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Richard Messersmith

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Richard Messersmith

Posted: 23 Dec 2002 10:58AM GMT
Classification: Biography
Edited: 24 Dec 2002 8:38PM GMT
Surnames: Messersmith, Dicken, Alf; Gentry, Lauderback, Hicks, Smith, Spaulding
"History of Huntington County, Indiana"1914 By Frank S. Bash pg.606-07

Richard Messersmith. Among the men of Huntington county whose labor has been the measure of their success is found Richard Messersmith, who for years has been connected with the agricultural interests of Wayne township. A man of energetic spirit and progressive nature, from small beginnings he has steadfastly fought his way to a foremost position among his community’s substantial citizens, and at this time is proprietor of the well-known Sugar Ridge Stock Farm, a tract of 180 acres of valuable land, located one mile south and eight miles west of Warren, and eighteen miles southwest of Huntington. Mr. Messersmith has been a lifelong resident of Wayne township, having been born on a farm in section 35, May 25, 1860, and is a son of Ephriam and America (Dicken) Messersmith, the former born in Wabash county, Indiana, and the latter in Grant county, this state.

Ephriam Messersmith was for some years a successful farmer of Huntington county, but later turned his attention to the manufacture of tombstones and monuments, and in 1862 removed with his family to La Salle county, Illinois. He subsequently became a resident of the city of Streator, in that state, went thence to Monticello, Illinois, and finally returned to Streator, where he passed away. He was a business man of the strictest integrity, a good and public-spirited citizen, and gained and held the respect and esteem of those with whom he came in contact. Ephriam and America Messersmith were the parents of the following children: Hettie Mary, who is the wife of Henry Alf; Richard; George, who is deceased; Effie, who is the wife of Eugene Gentry, and Clara, the wife of Schuyler Lauderback, living near Delevan, Illinois.

Richard Messersmith was two years of age when he was taken by his parents to Illinois, and there he commenced his education in the public schools. He continued to reside in the Prairie state for sixteen years, during which time he followed various vocations, but when eighteen years old returned to Indiana and secured employment as a farm hand, working by the day or the month as labor presented itself. He thus continued for seven years, thriftily saving a part of his earnings, and on September 12, 1885, established a home of his own when he was married. The lady of his choice, Miss Luella Hicks, was born in Grant county, Indiana, March 14, 1864, received good educational advantages and was one of the first graduates of the common schools of Washington township, Grant county. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Messersmith located in Jackson township, Wells county, but after one year returned to Grant county, and bought forty acres of land in Washington township. This he operated for several years, after which he disposed of his Grant county interests and came to Huntington county, settling on the present home farm in Wayne township. At that time the farm was in a swale, often soggy and swampy, and covered with rank vegetation, while other parts were almost wholly covered by a dense growth of timber. It looked like a hopeless task to endeavor to develop this into a productive farm, but Mr. Messersmith and his devoted wife settled down to the work, and the greater part of the farm was soon cleared and ditched, and as the years have passed the property has been made into one of the best in the township. It has a good set of buildings and improvements of the latest character, and Mr. Messersmith devotes his time to general farming and the breeding of blooded stock. He has won the right to the title of self-made man. No fortunate family or pecuniary advantages aided him at the outset of his career. Obstacles and difficulties have confronted him, but these he has overcome by determined efforts and, as the years have advanced, he has worked his way steadily upward.

Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Messersmith: Mary Ona, who is a graduate of the common schools and the wife of Dan Smith, of Wayne township; Earl, who is engaged in farming with his father and resides at home; Edna Fay, a graduate of the common and high schools, who spent one term in Franklin College and is now the wife of Arthur Spaulding, a merchant at Banquo; Josie M., a graduate of the common and high schools, and now single at home; and Clara O., also residing with her parents. Mr. Messersmith is a republican, and has been influential in local and county politics, although not an office seeker. Mrs. Messersmith and three of her daughters are members of the Second Salem Missionary Baptist church.

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