Wheeler Rich, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Wheeler Rich


The calling of the farmer has been known and honored from the earliest ages and as a usual thing men of honorable and humane impulses, as well as those of energy, thrift and honesty have been "patrons of husbandry." In Wheeler Rich these attributes are pronounced, and he is now in independent circumstances. It is supposed that the early members of the family came from one of the Carolinas and settled in the southwestern part of the State of Ohio nearly a century ago. The paternal grandfather died from overwork while endeavoring to clear his woodland farm and make a home for himself and family, his death being very sudden. His wife was formerly a Miss Davis, and their marriage took place while they were in the Carolinas. Their children were Tillman, Phoebe, John, Samuel, Elizabeth, Keziah, Davis, William and Joseph, all of whom are now dead, as well as the father and mother, with the exception of Keziah, who, when last heard from, was living in Benton County, Indiana. After the death of the father the mother came, with her family, to Fayette County, Indiana, where they tilled the soil until their removal to Bush County. Davis, one of the sons and father of the subject of this sketch, was married while in Fayette County to Margaret Kolb, daughter of Richard Kolb, and moved soon after to Rush County, where he followed the occupation of farming, at which he was quite successful. While in that section all his children were born, their names being as follows: Wheeler, Silas, Tillman, Leanna, Charity, Elizabeth, John, Mary, Josephus, Margaret and Rebecca. All their children married and reared families of their own except Mary, who died in early womanhood, the affianced wife of a promising young man of the neighborhood. Silas first wedded Amanda Mock, by whom he had five children, and after her death Mary A. Hyatt became his wife and the mother of thirteen children, ten of whom are now living. Tillman married Mary E. Jordan, and had one son. Leanna married John Gray, and became the mother of five children, and after his death she married Silas Scott of Kokomo, Indiana. Charity married Benj. Bittner. Eliza married Charles Saul and has four children. Margaret married Abraham Kerlee, has four children, and Rebecca married Addison Petro, who lives in Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana, and has seven children. Wheeler Rich was born on October 17, 1830, in Rush County, Indiana, and at the age of twenty was married to Miss Rebecca Petro, a daughter of John and Mary (Sutton) Petro, being one of their ten children: Anker, Mary, John, James, Ivy, Nancy, David, Rebecca, Michael and Sarah, only five of whom are living - Mrs. Rich, David, in Nebraska; Michael, in Missouri; Nancy Needham, in Iowa, and Mary (Dearth) of Lake County, Indiana. After his marriage Mr. Rich left Rush County and located on the farm in Porter County, on which he is now living, which then consisted of eighty acres of woodland, and on which no buildings of any kind had been erected. Near by were several old log cabins, one of which the family occupied while their house was being erected. It was a round log structure 18x20 feet, one story in height with a clap-board roof, and this house was occupied by them from 1851 to 1866, but sickness and bad luck financially caused them to remove to Lake County, where they rented land for some time. All their personal effects were conveyed thither in one wagon drawn by two yoke of oxen. They now have in their possession a set of splint bottom chairs which were brought by them from Rush County and which today are doing good service and are in good condition, though they have been moved many times. The family remained in Lake County about four years then returned to their farm, which they at once began to clear and improve. They now have 225 acres of fine farming land, on which they erected a commodious, comfortable and convenient residence in 1866, and besides this have made many improvements in out buildings, erecting in 1871 a fine barn, which at that time was one of the very finest in the county, and now has an excellent sheep, implement and hay barn. He has taken much interest in improving his stock, and on all hands it may be seen that he is a man of progressive and enterprising views. He is an intelligent and well posted man, is a Democrat politically, though a very conservative one, and he and his wife are members of the Christian Church. He is a patron of all good movements and is especially in favor of the education of the masses. His farm, perhaps, contains as much underdrained land as any other farm in the county, for on some of the low lands he has miles of tiling, and has raised 100 bushels of corn to the acre on land which without underdraining would be worthless. He is undeniably a model farmer, and it is to men of his like that the country must look for progressive ideas in the honorable occupation of husbandry. He and his good wife are in possession of sufficient worldly goods to render their future ease and comfort assured, and can look back without regret, over a life of usefulness and forward to a green old age, secure in the love and good will of numerous friends. They have ever been childless, but nevertheless they have stamped their individuality on the community in which they live, and will long be remembered when they shall have passed from among the living. Mr. and Mrs. Rich have always shown a keen sympathy for orphan children and have raised two, who are now married and whose names are Anna and William Cissna. Anna married a prominent farmer and William is a farmer and is profiting by the good example set before him. His motto is: "By industry we thrive; by economy we prosper."

Source: Goodspeed Brothers. 1894. Pictorial and Biographical Record of La Porte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Brothers. 569 p.
Page(s) in Source: 295-297

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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