1916 Jasper County Biographies



REUBEN HESS Not only is the present prosecuting attorney of Newton County, Reuben Hess, an able lawyer who is thorough in his professional knowledge, but he is so well thought of as a trustworthy citizen, that at times prior to accepting his present office, he has been entrusted with important public responsibilities.

Reuben Hess was born on a farm near Momence, Illinois, August 22, 1869, and is a son of William Henry and Catherine (Ricks) Hess, both of whom were of predominating German ancestry, although William Henry Hess was born in Ontario, Canada. When he was six years old he was brought to the United States, where he grew to manhood and later proved his loyalty to the Union by enlisting, when Civil war was declared, as a private in Company K, Forty-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in which he served about three years, taking part in such important engagements as Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth and the siege and capture of Vicksburg, after which he was honorably discharged on account of disability contracted while in the army. Of his three children, two yet survive.

Reuben Hess grew to manhood in Kankakee County, Illinois, attending the public schools at Momence, and later taking a commercial course in the Northern Indiana Normal School, at Valparaiso, in 1896 being graduated from the scientific course, in the same institution. While thus pursuing his higher education, Mr. Hess taught school in order to secure the means to defray his educational expenses, and when he found opportunity, studied the primary principles of law, so closely applying himself that he succeeded even beyond his hopes and in 1902 was rewarded by being able to be one of the graduating class of that year from the normal school, in its law department. In September of the same year he entered the law office at Morocco, Indiana, with Albert E. Chizum as a partner. In the following year he was elected clerk of Newton County, on the republican ticket, and in 1906 he was re-elected and served as county clerk for eight years, and subsequently was elected treasurer of the Town of Kentland. After serving one year as treasurer, he resigned in order to assume the duties of prosecuting attorney, to which office he was elected in the fall of 1914, his jurisdiction covering the Thirtieth Judicial District of Indiana. Since the 22nd day of April, 1904, Mr. Hess has been a resident of Kentland, and aside from his official duties has carried on a large private practice.

On February 15, 1905, Mr. Hess was united in marriage with Miss Love Dearduff, of Morocco, Indiana. They are members of the Presbyterian Church and their helpful interest may be depended upon along the benevolent avenues through which the church accomplishes so much in the was of charity. Mr. Hess is a Royal Arch Mason and is connected with the Eastern Star of that order, and is also a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Pythian Sisters.

The Standard History of Jasper and Newton Counties
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AARON LYONS. In the venerable and honored citizen who died at his home in Brook February 28, 1915, that community possessed not only one of its oldest residents, but also a man who represented in his long career the prominent social and civic elements which compose the citizenship of this community though its growth from a frontier settlement. The late Aaron Lyons was a remarkable man. Eight-three years of age at the time of his death, he was distinguished as being the first white child born with the limits of the present Newton and Jasper counties, and with the exception of two years spent in Benton County was a resident there all his life. He was both a witness and actor in the changing development in this long time. While a substantial degree of material prosperity rewarded his industrious efforts, the honor paid to his memory is more specially due to his fine independence of character, his active influence in the social and political movements experienced at different times during the last century, and altogether he was a pioneer, a broad-minded vigorous citizen, and a Christian who live his faith in his daily walk.

He was born February 5, 1832, in the pioneer cabin of his parents which stood on what is known as the Jerome Franklin farm and its site is now in an orchard on that place. This farm is in what is Washington Township of Newton County.

His parents, John and Anna (Jones) Lyons were natives of Ross County, Ohio, and they came to Newton County in 1831, and spent the rest of their days in Iroquois, about 1 miles south of Brook, Indiana. John W. Lyons combined hunting with farming, and died in 1863. He was laid to rest in the Brook Cemetery, where more than half a century later his son, Aaron, was also laid to rest. John W. Lyons served as a justice of the peace in early days, when that official was appointed by the governor, and he was also a county commissioner. In politics he was a whig and later a republican, and an active supporter of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The year 1832 was notable in the history of the Middle West on account of the Black Hawk war. This Indian uprising caused alarm to all the settlements in Northern Indiana, and a few months after Aaron Lyons was born his parents took refuge at Sugar Grove on Pine Creek until the danger had passed. Thus Aaron Lyons grew to manhood in a typical frontier settlement, and as a boy he frequently played with Indians as comrades. While he had only moderate advantages in the way of schooling, he was a great reader and acquired a vast amount of information. He developed the traits of personal courage, honor and straightforwardness, and self reliance by actual contact with the rugged conditions and environment of his youth.

Most of his career was spent as a farmer. However, in 1855, he established the first store ever conducted in Brook, and that store was located on the lot where at the present time the structure known as the Airdome stands. He was in business as a merchant for six years, and he also served as postmaster at Brook from 1856 to 1862. In 1862 he resumed farming, at first on the farm now occupied by Samuel Conn, and then moved to the old homestead south of Brook. On this homestead stood in the early days a log cabin of three rooms, in which were conducted the first religious services Mr. Lyons attended as a boy, and he also attended school there. Still later Mr. Lyons moved to his own farm north of Brook which he continued to own until his death. In 1876 he and others established a Grange store at Brook. Bad crops, with inability to make collections, involved this concern, and Mr. Lyons and Andrew Hess shouldered the responsibilities and paid off the debts. In that time it was not uncommon for business men to fail and to settle at a small per cent on the dollar, and this fact accentuates the sterling honesty of Mr. Lyons and Mr. Hess.

In 1854 Mr. Lyons married Sarah Smith, who died December 11, 1856. Bother children died in infancy. On April 12, 1860 he married Solinda Edmondson, who lived and grew with him into ripe old age. She was born in Hamilton County, Indiana, a daughter of Thomas and Nancy (Box) Edmondson, who were natives of Tennessee and moved to Hamilton County at a very early day. The Edmondsons were of Irish stock. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Edmondson moved to White County, Indiana, and in 1856 established her home at Morocco, but she died in Brook in 1867.

Mr. and Mrs. Lyons had eight children, but two died in infancy. All of the children received a common school training, and some college or normal training, and all were teachers in the public schools and active workers in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Annie N. Lyons married, in 1884, Hudson Reed, who had also been a teacher. They moved to a farm about 4 miles southeast of Brook, where they continued to live until the death of Mr. Reed. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge and a man highly respected in his community. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Reed, with her three children, moved to Brook. Ethel, the eldest of the child of Mr. and Mrs. Reed, is a graduate of DePauw University, of Greencastle, Indiana, and holds the position of librarian of the Brook Public Library; Glenn is a student in Purdue University; and Grace is attending DePauw University. Ella M. Lyons, the second child of Mr. and Mrs. Lyons, is a graduate of the State Normal at Terre Haute, and supplemented this training with attendance at the Indiana State University and the University of Chicago, after which she taught for several years in the graded school and the high school. In 1904, she accepted the chair of English in the Elkhart High School, resigning that position after nine years of service to take care of her aged parents. With her sister, Grace, she traveled quite extensively in Continental Europe in the year of 1908. Grace Lyons, after attending the Indiana State Normal, taught in Newton County, but, preferring a business life entered a business college in St. Louis, Missouri, where she graduated, and afterward took additional work and training in a business college of Indianapolis. She has since been in the employ of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York and Located at Indianapolis. Luther C. Lyons after a common school training pursued a business course in the Bryant & Stratton Business College of Chicago, and is now senior member of the firm of Lyons & Hershman, hardware merchants of Brook. He married Miss Etta Burford, who studied in Franklin College and was a teacher in the Brook schools at the time of her marriage. They have three children, Burford W., in the eighth grade of school, Ruth F., in the seventh, and Everett A. Flora Lyons taught a few years in the Newton County schools, and subsequently completed a teachers' course of music in Chicago and still later graduated in the College of Musical Arts in Indianapolis. She is now a teacher in her Alma Mater. Arthur H. Lyons fitted himself for a business life in the State Normal at Terre Haute, and is now engaged in the lumber and coal business at Brook and is one of the successful men of his town. He is a lover of music, and has been a member of the orchestra and bad of Brook. He is also a member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge. He married Miss Nellie Zuck, a daughter of the Rev. R. N. Zuck, former pastor of the United Bretheren Church at Brook. Mrs. Lyons was a teacher in the Brook schools at the time of her marriage, and both she and her husband are Methodists. Their three children are Virginia L., in the fourth grade of school, Alford, in the second grade, and Eleanor. Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Lyons also took into their home when six years of age a little boy, Marion Hoke, whom they reared and educated, and who became a farmer. He married in the State of Washington and became a great worker in the Methodist Episcopal Church and a student of the Bible, and has frequently preached funeral services in his locality. He is a Prohibitionist and a strong advocate of temperance.

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JOHN BENNETT LYONS The Lyons family has been a resident of Newton County more than three quarters of a century. It is probable that as many of the substantial activities in and about the Village of Brook revolve about this name as that of any other of the old families. As pioneers they helped to clear up the wilderness and develop the succession of woodland and swamp into fertile tracts of agricultural and grazing land. Their individual enterprise has also extended to those movements instituted for community benefit. The name Lyons is traceable to the Holland Dutch, and at one time it was spelled Leab and Lieb.

Since the organization of the Bank of Brook, the only banking institution of the village, John Bennett Lyons has been very prominent in its management and operation. Mr. Lyons made his success as a farmer and stockman, and has spent all his life in Newton County. He was born February 23, 1845, on Section 22 of what is now Iroquois Township of Newton County. When he was a boy his parents removed to Section 17 of the same township and the old homestead is now located just outside the limits of the Village of Brook. His parents were Samuel and Margaret (Smith) Lyons. About 1840 they moved from the country south of Chillicothe in Ross County, Ohio, to Iroquois Township of Newton County. John B. Lyons' great-grandfather came from Holland and was a colonial settler. The name as stated was originally spelled Leab or Leib, and what reason prompted the change to Lyons is not recalled. Samuel Lyons' mother was of Welsh descent. Margaret Smith was born near Hoboken, New Jersey, of Dutch stock, and her parents, Joseph and Mary (Earl) Smith, moved from New Jersey and located first near Crawfordsville, Indiana, on Coles Creek during the decade of the '20s, and about 1832 or 1833 moved to Iroquois Township and were among the first pioneers to invade the wilderness of Newton County. They settled just across the branch from the old Spitler residence, and were close to the location of the first courthouse in Jasper County in Section 29. Samuel Lyons died June 5, 1905, at the age of ninety-two. As a young man he learned and practiced the trade of blacksmith, but after coming to Newton County was a practical farmer. He was a whig, abolitionist and republican, but never sought office.

John Bennett Lyons had a taste of pioneer life while growing to manhood. He attended one of the pioneer schools and his first teacher was Samantha McQueary. He was still a boy less than seventeen years of age when on November 5, 1861, he was mustered into service in Company B of the noted Fifty-first Regiment of Indiana Infantry. With the exception of a portion of the year 1863, he was continuously in service with this command, and was honorably discharged as hospital steward of the Fifty-first Regiment at San Antonio, Texas, December 13, 1865. He is one of the honored members of the Grand Army Post at Brook. Mr. Lyons was among the first to respond to his country's call for troops, and when the beautiful Carnegie Library was erected in Brook he had placed at his own expense a beautiful metal tablet giving the names of the original volunteers in Company B of the First Indiana Veteran Volunteer Infantry, it being his company and the first enrolled in Newton County. This is a tribute paid to the boys of blue of 1861-65 which will ever hold the name of John Bennett Lyons dear to the citizens of Brook and Newton County.

On returning home from the war, he took up farming, and on May 8, 1868, married Mary C. Hess, a member of the prominent Hess family of Newton County, and a daughter of Andrew and Sarah (Holman) Hess. Her family was of Holland stock, and the Hesses moved from Ross County, Ohio, to Brook in 1855. Much is said about the Hess family on other pages of this publication.

Mr. and Mrs. Lyons have a family of nine children, and it testifies to the strong and vigorous stock that all the children and grandchildren born into the family circle are still living. Lawrence E., the oldest, is a resident at Brook, and by his marriage to Catherine Robertson has a child named Lawrence E. Olive M. is also a resident of Brook, and married Lilly Sterner, and their children are William S., Dorothy and Lucile. Fred, of Brook, married Laura B. Esson, and they have five children. Pauline, Gladys, William, Fielder and Fred. Elsie married B. B. Gragg of Brook, and they are the parents of three children, Bernard B., Gaylord and Phyllis. James G., a farmer in Jackson Township, married Miss Frances Hays. Lou is the wife of Fred B. Snyder of Brook. John B. Jr., is now assistant cashier of the Bank of Brook, and married Sue C. Esson. Charles H. and Verna are both at home with their parents.

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ISAAC VANOSDOL ALTER One of the very earliest families to settle in Carpenter Township, Jasper County, Indiana, was one bearing the name of Alter, a name that for over sixty years has been representative of good citizenship. Additionally it has been one that is linked with much of the development of this section, possessing energy and enterprise, foresight and ambition. The Alters are supposed to have originated as a family, in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. From there, in 1752, they started for the American colonies, setting sail from Rotterdam, Holland, and in the following year registered as residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The name appears in the list of Revolutionary patriots and its bearer was a direct ancestor of Isaac Vanosdol Alter, of Jasper County, Indiana, to which section the Alters came in 1848, although as early as 1836 they came to the state from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, sojourning in the meanwhile in Henry and Hancock Counties.

Isaac Vanosdol Alter, with two brothers, David and John Alter, came from Henry County, Indiana, and settled in Carpenter Township when Jasper County was practically a wilderness. Isaac V. was a farmer and in following out his agricultural operations, ploughed up the virgin soil, with an ox-team, the present sites of Kentland and Goodland. Like many of the early pioneers he was fond of hunting and gained a local reputation as a trapper, there being at that time an abundance of game in this section. He also had note as a bee hunter, one of those, who, in a forest, through instinct and keen eyesight, could locate the stores of homey that were so welcome additions to the plain fare of the frontiersmen.

After his marriage to Eliza Willet, Mr. Alter moved to Wisconsin, where he lived for five years, at the end of which time he returned to Indiana and took up his residence in the village of Rensselaer, for about one year afterward operating a grist and sawmill, by steam power, on Curtis Creek.

The father of Isaac V. Alter, Rev. John Alter, was a pioneer preacher and exhorter and as a circuit-rider traveled all over this section. Thus Isaac was reared in a religious atmospheree but during the ealier part of his life united with no church. During the last thirty years, however, he was a very active religious worker and was a member of the Methodist Protestant Church. He died September 18, 1904, leaving a large estate and at one time had owned 500 acres of land. As stated, he married Eliza Willet, who was of French extraction. She died May 1, 1883, the mother of six children: John E., George W., Amos H., David S., Isaac F. and Eliza. Isaac resides in Clinton County, Indiana, and Eliza died in childhood. George W., after marriage, moved to Kansas and died in that state, but the other brothers live on adjoining farms in Union Township.

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JOHN E. ALTER Although the Alter family has largely been an agricultural one, some of its members have also achieved much in the trades and professions, diversity of gifts belonging to the entire kindred. John E. Alter, one of the best know members of this fmily in this section of the state, was born in Jasper County, Indiana, February 14, 1853, and is a son of Isaac V. and Eliza (Willet) Alter, both deceased.

After completing his district school training, John E. Alter kept his mind active by turning his attention, to some extent, to the study of the principles of civil engineering, in the meanwhile spending his winters in teaching school, 100 winter months being usefully passed in this way. Although engaged as above stated, Mr. Alter has never neglected his farm industries and owns 200 acres in Union Township on which he lives and additionally, forty acres lying north of Virgie, Indiana.

John E. Alter was united in marriage with Miss Hattie McColly, who is a daughter of Clark McColly, and they have four children: John Cecil, a brilliant young man, is now in the weather bureau service of the Government and chief of the Cheyenne agency; Iva L. is the wife of Joseph Pullin; Leslie manages his father's estate and also his own estate of 100 acres. He married Miss Lottie Willet and their two children are Cecil E. and Gerld. Fern is the wife of Arthur McAuly, who is an electrical engineer at Chicago Heights. The grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Alter are as follows: John Winston, Edward Irving and Marion I., the children of John Cecil Alter, and Max and Donald, children of Mr. and Mrs. Pullin. Mr. Alter and family belong to the Methodist Protestant Church. In politics he is a republican.

The Standard History of Jasper and Newton Counties
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HENRY C. PIERSON Mr. Pierson was born in Butler County, Ohio, on the 27th of December, 1847, and is one of the three surviving children of Caleb E. and Emily (Meader) Pierson, both likewise natives of the old Buckeye State, where the respective families were founded in the pioneer era of its history. The Pierson family has been identified with the annals of American history since the colonial period, and Moses Pierson, grandfather of the subject of this review, was a native of New Jersey, whence he removed in an early day to Ohio, where he passed the residue of his life.

Caleb E. Pierson was reared to manhood in Ohio, where his educational advantages were those afforded in the pioneer schools, and where in his youth he learned the trade of carpenter, though he had been reared on the homestead farm of his father and thus gained an intimate and practical knowledge of the agricultural industry. He was identified with farming operations and the work of his trade in Ohio until 1853, when he removed with his family to Indiana and settled at Greensburg, Decatur County. In 1856 he came from that place to Jasper County and purchased a farm of eighty acres in Marion Township, east of Rensselaer. In early life he held membership in the Unitarian Church, but he finally united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which both he and his wife were zelous members for many years prior to their death. He passed away at the age of about seventy years, and his wife's demise occurred in 1858.

As previously stated, Henry C. Pierson was nine yers old at the time when the family home was established in Jasper County. Aside from his activities as a farmer in Jasper County, he passed four yers in White County, two yers in Tippacanoe County and one year in Benton County. Thereafter he was again in Jasper County for a time, and he then removed to a farm in Iroquois Township, Newton County, where he continued as an agriculturist for a period of Fifteen years. In 1910 he reutrned to Jasper County and established his home on his present farm of fifty acres in Union Township.

In 1870 Mr. Pierson wedded Miss Harriet Carson, and she was summoned to the life eternal on the 4th of February, 1889. Five children were born of this union: Jesse Bruce, Emily Grace (deceased), William Harvey, Lacey (deceased), and Marion. On the 28th of April, 1891, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Pierson to Mrs. Anna L. (Wood) Knight, daughter of the Moses Wood and widow of Albert Knight. No children have been born to this union.

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WILLIAM H. ADE First attention must be given to the veteran John Ade, who since Newton County was first formed as a distinct civil jurisdiection in Indiana has been prominent in its affairs and business activities. John Ade was born September 21 1828, in Sussex County, England, the oldest in a family of six children born to John and Wsther (Wood) Ade. In 1840 the family came to America, settling near Cincinnati, where Mr. John Ade, who was twelve years of age at the time of the immigration, had some further school advantages and then learned the blacksmith's trade, which was his regular occupation for several years.

John Ade became identified with this section of Indiana more than sixty yers ago. Coming from Iroquois County, Illinois, where he had spent only a few weeks of residence, he settled in Morocco, Indiana, in 1853, and was a resident of that town until 1860. That year Newton County was formed and he was elected recorder and took up his residence at Kentland, the new county seat. In 1851, two or three years before settling in Newton County, he married Miss Adaline Bush of Cheviot, Ohio. To their marriage were born seven children: Anna, who married John W. Randall on May 18, 1871; William; Alice, who became the wife of John G. David of Newton County; Joseph; Emma, who died in 1805 at the age of five years; George, whose name and reputation as an author and playwright have attained world wide fame; and Ella.

Of these children particular mention is made at this point of William H. Ade. He was born in Morocco, Indiana, August 3, 1859, and with the exception of two years 1882-83 spent in Dakota, has always lived in Newton County. On January 12, 1887, he married Miss Katie Shepard, daughter of Otis Shepard of Kentland. There are four children: Nellie (Mrs. J. D. Rathbun), Ardis, John O. and Charles R.

The Standard History of Jasper and Newton Counties
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WILLIAM P. BENNETT He was born near Cincinnati, Ohio, October 22, 1855, a sone of Knicley and Louisa (Baxter) Bennett, his father of German and English and his mother of English descent. The parents were married in Ohio, and of their eight children five are still living. The father was also a farmer and in 1868 brought his family to Jasper County, locating near Pleasant Ridge, where for many years he conducted his farm. His first wife and the mother of his children died in 1882, and he subseuently married Emily Nicholson. They were both killed while driving across the railway tracks at Maple Grove Crossing, being struck and killed by a passenger train in the fall of 1892. They were laid to rest in the Smith Cemetery, while the first wife was buried at the Prater Cemetery.

William P. Bennett was about thirteen years of age when the family came to Jasper County, and thereafter he attended for a time the common shcools in Barkley Township. On September 14, 1877, he married Miss Ellen Moore, daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth Moore. Mrs. Bennett died in 1879, and on September 8, 1881, he married Ella Fielder, daughter of Richard and Eliza (Faulkner) Fielder. Her mother was born near Lincoln, England, and came to the United States when twelve years of age. Her father was born in Logan County, Ohio, and he and his wife were married there. Mr. Fielder came to Jasper County in 1865, locating in Barkley Township, followed farming and stock raising, bu about 1880 he and his wife went to Mason County, Illinois, where they are still living. Of their eight children, only one is deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are members of the Christian Church in Rensselaer.

The Standard History of Jasper and Newton Counties
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GEORGE KANNAL To Jasper County, in 1865, came George Kannal, who located in what is now a part of Rensselaer, south of the Iroquois River. He was accompanied by his wife, Mary, and two children: Elizabeth, who later became the wife of Thomas Hollingsworth, and Emmet. Mr. Kannal was a native of Columiana County, Ohio, born March 13, 1813. He died June 10, 1885.

Emmet Kannal, son of George Kannal, was born June 10, 1849, and died July 31, 1891, at the untimely age of forty-two years. He was graduate from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and his thesis at the time of his graduation received the highest and most honorable mention, being one of three expecially mentioned by the state board. In September, 1872, he married Mary E. Duck, who died in 1912, leaving three children: Harvey J., Romaine Irma (Mrs. Harry F. Parker) and Juno Ida (Mrs. C. W. Eger). Mrs. Kannal was a daughter of Jesse Duck, who was sheriff of Columbiana County, Ohio.

Harvey J. Kannal, the only son of Emmet Kannal, and the only male representative of his grandfather, George Kannal, in Jasper County, was born in Rensselaer, June 15, 874. He was here reared and primarily educated, and for a number of years was a student of veterinary science. He began the practice of his profession at Delphi, Indiana, in 1894, but, beginning in 1895, he has been established in Rensselaer, his native city. On September 18, 1895, he wedded Miss F. Gertrude Alter, and the three daughters born to them are named respectively: Gertrude, Gwendolyn and Mary Elizabeth.

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For any further information on these families, please contact
Harvey W. Wood
Carol J. Wood

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