An AHGP Project


Jeremiah Vian

This sketch is of a prominent family, some of whom have been early pioneers in several different regions in which they have lived, and many of them have gained honor and fame in the wars of their country, and have always been noted for their uprightness, ability, progressiveness, and good will to all men. The founder of this family in this country was John Vian, who came to America a soldier in the army of King George III during the Revolution, and was taken prisoner; he then decided to adopt America as his home, and refused to return when the remnant of the English army returned to their island home. He settled in Maryland and married Catherine Root [note: Ruff], a native of Germany [note: Maryland--her parents were born in Germany], and to them four children were born, named Hannah, the deceased wife of a Mr. O'Brien; Polly, the deceased wife of Mr. Howell; both of these were wealthy slave owners in Maryland; Katie, the wife of a noble in Ireland [note: Katie actually married a man by the name of Noble Ireland], and William, a short time after whose birth the father died. The mother married a second time, accepting for her husband Jacob Swales, a carpenter, and they were the the parents of three children, viz: Abraham, Sarah and Mrs. Motes. About 1816, the parents came to Knox county, Ohio, where they lived until their death.


William, the youngest son of John Vian, was born in Frederick county, Md., September 1, 1796, there passed his boyhood days, and at the age of twenty-two came with his mother to Knox county, Ohio, and entered 160 acres of government land, which be cleared and converted into a fine farm. In 1828, he married Jane, a daughter of John and Priscilla Perkins who was born in Tuscarawas county, September 6, 1802. Her father was of English parentage and served in the American army in the Revolutionary war, and in the early history of Ohio, then known as the Northwest territory, he came across the mountains and became a very early settler on the eastern part at the now state, and underwent the many privations and hardships that the early settlers suffered, when they were not only in constant fear of hostile Indians, but still more of renegade white men, with Simon Girty at their head. Her step-father, John Carter, drove a pack-saddle team during the Revolutionary war and was one of the earliest prospectors in Kentucky. The wife's father, John Perkins. also served his country in the war of 1812.


After his marriage, William Vian took his young wife to his farm which he with fortitude and much labor, had made for himself in Knox County. There they lived and prospered until their death, the father dying 1879 and the mother, who was a member of the Baptist church, two years later. Mr. Vian was a prominent and influential citizen and a democrat in politics, and one of those very rare men who will not hold an office, even when it is offered to them. The children of William Vian and wife were fourteen in number, and are recorded as follows: Mary, who who died in 1852, and was the wife of William W. Downs; John, of Mercer county, Ohio, who was killed while serving his country in the battle near Nashville, Tenn. in 1865, and who was a member of the Ninety-first Ohio volunteer infantry, and had served three years and re-enlisted; Hannah, the wife of John Hoover [note: Hoovler], of Knox county; Enos, a farmer living in DeKalb county, Ind., and who served his country for two years in an Indiana regiment; William, deceased, who farmed in Wisconsin; Jeremiah, the subject of our sketch; Rebecca, the wife of Theodore Ehls, of Michigan; Ira, a farmer of Kansas; James deceased; Sarah Jane, married to James McMurray. of Kansas; Abner, who died in infancy; Benjamin Franklin, who lives on the old homestead in Knox County, Ohio; Amanda Ellen, the wife of A. Wood, of Clay County, Kans., and who served in the late war; Elijah. now living in Oklahoma, and who, at the age of sixteen years entered the army as a volunteer and served for three years.


Jeremiah, the fourth son and the subject of our sketch, was born in Knox county, April 18, 1829, there passed his boyhood days, and received a good education in the neighboring schools. He learned both the carpenter's and blacksmith's trade, and taught school for two terms near his home and two terms in Mercer county after his removal here. In Amity, Knox county, on November 16, 1851, he married Clarissa, who was a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Smith) Grubb, and who was born in Knox County, March 15, 1832.


Her parents were of Dutch descent and Dunkards in religion, and were early settlers in Knox county.


One year after their marriage Mr. Vian moved to Mercer county upon a farm which his father had entered for him in 1841. He set resolutely to work to clear his land, but misfortune came to him, and after two weeks' work he was injured and obliged to go about on crutches for a year. Though thus discouraged, he did not give up, and finally he succeeded in clearing his farm, and building a home, but not till after many hardships and trials. In 1860-61 he taught school near his home, and in this home the following children were born to them: Christiana, wife of Earnest A. Tickle, whose sketch may be found on another page; John S., farming on his father's farm; Mary Jane, the wife of Charles Sell of Black Creek township; Louisa Ellen, married to John W. Wise; William Ezra, who died when five years old; Sarah Ellen, who died at three years of age, and William Curtis, who lived [(c) Mercer Co. AHGP] until his thirteenth year, February 9, 1865. The good wife died a member of the United Brethren church.


On February 19, 1866. Mr. Vian was married, by Rev. James C. Clemons, to Mary, who was a daughter of Isaac and Nancy (Hurless) Alexander, and who was born in Harrison county, October 7, 1826. Her father was a native of Pennsylvania, was born in 1799, and died in 1865; he was a school-teacher by occupation and a very prominent citizen. In politics he was a whig until the republican party was organized, when he became a very stanch supporter of its doctrines. He held the office of constable, and township trustee, and also was entrusted with other offices by his fellow-citizens. He and his wife belonged to the Wesleyan church, and were strongly opposed to slavery. Nancy Hurless, a native of Virginia, was born June 27, 1802 and was seven years old when she came to Willshire township, Van Wert county. Ohio. Her brothers and sisters were eight in number, viz: Richard, a farmer living in Iowa; Elizabeth, who died in August, 1894, and was the wife of John Heath; John, a farmer and teacher, living in Kansas; Isaac, deceased, who lived in Van Wert, and was United States attorney by appointment of President Harrison, and was colonel of Forty-sixth Ohio volunteer infantry, and whose eldest daughter, Ella married Rev. Dr. W. H. Boole, of Brooklyn; Charity, who died when four years old; Samuel, a farmer, living in Missouri, and who served as sergeant for three years in the Forty-sixth Ohio volunteer infantry; George, of Willshire township, a teacher, who, at his country's call. enlisted in the Thirty-fourth Ohio volunteer infantry; and Susan. who died in 1879, and was the wife of Edward Johnson, of Decatur. Ind. By his second wife Mr. Vian was the father of two children, Samuel Alexander, born December 6, 1868, and died March 20, 1888, and an infant son, who died February 7, 1871.


Mr. Vian was converted under the ministrations of Rev. Michael Johnson, on February 22, 1861, in Mercer county, joined the United Brethren church on that day, and was baptized in the Saint Mary’s river, in Van Wert county, on October 27, 1861. He remained a faithful and active working layman in the church until October 15, 1870, when he was licensed to exhort; January 13, 1875, he was licensed to preach, and received the annual conference license August 29, 1877. He was ordained elder September 11, 1881, at Centenary, Ohio. by J. D. Glosbrenner, bishop, and on June 9, 1889, was appointed to the Geneva circuit and served until the end of the conference year.


At the division of the church at York, Pa., in the year 1889, he adhered firmly to the constitution of 1841 and the confession of faith of 1815. In the fall of 1889 he was appointed to the Greenville circuit. He has been one of the examiners of the annual conference, and has married a number of persons, and held all the different offices of the church to which he belongs. During all this activity in church work he has carried on farming, and is considered one of the best and most progressive farmers in the township. He avails himself of all the modern machinery for farming and readily adopts new ideas for the improvement of the crops as for improving his stock. In all respects he is a progressive man and is foremost among petitioners for all improvements and good roads, bridges, etc. He has helped to build a number of bridges and all the churches in the township. He takes particular interest in the schools, morally and educationally, and does his part to keep the schools abreast with the times. He is very charitable and has helped to raise twelve orphan children-one from the age of six weeks till eighteen years of age; several of them were converted in his own home.


Politically he affiliates with the prohibition party. Before the war he held the office of constable and recently was a candidate for county treasurer on the ticket of his party, receiving the largest number of votes ever received by any candidate of that party in the county. He has never sued any one and has never turned a stranger or beggar away from his door. He is pre-eminently a good man, loved, respected and trusted by all. In all charitable causes that will help the coming of his Master's kingdom, he is interested. He is a great Bible reader, and has read the Bible through by course twenty-one times.


Pages 597-600


Source: A Portrait and Biographical Record of Mercer and Van Wert Counties Ohio, Chicago, A. W. Bowen & Company, 1896







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