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Engsley G. Andrews

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Engsley G. Andrews

Huntington County Volunteer (View posts)
Posted: 9 Sep 2000 6:00AM GMT
Classification: Biography
Edited: 23 Jun 2001 9:50AM GMT
Surnames: Andrews, Blair, Bloom, Swaim, Green, Lombard, Stanton, Swaim, Beard
From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 333-335

Engsley G. Andrew, ex-soldier and prominent farmer of Huntington county, Indiana, is a man of splendid physique and imposing appearance, measuring six feet six inches, and weighing three hundred and three pounds. He is a native of Clinton county, Ohio, having first opened his eyes upon this terrestrial globe in that locality on July 10, 1844, the eldest in a family of eight children born to Calvin Andrew.

Calvin Andrew was the son of a native born Welchman who came to America and settled in the state of North Carolina, where he entered land from the government at a very early day. There Calvin was born. He came to Clinton county, Ohio, when a young man, and worked at odd jobs as a day laborer for a number of years. He then served an apprenticeship to a blacksmith and became a skilled mechanic, working at his trade in Clinton county, Ohio, until he was about thirty-nine years old; in the meantime he made two or three trips to Indiana, where he purchased, for eighteen hundred dollars, the old homestead of one hundred and sixty acres which is situated in Salamonie township, after which he worked at his trade a good deal here. The family moved through in wagons and as there were no roads laid out they wandered around in the woods until December 5, 1853, when they reached their destination. There was a small log cabin on the land, and into this the family moved and there lived for many years. Bear, deer, wolves and other wild animals were a common sight around the little frontier cabin, and if the family appetite craved a squirrel pie or other dainty, all that was neccessary was to go outside and knock a squirrel off the roof or shoot one, they were so plentiful. As the little family grew in years it was necessary to have more room, and a second cabin was built, as sleeping apartments for the sons of the house. This land was very low and covered with water a great part of the year, consequently the family, like most of the early settlers, were afflicted with fever and ague, a disease which often fastened on every member of the family, leaving not a sufficient number of well ones to care for the sick. Indians were frequently seen and often hunted around the Andrew home. The family were thrifty and industrious, losing no time in developing the land, clearing off the timber and ditching the ground, thus rendering it tillable and healthy. There were eight children in the family, the four eldest having been born in Clinton county, Ohio, and the younger in Huntington county, on the Andrew homestead. Engsley G. was the eldest of the family; then came James W., who was born March 8, 1847, and is now a prosperous grocer residing in Warren; Riley was born March 23, 1849, and is the popular blacksmith at Warren, rivaling in the excellence of his work his brother Charles, who is also in the same business at that stand; Charles was born July 16, 1851; John R., deceased, was born September 21, 1853; Elizabeth was born March 25, 1855; Miles, January 1, 1857; and Mary, May 31, 1859.

Engsley G. Andrew, with the other children, attended the pioneer schools of Huntington county, many times being obliged to wade through water in order to reach the little school, where they obtained a good practical education, although the term of school was but two or three months each year. When Engsley Andrew reached his seventeenth year his father told him he was free to do for himself, and he accordingly started out with valiant heart to win his fortune. Being of an industrious and energetic nature, he was not long wanting employment, and cleared land, felling the trees and splitting them into rails. He took a contract from Perry Dawson to clear some land, for which he was to receive five dollars per acre and his board. At that time fifty cents per day was thought to be liberal wages for a day's work. The first savings were expended in the purchase of a colt, an animal in which he took unbounded delight, and he continued in his industrious methods, working at odd jobs wherever they were to be had until his twenty-third year, when he was married and turned his attention to the pursuits of agriculture, in which he has been eminently successful. On June 5, 1900, the Ohio Oil Company drilled a well on his place and have since sunk a second one, both of which yield something like seven hundred barrels of oil per month, bringing him in a royalty of sixty dollars monthly. At the breaking out of the great Rebellion Mr. Adnrew was but a lad of sixteen, although his patriotism would have done credit to a man of twice that number of years, and his zeal for the Union and his desire to share the struggles induced him to run away from home and try to enter the army. Much to his chagrin, he was captured and returned to the "home guards," where he was compelled to remain. His father was intending to enlist, and young Andrew told him that he (Engsley) was also determined to go to the front. Undaunted by his previous failure, at the age of seventeen he enlisted under Captain David Wall, and that gentleman promptly reported the young man to the elder Andrew, who entered a vigorous protest and once more the cherished wishes of his heart were doomed to be blighted by the frosts of disappointment. It was not until May, 1864, that he was finally able to realize the desire of his heart and become a full-fledged soldier. He enlisted with Captain B. F. Webb in Company I, One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Indiana, and was taken to Tennessee and Alabama, where he was on garrison duty for six months, when the company was mustered out. Returning home, he went to Illinois, where he tried to join a company, but was unsuccessful. When Mr. Andrew entered the service he was not heavy, as at present, but very slender and fleet of foot. So much of the horror of the southern prisons had reached the North that his mother dreaded his captivity almost as much as his death, and he had promised her that he would never allow himself to be taken prisoner. Once when he was on a foraging expedition with others of his company they were surrounded by the rebels, who demanded their surrender. Remembering his promise to his mother, Mr. Andrew threw away his gun and took to his heels, relying on his nimbleness to elude his pursuers. Bullets fell thick and fast about him, but happily none struck him and he succeeded in getting away. In recounting the story, he said: "They called after me all kinds of names that I had never been in the habit of taking from anyone, but I was very busy just at that time and paid no attention to them." Being in a strange country, he got lost and had to spend the night under a tree, but on the morrow rejoined his regiment.

On February 22, 1867, he was joined in marriage with Miss Elizabeth J. Blair. Her father was born in Ohio and later came to Randolph county, Indiana, and her mother was from North Carolina. It was about 1837 or 1840 when the family located in Huntington county, being comprised of the parents and two daughters, Mrs. Andrew and Delphina, who became the wife of Thomas Bloom and resided in Salamonie township until her death. The girls both attended the common schools and received average educations. To the union of Engsley G. Andrew and Elizabeth Blair were born an interesting family, as follows: Rilla, who became the wife of Charles L. Swaim and passed away in 1897; Mary, wife of William Green, is a resident of Grant county, this state; Lena L., who died in her eighteenth year; Sarah, who married Earl Lombard, but still resides with her parents; Elmer R. and George W., both of whom live at home; and Charles, who died in infancy. Mr. Andrew and his family are Republicans to the core. He has served as justice of the peace for the past sixteen years and is still acting in that capacity, giving perfect satisfaction to the law-abiding, order-loving public. He has been perfectly fair and square in his decisions, aiming to administer justice to all, and although several appeals have been taken from his decisions not one has been reversed.

Mrs. Andrew's father, Joseph Blair, married Mary Stanton, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Swaim), she being the grandmother, and a resident of North Carolina; they came to Indiana, bringing a large family of her own and several other families and four orphans, Captain Elliott, two brothers and one sister being included. Captain Elliott is the present postmaster of Warren. Mrs. Joseph Blair being left a widow when twenty-four years old, had to battle life alone with two children in the wilderness of Huntington county, and has seen hardships throughtout her life that very few women have to contend with, but with a brave heart and willing hands she bore her cross bravely until the final summons called her to her reward in 1896. She married a second time, becoming the wife of George Beard, and raised a second family of children,--those of Mr. Beard by a former marriage.

Mrs. Andrew, with her mother, used to weave cloth and devoted a great deal of time in this way. Her mother has done her own carding, spinning and weaving, thinking she could not get good thread unless it was spun by herself; also making clothes for the children from the cloth made in this way. Mrs.Andrew has the old loom that was used many years ago in making the cloth for many a garment for the pioneers.

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