Adams County, Ohio
WILLIAM B. BROWN
DES MOINES, IOWA
To the Memory of My Mother
Rachel Fenton Brown
THE Fentons, especially the former
generations, have been farmers. They have been representative
farmers. They have been representative of the best citizenship of
the Republic. They have been loyal to the country's flag and have
been on the right side of all great moral questions. If they have
not acquired great riches they have as a rule been well-to-do people,
honest, industrious and true."
LUCHEN JEROME FENTON.
The writer spent four years of his boyhood life
at Winchester, Ohio, and came to know intimately many Fentons;
and came in time to learn of and appreciate the many admirable
characteristics of the Fentons generally. Among these
characteristics maybe noted, honesty, frankness, hospitality,
generosity, piety, industry, amiability, decent conduct and right
living. And while few Fentons have "set the world on fire"
or won very conspicuous success, some have inscribed their names high on
the walls of fame. Onesat in the Congress of the United States for
two terms, and another won world fame as a journalist. Several
offered their lives to save the Union in the great war of the Rebellion,
and many of them have achieved moderate success. So far as is
known to the writer, none have been convicted of crime or even charged
with crime. The rank and file of Fentons have not been
ambitions for political office or fame, too much Quaker blood in their
veins, but, as good farmers, they have lived the simple life close to
mature, paid their debts, worshipped as Methodists and kept themselves
free and unspotted from the world.
Three years ago by chance the writer came upon a family
record of his paternal ancestry prepared by Dr. Andrew Brown of
Eustis, Florida, extending back to 1625. This suggested the need
of such a history of Fentons and, being anxious to known more of
his maternal ancestry, the writer determed to prepare this family
record. The work has taken more or less time out of nearly every
business day for three years and has cost some money to collect material
which will not come back, except in the appreciation of the book by
those who really prize such things; but that is pay enough. The
book was not written to make money, but to perform a pleasant duty.
A work of this kind cannot be prepared without a great
deal of help from others and the writer here and now expresses his
gratitude to all those who have kindly complied with his requests to
furnish information, and particularly to Hon. James K. Fenton and
Hon. Lucien J. Fenton for valuable information respecting old-time
Fentons; to Hon. E. B. Stivers for permission to
quote from his History of Adams County; to Mr. James W. Eylar for
much valuable help in connection with the Eylar family; to
Miss Mary McPherson for collecting material as to the
Jesse Fenton family; to Earl F. Keyes, Esq.,
and Mrs. Rosanna Howland in connection with the Polly
Baird family; to Prof. Wm. Stevenson for
full information as to the Catherine Eckman family; and to
Henry N. Baker, Esq., for valuable papers and other matter in
connection with Jeremiah Fenton (1764), William
Fenton (1790), and his sister, Delilah Fenton. The
writer has gathered material also from the following books: "Steere's
Book," owned by James L. Robinson, Winchester. Virginia, which
includes some of the Frederick county, Virginia, Fentons; L.
H. Everts & Company's "History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania;"'
and Evans & Stivers "History of Adams County, Ohio."
Further acknowledgment must be made of financial help,
for without extra contributions of money the book could not be
published. The writer would have had to drop the whole matter had
not lion. L. J. Fenton come forward voluntarily with generous
contributions of money. Those who
receive this book should realize their debt to him in this matter.
Mrs. Mary H. Liggett, of Blue Springs, Missouri,
Mr. A. L. Fenton, of Atchison, Kansas, and his sister, Mrs.
A. O. Delaney, of Leona, Kansas, have also been generous in
contributions of money; and to all those who subscribed
for one or more copies thanks are hereby given.
One of the first questions which will come to the
reader is whether or not the dales, names and other historical mailer
set forth herein can he depended upon as accurate and correct. All
of the dales, names and other matter found in this hook have been twice
checked over with the papers furnished by representatives of the
different families and are correct, and the writer believes that all of
the data contained in this book can be depended upon. Here
and there, of course, an error will be found, but taking into
consideration the large number of dates, names, etc., the errors found
will likely be very few. In seeking information respecting any
family the writer has taken pains to communicate only with those
competent to furnish the information correctly.
There will likely be dissatisfaction among some because
their picture or the picture of some one or more of their friends is not
given herein, and the writer has found a great deal of difficulty in
deciding upon what pictures ought to be put in the book. All will
understand that illustrations greatly add to the cost of the publication
and that their number necessarily must be limited. The William
Fenton family is favored above all others, as the picture of
each of his sons and daughters, except one. is given, but it must be
remembered that his family and descendants outnumber each of the other
families of the sons and daughters of Jeremiah Fenton; and
furthermore, the writer, being a member of the William Fenton
family and being out a great deal of money, time and labor in preparing
the book, has felt that it is no more than right to make an exception in
this case. Others will notice that the Benjamin Fenton
family has been favored in respect to pictures. However,
they are entitled to this favoritism, for the reason that they have
subscribed for far more copies of the book and paid more extra money
besides than any other family, and not only this, they have also
splendidly helped in collecting material and constantly encouraged the
writer to go on with the work.
In most other cases where photographs of living persons
are inserted it is because of the fact that the parties themselves have
been generous with subscriptions. The writer wishes that it were
possible to insert the pictures of all those who care to have him do so.
This being impossible he has adjusted the matter as best he could.
Again, some may feel that they or their friends have
not received enough mention in the reading matter. On this point
the writer's conscience is entirely clear. All have been asked to
furnish the writer matters of interest and absolutely everything
tendered him has been printed. Those who failed to contribute
matter as requested have only themselves to blame.
A careful count shows that there are, living and dead,
159 descendants of Jeremiah Fenton (1764). Of this number
the William Fenton family leads with 128 composed of 66 males and
62 females: the Elizabeth Eylar family follows closely with 113,
58 males and 55 females; next comes the Polly Baird family with
83, 41 males and 42 females; then the family of Jeremiah Fentonwith
49, 24 males and 25 females; next the Catherine Eckman fmaily
with 25, 8 males and 17 females; next the Jesse Fenton family
with 24, 7 males and 17 females; next the Jesse Fenton familywith
24, 7 males and 17 females; next the Benjamin Fenton family with
16, 6 males and 10 females, and last the John Fenton family with
only 10, 4 males and 6 females. It is interesting to note that the
Benjamin Fenton family although next to the lowest in point of
numbers, has done more than all the others combined to make possible the
publication of the book.
Attention is called to the differences in the names now
given by Fenton parents and those common among the early
Fentons. In the family of Jeremiah Fenton, the pioneer,
we have Jeremiah, Benjamin, Rosanna, Polly, Delilah and others.
These names were still in common use in the next generation, but at the
present time scarcely one of the old fashioned names is in use.
Instead we have Grace, Maud, Gladys, May, Helen, Marjorie, Evelyn,
Lottie, Virginia, Evalena, Mabel, Kathleen and the like.
The writer has noticed one other fact of same interest.
Among all of the nearly 500 descendants of Jeremiah Fenton twins
were born on but three occasions; first to Polly Baird, then to
William McColgin and next to the writer.
Is a publication of this kind worth while? There
can be but one answer to the question. The barest record of 459
human beings, with births, marriages, deaths, etc., when all are
connected by ties of blood, must be worth preserving. Human life
is too precious to allow no record to be kept of our blood relations.
In closing the writer desires to acknowledge very
valuable help from his good wife who twice read the proof of this book;
and whatever excellence it may have in freedom from printers' errors is
due in part to her. A reward was given of fives cents for each
error discovered on the final reading.
WILLIAM B. BROWN,
|CHAPTER ONE - THE FENTON FAMILY
|CHAPTER TWO - JEREMIAH FENTON, JR. AND
|CHAPTER THREE - WILLIAM FENTON FAMILY
|CHAPTER FOUR - ELIZABETH FENTON-EYLAR FAMILY
|CHAPTER FIVE - DELILAH FENTON
|CHAPTER SIX - JOHN FENTON AND FAMILY
|CHAPTER SEVEN - JESSE FENTON AND FAMILY
|CHAPTER EIGHT - CATHERINE FENTON-ECKMAN AND
|CHAPTER NINE - JEREMIAH AND FAMILY
|CHAPTER TEN - MARY (POLLY) FENTON-BAIRD AND
|CHAPTER ELEVEN - GEORGE FENTON
|CHAPTER TWELVE - BENJAMIN FENTON AND FAMILY
|CHAPTER THIRTEEN - JOSEPH FENTON
|CHAPTER FOURTEEN - INTERESTING MISCELLANY OF
THE LAWRENCE FAMILY, FAYETTE COUNTY TAX ROLLS,