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Jacob W. Gesaman

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Jacob W. Gesaman

Posted: 14 Nov 2004 11:58PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Gesaman, Harchelroad & Zintsmaster
"History of Huntington County, Indiana"1914 By Frank S. Bash pg. 443-445

Jacob W. Gesaman. This well known and highly honored citizen of Huntington township has maintained his residence in this county for nearly forty years and here has achieved definite and worthy success through his zealous and effective association with the industries of agriculture, stock-growing and horticulture. He is the owner of the Riverside Fruit Farm, which has been developed and improved by him during the long years of his residence in Huntington township, and, as the name implies, the place is devoted largely to the propagation of fruit, in which field of enterprise Mr. Gesaman has been specially prominent and successful. His farm comprises 123 acres of most fertile and productive land, and he has utilized the same for diversified agriculture and stock-growing as well as in the development of his fine orchards and to the raising of the best varieties of the smaller fruits suited to the soil and climate. He is one of the representative citizens of the county that has long been his home, and his sterling character has given him inviolable place in the confidence and esteem of all who know him.

Mr. Gesaman claims the old Buckeye state as the place of his nativity and is a scion of a family of stanch German lineage that was early founded in Pennsylvania. Mr. Gesaman was born on a farm in Stark county, Ohio, on the 6th of February, 1846, and is a son of Samuel and Mary (Harchelroad) Gesaman, who were born and reared in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, where their marriage was solemnized. They eventually left their native state and removed to Ohio, where they became pioneer settlers of Stark county. There the father reclaimed from the wilderness a productive farm and he was one of the honored citizens of that county for many years, finally, in 1881, coming with his wife to Indiana and passing the residue of their long and useful lives in Huntington county, where the death of Samuel Gesaman occurred in 1886, his wife surviving him by several years. They became the parents of nine children, of whom six are now living, in 1913, namely: John H., who likewise is a resident of Huntington county; Mary, who is the wife of John Hensel, of Stark county, Ohio; Sarah, who is the widow of Henry Lonas, of the same county; Jacob W., who is the immediate subject of this sketch; Margaret, who is the wife of Nicholas Zeigler, of Huntington township; and Samuel F., who likewise is a resident of Huntington township.

Jacob W. Gesaman was reared to maturity on the old homestead farm, which was the place of his birth, and he has his quota of experience in connection with the conditions and labors of pioneer life in the old Buckeye state. Arduous toil and endeavor were his portion as a boy and youth, but his ambition to acquire an education was not denied by his parents, as shown by the fact that he continued to attend the common schools of his native county until he was twenty years old, though his attendance was principally during the winter terms only, his services being not then in requisition on the farm to so great an extent. Though he had in the meanwhile initiated his independent career as a farmer, he continued to remain at the parental home until he was about twenty-six years of age, when he took unto himself a wife, the devoted and cherished companion and helpmeet who has remained by his side during the long years that have intervened and that have brought their joy and compensation, as well as their sorrows and perplexities. Sustained and comforted by common faith and ambition and by mutual love and devotion, they find the retrospect one of gracious order and rejoice in the fair, prosperous days that trend toward the gracious twilight of their lives.

The marriage of Mr. Gesaman occurred in 1872, and in the spring of 1876 he came with his family to Indiana and established his home on the farm which is still his place of abode. When he purchased this property the land was almost entirely covered with the native timber, and he set to himself the herculean task of reclaiming his farm to cultivation. Assiduous industry, thrift and good management brought their returns, and he now has the satisfaction of being the owner of one of the admirably improved and valuable farm properties of Huntington county. The present substantial buildings were erected by him, including the attractive and comfortable residence, and the home has ever been known for its generous hospitality and good cheer, so that it has been a favored rendezvous for the many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Gesaman and their children.

In the midst of the exactions of a career of signal industry and productiveness, Mr. Gesaman has never failed in civic loyalty and has been ready to do his part in the promotion of those objects which have conserved the general good of the community. Never a seeker of public office, he has not wavered in his allegiance to the republican party until the national campaign of 1912, when he gave his support to the cause of the progressive party, as he is stanch in his admiration for Colonel Theodore Roosevelt. Both he and his wife are zealous and devoted members of the United Brethren church. Unqualified confidence is reposed in Mr. Gesaman by all who know him, and his integrity is beyond cavil. His counsel is frequently sought in connection with private and community interests, and it may be noted that he was the efficient and faithful administrator of the very appreciable estate of his honored father.

On the 17th of March, 1872, in Stark county, Ohio, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Gesaman to Miss Phoebe Zintsmaster, who was reared and educated in that county, where she was born on the 20th of March, 1851. Of the children of this union four attained to years of maturity: Franklin E. is a prosperous farmer of Huntington township; Pearl A., died at the age of eleven years; Cora A. became the wife of Frederick Lonas and is now deceased; George W. is a representative farmer of Huntington township; and Miss Ida Mae, who remains at the parental home and is a popular factor in the leading social activities of the community, is a cultured musician as a pianist, and was graduated in the high school in her home township and also in a leading musical conservatory in the city of Indianapolis.

In recalling early days, Mr. Gesaman tells of his early school days. He attended two different schoolhouses of the log cabin style, and he conned his lessons from the old spelling book and McGuffey’s readers, wrote with the old goose quill pen made by the teacher and sat on the wooden bench, and when the pupils had to write they turned around in their seats at the long desk. What a difference today in the modern school, where the pupil is furnished with all the modern equipments of school life. The homestead of Mr. and Mrs. Gesaman is known as “The Evergreens” and is one of the hospitable homes of the county. It is located 2 1/2 miles southwest of the city of Huntington, on the Elna Gravel Pike running to Marion. This was formerly an Indian trail. The residence is lighted throughout with a modern acetylene plant.

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