Welcome to
Belmont County

(Transcribed by Sharon Wick)

ALEXANDER NEFF, who has extensive business interests in Pultney township, Belmont County, Ohio, is also largely engaged in agricultural pursuits, being located on a fine farm near Neff's siding and post office.  He is a native of this township, the date of his birth being Feb. 11, 1848, and is a son of Andrew and Jane (Alexander) Neff.
Andrew Neff was born in 1808 and died in 1852.  He was a large farmer and stoackman and at the time of his death owned some 800 acres of land.  He married Jane Alexander, a daughter of Robert Alexander, the Alexanders being one of the first families of Pultney township.  Our subject is one of three sons, his two brothers being: John W., who is largely interested in the lumber business and is located on a farm near Neff's and Andrew J., who owns and resides upon the old home farm in Poultney township.
     Alexander Neff was reared and resided on his father's farm until 1883, when he purchased the farm of James Dixon, the first white child born in Pultney township, and here he has since made his home.  He owns about 430 acres of land, all of which is devoted to general farming and stock raising.  He has erected a comfortable home and good, substantial out-buildings, and has made all the important improvements upon the place.  In addition to farming he is engaged in merchandising and in the lumber and coal business.  He is president of the Standard Stone & Brick Company, and president of the Neff Coal Mining Company, of which John W. Neff is vice-president.  A. J. Neff treasurer, and Franklin Neff sold the Standard mine to the Empire Coal Company, which operates it as the Empire No. 6.  The Neff Coal Mining Company owns about 1,500 acres of coal land.  The lumber business of Mr. Neff includes the handling of brick, plaster and all other building materials, doing a large amount of contract work.  In all his different enterprises he handles from 20 to 40 men.  He is vice-president of the Enterprise Telephone Company, and of the Ohio Valley Milling Company.  His office is now at Neff's, but will soon be moved to St. Clairsville Junction.
     Mr. Neff was united in marriage with Elizabeth J. Wallace, of Utica, Licking County, Ohio.  In politics he is a Democrat.  He has been an elder in Coal Brook Presbyterian Church since 1875.  He is a man of the highest type and enjoys the friendship of everyone.
~ Page 419 - Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Publ. Biographical Publishing Co. - Chicago, Illinois - 1903
ANDREW JAMES NEFF, who owns several fine farms in Belmont County, Ohio, resides upon the home farm in section 17, Pultney township, where his birth took place in 1850.  His life was practically been spent upon that place.  This farm contains 214 acres, is finely improved with handsome residence, substantial barns, granaries, etc.  The house itself was built by Mr. Neff's father in 1842, but many of the improvements have been added by our subject.  In addition our subject owns a 137 acre farm in the valley south, and a 120-acre tract in Mead township, in all about 500 acres.  Most of this land is under lease, but the home farm is operated by Mr. NEff, who makes a specialty of raising fine fruits, especially peaches.  Some attention is also paid to stock raising and a glimpse into his stock pens and pastures reveals the presence of some choice breeds.
     Andrew J. Neff is a son of Andrew, Sr., and Jane (Alexander) Neff.  His mother was a daughter of Robert Alexander, one of the pioneer settlers of Belmont County.  He was a blacksmith by trade and was an expert workman in that line, conducting for many years a shop near St. Clairsville Junction.  He purchased a farm in that vicinity, and cleared much of the and himself.  Subject's father also followed agricultural pursuits and further mention is made of his life in the more complete history of the Neff family give in another part of this volume.  He had three sons, John W., a resident of Richland township; Alexander, of Pultney township, and Andrew James, the subject of this narrative.
     Andrew J. Neff attended public school in his native township and also a private institution of learning near Bethel.  His life has been devoted almost wholly to farming in its various branches, and success has met his efforts.  He is the proud possessor of the ancestral homestead, which he obtained by purchasing the interest of the other heirs.  His marriage with Mary A. Brannen, a daughter of Joseph and Harriet (Shahan) Brannen, of Pultney township, has resulted in four children.  Two of these died young, - one an infant yet unnamed, and the other, Charles A., who was seven months old at the time of his death.  The surviving children are Herbert B. and Hazel J.  The former is attending commercial college in Bellaire and the latter is a student in the St. Clairsville schools.  Mrs. Neff's parents were among the early settlers in Pultney township and are still highly esteemed residents of that community.
     In politics Mr. Neff is a faithful advocate of the Democratic party.  He takes a becoming interest in both national and municipal issues.  He is largely concerned in various business organizations in his section and at the present time is serving in an official capacity for several.  He stands well in social and religious circles, being an active member of the Bethel Presbyterian Church.
~ Page 577 - Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Publ. Biographical Publishing Co. - Chicago, Illinois - 1903
JOHN A. NEFF, SR., a prominent farmer and large land holder of Richland township, Belmont County, Ohio, is well and favorably known as a business man and estimable citizen.  The birth of Mr. Neff took place in 1823 in the home in which he now lives, situated four miles southwest of St. Clairsville.
     Henry Neff, the father of John A., was born in Allegany County, Maryland, and died in Ohio in 1830 at the age of 51 years.  In 1810 he came to Belmont County and located on this farm which his son now owns, - the west half of section 13, comprising 32) acres.  Henry Neff was of German descent.  He displayed his loyalty to his country during the War of 1812, serving during its continuance and being with Hull at the time of his surrender.  After the closing of this incident in the country's history, he returned to his farm and resumed agricultural pursuits.  He belonged to the Lutheran Church, as did his ancestors.  In public affairs he took some interest; was a Democrat in politics, and served as constable.  The mother of our subject was Elizabeth Blocher, who was born in Cumberland, Maryland, and died in 1879 at the age of 80 years.  She also was of German descent, and a consistent and worthy member of the Lutheran Church.  These parents had three children, namely, George, John A. and Sarah Jane, our subject being the only survivor.
     John A. Neff worked in youth on his father's farm and attended the country schools and after learned the brickmaking trade.  He has put up a number of kilns in the county and has made the bricks used by his neighbors in building, and also for school houses in the vicinity.  For many years he has confined his energies to the operation and management of his large estate.  In 1851 he married Elizabeth Giffen, who was born in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1830, a daughter of Alexander and Mary Giffen, and they had a family of seven children born to them, the survivors being: Harriet E., who married J. N. Frazier and lives at Martin's Ferry; Albert, who married Martha Girard, a daughter of William and Elizabeth Girard, has five children, Pearl O., Harry A., Dale E., Myrtle E. and John W., and is a blacksmith by trade, engaged also in farming on a place adjoining the homestead, and Emmet M., who resides on the homestead.  Mr. Neff and family belong to the Methodist Church.  He has been somewhat prominent in township affairs, has very acceptably filled the office of township trustee, and is identified with the Democratic party.
     Mr. Neff has been identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church since 1844.  He has served in the capacity of steward, class leader and superintendent of Sunday-school.  When Rev. Mr. Foutz, was assigned to the Morristown charge he was unable, on account of failing health, to maintain the attendance of the once filled church of Morristown.  The members gradually drifted into other churches, and in a short time it was evident that some one would have to exert an influence to keep the church together.  Mr. Neff, being a class leader, took the matter in hand, held meetings in the Warnock school house, and finally when the latter privilege was denied, those members who had followed his leadership determined to build a church.  The present Methodist Episcopal Church building of Warnock was the final result.
~ Page 402 - Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Publ. Biographical Publishing Co. - Chicago, Illinois - 1903
JOHN W. NEFF, capitalist, planing-mill owner, coal operator and farmer, is prominent in each line and is one of the leading men of Belmont County.  His large and well-cultivated farm, comprising 288 acres, is located nine miles south of St. Clairsville, and is one of the most valuable tracts of land in Richland township.
     Mr. Neff is a son of Belmont County, born in 1846, in Pultney township, his parents, Andrew and Jane (Alexander) Neff, also being natives of the same township.  The father died in the old home in 1852, having been a successful farmer through life, a member of the Democratic party, and long connected with the Presbyterian Church.  The mother was a daughter of Robert Alexander, and she died in 1883, at the age of 68 years, a most consistent member of the Presbyterian Church.  Robert Alexander's wife was a Miss Dixon.  The three children born to our subject's parents were: John W. Alexander and Andrew J.
When Mr. Neff began his planing-mill operations in 1880, the machinery was elected in his barn; in 1883 his great new mill was ready for the expansion which had taken place in the business, which is now the most extensive in its line in the county.  The many articles manufactured at his plant include such as the following: Siding, flooring, molding, brackets, casing, ceiling, window and door frames, farm ladders, step ladders, water troughs, sleds, telephone brackets, porch columns, fence pickets, paper roofing, Carey's roofing, lining paper, deadening felt, shingles, lath, lime, plaster, doors, windows, transoms, wire cloth, fence, wood pumps, Myers' pumps and hay tools, spraying pumps, roller doors, track and hangers, pulleys, rope (3/4 inch and under), hinges, locks and catches, nails, oil and paints, ochre, white lead and roof coating.  To meet further demands, Mr. Neff is building another plant at Neff's siding.  Another of his enterprises, the Neff Coal Company, is located just below.  Mr. Neff is interested in the Shadyside Real Estate & Improvement Company, in various lots and enterprises in Bellaire, and is also a stockholder in the Dollar Savings Bank of Bellaire.
     In 1873, Mr. Neff was married to Mary E. McKelvey, a daughter of Samuel and Lucinda (Creamer) McKelvey.  She was born in Mead township, Belmont County, in 1847.  Four children were born to this union, namely: Lizzie E., who married Frank Mellott; Harry A., who married Dora Schramm, daughter of Jacob Schramm; Andrew; and Oliver.  The religious connection of the family is with the Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Neff is a man of business, stability and integrity and is regarded with feelings of the highest esteem throughout Belmont County.  Mr. Neff was one of the promoters of the Enterprise Telephone Company, and has been a director in the organization since its incorporation.  In connection with his many other enterprises, he is also successfully engaged in the fruit growing industry, making a specialty of plums and small fruit.
~ Page 795 - Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Publ. Biographical Publishing Co. - Chicago, Illinois - 1903
PETER NEFF, a representative of one of Belmont County's oldest and most prominent families, is engaged in farming in Pultney township near the farm on which he was born, Aug. 28, 1822.
     Peter Neff is a son of George and Margaret (Helm) Neff, who came to Pultney township from near Baltimore, Maryland, as early as the spring of 1806.  George Neff owned a farm, but followed blacksmithing, being one of the first to follow that trade in the county.  They were parents of the following children: Jacob, Andrew, Henry, Mary, George, Hannah, John, Peter and Elizabeth.
     Jacob Neff
, who was born Dec. 18, 1806 was married to Mary Owen, June 17, 1830.  He lived and died in Richland township.  Andrew, born Nov. 24, 1808, was married to Jane Alexander, April 1, 1845, Henry, born July 30, 1811, is the oldest of the family now living.  He was married to Matilda A. Hall on Oct. 15, 1844.  Mary, born July 30, 1813, is now deceased.  George, born Feb. 20, 1815, was married Mar. 6, 1849, to Sarah Bucher, who died in June, 1900.  He resides on his farm near Neff's siding. For a period of 60 years he conducted the sawmill now operated by his son, Franklin, it having been built in 1832.  He has six children, as follows: John B., who is vice-president and general manager of a large fruit exchange in California; Enoch, who is a physician of St. Joseph, Missouri; George, who died at the age of two years; Margaret E., who died in 1882, at the age of 26 years; Franklin, born in 1858, is a civil engineer, manages his father's farm, is interested in coal and manufacturing enterprises and is secretary and treasurer of the Standard Stone & Brick Company, - he was married in 1891 to Mary E. Hall, a daughter of William Hall of Pultney township; and MAry S., who married James S. Culverhouse of Cadiz.  Hannah, the sixth child of George and Margaret (Helm) Neff, was born Aug. 1, 1817, and was married Oct. 15, 1840, to James T. Scott.  John, deceased, was born Jan. 19, 1820. Elizabeth, who was born Aug. 29, 1825, married Enoch D. Crawford, Oct. 21, 1852.
     Peter Neff is living on a farm which formed a part of the old homestead, and his fine brick residence is but a short distance from the place where he was born, although a new house stands on the old site.  He follows general farming and has a great deal of pasture land, raising thoroughbred stock.
     Peter Neff was married Nov. 20, 1852, to Eliza Jane Thompson, who died Aug. 2, 1896, leaving two children: Clarence W., and Ada.  Clarence W. was born Dec. 25, 1853, and actively manages our subject's farm of 326 acres.  He married Mary Bell McKelvey, Oct. 20, 1876, and has two children: Alva Meades and Ada Luella.  Ada, who was born Mar. 23, 1857, was married Oct. 25, 1876, to Thomas McKelvey, who resides near Bethel station, by whom she has two children; Clarence, who is with the Charles Arnold drug company of Bellaire, and May, who is at home.  In politics, Mr. Neff is a Democrat.  He is a member of the Coal Brook Presbyterian Church.  His son Clarence W. and the latter's wife belong to the Belmont United Presbyterian Church.
~ Page 779 - Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Publ. Biographical Publishing Co. - Chicago, Illinois - 1903
THEODORE NEFF, one of the best known citizens and business men of Belmont County, Ohio, maintains an office at No. 3184 Union Street, Bellaire, and conducts the largest fire, life, accident, tornado and windstorm insurance business in the county.  He is a native of this county, having been born in York township, Oct. 15, 1851, and is a son of George and Martha (Williams) Neff
     The Neff or Neife family originally came from Switzerland, locating in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  Conrad Neff, a grandfather of our subject, a native of Maryland, with two brothers, John and George, started overland for Missouri in 1897.  Upon arriving at Wheeling, (West) Virginia, the wife of Conrad Neff was taken sick and died.  John Neff proceeded to Missouri, but George remained with Conrad.  With their families they crossed the river and located a few miles from Bridgeport, in Belmont County, where they entered land.  The numerous representatives of the Neff family, so widely known in Belmont County, are all descended from these hardy pioneers.  By his first wife Conrad Neff had two children.  He formed a second union in 1802 or 1803 with Elizabeth Freeley, by whom he had ten children, among them being the father of our subject.  Of the twelve children of whom he was father, all lived to reach the age of seventy years, and one of them, Benjamin, is now residing in Pultney township, being past eighty years of age.
     George Neff was born three miles east of St. Clairsville in 1809, and died Dec. 18, 1884.  He followed the occupation of farming, and during most of his life resided near Captina Creek.  He married Martha Williams, who was born in 1811 in one of the first hosues built in Bridgeport, and died in September, 1878.  She was a daughter of Ezra Williams, who was born in County Cork, Ireland, and came to this country at an early day.
     Theodore Neff's boyhood days were spent in York township, where he lived until he passed the age of 35 years.  In 1901 he purchased his present home farm, a part of the Jacob Rodefer farm, on the hill overlooking many miles of the Ohio Valley and the cities of Wheeling and Bellaire.  Here he will soon have laid out and suitably set with trees a park to be known as Neff's Grandview Park, which will be a valuable addition to the city of Bellaire.  A means of transportation will be provided to convey people up and down the bluff, and the view being one of unsurpassed beauty it will be a very popular place.  Mr. Neff owns five farms in Belmont County, and for many years has engaged in growing vegetables and raising thoroughbred stock and fowls of all kinds.  He is a Democrat in politics, but has accepted of no offices except assessor of York township, in which capacity he served two terms.  He and his son, Edney, are members of Ionic Lodge No. 438, F. & A. M.  On his farm is located an abundance of splendid molding sand, for the removal and exportation of which the Belmont Sand Company was organized.  The pits contain sands of every grade, for heavy and light molding, building, and for plastering and bricklaying.  The company controls the large pits on Mr. Neff's farm and others in the county, and supply sand for the local market and for many large corporations in other parts of the country, including the Pennsylvania Railroad.  At the present time about 100 tons per day are taken from the pits and loaded upon cars.  In the near future up-to-date machinery, probably electrical, will be installed to reduce to a minimum the expense of loading and digging.  Ochre is also found conveniently and will later be developed.  Mr. Neff has been the prime mover in various business enterprises, notable among which is the Enterprise Enamel Company, of which he purchased the first shares of stock.
     Five different business concerns have their office and headquarters at No. 3184 Union street, the office of Mr. Neff.  Following is a brief sketch of each:
     The Belmont Electric Light & Power Company was organized in 1899 by Theodore Neff, J. B. Watt, John T. Flynn, J. A. Green and Thomas E. Shelly.  J. A. Green is president; H. A. Neff, secretary and manager, and five of the organizers are directors.  The plant is located on Monroe street, between 35th and 36th streets, and supplies light and power for the city.
     The Neff Real Estate & Investment Company was organized and chartered under the laws of Ohio in the spring of 1902 by Theodore Neff, John W. Neff, Harry A. Neff, Thomas B. McKelvey and J. O. McKelvey, these men constituting the board of directors.  The officers are: T. B. McKelvey, president; Harry A. Neff, secretary, and E. D. Neff, treasurer.  An extensive business has been done toward improving the city and suburbs, especially at Shadyside, where free excursions are run by the company and many lots have been sold for residence and speculative purposes.  The prospects of the suburb for a home site are bright.
     The Enterprise Telephone Company has over sixty phones in use, besides centrals, accommodating a large number of farms and business houses.  The suburban line operates through St. Joe, McClainsville, Neff's siding, Bald Knob, etc., with central at Valonia and branches to Dillie's Bottom, and central at Key, with branches among farmers.  It has central exchange with the National and Ohio Valley companies at Bellaire.  Robert McKelvey is president; William Unterzuber, vice-president; Franklin Neff, secretary, and J. O. McKelvey, treasurer.  Among the directors are William Ramsey, Samuel White, John W. Neff, Alexander Neff, and Dr. Korell of Key.
     The Eastern Ohio Milling Company was recently incorporated for the purpose of milling, dealing in feed and the wholesale grocery business.  The officers are: George O. Robinson, president; Morris Elikan, vice-president, and J. P. Clutter, secretary and treasurer.  The office will be at the old Ault Mill, which will be remodeled and equipped.  The directors of the company include Alexander Neff and H. A. Neff.
December 4, 1878, Theodore Neff was united in marriage with Nancy J. McKelvey of Mead township, and they have three children, namely, Edney D., aged 22 years, who has for the past five years engaged in the insurance business with his father; Jacob H.,  who is 18 years old and lives at home, and Carrie L., aged 16  years.  Religiously the family attends the U. P. Church.
~ Page 495 - Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Publ. Biographical Publishing Co. - Chicago, Illinois - 1903
WILLIAM NICHOL, a representative farmer of Belmont County, Ohio, has a fine home in section 2, Pultney township, and devotes much time to stock raising. He is a descendant of one of the pioneer families of Belmont County, and was born April 24, 1830, on McMechen's Creek, near Stewartsville, in Richland township.
     Thomas Nichol, the great-great-grand father of our subject, was a native of County Derry, Ireland. He was a descendant of one of seven brothers who sought refuge in that country, fleeing from Scotland on account of religious persecutions. He married Isabelle Cooke, and their son. John Nichol. lived in the same home on Nichol's Hill. John Nichol married Martha Love. Their son. John Nichol, married Anna Woodburn, and with his wife immigrated to the United States in 1789. They first settled in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, but subsequently removed to Westmoreland County in the same State. About the year 1800 they moved farther west and located in Colerain township. Belmont County, Ohio. Their son, William Nichol, Sr., was the father of our subject.
     William Nichol. Sr., was born in 1789 and died in 1855. He married Harriet Mitchell. who was born in 1789 and died in 1870. many years after the death of her husband. Numerous children were born to this worthy couple, our subject being the youngest one of the six who lived to mature years. Other members of the family are: Thomas M., Nancy, John. Jemima Jane and Harriet. Thomas M. Nichol was born in 1817 and died in September, 1896, at Uniontown, Wheeling township. He married Margaret Creamer, whose death occurred a few months previous to that of her husband, during February of the same year. They reared a family of six sons and one daughter, who for the most part have their residences in Wheeling township. Nancy Nichol was born in 1818, and June 1, 1898, marks the date of her death. She was twice married, and is survived by two sons and one daughter. Pier first husband was William McGaw, and her second, John Johnson. John Nichol was born in 1820. His death took place in 1888. His widow, whose maiden name was Jean Robb, is still living, being at the present writing a resident of Monmouth, Illinois. Jemima Jane Nichol was born in 1825 and is also a resident of Monmouth, Illinois. She married James Boyd, deceased since 1878, and she has three daughters, all of whom are residents of Illinois. Harriet Nichol was born in June, 1827, and died quite recently, August 20, 1902. She was the wife of T. J. King of Richland township.
     William Nichol was reared and educated in his native township, which continued to be his home until October, 1872, when he purchased his present home in Pultney township, previously known as the Kelsey farm. This farm is finely located and contains 115 acres. Mr. Nichol has added many substantial improvements to the place, and his home farm is conceded by many to be among the finest in the county. In addition, he owns another fine farm in Richland township, near Franklin station, which he leases.
     September 16, 1858, our subject was united in marriage with Nancy Neff of Richland township, where her birth took place in 1839. Six children blessed this union, as follows: Isaiah, Minnie E., Mary N., Dorcas Anne. Elmer W. and Delia Rhea. Isaiah was born July 10, 1859. He married Ella Alexander of St. Clairsville Junction, Ohio, and they have two children. Maggie Estella. born September 23, 1888. and Mary Alta. born September 14, 1890. Minnie E. was born August 6,1862, and resides at home, as do also her sisters, Mary N., born in August, 1865. and Delia Rhea. born February 7, T883, and her brother. Elmer W.. who was born September 9, 1876. Dorcas Anne was born October 13, 1870. She married Rev. E. M. Thompson of Crawfordsville, Iowa, and they have one child, Helen Frances, whose birth occurred January 20, 1901.
     In politics Mr. Nichol is a firm Democrat and does all he can in a legitimate way to advance the interests of that party. He and his wife have the good will and respect of all who know them and are faithful members of the United Presbyterian Church.
OTHO P. NORRIS, cashier of the People's National Bank of Barnesville, Ohio, has been connected with that institution since its organization in 1883, and during his long term of service he has made a record that has been unusually satisfactory to his directors. Mr. Norris was born on the 8th of March, 1859, in Belmont County, Ohio, and is one of a family of six children born to Dr. Otho Norris and his wife, Rachel (Barlow) Norris, both of whom are deceased.
     Dr. Otho Norris was one of Belmont County's most promising physicians. His useful career was terminated by his death in 1859, and many of the older residents of the county recall to mind his useful deeds and lofty character.
     Otho P. Norris spent his boyhood's days chiefly in Morristown, where he received his primary education. This was supplemented by a thorough course in Muskingum College, from which he was graduated in 1881. The following year was spent in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1882 he located in Barnesville, engaging at that time in the real estate and insurance business in the office of his brother, Perry E. Norris.
     In 1883 he entered the People's National Bank as teller, and has been with that successful institution ever since, being elected cashier of the bank in 1895. It is pertinent in this connection to notice that more than a half million dollars have been added to the resources of the bank since he assumed the cashiership seven years ago, the addition being due largely to his energy, thorough equipment and experience.
     November 16, 1887. our subject was united in marriage to Kate Shannon Bradfield, the accomplished daughter of the late John Bradfield. formerly one of Barnesville's most illustrious citizens, and whose biography appears elsewhere in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Norris have one daughter, Anna B.
     In fraternal circles our subject is identified with the Knights of Pythias, and in local educational affairs he has given freely of his services, having been closely identified with the management of the public schools for many years. In politics he is a Republican, but he has never sought publicity in an official capacity.


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