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 KENDIG. This section of Ohio is indebted to Pennsylvania, and particularly to Lancaster County, for a number of her most enterprising and progressive agriculturists. The father of our subject was one of this class, and he of whom we write is a native also of the Keystone State. John Kendig, Sr., lost his father when he was quite small, and had to work his own way from the time he was twelve years old. He worked out by the month until his marriage when he rented land, continuing his farming operations in his native State until 1839. He then became a resident of Ohio, choosing a location in Wayne Township, Montgomery County, where he became the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of land, improved it with two good sets of buildings and the needful fences, orchards and other trees. He died on his farm in 1878. During his young manhood he had taken part in the War of 1812. His wife, Susan Rheinhart, was also born in Lancaster County, Pa., her father being a fanner there. She also is now deceased, having breathed her last cheered by the faith of the Mennonite Church.

The family of the worthy couple above mentioned included eight sons and daughters, of whom we note the following; Mrs. Elizabeth Roher lives in Tippecanoe City, Miami County; Mrs. Nancy Lutz lives in Wayne Township, Montgomery County; Mrs. Mary Kay died in Shelby County; Mrs. Susan Hebble lives in Bath Township, Greene County; Mrs. Christiana Stoner died in Montgomery County; Daniel, who is now retired from business, lives in Washington, D. C.; the subject of this notice is the next in the family circle; Martin lives in Bath Township. The latter enlisted in 1861, and served until the late war was over, being slightly wounded in his country’s cause.

On New Year’s day, 1833, John Kendig, of this notice, first saw the light of day, his birthplace being four miles from Lancaster, Pa. When a lad of six years his parents came to Ohio, the household goods being piled into a wagon, which was drawn by four horses, and upon which the parents and five children rode. Eighteen days were occupied in transit, and the children walked a part of the way over the mountains. As soon as he could handle an ax or drive, young John was set to work on the farm, and at the age of twelve years he put up a cord of wood per day, and they hauled it to Knessley distillery. At that early day the school-houses were built of logs, with a huge fireplace, a mud and stick chimney and furnished with slab benches; they were kept up by subscription, and afforded but limited advantages to the youth of the locality. The education of our subject therefore has been mainly self obtained.

In 1854, when twenty-one years old, young Kendig took charge of his father’s farm, working it on shares for about nine years, his hard work and energy bringing him a fair degree of success. In 1863 he came to Greene County, and purchased one hundred and thirty-six acres of partly improved land in Bath Township, on section 12, paying $33 per acre for it. It was very much run down, but during the next two years it was placed in a much better condition, was freed from incumbrance, and sixteen acres had been added. During this time Mr. Kendig had cleared thirty-five acres. In 1870, he began building, the first structure erected being a barn, 40x72 feet. The stone for the foundation was procured on his own farm, and also the logs, and the oak frame was made from his own timber, other lumber being hauled from Xenia. Other buildings were erected as fast as possible, a large frame house being completed in 1875. It is in the form of a Greek cross, the dimensions being 32x48 and 32x36. The improvements include a corn house and all other necessary buildings, a windmill and two tanks from which water is forced into the house, an orchard which contains many varieties of fruit, ornamental shade trees, and a beautiful lawn.

In 1880, Mr. Kendig purchased the adjoining farm of one hundred and fifty-three acres, which had the same kind of improvements as his home place, and which now is furnished with a nice residence, barn, fences, etc. Some eighteen acres of this have been cleared by himself. The entire landed estate of three hundred and five acres forms one of the finest and richest farms in the township. Forty-five acres are devoted to timber culture, and the remainder being cleared, is mainly devoted to the cultivation of corn, wheat and clover. There is a fine spring in the pasture and the open ditch, which formerly drained the estate, has been tiled and is now plowed over. The distance to Xenia is eight miles, over a pike road, and it is five miles to the nearest market. The land is kept in fine condition by the use of the best fertilizing agents, the crops therefore being first-class in quality and quantity. Cattle, hogs and horses are raised, the latter being a fine grade of Norman draft horses, large and powerful. Mr. Kendig formerly raised Cotswold sheep. He is assisted in the management of the home farm by his eldest son, while the second son lives upon and manages the adjoining estate.

The estimable woman who for thirty years has been Mr. Kendig’s companion and helpmate, became his wife April 8, 1858, in Wayne Township, Montgomery County. Her maiden name was Sarah Mitman, and she is the second child of Peter and Lydia (Huffman) Mitman. Her parents were born in York County, Pa., and her mother died in Montgomery County, Ohio, soon after their removal, which took place in 1834. Their oldest child was Rebecca, who became the wife of U. Wilson, and who died in Fairfield. The father took for his second companion Mrs. Anna (Jones) Miller, who also bore him two children: Lewis, who is living on the home farm; and William, who is deceased. Mr. Mitman was reared in his native State, working upon a farm, and also helping to haul stone for the construction of the first railroad built in Pennsylvania. He learned the milling business, but concluding to come West, in 1833, he walked to Wheeling, whence he followed the Ohio River down to Cincinnati, still on foot, and then took the tow path to Columbus. Viewing the country and being favorably impressed with it, he returned to Pennsylvania over the mountains, making the trip in six weeks, and accomplishing it as he had his journey hither. In the spring of 1834, with a one horse wagon, he brought his wife and two children to this county, settling in Bath Township. Having but $28 in money when he arrived, he began working out on farms, but he afterwards bought his father’s place and improved it, putting upon it fine buildings, paying for it and helping his children some. Being the fortunate possessor of a fine physique, he was able to endure much hard labor, and by his own hands performed a large share of the arduous toil required in placing the estate upon a fine footing. He died in Fairfield April 20, 1890. He had been Township Trustee, and was Land Appraiser in 1870. He was a Democrat in politics, and a Lutheran in religion. He was active in the church work, being a charter member of the organization at Osborn, and a Deacon since its institution.

Mrs. Kendig’s grandfather, Jacob Mitman, was a farmer in York County, Pa., until 1835, when he became a resident of the Buckeye State, locating on a farm in Bath Township, this county, which a few years later he sold to his son Peter, afterward living with his children until his death. He had served in the War of 1812, and as a hunter and fisherman attained quite a reputation.

The family of Mr. and Mrs. Kendig comprises seven sons and daughters: Julia A., John P., Lewis F., Albert D., William H., Harry R. and Daisy May. Julia became the wife of Zepheniah Trollinger, of Virginia, their home being near Fairfield; John P. is a shareholder in the Osborn Bank, and a School Director in his district; Lewis F. married Miss Cora Burrous, and occupies the farm adjoining his boyhood home; the younger members of the family still reside under the parental roof.

Mr. Kendig is a stockholder and Director in the Osborn Bank. He was School Director for six years, and while he lived in Montgomery County was Road Supervisor. The various township offices have been at his command, but he declines running, having no desire for public life except to aid the cause of education. Politically he is a straight Democrat. Personally, he is a whole-souled and honorable man, a thorough gentleman, and necessarily a reliable citizen. Both himself and wife belong to the German Reformed Church, at Byron, he having helped to build the church edifice, and both being interested in every good work going on about them. Throughout this section of country no couple can be found more worthy of representation in this volume than John Kendig and his wife.

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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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