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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JOHN G. ZEINER, undertaker and dealer in household furniture, has been for some years doing a thriving business in Jamestown, Greene County, where he established himself in 1862. He is one of that class of men who began in a modest manner and who by perseverance and industry have worked their way up to a good position, socially and financially. For many years he carried on the manufacture of furniture and caskets, having turned out of his shop nearly four hundred burial cases, before he could receive his supplies from other markets. Many a time he worked all night to fill his orders, especially during the times of epidemics and at one time worked five nights and five days without lying down on a bed. He possessed an iron constitution but his long continued labors had a sensible effect upon his health. He is now taking life more easily, the business being mostly conducted by his son Frank.

Mr. Zeiner was the pioneer in this business in Greene County, having established the first furniture shop in Jamestown and since then has had very little competition. He has always turned out first-class work and is noted for his honesty and reliability. He is the oldest undertaker in the county and keeps a full stock of everything required in this line. Considering the fact that he came to this section without means and $300 in debt, he certainly deserves great credit for the position which he now occupies. He has canceled his indebtedness and acquired a handsome property.

Prior to his removal to Jamestown Mr. Zeiner was for two years a resident of Cedarville, to which he removed from Lewistown, Pa. He learned his trade there under Anthony Felix, an undertaker and cabinet-maker with whom he served an apprenticeship of three years. Besides his board and clothing, he received the first year $15, the second year $20 and the third year $25. He consequently had othing saved and it took hard labor and close management in order to gain a foothold after commencing in business for himself. He became a skilled workman, however, and was not afraid to exhibit the product of his handiwork anywhere in the State.

The subject of this notice was born on the other side of the Atlantic in the Kingdom of Bavaria, January 7, 1827. He is of stanch German ancestry, as far back as is known, and the son of John G. Zeiner, Sr., a native of Saxe Coburg, who in early life followed the profession of a musician, and later, for a time, was engaged as a shoemaker, but finally turned his attention to farming. He married Miss Maria Fink, likewise a native of Bavaria and of German parentage. After the birth of three children they set out in the spring of 1840 for America, taking passage at the port of Bremen on the three masted sailer, “Sophia,” which after a tedious and dangerous voyage of two months during which they encountered frightful storms, landed them in the city of Baltimore, thence proceeded to McAlisterville, Pa. Later they removed to Lewistown in the vicinity of which they settled and where the father and daughter Margaret died. The former was seventy-three years old. The daughter had been married and died at the age of thirty years. The wife and mother continued to reside in Lewistown and died in 1883, at the advanced age of eighty-four years. She came of a good family and was the daughter of an officer in the German Government. Both she and her husband were consistent members of the Lutheran Church.

The subject of this notice was married near Lewistown, Pa., February 24, 1853, to Miss Mary Bower. This lady was born near that place, in 1832, and was a daughter of George and Sarah (Sares) Bower who were natives of Pennsylvania and of Holland-Dutch stock. The parents died in middle life and when their daughter Mary was a small child. She was then taken into the home of her uncle, Ira Sares, who is still living in Pennsylvania and is now quite aged.

Mrs. Zeiner was treated like an own child, being well reared by her uncle, and given a good education. Of her union with our subject there have been born six children, the eldest of whom, James O., died at the age of twenty-three years; he was a promising young man, a blacksmith by trade and one in whom his parents took especial pride. In their sore bereavement they were tendered the sympathy of the entire community. The surviving children are recorded as follows: Frank married Mrs. Anna J. Hickson of Jamestown; they live on Xenia Street and Frank has the management of his father’s business in town; Margaret is the wife of C. L. Crain, a saddler by trade and they live in Cedarville; William married Miss Rosa Harness and they reside on Xenia Street, Jamestown; this son is a carriage-maker by trade. Flora is the wife of C. M. Ridgeway, Jr., and they live at Yellow Springs where he is occupied as a druggist; Albert is unmarried and remains with his parents, assisting his father in the store.

Mr. Zeiner, politically, is an uncompromising Democrat. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, holding membership in Blue Lodge, No. 352 which he joined at the time of its organization.

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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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