A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
Oxford Township: Pages 532 - 536
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CONE, SELDEN, BRACE, BEVIS, KEELY, BARNETT (Oxford Twp., pp. 532-533)
Some time about 1790 a Scotch colony came to America & settled in East Haddam, CT, among them Hezekiah CONE & a large family of the same name. In the same town was Miss Polly SELDEN, to whom Hezekiah was married, & by whom a family was born to him. Peleg H. CONE, long a citizen of Oxford, was a s/o Hezekiah, being born at East Haddam, Feb 22, 1805. The parents being farmers, the lad, Peleg, in common with the rest of the children, had the education obtainable in the district schools of the day, & tried his hand a little at teaching. When 17 years of age he went to the city of Hartford & apprenticed himself to a silver-plater to learn the trade. Here he remained several years, & while resident at Hartford was married to Miss Mary BRACE on the 21st of Feb 1829. He next settled in New Haven, CT, & established himself in his business as silver-plater. Some 5 years thereafter he was made high sheriff of New Haven Co., & sold out his business. He was re-elected sheriff for the 2nd term. At the close of his official term he engaged in a mercantile agency recently established in New York City, traveling mostly in the West & South, his family still residing at New Haven. Leaving the NY house he accepted a position in the manufacturing concern of Hoadly & Co., a heavy firm in the carriage business in New Haven, & remained connected with the same for some 16 years. In Jan 1852, Mr. CONE moved his family to the village of Oxford, OH, where he became the proprietor of the public house known as the Mansion or Cone House, conducting it for about 11 years. After leaving this he opened an office as conveyancer, real estate, & insurance agent, in the store under the Mansion House, fronting on High St. This business he continued until 1868, when he took his son, F. J. CONE, into the office as partner, & the two continued this occupation up to the death of the father, which took place Mar 14, 1882. Mr. CONE espoused the tenets of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1849, & had been active in its interests & in efforts for the promotion of its welfare. Mr. CONE was also an active member of Invincible Lodge, No. 108, I. O. O. F., of Oxford, & as such was held in high esteem by his brother members. He was for 18 years a member of the board of education of Oxford, & for many years president of the board of trustees of Oxford Female College, only resigning this position about a year prior to his decease. He was a well wisher to every good work which looked to the growth & well-being of the city of his adoption, aiding them to the extent of his ability. When Mr. & Mrs. CONE came to Oxford they had a family of 7 children, two of whom have since died. Three of the sons were volunteers in the late war, William & George enlisting & serving in the one hundred days' service, & F. J. in the 3 years' men. Of the children living H. S. CONE is now residing at Galion, MI & F. J. CONE, the older son, was the partner & continues the business in the old office in Oxford; two daughters, Mrs. A. F. BEVIS & Mrs. Dr. G. W. KEELY, reside in Oxford, while a third is the wife of Dr. A. A. BARNETT of Jerseyville, IL.

Benjamin Bassett DAVIS, mayor of Oxford, is a native of Edgartown, on the island of Martha's Vineyard, MA, & was born on the 4th of Apr 1816. His parents were Zadlock & Elizabeth BASSETT DAVIS. He was the 3rd born of a family of 9 children, 5 sons & 4 daughters, only three of whom are now living. When Benjamin was 3 years of age the parents, with their family, emigrated to the State of OH, & settled on a farm, near the present hamlet of Warsaw, some 5 miles west of Cincinnati, (Hamilton Co., OH). Here the elder DAVIS for a few years carried on a small tannery, but relinquished this calling & gave his attentions more fully to the cultivation of his farm. In early life Mayor DAVIS had little, if any, advantages of school education, but was of an active temperament & a quick, discriminating mind. As he came to manhood, while busy assisting his father in the care of the farm, the latter was removed by death, which event occurred in Aug 1834. The son remained on the farm with the mother & the rest of the family for several years thereafter. On attaining his majority, he espoused the politics of the Whigs, & for many years was active in the local interests of that party. He was for some 9 years made one of the justices of the peace in the township where he resided. Aug 6, 1836, he was married to Miss Rhoda CULLOM, who bore him seven sons & one daughter. In 1861 Mr. DAVIS took up his residence in the city of Cincinnati, & having early espoused the cause of the Republican party when it was organized, he was favored by an appointment to the position of chief local agent in the post-office blank department of the West, which was then located in Cincinnati. This position he held with honor to himself & to the interests of the department for over a year, when, the office being transferred to Buffalo, NY, he resigned his position & accepted an appointment as superintendent of the local city mail distribution, a position he held for nearly 3 years. While residing in Cincinnati, Jan 23, 1865, he lost his wife by death. On the 21st of Feb 1857 he was married to Mrs. Sarah (GATH) HORSEFALL, then of the city.

In Mar 1868, Mr. DAVIS moved with his family to Oxford, OH, which place has continued to be his residence since that date. Not long after becoming a resident, the community saw fit to elect him to the highest honor which, as a municipality, it was in their power to bestow, & with so great an acceptance have the responsible & often arduous & unpleasant duties of the office of mayor been administered, that he has been repeatedly re-elected, usually by large majorities, marking no special party distinctions nor lines, so that his continued term of service in this capacity is now some 13 years, marked by only one interim of about 3 months. Mr. DAVIS was not permitted for many years to enjoy the companionship of his wife, Sarah, as she died on the 14th of May 1871. On Feb 21, 1872, he was again married, choosing for his third & present wife, Mrs. Elizabeth (WRIGHT) DOUGLASS. Of the children born to the first Mrs. DAVIS four sons & a daughter are still living. One of the deceased, Carlos, served as a volunteer in the late war with much honor & credit, being mustered out of the service at Columbus at the close, after some 3 years' enlistment. Mr. DAVIS has for many years been a firm believer in the doctrines of the Universalists, & is warmly identified with this organization in Oxford. He is of a naturally quiet, reflective turn of mind & has those qualities which are needful to make him a good magistrate & officer of justice. In addition to his official duties, Mayor DAVIS is now the proprietor of the "Girard House," on the corner of High & Poplar Streets, which has recently been remodeled & the entire house refurnished, making it now one of the most desirable tarrying-places for the traveler or pleasant home for the regular boarder, which can be found in the county. Wilson S., the oldest son, is now teaching in Washington, IN. Albert G. is in the Times-Star office of Cincinnati. Merrill B., Alexis B., & Darwin F. are residents of Cincinnati also. Elizabeth, the daughter, now Mrs. I. F. WILLIAMS, is a skilled music teacher just west of Cincinnati.

DOUGLASS, HIGGINS, McCRACKEN (Oxford Twp., p. 534)
Died in his home in Oxford, Jul 25, 1881, John DOUGLASS, in the 60th year of his age. He was born in Chester District, SC. In 1834, with his parents, 5 brothers, & 5 sisters, he removed to the neighborhood three miles north of Oxford, where he remained on the farm until about 15 years ago, when he removed to the town. He at first engaged in the grocery business with Mr. HIGGINS; afterward he went into the boot & shoe business, & about 5 years ago retired from active life. Mr. DOUGLASS was for 2 terms (6 years) president of the board of education, & had just been elected to another term. He was an efficient officer & a true friend of education. When only 19 years of age he united with the Associate Reformed Church at Hopewell, then under the pastorate of the Rev. S. McCRACKEN. For the past 12 years he had been an elder of the United Presbyterian Church, Oxford congregation. For many years he was superintendent of the Sabbath-school, & during the 7 years preceding his death was actively engaged in religious work. He left behind him a record worthy of careful & earnest study.

DOUGLASS, PATTERSON (Oxford Twp., p. 534)
Isaiah DOUGLASS, farmer, is a son of John & Martha DOUGLASS, who were among the early residents of Oxford Twp. They emigrated from SC in 1834, & moved on the farm where Isaiah now lives in 1835, & where his parents continued to reside until their decease. Isaiah DOUGLASS was the youngest of a family of 11 children, 6 sons & 5 daughters. He was born in SC in 1829, & was therefore about 6 years old when his parents moved on the farm in the corner of Section 2, where he has resided ever since, having purchased & received quit-claim deeds from the other heirs about 1856. He has added to his original farm, & now has 240 acres in one body & 132 acres in Section 11. He married in 1863, Anna PATTERSON. They have five children living & one who died in infancy--Albert J., Martha E., William C., Samuel L., & Zaidie Maggie.

DEWITT, FOWLER (Oxford Twp., p. 534)
Israel DEWITT, farmer, was born in KY in 1805. He is the s/o Zachariah Price DEWITT & Elizabeth DEWITT. The father served in the Indian wars at the close of the Revolution, & Israel FOWLER, one of his grandsons, was in the Mexican War. Zachariah P. DEWITT emigrated from KY to Butler Co. in 1805, & entered 320 acres of land situated on Section 24. Here he lived until his death at the age of 82. His wife died in 1840 at the age of 67.

DAVIS, CARR, RUMPLE (Oxford Twp., p. 534)
Dunham F. DAVIS, s/o Joshua & Elizabeth DAVIS, was born in Hamilton Co., (OH) Mar 30, 1856. He graduated in 1872, at the Oxford High School, & was married Oct 10, 1876 to Ella S., dau/o William & Mary (CARR) RUMPLE, who was born in Hanover Twp., Jul 18, 1856. They have one child, William R. DAVIS. Mr. DAVIS formerly kept a livery stable, but in the Spring of 1878 moved on his present farm.

Joshua DAVIS, Sr. of Oxford is a native of NJ, where he was born May 28, 1803. His father emigrated to OH in 1805, bringing his family & household goods all the way to Middletown in wagons. He engaged in merchandising & milling at Middletown, but not being suited with the country after a stay of less than two years, he went back to his old home in NJ, but again returned to Butler Co. soon after the close of the War of 1812. The subject of this sketch was the 9th of a family of 10 children, of whom himself & a sister, Mrs. Phoebe LABOYTEAUX, are the only survivors. Mr. DAVIS had but little opportunity for education. He learned the cooper's trade, & after his marriage in 1828 purchased his father's farm, near Bevis P. O., where he also carried on the cooper business, in connection with his farm, for a number of years. In 1864, having sold his farm, he removed to Oxford, where he had purchased property, & where he has since lived a retired life, supported by the accumulations of years of toil. He built, in 1872, & now owns, the edifice known as Davis's Hall. Mrs. DAVIS maiden name was Elizabeth BEVIS. She also comes from a pioneer family. Mr. & Mrs. DAVIS began married life more than 50 years ago with but little means in the days of limited facilities, & by industry & economy have accumulated a considerable property. They have had 12 children, eleven of whom grew to maturity, & ten of whom are now living. All are respectably & comfortably started in life. Mr. DAVIS, though beyond age, volunteered in the late war with the forces regularly mustered during Kirby SMITH's raid. One son, Joshua, served 3 years, & two other sons short terms. Mr. DAVIS's father, whose name was also Joshua, served in the Revolutionary War, & a brother was a volunteer in the War of 1812. Mr. DAVIS has been an industrious & useful citizen, & has contributed his full share to the general good.

John FERGUSON is a native of Scotland, being born in Campbelltown, Argyleshire, Apr 8, 1810. He learned the tinner's trade in Scotland, & came to the U. S. in 1832. After a stay of a few months in Cincinnati, during which he was employed at his trade, he came to Oxford in the Spring of 1833, & there being no tinner's establishment in the village at that time, he opened a shop & began business for himself. Though unpretentious in the beginning, he gradually developed, & as the general commercial facilities improved, he was shrewd & thoughtful enough to keep abreast of the times. In the Fall of 1833, Mr. P. D. MATSON became a partner, & so continued until 1868, when he retired, & Mr. FERGUSON continued the business alone until 1880, then selling out & withdrawing from active life. His residence is one of the handsomest in the village. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, & a trustee of the Oxford Female College, & has been thoroughly identified with the growth & general interest of Oxford for almost half a century.

He married in Scotland just previous to embarking for the U. S., Catherine McGREGOR, by whom he had these children: William, Charles, Duncan, David, Isabell, & one infant, deceased. Christian married John B. MORRIS, who died about 1873. She now resides in Oxford. James S. is a physician of Camden. His first wife dying in 1868, he married in 1869 Miss Isabella McMILLAN, also a native of Scotland. They have one infant child--Edward Bruce--living, & one deceased.

John FISHER, a native of Ireland, emigrated to America & located in PA, where he married, in 1789, Ruth MATHERS. About the year 1796 he removed to Cincinnati, where he followed his trade, that of shoemaker. About 1798 he moved to what is now Lemon Twp., & entered a quarter section of land on the north fork of Dick's Creek. On this farm he lived & died, & the remains of himself & wife rest on that place. Of their children there were seven, 5 boys & 2 girls. Two remained in Butler Co.--Robert & Nancy PHARES. Robert was born in PA in the year 1794, & learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed most of his life. He was married in 1816 to Sallie BALL, dau/o Ezekiel BALL. Of their family there were six who grew to maturity. These were John, Mary B., Elizabeth R. Almira, Sarah J., & Ezekiel Ball. Robert FISHER died in Middletown, Jun 4, 1874, aged 80 years. Mrs. Sallie FISHER died Sep 9, 1831, & is buried in the cemetery at Middletown. John FISHER was born Jan 6, 1818 in Middletown. By occupation during life he is a farmer. He has been twice married. The first time was to Ruth MALLORY, Dec 25, 1844, the dau/o William & Mary MALLORY of this county. They had two children, Mary J. & William M. The first wife died Nov 25, 1866, & he married his 2nd wife, Mrs. Rebecca YOUNG, widow of Josiah YOUNG, & dau/o Benjamin & Mary (RILEY) GREENWOOD. She was born in Milford Twp., Jan 27, 1821. The GREENWOOD & YOUNG families were among the pioneers of Milford Twp.

FRY, MURPHY (Oxford Twp., p. 535)
Joshua J. FRY, banker & stock raiser, is a native of IN, where he was born, in Franklin Co., in 1852. He resided there until the Spring of 1870, when he removed to Oxford. Mr. FRY began trading in stock when a young man, & continued that business in connection with farming, increasing the magnitude of his operations as his means increased. When he came to Oxford he established the Oxford Bank, with which he still retains his connection, but has continued his farming & stock dealing. He now has two farms, containing upwards of 300 acres, which he keeps well stocked, & is buying & selling constantly. He married Jan 1, 1857, Miss Sarah J., dau/o James MURPHY. They have three children: William L., James G., & Philip O. FRY. Thus it will be seen, Mr. FRY is a native of this vicinity, & he has been more or less identified from boyhood with Oxford & its commercial interests; for the last 10 years he has been the head of one of its most important financial enterprises.

William J. FINCH, s/o Edward & Elizabeth (WICKARD) FINCH, was born May 28, 1831, in Hanover Twp. Edward FINCH was born May 5, 1800, in Orange Co., NY, & in 1814 came to Butler Co. with his parents. Elizabeth WICKARD was born Feb 5, 1806 in PA, & came West with her parents. She was united with Mr. FINCH Nov 4, 1824. They had 5 children: Andrew, Sarah Ann, Jacob W., William J., & Ellen J., now Mrs. Lewis WOOL. The three oldest are dead. Mr. FINCH was treasurer of Hanover Twp. for three or four years, & in 1852 moved on the farm where William now lives. He died there on the 17th of Jul 1853, but his wife still survives. He was a generous, kind-hearted man, & was liberal towards all benevolent & charitable enterprises. He & his wife were members of the United Brethren Church. Mr. William FINCH has followed farming all his life. He was married Mar 1, 1859 to Abigail, dau/o Gideon & Mary WILKINSON, who was born Mar 9, 1838. They have 7 children: Orlando B., William E., Gideon W., Elmer B., Charles L., Mary E., & Ella L. Mr. FINCH is one of the trustees of Oxford Twp., being on his 4th year, & has served as school director some 20 years, off & on. He is a member of Oxford Lodge No. 74, of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. At the death of his father, Mr. FINCH bought the farm of 70 acres, & has added to it until now he owns 185, which he has made through his own industry & good management.

FITZGERALD, ORR, RIGGS (Oxford Twp., pp. 535-536)
Thomas FITZGERALD, farmer of Oxford, is a native of Ireland, born in County Antrim in 1817. He married in 1847 Maria S. ORR, coming to America in 1849. They lived in Orange Co., NY about 14 years, then went West, having land in Iowa, but after a stay of a few months, removed to Oxford, having traded for the farm he now owns. They removed here in 1871, & have since resided there. His farm contains about 100 acres, & bears the marks of his industry & thrift, he having lately completed a handsome barn, & contemplating further improvement. Mr. & Mrs. FITZGERALD have a family of nine children, 3 sons & 6 daughters. His oldest son, Thomas, Jr., is a minister of the Presbyterian Church, & is now pastor at Branchville, NJ. One daughter, Margaret, married George RIGGS, & they now reside in Franklin Co., OH. The other 5 daughters, Lizzie, Hannah, Kate, Agnes, & Ella, & two sons, John & Elmer E., are young people at home. Mrs. FITZGERALD is a member of the United Presbyterian Church at Oxford, & has given her children good, religious training, & several of them are already identified with the Church.

Mr. FITZGERALD was one of 5 children; his mother died when he was about 14 years old, & he shortly after found a home wherever he could. He is, therefore, a self-made man. Having begun life for himself when a boy, among strangers, & with all disadvantages to contend with, he succeeded in gaining sufficient to bring him to the U. S., where, by continued industry & economy, he, with the help of an excellent wife & children, trained to the habits of industry & self-reliance, now lives in a comfortable home, & has become one of the substantial men of the vicinity of Oxford, identified with all the progress & interests of his neighborhood.

Samuel GATH of Oxford, OH was born in Yorkshire, England, Apr 5, 1807, taking the name of his father, his mother's maiden name being Sarah BRADLEY. She was of a Yorkshire family, & her ancestors had traditions indicating some connection with the historic border feuds & Scottish wars. In boyhood Samuel GATH spent portions of 3 years as a pupil in one of the schools of the Dissenters conducted on the Lancasterian plan, or that by which knowledge was imparted by text cards & diagrams on the wall & orally by the teacher, for which the lad paid one penny per week, one person holding the position of teacher for some 400 pupils. After this the lad worked at "card sticking" for some time, & at 13 years of age was indentured to Benjamin WOOD of Halifax, as an apprentice at cabinet making, remaining with his employer for some 12 years. In all that time he had but one misunderstanding or unpleasant word from Mr. WOOD. He then spent 5 years in the employment of Samuel TAYLOR, after which he started business for himself with a younger brother, Daniel, as his partner, & with such sagacity & thrift that in a few years the elder brother's portion of the profits amounted to some $3,500, & with this he proposed to emigrate to America. In 1843 Mr. GATH married Miss Mary FETLEY of Yorkshire, & in Apr 1844, with his family, and in company with some 70 others, mostly for his native town, he took passage on the ship Patrick Henry, Captain DELANO, for NY, which port they made after a voyage of nearly 5 weeks. Many of his companions soon became homesick or dissatisfied & returned to England, but Mr. GATH had come intending to stay & make the U. S. his future home; & so, with his family & some 600 pounds of personal effects, he pushed westward by the Erie Canal to Buffalo, crossing the lake to Toledo, & thence following the canal to Hamilton. With his household he was set down on the morning of the 3rd of Jul, in Oxford, which, Mr. GATH describes as being constituted of a motley array of wooden buildings set mostly with their gables on the streets, & the plat of ground which now constitutes the public park was completely overgrown with "dog-fennel," through which a narrow foot-path led diagonally from the south-west to the north-east corner.

Mr. GATH first settled as a farmer some 3 miles north of the village, on a farm now occupied by Mr. BOOTH, where he remained for a little time, when Mr. MERRILL, a cabinet maker in the village, whose store & shop combined stood on the west side of the public square, offered him a partnership in his business. This offer Mr. GATH at once accepted, & some 8 months afterwards bought out his partner's interest & succeeded to the entire business, continuing it most successfully for many years, on the old site, the old shop having given way in the meantime to a fine & substantial brick structure, well designed for the accommodation of the greatly increased demands of its proprietor, who, in his riper & advancing years, has transferred its cares & responsibilities to his son Harry.

Mr. & Mrs. GATH have had 11 children born to them, 10 of whom--5 sons & 5 daughters--are now living. Two of the sons, the eldest, Samuel, Jr., & the youngest, are following the calling of the father as manufacturers & dealers in the village of Oxford, the latter at the old stand, & the former but a few rods east, his store fronting on the north side of the park. Mr. GATH is a man of peculiarly genial, even jovial temperament, upon whom the pressure & anxieties of business & the natural cares of life incident to an active calling seem to have made no very serious impression; his physique & general health give promise of many years of probable life. Enjoying the respect & confidence of his fellow-citizens, he has never sought political preferment from them; yet, at their solicitation, he has held the office of city marshal for one or more terms, in which capacity, as he says, his greatest emoluments have usually been derived from the fun he has had in some of the official skirmishes into which he has found himself drawn by the young fellows in attendance upon Miami University, as they have been caught when out on their "larks." Mr. GATH has for over 50 years been an active & consistent member of the Methodist Church, having, in the mother country, affiliated with that portion of this general body of Christians called "the New Connection Methodists," who had been striving for lay representation. Ever since his settlement in this country he has been a warm sympathizer with the tenets & politics of the Democratic party, & usually votes with it.