Henry Stoner, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Henry Stoner

HENRY STONER. "Engleside" is as pretty a farm in Center township of Porter county as is the name that it bears. It is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Stoner, two of the well-known and highly regarded residents of the county. This farm is in itself a permanent presentment of the well-grounded belief that agriculture, the oldest of the callings, is at the same time one of the most beneficial and most honorable. Comfortably ensconced upon this beautiful country place, which they have won with their own efforts, Mr. and Mrs. Stoner enjoy to the full the blessings that a comfortable income, a loving and dutiful family, and the esteem of their neighbors assure to them.

Mr. Stoner is considered one of the pioneers of Porter county, and is proud of the fact. He knows the privations and the joys, the quaint customs and the honest ways that go with pioneer days, and although past three score and ten is active, alert and up-to-date at all times. He is a native of good old Porter county and has seen with his own eyes its trend of development, contributing to the latter in no small degree by his own activities.

He was born November 1, 1839, the fourth of a family of twelve children, five sons and seven daughters, who were born to Daniel and Elizabeth (Ludy) Stoner. There are five children now living of the original family, Mr. Henry Stoner being the eldest. The others are: Isaac, who is married and resides at Valparaiso. He is a Democrat in politics and follows farming. Daniel lives in Morgan township, and is rated as a prosperous agriculturist. He is married and belongs to the Methodist church. Clara, who lives in Pleasant township, is the widow of Stanton L. Dillingham. Mary, the youngest, is the wife of S. E. Dillie, who farms in Center township.

Daniel Stoner was born in Ohio, coming to Indiana about 1835, before the land sale. He entered land in the southeastern part of Center township and the old deed is still in existence, a mute evidence of times that are gone forever. He was a successful man and accumulated two hundred acres. The first home was a log cabin, and its bill of fare included much wild game -- deer, turkeys, etc. Mr. Stoner was a Jefferson and Jackson Democrat, and was a member of the Presbyterian church, as was also his wife. He died in his seventy-fourth year. His wife was also a native of Ohio and grew to womanhood in that state. She died at the age of sixty-six.

Henry Stoner is one of the surviving pioneers and can readily remember when the thriving city of Valparaiso had but two or three little stores and when the surrounding country was little settled. Many a day he has swung the cradle in the wheat field from sunrise to sunset, never thinking that the self-binder would relieve the farmer of such laborious hand work, or with his scythe mowed the meadow hay, anticipating by decades the clicking points of the mower.

His early education was the "readin', 'ritin,' and 'rithmetic" that were available in a rude log cabin, just over the line in Morgan township. This was about sixteen by twenty feet in extent, of logs and covered with clapboards which had been rived out by hand on the premises. It was heated with the old-fashioned foot stoves, and the seats were slabs mounted on wooden legs.

The discipline was as rude as the structure in which teacher and pupils were housed. It is related of Mr. Stoner that his parents one day gave him a big, red silk handkerchief, of which he was vastly proud. He worn it to school, and one of the boys, George Bundy, who occupied the next seat, snatched it and spreading it over the slab which he was occupying, sat upon it. By and by, having forgotten the incident, he stooped over to pick up something and young Stoner quickly snatched the kerchief. It snapped with the sound peculiar to silk and the teacher forthwith summoned Stoner before him and punished him. He was required to stand upon one leg and hold a stick of wood in the air by one hand. A little of this proved tiresome and Stoner had to change hands. The teacher saw him, and calling him up again gave him another sound thrashing. This will serve to show the unfairness of the discipline in those days.

About thirty years later James Stevens, the teacher, came to Mr. Stoner's place in Morgan township to purchase wheat. After dinner Mr. Stoner observed to him with a serious mien that he owed the man a good "licking," and Stevens was naturally considerably startled. Whereupon Stoner observed that he would administer it some time later, that time of course, being still in the future. McGuffey's reader and Thompson's & Smith's arithmetic were some of the text books of those days. The old goosequill pen was in use and Mr. Stoner has made many of them himself deftly fashioning the point with a sharp knife. These schools were of the subscription type and a marked contrast to the present well-equipped and admirably disciplined educational institutions.

It was twenty years after Mr. Stoner, with his ox teams, had broken the virgin soil before the Pennsylvania Railroad pushed its line through the county and afforded another method of transportation. When a young man of twenty-three he drove four yoke of oxen in his work.

He married Miss Mary A. Hayden on February 8, 1866. Five are living of their family of seven children, comprising four sons and three daughters. John D. is a resident of Valparaiso, where he has a large furniture establishment and is classed as one of the leading merchants of the city. After finishing at the country and city schools he was sent to the Normal, following teaching thereafter with success for some time. He is a widower, his wife and three of their five children having died. The two little girls who are living are named Mary and Edith. He belongs to the Masons and Elks and is a member of the Presbyterian church. Nellie A. is at home. She attended the Normal and has also received instruction in music. She is a communicant of the Presbyterian church. Abbie is the wife of Mark Bartholomew, who farms in Center township. After graduating from the Normal she taught for a while. They have one little son, Paul. Gerald H. is a physician and surgeon in Valparaiso. Fred M. resides with his parents. He has been admitted to the bar and is considered a rising young attorney. Mr. and Mrs. Stoner are very happy in their family, all of the children leading honest, useful careers.

Mrs. Stoner was born in La Porte county, on February 17, 1846, being the only child of John W. and Abagail (Barber) Hayden. Her father was a native of the Old Bay state and came west when quite a young man. He was a Democrat and followed farming. He died in Valparaiso at the age of seventy-five. His wife died when Mrs. Stoner was but two years old. Mrs. Stoner after graduating from the Valparaiso high school taught in Porter county until her marriage. She and her husband began their wedded life in Morgan township on a rented farm. Then they went in debt to acquire their first purchase, a tract of one hundred and twenty acres. By dint of industry and economy they added to this until they had two hundred acres in Center and Morgan townships, and today these fertile farms, with their modern improvements, are not burdened with a single dollar of incumbrance.

This worthy couple in their declining years have neither financial nor family cares, but enjoy the competence that their efforts have won for them and the esteem that lifelong association has evolved. Their list of friends is limited merely to the number of their acquaintances, for all admire and respect them. Mr. Stoner is rather independent in his political beliefs and votes for the man rather than the party. He is a member of the Masonic order, affiliated with Pleasant Home Lodge, No. 422. Mrs. Stoner belongs to the Presbyterian church.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 533-535

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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