dayton, Ohio - 1881 - Page 745
Perry Twp. -
SAMUEL DEVOSS.   Among the skillful mechanics of this county, we take pleasure in mentioning Samuel Devoss, who carries on his business of carriage making and general repair shop, in New Martinsburg, in the shop formerly occupied by Jesse W. Barrett.  He was born in Adams County, this state, Sept. 5, 1840.  The Devoss family came from Kentucky and settled first in Ross County, 1815.  Jonas Pettit, the maternal grandfather of our subject, died in southern Ohio before the year 1840.
     The parents of our subject, David and Rachel (Pettit) Devoss, had eight children: Arrietta, Samuel, John, William, James, George, Frank and Mary.  The oldest daughter, Arrietta, is a graduate of Granville Female Seminary, and lives in Missouri, near Fulton; John works at the blacksmith business, in Scioto County; William resides in Fulton, Missouri; James works at wagon making, in Scioto County, and George works at blacksmithing in the same county; John served in the late war, on the side of the Union.
     Our subject learned his trade at Portsmouth, with C. Moffitt, and in 1858 began business for himself, at Rockville, Adams County, this state.
     In June, 1861, he enlisted in Company G, 22d regiment O. V. I.  After his discharge, and a brief taste of civil life, he again enlisted, this time in Company F, 81st O. V. I., in which he served till 1864, serving three years; afterwards he re-enlisted in the same regiment as a recruit, serving in Company D.  His total term of service, was but sixteen days less than four years, and during the whole time he never spent a day in the hospital on account of sickness.  His regiment participated at Pittsburg Landing, Iuka, Corinth,
Kenesaw Mountains, and many other hard fought battles of the war.
     Our subject married Margaret Ellen Ellis, in June, 1871; to this union, one child, Setta Jane, was born, and died at seventeen months of age.  Mrs. Devoss died, Oct. 4, 1873, aged twenty-two years.  For his second wife, he married Nancy Terrell, daughter of Thomas Terrell, of Perry Township.  The fruits of this union have been born: Flora, Bertha and David Garfield.
     Mr. Devoss began business in New Martinsburg, in 1870, and his workmanship and attention to business, give him a steady trade year after year.
     George Colven, the great-grandfather of our subject, died in 1864, at the age of ninety-eight years.  He was a pioneer mail carrier on the frontier in his youth, and transported the United States mail in a canoe on the Ohio River.  He was attacked on one occasion by Indians, and, though wounded seven times, he made his escape by strategy.
     Mr. Devoss is a Republican of the ardent order and an honest man, deserving of success in his business.
* Source: 
History of Fayette County, Ohio & State of Ohio - By R. S. Dills - Publ. Odell & Meyer Publishers, Dayton, Ohio - 1881 - Page 800
Union Twp. -
ANDREW DEWITT, raiser of fine stock, Washington, was born in Fayette County, Aug. 23, 1813. He is a son of John and Polly Do Witt, the former a native of Kentucky, and the latter of Pennsylvania. The father came to Ohio about the year 1808, and the mother about the same time. They had a family of twelve children, ten of whom arc living.
     Andrew, our subject, was married Apr. 19, 1842, to Miss Elizabeth Hire, daughter of George and Catharine Hire, of Ross County, this state. Twelve children, all living, is the result of this union: Mary C, Samantha, Thomas H., Harvey, Elizabeth E., Joan, John, Hannah B., Martin L., Jennie, Almeda, and George C.
     Mr. DeWitt is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He received his education in Washington and in Ross County, and has spent his whole life in this county. For thirty-five years lie has been engaged in raising the Rose of Sharon, Young Mary's, Filicies, Jantha's, and Flora stock of cattle. He is the owner of the horse that produced Ben Hamilton. He is from Alexander Norman and a Denmark marc.
     Mr. DeWitt's farm consists of eight hundred and fifty-six acres, and he is one of the most extensive stock raisers in Ohio. In the pioneer days many wild animals, especially the black bear, inhabited the forests, and on one occasion when on his way home from the Pock Mills, in August, 1822, Mr. DeWitt treed two bears in one tree.
* Source:  History of Fayette County, Ohio & State of Ohio - By R. S. Dills - Publ. Odell & Meyer Publishers, Dayton, Ohio - 1881 - Page 593
JOHN DEWITT, who was one of the first settlers, was born in Clark County, Kentucky. Accompanied by his uncle, Fredrick Bray, and his brothers, Henry and Gabriel, he left his native soil and came to this state, settling in Ross County ; this was in the year 1806. The party traveled the entire distance on foot; all Kentuckians were great hunters and therefore good travelers. It is said that Henry Dewitt frequently walked seventy-five miles in a single day. Dewitt remained in Ross County two years and while there entered into the bonds of matrimony with Miss Polly Barker. Soon after the marriage the young couple removed to Fayette County, settling on land located four miles southeast of Washington. Jesse, the youngest son, is at present living on the original homestead. He purchased a small farm at first but added to the same and finally owned several thousand acres. This land was originally owned by Baron Steuben, McKay, Duncan McArthur and others, and is situated in Wayne Township. In 1812 Mr. Dewitt volunteered to assist in defending the Americans against the British and their allies, the Indians, and was stationed at Upper Sandusky, where he remained until peace was declared. He was one of the first constables, was then elected justice of the peace and held the position for many years. He was considered one of the best hunters, hunting being a favorite pastime with him. When the first court was established in this county, the legal talent of Chillicothe were in the habit of leaving their homes on the day preceding the opening of court, travel to the house of Dewitt and remain over night; there they were always accorded a warm reception. Governors McArthur, Allen and Thurman, were frequent guests at his house. Ministers of all denominations made his house their headquarters, meetings being held there. He was a member of the Baptist church, always voted the Democratic ticket, and enjoyed good health until a short time prior to his death. His union with Miss Barker was blessed with eleven children: Eveline, intermarried with William Orr (now dead); Jane, wife of James Allen, at present residing in Missouri; Anderson, living at Washington, C. H., in this county; Darlington, now a resident of Iowa ; Decatur, died at the age of 30; Rachel, married Wesley Prior, now living in Missouri; Peter G., on part of the homestead ; John, occupies a portion of the homestead; Jesse, residing in the old house; Candice, intermarried with Dr. Goldsberry, of Washington, this county; one child died in infancy.
* Source:  History of Fayette County, Ohio & State of Ohio - By R. S. Dills - Publ. Odell & Meyer Publishers, Dayton, Ohio - 1881 - Page 243
Jefferson Twp. -
JOHN DIVINS, farmer, is a son of Samuel and Mary (Depoy) Divins, and was born in Ross County, Ohio, May 23, 1826.  When but a child, he came to this county with his parents, and has remained here ever since, except about five years spent in Coles County, Illinois.  In that state he was married to Sarah E. Rohinson, Nov. 3, 1850, who bore him four children: Jeremiah W., Lidie May, Mertie, and John.  Mertie was born Dec. 2, 1867, and died at the age of eight months.
     Mr. Divins has a farm of one hundred and sixty-four acres, well improved, situated one mile west of Jeffersonville, and on which he resides.  Fifty years ago, this land, now in a high state of cultivation, consisted of an impenetrable forest, and was presented to the Hillsboro Academy, and conveyed to M. Boyght, Feb. 9, 1829.
     Jeremiah, oldest son of our subject, was married to Maggie Herrill, Oct. 14, 1873.  There were two children by this union Celestia D., and Vernon.
     John C. Divins, the father of the subject of this sketch, and his wife, were natives of Delaware.  Both removed to this state, where they died; the former in Clinton County, the latter in Fayette.
* Source: 
History of Fayette County, Ohio & State of Ohio - By R. S. Dills - Publ. Odell & Meyer Publishers, Dayton, Ohio - 1881 - Page 678
Union Twp. -
ALFRED DUN, farmer and stock raiser, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, June 24, 1848. He is the only surviving son of John Dun, who was a native of Scotland, his father being a Presbyterian minister in Glasgow. John came to Chillicothe in 1816; remained a short time, when he went to Philadelphia, and engaged in the commission business with his brother George, which proved a financial success. In 1837 he married Amanda W. Long. With her he returned to Chillicothe soon after their marriage, and remained there until his death. Mr. Dun was born June 25, 1794, and died Apr. 4, 1881, in the eighty-seventh year of his age. His wife is twenty years his junior, and lives in the old homestead. Mr. Dun proved himself to be a good financier, and amassed quite a fortune, lie was the owner of some seventy-five hundred acres of the best lands of Ohio, situated in Ross, Fayette, Clinton, Madison, Franklin and Logan counties. At his death, he left an estate valued at more than half a million of dollars. Mr. and Mrs. Dun were the parents of six children, three sons and three daughters: Elizabeth married Mr. Kilvert, of Chillicothe, and lives in the city. Jean married Thomas McKell, son of William McKell, and resides in Chillicothe. William died in infancy. Helen is single, and remains at home with her mother. George W. was drowned in Paint Creek, at the age of twelve. Alfred, our subject, spent his boyhood days with his parents, in Chillicothe, attending school much of the time. After he grew to manhood, he spent some two years with relatives on the farm in Madison County. He also spent some five years in California. In May, 1870, he married Miss Marietta Fort, of Chillicothe. In the fall of 1878, he built a fine residence on his father's farm in this township, situated on the Greenfield and Sabina pike, four miles south of Sabina. In June, 1879, the family moved from the city to this residence, where they still remain.
This is a farm consisting of fourteen hundred acres. Originally it was two farms; one situated in Clinton County, known as the Quin farm; the other on the Fayette County side of the line, known as the Hays farm. These lands were purchased by Mr. Dun's father many years since, at a low price, but are now very valuable. Though originally two farms, they join each other, making one of the most magnificent farms in the country.
     Mr. and Mrs. Dun have five children, two sons and three daughters: Harry Alfred, Lulu, George William, Marie, and the youngest, a daughter, unnamed. In politics he is a Democrat. He inherits a large fortune. Mr. Dun is a cousin of R. G. Dun, of the mercantile agency of R. G. Dun & Co.
* Source:  History of Fayette County, Ohio & State of Ohio - By R. S. Dills - Publ. Odell & Meyer Publishers, Dayton, Ohio - 1881 - Page 746
Marion Twp. -
JAMES G. DUNLAP, farmer, son of Robert Dunlap, was born Jan. 14, 1833, in Ross County, near Kingston.  He spent most of his life in Pickaway County, and settled on his' present farm nine years ago, where he has since lived.
     In February, 1872, he was married to Mrs. McRea, nee Nancy McDill.  She had previously been married to Charles McRea, by whom she had one son, George, now living.  She is a member of the Christian Church, and an exemplary Christian.
     At the breaking out of the rebellion, Mr. Dunlap enlisted in Company G, 2d O. V. I. (three months), and re-enlisted in the 114th O. V. I., in the spring of 1862, remaining in the service till the close of the war.  He enlisted as a private, was promoted to orderly sergeant, then to first lieutenant, and after the fall of Vicksburg was commissioned captain of Company E, in which latter position he continued till the close of the war.  He was also on Gen. C. C. Andrews' staff, in the commissary department.  He participated in a number of dangerous conflicts, such as Champion Hill, all through the seige of Vicksburg, and came out unhurt.  He occupies two hundred and eighty-four acres of land on the New Holland and Bloomingburg pike, and farms to grain and stock.  He owns the "Dr. May" property, at New Holland.
* Source: 
History of Fayette County, Ohio & State of Ohio - By R. S. Dills - Publ. Odell & Meyer Publishers, Dayton, Ohio - 1881 - Page 901
RAFE DURHAM, though not an early resident of this county, has lived in its immediate vicinity for more than sixty years. A native of Berkshire County, Virginia, he immigrated to this state with his family and aged father in 1816, locating at New Holland, in Pickaway County. He removed to his present place (survey No. 8119, Marion Township) in 1835-6. The vicinity was then but thinly settled, every one living in peace and quietude. Property was considered safe, and locks and keys were comparatively unknown. He was well acquainted with the participants in the great Funk fight, being a member of the rifle company commanded by Captain James Mills, and pressed into service on that occasion. Prior to his departure from Virginia, he entered the bonds of matrimony with Elizabeth Elliott, with whom he lived happily for sixty-seven years. The pair were not separated from each other for more than ten days at any one time, until death parted them for the time being. She was aged eighty-seven at the time of her death (August, 1880), being several months older than her husband, who lives quietly in the old home, realizing that his days are numbered, and that he will soon be reunited to the companion of his youth.
* Source:  History of Fayette County, Ohio & State of Ohio - By R. S. Dills - Publ. Odell & Meyer Publishers, Dayton, Ohio - 1881 - Page 251



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