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Marion B. Stults

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Marion B. Stults

Posted: 1085029447000
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Stults, Smith, Best, Kennedy & Mishler
"History of Huntington County, Indiana"1914 By Frank S. Bash pg. 477-79

Marion Best Stults. A lifelong resident of Huntington county is Marion Best Stults, for the past thirty years a builder of individual business success and promoter of everything for the betterment of his community. His record as county school superintendent is remembered to his credit; as a member of the school board he has assisted in the advancement of the Huntington schools, and belongs to the group of local citizens whose influence and activities have done most to keep up the standards of social and civic culture and well being in the county.

Born in Clear Creek township, Huntington county, May 13, 1855, Marion Best Stults is of substantial and thrifty German ancestry. His great-grandfather, George Stults, came from his native fatherland to America some time between the years 1740 and 1750, settling in North Carolina. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and died a short time after the winning of independence.

John Harmon Stults, the grandfather, was born in North Carolina, June 10, 1779, while the Revolutionary war was still in progress. From North Carolina he moved into Pennsylvania where in 1806 he married Catherine Smith, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1783, a daughter of George Smith, who was also a soldier of the Revolution, and was taken prisoner by the British during that war. John H. Stults, in 1816, moved to Stark county, Ohio, where he lived until 1848, in which year he moved to Whitley county, Indiana. In 1855 he became a resident of the county of Huntington, where he died ten years later at the good old age of eighty-six. His wife died in Huntington county in 1862.

Next in line of descent comes Jacob Stults, father of the Huntington merchant. The ninth in a family of ten children, Jacob was born in Stark county, Ohio, February 3, 1824. His early boyhood and youth were spent upon a farm. When he was twenty-one years of age, in 1845, he began teaching school, and was identified with that high and useful calling twenty-one years. In the meantime, about 1850 he moved to Huntington county, Indiana, and while teaching during the winter seasons, also operated eighty acres of land which he had bought in Clear Creek township. That continued to be his home until 1888, when he retired from active life, and thereafter had his home in the city of Huntington until his death, October 10, 1897, at the age of seventy-three. On March 25, 1852, Jacob Stults married Miss Margaret E. Best, a daughter of James C. Best of Huntington county. She was born in Kentucky, but when a child her parents moved to Indiana, the date of their arrival in Huntington county being September 15, 1839. She died in Clear Creek township in 1855, at the early age of twenty-nine years. The only child of Jacob and Margaret Stults with Marion B. On May 18, 1856, Jacob Stults married Miss Harriet Kennedy, of Virginia, a daughter of John and Anna (Lyle) Kennedy. Their union resulted in four children: Maggie E., Sherman P., Addie B. and Howard B. In politics Jacob Stults first voted in behalf of the whig party, and remained a republican from the beginning of that party until his death. He was active in the Methodist church. His record was one of considerable prosperity from a material point of view, and he always possessed and deserved the esteem of his community as an upright and exemplary citizen.

Thus it is seen that the Huntington merchant first named in this article comes of a long line of thrifty and honorably ancestors, and in his own career has lived up to the standards of his forbears. He was two weeks old when his mother died, and he was reared under the care of his step-mother. With a boyhood spent on a farm he learned the lessons of industry, and had a wholesome environment that gave him a physical constitution equal to the exigencies of business life. From the local public schools he afterwards entered the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, where he was a student two years, his purpose then being to take up the profession of teaching. From the fall of 1873 until 1881 he taught in the district schools, and in 1879 was elected county superintendent of schools of Huntington county. He held that office for one term of two years, and was instrumental in that in introducing many important reforms in the local system of education. He had and still has high ideals as to the place that public schools should fill in any community, and has contributed more than an average individual share to making the Huntington county schools the best in the state. In November, 1882, on leaving school work, Mr. Stults engaged in the furniture and undertaking business at Huntington. Through that line of commercial endeavor he had reached his chief business prosperity and success, and early in his career built up the largest establishment of its kind in the county seat. His has always been a record of business integrity and fair dealing, and his judgment, diligence and promptness in meeting all obligations have been chief causes in his advancement.

On March 1, 1914, Mr. Stults was elected president of the Huntington Trust Company, one of the prosperous banking concerns of Huntington. He is also a director of the Huntington Commercial Club. At the present time he is a member of the Indiana State Board of Embalmers, having been appointed in November, 1908, by Governor Hanley, and reappointed by Governor Marshall, who is now vice president of the United States.

In politics Mr. Stults has long been active in the interests of the Republican party in Huntington county. Besides his service as county school superintendent, thirty years ago, he has served as a member of the city school board, from 1895 to 1898, and in that connection did much important work for the welfare of school. In 1902 he was elected representative of Huntington county, as a republican, and continued to serve by reelection in the sessions of 1903, 1905 and 1907. He was a member of several important committees, such as insurance and education, and was chairman of the committee on rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the state, and also on banks. Mr. Stults has taken a prominent part in Masonic affairs, and his affiliations are with Amity Lodge No. 483, A. F. & A. M.; Huntington Chapter No. 27, R. A. M.; Huntington Council No. 51, R. & S. M.; Huntington Commandery No. 35, Knights Templar, and he is also a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason and belongs to Mizpah Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Fort Wayne. He has affiliation with Huntington Lodge No. 93, Knights of Pythias. Mr. Stults is also an active and prominent member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Huntington, and was elected by the North Indiana Conference as a lay delegate to the General Conference of 1912 held at Minneapolis, Minnesota. In December, 1879, occurred his marriage with Miss Lydia Mishler, of Clear Creek township. Her father was Jacob Mishler, a well known farmer in that section of the county. Two children, Clarence and Mae, were born to their marriage. Both are deceased, Clarence dying in infancy. The daughter, Mae, was married to Field A. Short.

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