My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of Brown County, Ohio published by W. H. Beers & Co. in 1883.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

JOHN P. BIEHN, Georgetown, attorney at law, was born at Neidersteinbauch, Alsace, Lorraine, France (now Weisenburg County, Germany), June 17, 1827. His father was Henry Biehn, a Burgeomiester, or Mayor, of that village, and for twelve years a soldier in the French Army. He was subsequently a merchant there. He married Katherine Yockey, a native of Alsace, Lorraine, and while Burgeomiester of the village, had six sons born to him. During this period, the French and German empires were constantly quarrelling over the possession of his native village, and each had it garrisoned at frequent intervals. The first son was born while the town was under German rule, the second while under French, and so on, alternately, till our subject, the sixth son, was born, the town at that time being a French possession. Of the six sons born in one house, three were German by birth, and three French. Mr. Biehn had a good position in his native country, and was a man well to do in life. He did not like the cramped position which liberty was forced to occupy, and a hope of freedom, coupled with a strong desire to find a better home for his children, induced him to come to America. In 1835, he made the journey, and located in Washington Township, Brown County, Ohio, where he was engaged in farming. He died in February, 1862, and is buried on the homestead farm. Mrs. Biehn died one year previous. Three of their children still survive—Henry Biehn, who has been Postmaster of Ripley for the past thirty years; a sister Katherine, unmarried, and residing at Carson, Nev., and our subject. Judge Biehn was reared on the old homestead. He had attended a German school for two months previous to coming to America, and after arrival in this country was an attendant at the district school for three winter terms. He remained on the farm till twenty years of age, and then went to Maysville, Ky. Here he secured a position in the principal hotel of the village, remaining there three years. His older brothers having married or moved away, Judge Biehn returned home to assist his father on the farm. In 1850, he was elected Recorder of Brown County, on the Democratic ticket; he was re-elected, serving two terms of three years each. He was subsequently Deputy Sheriff, under Charles Oursler, for two years. During his official career, he applied himself vigorously to the study of law, and was admitted to the bar in 1857. Soon after, he formed a law partnership with William H. Sly, of Georgetown, and remained with him in law practice seven years. When the war commenced, Judge Biehn sided with the Government, and became a strong “War Democrat.” He was President and Secretary of the County Military Committee, and also served as Secretary of the Congressional District Military Committee. When the drafting commenced, he was appointed Drafting Commissioner of Brown County, holding that position one year. He subsequently took affidavits of damage done by “Morgan’s raid,” while passing through Brown County. In 1864, Judge Biehn was chosen Elector at Large for Ohio, on the Lincoln and Johnson ticket, and stumped the State during the succeeding canvass. After the war, he resumed his practice, leading a quiet and uneventful life until 1875. In the fall of that year, he was nominated and elected to the office of Probate Judge of Brown County, serving two terms in this position, and until his successor took the bench, in February, 1882. Judge Biehn speaks German fluently, and in 1872, during the Greeley campaign, stumped the State for the Liberal party, making thirty-six speeches in thirty days, both in English and German. He was Secretary and member of the Democratic Executive Committee of Brown County for many years. In the practice of his profession, Judge Biehn has been very successful, having accumulated considerable wealth, and a large amount of valuable village property. He is connected by membership with the Masonic Lodge, Chapter and Council, at Georgetown; Confidence Lodge, 307, I. O. O. F., of Georgetown, and the Knights of Pythias Lodge, at Russellville, in Jefferson Township. Judge Biehn’s parents were members of the German Protestants, and the Judge was reared in that faith. He was married, January 4, 1853, to Elizabeth, daughter of Matthias Arn, a prominent farmer of Franklin Township, residing near Arnheim. Five children have been born to this union, three living — Mary A., who served as Deputy Probate Judge under her father; Henry, and Lisette, operator in charge of the Western Union Telegraph office at Georgetown. The eldest daughter, Lillie D., was an excellent musician, but died of consumption, contracted while attending a conservatory of music at Cincinnati. The other child, Howard G., died at the age of six months. Mrs. Biehn is a member of the Presbyterian Church. In 1869, Judge Biehn was suddenly attacked with small pox, probably contracted through correspondence. He suffered severely during the winter months, and in the spring of 1870 decided to pay a visit to his birth place, and the “scenes of other days.” He left New York for Ireland, thence to England, having some business to attend to in each country. He next visited Belgium, Brussels, Aux la Chapelle; thence to Cologne, and up the Rhine to Alsace, Lorraine, his native country. The Franco-Prussian war was in progress, and Judge Biehn visited Sedan three days after the battle; was at Strasbourg next day after the surrender, and subsequently visited the battle-field of Woerth, which is only six miles from his native town. While in the latter place, he was pointed to a large granite schoolhouse, built by the village while his father was its chief officer, and which bore the latter’s name over the door. Since retiring from office, Judge Biehn has become a Director of the First National Bank, and also a Director and Treasurer of the Columbus & Ohio River Railroad Company. In these latter positions, he has worked faithfully and earnestly to secure for Georgetown and Brown County a railroad on which to ship the many products, and to decrease the cost and time of freight landed within the county’s borders.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 992 biographies included in The History of Brown County, Ohio published in 1883 by W. H. Beers & Co.  For the complete description, click here: Brown County, Ohio History and Genealogy

View additional Brown County, Ohio family biographies here: Brown County, Ohio Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of family biographies.

Follow My Genealogy Hound: Follow me on Facebook