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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JACOB HENRY ZELL. Prominent among the more successful farmers of Spring Valley Township, may be mentioned Mr. Zell whose energy and perseverance have resulted in the accumulation of a fair share of this world’s goods, including two hundred and four acres of thoroughly cultivated land. His native place was Harrison County, Va., and the date of his birth March 16, 1827. His parents were John P. and Mary (Tyson) Zell, who were natives of Pennsylvania.

The paternal grandmother of our subject, departed this life when her son John P. was an infant of three weeks, and he was then taken to Virginia by a relative, where he was reared and married. He served in the War of 1812, and was present at the battle of Ft. Meigs. Later he followed farming in the Old Dominion, and also occupied himself as an hotel keeper. He finally resolved upon seeking his fortunes in the West, and accordingly, in the fall of 1828, when Jacob H. was an infant of eighteen months, set out overland by wagon, and coming to Warren County, settled near Clarksville. He sojourned there, however, but a short time, removing thence to the vicinity of Blanchester. From there, in 1836, he removed to a point a mile and a half south of Waynesville, where he spent his last days, dying in 1851. His wife, Mary, had preceded her husband to the silent land in 1845.

To the parents of our subject there was born a family of twelve children, eleven of whom grew to mature years: George M. is a resident of Waynesville; Ruthanah is the wife of Harlan Jones, of Jackson County, Kan.; Olive married Jonathan Jones, of that county, and is now deceased; Zelinda who was the wife of David Bonnell, died in Mitchell, Ind.; Mr. Bonnell is also deceased; Oliver is a resident of Dayton; Edgar lives in Warren County; Jacob H., our subject, was the next in order of birth; Thornton died in Dayton; and Mortimer in Lebanon, Warren County, the latter holding the office of County Recorder; James H. is a resident of Dayton City; Benjamin F. lives in Springfield; Enos died when a child of three years. Nine of these children were married, and had families of their own.

The father of our subject, politically, was a stanch Democrat. The paternal grandfather, Jacob Zell, was the child of German parents, who emigrated to America at an early day. He was twice married, and by the first wife became the father of three sons and one daughter, John P. being one of the sons. His second wife bore him children, among whom was T. L., the famous author of Zell’s Encyclopedia.

On the maternal side of the house, Grandfather Enos Tyson was a native of Pennsylvania. His wife bore the maiden name of Ruth Thomas. There were born to them four sons and five daughters, viz.: Isaac, John, Thornton, Oliver, Lacy, Mary, Elizabeth, Milly, and Permelia. Grandfather Tyson was a blacksmith by trade, but also followed farming, and upon leaving his native State, settled near Clarksburg, Harrison County, W. Va., where he purchased seventeen hundred acres of land. He was then on his way to Ohio, but did not reach his destination, dying in the Old Dominion. In religious belief he was a Quaker. After her husband’s death, Grandmother Tyson, at the age of sixty years, came to Warren County, this State, on horseback. She died at Rochester, near Morrow, in that county.

The subject of this notice was reared as a farmer’s boy, acquiring his education in the country schools, and after his mother’s death, made his own way in the world, working first on a farm at $7 per month. He occupied himself as a farm laborer, until a man of twenty-five years, then for one year operated on rented land on his own account. In 1853 he made his first purchase of land — one hundred and thirty-eight acres, lying two and one-half miles south of Waynesville. He occupied this for a period of twenty-three years, then removed to his present place, which comprises two hundred and four acres. This under his careful management, has become one of the finest farms in Greene County. The land is highly productive, and Mr. Zell has erected good buildings, and availed himself of the most approved machinery in the cultivation of the soil. Politically, Mr. Zell votes the straight Republican ticket. With the exception of serving two years as Township Trustee, he has held aloof from the cares and responsibilities of office.

The 11th of March, 1852, was a memorable day in the history of our subject, as he was then wedded to Miss Mary A. McKinsey, the ceremony taking place at the bride’s home in Warren County. Mrs. Zell was born July 23, 1831, in Warren County, to Patrick and Elizabeth (Bowman) McKinsey, who were natives of South Carolina and Virginia. Mr. McKinsey was born November 3, 1805, and was brought to Warren County, this State, by his parents in 1807. He there spent the remainder of his life, and died near Waynesville on the 27th of August, 1863. He was a man of considerable prominence in his community, serving as Township Trustee many years, and was also Land Appraiser. To him and his good wife there was born a family of seven sons and three daughters, and one daughter died in infancy. Patrick McKinsey departed this life in August, 1863. His wife survived him nearly twelve years, her death taking place in February, 1875.

Mrs. Zell’s paternal grandfather, George McKinsey, was born March 26, 1762, in South Carolina. The children by his first wife were named respectively, David, Mordecai, Samuel, Nehemiah, George, Abigail, Naomi, Mary, and Sarah. Grandfather McKinsey emigrated from South Carolina in 1807, and settled on three hundred acres of land near Waynesville, this State. He built up a good homestead, where he spent the remainder of his days, dying June 11, 1840. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and served in the War of 1812. A number of his children settled in Indiana.

To Mr. and Mrs. Zell there has been born a family of seven children, viz: Elizabeth, the wife of Joseph Hawke, of Montgomery County; Frank N., Ray M., of Zenia; James P.; Nellie is the wife of Thomas H. Evans, Olive Z., the wife of Frank Farr; and Horace T. Our subject and his wife are prominently connected with the Baptist Church, and Mr. Zell has always been noted as a liberal contributor to the enterprises calculated for the good of the community.

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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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