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John Stephan

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John Stephan

Huntington Volunteer (View posts)
Posted: 31 Dec 2003 3:41PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Stephan, Voght, Huselman, Bickle, O'Rourke,

From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 461-462

John Stephan was born January 7, 1849, and is a son of Henry and
Catherine (Voght) Stephan, old and respected residents of Huntington
county, Indiana. Henry Stephan was born in Wurtemburg, Germany, and at
the age of three years was brought by his parents to this county (sic),
forty days being consumed in making the trip across. They located in
Tuscarawas county, Ohio, where young Henry grew up on a farm and learned
the trade of a blacksmith, which he followed for many years. He was
united in marriage with Miss Catherine Voght, and for two years more
worked at his trade; but thinking it desirous to own a farm he began to
look about him for one. Ohio was settling up so fast that land was too
high in that state for him to think of buying, and he set out on foot
from Wooster, Wayne county, Ohio, to find a home in the wilds of Indiana.
He decided on locating in Dallas township, and returned to his family in
the same manner in which he had left them, on foot, taking about a week
for the trip. Loading his household goods on a canal boat he brought
them to Indiana, starting out across the country to find the land Mr.
Stephan had chosen for his future home. This was not so easy a matter as
he had thought, and being unable to find the way, darkness came on and
they were obliged to spend the night alone in the forest with no other
shelter than the drooping branches of a huge oak. John, our subject, was
then but a small child, and he was carefully wrapped up and laid to sleep
beneath the oak, his slumbers being as sweet under the blue canopy of the
heavens as if in the most costly bed. Finding the desired spot they at
once felled trees and constructed a cabin. Soon a small clearing was
made around the cabin, a larger clearing was made for the planting of
crops, and in time the little tract of ground began to take on the
appearance of a farm and show signs of great improvement. The family
increased in numbers until there were eight children, of whom John was
the oldest. Among them was Martin, who married Miss Sarah Huselman, and
lived in Wabash county; George, who married Mary Bickle, is treasurer of
Huntington county; Caroline, who married James O'Rourke, now lives in
Huntington; and William, who died in his eighth year; Manuel, the
youngest of the family, also married and lives on the old homestead.

John Stephan had the misfortune to lose his father during his boyhood,
and from that time he counted no effort too great to make for his widowed
mother. When leisure occurred he attended school and obtained a fair
education, working meanwhile to improve the farm and obtain the best
results from the soil. He remained with his mother until she had a good
farm of one hundred and twenty acres, and then rented land of her. He
was always a hard working man, and now has as good a farm of one hundred
and twenty acres as can be found in the county, earned and improved by
his own hands. For some twelve years he has engaged in breeding
Poland-China hogs, his animals being fine specimens and have invariably
carried off first premium when exhibited at fairs and other places. For
a time he was engaged in contract work, and put down about fifteen miles
of gravel road in Huntington county. He is a good, all-round business
man, who does not rely entirely upon one line of business to bring in an
income; but is quick to embrace an opportunity which promises to be a
paying investment. The whole souled generosity and ready sympathy with
which he extends a helping hand to the less fortunate individual, has
caused him to be regarded by his neighbors with love and affection, and
there are few men more worthy this esteem than John Stephan.

He was joined in marriage to Miss Bridget O'Rourke, whose parents came
from Ireland to Wabash county, Indiana, where she was born December 7,
1856. A family of four children blessed their marriage, namely: Roscoe
E., born April 3, 1879; Frank L., born March 18, 1886; Alice A., born
September 5, 1876, and Jessie M., born September 30, 1889. Mr. Stephan
is quite prominent in local politics, having represented the Republicans
in county, congressional and state conventions and also as township
assessor. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias lodge of Andrews. He
is engaged in business in that village, conducting a butcher shop, and
doing a lucrative business.


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