Paternally the subject of this sketch is descended from an old North Carolina family, representatives of which came to Indiana in an early day and figured prominently in the pioneer history of Sullivan, Henry and other counties in the southern part of the state. John Stanley, a native or North Carolina, migrated in 1824 to Sullivan county, Indiana, where he lived a short time and then went to the county of Henry, purchasing land there and engaging in farming in connection with his trade of millwright. He married in Carolina Elizabeth Dix and died in Henry county; his wife also died there in an early day. Among the children of John and Elizabeth Stanley was Wyatt Stanley, whose birth occurred in Stokes county, North Carolina, December 5, 1813. He grew to maturity in Henry county, Indiana, and married Miss Mary Bundy, whose parents were among the early pioneers of that part of the state. Mrs. Stanley was born in the county of Henry and spent all of her life within its borders, dying on the 21st day of August, 1846. She bore her husband four children, the oldest of whom was Julia A., This daughter was twice married, her first husband being Milton Henley, after whose death she became the wife of John Zion. The next in order of birth was Pherbia, wife of Daniel Hill, residing at Carthage; Cynthia married Charles M. Henley and died the 1st day of February, 1881; and John.
Wyatt Stanley, on the 20th day of July, 1848, entered into the marriage relation with Nancy A. Henley, who was born May 12, 1812, in the state of North Carolina. This union resulted in the two children, Joseph H., whose name introduces this sketch, and George R., the latter born in Hancock county September 20, 1854. He married Susan Piercy, was a farmer by occupation and died on the 12th day of April, 1899. Mrs. Nancy (Henley) Stanley was the daughter of Joseph H. and Penina (Morgan) Henley, both natives of North Carolina, the father born June 16, 1768, and the mother December 26, 1779. They were married in their native state and about the year 1837 came by wagon to Indiana and settled east of the present site of Carthage, Rush county, where Mr. Henley has some years previously entered a quarter section of government land. The journey to the new home was attended with many difficulties and hardships, not the least of which was the absence of anything in the way of well defined roads, many miles of the trip being through woods from which littlie if any timber had been removed. Five weeks were consumed in reaching their destination and the prospect which greeted them upon their arrival was calculated to discourage the bravest hearted. No improvements had been made on the land and it would be difficult to imagine a more dreary and uninviting prospect. On every side were deep, gloomy forests, among the recesses of which but few white men had ever penetrated, and nearly the whole country was uncheered by the slightest presence of civilization. The first habitation was a small log cabin in which the family was safely housed. After clearing and planting a small area of ground, Mr. Henley built a small mill, known in those days as a corn cracker, the first of the kind in that part of the country. Although producing but a coarse article of meal, it was greatly prized by the family and for years thereafter furnished the few settlers in the vicinity with their principal supply of breadstuff. In due time Mr. Henley cleared and developed a fine farm, replaced the primitive cabin with a dwelling of enlarged proportions, and as years went by he became not only one of the leading agriculturists in his neighborhood, but also one of the largest land owners and wealthiest farmers in the county. By industry and thrift he acquired a large fortune and was able to give each of his children eighty acres of good land, besides helping them in various other ways. Mr. Henley was a prominent man and useful citizen and his death, on the 17th day of December, 1860, was an event greatly deplored in the community. His wife preceded him to the grave, dying April 30th of the same year. To this excellent couple were born eleven children whose names and dates of birth and death are as follows: Mrs. Sarah Thornburg, October 8, 1799, died June 11, 1883; Mrs. Susan Phelps, October 18, 1801, died August 1, 1847; Thomas, August 18, 1803, died December 11, 1885; Henry, November 19, 1805. died June 16, 1894; Mrs. Lucretia Hill, February 14, 1808, died June 18, 1888; Mrs. Mary Binford, February 14, 1810, died February 20, 1893; Mrs. Nancy Stanley, whose birth is noted above; Charles, July 17, 1814, died January 29, 1896; Micajah, May 7, 1816; Jesse, July 24, 1819, died May 5, 1886, and Robert, who was born March 17, 1822, and departed this life July 1, 1879.
After Wyatt Stanleys first marriage he lived in Henry county several years and about 1835, disposing of his interests, moved to Hancock county and purchased the farm in Blue River township upon which his son, Joseph H., now lives. He made many improvements on this place and earned the reputation of an enterprising farmer and substantial citizen. He bore his share in the early growth and development of the country and is remembered as a man of sterling worth, whose integrity was unassailable and whose name was never coupled with a single unworthy transaction. Originally a Whig in politics, he afterwards became a Republican and remained so the rest of his life, but never took a very active part in political affairs. In his religious belief he always adhered to the plain, simple teaching of the society of Friends, in which faith he was born and reared. He lived a good life, singularly free from the common faults of humankind, and died on the 12th day of February, 1883, in the hope of a triumphant resurrection. Mrs. Nancy Stanley died at the old home near Mooresville, Indiana, Monday evening, July 29, 1901, at the age of eighty-nine years, two months and fourteen days. She was a life-long member of the Friends society always faithful in her attendance upon all of its services when able to do so and at the time of her death was one of the oldest inhabitants of Hancock county. The Henley family is remarkable for longevity, the average age of the eleven children being nearly seventy-seven years. They were all strict observers of the laws of temperance, to which may be added frugality, industry and strict integrity. All of the deceased members of the family are buried in the Friends cemetery at Carthage with the exception of Henry Henley, who reposes in the beautiful Riverside cemetery which he donated for burial purposes, and Nancy Stanly, who was laid to rest amid the silent shades of Walnut Ridge.
Joseph H. Stanley was born where he now lives, September 11, 1850. Inheriting the amiable and sturdy characteristics of manhood from both lines of ancestry, he early developed the sterling qualities of head and heart for which his family for many generations has been especially noted. After receiving a rudimentary education in the district schools he entered Spiceland Academy, where he pursued his studies two years, but did not complete the prescribed course by reason of the failing health of his father. Laying aside his books, he returned home and with filial devotion tenderly cared for his parents and looked after their interests until his fathers death after which he took charge of the farm and has since managed the same with success and financial profit. For a period of twenty-five years preceding the death of the father he had charge of the latters business affairs, which he managed with promptness and dispatch, demonstrating sound judgment, wise forethought and general abilities of a high order. From an early age there have been resting upon his shoulders great responsibilities, in all of which he has acquitted himself in a creditable manner, proving himself worthy of every trust.
At the present time Mr. Stanley ranks with the most enterprising energetic and successful agriculturists of the township, cultivating his fields according to the most approved methods of husbandry, continually adding to his already liberal competency and has made himself in every respect worthy the high esteem in which he is held by his neighbors and fellow citizens. He is affable and pleasant in his intercourse with others strictly conscientious in the performance of his every duty and, in many ways, has proved himself an earnest friend and liberal patron of all movements and enterprises tending to promote the material and industrial interests of the community or advance the standard of correct living among his fellowmen.
On the 4th of November, 1886, Mr. Stanley was united in the bonds of wedlock with Miss Penelope N. White, daughter of Isaac and Permelia (Foster) White, the parents natives of North Carolina and early settlers of Rush county, Indiana. Mrs. Stanleys father entered one hundred and sixty acres of land from which he developed a fine farm, living on the same the rest of his life. The mother also died on the home place and, like her husband, was one of the well-known and eminently respectable people of the county in which the best years of her life were spent. Isaac and Permelia White had six children: Louisa, Neomi, Linley, George, Penelope and Semira.
The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley has been blessed with two children, Ethel L., who was graduated from the common schools in 1901, is now a student in the high school at Carthage, and Hazel, who, like her sister, has been given the best educational advantages obtainable. Mr. Stanley taught school for some years and made a creditable record as a capable and popular instructor. He is a warm friend of education and has taken much interest in the common schools of his township, using his best efforts to promote their efficiency by advocating more advanced professional training on the part of teachers. At present he devotes his energies to his farming interests, in which he takes a front rank, at the same time not losing sight of public matters which should engage the attention of every good citizen. His fine home is supplied with many of the comforts and conveniences of life, where he enjoys the fruits of his many years devotion in business pursuits, the homestead consisting of one hundred and nine acres. Like the majority of his ancestors for generations, Mr. Stanley is a member of the society of Friends and as such has exercised a wholesome moral and religious influence in the community. In matters political he is not a silent or passive spectator, although he has always been unambitious of public distinction. He supports the principles of the Republican party, but in affairs purely local casts his ballot regardless of political ties. In private life and in all of his relation with his fellow men he is governed by high moral principles and fills the measure of usefulness, proving himself a valuable member of society and a citizen whom to know is to esteem and honor.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 384-387.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI November 20, 2002.
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