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 History of Trumbull & Mahoning Counties, Ohio
Published:  Cleveland: H. Z. Williams & Bros.

Trumbull County, Ohio
Pg. 519

     Southington (township five of range five) is the western township of the central tier of Trumbull county, and adjoins Nelson township, Portage county, upon the west.  It lies between Braceville on the south and Farmington on the north, while Champion adjoins its eastern line.
     The surface is slightly undulating, with no particularly striking features, and no prominent elevations.  Several small streams or runs diversify the surface of the northern part of the township, tributaries of Dead run, which is itself a stream of but little importance.  The east branch of Dead run, from the southeast of the township, unites with the west branch about two and three-fourths miles north of the center, and thence flows northward into Farmington.  The west branch is fed by several small runs, most of which have their source in the northwestern quarter of the township.
     The soil is mostly clay.  Southington is chiefly an agricultural community, and has no other industry of importance.  Dairying and stock-raising are carried on profitably.
     There are no villages in this township.  AT the center there are two stores, a post-office, a blacksmith shop, two churches, three church buildings, and eight or ten houses.  Bowmansville in the southeast, is a neighborhood of about the same size, and contains a store, a church, a post-office, etc.  The post-office in the latter place was formerly known as Pleasant Hill, but has recently been changed to Delightful.
     The only railroad now passing through the township is the Painesville & Youngstown narrow gauge, which cuts across the northeastern corner.  At the State road in the western part of champion is the nearest station.
     Southington contains a number of well-improved farms with good substantial farm houses upon them.  Its people are mainly thrifty and frugal, of temperate habits, and friends to morality.  Four churches are well supported.  The church edifices here are far superior to ordinary rural churches.
     A heavy growth of timber, mainly of oak, originally covered the and.  Many tracts are swampy, but skillful labor has redeemed them largely from this state.


     Township five, range five, became a separate township and election district in 1817, and received the name which it now bears.


     At an election held June 12, 1817, at the house of John James, the following township officers were elected:  Joshua Osborn, Seth Hurd,

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and Roderick Norton, trustees; Lemuel Frisbie, clerk; James Chalker and Elisha Brunson, overseers of poor; Gilbert Osborn, constable; Jay Hurd and Leonard Osborn, appraisers; Jay Hurd, lister; Levi Ormsby and Joseph Rice, supervisors; John James and Elisha Walden, fence viewers; Joseph Rice, treasurers.


     Cowles, Bolles, and Ely were the proprietors of a large tract of land in the Reserve, in which tract the principal portion of township five, range five was included.  Bolles was the largest proprietor of the land in this township, and previous to its organization the township was called Bollestown.
     Ely came on after the settlement, and had the center laid out as a village.
     Several of the first settlers exchanged their farms in Connecticut for land in this township.


     The first settlers of the present township of Southington were representatives of the bold and progressive "Yankee nation" to which the Western Reserve is mainly indebted for its growth and prosperity.  The first settlers were from Litchfield county, Connecticut, and several families came from one town - Colebrook.  The next arrivals were from New York State.  A few Vermonters came next, and last but not least, the German Pennsylvanian.
     The settlement began in 1805.  In June of that year arrived Luke Viets and his wife, David Viets, Luke's father, James Chalker, Roderick Norton, and his brother Horace, who was then but seven years of age.  James Nutt came out a year or two later.  In 1807 he married and settled in the township.  The next settlers were Seth Hurd and his son, Smith Hurd, making the fifth family in the township.  The Hurds arrived May 21, 1808.  May 29th came Henry White and wife, and May 31st, Joseph Rice and Elisha Brunson.  July 30, 1809, Joshua Osborn and Charles May arrived with their families.


     The first cabin was built by Luke Viets and James Chalker.
     The first marriage was that of James Nutt and Polly Viets, and took place in February, 1807.
     The first birth was that of Edmund, son of James Chalker, May 30, 1807.  He died Oct. 8, 1808.  This was the first death in the township.  The second birth was that of a daughter of James Nutt, born Mar. 11, 1808.  The third birth was that of Lovisa Brunson, Oct. 7, 1808.
     The facts are copied from memoranda made by Roderick Norton, at or near the time the events occurred, and are doubtless correct.


     LUKE VIETS was the financial head of the first party of settlers, and continued active in the party of settlers, and continued active in the affairs of the township as long as he lived.  He owned one thousand acres of land, and several of the settlers purchased their farms from him.  As already stated, his father, David, came here with him.  Soon after their settlement Benjamin Viets, Luke's brother, came.  Luke Viets was a cripple, yet he always managed to look after his business well.  He built a cabin and settled three-fourths of a mile west of the center, where his son now lives.  His wife was Hannah Norton.  They had only one child - Zopher, who now resides upon the old homestead.  Luke Viets died in 1862, at the age of eighty-three.  Zopher Viets was born in 1810.  He was married in April, 1830, to Lydia Curtis, who died Nov. 1, 1880, having borne six children - Mary, Russel, Harriet, Rebecca, Orrilla, and Henry.  Mrs. Harriet Chalker and Henry only survive. Henry was born in 1843, and was married in 1866 to Lucy F. Joy, daughter of Harvey Joy.  Zopher Viets married for his second wife Eunice Heathman, daughter of Horace Norton, Aug. 27, 1881.  Benjamin Viets settled in the eastern part of the township south of the center road.  His children were Sally and Maria.




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     RODERICK NORTON was born in Suffield, Connecticut, in November, 1783.  He was one of the younger sons of a large family.  His father, Freegrace Norton, died when Roderick was six teen, and thenceforth he had to care for himself.  He was a member of the first party of settlers who came to Southington in 1805.  Upon the arrival of the settlers Norton took his axe and struck the first blow for the improvement of the wilderness.  He returned to Connecticut in the month of November following, and remained two years.  He then came back to Ohio and battled with the forest until January, 1810, when he visited his native State for the last time.  There he remained during the summer and on the 8th day of October, 1810, was married to Olive Miller, daughter of Job Miller.  Their wedding tour began immediately in a journey to the New Connecticut.  Their first winter they passed at the house of their brother-in-law, Luke Viets.  Their eldest son, Homer Norton, a sketch of whose life will be found in the chapter upon the bar of Trumbull county, was born July 23, 1812, and now resides upon the spot where his father made his first brush-heap in 1805.  Roderick Norton was drafted into the service in the summer of 1814, and was first corporal in Lieutenant Hezekiah Hine's company of Ohio militia, in the War of 1812.  At the close of the war he was honorably discharged.  During her husband's absence Mrs. Norton realized to the fullest extent the disagreeable features of pioneer life.  With her little son Homer and an infant she passed the winter alone in a rude cabin, half a mile from the nearest neighbor.  She some times was obliged to burn gunpowder in a spoon thrust through a crevice in the cabin walls, to keep the wolves away.  Roderick Norton died from a cancer at the age of sixty-five.  He was a modest, unassuming man, a prominent and enterprising citizen, strict in integrity and honest in his dealings.  For many years he was a true and faithful member of the Methodist church.  His children were Homer, Albert, Hannah, Roderick Semantha, Olive, Fanny, Mary and Martha (twins); all are living excepting Albert, Fanny, and Mary.  Albert received an academic education, became a Methodist preacher, and labored in his holy calling until near the end of his days.  He died in 1879, aged sixty-five.  He married, first, Sarah Gray, who bore two daughters and one son.  The son and one daughter are living.  For his second wife he married Hala Gordon, and for his third, Sally Harmon.  Hannah is the wife of Rev. William S. Paul, of the Methodist Episcopal church.  She has five children living and one deceased.  Roderick is a Methodist preacher of the Upper Iowa conference.  He married Caroline N. Pardy for his first wife.  She had two children, one of whom is living—William, a professor of Greek and Latin in Grinnell college, Iowa.  For his second wife Roderick married Lucretia SnowSemantha is the wife of Dr. Joseph McFarland, Corsica, Ohio, she has four children; all living.  Olive is the wife of Charles F. Weed, Windham, Ohio, and has three sons and three daughters.  Fanny married Joseph Tift, and resided in Southington.  She died in 1851, leaving two children, Norton and Alice, both of whom are living.  Mary married Frederick W. Bond for her first husband, and had one child, a son, who is now living.  For her second husband she married Mr. Wintersteen.  She died in 1853. She formerly resided in Edinburg, Portage county.  Martha is the wife of Charles Wannemaker, Esq., Southington.  She has only one child, a daughter.

     HORACE NORTON, Roderick's younger brother, married Elizabeth Joy and settled in the west of

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the township, a mile and a half from the center.  He afterwards moved to the northwest of the township and died there.  His children were Joseph, Eunice, Betsey, and HomerJoseph lives in Illinois, Eunice is now the wife of Zopher Viets, Betsey (Bowyer) and Homer are dead.








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     JOSHUA OSBORN settled northeast of the center about one mile.  He reared eleven children, all of whom lived to have families.  Shelden, Gilbert, Leonard, Stephen, and Sterling were the sons, and Chloe, Amanda, Anna, Phebe, Dorcas, and Roxy, the daughters.  Gilbert and Sterling lived and died in Southington.  Shelden remained in the East.   Leonard resides in Bloomfield.  Stephen is still living in Bristol.  Chloe (White) lived in the East, but afterwards came to Ohio.  Amanda (Haughton), now resides in Michigan.   Anna (Crowell) resides in Rome, Ohio, and Phebe (Hillman) in Bristol.  Dorcas (May) and Roxy (Frisbie) are dead.

     CHARLES MAY and family remained for a time in the township, then removed.

     The foregoing families were all from Connecticut, and for some years constituted nearly all of the inhabitants of “Bollestown.”

     The Waldens, Joys, Haughtons, Frisbies, and other families came during the early years of the
settlement.  The growth of Southington was very slow.


     Perhaps we have followed the history of the settlement sufficiently far.  But we cannot close this article without some allusion to the German families which now form a most important industrial element among the inhabitants of this township.  They are superior farmers, and their work has been largely instrumental in developing the eastern half of the township.
     The first "Pennsylvania Dutch" families came to Southington about 1834 or 1835.  We mention the names of the heads of a few of the earliest:  David Palm, Jonas Hoffman, George Flick, Samuel Stroup, Isaac Strock, Jacob Houck.  Many others might be added if space allowed.



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     The oldest graveyard in the township is at the center.  Before it was laid out, interments were made, in some cases, on the farms of teh settlers.  From an old paper we copy the following in reference to the center graveyard.

     Agreeable to a vote of the township of Southington, a burying ground has been purchased by the trustees of the said township.  It is therefore necessary that money be raised to pay for the burying ground, and it is thought to be less expensive to pay it by subscription than by tax.  The sum will amount to the sixty cents for each family.  Those that are rich, are requested to sign accordingly, as a tax must be the consequence if this subscription fails.
     We, the subscribers, promise to pay the several sums annexed to our names six months after date.  Witness our hands, Southington, November 23, 1820.
     This paper is signed as follows:

Roderick Norton .50 Seth Hurd .50
Leonard Osborn .25 Gilbert Osborn .25
Joshua Osborn .50 Stephen Osborn .25
Milton Osborn .25 Stephen Crofford .50
Horace Norton .25 Chauncy Taft .30
Eberander Crofford .50 Comfort Hurd .50
Ephraim Joy .60 James Chalker .50
Isaac Hurd .25 Chauncy Curtis .50
Ira Rose .25 Daniel Maltbie .30
Luke Viets .50    

     The land, an acre and a half, was purchased of Joseph Rice for the sum of 13.75, and deeded to the trustees of the township, Roderick Norton, James Hatch, and Comfort Hurd.  The spot selected is a knoll of slight elevation a few rods east of the center.  For a country burying ground, it is very tastefully kept, and is beautified by a number of small evergreens.
     The graveyard adjoining the German church was laid out about the time the church was built.  There are two other burying places in the township - one in the northwest, near the old Baptist church, and the other in the southeast at Bowmansville.

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     Dr. Porter was the first practicing physician.
     James Nutt was the first justice of the peace.  He was an upright, honorable man, and led a pure and useful life.
     A man named Knapp was the first blacksmith.
     Ephraim Joy was the first carpenter.
     The first store was kept by Mr. Ackley.  Chapman was the next merchant.
     James Hatch was probably the first postmaster.  Southington had no post-office for fifteen or twenty years after its settlement, but obtained its mail at Warren.


     This branch of industry receives considerable attention in Southington.  William Chalker has a cheese factory and carries on the business successfully.  Mr. A. Kincaid had a cheese factory east of the center in which he did an extensive business for several years.  He then sold out.  In 1878 the building was burned and has not
been rebuilt.








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     In early times a raising was an event more talked of and more interesting than almost any other occurrence.  It was to the early settlers what the launching of a ship is to the inhabitants of some of our seaboard cities.
     It had long been the custom to furnish liquor to those who assisted on these grand occasions.  Dennis White, however, determined to make a new departure, and when about to raise his house told his neighbors that no liquor would be furnished.  The people of Farmington had promised to help him if his own townsmen refused their assistance.  He had no difficulty, however, and the raising passed off quietly with out the usual scenes of drunkenness.
     Rufus Rice, when about to build a barn, determined to proceed upon White's plan, but he encountered opposition.  One temperance raising was deemed sufficient by some of his neighbors.  So when the first side of the building started about one-third of the men present tried to hold it down.  But the temperance element was too strong for them, and the disturbers of the work, seeing that they were likely to be raised with the building, joined in and helped the rest.



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(Note:  If you would like one of these transcribed, please contact me ~ Sharon W.)

     DR. EZEKIEL MOORE is the only physician in Southington township, where he has been constantly engaged in the practice of his profession since 1849.  He was born in Columbiana county, Ohio, Oct. 19, 1827.  His parents, John and Minerva Moore, were natives of Pennsylvania.  He served an apprenticeship to a tailor, taught school, and read medicine with Dr. William Moore, now of New Lisbon.  In the session of 1852 he graduated from the Cleveland Medical college.  In 1854 he was married to Sarah C., daughter of Samuel C. and Mahala Bronson.  They have one child - Frank, born July 6, 1855.  Dr. Moore is a member of the Disciple church; also of the Masonic order.  His practice is extensive.  The doctor was formerly president and is now vice-president of the Trumbull County Medical society.

     JOSHUA OSBORN and his family were among the very early settlers of Southington. Gilbert Osborne, his son, was born in Colebrook, Connecticut, Jan. 19, 1794, and came to Southington with his parents in 1808.  He was a soldier of the War of 1812.  He married Lois Haughton, and reared a family of three daughters and one son.  Porter G. and Mrs. John Schrontz, now a resident of Illinois, are the only survivors.  About 1820 Gilbert Osborne settled in Southington upon the farm which his son now owns.  He lived to see a mighty change wrought by the early settlers and their descendants and died Dec. 8, 1869.  His wife died in 1871.

     HENRY K. WHITE was born in Connecticut.  About 1815 he came to Ohio and settled in Southington.  His father, Captain Henry White, was one of the pioneers of this township.  Henry K. married Lucy Wilson, and reared a family of three sons and eight daughters, all living at present.  He was a school-teacher and a justice of the peace several years.  He died in 1871; his widow is still living.  Their oldest son, H. J. served three years as a musician in a Wisconsin regiment.  He now resides in Hudson, Wisconsin.  George W., a member of Second Ohio volunteer cavalry, served four years.  He was seriously wounded at Little Rock.  He now resides in Dakota.  Lewis P. White was born in Southington Apr. 30, 1837, and is now living on a part of the farm where his grandfather settled Sept. 5, 1861, he enlisted in company D, Sixth Ohio volunteer cavalry.  He participated in engagements at Aldie, Antietam, Gettysburg, and in other severe battles.  At Aldie a horse was shot under him.  At New Warrington, Virginia, while on patrol, he was ambushed, wounded and taken prisoner with twenty-five comrades, and was seven weeks in Libby prison.  After regaining strength at home he returned to the service and took part in the Petersburg campaign.  He served three years, and was discharged in November, 1864.  July 20, 1860, he married Juliette Curtis.  Their family consists of five children - Mahlon D., Mary E., Ulysses G., Lillian L., and Dora B.  Mr. White is a member of the Disciples church.  Mrs. White's younger brother, Addison, now a resident of Southington, was a member of company H, Seventh Ohio volunteer infantry, and was wounded in the service.  Riley, now of Southington center, was in the same regiment and company and served a year and a half.

     SMITH & SYBIL HURD were among the early settlers of Southington.  They reared a family of ten children, of whom five daughters and two sons survive.  Their son. Milo Hurd, an old and

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respected citizen of Southington, was born in this township Dec. 22, 1808.  Aug. 10, 1842, he married Selina Lenord, a native of Pennsylvania.  Of their six children but two survive, the oldest and the youngest - Artemesia, wife of John Robertson, Southington, and Hiram, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, located at Pittsburg.  Mrs. Hurd, the mother, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.  In 1848 Mr. Hurd settled in the wilds of this township in a log-house, and made a good farm by hard work.  His father was a soldier in the War of 1812, after Hull's surrender.

     HARVEY JOY was born in Vermont in 1807, March 15th.  He is a son of Ephraim and Eunice (Freeman) Joy, who were the parents of five sons and four daughters.  Five of this family are living.  The family settled in the southeast of Southington township in 1817.  The father had been a captain during the War of 1812.  Besides farming he worked as a carpenter. He was a member of the Disciple church.  Captain Joy died about 1855.  Harvey Joy passed his boyhood clearing land in the forest and attending school in the pioneer log school-house.  Oct. 28, 129, he married Lovisa Bronson, daughter of Elisha Bronson, an early settler.  Mr. and Mrs. Joy have five children - Rhoda L., wife of Robert Rice, was born Aug. 25, 1830, did Oct. 1, 1861; Orlin B., born June 23, 1833, now residing in Southington; Edwin O., born Nov. 2, 1838, is a resident of Lennox, Ashtabula County; Almeda H., born June 13, 1842, is the wife of William Trask, Southington; Lucy F., wife of Henry Viets, of Southington, born Oct. 3, 1847.  Mrs. Harvey Joy was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church over forty years.  She died Jan. 20, 1881.  Mr. Joy settled on his parents farm, then unimproved in 1830.  He originally bought two hundred acres, but has given to his sons all but seventy-five.  He has held several township offices, and has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church over forty years.

     CHARLES HARSHMAN was born in Jackson, Mahoning county, in April, 1833.  He is the youngest son of David and Rosanna (Stuart) Harshman.  His father was born in Pennsylvania in 1799.  When he came to Ohio, he first settled in Austintown, removed thence to Jackson, and in 1838 to Southington.  The house in which he lived, was built and kept as a stage house for many years.  He reared a family of six children, four of whom survive.  Mrs. Rosanna Harshman died Feb. 1, 1872.  David Harshman is still living, vigorous in health and strength.  He has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church since 1850.  Charles attended the common schools, Hiram college, and the Western Reserve seminary of Farmington.  He has followed farming.  Sept. 5, 1855, he married Eda a., daughter of Deacon and Lydia White, early settlers of this township.  Mrs. Harshman was born in Southington, Jan. 16, 1835.  The children born of this union are as follows:  Ida R., now Mrs. Eli Overly, residing upon the home place; Leora L., wife of James E. Heathman, Southington; Will H., Clara, Naomi, and Mary E.  In the spring of 1856 Mr. Harshman settled on his present home farm.  In 1862 he enlisted in company B, One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio volunteer infantry, and served as second lieutenant.  On a physician's certificate of disability he resigned May 2, 1862.  In 1871 Mr. Harshman was elected county commissioner, and was re-elected in 1874.  He is a member of the Masons.  In company with W. B. McConnell he started the first cheese factory in the township.  This establishment was destroyed by fire in 1879.  At one time 16,000 pounds of milk per day were used in this factory.

     CALVIN HAUGHTON, son of Samuel and Amanda (Osborn) Haughton, was born in Southington township, Dec. 14, 1830.  His father, a native of New York State, was a soldier in the War of 1812.  Calvin  was educated at the common schools and at Hiram college, where he was a school-mate of Garfield.  Jan. 12, 1856, he married Martha, daughter of Edward Jones, formerly a well known citizen of Southington.  Mr. and Mrs. Haughton have two daughters - Emma wife of Jefferson Moore, Parkman, Geauga county, and Minnie May, at home.  After his marriage Mr. Haughton located upon his present farm, an unincorporated place.  He now owns two hundred acres, and has a fine farm and a good house.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Haughton are members of the Disciple church.



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    S. H. NORTON, youngest child of Joseph H. and Elizabeth Norton, was born in Southington township Oct. 2, 1833.  His whole life has been spent on the farm.  He was married Aug. 14, 1852, to Miss Betsy Morris, who was born in Portage County, Feb. 7, 1834.  Their family consists of three children, two of whom are living - Sarah E., born June 6, 1856, died Sept. 9, 1875; Samuel C. born Nov. 8, 1860, and Charles O., born June 13, 1865.  Mr. Norton resided on the home farm until 1861, when he enlisted in Company H, Forty-first Ohio volunteer infantry, and served with the regiment at Shiloh and Corinth.  In 1861, on account of a wound in the hand he was discharged.  He has since lived on the homestead farm, except for a period of three years, during which he lived in Portage county.

     IRA VIETS, son of David and Lucretia Rice Veits, was born in Litchfield county, Connecticut, Sept. 5, 1807.  His father brought his family to Ohio in 1825 and settled on the farm now occupied by Ira.  The family consisted of six children, three of whom survive.  Ira Veits married in 1828 Miss Hurd, daughter of S. Hurd, one of the pioneers of Southington township.  They have four children, viz: James M., a resident of Michigan; Jerusha (Walker), residence Portage county; Rosanna S. (Kibler), resdence Portage county, and Almira Culp, of Southington.  Mrs. Veits died in 1841.  In Nov. following, Mr. Veits married for his second wife Miss Dianna Hurd, also a daughter of Smith Hurd.  She was born in Southington Sept. 23, 1823.  The fruit of this union was one son, Alvin, born Mar. 26, 1846, and died Feb. 14, 1877.  Mr. Veits settled on his present farm in 1829.




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     W. J. HELSLEY

     DAVID P. JONES, son of Edward and Mary (Price) Jones, was born in Austintown, Mahoning county, Dec. 26, 1819.  His father was a native of Pennsylvania, who came to Ohio early in the present century.  He was a stone-mason by trade.  He settled in Warren, removing thence to Austintown at an early date.  He died about 1856.  David P., married Feb. 18, 1841, Laura, daughter of Charles and Dorcas (Osborn) May.  Her father, Charles May, was one of the first settlers, and located on the farm now owned by David Harshman.  He was the father of eight children, three of whom are living.  He died in Braceville in 1836.  For many years he was class-leader in the Methodist Episcopal church.  Mrs. Jones was born in Braceville Mar. 26, 1820.  Mr. and Mrs. Jones have had eight children, of whom three survive - Laura Ann, born Apr. 4, 1852, resides with her parents; Ada J., now the wife of Frederick Joy, born July 23, 1859; and Viola, now Mrs. Frank Dabney, of Warren, born May 31, 1862.  Mr. Jones settled on an unimproved farm in Braceville, where he remained until 1865, when he purchased the Edward Jones homestead, upon which he now lives.   He and his wife are members of the Disciple church.




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     DANIEL BROBST,  son of John and Polly Kessler Brobst, was born in Warren township, Sept. 8, 1842.  His youth was spent in the common schools and at common labor on the farm by the month.  He enlisted in company H, Twentieth Ohio volunteer infantry, in 1861, and at the expiration of his term of enlistment he re-enlisted in the veteran service, and was mustered out in July, 1865, having been on duty four years.  After leaving the army, he settled in Michigan.  Feb. 13, 1868, he married Augusta, daughter of Jeremiah Miller, an early settler of Southington township.  She was born in 1846.  They have a family of four children, viz: Adella P., Laura L., Bertine S., and Lillie MMr. Brobst purchased his present residence in 1872, owning one of the best farms in the township.




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