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Welcome to
Pickaway County, Ohio
History & Genealogy

 

History of Pickaway County
Source:  History of Franklin & Pickaway Counties, Ohio
Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
Published by Williams Bros. 1880

 

MUHLENBERG TOWNSHIP
 

* MUHLENBERG TOWNSHIP
       * ORGANIZATION
       * ORIGINAL OWNERS
       * pickawayco_history_muhlenberg.html#name
       * STREAMS
       * PRAIRIES
       * ANCIENT WORKS
       * TIMBER
       * SOIL
       * INDIANS
       * INDIAN DUEL
       * EARLY EVENTS
       * SETTLEMENT.
       * INDIAN INCIDENTS
       * LOST
       * ENCOUNTERS WITH BEARS
       * MEDICAL
       * DARBYVILLE
       * CEMETERIES
       * CHURCHES
       * SCHOOLS
       * SOCIETIES

       * BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES

 

BIOGRAPHIES
 

COLONEL ELIAS FLORENCE

 

JOHN McKINLEY and MRS. SOPHIA McKINLEY

ALEXANDER McKINLEY and MRS. MARY ANN McKINLEY

COLONEL ELIAS FLORENCE, was born in Fauquier county, Virginia, Feb. 15, 1797.  His father was William Florence, and his mother Fanny (Robinson) Florence, both born and raised in Virginia.  In 1806 William Florence emigrated, with his family, to Ohio, arriving in Muhlenberg township, April 9th, of that year.  He located on a part of the original tract owned by General Peter Muhlenberg, of Revolutionary fame, and purchased one hundred acres of land of Mr. Wilson, who then owned a part of this tract.  He afterwards added to his original purchase, until he owned some seventeen hundred acres.  He was one of the first three county commissioners of Pickaway county, and was twice elected to the State legislature, in 1816 and 1817, serving the first term that the old Columbus State-house was used.  In 1828 he was elected as associate judge, by the legislature, and served two terms.  His death occurred in 1870, at his residence on the west side of Darby creek, aged ninety-six years.  His children were Elias, Robinson, William, Nancy, Sally, Betsey, Mary, and Kittie, who died when in infant.
     Colonel Elias Florence obtained a common-school education, such as the schools of that early day furnished, the first of which, in the township, was established by his father, on his farm, at his own expense.  His boyhood was spent at the usual work of those early days; in clearing the land, and roughing it in a new country.  Among his early playmates were teh Indian boys of the bands that camped and roamed along Darby creek.  As he advanced in years and experience, he became a stock dealer, and in that business, visited Kentucky and purchased stock, which he drove to this township and fattened, after which he drove them across the mountains to Philadelphia and New York.
     He was married Mar. 26, 1818, to Elizabeth Radcliffe, of Kentucky.  They had eight children: Ezra, George, Gustavus, William, Mary, Chrissie, Fanny, and Isabel.  Ezra lived to maturity, and married Sarah Renick.  He died of consumption, leaving three sons and one daughter.  The other boys died young.  Mary married William Scott, by whom she had two sons, the first of whom was Elias F., who was commissioned first lieutenant of Company A, Forty-fifth Ohio volunteer infantry, in May, 1862, and promoted to captain in December, of the same year; was wounded at the battle of Resaca, Georgia, May 14, 1864, and died two days afterwards.  Her second son was William, who now lives on a farm of three hundred acres, near Darbyville.  Chrissie, the next daughter of Col. Florence, married John Williams, and died in Madison county.  Fanny married William Cochran, and died many years ago.  Isabel married Rev. "Owen Simpson, and died in Circleville.
     Colonel Elias Florence was elected to the State legislature, in 1829 and 1830, in a Democratic district, although belonging to the Whig party, receiving every vote cast in his own township.  He was again elected in 1834, and again in 1840, to the legislature, and in 1835, to the State senate.  He served four years in the house and two in the senate.  In 1843, he was elected to congress, and served two years.  In 1850, he was a member of the constitutional convention.
     He enlisted in a light horse company during the war of 1812, but peace being declared, and company was not called into actual service.  He was elected colonel of a regiment of Ohio militia and served as such from 1820 until 1837 or 1838.
     From the time he was engaged in business until within a few years, he accumulated much property, owning, at one time, about five thousand five hundred acres of land and a large amount of live stock.  His home was always a most hospitable one, and the occasions were rare when it was free from visitors.  The spirit of old Virginian hospitality pervaded the entire family, and does to this day.  His friends and many, and are not confined to the limits of the township in which he lives.
     Col. Florence has always been regarded as a man of excellent business qualifications, exhibiting a remarkably sound judgment and a commendable prudence in all of his dealings and business transactions.  These qualities, however, were combined with an unusual generosity of nature, which, in the later years of his life, brought about his financial embarrassment.  His first impulse,  on seeing it persons in need of aid, especially of a pecuniary nature, was to render him all the assistance in his power to grant.  This led him into the generally baleful practice of endorsing the notes of others, by which he was eventually financially ruined.  He gave up every dollar of his property to his creditors, not, reserving even a homestead.  The farm on which he now resides, comprising some two hundred acres, was purchased for his use during the remainder of his life, by a number of his friends, who were unwilling that one whose life had been so useful, whose conduct under adverse circumstances had been so noble, and whom they so much esteemed and loved, should be without a comfortable home in his declining years.
     Col. Florence possesses a vivid recollection of early events in the settlement and development of the county, and an inexhaustible fund of anecdote apropos of pioneer times, and the writer of this has drawn upon him freely, as a source of information, in the preparation of the history of various townships.  Col. Florence is now in the eighty-third year of his age.  His brother, William Florence; his daughter, Mrs. Scott; and his niece, Matilda Radcliffe reside with him.
[Pg. 341]
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ALEXANDER McKINLEY was born in Hardy County, Virginia, Mar. 10, 1800.  He spent his childhood in his native county, and obtained such an education as the condition of the country could afford, which was exceedingly limited.  Indeed, he may be called a self-made man, acquiring his education in business in that valuable but expensive school - experience.
     His native ability will be readily seen from his success in the accumulation of a large landed property and in handling stock.  It is said of him that his judgment of the value of stock was almost unerring.
     In 1821 he came to Ohio, purchased and cleared his farm, and, with his faithful wife, bore the trials and hardships incident to, and inseparable form, a pioneer life.  He married Miss Mary Ann Williamson, of this State, in 1830, by whom he had thirteen children, only eight of whom are now living - Samuel, Robert, Joseph, Cornelius, James, Alexander, Stephen, and Marcus.
     Samuel
married Ellen Balan, and lives on a portion of the homestead.  Robert married Susan Thomas, and lives on the farm also.  Joseph married Miss Lizzie Wilcoxson, and lives in Indiana.  James married Mary E. Davis, who is deceased.
     Alexander McKinley died in August, 1873, leaving his afflicted and faithful helper a large property and family to manage.  Her sons now prove earnest and faithful men, on whom she can rely in the management of all her business interests.
     It would be unjust to close this brief biography of this family without a mention of a brilliant and dutiful son, who, only one year since, was summoned to join his father, brother and sisters who had preceded him.  We refer to John.  This has proved a severe stroke to his mother.  No mere word of the writer can property picture the hardships and trials of a woman who has faced the realities of a new-country life on a farm, nor can any mere words paint the glories in store for such a mother.
     Mrs. Kinley is now sixty-six years old, but is, to all appearance, in good health; and, for the sake of her children, it is to be hoped she may survive yet these many years.
[Pg. 338b]
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JOHN McKINLEY was born in Hardy county, Virginia, in the year 1797.  He was three times married.  His first wife was a native of Hardy county, Virginia, where she spent a portion of her married life; but she died in Darby township, Pickaway county, Ohio.  Nine children were both born of this union, five of whom are now living - Harriet, Mary, Abel Seymour, Joseph Hill, and John Wesley.
     Margaret Millar was the second wife of John McKinley.  Of this union were born three children- Russell B., William H., and Sarah Jane.
     His third wife was Sophia Williamson, of Portsmouth, Ohio, who still survives him.  No children were born of this union.
     Mr. McKinley died in April, 1876, leaving a large property to his legal representatives.  The kindness of his heart is exhibited in becoming surety for so many of his neighbors and friends, which resulted very disastrously, and gave him much trouble and anxiety, and is said to have had much to do with hastening his demise.  Mr. McKinley, though a business man, was also a local Methodist preacher, and perhaps is more widely known as such than as a dealer  in stock.  He was regarded by his neighbors as an honest man, a good citizen, a faithful christian, and an exemplary member of society.  He was not educated in the schools, but possessed a fair business education, and was a successful business man and an influential preacher.
[Pg. 338a]

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