Edward Toner1

M, (8 April 1783 - 18 February 1867)
     Edward Toner was born on 8 April 1783 at Northumberland County, Province of Pennsylvania, USA.2 He was the son of John Toner and Deborah Knap. Edward Toner married Susannah Updegraff, daughter of Martin Updegraff and Mary Dunn, in 1810 at Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.2 Edward Toner died on 18 February 1867 at Shelby County, Indiana, at age 83 years, 10 months and 10 days.2
     He was a blacksmith by trade but soon after settling in Indiana, he built a hotel on his land and laid out a town which he named Somerset, in honor of his dad's birthplace. After seven years, he turned to farming. In July 1832 he sold his property and moved to Shelby County, Indiana and purchased a farm in Hendricks Township and by 1835 he owned 1,000 acres. He was one of the largest and most active stock traders in that area, he eventually moved to Shelbyville, Indiana.

Edward and Jeremiah Bennett donated the land to the county on which the county buildings now stand in Shelby County, also laying out an addition to Shelbyville that is known as Toner & Bennett's Addition. He also helped in the expense of erecting a house of worship in Hendricks Township, which was named Toner Chapel. He also helped to finance the Methodist Episcopal Church in Shelbyville. He was a Democrat, later a Whig, then later yet a Republican. His estate was divided between his children: Martin - John - Mary - Nancy - James - Edward - Elizabeth - George - Susan - Debby.

In 1880 the "Atlas of Shelby Co., Indiana" was published, in which we find Edward's biography that was submitted to the book's J. H. Beers & Co.. On p. 47, preserved for future generations we find the following:

     Edward Toner

The stoke of the mallet chisels the rough marble block into a shaft of beauty, and artistic skill fashions the letters that tell of the birth, years and death; time covers the beautiful monument with mosses and defaces the inscription, but biography perpetuates the memory of man throughout all time, preserving in the pages of history noble examples for the coming genereations to imitate and follow. It is a duty owed the parents, and living gratification to their descendants to have recorede a true sketch of the departed ones, which we here inscribe in this history.

Edward Toner was born in Lycoming Co., Penn, April 8, 1783. His father a native of Somerset, Ireland, crossed the Atlantic about the time of the Revolutionary war, and settled in New York State, where he was married to a lady of that state, to whom was born a large family, Edward being the second eldest. Shortly after marriage, they moved to the Keystone State, where his father remained until death. Here in Lycoming County, in the year 1810, the subject of this sketch was married to Miss Susan Updegraff, a native of that county, where she was born April 30, 1793, and was the daughter of Martin and Mary Updegraff, of that state, of German descent. In 1815 Edward, with his mother Deborah and four of the younger children came to the Territory of Indiana, settling in the forests of Franklin County, where his mother spent the balance of her days.

Unto Edward and Susan Toner were born ten children, as follows: Martin, John, Mary, Nancy, James, Edward, Elizabeth, George W., Susan and Debby. He was a blacksmith by trade and followed that occupation in early manhood, but, soon after settling in the wilds of Indiana, he built a hotel on his land, and laid out a town which he named Somerset, in honor of his father's birthplace. Thus he early manifested that thrift and energy for which he became noted throughout a long life of usefulness. He followed hotel keeping for seven years, when he turned his attention to farming, which continued to be his calling until he retired from active life. He lived in Franklin County exactly seventeen years to a day, and in July 1832, having sold his property, he came to Shelby Co., Ind. And purchased a farm in Hendricks Township, and as early as 1835, was the owner of 1000 acres of as good land as the county contained. He was one of the largest and most active stock-traders in this portion of Indiana, infusing life and enterprise into everything in which he engaged and his efforts were always crowned with success. In 1839, he removed to Shelbyville, where he remained a short time then returned to his farm, where he lived several years, when he sold it and again came to Shelbyville, where he made his home while he lived.

His faithful wife shared the trials and endured the hardships of pioneer life, and was ever to him a loving helpmate throughout life's battle. For the period of fifty-six years, they enjoyed the happy companionship of each others society, but on the 29th day of January, 1866, death severed the sacred tie of wedded love, and Susan Toner passed to the life beyond the grave. At the age of thirteen, she became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which she remained faithful throughout her earthly probation, and under her roof the ministers of her church always found a warm welcome to rest, when prosecuting their labors in Shelby County. She was a good wife and mother, kind to the sick, poor or distressed and was well known for her generous Christian spirit and energetic labors in behalf of Christianity.

Edward Toner was a man of unbounded public spirit, and he and Jeremiah Bennett donated the land to the county on which the county buildings now stand, also laying out an addition to Shelbyville, which is know as Toner and Bennett's Addition. Adhering to the Methodist Episcopal Church all his life, he ever gave liberally of his means toward the promotion of its interests and bore the greater part of the expense in erecting a house of worship in Hendricks Township, which, in honor of his zeal in behalf of Christianity. When the Methodist Episcopal Church in Shelbyville was built, he was generous in his donations for that purpose, and the committee had two seats built purposely for him and his wife, close to the pulpit, which they occupied regularly up to time of their decease. Politically, he was a Democrat in early life, then became a Whig, and afterward a Republican and was known far and near for his enterprise, generosity and the determined vigor with which he prosecuted every purpose in life. He was a man of the strictest honesty and rectitude in all the relations of life, and was eminently a self-made man. Some five years previous to his death, he was struck with paralysis, which passed away for the time, but the second attack ended in his death, Feb 18, 1867, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. He always aided his worthy wife in every work of charity, never turning a deaf ear to the cry of distress. His large estate he divided equally between his children, who stand among the foremost citizens of Shelby County. To their children, he and wife were ever kind and affectionate, and their memory is still fondly cherished and revered by them as well as by a large circle of friends, who yet speak of their many acts of Christian charity-deeds that will never die, and that cannot be forgotten.2

Children of Edward Toner and Susannah Updegraff

Last Edited=19 Jun 2009


  1. [S748] Susan Toner, [e-address for private use,] to Kevin L. Sholder, e-mail, 22 November 2005, "Genealogy; Toner," Sholder Research Files; privately held by Kevin Leonard Sholder, [(e-address) & street address for private use),] Dayton, Ohio, USA.
  2. [S64] J. H. Beers & Company, Atlas of Shelby County Indiana (Chicago, IL: J. H. Beers & Co., 1880), p. 47.