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.

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AMOS W. CRESWELL. Of the native born citizens of Cedarville Mr. Creswell is numbered among the oldest survivors, his birth having occurred March 13, 1827, at the homestead just one-half mile east of his present residence. His father, Samuel Creswell, was of Scotch-Irish descent and was one of the early settlers of Greene County, to which he came with his parents from Kentucky, locating just south of Cedarville. Where the Dunlap house now stands was then heavily timbered country, which he cleared and out of which he evolved a fine farm. He married Miss Letitia, daughter of Amos Wilson, who built the first house in Greene County, just below Xenia and not far from Dayton. Daniel Wilson had preceded his brother, Amos, coming to the county in the spring, but had built no house. Amos Wilson took up his residence in the fall and after his own removal to Clinton County some years later, his brother Daniel continued to occupy the place.

Born in what was then the frontier and passing his boyhood in the thick timber, from which only a few tracts of land had been cleared, Mr. Creswell well remembers the life which was the common experience of all the pioneers, and the primitive surroundings of their modest home. The people of that date wore home-made jeans, the women spinning the wool and flax and making the cloth from which they fashioned the garments worn in their households. Their life was almost exclusively a home one. The truest hospitality was dispensed to the chance visitor, and nowhere were the sturdy and homely virtues of character so thoroughly displayed.

The first store in the vicinity was opened by a Mr. Hanna, on the site now occupied by the residence of James Orr. It was a place of exchange to which the settlers carried their butter, eggs, corn and wheat, exchanging them for other articles, often bartering a bushel of wheat for a pound of coffee.

The mother of our subject died in 1829, the year after the birth of her son Benoni, who is one of a group of five brothers and sisters. James, the oldest brother, now lives in Illinois, with a family comprising two children; the second member of the household is Ann, the only daughter; Samuel died at the age of eighteen years; Benoni lives near Cedarville, having a wife and seven children.

Mr. Creswell received his education in the Cedarville schools and while the curriculum did not embrace all the branches now taught in the high school course, the instruction was thorough and sufficiently varied to make a fine foundation for the information which can only be obtained by contact with mankind and through a riper understanding. Mr. Creswell remained with his father until the death of the latter in 1855, following the occupation to which his early surroundings led him, and which he has successfully prosecuted from that day. He is now the owner of five hundred acres of fine land on which he has erected one of the largest and finest farm residences in the State of Ohio. A slight eminence along the line of the Cincinnati and Pittsburg Railroad affords a beautiful building spot and there the building stands, commanding a fine view of the city of Cedarsville, one mile distant, and of the thoroughly cultivated acres with their adequate and well-built outhouses, neat fences and pleasant groves, which lie around.

In 1864, Mr. Creswell was united in marriage with Miss Rebecca Ward, who died leaving three children — Samuel, who died at the age of eight years; Ada, a young lady attending the Delaware, Ohio, College, and William who remains at home and is pursuing his studies in the Dayton Business College. Two other children died in infancy. The young lady and gentleman who survive already manifest a creditable degree of culture, to which they are adding under the excellent advantages afforded by their father’s loving care.

Mr. Creswell contracted a second matrimonial alliance, winning as his companion Mrs. Margaret A. Raney, daughter of J. N. Townsley. She is a lady of more than ordinary refinement, and presides over her beautiful home with such perfect grace that all who partake of the liberal hospitality must feel the effect of that exquisite but rare charm, which places one so much at ease while still observing the little conventionalities so necessary to perfect decorum. She, as does also her husband, holds membership with the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Her only son, Ralph B. Raney, is a young man of more than ordinary intelligence and promise. He is at present local editor on the Monmouth Daily Journal at Monmouth, Ill., where he has been attending college for two years and where he expects to graduate. He is very popular with his associates having one of those open, generous natures, that attract like magnets.

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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

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