COLUMBIA COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

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Philip APPLEMAN, Sr., farmer, P.O. Rohrsburg, is a son of Matthias APPLEMAN who came from New Jersey and settled in Montour Township, near Bloomsburg. After his marriage he bought a farm in Madison Township on which he erected a distillery, and many years after bought 300 acres in Benton on which he died at the age of seventy-five. His wife, nee Margaret BEERS, died some years previous, aged sixty-four. Their children were Hannah, Elizabeth, Sarah, Matthias, George, Peter and Samuel, deceased; William in Benton; Mary Ann, wife of Samuel BETTS, of Ohio, and Philip, who is the eldest of the survivors. Matthias was a member of the Episcopal Church in Benton. Our subject was born February 17, 1808, and lived with his parents until the age of twenty-four. He then bought a farm of 2040 acres where he now lives, and to which he added until he had 400 acres. He erected a water mill which he operated four years, and when that failed erected a steam mill which is yet running. In 1830 he married Mary Ann DAVIS, of Benton, who was born March 26, 1808. They have had six children: Matthias M., in Rohrsburg; Catherine M., wife of George W. STATEN, in Illinois; Reuben D., in Iowa; Samuel, died aged one year; Mary E., died in 1870, aged twenty-eight years, and Philip D., who farms his fatherís place. Mr. Appleman has led an active life; he has cleared his farm, brought it to a high state of cultivation and engaged in lumbering. He has held township offices, but refused to be justice or constable. When supervisor he put the roads in good order for a smaller sum than was ever required. He has given all his children a good start in life. He and Mrs. APPLETON [APPLEMAN] are members of the Christian Church, and he is now one of the oldest residents in the township. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 434)


Charles ASH , farmer, P.O. Stillwater, is a native of Northampton County, Penn., born October 18, 1820, a son of Christian and Mary (OSTERDAY) ASH, natives of the same county. They removed to Briarcreek Township, this county, when our subject was seven years old; there the father bought a small farm and remained seven years, when he sold out and bought the place where his son Charles now lives. There he moved and died in 1879. His wife died about nine years before. They had ten children, all living: Mary, widow of Russell CREVELING, in Wisconsin; William, residing in the house where his father died on a part of the home farm; Sarah, in Iowa; Hiram, in Benton Township; Catherine, in Luzerne County; Delia Ann, in Briarcreek; Christian J., in this township[Fishing Creek]; Elizabeth and Hester in Benton, and Charles. Our subject is the second child, and on his marriage took possession of the home farm, his father moving to another part of it. He married October 24, 1848, Sarah RUCKEL, of Briarcreek, who died February 19, 1886. They had nine children, one of whom died in infancy; the others are George Wesley, husband of Amelia H. FREAS, and William S., married to Hettie LEARNS, having one child named Clarence REGAN, both residing in Briarcreek; Pierce, married to Susan WERKHEISER, having one child, named Trellie Clementine, living on his fatherís farm; Harvey R., married to Mary HILL, having one child, N. Ernest Augustus, and living in Berwick; Stewart A., married to Murtie D. FREAS, having one child, named Roscoe Laine, and living in Briarcreek; Miles Wilbert, married to Clara SMITH; Thomas Elliott and Amy Florentine, living with their father. Mr. ASH has served as supervisor, school director, overseer of the poor and collector. He was also engaged in huckstering eleven years, but his time has been principally given to his farm which is in an excellent condition, improved with fine brick residence and out-buildings. He is a member of the Columbia Grange, and he has been a deacon in the Lutheran Church, this township, for years. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 434)


Jacob CHRISTIAN, farmer and miller, P.O. Derrs, was born in Madison twp. June 12, 1825, the eldest son of John and Frances (WELLIVER) CHRISTIAN. Jacob removed with his parents to this township(Pine) when a boy, was reared to manhood on the farm, succeeded his father at his death, and has since resided here. He was married in September 1848, to Martha, daughter of Chester and Rachel (MELLICK) SMITH, she died September 1, 1884. To Mr. & Mrs. CHRISTIAN were born nine children: Theodore S., John C., Thomas H., J. Jusdon, Mary E., William B., Howard S., Justin L., and R. Euphemina. Mr. CHRISTIAN has been for several years engaged in lumbering, operates a saw mill, and has a chopping mill in connection with the saw-mill. Of late years he has given more attention to farming. He and nearly all the family are members of the Baptist Church, he has been trustee and also held other offices; has served the township in official relations. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 527)


John CHRISTIAN , stone-mason and farmer, P.O. Mordansville. Among the early settlers of madison Township was the CHRISTIAN family. The pioneer of the family was Valentine CHRISTIAN, who was a fifer in the war of the Revolution; his people were in this county prior to the war, and were at one time driven out by the Indians. he married a Miss ROBBINS and reared several children. The father of our subject was John CHRISTIAN, who married Frances, a daughter of Jacob WELLIVER, and to them were born four children: Mary, Rebecca, Jacob and John. John was born October 14, 1829, in this township, and moved to Pine Township with his parents when ten years of age, and when nineteen went to learn the trade of stone-nason with John RANTZ; worked at the journey work several years, then moved back to this township in 1852, where he located. In 1855 he married Sarah, daughter of William and Sabrina (TEEPLE) ROBBINS. They have two children: Clark and Boyd, both at home. In politics Mr. CHRISTIAN is a Republican. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 502)


John F DERR , farmer, P.O. DERRS, was born September 22, 1832, son of Iram Derr. He attended the common scools and the academy at Bloomsburg, and in his nineteenth year commenced teaching and lumbering, former in winter, latter in summer. He was married in 1853, and continued lumbering till 1862, when he went to farming on the place where he now resides (adjoining his father's property), where he ownes fifty-eight acres. After moving here he served two terms as school director, and eight years as justice of the peace, resigning July 15, 1885. He was then appointed storekeeper and gauger by the Government. During this time he has taught twenty-seven terms of school, teaching winters--sixteen terms in his own district. Mr. DERR was married to Rebecca, daughter of John Christian, of Pine twp., this county, and by her he has two children: Mary A. (wife of James S. WOODS, in Schuylkill Co., Penn.) and Ida F. (unmarried). Mr. DERR has been a member of the Baptist Church for twenty-five years. In politics he is a Democrat. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 489)


Wilson M. EVES, merchant, Iola, was born near Millville Penn., December 2, 1829, the eldest son of John W. and Rebecca (BROWN) EVES, the latter a daughter of Richard BROWN. He was reared near the town of Millville, and learned the carpenter's trade with his father and made it his business for several years. In 1854 he came to Iola, purchased wa saw-mill and engaged in the cabinet-making trade, which he conducted in connection with his carpenter business. In 1879 he engaged in merchandising, to which he has since given his attention. He married, April 15, 1851, Amelia, daughter of John and Mary (WOODARD) ROBINS. They have five children: Clara S., John E., Rebecca A., Orpha L. and Aquilla W. Rebecca is the wife of John C. CHRISTIAN and resides in this county; Orpha is the wife of F.P. MASTERS. Mr. EVES, in 1865, under the administration of Lincoln, was elected justice of the peace and served continuously for twenty years. He served as postmaster prior to his election as justice. Mr. EVES' business is conducted under the firm name of Wilson M. EVES & Sons. They do a general merchandise trade and deal also in lumber, furniture, organs, etc. Mr. EVES is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and of the Masonic fraternity. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 468)


John Albert FUNSTON WAS BORN February 9, 1820, in Madison Township, this county, the birthplace also of his father, Thomas A. FUNSTON, a son of John FUNSTON, a native of Northampton County, Penn., whos father, Nicholas FUNSTON emigrated in an early day from the North of Ireland to reside near Easton, Penn. The mother of our subject was Hannah, a daughter of Andrew SCHOOLEY of English origin, who was a native of New Jersey at Schooley Mountain. John FUNSTON settled on and purchased a tract of land soon after the Revolutionary war, near where Jerseytown has since been built, and there opened one of the first stores in the county, beginning with a limited stock of goods and a limited trade in a very sparsely settled region. By dint of energy, however, the business was successfully continued there and in Jerseytown by himself and sons for many years. John FUNSTON died December 6, 1844, on one of his farms near jerseytown at the advanced age of ninety-two years, closely identified with the church and after having lived a respected and useful life, having held the office of justice of the peace and many positions of trust and honor in his locality. His wife, formerly Mary ATEN, died November 22, 1838, aged seventy-five years, the mother of ten children: Henry, who married Sarah THOMAS; Jesse, who married a Miss STRAWBRIDGE; Thomas A., married Hannah SCHOOLEY; Nicholas, a bachelor; Rachel, married John RICHART; Mary, married Jesse BARBER; Sarah, married James CLARK; John, who died young; Caleb, married Rachel SWISHER and James CAMPBELL, married Rachel UPDEGRAPH. The children still living are Sarah CLARK at Catawissa, Penn., who still enjoys life at the advanced age of eight-six years, and Rachel UPDEGRAPH, the widow of James C. FUNSTON, living at Newberry, Penn. Thomas A. FUNSTON was reared to mercantile pursuits, delivering grain and produce by team to Easton, Reading and Philadelphia, where he purchased goods for the store.

After his marriage, however, he devoted himself to farming. He was an influential Democrat, served in many local offices with credit and two terms in the State Legislature, by whose enactments the county seat was removed from Danville to Bloomsburg. After thirty yearsí agitation Thomas A. FUNSTON died in 1874, aged eighty-three years, and left to survive him his widow, who died in 1879 aged seventy-nine years, both being interred at Jerseytown. They were blessed with ten children: John A., Andrew Schooley, now of Colfax, Wash. Ter., married to Sarah A. EYER; Mary Jane, married to Nehemiah WELLIVER; Martha A., married to Jacob DIEFFENBACH; Sarah, who died when a young lady; Catharine H., of Bloomsburg, widow of Rev. Henry WILSON; Elizabeth M., died in early womanhood; Desdemonia W., married William JOHNSTON; Wilbur F. and Susan, who both died young. John Albert FUNSTON was educated at the common schools and at the Mifflinburg Academy, Union Co., Penn., kept by Prof. James McCLURE. He remained at home engaged in his fatherís interests until twenty-five years of age, teaching school during the winter months. He then took the responsibility of making his own way through life, doing so with remarkably small capital, save industry, perseverance and a determination to succeed by deserving it. On solicitation he accepted, temporarily, a position in the Irondale Company store near Bloomsburg, Penn., in the year 1846; then, after a summer in Pottsville, he took charge of the large store of Judge William H. COOL & Co., in Beaver Meadows, Penn.

While there, in August, 1848, a proposition to purchase the store and stock of Richard FRUIT, at Jerseytown, was, after a dayís consideration, accepted, Mr. FUNSTON taking charge of the business September 16, 1848. Although supplied with limited capital, watchful care and discreet management soon placed his store and business on a profitable basis that met constantly increasing trade and respect. On account of failing health, in consequence of close application for eight years, the business was disposed of to Conrad KREAMER. Mr. FUNSTON retaining a private interest of one-third and retiring to spend a few more years in collecting and securing outstanding debts and book accounts. Within the year after the store business was disposed of, Mr. FUNSTON purchased what is known as the Phineas and, afterward, Thomas BARBER homestead, a rich tract of about 200 acres on the east branch of the Chillisquaque Creek, which land he has leased to tenants for thirty years, three of whom realized a sufficient amount to enable them to purchase farms for themselves, one costing over $5,000. This tract was originally taken up by Joseph GALLOWAY of the province of Maryland in 1769, who conveyed to William PATTERSON of Northumberland County, Penn., October 29, 1772, who sold to Robert McCLENAHAN and he to Phineas BARBER, January 10, 1787, 100 years ago, for 50 pounds. Phineas BARBER then sold to Thomas BARBER in 1830, and Thomas BARBERís heirs to John A. FUNSTON in 1857. The tract originally contained 400 acres. Two farms of 100 acres each were sold to James COATS & Bro., both of which were afterward bought by John and Nicholas FUNSTON, referred to above, and now owned and occupied by Jacob COONFER and Jacob WINTERSTEEN.

The old log house and part of the barn built 115 years ago, have until very recently been used, and only torn away to make room for the more commodious buildings now (1887) being erected. Mr. FUNSTON then gave some attention to dealing in real estate, and owned several farms and properties in the vicinity of Jerseytown and Bloomsburg, finally selling his store property to William KREAMER in 1865, and his residence in Jerseytown to Dr. Thomas J. SWISHER in 1867. In the same year he removed to Bloomsburg and erected his present dwelling at Fifth and Market Streets, where he has resided since 1868. In the year 1868 attention was directed to the high rate of road and poor taxes for the township of Bloom, Bloomsburg being within this township and being unincorporated; roads and streets in town and township were insufficiently cared for, and under the then existing plan of providing for the poor and collecting and disbursing poor taxes, excessive amounts were required to meet the demands of a list of self-constituted and undeserving paupers, that under the mild and liberal methods then prevailing, preferred to live on the community rather than work. Seeing the demoralizing effects of this high rate of taxation and the accumulating debt, Mr. FUNSTON called upon the Rev. D. J. WALLER, Sr., and after a short interview, a supplement was drawn transferring the act for the Luzerne Poor District to Bloomsburg. The move was approved by leading citizens. The necessary enactment was passed by the Legislature appointing Mr. FUNSTON, Mr. B. F. HARTMAN and Dr. J. SCHUYLER directors to buy a farm and establish a home for the poor. The list of over fifty paupers was reduced to sixteen, owing to an unwillingness to accept the new and comfortable home, and the rate of poor taxes reduced from 10 mills to 3 mills. The incorporation of the town of Bloomsburg was similarly effected. In 1868 the fire and life insurance firm of John A. FUNSTON & Co. was instituted, the late Charles CONNER being associated with Mr. FUNSTON. While in this business it was discovered that a banking business could be profitably carried on by the firm. The banking business soon followed and an extensive discount line was reached and prosperously maintained by the firm for some two and a half years without loss. Out of this private banking business grew the present Bloomsburg Banking Company, a flourishing banking institution organized in 1871 with a capital stock of $50,000, taken by fifty stockholders, and of which institution Mr. FUNSTON is now and always has been a director and president. An unusual number of important positions of trust have been filled by Mr. FUNSTON, among others that of county treasurer, to which he was elected as a Democrat by his party in 186 and into which office his usual tact and ability were carried.

He took a very active interest in various improvements of the town of Bloomsburg and county, and has been a member of the board of trustees of the State normal school at Bloomsburg since 1868; is president of the Bloomsburg water-works, Bloomsburg agricultural works and vice-president of the Bloomsburg Steam, Heat and Electric Light Company. He was married January 23, 1850, to Almira MELICK of Light Street, Penn. He has three children: Sara M., married to Paul E. WIRT, attorney at law and inventor of the now widely known Paul E. WIRT fountain pen; Eva Lilien, married to H. O. RODGERS, born and reared at Ironton Iron Works, Ohio, but now of Hazleton, Penn., manager of the Hazleton, Mauch Chunk & Pittston Oil Company; Charles W., remains with his parents and is engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements etc., in Bloomsburg. The family are members of the Protestant Episcopal Church. We find in the possession of Mr. FUNSTON a number of old papers and memoranda which had been in possession of his grand-father, John FUNSTON, relating to the raising of money to build what was known as Christís Protestant Episcopal and Lutheran Church. Derry Township, Northumberland Co., Penn., on the road from Jerseytown to Millville; also the subscription papers with the names and amount subscribed by each person in pounds, shillings and pence, together with the original autographs of many of these pioneer church people and including several autographs of the Rev. Caleb HOPKINS, the first minister of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this county, also letters and autographs of Bishop WHITE, the first Protestant Episcopal bishop of the diocese of Pennsylvania, these different papers bearing various dates from 1790 to 1800. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle 1887, pg 338 -339)


William B. GERMAN, blacksmith, P. O. Millville, was born September 9, 1855, and was reared in this county; son of John GERMAN and Elmira (WELLIVER) GERMAN, daughter of Samuel WELLIVER. William B. was left fatherless at an early age; his father was a volunteer in the late war, a member of the One Hundred and fourteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and lost his life in defense of his country; his widow still survives him and is now married again. When eighteen years of age our subject commenced learning the blacksmith trade with his uncle, Hiram R. ALBERTSON and after serving the usual apprenticeship, worked for five years in John EVES' wagon manufactory. In the fall of 1884 he came to Millville and purchased the property he now owns. he has a good business, which is largely on the increase, his mechanical skill being second to none in his line. He gives considerable attention to breeding fancy fowls, making a specialty of Plymouth Rocks, Brown Leghorns and Wyandotts. he was married September 1, 1881, to Della, daughter of William and Eleanor (STARR) RICH. They have no children. He is a member of the Christian Church. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg 471)


John RANTZ , retired farmer, P.O. Rohrsburg, one of the prominent men of Jackson Township, was born near Orangeville, this county, May 3, 1811, son of John, Sr. (a farmer) and Elizabeth (HITTLE) Rantz, the latter of whom survived her husband and became the wife of Joseph H. ROBBINS. Shortly after the birth of our subject the family removed to Rohrsburg, thence came to Jackson Township, eventually locating on the place where John F. DERR now resides, and here the father died in March, 1822, the owner of 200 acres of land. Our subject lived till 1825 on the old place, but his mother, on marrying the second time, in 1823, moved to the place where John RANTZ now lives. Joseph H. ROBBINS owned seventy-six acres, now the property of our subject, who has added thereto till he possesses 300 acres (at one time he owned about 400 acres). The ROBBINS family (including our subject) moved to Ohio in 1836, and there Mr. and Mrs. ROBBINS both died. In 1838 Mr. RANTZ returned and built his house and barns. October 22, 1843, he married Mary, daughter of John CHRISTIAN, and by her had four children: Elizabeth, married to John L PARKER, who was killed at Fort Griggs during the War of the Rebellion, leaving children Laura Mary, wife of Lee BELLES (Mrs. PARKER then married Joseph REECE, by whom she had one child, Lundy, and she died when the child was four days old); Jacob, a merchant in Rohrsburg, this county; Christian, in Lycoming County, Penn.; Rebecca, wife of Francis ALBERTSON, of this township. Mr. RANTZ has lived on his present place ever since his marriage. He learned his trade, that of stone-mason and plasterer, when nineteen years old, and followed this business until 1885, when he retired. He worked seven years on locks and bridges, and helped build a stone bridge across the Schuylkill at Black Roack Tunnel near Phoenixville, Penn. Both as a government contractor and an agriculturist Mr. RANTZ has been very prosperous. He taught school five terms during his live. Our subject is a member of the Christian Church at Derrs. In politics he is a Republican. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 490-91)


Virgil D. ROBBINS, farmer, P.O. Greenwood, was born January 9, 1832, in Madison Township, on the old BARBER farm. He is the eldest and only surviving son of William ROBBINS, who was born about 1784, being a son of Joseph ROBBINS, a native of New Jersey. Joseph reared a large family, as follows: Vincent, WIlliam, Hannah, Jerusha, Robert, John, Joseph, Jesse and Catherine, all of whom lived to rear families except Joseph and Robert. Vincent moved to Canada, Jerusha married William Snyder and moved to Indiana; Catherine married Samuel SEIBERT and settled in this township, as did the others. William, the father of Virgil D., was born in Greenwood Township about 1784 and married Sabrina TEEPLE; she was born Septmeber 30, 1805, in NJ. After his marriage William removed to Madison Township and engaged in farming until April, 1842, when he came to this township, and here died in 1871. His wife died in 1841. Of their seven chidlren, but four lived to be grown: Sara J, who married John CHRISTIAN and located in this township, as did the others; Lucinda, who became the wife of George W. DERR, and William O. The only ones now living are Virgil D. and Sarah J. Our subject remained on the homestead until the spring of 1883..., when he located on the farm which he now owns. He married, November 29, 1855, Mary Ann, daughter of John and Jane (EDGAR) STALEY. Mrs. ROBBINS was born September 19, 1833, in Pottsville, Penn., and has borne her husband five children: William P., married to Effie BATTIN, daughter of B. F. BATTIN; Emma Jan, wife of Thomas SMITH, resides in Jackson Township; John C. married Emma MANNING, daughter of William MANNING; Diebald and Charles O. at home. Mr. and Mrs. ROBBINS are members of the Church of Christ. (History of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Battle, 1887, pg. 480)


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