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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JOSEPH M. FOLCK. This gentleman is one of the oldest settlers of Greene County, as well as one of its most liberal and public spirited citizens. After years of active labors by which he has acquired a fair share of this world’s goods he has retired from the more laborious duties of life and is occupying a lovely home in Osborn, enjoying to the full “the goods the gods provide.” He is a lover of the piscatory art and other out-of-door amusements to whose enjoyment he gives himself heartily, proving a genial companion to other lovers of the rod and similar re-creations. He is well-informed, possesses firm and upright principles, and is a capable business man, respected by all with whom he comes in contact. Although the title of Doctor is commonly bestowed upon him, he is not a physician; the title was given him while as a young man he was assisting an aunt in compounding medicines and has clung to him, as such popular terms will, throughout his life.

Mrs. Folck, however, has practiced the healing art for over forty-five years, during which she has performed some of the most wonderful cures. She desired some years since to give up her practice but was unable to do so, being sought out by those to whom her reputation is known. She, however, only attends to the office practice, which is extensive. She is probably the only lady physician in the county at the present time, and was the second within its bounds to devote herself to that profession.

The subject of this sketch was born near Byron, this county, July 9, 1824, being the second child of Daniel and Mary (Morehead) Folck. He was reared to farm pursuits being early set to work at such labors as his strength would permit of, in the intervals of his attendance at school. His educational training was received in the old-fashioned log schoolhouse with its slab benches and other primitive furnishing, where he acquired an excellent knowledge of the branches then taught in the common schools. He remained under the parental roof until 1841 when he went to Elkhart County, Ind., where he spent a year, working upon a farm and in a mill. He then returned to his home and employed himself upon a farm in that township until 1843. His next change of residence was to the home of his aunt, Mrs. Susan Folck, whom he assisted in preparing medicines. She was a practicing physician, having learned the science from her father-in-law, Dr. John George Folck.

Studying medicine with Dr. Susan Folck was Miss Barbara A. Shigley, to whom our subject became attached and with whom he was united in marriage February 14, 1847. After his marriage Mr. Folck engaged in farming, owning and operating thirty acres of land which he devoted to truck farming, in which branch of agriculture he became very successful. He bought a farm of ninety-six acres of land in Miami Township, which he still owns, and which is well improved. In 1876 he sold the thirty-acre tract, built a cozy dwelling in Osborn and moved into town. He has two residences and three lots in the city and the only business which he does is to look after his investments. After the death of Dr. Susan Folck, which occurred not many months after the marriage of our subject, his wife continued the practice of her former instructor. She traveled some but gave the most of her attention to her extensive office business, which she has never since been able to abandon.

During the late war Mr. Folck belonged to the Sixtieth regiment of Ohio Home Guards. In May, 1864, they were called to Camp Dennison, where he was found unfit for service on account of a stiff right arm which prevented his bringing cartridges to his mouth so as to bite them. The stiffness was occasioned by his arm having been broken when a boy and not properly healed. This was all that kept him out of actual service, but it occasioned his honorable discharge from the Home Guards. He never aspires to office, haying no desire for public honors, but is a stanch Republican ever ready to cast his vote for his favorite candidates.

The paternal grandfather, Dr. John George Folck, was born in Lancaster County, Pa., in 1761. He married Miss Catherine Gotshall, who was born in Germany, January 1, 1763. In 1802 or 1803 Dr. Folck brought his family to Greene County, Ohio, traveling in a wagon. He bought a section of land near Byron and was one of the first settlers of Bath Township. There he continued the practice of his profession in which he was very successful. Having received an injury which prevented his traveling about, he still had numerous calls, patients coming from a distance to consult him and receive treatment. He departed this life November 14, 1839; his wife had breathed her last on Christmas Day, 1808. Dr. Folck came to this township in company with the Wolfs, Wilsons and Hefleys. Two of his sons were in the War of 1812.

The father of our subject was born in Hemphill Township, Lancaster County, Pa., September 5, 1800, and died in Bath Township, Greene County, Ohio, Juno 10, 1841. He inherited a portion of the homestead and bought a brother’s share, farming upon it until his death. His wife was born in Harrison County, Va., December 12, 1791, and died at Byron, Ohio, November 7, 1859. Her father, George Morehead, who was of French and Scotch descent, was a soldier in the War of 1812. Mrs. Mary Folck was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She bore her husband five children, the first-born, George, now deceased. The second child is the subject of this biographical notice; John lives in Clark County; Mary resides at Byron; Barbara, Mrs. Evans, lives at Camp Dennison.

Mrs. Joseph Folck is a granddaughter of John Shigley, a native of Virginia, who was an early settler on Clark’s Run, where he operated a large farm. He finally removed to the vicinity of Battle Ground, Ind., where he farmed until his death. He was a local minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church and had fought for his country in the War of 1812. Like the grandfather of our subject he was of German descent. His wife was Miss Barbara Potts, of Virginia. Their son Robert, was born in the Buckeye State, January 9, 1799, and adopting an agricultural pursuit, farmed for some time in Xenia Township, this county. He then removed to White County, Ind., whence in 1866 he went to Minnesota, entering land near Morristown, upon which he resided until his death in December, 1879. He was a devout Christian, belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church and for years was a local minister. He had married Miss Nancy Flood who was born in Bath Township, this county, January 27, 1802, and who died in Minnesota at the age of eighty-four years. She was the daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Lowe) Flood, of Virginia, who came to this county in the early days. Mr. Flood bought Government land in Bath Township, but later removed to the vicinity of Jamestown and thence to Randolph County, Ind. He was a minister in the Methodist Protestant Church and labored in that capacity in Indiana until his death. He was the son of an Irish gentleman of fine education, and a professional pedagogue.

Mr. and Mrs. Shigley were the parents of sixteen children, of whom eleven grew to maturity. The first-born of these is Barbara, who opened her eyes to the light near South Charleston, Clark County, May 30, 1821. When she was five years old the family came to Bellbrook, Sugar Creek Township, this county, and seven years later removed to Jamestown. There she remained with her parents until 1843 when she began the study of medicine with the result before noted. Her marriage and after history has already been outlined. The next oldest member of the Shigley family was Frederick who died in Indiana; Robert now lives in Missouri; Jonathan lives at Ft. Madison, Iowa; John gave his life for his country’s cause, being killed at the battle of Resaca, May 13, 1864; George died in Minnesota; Lewis and Noah now live in that State; Mrs. Nancy Folck is deceased; Mrs. Mary Folck is also deceased, having breathed her last in Indiana; Mrs. Rachael Smith, whose home is in Minnesota, is the widow of a brave soldier who fell at Resaca. Four of the Shigley family: John, George, Robert and Lewis, belonged to the Twelfth Indiana Infantry. Robert was disabled in Kentucky and discharged, and George and Lewis went through the entire contest.

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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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