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.

* * * *

JOHN WALLACE, This gentleman is numbered among the leading citizens of that section of Greene County in which he resides, as he was formerly in Enon, Clark County, where he held the office of Postmaster and other positions of public trust. He is now occupying one of the most pleasant estates in Bath Township, which comprises one hundred and thirty acres on section 28, which property belongs to his wife. The farm has been finely improved and bears every necessary and convenient arrangement in the way of farm buildings, together with orchards and shrubbery and such adornments as befit the property of persons of taste and comfortable fortune.

The father of our subject was Thomas Wallace, a native of England and an officer in the British army. His father had come to America and located at Newville, Pa., where he died, leaving property. Thomas Wallace obtained a leave of absence and came to America to secure his fortune, bringing with him his wife and infant son. Upon reaching this country, he found that city lots did not mean as much as in his native land at that time, but, nevertheless, he forgot to return to England, preferring to become a citizen of the United States. After working at various occupations, he became overseer of a section of the Cumberland Valley Railroad, and later, a conductor, running for years between Newville and Philadelphia. He made his home in the former place, becoming a prominent man in the town, where he died in June, 1843. He was a believer in the tenets of the Episcopal Church. His first wife, Mary Donaldson, a native of Scotland, died in the Keystone State, leaving
five children. The first-born, Eliza, lives in Philadelphia, Pa.; Sarah, Mrs. Huston, resides in New Carlisle, Clark County, Ohio; the third child and oldest son is he of whom we write; Thomas is deceased; Grizella, Mrs. Johnson, lives in Washington County, Kan. The second marriage of Thomas Wallace resulted in the birth of a son, Samuel, who now lives in Philadelphia; he belonged to a Pennsylvania regiment at the time of the Civil War, until discharged on account of a shot received through the neck.

The subject of this sketch opened his eyes to the light April 14, 1820, in the mother country, whence the family voyaged to America in a sailing-vessel spending three months on the way. He was reared and educated in Newville, Pa., and after the death of his mother, which occurred when he was eight years old, he went to live with a Mr. Coil, with whom he remained some seven years. He then worked on a farm until nearly seventeen years old. when he was apprenticed to a tailor until twenty-one. After serving his apprenticeship, he did journey-work up and down the Juniata River until 1846, when he came to Ohio.

Locating at Enon, Clark County, Mr. Wallace opened a tailor shop, which he carried on until appointed Postmaster, in 1852. He served during the Pierce and Buchanan administrations, after which he began grafting in the Enon Nursery and became Superintendent of it. In 1860 he made another change, beginning a mercantile business, and continuing the same four years, after which he sold out and removed to Holt County, Mo. There he found employment at different occupations, principally in grafting and other departments of the nursery business, until some time after his removal, when he purchased a small farm, operating the same until 1882. He then returned to Enon, and the next year removed to Osborn, where he has since made his home. The farm on which he lives is rented, and he and his wife are enjoying merited rest from the more arduous labors of life, finding abundant occupation in social and religious duties.

Mr. Wallace contracted his first matrimonial alliance November 24, 1842, in Pine Grove, Pa., the bride being Miss Martha Bush, a native of that place, who died in Missouri, October 8, 1878. On March 14, 1883, he led to the hymeneal altar Mrs. Elizabeth (Cox) Staats, a lady of more than ordinary intelligence and nobility of character, whose family history is one of interest. She was born in Osborn, April 17, 1831, had common school advantages and exceptionally good home training. She remained with her parents until her marriage, December 3, 1850, to Mr. Edward Staats, who was assistant transportation agent at Springfield. He was born in Albany, N. Y., January 21, 1810, was reared and educated in his native city, where he began clerking while but a boy. He subsequently went South, where he was in business for some years. He was a fine penman. Becoming book-keeper and assistant agent at Springfield, in the employ of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, he made that city his home until his removal to Osborn. He died in Detroit, Mich., in 1862. His widow remained with her father until her second marriage, spending the best years of her life in caring for her parents, a duty which she performed cheerfully and with pleasure, and which affords her gratification in the retrospect. She bore her first husband two children — John C. and Harriet Bleeker, the latter of whom died when five years old. The son was graduated from Wilts Commercial College, at Dayton, became a successful miner in Colorado, and is now a merchant in Aspen, of the Centennial State.

The original ancestors of Mrs. Wallace were Hollanders, Peter Nue, the first male ancestor, being one of the original settlers of New Amsterdam. He owned property where Wall Street and the adjacent territory is now located. The family later settled throughout New Jersey, and still later in Virginia. The grandfather, Judge John Cox, was born in Bridgewater, Somerset County, N. J., June 6, 1774. He was married in 1794 and a couple of years later removed to Harrison County, Va., where his son John opened his eyes to the light September 16, 1800. A year after that event, Judge Cox, with his family, came to Greene County, Ohio, locating in Bath Township, and for a time engaged in farming and mercantile business in Fairfield. Two years after his arrival he made arrangements for the purchase of a large tract of land from Jonathan Mercer, who was living near the village, and who had a pre-emption right to some valuable lands in the valley. The tract purchased was north of Fairfield, bordering on the waters of the Mad River, including the present site of Osborn and the adjoining territory. The house first built upon it was of logs, its location being opposite the present site of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Osborn. Judge Cox took a boat load of flour down the river to New Orleans, the conveyance being a flat-boat, which was the usual means of river traffic, and taking the fever, he died soon after his return home, in 1821.

John Cox, having been brought to this county when but an infant, grew to manhood here, acquiring all the education that was possible under the limited school privileges of the time. By observation and individual study he added largely to the knowledge he obtained in the schoolroom, until his dying day keeping up his interest in the progress of the world. After his father’s death he located on the old homestead, bought out the rest of the heirs, and by diligence, economy and hard labor soon made his way out of debt. He took care of his mother and improved the original Cox farm, adding to it tract after tract, until he had several hundred acres of fine land beside the original purchase. He also owned property in Dayton, town lots in Osborn and a farm near Rushville, Ill.

In 1850 a survey was made for an extension of the old Sandusky Railroad, and it was soon afterward built to Dayton. Mr. Cox, whose public spirit and interest in all improvements and matters of progress are well known, donated the land wanted by this railroad for right of way, and a station was made near the old homestead. Town lots were laid out, and he built the original buildings of the town, both private and public and to his determination, sagacity, energy and generosity Osborn owes much of what it is to-day. It was laid out in 1851. and first called Elizabethtown, but soon afterward the name was changed, and it was given by Mr. Cox that which it now bears, in honor of the gentleman who was then Superintendent of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad. Mr. Cox afterward made five additions to the town, and through his generosity and business foresight the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad was also induced to pass through his farms. He and James and Samuel Kable built and were the original owners of the mills at Osborn, which were put up many years before the town was built; they were rebuilt by Samuel Stafford, and later by Joseph Harshman.

In 1868 Mr. Cox built the house where our subject now lives, and there spent his last years. For two or three years prior to his death be was confined to his bed most of the time from paralysis, but his mental faculties were well preserved, and he was anxious to learn the daily happenings and important events, keeping himself well informed, and but little escaping his memory. He was always serene and happy as in his youthful days. He breathed his last at 6 o’clock on the morning of Easter Sunday, April 9, 1882. He had always favored the building of schoolhouses and churches, and left the Methodist Episcopal Society, of which he was a member, a small legacy to pay the balance of their church debt. For about eighty-one years he had lived in the county, and had seen the vast Northwestern Territory change from the almost interminable grounds of the Indian tribes into cultivated farms, towns and cities, through which ran the great highways of the Anglo-Saxon race; and the Government changed from that of territorial dependence, into that of large States teaming with an industrial and self-governing population. It must have been a great source of pleasure to witness the improvements around him, to which his own hand had so largely contributed, and in his declining years enjoy the esteem of his fellow citizens and many friends.

The wife of John Cox and the mother of Mrs. Wallace was Harriet H. Cook, who was born in Morristown, N. J., May 4, 1804. She was educated there, was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and cheered by her faith entered into rest October 5, 1874. Her father, Squire Abraham Cook, a native of New Jersey, was a shoemaker there. He finally came to Ohio, locating near Fairfield, this county, and afterward taking up his abode on a farm in Bethel Township, Clark County, two and a half miles north of Osborn, where he engaged in farming until his death. He was a prominent citizen, was one of the first Presbyterians in the settlement and was well known as a rigid Calvinist. To Mr. and Mrs. John Cox seven children were born, Mrs. Elizabeth Wallace being the third. Of the others, Mrs. Mary Johnston is now deceased; Jonathan C. lives near Yellow Springs; Mrs. Julia A. Worley lives in Osborn; William H. died in Bath, Township in 1887; John C. is in the grocery business in Dayton; Theodore F. lives in Bath Township.

Mr. Wallace during his residence in Enon served on the School Board and in the Common Council; he was also Mayor of that city one year. He belongs to the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Osborn, and has been demitted from the Royal Arch Masons and Council. In politics he is a Democrat, while his wife is an equally strong believer in the principles of the Republican party. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he has been Class-Leader and Trustee. Mrs. Wallace is a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church.

* * * *

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

View an historic 1901 map of Greene County, Ohio

View family biographies for other states and counties

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of family biographies.

Follow My Genealogy Hound: Follow me on Facebook