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 HOWER. In driving about Greene County, the most unobserving traveler would be struck by the orderly and prosperous appearance of an estate which occupies a part of section 31, Bath Township. It comprises one hundred and seventy-eight acres of excellent land which has been brought to a high state of productiveness, and bears upon it excellent improvements. A commodious and substantial bank barn, 40x80 feet, affords shelter for stock and fodder, while granaries, cribs and other buildings, house various products of the farm. The dwelling of the owner of the estate is a substantial brick house erected in 1868, from bricks made on the farm, and a good tenant house occupies an appropriate location. Water is conveyed to convenient points by the force produced by a windmill, and an excellent orchard, small fruits, and a garden beautify the estate and add to the comforts of those who dwell upon it. Fifteen acres is devoted to timber and the remainder to the raising of grain, crops and stock. The cattle are high grade Short-horns and the hogs full-blooded Poland-Chinas.

The appearance of this estate does not belie the prosperity of its owner who has been more than ordinarily successful in worldly affairs. He rents a half of his home estate, using but one team in his own farm labors. He is also the owner of one hundred and fifty-three acres on section 21, of the same township; of two hundred and two acres in Beaver Creek Township, and one hundred and sixty acres near Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, Iowa. He also holds stock in the Osborn Bank, and altogether stands on a very substantial financial footing, such as is probably not excelled in the county.

Before outlining the life history of our subject it will not be amiss to devote a brief space to the family history. His grandfather, Jacob Hower, was born in Germany and emigrated to Frederick County, Md., where his son John was born in the year 1784, and where Grandfather Hower died. John Hower learned the trade of a wagon-maker in Hagerstown, and removing to Washington County, bought a farm and carried on a shop upon it. He was out in the War of 1812, for a while. In 1833, he came with his family to this State, settling in Beaver Creek Township, this county, where he purchased ninety-three acres of land. He engaged in wagon-making and also operated the farm, living upon it until eighty-four years old when he departed this life. He belonged to the Lutheran Church. His wife, in her girlhood Miss Mary Bovey, was born in Washington County, Md., and was the daughter of a native of Germany, who became a Maryland farmer. She died in 1859, at the age of sixty-five years. She belonged to the Reformed Church, and was the mother of eight children, as follows: Mrs. Mary Puterbaugh, who died in Xenia; David, who died in 1834; Anthony, who died in 1859; Susannah, Mrs. Cosler, whose home is in Beaver Creek Township, this county; our subject; Eli, who lives in Xenia; Samuel, who lives in Beaver Creek; Mrs. Elizabeth Greene, also of Beaver Creek.

John Hower opened his eyes to the light June 24, 1823, near Hagerstown, Md., where he lived until ten years old. He had but meager educational privileges there, his schooling being limited to two quarters in the subscription schools. On September 23, 1833, the family left their Eastern home and turned their faces westward. The band comprised the father, mother and seven children, and their outfit consisted of a covered wagon drawn by two horses. Their journey to this county occupied twenty-three days and the boys walked the greater part of the way. Our subject attended the public schools in this county, growing to manhood on Beaver Creek and remaining an inmate of the parental home until twenty years of age. He then entered the blacksmith shop of Isaac Gentis on Ludlow Creek, serving an apprenticeship of two years.

After learning his trade Mr. Hower did journey work in Harshmanville and Byron until 1847, when he started a shop at Alpha. He bought two and a half acres of ground, put up a log shop and worked up a very successful trade. In 1857 he quit the business and worked upon his father’s farm until 1859. He then located on one hundred and sixty-one acres of his present home place, which he had purchased the year before. He put up a shop for his own use, improved the land and engaged in general farming and stock-raising, ere long buying seventeen acres adjoining. Prosperity attended his efforts and he became the owner of the other lands mentioned in this county, which are also well improved farms. In 1853, he paid a visit to Iowa, and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of Government land about eight miles from Oskaloosa, which he has since improved thoroughly and which is now a place of considerable value. As before mentioned Mr. Hower does not personally carry on the large acreage he owns, but uses but one-half of the home farm, upon which he has had a tenant for two years, and rents out the other places.

The first marriage of Mr. Hower was celebrated October 12, 1850, his bride being Miss Margaret, daughter of John Shannon, an early settler and farmer in Beaver Creek Township and a native of Maryland. Mrs. Margaret Hower lived only a few years after her marriage, dying in 1853. She left one child, a cripple who is now deceased. After having remained a widower some years, on March 17, 1859, Mr. Hower took a second companion in the person of Miss Elizabeth Horner, the rites of wedlock having been celebrated between them in Beaver Creek. The bride was born there February 9, 1831, and was carefully reared by estimable parents, with whom she remained until her marriage. She is the mother of four children: Julia, John, George and Lizzie. The last two died when small; Julia attended Wittenberg College and is now living in Bethel Township, being the wife of C. L. Gerlbaugh; they have four children, Arthur, Howard, Ella and Bertha. John attended Wilts Commercial College at Dayton; he married Miss Anne Dunkle of Mad River Township, Clark County, and now lives in Bath Township, this county, on his father’s farm.

The present Mrs. Hower is a daughter of George and Julia (Gentis) Horner, being the sixth child born to them. Her father opened his eyes to the light in Franklin County near Cincinnati, in 1796, where his father, John Horner of Pennsylvania was an early settler. The latter afterward came to this county, where he owned a fine farm of three hundred acres, not far from Xenia. When George Horner was twelve years old the family removed to Beaver Creek where he grew to maturity, following farming, and became the owner of an estate comprising two hundred and two acres in the western part of the county. In politics he was a Republican and in religion, of the Reformed Church in which he held the office of Elder. He died at the age of seventy-nine years. His wife was a native of Brush Valley, Va., her father, Daniel Gentis, having been born on the banks of the Rhine in Germany. He emigrated from his native land to Virginia but at an early day became a settler in Clark County, Ohio, operating a farm fifteen miles north of Springfield. His daughter, Mrs. Horner, died in this county at the extreme age of ninety-four years in 1884.

The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hower are: John, now deceased; Mrs. Sarah Finfrock of Shelby County; George, of Douglas County, Ill.; Daniel, an inmate of the Soldiers’ Home at Dayton; Mrs. Julia Grindle of Bath Township, this county; Jacob, who died at the age of five years, and Mrs. Rebecca Lantz of Beaver Creek. John and George were in the one hundred days’ service during the Civil War, and Daniel enlisted in 1861, serving until the close of the struggle; he was so crippled by army life that he became an inmate of the Soldiers’ Home.

Mr. Hower has been Township Trustee three years and School Director twenty-one years. He is an Elder in the Lutheran Church at Osborn and was formerly Trustee of the society at Byron. In politics he is a straight Republican. The energy which has characterized his worldly career is equally manifest in whatever matter he takes in hand, whether it be the affairs of the church or of some popular public enterprise. He is one of those jolly whole-souled gentlemen who are liked by everyone, and to whom not even the most morose can begrudge their success. He has been fortunate in the choice of a companion, his wife being equally popular, they standing side by side in the highest rank in society.

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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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