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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J. H. BARKMAN. Among the business establishments of Osborn, Greene County, none would be more quickly noticed by a stranger than that of J. H. Barkman & Co., which is devoted to the sale of groceries, hardware and agricultural implements, the firm also having a wholesale trade in confectioneries and tobacco. The principal member of the firm also occupies the position of President of the Osborn Bank, one of the most successful institutions of its kind in the county, and which he was instrumental in organizing. Mr. Barkman has been gifted by nature to more than an ordinary degree, possessing all the qualities that go to make up a complete manhood. He is one of those who scorn a mean action, and have a natural tendency to all the better things of life. As a citizen he has been liberal and public-spirited, the friend of education, and foremost in the enterprises that tend to elevate the people. He would sacrifice much to aid the prosperity of the town, by whose citizens he is looked to for advice and assistance in every good work. Cultured and refined, with affable and courteous manners, he is deservedly a favorite throughout the community. He is the leading business man of the place, carrying by far the largest stock, and is doing a prosperous business.

The paternal grandfather of our subject, was Peter Barkman, a native of Germany, who, on coming to America, located at Hagerstown, Md. He married in that place, afterward removing to this county, where he began farming, having but fairly begun his agricultural work when he died about the year 1831. His son David, who was born in this county, October 6, 1822, was obliged to shift for himself, and was self educated and self made in the most literal sense. After his father’s death he was bound out to an uncle, but was so cruelly treated that he ran away, after having been worked nearly to death. Returning to his mother, who had again resumed housekeeping, he remained with her, and followed agricultural pursuits until past sixteen years old. He and his brother then rented a farm, but the brother died the same year, and David Barkman then took the place himself. He boarded with his mother until his marriage in 1849, when he rented the Smith farm in Wayne Township, Montgomery County, for a year, afterward having the Capt. Boyle place an equal length of time.

By this time David Barkman was able to buy one hundred acres of land upon which he located and made a home of his own, continuing the career which was begun under difficulties and discouragements, but proved a very successful one. He became the owner of two fine farms in Wayne Township, Montgomery County, Ohio, including three hundred and twenty-three acres. At different times he was Township Trustee, and he was active in the ranks of the Democratic party. An honest man, he was respected and well liked by his fellow-men in whose midst his character was so clearly exhibited. He passed away April 16, 1884, at the age of sixty-two years. The worthy helpmate who aided him by her counsels and her prudent management of household affairs, bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Garver, she also being a native of this county. She is now living in Osborn at the age of sixty-one years. She belongs to the Lutheran Church. Her father, John Garver, was a farmer in Montgomery County, whence he finally removed to Allen County, Ind., near Ft. Wayne, where he died. The subject of this sketch is the eldest of two children born to David and Elizabeth Barkman, and the only survivor. His sister, Sarah B., became the wife of William Harner, and died in Dayton in 1872.

The subject of this sketch, was born September 15, 1851, in Wayne Township, Montgomery County, and being reared on a farm acquired a knowledge of agricultural pursuits from his father. The excllent district schools afforded good educational advantages, of which he was not slow to avail himself, although his health would not permit him to attend steadily, and he was not able to go to college. For two years he could not attend school at all, being seriously troubled with asthma, from which he has suffered more or less, until the last three years, during which time he has been quite free from it. The collegiate education which was denied him by his lack of strength, has been more than balanced by the information which he has obtained in other ways, and he ranks to-day among the most intelligent citizens. When about twenty years old he had full charge of his father’s farm, running it until he was twenty-five, when he determined to a try mercantile pursuit. In August, 1876, therefore, he came to Osborn, put up one-half of the building he now occupies and opened a grocery and hardware store, on a capital of $1,000. The business has rapidly increased, and by close application to its details and a remarkable degree of energy, Mr. Barkman has succeeded far above the average.

In 1880 Mr. Barkman engaged in the implement business, and now has a double store, in which a full line of groceries and hardware is carried, and a large warehouse in which implements are stored. His invoice is over $8,000, and his business the largest in the city. He owns three hundred and twenty-three acres in Montgomery County, which is in two well-improved farms, on one of which is a sawmill, which he superintends. The land is rented, other pursuits claiming more than enough attention.

For several years Mr. Barkman had been desirous of starting a bank in Osborn, but had too much to attend to. He therefore consulted with Mr. C. C. Jackson, then of Xenia, (whose sketch occupies another page in this volume) and laid the plans for starting the Osborn Bank. These two gentlemen, with Mr. Reuben Miller, succeeded in establishing the institution, which was run as a company bank one year, and was then organized under the State laws on New Years’ day, 1889, and is now doing a successful banking business. Mr. Barkman is one of the heaviest stock-holders, is a director and President of the institution. In 1889 he built the bank building, a large brick edifice that is one of the best business houses in the town. He also owns two residences and lots in the corporation.

On September 28, 1876, Mr. Barkman led to the hymeneal altar Mary E., daughter of Robert Sloan, of Wayne Township, Montgomery County. There Mrs. Barkman opened her eyes to the light June 27, 1854, and amid favorable surroundings grew to womanhood. She completed her education in Smith College, at Xenia, acquiring an excellent knowledge of the studies taught, and growing in grace and refinement. Her happy union has been blessed by the birth of four children — Claude E., Estella, Leo and John Orvill. All of whom are being carefully instructed by their parents in virtue and courtesy and receiving excellent educational advantages consonant with their years.

The father of Mrs. Barkman was one of the most prominent men of Montgomery County, his home being on the borders of Greene County. We take great pleasure in giving a full sketch of one so well known in this vicinity. His great-grandfather was a native of County Antrim, Ireland, and came to America about 1718, settling on a farm in Lebanon County, Pa. He was successful in worldly affairs, and was able to start all of his children in life. He belonged to the Presbyterian Church. His son, John Sloan, was born in Dauphin County, and on March 27, 1792, married Miss Elizabeth French. His father gave him a farm, upon which he made the required improvements soon afterward erecting a distillery on the place, and also establishing a line of freight teams for hauling merchandise from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. He had four sons and nine daughters — Alexander, John F., James, Robert, Jane, Eliza, Sallie, Mary, Isabella, Margaret, Martha, Nancy and Lucinda. When Alexander became grown he went to take charge of a farm in Lycoming County; John F. went to learn a trade; and death claimed three daughters and the son James.

This left John Sloan without other help than that afforded by his youngest son, Robert, who was then but nine years old. In the spring of 1833 he sold his property, bought horses and conveyances and on April 1st started with his family for Ohio. Twenty-one days later he arrived in Montgomery County, and purchased two hundred and twenty acres of land in Wayne Township. The land had upon it an unfinished brick house and a log barn, the yard being enclosed by a Virginia worm fence, ten rails high, and the place being then considered well improved. Having now arrived at the age of sixty-three years, John Sloan confided his business to his son Robert, feeling that he was getting too old to manage it. His wife died September 11, 1847, and he followed her to the better land December 3, the same year.

Robert Sloan was born September 7, 1811, in Lebanon County, Pa., and after the entire management of his father’s affairs fell upon him he proved equal to the task, everything prospering under his hands. He became prominent throughout the section in which he lived, ere long holding a leading position among the men in Montgomery County. His honesty, integrity and worth of character were well known; he was an indulgent and loving father, a thoughtful and devoted husband, and a conscientious and consistent member of the Presbyterian Church. He had united with the church in Pennsylvania, when twenty-one years old, and was a zealous and leading member until his death, at which time he held membership in the society at Osborn. He died in 1885.

The wife of Robert Sloan and mother of Mrs. Barkman, was May A. Shepherd, a native of Lancaster County, Pa., whose natal day was November 8, 1822. Her father, H. L. Shepherd, was a native of Villars, Canton Berne, Switzerland, born December 17, 1799. He came to this country as a companion to his sister, who had married an American gentleman under somewhat romantic circumstances. Mr. Flotron, a jeweler of Lancaster, Pa., while traveling in Europe, became acquainted with the Shepherd family, who were also jewelers. He became attached to the daughter, Mary A., but her parents refusing to let her leave them, he was obliged to return to America with out her. He had been back but a short time, however, before he concluded that she was necessary to his happiness, and he accordingly returned to Switzerland to again urge his suit. He was successful, and they were married, the parents resolving to send her youngest brother with her to see her safe in her new home. They embarked, encountered several storms, were shipwrecked and almost lost, but finally landed in New York, and thence went to Lancaster, Pa. The sister not liking to be left alone, induced her brother to remain with her instead of returning to his native land, as his parents expected. He — H. L. Shepherd — then entered the employ of Gottleib Scherer, a farmer and distiller, with whom he remained until 1821. He then married Susan Scherer, a sister of his employer, and in 1833 emigrated with his family to Montgomery County, Ohio, where he died January 4, 1861, his wife breathing her last February 4, 1864. Robert and Mary (Shepherd) Sloan had three children, the wife of our subject being the youngest. The others are: Susie, wife of H. H. Kneisley, of Montgomery County, Ohio; and Henry C., on the old Sloan homestead.

Mr. Barkman has had offices thrust upon him, being forced to become a member of the School Board, and is now serving his second term as a Councilman. He was Township Trustee one year, but declined a renomination. He has been a delegate to county and State conventions, and is a member of the Democratic Central Committee. He is numbered among the most influential members of the party in the northwestern part of the county, his influence being felt everywhere. He is a charter member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge at Osborn; is now District Deputy and Representative to the Grand Lodge. Mrs. Barkman is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

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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. 

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