My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  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.

* * * *

HON. WILLIAM BALDWIN. This name is familiar to a large portion of the citizens of Clark County as belonging to one of its most prominent and popular men. He has filled many offices of trust and responsibility both here and elsewhere and has made for himself a fine record as a man and a citizen. His home for the last eight years has been on section 5, Moorefield Township, where he prosecutes farming to a moderate degree and also has various other interests demanding his attention. He is looked upon as a representative citizen — one who has been no unimportant factor in promoting the material interests of his township and county.

A native of Champaign County, this State, Mr. Baldwin was born January 11, 1831, and is a son of Judge Samuel V. and Catherine (Van Metre) Baldwin. The father was a native of Berkeley, Va., whence he came to Ohio with his parents at the age of ten years. The father secured a tract of land in Moorefield Township, adjoining that owned by his son, where he opened up a good farm, while at the same time prosecuting the profession of law. The Baldwin family became widely and favorably known in this part of the State. Samuel V. was a man thoroughly educated and one who kept abreast of the times, interesting himself in all that pertained to the welfare and advancement of his adopted State. The paternal grandfather of our subject was Joseph Baldwin, who for many years conducted a tannery in Girardstown, Va. One of his brothers had purchased land in Clark County which he finally traded for the tannery plant in Virginia, and then Joseph Baldwin and his family emigrated to Ohio and settled on this land which has been in the possession of some member of the family up to the present time. Grandfather Baldwin here spent the remainder of his days, dying about 1848 or 1850 in the house occupied by our subject.

Judge Samuel V. Baldwin practiced law the most of his life and for many years was the Prosecuting Attorney of Champaign County. When the office of Probate Judge was created, he was the first man elected to the discharge of its duties which he fulfilled with great credit to himself up to the time of his death. He began his law studies under the instruction of Gen. Israel Hamilton, a noted attorney of Urbana, in whose office he spent two years. He took great pride in his chosen profession, was a close student and an extensive reader and there were few points in common law of which he had not a thorough understanding. To him and his estimable wife there was born a family of seven children only four of whom are living, viz: William, of this sketch; Joseph, a resident of Springfield; Caroline, Mrs. James Anderson, of Urbana, and Frank, a farmer of Moorefield Township. Samuel Baldwin, when first becoming a voter joined the old Whig party and was a warm admirer of Henry Clay. Upon the abandonment of that party he cordially endorsed Republican principles of which he remained a firm supporter. The mother departed this life March 31, 1871, the decease of her husband occurring in September, 1861.

Samuel Baldwin, the father of our subject, had four brothers, namely: William, Joshua, Frank and John. William was a large land owner and was very prominent, being one of the very few who had money at that time; this he often loaned to those whom he considered reliable, and by so doing, assisted many to procure homes for themselves. He remained unmarried, and was a commissariat officer in Hull’s army. Subsequently he founded the first Western wholesale dry-goods house in New York City under the firm name of Baldwin, Dibley and Work; in this enterprise John and Joshua afterward became partners. The New York house is still extant, operated by Frank Work. The other son, Frank, went to sea early in life and was never heard of afterward. The brothers successfully retired from business, William and John returning to Clark County, and Joshua settling in Columbus, Ohio. The only child of the latter, a daughter, married Thomas Rhinard, of New York City, and removed there, dying some years ago.

Mr. Baldwin, of whom we write, spent his childhood and youth on the farm with his parents, assisting in developing the land and becoming familiar with the various pursuits of rural life in the pioneer times. He pursued his early studies in the public schools of Clark and Champaign Counties and at an early age signified his intention of following in the footsteps of his honored father, and after due preparation in the office of Ichabod Corwin, of Urbana, he entered the law department of Cincinnati College, where, after completing his studies, he successfully passed a rigid examination and received a diploma. He commenced the practice of his profession in Urbana and followed it until the outbreak of the Civil War, and then upon the same day that Ft. Sumter was fired upon, he determined to respond to the call for troops to assist in the defense of the Union, and enlisting was at once elected Captain of Company K, Second Ohio Militia, and went out with the ninety days’ men, doing duty in and around Washington City for about four months. They also went into Virginia at the time of the battle of Bull Run and subsequently Capt. Baldwin was in command of the Post at Camp Upton, which contained large amounts of army supplies.

At the expiration of his first term of enlistment, the Captain re-enlisted as a private in Company G, Sixty-sixth Ohio Infantry, but was almost immediately appointed Second Lieutenant of the Twenty-sixth Regiment, which he soon afterward joined in West Virginia. Later under the command of Gen. Sherman he went with the Atlanta campaign, participating in the famous march to the sea. On the 18th of June, 1864, at Kenesaw Mountain, he was shot in the knee and disabled. While confined at the Cincinnati Hospital he was appointed a member of the Military Commission which tried the Kentucky guerrillas for crimes and misdemeanors committed against Union soldiers and citizens. He served with the Commission nearly one year, then rejoined his regiment with which he remained. Later he was appointed the First Lieutenant of Company C, Third Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps, and served for some time after the war had ended. Before finally returning home he was occupied as a clerk in the Paymaster-General’s office at Washington, D. C., but finally resigned this position and returned to his native county where he engaged in agricultural pursuits.

The next important event in the life of our subject was his marriage which occurred April 9, 1869, with Miss Emily Read. Mrs. Baldwin was a native of the same county as her husband and was born August 28, 1840. Her parents, Joel and Leah (Weldon) Read were early settlers of Champaign County in 1818. Mr. Read was a native of Delaware while his estimable wife was born in Pennsylvania. They spent their last years in that county.

Shortly after his marriage Mr. Baldwin removed to Kansas and settling in Wichita put up the first dwelling of any importance in that city. He resumed his law practice and sojourned there for a period of eight years. In 1876, returning to Washington, D. C., he was given a position in the War Department, and remained there five years and during the administration of President Hayes, remaining until after the incoming of President Garfield. He finally resigned and returned to Ohio. In Wichita he served as City Attorney five years, also as Probate Judge of Sedgwick County one term and as a member of the Kansas Legislature.

In March, 1865, Mr. Baldwin had been commissioned by President Andrew Johnson as a Brevet-Major and after going to Kansas he served as a Colonel in the State Militia on the Staff of Gov. Osborn. While with the Veteran Reserve Corps he was the Commandant of old Ft. Sullivan, at the mouth of the St. Croix River. Old friends and old associations, however, proved a strong attraction and he finds himself nowhere so contented as in his native State. He is now serving His second term as Justice of the Peace in Moorefield Township and is also a member of the Township Board of Education. It is hardly necessary to state that in politics he is a sound Republican. He has been for many years identified with the Masonic fraternity and while at the Capital was a Master Mason in the C. B. French Lodge.

Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin, the eldest of whom, William Jr., makes his headquarters in the city of Springfield; Blanche, a well-educated young lady, occupies herself as a teacher; Leah and Read are at home with their parents. Mr. Baldwin has seventy acres of land, where with his family he lives comfortably and enjoys the confidence and esteem of those around him. He is looked upon as a liberal and public-spirited citizen and one who tenders a uniform support to the various projects calculated for the good of the people around him.

* * * *

This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

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

View an historic 1901 map of Greene County, Ohio

View family biographies for other states and counties

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