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Darke County, Ohio
History & Genealogy


A Biographical History of Darke County, Ohio

Compendium of National Biography
Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company



GEORGE E. NISWONGER, county commissioner of Darke county, Ohio, is one of the representative men of the county and belongs to a family whose residence in the state of Ohio covers many years and whose settlement in America dates back to the colonial period.
     John Niswonger, the great-great-grand­father of George E. Niswonger, was born in Germany, and on his emigration to this country took up his abode in Virginia. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. His son, John, the great-grandfather of our subject, was born in Rockingham county, Virginia, where his early life was spent on a plantation.  In that state he married Elizabeth Circle, and about 1804 they came out to what was then called the "Western Reserve" and settled in Clay township, Montgomery county, Ohio.   Here he entered half a section of government land; developed a farm and on it passed his remaining years, his death occurring in 1848, when he was about sixty years of age.  His wife died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Samuel Baker, in Monroe township, Darke county, when over seventy years of age.  They were members of the Dunkard church.  Their children were as follows: George; John, who married Susie Warner and is still living, having reached the age of eighty-five years; Nicholas, whose death was caused by a runaway horse at the place where Pittsburg now stands.  He was twice married, his first union being with Leah Shaffer, after whose death he chose for his second wife Lucinda Boyd; Eli, who died in Clay township, Montgomery county; Nellie, who married Jacob Swank, and is now deceased; Mollie, the wife of Samuel Baker, of Monroe township, Darke county; and Elizabeth, the deceased wife of Samuel Baker.
     George Niswonger, the grandfather of our subject, was born in Clay township, Montgomery county, Ohio, in 1809, and there spent his life . He married Elizabeth Warner, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of David and Esther (Brumbaugh) Warner.  She was brought by her parents to Ohio when she was an infant and died at the age of fifty-eight years.  After her death he married for his second wife Susan Hinsey.  He died at the age of seventy-one years. He was prosperous in his business affairs and at one time was the owner of six hundred acres of land.  There were no children by his second marriage.  The children by his first wife were as follows: David, who was married in this township to Carrie Peffley and is now deceased; Eli, the father of George Niswonger; Catherine, the wife of John Peffley, of Montgomery county, Ohio; Mary, the wife of Joseph Wenger, of Montgomery county; and Moses, who married Marie Murray and resides in the state of Michigan.
     Eli Niswonger, the father of the subject of this review, was born in Clay township, Montgomery county, Aug. 31, 1836, and spent his youth on his father's farm, receiving his early education in one of the prim­itive log school houses of that place.  After he reached his majority he attended school for a time in Dayton.  He was married, in December, 1859, to Miss Mary Ann Cauffman, a native of Little York, Montgomery county, her birth having occurred in June, 1838. Her parents, Jesse and Eliza (McChord) Cauffman, were natives of Pennsylvania.  After their marriage they lived on the old Niswonger homestead in Clay township for two years, after which they came to Darke county, and settled on a tract of wild land, ninety acres in extent, in Monroe township, where he devoted his energies to the work of clearing and improving a farm.  He built a hewed log house, 20x24 feet, and two stories high, containing four rooms, and here they lived in pioneer style for a number of years.  In 1889 he sold his farm and retired to Pittsburg, where he has since resided.  He and his wife are true to the faith in which they were reared, being consistent members of the Dunkard church.  Politically he is a Democrat . The children of this worthy couple are as follows: Ella, the wife of Charles Delk, of Pittsburg, Ohio; Belle, the twin sister of Ella, married A. Ersenborger and is now deceased; Ola, who married Maggie Smith and now lives in New York city; George; Jesse, who married Dora Hamel and now resides in Pittsburg, Ohio; and William, who married Myrtle Stauffer and now makes his home in Pittsburg, Ohio; Ira, who was a twin brother of Jesse and died at the age of two years; and Webster, who died in infancy.
     George E. Niswonger, whose name introduces this review, was born upon the old homestead farm in Monroe township, Darke county, Mar. 18, 1866.  There he was reared to manhood, his time being devoted to the work of the farm through the summer months, while in the winter seasons he pursued his education in the public schools.  He first attended district school No. 4, his teacher being Mr. Wanzer.  Afterward a school house was built on the corner of his father's farm and there he continued his studies until nineteen years of age.  During the periods of vacation he followed the plow and assisted in harvesting the crops, remaining with his father until his marriage, which occurred on the 1st of March, 1886, Miss Nancy Behrer becoming his wife.  She was born in Miami county and is a daughter of Ebizah [Abijah] Rohrer. For a year after his marriage Mr. Niswonger remained upon his father's farm and then engaged in the butchering business for more than a year. He afterward removed to Pittsburg, where he carried on business as a stock dealer and was thus engaged until the spring of 1899, when he was elected county commissioner.  He was chosen to that office in the Democratic ticket, receiving a majority of nine hundred and thirty-two votes, and in the discharge of his duties he manifested such fidelity and marked ability that he has won the commendation of the majority of the citizens of Darke county.
     In 1888 Mr. Niswonger was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 3d of February of that year.  They had one child, born Aug. 23, 1887.  On the 17th of December, 1890, Mr. Niswonger was again married, the second union being with; Frances Strader, who was born in Twin township, Darke county, on the 17th of February, 1869, a daughter of Emanuel and Molly (Fisher) Strader.  By that marriage there were two children, but the elder died in. infancy unnamed.  The younger is Walter S., who was born Sept. 4, 1893. Mr. Niswonger is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, belonging to Arcanum Lodge, No. 341, and to the encampment.  He is also connected with the Knights of Pythias fraternity, of Arcanum and is a popular and highly esteemed citizen, who keeps well informed in the issues of the day and does everything in his power to promote the welfare and prosperity of his township and county.
SourceA Biographical History of Darke County, Ohio - Compendium of National Biography - Illustrated - Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company - 1900
- Page 710

ALEX NYSWANGER is one of the veterans of the civil war, and is now living a retired life in Butler township, Darke county.   He was born in this county on the 28th of October, 1829, his parents being Daniel and Mary (Taylor) Nyswanger.  He was reared to farm life in Butler township, early becoming familiar with the labors of field and meadow.  He assisted in the cultivation of the land until August, 1862, when, believing that his country needed his services, he responded to the call for troops, enlisting in the One Hundred and Tenth Ohio Infantry, as a private in Company H.  With his command he went to the front and was wounded in the head of Occoquan, Virginia, on the 19th of September, 1864.  He was then sent to the field hospital and while recovering from his injuries was engaged in cooking for two and a half months.  He then returned to his company, and after three years  of faithful service was mustered out near Washington and discharged from the state service at Columbus.  He was a loyal soldier, always found at his post of duty, faithfully defending the old flag and the cause it represented.  He has since been a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, thereby maintaining his acquaintance with his old army comrades, living again through reminiscence the scenes of camp and battlefield.
     In his political views he is a Republican, unswerving in his advocacy of the principles of his party.  He has never married, and sine 1896 has made his home with his sister, Mrs. D. F. Harter.
SourceA Biographical History of Darke County, Ohio - Compendium of National Biography - Illustrated - Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company - 1900
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