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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TOBIAS DREES. Among those whose hands are folded after a well-spent life, and whose names are held in kindly remembrance, may be numbered him with whose name we introduce this sketch. He became a resident of Xenia in 1842, and occupied himself as a builder and contractor for a period of forty years, and until 1882. Many of the prominent residences and business houses of Xenia were erected under his supervision and bear about them the evidences of his skill, judgment and architectural taste. He had served a thorough apprenticeship as a carpenter under the instruction of the men who erected the county court-house, and which is a structure looked upon with pride by the residents of Greene County. Mr. Drees practically grew up with the city, and has formed no unimportant factor in its growth and prosperity.

He rested from his earthly labors on April 19, 1889, dying at his home on Second Street in Xenia City, by whose people he was universally mourned.

One of the representatives of the ninth generation of Drees, the subject of this notice, was the son of Tobias Drees, Sr., and came with his parents to America from the vicinity of Bremen, in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, Germany, where he was born February 19, 1819. They landed in Baltimore in February, 1832, and thence made their way to Pittsburg, Pa., where they sojourned six weeks. Young Drees during that time acquired sufficient knowledge of the English language to act as interpreter for the party accompanying them, and it was not long until he became thoroughly accomplished in the use of the English language. From Pittsburg the family removed to Minster, a German village in the northern part of Ohio, in Auglaize County, and the father, securing a tract of land, commenced farming, but later, with his son, Tobias, Jr., engaged on a canal-boat, running from Troy to Cincinnati.

The subject of this notice, leaving the parental roof at the age of sixteen years, was permitted to strike out for himself by returning a part of his wages to the family, which he did for a number of years. Upon one occasion, while journeying to Troy, he more than usually gave himself to serious thought, and then and there determined upon a course of honesty and industry whatever emergency might arise in life. His first work thereafter was as a teamster; next he was porter and clerk in an hotel. Upon reaching his majority he determined to become master of some trade, and first tried his hand at coopering. He soon decided, however, this was not his forte, and after a three weeks’ trial abandoned it for something more congenial — after having secured an amicable release from his indenture.

Young Drees now took up carpentering under the instruction of the late firm of Crandall & Brown, of Troy, engaging with them in 1842. They had the contract for building the Greene County Court-House, and the families of the firm removing to Xenia, brought Mr. Drees with them, and he continued with the firm until completing his apprenticeship. He then started in business for himself in the same building which they occupied. His beginning was a very modest one, but his strict attention to his own concerns and his promptness and reliability in serving his patrons, in due time secured him a large and lucrative business. He was thus occupied until 1883, and then became interested in the manufacture of twine, and assisted in organizing the Xenia Cordage Company, in which he became a prominent stock-holder and acted as Treasurer until his death.

To whatever position Mr. Drees was called he gave to it his conscientious attention, and his word was considered as good as his bond. He took a lively interest in the welfare and growth of his adopted city, and was foremost in encouraging the enterprises tending to this end. He served in the City Council two terms, and officiated as a member of the School Board. He invested a portion of his capital in some excellent farm property, and for the comfort and gratification of his family erected one of the finest residences in the city, this being pleasantly located on Second Street near the First Methodist Episcopal Church. In all the relations of life he preserved the same equable temperament which constituted him a kind husband and father, a hospitable neighbor, and a man who never turned a deaf ear to the call of distress, or failed to aid a philanthropic enterprise.

Under the ministry of the late Rev. John W. White, then stationed in Xenia, Mr. Drees was awakened and converted — so thoroughly and soundly converted that never once while he lived did his faith in Christ waver or falter. Although born and carefully trained in the Roman Catholic faith, he united at once with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which for nearly fifty years he was conspicuously wise as a leader, liberal as a supporter and exemplary as a Christian. There was no self-reliance, no boasting of great attainments, but rather a uniform piety working out practical results, producing genuine fruits, forming the character, regulating the life. His pleasant home was open night and day for the entertainment of ministers. As an official member of the church, holding at various times the offices of Steward, Trustee, Class-Leader and Sunday-school Superintendent, he was always in his place, shirking no duty, cheerfully meeting every responsibility. To the great doctrines of the Bible as expounded by Wesley, he gave whole-hearted assent, and though by no means a narrow sectarian, he was very strongly attached to his own denomination. He was not ordinarily very demonstrative in his religious life, but there were times when his prayers and his testimony were accompanied by an unction that was quite remarkable. As he drew near consciously to the end of his pilgrimage, his testimony in the class-room and prayer-meeting was given with increasing assurance of faith and more and more in the tone of a victor. He was for a long time deprived of the public means of grace, and the nature of his affliction was such that toward the last he spoke with great difficulty. When in February last he was thought one night to be dying, and he himself believed that the shining shore was almost in sight, he requested his brother-in-law, the Rev. Dr. W. L. Hypes, to write down his experience, which he gave in three texts of Scripture, as follows: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” “Great peace have they who love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”

Tobias Drees was married December 31, 1846, to Miss Maria Hypes. This lady was born in Xenia, April 25, 1825, and is the daughter of Henry and Sarah (Wright) Hypes, who came hither as early as 1811 from Virginia. Mr. Hypes was a native of the Old Dominion, and was born June 11, 1775. He was first married in his native county, and his wife died in Xenia a few years after their arrival here. On the 24th of March, 1824, he was married to Mrs. Sarah Wright, who became the mother of Mrs. Drees. Mrs. Hypes is now deceased. When settling in this county Mr. Hypes secured a tract of land, upon which he carried on farming a number of years, and which later became very valuable on account of the town extending that way, the latter now comprising a part of the old homestead, which lies on the south side of the city. After a well-spent life, Mr. Hypes departed hence, October 1, 1854, in the eightieth year of his age. His daughter, Maria, was reared and educated in her native place, where, up to this time she has spent her entire life. She was one of a family of twelve children, six of whom are living.

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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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