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Bert Aaron Comstock

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Bert Aaron Comstock

Huntington County Volunteer (View posts)
Posted: 24 Mar 2001 5:00AM GMT
Classification: Biography
Edited: 23 Jun 2001 9:50AM GMT
Surnames: Comstock, Rose, Bowen, Rose-Jordan
From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 434-437

Bert Aaron Comstock, son of Charles E. and Mary E. (Rose) Comstock, was born at Roanoke, Huntington county, Indiana, August 20, 1866. His father, Charles E., also a native of Indiana, was born September 15, 1844, a farmer by occupation, and was reared on his father's farm in Huntington county until his marriage, when he settled on his own place, about one mile distant from the homestead. During the Civil war he enlisted in Comapny G, Thirty-fourth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, his term of service dating from August, 1861, remaining with his command until the expiration of the three years' term. He was with his regiment when engaged at the battles of Fort Donelson, Island No. 10, Champion Hills, and the series of battles which culminated in the fall of Vicksburg. He returned to his home in Indiana after his term of service, remaining until 1877, and then went to Ellis, Kansas, where he located and improved one hundred and sixty acres of land under the homestead act. He then went to Mason county, Michigan, where he still resides.

Mary E., his wife, was a daughter of Aaron and Lydia M. Rose, and was born in Stark county, Ohio, December 1, 1850, but who died April 21, 1890, at Custer, Michigan. Aaron Rose, her father, was born in Wayne county, Ohio, December 25, 1820, and her mother, Lydia M., also a native of Wayne county, Ohio, was born July 4, 1822. A coincident worthy of mention is that the father was born on Christmas day, observed as a holiday throughtout the civilized or Christian world, while the natal day of her mother commemorates an event in the history of nations--a new republic springing from out the western seas, with a declaration that passed into history as the grandest sentiment the world has ever known,, and the fulfillment of whose destiny can only be measured to the end of time.

In 1852 they moved to Indiana and settled in the village of Dicky's Lock, now known as Roanoke. Here he established the first butcher shop of the town; then engaged in keeping a hotel. In 1858 he took an option on a farm located in Whitley county which he bought and traded in 1861 for one in Huntington county, where he located and was very successful as a stock-raiser and general farmer. He served one term as trustee of Jackson township. While a resident of Navarre, Ohio, he had learned the trade of saddler and harness-maker, and some of the tools used by him are now in possession of our subject, Bert A. Comstock.

On the maternal side the ancestry is traced back to the time of Queen Anne, of England, and during the last quarter of the fifteenth century. In the early settlement of America, at the opening of the sixteenth century, the colonies were being settled by the sturdy English stock which dominated what is now known as the New England states, and contingents of British soldiers were frequently sent over, nominally as a protection against the Indians, but more particularly to guard the colonial governors and the king's domain. Two of these soldiers, William and Jonathan Bowen, brothers, became settlers; Jonathan going into Virginia, and William to Pennsylvania, where he married. William Bowen was a thorough Englishman, and was a soldier in the British army before the Revolution, and it is from him the Bowens trace the ancestral line unbroken. Some genealogists of the family trace the name down to where members of those respective ancestors met on the battlefields of the Civil war, each fighting for his sectional chief.

Charles Comstock, grandfather of Bert Aaron Comstock, was a native of Buttermilk Falls, Pennsylvania. His ancestors were among the early settlers in the colony established by Roger Williams in 1632, at what was then known as the Plantation of New Providence, now Rhode Island. They were Irish emigrants, and arrived there in 1683. From the records of the family it is shown that for two generations they had lived and prospered in Pennsylvania, and in 1832 Charles Comstock moved to Indiana. He was a master carpenter, and took large contracts for the construction of canal locks, culverts, stone piers, etc., and much of his work is still in evidence on the canal between Fort Wayne and Lafayette. He also became interested in a general store, and his books contained entries that would cause a smile to an accountant of the present day. For instance: John Smythe, July 29, to one gallon whisky, two pounds lard, one pound tobacco, half pound salt; July 30, one white dog, one gallon whisky, five pounds flour. The currency of the period was not of a substantial character, and the storekeeper would seldom accept what was called wildcat money for more than half of its face value. It was frequently the case with those who handled the paper money of those days that on closing business for one day, the next day's news from the business centers would show a very large proportion of it to be almost, if not wholly, worthless.

When a lad B. A. Comstock went to Kansas, where he remained from 1878 to 1882, and it was while there that his friends in Indiana heard that he had been killed--shot through the heart with an arrow from the bow of an Indian. He says in this connection that "during the Indian raid of 1878 he did help fill grain sacks with sand for the purpose of barricading the doors and windows in the old stone house, and took an occasional turn at guard duty until the scare was over." Returning to Indiana in 1882, he remained one year, thence going to Michigan, where he spent three years among the great pineries, and returned to Roanoke, Indiana, in 1886, where he resumed his studies in the public schools of Roanoke until twenty years of age, when he entered Roanoke Seminary in 1886. After graduating in the prescribed course for teachers he took a two years' course in the business college, and during which time was a teacher of mathematics, bookkeeping, geography and history in the school. He also taught two terms in the common schools of Allen county, Indiana, and went to Huntington in May, 1890. He was engaged in various occupations for a time; became a fireman on a locomotive in the service of the Erie Railway, serving three years, the time necessary for a certificate as engineer. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the nomination of county surveyor, but his railroad friends urged him for township trustee, to which he was elected in November, 1894, serving over five years. He was the first Republican trustee ever elected in the township, and overcame a Democratic majority of four hundred and fifty. He is now chairman of the Republican city central committee of Huntington, and his management and the superior organization effected carried the city for the Republicans in the election of 1900.

He has ever been of a literary turn and a close student. Mr. Comstock is now with Mr. James W. Taylor as partner engaged in manufacturing, owning the Novelty Manufacturing Works of Huntington, Indiana, and doing an excellent business.

Mr. Comstock is largely gifted with the peculiar traits which mark the progressive American citizen; and, believing that there is some one thing obtainable by he who diligently seeks and for which he may be well fitted, looked well about him, took advantage of every opportunity which was presented, and was thus able to engage in almost any kind of work or business which requires intelligent application.

Fraternally he is a member of the Knights of the Maccabees, Huntington Tent, No. 10, was keeper of the record from 1895 to 1901, has reached the rank of past commander, and is now treasurer of the lodge; also a member of the Junior Order United American Mechanics, being treasurer of Pride of the West Council, No. 52; has passed the chairs of Indiana Camp, No. 3116, Modern Woodmen of America; member of La Fountain Lodge, No. 42, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Silica Fons Encampment, No. 88, Charity Lodge, No. 261, Daughters of Rebekah, and now serving as a member of the board of claims, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

On June 4, 1890, Mr. Comstock was married to Celia Rose-Jordan, who was born in Huntington county, Indiana, September 22, 1864. They have no children.

Mr. Comstock is not a member of any church denomination, but carefully and conscientiously follows the teachings of the Golden Rule, the strict observance of which embraces many if not all the virtues of true Christianity. Jovial and pleasing in his companionship and associations, he has many warm and sincere friends who appreciate his noble qualities of heart and mind.

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