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Below is a family biography included in The History of Darke County, Ohio published by W. H. Beers & Co. in 1880.  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.

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WILLIAM J. BIRELEY, retired, Greenville; was born in Frederick Co., Md., in 1812; was the son of John and Barbara Bireley; John was born in the same county, and Barbara was born in Hagerstown, Md.; her maiden name was Brindle; the grandfather, John Bireley, was born in Saxony, and emigrated to this country before the Revolutionary war. The grandmother was from Wurtemburg, Germany, and also came to this country prior to the Revolutionary war. Mr. Bireley’s father came to Lancaster, Ohio, in the spring of 1822, and in the fall following came to Montgomery Co., where he lived till his death, which occurred in 1827. Mr. Bireley, the subject of this sketch, came to Darke Co. Oct. 15, 1830, and located in Greenville; he carried on the boot and shoe business for William Martin, Sr., and continued with him about five months, when he returned to his mother, in Montgomery Co., where he remained till 1833, when, on Jan. 24 of the same year, he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Martin, daughter of Christopher and Elizabeth Martin, Sr.; they were both born at Sewickley, Penn., and came to Ohio in 1814; they settled in Butler Co., and then moved to Darke Co. in 1815, and settled about five miles east of Greenville; after raising a large family of children, they moved to Greenville, where they lived and died. Mr. Bireley, in the next May after his marriage, in 1833, came back to Greenville and entered upon the manufacture of earthenware, which business he followed for twenty-eight years, doing an extensive business; he then bought a farm of 150 acres, one mile out of the corporation of Greenville; he then took his family and moved on to the farm, which was in 1851; in 1858, he sold this farm and bought another, five miles east of Greenville, upon which were several quarries of limestone, and went into the manufacture of lime, and continued at this business till January, 1880, when he rented it to Martin Smith and Emanuel Hershey for five years, receiving $400 yearly, or $2,000 for the five years; Mr. Bireley moved from the farm into Greenville in 1870, where he has since resided. Mr. Bireley is the father of ten children, seven of whom are living, viz., Henry P., Elizabeth E., William W., Barbara C., Harvey H., Wade G. and Mary R., all married and settled in life except the youngest, who is still single, and remains at home. At the commencement of the rebellion, his three oldest sons enlisted in the 44th O. V. I., and, after being out eighteen months, they went into the 8th O. V. C, and in this they served through the war till honorably discharged, and all returned safely home. Mr. Bireley was one of the pioneers, coming here when all was a wilderness, and but few houses constituted Greenville; he has lived to see the wilderness pass away, and now a flourishing town of 4,000 inhabitants occupies the spot where then all was woods and wild animals; even the citizens who lived here then have all passed away, with but few exceptions, viz., Henry Arnold and wife, Dr. I. N. Gard and wife, John Wharry, Esq., Allen La Mott and Mrs. Farrer. Mr. Bireley and wife are active members of the M. E. Church, having united in 1834. Mr. Bireley started in life upon sound principles, having resolved never to take the wine cup or waste his time and means in attending shows and theaters, which resolution he has firmly kept; he is one of the few whose life is filled up with usefulness, and whose business interests in his various undertakings have met with remarkable success, and we may trust that from his Christian life he will enter that “life beyond the vale” in due time, with the same assurance of success and happiness, unalloyed with the cares and conflicts which attend this life, and that the record he has here left upon the pages of time will be a worthy example for all future generations.

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This family biography is one of 659 biographies included in The History of Darke County, Ohio published in 1880 by W. H. Beers & Co.  For the complete description, click here: Darke County, Ohio History and Genealogy

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

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