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Delaware County, Ohio

History & Genealogy


Memorial Record of the Counties of Delaware, Union and Morrow, Ohio -
Publ. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co.



GEORGE DEETS, a farmer of Porter township, was born in Carroll county, Ohio, March 4, 1830.  His father, George Deets, died when the former was three years of age, leaving a widow and seven children, viz.: Henry and Jake (twins), Joanna, Adam, Margaret, George and Abram.  The children found homes in different families.
     George Deets found a home with Samuel and Mary M. Dowel, where he was reared to farm life, and was taught industry and honesty, the foundation for his future success.  He now owns two fine farms, consisting of 307 acres.  The home farm, containing 220 acres, has a good two-story dwelling, 20 x 32 feet, and a barn, 4o x 6o feet.  The farm of eighty-seven acres formerly belonged to Mrs. Deets’ father and mother.
     Mr. Deets was married at the age of twenty-eight years, to Martha J. DeWitt, a native of Bloomfield township, Morrow county, and a daughter of Amos and Rachel (Harris) DeWitt, both born and reared in Virginia, but became pioneer settlers of Morrow county, Ohio.  The father died at the age of seventy-five years, and the mother at the age of eighty-six years.  Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt had nine children: Simon, Hiram, Jackson, Martha, John, Abram, Mason, Maria and CharlesMr. and Mrs. Deets have two daughters.  The eldest, Mary, is the wife of C. L. Bowers, of Centerburg, Ohio, and they have two children, George W. and Ethel.  The second child, Clara Dell, is the wife of Clifford Forshey, of Michigan, and they have one child, a daughter, Harriet LMr. Deets affiliates with the Republican party.
Source: Memorial Record of the Counties of Delaware, Union and Morrow, Ohio; Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1895, pp. 298-299
Contributed by a Generous Genealogist.

THE DEPOSIT BANKING COMPANY, of Delaware, Ohio, was organized in November, 1867, and in December of that year commenced business.  It had a cash capital of $25,000, and its first officers were as follows: President, H. W. Pumphrey; cashier, H. A. Welch; directors, H. W. Pumphrey, J. H. Mendenhall, A. Lybrand, Sr., Prof. W. G. Williams and E. R. Thompson.  The second president was J. H. Mendenhall, the third was A. Lybrand, and the last and present is S. P. ShurrMr. Welch has been cashier of the bank ever since it was organized, with the exception of two years, when he was its vice-president, and during all this time he has been at the head of its business.  The present board of directors is as follows: S. P. Shurr, Samuel Lybrand, W. G. Williams, C. Riddle, W. A. Hall, J. L. Thurston, H. A. Welch.  In 1890 the capital stock was increased to $50,000 and the company was incorporated.  The first location of the bank was in the Switzer building, on North Sandusky street; subsequently it was removed to the room south of Hotel Donavin, and since August 1, 1885, it has occupied its present location.
     H. A. Welch, cashier of the Deposit Banking Company, of Delaware. Ohio, was born in the town in which he now lives, November 4, 1845, son of Augustus A. and Julia A. (Storm) Welch.  He attended the common schools of his native place and for two years was a student in Delaware College.  In 1861 he entered the Delaware county branch of the State Bank of Ohio, where he spent five years.  Next we find him at Lavaca, Texas, employed in the Quartermaster’s Department of the United States Army.  He was thus occupied about six months and after that spent one year in the employ of J. W. Glenn & Company, forwarding and commission agents.
     Upon his return to Delaware, Ohio, Mr. Welch assisted in the organization of the Deposit Bank of Delaware, to which institution he has since given his entire time and attention, the bulk of the business being thrown upon his shoulders.  He was the director and auditor of the Delaware Building Association from 1868 until the close of its career.  In 1887 he was elected secretary of the People’s Building and Loan Association, which position he continues to hold.
     Mr. Welch was married in Delaware, Ohio, in 1867, to Miss Mary Myers, who died in 1876, leaving three children, viz.: Frank P., manager of the Delaware Street Railroad; Harriet, wife of W. R. Bennington, a resident of Delaware; and Sidney, a clerk in the bank with his father.  His second marriage occurred in 1880, the lady of his choice being Miss Laura D. Riley, of Hamilton, Ohio.  Their two children are Ada and JuliaMr. Welch and his family reside on North Sandusky street, and they attend the Episcopal Church.
Source: Memorial Record of the Counties of Delaware, Union and Morrow, Ohio; Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1895, pp. 418-419
Contributed by a Generous Genealogist.

HIRAM DE WITT follows farming in Delaware county, where he owns and operates a valuable tract of land, which has been his home for the long period of forty consecutive years.  He was born in Morrow county, Ohio, on the 22d of April, 1827, and is a son of Amos and Rachel (Harris) De Witt, both of whom were natives of Virginia.  When a lad of fourteen years, the father came to the Buckeye State and a few years later began farming, which he followed throughout his life.  He was called to the home beyond in June, 1876, and his wife, who survived him about ten years, passed away in 1886.  In their family were nine children, seven sons and two daughters, namely: Simon; Hiram; Martha; Jane, wife of George Deets; John U., who resides in Knox county, Ohio; Abram, deceased; Mason, who is living in Nebraska; Maria, wife of William Huston; and Charles, who also makes his home in Nebraska.
     Hiram De Witt received but limited school privileges.  The building in which he conned his studies was a rude structure with clapboard roof, and the training therein accorded with the exterior.  At farm labor, however, he had ample drill, for as soon as old enough to handle the plow, he began work in the fields, and from an early age he earned his own livelihood by working as a farm hand for the agriculturists of the neighborhood.  For his labors he received the munificent sum of $10 per month, and out of this he saved the capital with which he made his first purchase of land, ––an eighty-acre tract in Michigan.  He bought, in 1854, his present farm, then a tract of wild land covered with timber.  This he at once began to clear away, and in course of time the once raw tract was converted into rich and fertile fields.  The farm comprises seventy-three and a fourth acres, and yields to the owner a golden tribute in return for the care and cultivation which he bestows upon it.
     On the 5th of February, 1852, Mr. De Witt was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary J. Huston, daughter of William and Sarah (Kelly) Huston, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Virginia.  Seven children have been born to our subject and his wife, who in order of birth are as follows: Eva, wife of Irvin Davy; Maria Caroline, now deceased; Charles M., who is engaged in business in Columbus, Ohio; John W., who also resides in that city; Fletcher A., who is now serving as Recorder of Morrow county, Ohio; Hettie A., wife of Warren W. Field, a resident of Summit county; and Josephine, who is still at home with her parents.
     Both Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt are members of the Methodist Church.  Their home is noted for its hospitality, and the worthy couple have a large circle of friends and acquaintances in this community, where they have so long resided.  In his political views Mr. De Witt is a Republican, but has never been an office seeker, preferring to give his entire time and attention to his business interests.  He has led a busy and useful life, and his career has also been one of straightforward and honorable dealing.
Source: Memorial Record of the Counties of Delaware, Union and Morrow, Ohio; Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1895, pp. 217-218
Contributed by a Generous Genealogist.

JOHN W. DONAVIN, deceased, formerly proprietor of the Hotel Donavin, Delaware, was born in Shippensburg, Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, on the 18th day of February, 1833, and died in Delaware. Ohio, June 28, 1893, in the sixty-first year of his age.  He was the second son of Levi K. Donavin and Mary K. Donavin, née McConnell.  His parents were born in the same village, his father in 1799, and his mother in 1800.  His father died in 1882 in Delaware, and his mother passed away August 18, 1894, in her ninety-fourth year.
     J. W. Donavin’s forefathers came from the north of Ireland, counties Tyrone, Armagh and Down.  The McConnells emigrated to the United States in 1713, spent a few years in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, and then crossed the Susquehanna river, and settled on a tract of land containing four thousand four hundred acres, lying near the Conojoquimet creek, forty miles west of the Susquehanna river.  The settlement of the region was very sparse at that day, and was made up principally of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, of which the head of this branch of the McConnell family, David McConnell, was a prominent and devoted member.  On the banks of the creek running through his estate, he erected a flouring mill, in the year 1724, which was the first structure of the kind in that section of the Cumberland valley.  He became a prominent and influential member of society and prospered in worldly as well as in spiritual affairs.  David McConnell was twice married.  Mr. Donavin’s mother was a descendant of the third son of the second marriage.  Her father’s father was William McConnell, and her father bore the same name.
     Two of the sons of William McConnell, Sr., were soldiers in the Revolutionary war.  William McConnell, Jr. (Mary McConnell’s father), was too young to enter the service.  When the patriotic army was lying at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777, William McConnell, Sr., determined to visit the army that he might see his sons.  Accordingly he put twenty-one barrels of flour into a large English wagon-bed (which he had imported) and started for Valley Forge, over a hundred miles distant.  The weather was very severe, snow and intense cold prevailing.  He delivered the flour and was given a receipt therefor, the flour being valued at £20 ($100) per barrel.  When he met the younger of his two sons in camp, he found him marking the snow with blood from his feet.  The father took the boots from his own feet, and placed them on those of his suffering boy.  Tying up his own feet with pieces of blankets, he started with his six-horse team for home.  On reaching Harrisburg he was taken with the pleurisy, and runners were dispatched to carry the new of his illness to his wife, forty miles west.  On hearing of the distress of her husband, the wife took her baby girl in her arms, got into the saddle and started for Harrisburg in a driving rain storm.  On reaching the river the waters were so high that she was compelled to remain three days on the west bank, unable to communicate with Harrisburg.  On the fourth day she rode upon a flat-boat and was ferried across the river.  As she rode up the street of the town, she met a funeral.  Stopping the driver of the hearse she inquired, “Whose body does that coffin contain?”  The driver replied, “William McConnell’s!”  She turned her horse’s head and took position immediately behind the hearse, and, with her baby girl asleep in her arms, followed the body of her husband to the grave and saw him buried.  She did not long survive her husband, but within two years died, leaving three sons and a daughter.  She was of the family “McCallister.”
     In the early forties a young man, a clerk in the State Auditor’s Department of Pennsylvania, with a penchant for delving into musty records, discovered an open account in the books of the Colonial period, unsettled, in favor of William McConnell, amounting to $2,100, for twenty-one barrels of flour delivered to the Pennsylvania troops at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777.  The attention of J. W. Donavin’s father was called to this by the young clerk of the auditor’s office, and Mr. Donavin, accompanied by the clerk, called on his father-in-law.  The old gentleman was sitting on his front porch when the young clerk told him of his discovery, at the close of which Mr. McConnell said, “O, yes; that twenty-one barrels of flour marks an important incident in the history of my family ––my father’s death.  I have the receipt in my secretary which was given for that load of flour.”  Rising from his seat he walked into his library and in a few minutes returned with the receipt.  On learning of the incident, the member of the legislature from Cumberland called on Mr. McConnell and induced him to visit Harrisburg.  The old gentleman was introduced to the House and the Senate.  Immediately a bill was introduced directing the Auditor of State to draw his warrant for $2,100 in favor of William McConnell in payment for that flour.  The rules were suspended and the law enacted, so that Mr. McConnell returned to his home in the evening with the $2,100 in his pocket.
     The Donavin family came from county Armagh.  They were landed gentry.  John, the grandfather of J. W. Donavin, got mixed up in the Irish rebellion of 1797-8, and was compelled to leave the country.  He arrived at Philadelphia in March, 1798, but remained in the city but a day or two, going to a point in Lancaster county, where he lived a short time and where he married Jane McElroy, who had accompanied to America her brother, Rev. William McElroy, an ordained priest of the Church of England, but who had quit the established church and was a follower of John WesleyJohn Donavin had been converted when a boy of sixteen, under the immediate preaching of the great Wesley, and was personally acquainted with the brothers, John and Charles.  He accompanied Mr. Wesley on one of his trips through Ireland, and was full of sweet reminiscences of the founder of Methodism.  He erected the first log church in which the Methodists worshiped in Shippensburg.  He was full of piety and zeal, and his home was the home of the itinerant.
     L. K. Donavin, J. W.’s father, was a highly honored citizen of the people with whom he was reared, sharing in the honors of local government, and was Postmaster of the town during the administration of James K. Polk.  For years he was the foremost Methodist of Cumberland valley, and entertained the pastors, from the bishops to the humblest circuit riders.  He spent the last twelve years of his life in Delaware, where he died in 1882.
     It was from this sterling stock that John W. Donavin sprung.  He had all the characteristics, strong qualities, and peculiar traits which distinguish the Scotch-Irish race.  He was honest in all things, small as well as large, and in his dealings and intercourse with his fellow men, was innately prompted to justice; was fervent in his attachments, persevering in his intents, full of conscience, the approval of which he demanded for every action of his life, was fast in his friendships, loving and lovable, gentle and sympathetic, the latter always accompanied when necessary by tangible evidence of sincerity; was courageous without bravado, and tender without weakness.  He was a complete exemplification of the lines,

“The bravest are the tenderest.
The loving are the daring.”

     John W. Donavin was a successful man in business.  From his early youth he manifested a disposition for business pursuits.  At the age of ten he insisted on his father letting him have money with which to make money.  He was not in love with books, and attendance at school was akin to punishment.  He acquired his lessons easily and rapidly, but still the work was irksome.  He was always glad when Saturday came, and the preceding days of the week were employed in devising some matter of trade or pursuit whereby he could make money on Saturday.  At the age of twelve he was in the live-stock and butchering business.  His native town was located on the principal highway between the East and the West, and daily droves of swine, sheep and cattle passed through it.  He would go out a mile or two on the road and meet the droves, with the hope of finding some animal that was lame or suffering from some temporary injury which care and attention would soon restore, and which could be bought at a figure much below its real value as a well animal.  He secured pasture lots, and it was no unusual thing to see a number of crippled animals corraled [sic] and under his care.  In this way he made money.  When about seventeen years of age he went into his father’s hat and cap store as a salesman.  In another part of the town his father had a cigar manufactory.  John was not long in picking up the business, and in a brief time he had a bench erected back of the counter in the hat and cap store, on which he rolled cigars.  He was soon an expert cigar-maker.  During these years and up to his leaving home, his pleasures were found in music and horseback riding.  As a vocalist he excelled all other persons in the village.  He was passionately fond of it, and selecting three companions he formed a quartet which was known from the Shenandoah to the Potomac.  He was the best horseman in the valley, and was always in possession of a saddle horse which obeyed not merely his command, but the nod of his head or the wave of his hand.
     In 1853 he came West, stopping briefly at a number of points until he reached Mt. Vernon, Knox county, Ohio.  There his necessities compelled him to come to a permanent halt.  He had but sixteen cents in his pocket.  He sought work and found it in a woolen mill.  He was unfamiliar with the work and about a week after his first employment he came near severing the fingers of his left hand while he operated a large pair of shears, which moved by machinery.  His escape from the accident startled him.  He held up his hand and soliloquized, “On you and your mate largely depend my success in life.  Some other body may take the hazard of losing his fingers: I will not.”  He stopped the machinery, walked to the office and remarked, “I have resigned,” assigning the reason for doing so.  He found employment in a cigar manufactory run by Reuben Kendrick.  In a brief time Kendrick and he became partners and the business was greatly enlarged.  Mr. Donavin took charge of the sale department, and with a span of horses and a wagon he sold the entire out-put, covering all of northern, Ohio and southern Michigan.  In 1855 he returned to Shippensburg and married Laura C. Trone, who survives him.  She was his boyhood’s sweetheart and his manhood’s wife, and in the thirty-nine years of their married life he never had a disloyal thought.  In 1856 he retired from the firm of Kendrick & Donavin.
     The Fremont campaign was on that year.  There was a grand rally of Republicans in Mt. Vernon.  Mr. Donavin had been a Democrat, but a visit to the valley of Virginia, where he witnessed slavery as it was, changed all his politics.  He returned to his home an abolitionist.  When the Republican party was formed he united himself to it.  On the morning of the grand Republican rally, Mt. Vernon was filled with people.  A man was present endeavoring to sell at a dollar a copy a large and well bound life of Fremont, which also contained fifty campaign songs.  The man was doing but little business.  Mr. Donavin stepped up to him saying, “Hand me one of those books, and I will show you how to sell them.”  He opened the volume and the first song was the tune, “Do they miss me at home.” Turning a box over he jumped on top of it and in a voice “sweet as silver bells” he commenced singing.  In a few minutes several thousand people had gathered around him, and in less than one hour the stock of hooks was all sold.  Among those who gathered to listen was George B. Potwin, the largest wholesale and retail dealer in groceries in the town.  As Mr. Donavin stepped from the box, Potwin came up and said, “Donavin, what are you engaged in?”  “Selling the life of Fremont," he replied with a laugh.  “When does your engagement close?”  “To-morrow after the speaking at Fredericktown.”  “Well,” remarked Potwin, “I need you in my business.”  “I’ll call on you tomorrow night,” replied Mr. Donavin.  On that night business arrangements were made between the two men, which lasted until within a few days of the death of Mr. Potwin, first as head clerk, then as partner and conductor of the retail store, and afterward, in the spring of 1864, in the establishment of a branch store in Delaware with Mr. Donavin in control.
     In 1873, at the instance of the officers of the Freedmen’s Bureau of the Methodist Episcopal Church, he went into the Southern States and organized a troupe of colored Jubilee Singers to raise money to complete the Central Tennessee College buildings at Nashville.  The troupe organized and drilled, he brought it North and commenced a most successful tour.  “Donavin’s Original Tennesseeans” became famous throughout all the land.  He sent $18,000 to the college, which completed the college buildings, and in May, 1876, this work was accomplished; and the members of the troupe being anxious to continue their pursuit, Mr. Donavin reoganized [sic] them and conducted the concerts for his own benefit.
     In 1882 he purchased a one-half interest in the American House property, and two years later, in conjunction with his sons, L. K. and George B. Donavin, he purchased the other half.  In 1885 the building was thoroughly remodeled and greatly improved and in August of that year, under the firm name of J. W. Donavin & Sons, it was opened for business under the name of “Hotel Donavin,” with Mr. Donavin and his sons in charge.  John W. Donavin was a “host” in the full meaning of the word.  His aim was to make the hotel a home for the traveling public, and no man ever succeeded better.  He was unusually beloved by the traveling commercial life.  When a guest who was a frequent visitor of the house entered and J. W. had not met him, the registry was scarcely completed when the question came, “Where is the old gentleman?”  His guests were his friends, and many of them, not having heard of his death, when in answer to the almost invariable inquiry they were informed that he was dead, manifested the most profound and tenderest sorrow, many of them weeping like children.  His death was from apoplexy.  Its suddenness shocked the community.  As the news spread rapidly through the town, it aroused the deepest sympathy in all hearts.  His departure developed the beauty of his life.  Scores of the poor who had been the recipients of his benevolence came to weep at his bier and mourn their loss.  His left hand had not known what his right one had done, and death was necessary to prove the sweetness of his everyday walk.  None mourned him more than the youth of the city.  He had touched their lives and they were better and stronger that John W. Donavin had lived.  Telegrams and letters from all parts of the country came from traveling men, expressing sorrow and sympathy, many of them assuring the family that their success in life was largely owing to the counsel and tenderness they had received from him.  He was an earnest, honest Republican, and though not given to seeking office, he was not averse to the appreciation of the confidence of his party friends.  In 1887 he was Republican nominee for Senator in the district.  His plurality in Delaware county was 1,056, while the normal plurality of his party was 350.
     He was strong in his convictions, but was not intolerant.  Was always firm in the defense of right, but there was no room in his heart for revenge.  With him forgiveness was a cardinal virtue, and compassion and pity dwelt in him as constant guests.  Flattery could not cajole him into compromise, nor power awe him into silence.  All men were his brothers, when their cause was just, and all sufferings were his own when they arose from affliction, misfortune or disaster.  It may be truly said that “he wept with those that wept, and rejoiced with those who rejoiced.”  He attracted the young who were struggling with the contrary currents of life, as the sun lifts the flower which the storm has prostrated.  Young people loved him because they felt that his strong arms were ready to sustain them.  He was always cheerful, Loving God, and trusting to the uttermost in the saving power of the “Man of Sorrows,” there was no moment of his life when he was not ready to attest the cause of the Master.  On one occasion when surrounded by friends who were rejoicing over a political victory, he was urged to sing a song.  He complied, and the song was,

“Jesus, lover of my soul.”

       As his rich voice poured forth the exalted melody, his auditors burst into tears.  He was never looking for special blessings, but constantly prayed for general ones.  He was without envy or jealousy, and rejoiced in the prosperity of every man he knew.  He was an affectionate son, a devoted husband, a kind, indulgent father, a tender, sympathizing brother, a good citizen, a distinct man, and an humble, patient, Christian gentleman.  John W. Donavin lived a life of usefulness and died lamented by a community.
Source: Memorial Record of the Counties of Delaware, Union and Morrow, Ohio; Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1895, pp. 1-6
Contributed by a Generous Genealogist.

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